Romain Grosjean says he is eager to understand more about his Bahrain Grand Prix accident, including how he retained consciousness throughout, in order to further advance safety in motorsport.
Grosjean suffered a high-speed impact with the Armco barriers, measured at 53G and 221km/h, which split his Haas VF-20 in two, causing the wreckage to erupt in flames.
Grosjean extricated himself from the survival cell and spent three nights in hospital due to minor burns on his hand and some discomfort in his ankle.
He was not cleared to return to competition for the rest of the 2020 season but was able to fly home to Switzerland, where he is continuing to treat his hands.
One of Grosjean’s personal partners, neuroscience company MindMaze, whose clients also include Haas and McLaren, is developing a balaclava to better understand what happens to the brain in an accident.
Speaking in an interview to promote the product Grosjean said: “The next big step for me to understand is what’s happening in the helmet, the brain.
“Physically we’ve seen that I came out intact, yes with some burns, and we can improve safety on the gloves that’s for sure, that’s a step. But also what’s happening in the brain of the driver?
“With MindDrive I believe on my accident we would have understood what was the interaction between my brain, my helmet, the headrest, and why I didn’t lose consciousness.
“In a 60G impact you should lose consciousness, even for a few seconds, but you shouldn’t be as aware as I was – and that saved my life.
“I would like us to understand, with sensors on the brain, is when there is an incident, what can we do better on the helmet, on the headrest, and safety [generally], so that a driver even with big impacts stays well conscious and well [aware of] what he has to do.”
Grosjean went on to praise the safety developments undertaken in Formula 1.
“The overalls this year have been changed for fire resistance, increased by 10 seconds, the regulations say 20 seconds, I stayed 28 seconds in the flames,” he said.
“The strength of the chassis is coming up, the monocoque protected me, I was still able to escape and get out of the flames.
“If the chassis would have been broken the legs would have been gone, broken, whatever, I wouldn’t have been able to stand up and walk out.
“There are many things we learn from an incident. In my case we are lucky I am alive, I can talk, and I remember everything.”