Romain Grosjean says he is hoping to inspire further change to Formula 1 that will hopefully save lives in the future, much like his fellow Frenchman Jules Bianchi did before him.
Bianchi tragically died in 2015, succumbing to the horrific injuries he suffered in the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix, but his death saw Formula 1 develop and introduce the halo head protection system, something Grosjean credits for saving his life in his horror crash in the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Grosjean crashed on the exit of turn three at the Bahrain International Circuit after contact with Daniil Kvyat, with his Haas F1 Team car breaking in two and catching alight in spectacular fashion. The front portion of Frenchman’s car pierced and went through the barrier, and without the halo in place, the outcome of the incident could have been so very different.
He says the medical personnel are the real heroes, but Grosjean says he would like to assist in developing further safety features that will potentially save the lives of drivers in the future.
“I don’t feel like a hero,” Grosjean is quoted as saying by Motorsport-Total.com. “People say about racing drivers: what you do is usually exceptional.
“But no, no. Doctors save lives. They’re extraordinary. Firefighters are extraordinary. If I can save a life in the future through my experience, as Jules did for me, then I will have a strong legacy in motorsport, that would probably be my greatest pride.”
Grosjean was helped out of his burning car by Dr. Ian Roberts with the assistance of medical car driver Alan van der Merwe, and the Frenchman says they were ‘heroes’ who were just doing their job. He also says him exiting the car was instinctive, but at no time did he panic as he pulled himself from the burning Haas.
“They were heroes, but they say, ‘No, no. We were just doing our job’. And I feel the same way about that,” said Grosjean. “I was just doing my job, too.
“As a race car driver and also as a father, to make sure my three kids have their dad in the best possible shape in their lives.
“It was a survival instinct. I never panicked, I was never stressed. Everything was math, and even when I took off my gloves because I knew my hands were burned, every step was rational.
“I don’t know if you’re born with that kind of instinct or if that’s something you can improve in your life, but it saved me.”