F1 is filled with moments that make your heart skip a beat. While an extremely exciting sport every race, we will be looking at what I consider to be the two most shocking moments in F1 history.
Widely considered to be one of the best drivers of all time, Ayrton Senna was more than just a man when behind the wheel. Whether Drifting a formula one car in the rain at the Hungary race in 1988 or deliberately crashing into fellow racer Alain Prost on the very first turn of the race to secure his 1990-season championship, Ayrton Senna was a force not to be reckoned with.
Watching any of his highlight reels, it becomes quickly apparent that he was not only a master in the dry, but really shone when the rain started. In the wet, his lap times were near unbeatable. These are just a few of the instances that cemented his name in the F1 hall of fame as one of the greatest drivers to ever live. Then came the shock, the crash that sent waves down every F1 fan’s spine.
The 1994 San Marino Grand Prix would be the 34 year old Senna’s last race, He collided with a wall at 211km/h on the Tamburello corner which would prove to be fatal. There is still much controversy surrounding his death, many argue that Senna died on the scene, while the actual records show that he passed away in a hospital several hours later.
Even the reason for the accident is contested, some blaming driver error, some blaming a puncture and some even blaming the engineering of the car. It’s just one of those mysteries we will never know the answer to. With the safety standards of F1, a death hasn’t been common with only one fatality since that of Senna. However, the passing of Ayrton Senna remains one of the biggest losses in motor-sport history.
While having a better outcome than that of Ayrton Senna, Niki Lauda’s biggest crash was a shocking and terrifying ordeal. In 1976 on the Nürburgring stretch commonly known as the green-hell, Niki Lauda’s Ferrari lost control and hit an embankment, while for some crashes that is the worst of it, Niki was not out of the woods yet.
His car burst into flames and he was trapped in the car, it took the effort of three other drivers who has stopped to pull Niki from the flaming wreckage. Niki then fell into a coma from the toxic gasses he had inhaled. The next piece is why I still believe that Niki was one of the physically and mentally strongest drivers in F1 history. A mere 6 weeks after the crash, Niki was back in the seat and racing again. Having severe scaring on his face and having lost his right ear, Niki returned to conqueror Formula 1 again.
While terrible to have happened, these incidents have both forced major strides in car and track safety for Formula 1 drivers ever since.