Former F1 driver Romain Grosjean opens up on the lasting effects of his horrific crash
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Six months on from the horrific crash that ended his career, former Haas driver Romain Grosjean has a surprisingly positive attitude about the event.
At the Bahrain Grand Prix in the final stages of the F1 season, Grosjean’s crash shocked the F1 world when he hit a barrier on the opening lap of the Grand Prix with his car immediately bursting into a fireball.
This is unreal. Despite hitting the barrier head-on, his car being torn in half, and his half of the car bursting into flames, Romain Grosjean walked away from this massive crash. Respect to the marshals and medics on the scene. pic.twitter.com/mGSI2fP5qk— Simon Head (@simonhead) November 29, 2020
Remarkably Grosjean escaped the crash after 30 seconds, leaping out of the flames in remarkable scenes with him later saying “I saw death”.
It left the F1 grid stunned with Aussie Daniel Ricciardo taking aim earlier in the season about replaying of crashes at events and later on social media.
Grosjean is still affected by the burns on his hands, with promotional shots of him in a Mercedes racing suit ahead of a demo and a test in Lewis Hamilton’s W10 at the French Grand Prix on June 27 as his swan song from the sport, admitting to BBC Breakfast that he “cherished” the opportunity when he was in his hospital bed, as he “didn’t want to finish on that crash.”
But Grosjean admitted on the F1’s podcast Beyond the Grid this week that the Bahrain crash actually had a silver lining, as he admitted he’s happier than ever.
“I may sound crazy, but let me explain. Every day I live since then is like a bonus day. I was so close to not being here anymore that it makes you realise how beautiful life is,” he said.
“Yes, you know you may have small issues here and there – a connecting flight being cancelled or losing time, things you would moan about, and I’ll still moan a little bit about it.
“But also every morning I wake up, I need to remove my silicon gloves and put some cream on my hands, and I remember that I am alive, I am here. I can play with my kids, I can go racing again, I’ve got my lovely wife next to me. I’m happier in life, just because I’ve realised how good life is even with it’s problems. It would be quite boring if we didn’t have any issues in life.
“It is quite crazy to think that I had to be so close to not being here anymore to realise that life is not free – it has to be lived.”
Grosjean and his former teammate Kevin Magnussen were both axed by Haas at the end of last year, but about a month before the shocking crash.
They were replaced by the controversial Nikita Mazepin and the son of F1 legend Michael Schumacher, Mick Schumacher.
The pair have been right at the back of the grid so far this season.
But regardless, Grosjean said he didn’t have any hard feelings about dropping out of the F1 at the end of last season, and said he had watched footage of the crash with his wife and children.
“Yeah, the kids asked — they had many questions, Grosjean said. “I have watched it with my kids, with my wife. I can talk about it very openly. I worked with a psychologist after it, just to make sure there were no flashbacks or nightmares or anything bad coming from it.
“I had a couple of flashbacks, and a phase in the accident that I needed to understand, to go through with my psychologist.
“I’m the first one to joke about it, ‘hard one to cook’ as we say in French, meaning that you’re quite resistant. It has changed my life but for the better.”
Incredibly, Grosjean said he never believed he would give motorsport away as he has transitioned to IndyCar with Dale Coyne Racing.
He said he had been impressed by the performance of former V8 Supercars superstar Scott McLaughlin in his rookie season but Grosjean only raced in the first two weekends of the season.
While Grosjean said he had largely avoided nightmares of his final moments in an F1 car in Bahrain, they haven’t completely passed him by.
“One was quite early morning, 6am, and my son woke me up. And the other one was when I was going for surgery on my hands in Geneva, being put asleep (with anaesthetic), so I guess all the ingredients were there to not make you feel good and remind you what Bahrain hospital looked like from the bed,” he said.
“So they were the couple of flashbacks I’ve had. Since then I’ve never had a nightmare. I can watch [the crash] without any problem, I can talk about it without any problem. Yes, you know my hand is not great – I can’t go in the sun, I have to be careful with cold temperatures, with hot temperatures and so on. But also it’s working – I can play with my kids, I can still build Lego, and that’s what matters.”