FIA safety innovations saved Grosjean's life - van der Merwe
FIA medical car driver Alan van der Merwe believes the collective effort of the sport's safety innovations played a part in ensuring Romain Grosjean did not suffer a more serious fate following his crash at the start of the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Grosjean's car was engulfed in flames after making contact with the inside barrier on the exit of turn three, escaping with the aid of van der Merwe and Dr Ian Roberts as well as the marshalls positioned at the service road next to the incident scene.
When asked whether it was a relief to see the Frenchman emerge from the wreckage under his own power, van der Merwe said: "Not yet. We had some relief when we got back here and he was okay.
"It was very impressive. It just goes to show that all the systems we have developed, everything worked hand-in-hand.
"The halo, the barriers, the seatbelts, everything worked how it should and without just one of those things, it could have been a very different outcome."
As in every race in F1, van der Merwe and Roberts were positioned at the back of the grid in the FIA medical car, running the first lap behind the field in order to deal with any potential first-lap incident.
Van der Merwe revealed it "was a big surprise for us," and explained how he and Roberts dealt with the situation.
"We have never seen that much fire. In 12 years, I have never seen that much fire and an impact like that.
"We just took a little while to process what's going on. I am sure it was only a second or so but it felt like ages. Romain just started to actually get out of the car himself which is pretty amazing after an accident like that."
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