The entire Formula 1 world watched and waited, startled, shocked, expecting the worst, as flames engulfed the Haas F1 car of Romain Grosjean after an almighty prang on the opening lap of the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix.
On that night, those seconds felt like an eternity as we all watched as miraculously the Frenchman emerged, dazed and into the outstretched hand of the Formula 1 deputy medical delegate Ian Roberts.
Years of safety campaigning paying the most handsome of dividends and sparing us all an alternative aftermath of tragedy and grief. Instead, the horror turned to rampant joy and relief as Romain was spared. We had just witnessed a miracle.
Roberts, whose bravery deserves to be honoured, said after the incident, “It looked like an oven. It was red with flame and you could see him trying to get himself out and he was gradually getting himself further and further out.”
“There was a fire marshal rapidly on scene and that push of the extinguisher, the powder pushed the flames back enough, once Romain was high enough we could get him over the barrier and away.
“But it was a very small window because as soon as the extinguisher powder went forward, the flames were coming back pretty soon afterwards,” added Dr Roberts. We had all just witnessed a miracle!
This miracle will be immortalised by veteran artist Alan Dent in his unique style, combining leather and painting – a technique learnt during his travels through the southern United States – to provide a piece of art that honours the bravery of Dr Roberts, the miracle of Romain’s life being spared and the massive strides Formula 1 has made in recent years.
Based on a TV screengrab from that dramatic evening Alan explained, “I plan to produce on the cowhide leather in 3D relief whereby all the subject details will be modelled into the leather so that besides the visual effects the viewer will be able to touch and feel them too.
“The size will be about 990cm’s in width and the work will be coloured with best quality artist acrylic paint. The completed work will be protected with a transparent matt varnish. Supplied with the work will be a Certificate of Authenticity, a document (with images) detailing all the stages of the production process.
I also plan a bound document which will provide all the circumstances surrounding the accident including quotes from Romain, Alan van der Merwe and Dr Roberts.
“Having watched motorsport since the late fifties and early sixties, I have experienced a great deal, but nothing prepared me for what I saw that night at the Bahrain Grand Prix. I can only provide a small tribute with my art for huge acts of heroism,” added Alan.
The ‘canvas’ that the South African artist uses to produce the artworks on is tanned cowhide leather whereby the subject of the work is carved and modelled into the hide to provide a permanent three-dimensional aspect, produced on the finest quality cowhide leather which is specially imported from Argentina.
He explains, “To achieve as realistic a result as possible I specifically concentrate on the composition of the picture, the specific details of the subject motor car and finally the colouring of the piece with acrylic paint.”
Alan has agreed to drip-feed instalments of this project for our readers to accompany him on this journey of creativity documenting, arguably, one of the most important moments in modern F1 history.
We will also be looking at his past projects in more detail during the coming months. View Alan’s work on his website here>>>