From Niki Lauda to Jules Bianchi: Horrific crashes in the history of Formula 1

Updated: Mar 27, 2022, 07:28 PM(IST)

F1 is a thrilling sport. With fun, the risk part is always associated. There have been several accidents that remind the fans and followers that the racing sport can be tragic sometimes.     

In the 1970s, 10 drivers died. Four were killed in the 1980s, the last was Elio de Angelis in 1986. Then came the black weekend at Imola at the start of May 1994 when Roland Ratzenberger and Senna died. 

Here are some of the horrific crashes in the history of Formula 1:

Niki Lauda (1976)

Niki Lauda survived a horrific, fiery crash at the Nurburgring yet recovered to fight for the 1976 German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring. During the race, his Ferrari burst into flames. 

Lauda had come close to death but fortunately, he survived and recovered sufficiently to race again just six weeks later at the Italian Grand Prix. 


Roland Ratzenberger (1994)

San Marino Grand Prix in 1994 turned out to be one of the most tragic years in the history of F1 racing as two drivers lost their lives. 

First, it was Roland Ratzenberger, who was killed in a crash during qualifying for the 1994 San Marino GP. The Austrian was racing at his second qualifying session with a Simtek-Ford when he lost control of the vehicle and crashed into the barriers. 


Ayrton Senna (1994)

After Ratzenberger, Formula legend Ayrton Senna died in a horrible crash during the 1994 San Marino GP. The accident had shocked the racing world. 

The entire incident was captured as videos showed how the crash exactly happened. Senna's vehicle was shattered after hitting the barriers next to the track at 145 mph. 

He lost his life due to serious brain injuries and ruptured arteries. Reports had suggested that Senna suffered excessive bleeding and a weak heartbeat when he was taken to the hospital.  


Michael Schumacher (2010)

In 2010, Michael Schumacher, who is currently recovering after suffering a severe brain injury in a skiing accident in 2013, was involved in a huge crash at the 2010 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix but fortunately, he was not seriously injured. 

During the race in 2010, Schumacher went out on the opening lap, when he spun across the pack at the turn 5-6 chicane that led to Vitantonio Liuzzi mounting on the German's Mercedes and coming close to the seven-time world champions helmet. 


Jules Bianchi (2014)

During the 2014 Japan Grand Prix, Jules Bianchi lost his life in a horrific crash. The French motor racing driver who drove for the Marussia F1 team, lost control of his car in very wet conditions and collided with a recovery vehicle. Reports suggested that he had suffered a diffuse axonal injury. 

He underwent emergency surgery and was placed into an induced coma, and remained comatose until his death on 17 July 2015. 

Bianchi was the first Formula One driver to die as a result of an F1 racing accident since Senna's death in 1994. 


Romain Grojean (2020)

During Bahrain Grand Prix in 2020, then Haas driver Romain Grojean suffered a horrific crash that had left the Frenchman receiving hospital treatment for burns.

He had defied all the odds and jumped out of the blazing car following a crash. 


Lewis Hamilton (2021)

Mercedes racer Lewis Hamilton had escaped a tragedy after a terrifying crash with Red Bull's Max Verstappen at the Italian Grand Prix in 2021. During the race, when Hamilton exited the pit lane on lap 26 of 53, Verstappen approached him at 225mph and tried to go ahead of him. 

However, he ran off the track after the cars ran wheel-to-wheel and made contact at the first chicane, the Red Bull lifting off the kerb and into the air with both ending up in the gravel. 

Verstappen's car flew over Hamilton's head as he was sent out of control, with the rear-right wheel crushing the top of Hamilton's Mercedes, who was saved by inches thanks to the halo protection device, that absorbed the crushing impact of Verstappen's 750kg machine. 


Mick Schumacher (2022)

Mick Schumacher, son of Formula1 legend Michael Schumacher, suffered a horrific crash during qualifying for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on in 2022. Thankfully, he didn't receive life-threatening injuries. 

Schumacher crashed heavily into a concrete barrier at high speed and was airlifted to the hospital for precautionary checks. He lost control of his Haas car after appearing to clip a kerb at Turn Nine and then went straight into the wall. 


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