The number of F1 car crash has gone down in recent years. With increased security and safety system, the F1 authorities have been able to reduce the number of mishaps. However, the history does not speak in favor of this. From the inception of F1 racing, car crashes are common. Breaking of bones and suffering career ending injuries are quite common. F1 crash can also be deadly and bring death to the drivers.
There has been significant F1 car crash throughout history. Among these, a few stands out owing to the degree of destruction it holds. Any kind of accident is not welcome; specifically the ones which can cause a life and death gamble. There are incidents which cannot be forgotten, but could be avoided in the future for sure.
#10. The Japanese Grand Prix Crash 2014
The most recent mishap in the world of Formula 1 left a talented individual dead. The Suzuka track was interrupted with torrential rains and offered low visibility. The calamity was due to the approaching typhoon along the Japanese coast.
On the 42nd lap of the race, Adrian Suti lost control of the Sauber he was driving. The car spun around and crashed in to run-off area. A tractor crane was tending to the wreck as the race continued. A lap later, Jules Bianchi driving the Marussia lost control at the same spot and went off track. The car carrying Bianchi slammed straight into the standing recovery crane.
The impact left the car jacked into the crane and medical aid was summoned after Bianchi failed to respond to radio calls. After initial medical assistance, Bianchi was admitted to the nearby hospital. Suffering critical head injuries, Bianchi led quite a fight to survive.
After nine months of prolonged fight, Bianchi breathed his last in July 2015. The Suzuka crash remains one of the most horrific crashes of all time.
#9. The Canadian grand Prix of 2007
Polish racer Robert Kubika suffered a scare in the Canadian Grand Prix of 2007. Even though he got away from the accident without serious injury, consequences could’ve been horrific.
Into the 27th lap of the race, Kubika in his BMW-Sauber ran onto the grass. The car airlifted and hit a concrete barrier soon. Significantly, the area he hit is the same whose height is lower as compared to the other barriers. The accident could’ve been fatal for the supporters as well.
Concerns were raised whether the grass area was bumpier as to send in the car flying in air. However, the silver lining remains that no one was seriously injured.
#8. F1 Car Accident In The British Grand Prix Crash 1999
Recalling the horrors of a near death escape, Michael Schumacher stated numerous times he feared for his life when the crash occurred.
In the summer of 1999, Silverstone circuit was the audience of what could have been a disastrous incident. Improved safety features pulled back Schumacher from the grip of death however, sidelined due to a broken leg saw his Championship dreams being crushed right away.
Driving for Ferrari, Schumacher faced a technical issue. Driving at a speed of over 190 km/h, he encountered complete brake failure. Kissing the sidewalk gravel, his Ferrari F399 rammed into the tyre barriers along the Stowe corner
The German was attended by Field Marshals and it was reported they were asked to communicate the Ferrari pit-stop with the brake failure information.
“Call (Ferrari Team Principal) Jean Todt and tell him the brakes had failed, and to check the other car.”
Schumacher was rushed to the hospital and the racing world was concerned about his well being. However, he got away with a broken leg and six weeks out of track activities. His Championship dreams were crushed right away. However, considering the impact could’ve been fatal for the then two time World Champion, he was lucky to get away with a small price tag.
#7. The Italian Grand Prix 1961
The seventh race of the 1961 Championship and a major race to determine the Drivers Champion of the season, the Italian Grand prix hold bloody history to its name. With 16 casualties including a Championship contending driver, it remains a horrific incident.
The title race was between Wolfgang von Trips, Phil Hill, Stirling Moss, and Richie Ginther. However, the numbers spoke of only two drivers, Von Trips and Hill. Vying for the Championship, little did anyone anticipate that it would soon turn out to be a tragedy!
The race was still in its infancy and engines barely heated up. The 2nd lap was finishing off when Von Trips lost control of his Ferrari and off it went crashing into a line of spectators. Fifteen spectators were killed at the impact. Von Trips himself succumbed to the injuries sustained in the crash. Phil Hill went on to win the race and ultimately the Championship that year.
#6. F1 Car Flying Crash: Belgian Grand Prix 1982
Even though the main race holds the most number of accidents, practice sessions and qualifiers do not lack whatsoever. The 1982 Belgian grand Prix was one such incident when a fatal crash occurred during the final qualifiers.
Canadian driver Gilles Vileneuve was finishing off the qualifiers in the sixth position. Aiming for a better lap time, Gilles kept the pace going with only a few minutes left for the session to end. Jochen Mass was steering ahead of him in a comfortable steady pace. Gilles intended to lap him and take the lead.
Mass sensing Gilles behind, anticipated he might cut in and take to lead. Hence, he shifted right to let Gilles pass. Gilles on the other hand intended on passing Mass through the outward sector. Therefore he too shifted to the right of the track.
The instant shift of both the drivers to the same direction meant Gilles hitting Mass at a very high velocity. The Ferrari driven by Gilles launched into the air and it was airborne for a while before nose-diving in to the ground. Gilles, strapped to his seat was thrown out into the asphalt and dragged for over 50 meters marking one of the worst f1 car crash ever.
Gilles was rushed to the hospital and kept alive via life support. Hours after the mishap, Gilles passed away that evening.
#5. Italian Grand Prix 1978
The 1978 was critical for Swedish driver Ronnie Peterson. Losing his first choice car in the practice session, he was forced to start with the old model of Lotus. The race was defamed with a technical error of an early start signal which ultimately wrecked havoc across the track.
The later cars getting a rolling start rushed in to the grid and in an attempt to gain position, congested the track. James Hunt crashed into Peterson’s car and the Lotus burst up in flames after colliding with the barrier.
Peterson was momentarily trapped inside the inferno. Technical and medical assistance arrived instantly and extracted him out of the burning machine. Following on spot medication, he was rushed to the nearest hospital. He encountered a total of 27 fractures in his legs and toes.
Later that night his condition worsened after he was treated with Fat Embolism. Ultimate kidney failure led to the loss of multiple organs. Struggling hard to survive, every effort went in vain as he was seized by Death the very next morning. This incident of f1 car crash is tragic as came from the grasp of death to finally rest due to other reasons.
#4. Disastrous accident of South African Grand Prix 1977
Unfortunate incidents have marked the F1 event for a long time. However, the South African Grand Prix of 1977 holds one of the most disastrous crashes ever.
Field marshal Jansen Van Vuuren was on his way to attend Renzo Zorzi when fatality struck him. Issue with the fuel metering unit lead the Ford to catch fire. Van Vuuren attempted to rescue Zorzi and he was carrying a 40 pound fire extinguisher with him.
Joachim Stuck and Tom Pryce were rapidly following in quick succession. Stuck was leading while Pryce was right behind him. The marshal was in the track and Stuck was able to avoid him by a whisker. Pryce, trailing behind was not fortunate and crashed onto the field marshal.
The extinguisher cylinder struck Pryce hitting his helmet sharply. Death was waiting around the corner and grabbed Pryce in its fist. The car kept its pace and continued for a while before the barriers completely stalled it.
#3. Monaco Grand Prix 1955
Probably the unusual crash ever in the history of F1 was the crash of Monaco Grand Prix of 1955. Two time world Champion Alberto Ascari was involved in the crash though he escaped following a broken nose.
Starting the race 2nd in the grid, Ascari was battling Mercedes duo J.M Fangio and Sir Stirling Moss. Sir Moss was leading the race however, in the 80th lap his engine blew up. Ascari gained the lead and was hopeful of victory.
Approaching from the tunnel, a significant misjudgement caused his Lancia D50 to break through the barrier, into the harbour. Sudden disappearance from the view raised concern among the common public. However, he swam his way out and was rescued by a boat.
Ascari was led to the local medical institute and was diagnosed with a broken nose. Even though he got away with minor incident, the crash could’ve been fatal.
#2. F1 race car crash in German Grand Prix 1976
One of the most significant instance of disaster dates back to the mid 70’s in Germany. The naughty Nurburgring circuit, commonly known as the ‘Green Hell’ saw one of the most frightening incidents ever. Overcast conditions posed security concerns over the race authorities though they were against the cancellation of the race.
Niki Lauda called for a boycott of the race, which was not passed owing to the loss of one vote. Lack of safety materials and facilities pointed out the horrors of the race. During the second lap, Lauda’s Ferrari swerved off track and hit an embankment before setting on fire.
Lauda was trapped inside the burning car and picked up significant burns to his body. The contaminated air damaged his lungs and infiltrated his blood with impurities. The racer lost significant part of his face to the fire.
Following medical aids, Lauda slipped into coma and the racing world was certain of losing him forever. The hospital too performed his last rites and awaited his parting moment. Surprising everyone, Lauda survived miraculously. A few weeks later, Lauda was seen steering his car across the Grand Prix and vying for the Championship. Niki Lauda is said to have survived one of the most disastrous f1 car crash ever.
#1. F1 driver dies in car crash in San Marino Grand Prix 1994
The San Marino stretch was the gallery of bloodbath in the year 1994. Each session was smeared with incidents tragic and remains a black mark across the pages of F1 racing. Rubens Barrichello, during the Friday qualifiers faced serious trouble as his car became airborne and struck the tyre wall fence. He escaped with a broken nose and an arm as major loss was waived off.
The broken bones were only a start of tragedies as Saturday qualifiers saw a death in the tracks. Austrian rookie Roland Ratzenberger was riding his Simtek-Ford, which rammed straight in the concrete barrier. The impact instantly killed Ratzenberger and two incidents in two days smeared ink in the Grand Prix history.
If you think this was it then you’re wrong. The main race day too was met with another incident. Following a small crash, a safety car was deployed for several laps. The race resumed from the 6th lap, with Senna leading with Schumacher behind.
Quickly into the next lap, Senna looked comfortable with the lead. Not anticipating what lies ahead, Senna quickened his pace and was looking to cover the Tamburello corner. His car skidding off track and instead of making a perfect turn went straight ahead and rammed into the concrete wall.
Senna was recovered with a weak heartbeat and significant blood loss. Airlifted to the local hospital, chances of survival were bleak. The three times World Champion breathed his last later that evening. Thus marking the San Marino Grand Prix as the most bloodiest race ever with the worst case of f1 car crash.
Formula 1 has entertained us for a long time. In its rich history spanning almost 70 years, formula 1 has brought a lot of major changes in driver safety which has made the sport comparatively safer. However, there are still accidents and crashes, though mortality rates have gone down significantly in recent years.
Today F1 races are conducted in special circuits ensuring the utmost safety measures. Readers are advised not to be involved in road races and rash driving. Enjoy the game but do not try this in your real life.