The German Grand Prix weekend is almost upon us, but it seems that the drama has already begun. As it turned out, a bus crashed into the starting lights on the main start/finish straight. This frankly embarrassing incident took place a day before the F1 action commences on track ahead of Sunday’s German Grand Prix.
Evidently, the driver underestimated the height of his vehicle in comparison with the start light gantry. As a result, there will be a new headache for the race stewards, installing a new set of lights. Unfortunately, the current set of lights has been damaged beyond repair.
Oddly enough, this is not the first time a non-racing vehicle has been the centre of attention in F1. In fact, a few races ago in the streets of Baku, a recovery lorry went headlong into a bridge. What made it even more awkward was the fact that it was carrying the stricken Williams of George Russell. At the time, Russell had obliterated one of the welded drains during practice, halting it for a while.
The incident was spotted by Auto Motor und Sport Formula 1 journalist Tobi Grüner. He later posted a picture on Twitter.
Another similar incident occurred in 2013 at the now defunct Korean Grand Prix in Yeongham. Apparently, a jeep was on the track ahead of all the drivers with no Safety car in sight. The truth of the matter was that Mark Webber’s Red Bull went up in flames after getting clobbered by Adrian Sutil. That jeep was simply out there because it had fire-fighting equipment to rescue the flaming carcass.
It was only a case of horrific timing that the bemused jeep driver found himself leading the pack with 22 race cars weaving behind him. This bizarre incident probably left the Korean Grand Prix officials pretty red-faced.
The FIA later confessed that they made the call to the Jeep to head out of the pits. However, they underestimated how quickly the jeep was able to scramble out of the pit lane.
At least the last two incidents took place during a race session, namely during practice and a race respectively. However, this incident with the bus striking the start lights, occurred before any on track action even began. Interestingly there was a ‘Caution! Low Clearance’ sign, but evidently, the bus driver was not paying attention. On a more amusing note, if the new start lights happen to go haywire, everyone knows who to blame.