• Romain Grosjean sends best wishes from hospital bed in Bahrain.
• Grosjean survived a horror crash in the opening seconds of the Bahrain GP.
• He suffered burns to his hands and feet.
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Romain Grosjean was in good spirits barely 12 hours removed from a crash that nearly claimed his life. The Haas driver attempted a passing manoeuvre in the opening seconds of the 2020 Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix, but got his timing wrong and made contact with Daniil Kvyat's Alpha Tauri.
Grosjean's car careered off the track and into the barriers, immediately catching fire. In what felt like an eternity, the driver emerged from the fire after managing to unbuckle himself and got onto the barriers before being pulled to safety by the FIA medical doctor, Dr Ian Roberts.
Early reports suggested that Grosjean suffered burns to his arms and legs, as well as a few broken ribs. Upon getting to the hospital and undergoing an emergency checkup, he only sustained second-degree burns to his hands and feet. Other than that, the Frenchman lives to see another day. He will not race in this weekend's Sakhir GP - held at the same venue as the Bahrain GP - and has been replaced by Pietro Fittipaldi.
Watch Grosjean's message of thanks below, posted on the Haas team's Twitter page.
In an earlier video, Grosjean told everyone, also via the team's Twitter page, that he is okay and that the halo device saved his life. For those unaware, the halo was introduced at the 2018 season as a form of head protection in the event of an accident. Just looking at two significant incidents in F1 the last 11 years - Felipe Massa's head injuries in Hungary 2009 and Jules Bianchi, Japan 2014 - and something had to be done to prevent serious injury.
Following various concepts, ideas, concepts and tests, the FIA and F1 decided on the halo that would be placed over the cockpit, while still maintaining the 'open cockpit' F1 is known for. While it may seem like an accessory that's not very pleasing to the eye, it serves a far greater purpose - saving lives.
When Grosjean's car hit the barrier, it split in half, with the front half, with Grosjean inside, ending up on the other side of the barrier. The rear half laid meters from the track. Were it not for the halo, Grosjean could have lost his life yesterday. The halo, able to withstand a weight much higher than a bus, deflected the barrier away from the driver's head, allowing him to remain conscious and remove himself from his fiery car.
F1 has come a long way with regards to safety, and the Grosjean walking away from such a near-death experience is testament to that.