Formula One safety delegate Michael Masi said the governing body, the FIA, will not take a knee jerk reaction to the freak barrier-splitting incident that occurred during Romain Grosjean’s crash in Bahrain on Sunday.
Grosjean’s Haas car split in two during the incident and the safety cell, in which he was sitting, sliced through three metal barriers and left a gaping hole once the remains were removed.
Asked after the race whether the barrier splitting in such a way was a freak occurrence, Masi said: “I think it is. So much energy suddenly has to go somewhere…
“We will review the incident itself to learn in the short term. From the barrier integrity and so forth, there’s no knee-jerking to it.”
He explained, however, that a full review of the incident will now be undertaken involving all relevant key experts, as occurs after every incident, but did not put a timeline to that analysis.
“Incidents like this, there is always something to be learned,” said Masi. “The FIA safety department leads the investigation, the single-seater department, of which F1 is a part of from a technical perspective, has an involvement.
“The F1 teams and their technical directors and the circuits commission will be involved from a circuit safety perspective, and all the respective subject matter experts will review their areas to see what can be learned and what can be improved.
“It’s a credit to the safety systems we have as a whole and our entire safety system package, the way the FIA has been working through over many years that Romain came out relatively, all things considered, unscathed.
The cars will be racing again on a different version of the Bahrain International Circuit in next week’s Sakhir Grand Prix and Masi said there are “no track safety installation changes” planned for that event.
When pressed on the situation with the guardrail, Masi explained that the design and installation of barriers is regularly reviewed both in the long-term and through pre-race inspections at every event.
He added: “From an FIA perspective, there’s a licensing regime and a validation regime, which occurs every three years, that’s the licensing area.
“With F1 circuits, I do an inspection at each event, on foot, together with the circuit representatives and everyone else, it’s really an audit inspection you do at an event. Looking at safety installations so forth, generally.
“It’s not one specific thing, you look at everything together: the circuit itself, the ASN in each country has an involvement and there’s various criteria by which licenses are issued.
“There is a large list of different bits and pieces that we look at, be it tyre areas, concrete walls, debris fences generally, the whole lot, there’s a whole lot of things.”
Steel guard rail barriers are about 75 year-old technology and have no business in motorsports today. They are cheap and easy to both install and repair hence, they are widely used. They should be banned immediately. SAFER barriers are representative of racing technology safety improvements ignored by the FIA.
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