30 November 2020 | General

Grosjean’s escape endorses Australian S5000 safety standards

The fact that Formula 1 driver Romain Grosjean was able to walk away from a crash that, not too long ago, could have had a far worse outcome is testament to the high-tech safety designed into the modern Formula 1 car – on which Australia’s own S5000 ‘F1-lookalike’ formula is based.

All S5000 race cars feature the halo device that protects the driver, over and above the other stringent safety measures implemented in current FIA-approved monocoques.

S5000 Category manager and former racer Chris Lambden says that the Grosjean incident is the best endorsement for the mandatory upgrades being made to modern racers.

“While it was a spectacular crash, especially with fire involved, the fact that Romain Grosjean was able to clamber out of the wreckage and emerge from the flames with minor burns to his hands, is the clearest endorsement of the gains in safety standards made over the decades since fatalities among Grand Prix drivers was an almost regular occurrence,” said Lambden.

“Accidents involving cars going through Armco-style fences, and cars on fire, took too many lives back in the 60s and 70s. The work pioneered by Sir Jackie Stewart and subsequently the FIA, especially following the deaths more recently of IndyCar star Justin Wilson and F2 racer Henry Surtees, son of former World F1 Champion John Surtees, both of whom died after being struck by debris or a wheel from another car, is what led to the introduction of the ‘halo’ in F1 and other open-wheeler race car formulae around the world – and there’s little doubt it saved Grosjean from potential serious injury.

“The car performed magnificently during this crash. If you look at the images, you can see – despite the car being broken in half – that the ‘safety cell, in which the driver is strapped, is intact. The issue was that the car managed to pierce the Armco fence – and that’s where the ‘halo’ did it’s job. It was originally developed for F1 in 2018, and subsequently introduced into in F2 and F3 and other open-cockpit race car formulae around the world – including Australia’s all-new S5000 category, which is set to kick off its 2021 season in January.

“This crash, and its positive outcome, will further confirm to all the drivers participating in S5000 that its safety standards are world-class.”

The S5000 Australian Drivers’ Championship will feature a four round title fight for the return of the Gold Star to the local scene.

The opening round will be held at Symmons Plains Raceway as part of the first Race Tasmania event. CLICK HERE for ticket details.