When you’re driving at 300km/hr competing with other racers, you’re bound to one day be involved in a crash. That’s the risk every Formula One racer takes, everytime he prepares himself to sit behind the wheel in the car. But not all crashes are usual. Some of them are pretty weird and unusual at best. Today, we turn back time to look at the most unusual crashes in Formula One history.
The 1987 Austrian GP was a chaotic affair. A number of drivers were involved in accidents throughout the weekend. Kicking things off was Stefan Johansson in the McLaren-TAG. The incident occurred during Friday practice when a deer ran across the track. Unfortunately it was right in front of a startled Johansson who T-boned it at nearly 225 kph. The deer was killed on impact and Johansson’s car sustained major damage. Johansson himself escaped major injury but was still sent to the hospital anyway. Well… I sure hope PETA didn’t come after him.
Italian driver Ivan Capelli found himself half airborne at the 1992 Monaco GP. On lap 61, Capelli was running in 5th when he spun at Casino Square. This damaged the steering arm slightly but he was able to continue. That is, until he reached the swimming pool complex. He spun again, this time wedging the back of his Ferrari half on top of the barrier before Rascasse. His car ended up at a 45° angle. The marshals were able to right his car but it was race over.
The 1993 Italian GP witnessed a spectacular crash just as the race ended. Damon Hill in the Williams-Renault took the chequered flag but all the drama was unfolding behind him. The two Minardi drivers Christian Fittipaldi and Pierluigi Martini were running nose-to-tail. Then Christian got a little too close to Martini. Fittipaldi’s left front wheel made contact with his teammate’s right rear wheel. The contact launched Fittipaldi’s car into the air where it did a near perfect back flip before landing back on its wheels. The car then skidded across the line. Surprisingly, neither driver was hurt and both finished the race without losing a position.
During the practice session, Taki Inoue had spun and stalled his Footwork. It was towed back to the pit lane by a recovery vehicle and then it happened. The car was struck from behind by the safety car which was doing a demonstration lap. The impact was sufficient to overturn the Footwork and render it severely damaged. Inoue was still inside the car and his seatbelts were unfastened. Fortunately he was alright, albeit with a couple of nasty blows to the helmet. The incident was later investigated by the FIA.
During the 2002 Brazilian GP, the safety car was called out to retrieve Enrique Bernoldi’s Arrows. The incident took place during the pre-race warm up session with 2 minutes left on the clock. Heidfeld’s Sauber arrived at the scene a little too quick and tried to go around the outside of the medical car. Unfortunately, the door of the medical car opened just as Heidfeld passed and he clobbered it. This certainly gave Peter Sauber a headache.
This incident took place during the 2004 Monaco GP. The safety car had been brought out so that Alonso’s Renault could be retrieved. The cars circulated for a bit and then they prepared for the restart. As is the norm, the Safety Car sped away and the race leader had to back the field up. Schumacher did so but locked up his left front tyre in the process. Unfortunately, Juan Pablo Montoya was surprised when Schumacher suddenly slowed and ran into the back of the Ferrari. Schumacher was out and his perfect season was gone.
This unusual crash took place as the cars were heading onto the grid. Michael Schumacher exited the pit lane and Christijan Albers followed him out. However, Schumacher was going particularly slowly and trying to warm up his tires. Albers on the other hand was running fairly quickly. Then it happened, a speeding Albers speared into the back of the Ferrari and climbed over it. The accident badly damaged both cars. So they both had to use the spare cars as there wasn’t enough time for repairs.
In this race, Adrian Sutil suffered an engine failure and stopped on track. The Safety Car came out to deal with the stricken car. This prompted several cars to dive into the pits. Kimi Raikkonen and Robert Kubica emerged side-by side. But the red lights meant that no one could exit the pit lane. Lewis Hamilton also emerged behind them but failed to see the red lights. So Hamilton rammed into an unsuspecting Raikkonen. Nico Rosberg in the Williams also clipped the back of Hamilton. Kubica was lucky to escape major damage and went on to win the race.
In this unusual crash, Sebastien Buemi was hurtling down the long back straight in China. This occurred during the practice session. Both his front wheels broke off the axle as he got to the braking zone. The out-of-control car careened into the barriers. Toro Rosso had introduced new parts to the cars and they subsequently removed them and did not send out the other driver Jaime Alguersuari.