Track designer defends Bahrain after Grosjean crash

"If the force is great enough, everything breaks at some point"

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By GMM

22 December 2020 - 08:01
Track designer defends Bahrain (...)

The designer of the Bahrain GP venue has defended the circuit’s safety measures in light of Romain Grosjean’s fiery recent crash.

Most observers agree that the Frenchman was lucky to survive the incident with only burns to his hands, after the Haas car penetrated the arm-co barriers, split in half and exploded in flames.

"If the force is great enough, everything breaks at some point," F1 circuit designer Hermann Tilke told Der Standard.

He explained that Grosjean crashed where the arm-co is essentially "90 degrees to the track", and that if the angle had been less severe, the car would have "scraped along the guardrail".

"The force on Grosjean was 53G, which is an incredible amount," said Tilke.

So when asked what lessons he has learned from the incident, the German answered: "We have to be careful here.

"With Grosjean’s impact angle, it would have been better if there was a force retarder there, like a stack of tyres. But in other impacts that would be counterproductive because the car could get stuck in them.

"Everything has advantages and disadvantages so you have to be careful not to worsen the situation in other scenarios," Tilke explained.

"For example, in 0.001 of car accidents, it might be better not to wear a seatbelt. But you wouldn’t then say ’I won’t buckle up again’.

"The FIA will investigate the incident carefully but we are talking about a system that has worked for decades."

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