When the first responders, Dr Ian Roberts and Alan van der Merwe, pulled up to the stricken Haas car of Romain Grosjean at the Bahrain Grand Prix last Sunday, the inferno was more reminiscent of the last century than this.
Both men have worked within F1 for some many years now. Dr Ian Roberts in the deputy medical delegate and Alan van der Merwe as a former racing driver. Between them they have attended in the region of 1000 races. At the beginning of a race they follow the twenty F1 cars around the track for exactly moments like we saw in Bahrain; in case the worst happens at the most hectic of moments, the start.
Most of the time, they complete the first lap and then pull into the pit lane and sit watching the race, ready to accelerate out to any stricken driver. For the majority it’s a fairly dull day job of waiting….waiting….waiting. But not on Sunday. Here they tell me what happened on that night in Bahrain and how Romain Grosjean is the true hero.