(Please note all text below is my opinion, and written by an enthousiast, not someone who has understanding of all rules!)
I like a good crash. A good crash for me is when the driver of drivers step out of their car and only need to go to a hospital for a checkup and then they are released. That last part is the maximum of what i like about a crash. A driver has to survive a crash!
If you look at the crash of Thomas Laurent at the 6 hours of Spa this year, that’s a good crash. The car although totaled kept the driver save and Thomas could race a couple of weeks later at Le Mans. If you see him at the end of the clip, you notice that Thomas is responsive and without panic opens the door and he’s calm. I think he had a mandatory check because of the g-forces, but was otherwise ok.
The other crash I think was a miracle no one was injured was the crash of Mike Harmon in the Nascar Bush Series in August 2002. During practice the right side of his car hit the barrier and ripped the car in half. Unfortunately when he spun back on the track Johnny Sauter couldn’t evade him and ran into the car. In the clip you can see Harmon in the car when Sauter hits him. The car makes a 270 degrees turn. Mike Harmon unbuckles his seatbelt, steps out of and then find out he also has to disconnect his communication cable. Both drivers walk away without serious injuries.
Then why do i dislike the crash of Romain Grosjean? Well it has a couple of “issues” that i don’t really can explain, but i’ll try.
I really can’t say that i have ever have seen the crash that costs Jules Bianchi his live. The reason is for me because i wasn’t a fan of Jules Bianchi. But i’m not a fan of Romain Grosjean, so what makes the crash of RG so gut wrenching? I think it’s because it was live when i saw the crash happening, although RG was a back runner, the camera had a great view over the first straight and because of first round all cars were in the same shot, it wasn’t a replay or an accidental shot of his car running into the barrier.
The other thing is that the barrier didn’t do his job properly (in my opinion). Only thanks to the Halo (until yesterday i disliked the thing, but got used to it) he survived. Why do i think the barrier didn’t do his job? Well to me i looked like the nose seemed to enter the barrier between two plates and so the monocoque was just a wedge that drove the the 2 panels away from each other. Thanks to the Halo the top plate didn’t stop when he reached to top of the nose but got pushed over the head of RG.
Because of the nature of the crash (something you can’t tink of and thus cannot test) everything after the monocoque broke off and ripped the fuel cell in half. Only a little spark send everything in flames, a complete inferno. The monocoque slid just enough through so RG could exit his vehicle on his own power.
One other thing I also found strange were the firefighters. Although they helped RG by fighting the fire and making somekind of path for him to escape, they just didn’t seem to be up for the task. The first firefighter on the scene cam from the Marshall post right after the crash. The firefighter only had a small powder extinguisher with him. That just wasn’t up for the task. But what was really strange when another firefighter came from the other side of the track with a more powerfull extinguisher and started to fight the flames. But because of the more powerfull device he blew a large amount of the flames to firefighter 1 (the one that started first) which i think wasn’t expecting that. Overall i think the firefighters that were at the scene first just weren’t up to the task.
Of course there are a couple of people that need to be given a lot of appreciation.
- Alan van der Merwe was the guy who helped RG get over the fence when he got out of the car. Although he was the closest to the fire he did everything in his power to help him.
- Firefighters. Although in my above section i am a bit skeptical, they helped him to free up a path from where he could escape.
- FIA. They did a great job over the years making F1 more safe. If this happend pre Halo i don’t think RG would have survived. But other things made the sport better. Think about the monocoque that needs to be of really high standards and what to think of the racing suits. The guys “sat” for 20 seconds in a great ball of fire and only has a couple of fire burns.
- And this one maybe strange, but all the injured and unfortunately died racing drivers. Their accidents have had great impact on the safety of the sports
I hope that RG will be racing very soon. In my opinion when you get to F1 you are a great racer, maybe not F1 material, but you know how to drive a car really fast, and i think if RG gets a seat where he really gets to show his potential, he is a force to be reckoned with. And hopefully the next crashes we will ever see is where the driver and everyone gets away safely and when the drivers gets asked what happened he can use the words of Mike Harmon: “Until the crash it was the best car i’ve ever driven.”