When a threatening incident strikes, the safety aspect of Formula One becomes important. The danger of the sport is encapsulated by drivers racing around circuits at very high speeds, pulling risky maneuvers when they can. Here are five crashes in which the chassis saved the driver’s life.
5. Martin Brundle – Albert Park – Australia 1996
A brutal accident that looked very similar to the Alonso crash this year in Melbourne. Brundle’s Jordan catapults through the air and digs into the gravel trap awkwardly. Luckily, Brundle walked away from the incident and even jumped into the spare Jordan car for the restart after marshall’s swept away the debris. Ballsy.
4. Derek Warwick – Monza – Italy 1990
Derek Warwick had a very lucky escape as he took too much speed into Parabolica, the testing final turn of the Monza circuit. His Lotus hit the wall with great impact and the car was left grazing down the straight on its side. Warwick was also lucky to not get collected by other drivers, who would have seen him quite late as they tiptoed past.
3. Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso, Romain Grosjean – Spa – Belgium 2012
Fernando Alonso was perhaps the luckiest to escape this incident unscathed. His on-board footage is insane. The Spaniard goes to turn into the first corner, and before he knows what happening, the tyres of Romain Grosjean’s Lotus are millimeters from his visor. The incident is initiated by a lack of spatial awareness between Romain Grosjean and Lewis Hamilton, causing the McLaren to mount the Lotus and steamroll Alonso ahead. There were a few angry exchanges after the crash between Hamilton and Grosjean, with both drivers proclaiming innocence.
2. Mark Webber – Valencia – Europe 2010
Mark Webber’s Red Bull somehow remained fairly intact despite taking off into the air spectacularly. He was in danger the moment he engaged too closely with Kovalienen’s weaving back-marker Caterham. Webber must have been bricking it, his Red Bull gave him wings and he flew into the tyre barriers. The best thing about the clip is Webber’s Aussie grit. Where most would be shaken up, Webber still manages to throw his steering wheel out in protest to Kovalienen’s stupidity.
1. Most Drivers – Spa – Belgium 1998
The reason why we now have rolling starts when it’s pissing it down. David Coulthard’s McLaren shimmied into the wall then brutally cut across the circuit. What followed was nothing short of chaos, and no driver was injured in the huge incident.