Romain Grosjean has sent a message from his hospital bed insisting he is “sort of okay” – and paying tribute to the Halo system that saved him.
The Frenchman miraculously escaped relatively unscathed from a terrifying crash on the opening lap of the Bahrain Grand Prix when his Haas car, after clipping Daniil Kvyat’s AlphaTauri, speared off the track, through a barrier, split in two and burst into flames.
Within 20 seconds, Grosjean had clambered out of the cockpit and back over the barrier away from the burning wreckage as F1 chief medical officer Dr Ian Roberts and medical car driver Alan van der Merwe, plus marshals, arrived at the scene.
The 34-year-old was taken to hospital with what were reported to be burns to his hands and ankles, along with suspected broken ribs.
Although Grosjean did not describe his injuries in a video message posted from his hospital bed, his hands were bandaged and it was reported by Autosport that he had sustained no fractures.
He credited the titanium Halo, which took the force of the impact with the barrier and protected the driver by doing exactly what had been intended when it was introduced to Formula 1 in 2018 – originally to a mixed reception from the participants.
An update from Romain himself. Pleased to see you’re in good spirits! We hope you make a speedy recovery 🙏 pic.twitter.com/njnjjH4GBi
— Haas F1 Team (@HaasF1Team) November 29, 2020
“Hello everyone. I just wanted to say I’m okay – well, sort of okay,” said Grosjean, referring to his bandaged hands.
“Thank you very much for all the messages. I wasn’t for the Halo some years ago, but I think it’s the greatest thing that we’ve brought to Formula 1 and without it I wouldn’t be able to speak with you today.
“So thanks to all the medical staff at the circuit, at the hospital, and hopefully I can write you quite soon some messages and tell you how it’s going.”
Grosjean will remain in hospital overnight to undergo treatment for the burns on his hands, as well as receiving further observation from the doctors.
With only two more races of his five-year Haas career remaining, it initially appeared highly unlikely that Grosjean would drive in next week’s Sakhir Grand Prix on a different configuration of the same circuit.
However, Haas team principal Guenther Steiner is not yet ruling it out.
He said: “Knowing him, he wants to be back, but we’ll see that tomorrow when they take the bandages off because he has no idea what they look like.
“For me at the moment, the only good thing is nothing bad happened. For sure it wasn’t good but he’s safe, he’s healthy.
“The rest we’ll see tomorrow when we speak with the doctors.”