The FIA has revealed its findings following the completion of the investigation into Romain Grosjean's accident at the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix, with the governing body announcing several measures that will look to improve safety.
The Haas driver was involved in a huge crash on the opening lap of the race that saw the chassis of his car split in two, with the main monocoque lodged in a barrier. As a result a huge fire ensued, with the Frenchman somehow escaping with no serious injuries.
“The car suffered extensive damage during the impact including separation of the power train assembly from the survival cell,” reads the report. “The fuel tank inspection hatch on the left-hand side of the chassis was dislodged and the engine fuel supply connection was torn from the fuel tank ‘safety bladder’; both providing primary paths for the escape of fuel from the tank.
“The driver safety equipment including helmet, HANS and safety harness as well as the survival cell, seat, headrest and Halo frontal cockpit protection performed according to their specifications in protecting the driver’s survival space and managing the forces applied to the driver during the impact.
“The high voltage Energy Recovery System (ERS) battery was significantly damaged, with some parts of the ERS battery assembly remaining with the powertrain and others remaining attached to the survival cell. Fire was ignited during the final moments of the barrier impact, starting from the rear of the survival cell and progressing forwards towards the driver as the fire grew.
"The resting position of the survival cell, relative to the upper rail of the barrier significantly restricted the path for driver egress. Due to damage to the survival cell and a number of components within the cockpit environment, Romain Grosjean’s left foot was initially trapped as the car came to rest. The driver was able to free his foot by withdrawing it from his racing boot leaving the boot in the entrapped position in the car and then moved both the dislodged headrest and steering wheel to egress the car."
As revealed by RacingNews365.com, the FIA released a list of areas it will work on in a bid improve safety following the accident, along with 18 other major incidents across other championships in 2020.
With regards to the car, they include:
- Regulation of survival cell front geometry, plus additional load tests in that area
- Review of existing regulations regarding rear view mirrors
- Review of steering column mounting requirements
- Review of regulation and homologation requirements for headrest assembly
- Analysis of Power Unit mounting and mount failure modes
- Ongoing research project: Wheel Restraint Cables (tethers)
- Design review of safety fuel bladder installations in all FIA single seater categories
- Recommendations for safety fuel bladder installation best practice
- Update of the FIA Standard for safety fuel bladders
- Review of regulations for design of safety fuel bladder connections and inspection hatches
- Fuel homologation to include compatibility of bladder material and specific fuel
The FIA Safety Department will also conduct further research into projects such as:
- Investigation of options for proximity warning systems and electronic visibility aids
- Research into retrofit and upgrade options to improve impact performance of existing guardrail barriers
- Research into novel barrier systems, effective across a wider range of impact conditions
- Research to assess current fire extinguishing media, firefighting equipment and personal protective equipment and assess new technologies