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Todt made sure Grosjean spoke to wife in medical centre

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FIA president Jean Todt says he made it a priority that Romain Grosjean speak to his wife on the phone in Bahrain's medical centre in the minutes after his Formula 1 crash.

Grosjean escaped with light burns from a fiery accident at the Bahrain Grand Prix, after his car plunged into a barrier on the opening lap of the race.

As the Haas driver underwent evaluation from doctors in the medical centre, Todt visited him for an update on his condition – and felt it vital for Grosjean's wife back home to know that her husband was safe.

"I went to see immediately when he was in the medical centre in the circuit," said Todt in an exclusive interview with Motorsport.com.

"The only thing is that I wanted him to speak with his wife, in order that she could hear his voice, which was important."

Grosjean had been a well-known critic of the halo being introduced to F1, as he felt the cockpit safety device was not fitting in with the sport's DNA.

But with the halo having played a key role in saving Grosjean's life in Bahrain, Todt said that the first conversation he had with the Frenchman during a hospital visit on Sunday night was about that.

"When I went the second time to visit him in the hospital, I said: "So, you like the halo?" explained Todt.

"He was not the only one yesterday to comment on how important it was, who had been against it earlier.

"But it's not a problem. I'm not interested to be right. I'm interested to participate and to make the right decisions."

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Todt famously had to stand firm against resistance from many quarters over the introduction of the halo in 2018.

However, it is already known to have helped save drivers from injury or death – with Charles Leclerc avoiding being hit on the head by Fernando Alonso's McLaren at the 2018 Belgian GP.

Todt said that he always believed he had to push on with the halo, even when many people were criticising it.

"Sometimes it is important if you are convinced of one opinion to defend it, even if you get resistance to achieve it," he said.

"And you can just take the quotes from three years ago, when it was decided to introduce the halo. Even if there was a lot of negative comments, incidentally from teams, drivers, and media, clearly it was something which we knew will be an improvement. So that's a way to go.

"You can understand over-reaction after such an accident, but it's not the first time. Look at Charles Leclerc when he had his accident and we said without halo things would have been different. And sometimes, if you go back, we will not have lost some drivers if the halo would have been on.

"In difficult times, you see the way people are reacting. But you don't do that because people will speak about that, you do that because you feel it is good for the sport that you're defending."

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About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Romain Grosjean
Author Jonathan Noble