These racing drivers crashed off the track
Fernando Alonso is not the first racing driver to have an accident outside of a racetrack. That’s how dangerous motor sports people live on bicycles and Co.
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But Alonso is not the first Formula 1 star to be injured while preparing.
Nick Heidfeld had to pause
Red Bull rider Mark Webber had a serious crash with his racing bike at a charity event in Tasmania in November 2008. The Australian collided head-on with a car and was flown to a hospital by helicopter. Webber broke his leg in the accident. At least that’s what he announced to his team. It was later revealed that he also suffered a complicated fracture of the collarbone, which could affect him more while driving than the broken leg. He kept this injury from the team – for fear of losing his cockpit. Webber was fit again at the start of the season in his Australian homeland.
In 2016, Sauber driver Marcus Ericsson was lucky. During fitness training in Thailand, he tried to avoid a chicken on his bike at top speed and fell. “I was lucky enough to get away with only bruises and scratches,” said the Swede later. The chicken was unharmed. The Swede was able to take part in the next race in Malaysia.
Alone: Not only racing drivers are at risk on two wheels. In 2014, the Mercedes team boss had a hard bike crash when he was involved in a mass collision of his team on a bike trip in Vienna. Wolff broke a shoulder, a collarbone, an elbow and a wrist. As a driver, he should have paused a few races. At the following race in Budapest he was still able to manage the fortunes of his racing team with a strong bandage. “We have decided to leave it to the professionals now. Lewis and Nico are better wheel to wheel at 300 km / h than we are at 30 km / h!” Tweeted Wolff a day after the accident.
By the way: Not only cycling is dangerous for the PS professionals. Nothing more needs to be said about Michael Schumacher’s fateful skiing accident in December 2013 in the French Alps.
Montoya’s motorcross crash cost him his career
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His compatriot Didier Pironi lost his life in a speedboat race in 1987. The French wanted to continue to live out his passion for speed with speed boats. After a serious accident with Ferrari during the rainy Friday practice session in Hockenheim in 1982, that was no longer possible. Pironi, who came to Germany as the world championship leader, crashed into the rear of Alain Prost’s Renault at top speed. The Ferrari soared into the air and broke into several pieces on impact. Pironi suffered more than 20 fractures, some of them extremely complicated, in the foot and leg area. His Formula 1 career was over.
Mike Hawthorn fell victim to his Mercedes phobia
The British world champion from 1958, Mike Hawthorn, fell victim to a “Mercedes” phobia. Throughout his life he had built up the “Silver Arrows” as an enemy. In 1955, the brutal duel with Mercedes culminated in the fact that Jaguar driver Hawthorn triggered the fateful collision at Le Mans that killed 82 spectators and the French Mercedes driver Pierre Levegh.
Hawthorn was hunted by Merceders star Juan-Manuel Fangio. He didn’t want to waste any time turning into the pits and braked his Jaguar sharply without warning. The already lapped Levegh could no longer evade and flew into the fully occupied grandstand. The Mercedes exploded, its parts turned into a projectile. In 1958 Hawthorn became world champion, but then resigned with severe kidney disease.
On the evening of January 22, 1959, in heavy rain, he ran into a Mercedes 300 SL with his Jaguar on a country road and spontaneously overtook it. While overtaking, he recognized the driver as an acquaintance, the Scottish racing team owner Rob Walker, whom he challenged to a race. Hawthorn’s Jaguar crashed into an oak tree and the Briton died of severe head injuries.
Motorsport is dangerous, but driving fast outside of a racetrack is even more dangerous …