“Gilles Villeneuve’s Pole Position Poses Problems for the US Grand Prix West”
On April 8th, 1979, the US Grand Prix West race was about to begin. 24 cars were ready at the starting line in Long Beach with Gilles Villeneuve of Ferrari 312T4 taking lead position. A photo of this moment was shot by F1Flow Images.
Gilles Villeneuve, the driver in pole position, mistakenly drove past his designated spot on the grid and forgot to stop. He seemed preoccupied with making sure his Ferrari’s tires were warm. This caused a lot of chaos behind him. Fourth-positioned Patrick Depailler pulled up right next to Villeneuve’s Ferrari and waved his hands around trying to get across what had happened.
Depailler’s team-mate, Jacques Lafitte, stopped running when the back part of his car became inoperable. The drivers then agreed to go back to the pit and wait for another start. This allowed Carlos Reutemann (who was not on the starting grid) and Lafitte to join the race from the pitlane.
After some difficult conversations, Villeneuve was able to keep his starting position in the race. A few hours later, he took the win after a very tough race where only 9 cars finished.
Tragedy at Zolder
At the 1981 Belgian Grand Prix in Zolder, tragedy struck on Friday. A mechanic named Giovanni Amadeo was hurt while walking in the pitlane during practice and got hit by a car driven by Reutemann. Sadly, he died on Monday due to his injuries. Everyone was outraged at the lack of safety so they protested against it. Nelson Piquet driving for the Brabham BT49C led that race.
Back in those times, there were no speed limits yet, and the pitlanes were so crowded with people and very narrow. Some drivers made a protest by getting out of their cars on the race starting line! This caused a problem when the organizers decided to start the formation lap at its usual time.
At the start of the race, lots of cars were stuck on the grid. Nelson Piquet, who was in second position, made a mistake similar to what another driver had done in Long Beach and he couldn’t get into his spot. He had to pass all the other cars on the crowded grid and because there was such a long delay, some cars’ engines began to overheat.
Riccardo Patrese, the race car driver, was making a lot of hand gestures on the racetrack and looking for help. Dave Luckett, his mechanic, hurried over to see what he needed since everyone thought that they were gonna do another lap before starting the race.
The race started while Piquet was in his place on the starting grid, with Luckett still busy fixing the Arrows car. Some drivers avoided the incident but eventually the mechanic Luckett got hit by the second Arrows of Siegfried Stohr. He had multiple broken bones but recovered completely after some time.
After the incident in Zolder, it was decided that the start of a race must be done more safely. Mechanics are not allowed anywhere near the starting line 15 seconds before a race begins.
“Racing in Reverse
At the start in Long Beach, there were five racers ready to go. Andrea de Cesaris had an Alfa Romeo 182, René Arnoux drove a Renault RE30B, Niki Lauda was in a McLaren MP4-1B Ford, Bruno Giacomelli’s car was also an Alfa Romeo 182 and lastly Gilles Villeneuve raced with his Ferrari 126C2. Unfortunately, Elio de Angelis from Lotus got confused and parked in the wrong place!
De Angelis made a mistake and he put his car in reverse. As a result, he crashed into Nigel Mansell’s car. Then, Mansell also drove his car in reverse to try and avoid more damage. Suddenly, the green light went on which gave Nigel the strange honor of starting a race in reverse!
The Lotus team ended up far behind in the race, but de Angelis was still able to earn two points by finishing fifth even though he was a lap behind. Mansell unfortunately missed out on the points by coming in seventh with two laps to go, while winner Niki Lauda came in first place.
Spectacular Start to 400th Formula 1 Grand Prix with Messy Beginnings!
At the 400th Formula 1 Grand Prix, McLaren had a great performance thanks to their powerful TAG Porsche engines. Niki Lauda also had a triumphant moment after winning his home Grand Prix, moving one step closer to securing his third world championship title. However, this race got off to a really messy start!
Nelson de Angelis was in third place at the starting line, but suddenly the lights went from red to green and back to red again. This made de Angelis hesitate which stopped Patrick Tambay and Teo Fabi behind him. But on the other side of the starting grid, Ayrton Senna had no issues as he raced up from tenth to fourth place with his Toleman car.
At the start of the race, Piquet was in first position but Alain Prost was really close behind him. But then something happened that changed the course of both the race and the championship – Prost crashed due to an oil leak on the track and Lauda took over first place.
Near the end, Lauda’s car started having a gearbox problem, so he had to continue driving without using fourth gear. Despite this, he managed to win the race in front of his cheering home crowd!
Martin Brundle’s Pile Up Causes Chaos at the Austrian Grand Prix
In 1987, the Austrian Grand Prix took place on Osterreichring. It was supposed to start as usual, but ended up taking three attempts due to a big car crash. Martin Brundle’s Zakspeed started the pile-up and so the race was delayed by a red flag.
At the start of the race, Nigel Mansell in his Williams car started slowly and this caused some serious problems for him. As a result of this, twelve other cars got involved in an accident including Patrese, Eddie Cheever, Stefan Johansson and Ivan Capelli.
The teams were given two hours to fix the damage of their cars or prepare another car, but unfortunately the Tyrrell team had no more cars and Philippe Streiff couldn’t participate. Other drivers had to start from the pit lane instead.
Brundle got into two accidents and had to be carried out of the race with special repairs made to his car. Mansell was lucky enough not to get hit during the second crash, smashing everyone else by nearly a whole minute and winning first place. Piquet from Williams came in at second place.
“The 1988 Portuguese Grand Prix
At the 1988 Portuguese Grand Prix, Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna from McLaren MP4/4 had a tough start – it took them three attempts to get going! On the first try, Andrea de Cesaris’ car wouldn’t move. Then on the second start, Derek Warwick’s car stopped and he got hit by some other racers like de Cesaris, Luis Perez-Sala and Satoru Nakajima.
On his third try, Senna passed Prost who was on the same team as him and leading in Turn 1. After that, Senna pushed Prost back towards the pit wall trying to get into first place again but ended up unsuccessful. Capelli managed to beat both of them by passing Senna while he was having some trouble with an incorrect fuel indicator.
At the 13th race of the year, it was the first time that a powerful McLaren-Honda car was surpassed on the track. Capelli came in second right behind Prost and was way ahead of Thierry Boutsen’s Benetton car.
Gerhard Berger Takes the Win Despite Carnage in the Race!
Gerhard Berger, driving a Ferrari 412T1B, was leading the race followed by his teammate Jean Alesi, who was also driving a Ferrari and Ukyo Katayama with a Tyrrell 022 Yamaha. This happened during a race when Max Verstappen’s dad caught on fire while doing a pitstop for Benetton. Sadly, 11 cars didn’t even make it to end of the first lap.
De Cesaris and Pierluigi Martini crashed into each other after the race started, causing Martini to smash into the wall and Alex Zanardi too. Michele Alboreto was also on the sidelines when de Cesaris made contact with him, resulting in all four cars being taken out of the race and their drivers were all Italians.
Mika Hakkinen’s McLaren crashed into the tire wall after bumping David Coultard’s Williams, causing a chain reaction crash behind them with Mark Blundell, Eddie Irvine and Rubens Barrichello in their Jordans, Johnny Herbert and Heinz-Harald Frentzen. Damon Hill was also affected by the incident but managed to finish eighth in the race.
Jean Alesi was having a bad day as his car stopped working after Turn 1. His teammate Gerhard Berger was luckier and he managed to win the race, with Olivier Panis and Eric Bernard coming in after him in second and third place respectively.
A Close Call at the Race Track
At the start of a race, you can see Michael Schumacher driving for Ferrari F2001, Ralf Schumacher driving for Williams FW23 BMW and Mika Häkkinen driving for McLaren MP4-16 Mercedes. In the past, if one driver stalled from their grid position, the entire race had to be stopped by a safety car or red flag. But now it isn’t necessary anymore!
At the 2001 Brazilian Grand Prix, Mika Hakkinen’s car shut down and he was frantically waving his arms on the starting grid, luckily no competitor crashed into him. Later, a safety car showed up and afterwards Juan Pablo Montoya from Williams overtook Michael Schumacher from Ferrari in an impressive way – this scene is remembered as one of the best moments of the season.
Start: Lewis Hamilton, in his Mercedes AMG F1 W06, is ahead.
Photo by: Autodromo Nazionale Monza / Actualfoto / Alessio Morgese
Due to advancements in technology and more reliable parts, stalling at the starting line of a race has not been seen very often recently. An example of this was when Kimi Raikkonen had a close call while starting the 2015 Italian Grand Prix.
Raikkonen had managed to get a really great spot on the front row, so all the Ferrari fans were really excited. However, when the race started his car stalled and he had to start off very slowly while everyone else sped away from him.
In today’s modernized racing, drivers have extra choices if their car engine stops working. At the 2016 Malaysian Grand Prix, Carlos Sainz was able to turn on his engine again with a special tool called an MGU-K system. This displays how much the sport has improved in terms of technology and safety since then.
Mechanics are no longer getting into dangerous situations and drivers can now use hybrid power to restart their vehicles if their engine dies on the starting grid. This has made it much easier for everyone involved, reducing chaos and making the event smoother.
Ferrari Crash Leads to Dramatic Singapore GP
Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel from Ferrari crashed during the 2017 Singapore GP. Photos taken by Steve Etherington at F1Flow Images show this incident clearly. It seems they didn’t follow the first rule of racing: Do not crash with your teammate. But the younger driver, Max Verstappen also had a part in causing this crash.
In rainy weather in the F1 evening street race, Verstappen’s Red Bull car got stuck between Vettel and Raikkonen’s Ferraris while driving to the 1st corner, causing an accident that also affected Alonso’s McLaren.
Vettel managed to avoid a bigger accident at the start of the race, however, his car was still damaged and he later crashed out of first place. The officials who watched the race said it was just an accident that happened during a race even though most people believed that Vettel turned too sharply on the track which caused him to crash.