Create

Top 3 Biggest F1 Australian Grand Prix Crashes

There have been some huge crashes in Australia over the years.
There have been some huge crashes in Australia over the years.

After a pair of relatively dull races in the past two years down under, calls have been made by some sections of the F1 fanbase to remove Albert Park from the Formula 1 calendar.

This is due to the track's layout, which doesn't promote overtaking, just ask Max Verstappen. However, while the passing opportunities may be lacking, overall action isn't, as there have been some tremendous scraps and huge crashes over the years in the city where a day can contain all 4 seasons.

Here are 3 of the biggest wrecks in the event's thirty-plus year run.


#3 Alonso Gets Airbourne

This was what was left of Alonso's McLaren after the crash.
This was what was left of Alonso's McLaren after the crash.

While Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen were leading the race on Lap 17 of 57 of the 2016 Australian Grand Prix, our attention would soon be drawn further back down the grid.

Fernando Alonso of McLaren was challenging Esteban Gutierrez for the lower reaches of the points, and Alonso seemed as though he would overtake the Mexican with relative ease going into Turn 3. However, Gutierrez swerved and broke unusually early, something that even Fernando's cat-like reflexes couldn't react in time for.

'Nando's McLaren ploughed into Esteban's Haas and got airborne, not touching the ground again until well into the gravel trap, ending up at the edge of the barriers. His MP4-31 was a wreck, but the Spaniard was still in one piece and emerged from the smouldering wreck, albeit with a limp.

Needless to say, the red flags were brought out, but more importantly, both the involved in the crash were relatively alright. The double world champion would miss the next race in Bahrain as a precaution, handing an F1 debut to Stoffel Vandoorne.

But this wasn't the only spectacular accident at Turn 3 in Melbourne...

#2 Brundle's Mammoth Shunt in 1996

Martin Brundle had a scary crash at the opening Melbourne race.
Martin Brundle had a scary crash at the opening Melbourne race.

Martin Brundle is best known today for his work as a pundit and commentator on British TV, but the Norfolk native had a long career as a Formula 1 driver. 1996 was Brundle's final season of Grand Prix racing before he retreated to the comm box to join Murray Walker, and this horrifying crash was perhaps a reason why he hung up his helmet.

The first ever race in Melbourne was halted on the opening lap, thanks to a chain reaction of heavy braking. Going into the second braking zone of Turn 3, Jean Alesi cut in front of Mika Hakkinen and Rubens Barrichello, causing drivers behind to veer off-line and brake heavily.

Johnny Herbert swerved in front of Brundle to avoid the carnage, but Martin ended up smashing into the back of his Sauber and flew up into the air, scrapping its top along the floor, before ending up in the sand trap.

In the days before the HANS device, halo and a lot of the modern safety measures in place, this crash could've easily ended in tragedy, but it thankfully didn't. Incredibly, Brundle was unharmed and ran back to the Jordan pits to take the T-car (back when back-ups were allowed) to take the restart.

Sadly, however, Brundle would retire on the second lap of the race, another collision sealing his fate. Who said that motorsport was fair?

#1 Turn 1 in 2002

Ralf Schumacher was launched into the air at the start of the race 17 years ago.
Ralf Schumacher was launched into the air at the start of the race 17 years ago.

When one thinks of a huge crash in Formula 1, most usually think of the huge pile-up at the beginning of the 1998 Belgian Grand Prix, but 4 years later in Australia, there was a similarly spectacular crash.

Eight cars out of the 22 vehicle grid were taken out at the first corner, over a third of the field. Rubens Barrichello claimed pole for the race and led into Turn 1, but Ralf Schumacher's Williams made sure that the Brazilian didn't get any further, as he slammed into the back of the F2001.

R Schumacher was launched into the air (must be all the kangaroos in Australia causing cars to hop) and would eventually end up in the grass on the far side of the circuit. Needless to say, both were out, but they weren't the only ones.

The uncertainty of the drivers ahead caused the likes of Giancarlo Fisichella to spin and lose control, ending up with Felipe Massa, Olivier Panis, Jenson Button, Nick Heidfeld and Allan McNish all joining the Italian in the pits for the remainder of the race.

Michael Schumacher, an expert at avoiding the chaos around him, avoided the carnage to eventually win the race by a comfortable 18 seconds from Juan Pablo Montoya. Mark Webber would steal the headlines, though, the Aussie finishing fifth on his F1 debut for Minardi and standing on the podium alongside Paul Stoddart.


But what do you think is the biggest ever crash down under? One of the three we listed or another wreck? Let us know in the comments below!

Quick Links

Edited by Debjyoti Samanta
Be the first one to comment