Most Embarrassing Crashes in F1 History


The thrill of watching a Formula 1 race is unparalleled. The sheer speed of the F1 beasts, coupled with breathtaking overtakes and swift pit-stops make for a very interesting watch. However, with massive speed comes heavy crashes.

Often times, drivers lose control of their car and are unable to correct it, careering into the barriers or into their fellow drivers, ending races and in some unfortunate incidents, lives too.

However, some crashes are caused purely by the uncompetitive nature of the driver or car. The inability to make split-second decisions can catch a driver out quickly in F1 and he has to have 100% concentration when manoeuvring around those cars.

They are not always successful in that endeavour and that has resulted in some hilarious crashes over the years in F1 which have looked amateurish and not worthy of an F1 event. Here, we list some of the most embarrassing crashes to take place over the years:

#1 Nick Heidfeld, Brazil 2002

Nick Heidfeld

German Nick Heidfeld was a constant fixture in the F1 circuit until 2009 after which his career fizzled out. He has driven for multiple teams like Prost, Jordan, Sauber, Williams and Renault. He was a fast driver though he could never convert that into wins or regular podiums.

However, his most embarrassing moment came in the 2002 Brazilian Grand Prix. Heidfeld was in his fourth year in F1 and was driving for the Sauber team. In a practice session ahead of the main event, Enrique Bernoldi crashed his Arrows car into the barrier and had to be tended to by the medics.

The medical car was parked on the side, but the drivers coming into the turn were unsighted. Schumacher’s Ferrari veered away at the last moment but Heidfeld was not so lucky. He turned in quickly but on seeing the medical car, realised he did not have enough time to go around it.

So instead he decided to pass it from the other side, where the medical car driver, Alex Ribeiro had just opened his door. Heidfeld crashed into the door of the safety car and stopped a few metres ahead, bewildered at how the whole thing panned out.

Fortunately, none of the people involved were hurt but one shudders to think what would have happened if Ribeiro had stepped out of his car a second earlier than he actually did.

#2 Michael Schumacher and Christijan Albers, China 2005

Michael Schumacher

Once again, an embarrassing accident occurred in the warm-up lap prior to the main Grand Prix event. This time, however, the scene for the crash was the Shanghai International Circuit in China.

Albers was driving for Minardi and was in his rookie season in F1. Schumacher of course was with Ferrari and had already won all his seven world championships. Both had started a practice lap to get a feel for track temperatures and getting the pressure on their tyres just right for the race.

Schumacher had traffic ahead of him as he started and so, as soon as he reached an empty section of the track, started weaving to get his tyres and brakes warmed up and all ready to go. What he failed to see was Albers approaching him from behind in the Minardi.

Albers failed to slow down in time and collided with the Ferrari of Schumacher, damaging its rear tyre and blackening the chassis. It forced Schumacher to limp back to the pits in the faint hopes that it would be repaired. Albers had no such problems but went to his garage nonetheless.

As it turned out, both drivers had to race in their spare cars and had to start the race from the pit lane. It capped off a miserable season for Schumacher as he finished third in the championship as new rival, Alonso took his first world championship with Raikkonen finishing second.


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