Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said if Romain Grosjean’s injuries had been worse, his team would have withdrawn from the Bahrain GP.
The Haas driver was involved in a horrific crash as he collided with Daniil Kvyat coming out of Turn 3 before spearing into the barriers.
But upon impact the barrier split, causing the VF-20 to break in half as Grosjean was sent to the other side of the barrier with the wreckage engulfed in flames.
Miraculously, the Frenchman escaped with only burns to the back of his hands, but until Mercedes saw Grosjean being helped away from the scene and into an ambulance, they were talking about withdrawing from the race.
“We had a short conversation in his [Lewis’] room to discuss the accident but at that stage, we already saw that Romain was out of the car,” Wolff told reporters in Bahrain.
“I think, if God beware, he had been injured more than that, we would have probably pulled out of the race in this day and age. A man’s health and life is much more important than racing.”
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Once it was clear that Grosjean wasn’t seriously injured, several replays and images of him being pulled from the fire after he had escaped the wreckage were shown on the world feed.
Daniel Ricciardo was “disgusted” by this, but Wolff felt it was important that the footage was shown.
“I think in the modern world, you are not able to hide anything anymore,” Wolff explained.
“If FOM is not showing it, then someone else is going to have a mobile phone there and film so we need to be transparent.
“Those images were frightening and graphic but if you are not transparent as an organisation, you are just taking the risk that somebody else shows stuff that is beyond your control.”
Haas team principal Guenther Steiner confirmed after the Bahrain Grand Prix that he had spoken on the phone to Grosjean, who was very “upbeat” despite his ordeal.
Grosjean told his boss that he suffered no broken bones in the incident, only burns to the back of his hands, but the severity of those burns won’t become clear until Monday when doctors remove the bandages.
Lewis Hamilton went on to win the race for Mercedes, his 11th win of the 2020 campaign, while Valtteri Bottas crossed the line in P8.