In the burning debris of his Haas VF-20, yet still remarkably conscious despite the frightening effect of the 53G, Romain Grosjean took 28 seconds to break out of the flames. It must be felt longer.

Its survival was testament to the many developments in driver safety equipment that have been made over the years. One of them was the crash helmet offered by Bell, like many other drivers on the network.

The most obvious role a driver’s helmet plays is to protect them from shock and, unusually, in the event of a Grogan crash, fire. Bell’s chief executive, Stephan Cohen, told RaceFans that the manufacturer’s initial examination of the interior and exterior of the Grosjean Helmet indicated that it “was operating exactly as expected in such conditions.”

Footage of the crash showed Grosjean’s visor appeared to dim after emerging from the fire, indicating it was melting due to the intense heat. Cohen explained that it was the cut strips that were affected by the flame.

Grogan was on fire for 28 seconds

“Regarding fire resistance, everything is proceeding normally,” he said. The mask was just fine.

“The only thing that melted was the teardrops that were stuck on the outside of the visor. This made the mask completely opaque, especially on the left side of the helmet when the flames were coming.”

Grogan described how it took three attempts to escape his burning hull. As he literally fought for his life, burning debris posed another danger besides intense heat – smoldering ash and soot particles.

By working with layers of fire-resistant clothing, Grosjean’s helmet helped protect his lungs from the damage Niki Lauda suffered in a terrible crash in the Nürburgring in 1976.

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Cohen says Bell is “very proud” of how their helmet works in this regard.

Aside from the burns to his hands, Grogan was largely unharmed

“Once you stand standing there is very little air circulation coming from the outside into the inside of the helmet, which is a very important area for us. This is where Bill can proudly say that we not only meet, but exceed standard expectations.

“Because in this kind of accident, when you stay in the fire for more than 25 seconds, you are prone to inhaling some hot gases and vapor vapors that will lead to lung damage. And it didn’t happen. Nothing got inside the helmet. So we are very happy with how the helmet performs in These are unforeseen circumstances. “

Grosjean’s helmet performance is one of the reasons he was able to get away with a crash that initially seemed unavoidable. It’s now being studied by the FIA, along with other evidence, to synthesize exactly what happened and see what additional improvements can be made to keep drivers safe in future accidents.

Cohen believes: “As a society – the FIA, the helmets and everyone involved in safety – we can be proud that despite a significant slowdown, Roman has always been conscious.”

“The crash didn’t get him out and he was able to get out of the car, everyone knows. Can you imagine if he was unconscious? It would have been a completely different result.”

An in-depth analysis of how Grogan survived a plane crash in Bahrain will appear in this week’s issue of RacingLines column, which will be published later today on RaceFans.

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Roman Grosjean helmet 2020
Roman Grosjean crash helmet for 2020

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