Formula 1: Drive To Survive – Episode 9, Man On Fire

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13th March 2021

Man On Fire

The one you have all been waiting for, right? The most emotional of all the episodes of Formula 1: Drive To Survive across all seasons.

Here, we are in Bahrain for the penultimate races of the season and perhaps the most memorable races of recent memory, for all the wrong reasons.

We jump straight in to the red flag incident as Haas driver Romain Grojean veers right and smashes straight through a safety barrier, severing the car in two and engulfing him, and the remnants of the car, in flames.

We see the incident, so be aware if you are of the opinion of Riccardo who felt it shouldn’t have been shown. We hear all the radio chatter from the drivers, all of them realise this is big, all are asking how he is, has he got out and no-one can tell them anything.

Haas team principal Gunther Steiner says he thought it was all over, he didn’t see any way out for Grojean, to be fair, not many did.

We hear from the docs too who tell us that Romain insisted on walking to the ambulance one he removed himself from the wreckage, to show everyone that he was ok.

We see Steiner asking someone to find out who the marshalls where that helped, he wants to thank them personally.

He hit the barrier at over 160 mph, a force of 56g turning his body into a 3.9 tonne dead weight. Despite this, Romain says he doesn’t think the impact was particularly hard!

From the moment of impact to Romain emerging was two minutes 43 seconds. At one point, the thought entered his head that he wasn’t going to get out, and began wondering which parts of him would burn first.

Romain admits to not being able to put his family through something like that again, despite his love for F1, he just can’t do it. He is however, very happy that he will leave a legacy in F1, “I’m the man who walked out of fire”. His wife rolls her eyes.

Away from the Romain incident, we are also concentrating on the driver merry-go-round between Red Bull driver Alex Albon and Racing Point driver Sergio Perez.

Albon is asked if he will be in the sport next season, “I don’t know”, is the answer. Perez meanwhile talks about the shock of being told he wouldn’t be in the team next season, believing everything was good and they were happy with him.

Albon crashes in free practice, it’s a big one, an all-nighter for the mechanics. Christian Horner meanwhile says it would be foolish if they didn’t look at Perez, given the season he’s had so far.

After the red flag from the Grojean accident, the restart sees Lance Stroll end up on his roof. He gets out safely and unharmed. This leaves Perez, the man the team are letting go, as the one to bring it home. He’s in third, when his car catches fire and he’s forced to withdraw, handing Albon a podium.

The following week we’re back at the track and this is when George Russell replaced Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes managed to get everything wrong, giving Sergio Perez a win. He’s hugging everyone, saying goodbye, believing it’s his final race in F1.

Cut to Christian Horner, his mobile phone calling someone, Perez answers, “Welcome to Red Bull Racing, see you next season”, a rye smile.

We don’t see much of the George Russell / Mercedes race, which is a shame.

Here, we are in Bahrain for the penultimate races of the season and perhaps the most memorable races of recent memory, for all the wrong reasons.

19th March 2021

James Routh, Nick Hardie

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