Whether you were watching it live or eventually caught a replay of the 2020 Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix, you'd agree that Romain Grosjean's nightmarish collision had all the ingredients of a deadly racing crash. The Haas' impact on the metal barrier tore the car in half and ignited its 120 kilos of fuel into a massive fireball. Following Grosjean's miraculous escape, the car was investigated by the FIA and eventually sent to storage. Now, it's coming out.
In a short film released Tuesday morning, Grosjean confirmed that the charred driver cell portion of his race car will be displayed at the F1 Exhibition Madrid in March. It will be positioned in a special room within the exhibit called "Survival."
Visitors will be the first to witness the Haas' cockpit since the crash, and will also experience a video exhibition featuring never-before-seen footage of Grosjean's crash and eventual escape three years ago.
"From my point of view, it was a big accident but I didn't realize the impact or how violent it was from the outside," Grosjean said in the video released by the exhibition. "It was only the next day when I asked someone to show me what it looked like that I realized.
"My wife was actually watching that race with my dad and my kids. They will remember that moment their entire life. They were just spectators waiting to hear something… waiting to see something from Bahrain," Grosjean added.
The crash happened during the opening lap of the Grand Prix after Grosjean made slight contact with Daniil Kvyat. This spun the Haas off course and sent him flying into the barrier of Turn 3. After the initial impact, Grosjean became stuck in the cockpit due to the shredded metal barrier and was engulfed in flames for nearly 30 seconds. Eventually, he was able to free himself and received assistance from the FIA's medical car driver and track safety crew.
"I had to break the headrest, punching it with my helmet and then I eventually managed to get my helmet through and stand up in the seat," said Grosjean. "I realized my left foot was stuck into the chassis and I pulled as hard as I could on my left leg. My shoe stayed in the chassis but my foot came loose so I was free to exit the car."
The French racing driver had already announced his retirement from F1 by the time of his crash, accelerating his departure from the series. The Bahrain Grand Prix ended up being Grosjean's final race at the pinnacle of the sport, something surely more bitter than sweet for him. Regardless, Grosjean is now enjoying some success in IndyCar.
"The survival cell is there for you in case of a huge impact," Grosjean said. "I was intact inside the shell. The chassis is still in one piece, the halo is there and apart from the damage and burn it is still as it should be. I guess that saved my life."
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