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Big crashes and driver psychology


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#1 rallen

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Posted 22 February 2010 - 21:43

I would be interested to know of drivers who have had serious crashes in motor sport and who have overcome that psychologically - for example people often say that Berger was never the same after Imola 1989 and Piquet was never the same after Imola 1987. Who else could you say were effected by an incident in their career which changed them? I also read somewhere a while ago that Ivan Cappelli really lost it when he crashed in South Africa in 1993 and that was the final straw for him (everyone expected him to do well with Jordan)

I read an interesting comment (sorry I can't remember who made it) on an old thread that a really big crash does change drivers on some level mentally - because they have the perception that it will never happen to them, always someone else so when they suffer a big crash, there perception does change and it does effect there driving. Please note, I am excluding physical effects of an accident - as naturally that would effect anyone, it is more the psychology - for example - I know Graham Hill was a lesser driver to some extent after Watkins Glenn 1969, but that was down the the physical effects and being long in the tooth - I can't imagine he would ever have been effected by fear or knowledge of what could happen (who seems to me one of the bravest of the brave - read this on a review of the 1970 US GP a year after his awful accident "Graham Hill, in a privately-entered Lotus 72, came into the pits on lap 30 with fuel sloshing around in the cockpit, as a fitting had come loose under the seat. The team took 10 minutes to fix the leak, threw some water on Hill, whose overalls were soaked in fuel, and sent him back out. Several laps later, Hill returned to request they find him some dry overalls, as the gasoline was burning his skin. When he stopped again to change clothes, the team said they had not been able to locate any new ones. Hill, however, saw John Surtees, who had retired on the seventh lap, sitting on the wall, and promptly stripped him of his overalls and undergarments. The two former World Champions were naked in the pits as Hill was doused with water before donning Surtees' clean clothes and returning to the track, only to retire on lap 72 with a broken clutch.)

What is perhaps just as interesting or more interesting depending on your point of view is drivers that had bad accidents but who 'were the same driver after' Quick examples were Fangio - wasn't he in traction after one shunt? and I will concede (as I hate him) that Schumacher didn't seem effected after his broken leg at all and came back just as strong (although the cars were so much safer than Berger's and Piquet's, his injuries kept him out of more races. Mika Hakkinen came back just as strong after his very nasty crash at Adelaide...

OK sorry this is starting to become a bit long winded, basically I just want to know who was able to cope mentally with these things and who did change because of what happens. The psychology of racing drivers and the character of people is what really interests me and I would be interested in your examples but also your views on this.

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#2 D-Type

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Posted 22 February 2010 - 21:59

If a driver could be sure that a crash was entirely due to the car breaking I think it would affect him less psychologically - eg SCM after Spa in 1960. I think Lauda's Nurburgring crash in 1976 also comes into this category.

If a driver knew he was driving on the edge, again a crash wouldn't affect him - Gilles Villeneuve immediately comes to mind.

If on the other hand, a driver was injured and the accident was due to his error then it must affect his self belief and he will lift his foot a tad sooner, brake a tad harder or leave a slightly larger gap between himself and the edge of the track on the corners. The alleged Senna "I am the chosen one" mental attitude is probably a defence mechanism against admitting error. If you hold a belief like that, then the crash must be the other man's fault. And if nobody gets hurt you dismiss the accident.

I think that over the years the number of crashes has increased but at the same time as the number of injuries and fatalities has reduced so the psychological impact of a crash is less.

#3 B Squared

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 00:03

rallen - I don't know if this old thread may be of interest to you regarding this subject. Thought that you may enjoy reading it.

http://forums.autosp...lunted the edge

#4 JtP1

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 01:01

I have always considered it an mental attitude thing. There are drivers out there who are the bravest of the brave until the big sore accident and then it is gone. Basically because they think they can't get hurt and are changed by the fact that they can be. Reality is a hard lesson. Lack of imagination is the major reason for the bravery.

There are others who accept that they can be hurt from day one. So the accident and the sore bit are there from the start and when that part arrives, it is not a problem as it has been allowed for in their driving from the start.

#5 Ibsey

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 01:07

Interesting thread Rallen as I too am extermely interested in the psychology of racing drivers. The example that immediately springs to my mind is Alain Prost and the Pironi incident in Hockenhiem 1982. Indeed Prost was certainly an interesting case, because he made it clear afterwards of that his dislike for driving in poor visibility (i.e. wet conditions) was as a result of this incident and who could blame him?

However one question that has always bugged me, was how good was Prost in the wet / poor visibility prior to 1982 German GP? Therefore how was Prost affected "psychology speaking" and how did that actually "translated" through into his driving?

To give my thoughts on the above (which are probably going to be slightly controvestial) I think whislt Prost had been affected "psychology speaking" and it "translated" through into his driving in the form of taking fewer risks and generally being more cautious and aware of the dangers when driving in poor visibility (that is assuming he would start of course).

However judging by Prosts results in the wet before Germany 1982, I don't think Prost was suddenly turned from a good in the wet to a poor driver.

I say this because, whilst I do think Prost POSESSED the ability to have been successful in the wet / poor visibility conditions, as his style was so smooth. I don't believe Prost EVER showed the enthusiasm for driving in the wet / poor visibility conditions, even before Pironi's accident. No doubt, Pironi's accident did confirmed his dislike for the wet / poor visibility, but certainly I am not aware of any ability Prost had demostrated in those conditions prior to 1982. I would be delighted if someone was to proved me wrong on that (as I was not born then so I haven't seen these races in full). However I list Prost's results alone below;

1980 - (I'm not aware of any wet races that year?)

1981 -
Brazilian GP - Prost retired on lap 20 from an accident
San Marino GP - Prost retired on lap 3 with gearbox
Candian GP - Prost retired on lap 48 from an accident

1982 -
Monaco - Prost retired on lap 73 from an accident

Therefore coming back to the question of the effect "psychology" speaking, to me Prost wasn't any "worse" a driver in the rain / poor visibility because of the Pironi accident he was simply much more "careful". I would love to know other people's opinion on this however?

Another driver affected "psychology speaking" is Jochen Mass after Villeneueve's accident in Belgium 1982. I believe Jochen, sighted this incident as the reason he ultimately quit F1.

The two above incidents both involved one car running into the back of another (& we all know the tragic that befell these incidents). However it seems to me, that the driver of the front car can be heavily effected "psychology speaking" from these kind of accidents. Because it must come as a massive shock to them, because unless you see it happening from your mirror's, you cannot brace yourself for these kind of accidents. Furthermore these drivers have no control, whatsoever when they are involved in these accidents, all they can do is pray. I have heard a number of drivers say that is their biggest fear, an accident which they have no control.

Edited by Ibsey, 23 February 2010 - 04:55.


#6 Barry Boor

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 08:53

Not wishing to be classed as a pedant but surely any accident is out of the driver's control, else there probably wouldn't be an accident.

Just a thought.

#7 alansart

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 09:13

Not wishing to be classed as a pedant but surely any accident is out of the driver's control, else there probably wouldn't be an accident.

Just a thought.


Agreed - Apart from Piquet Jnr :)


#8 RobertE

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 09:13

I must say, hats off to John Surtees...

#9 Nigel Beresford

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 09:51

What is perhaps just as interesting or more interesting depending on your point of view is drivers that had bad accidents but who 'were the same driver after'


Rick Mears had a frontal impact accident at Sanair in Canada in 1984 which bent his feet back so far his toes touched his shins, powdered his heel on one foot and smashed all of the bones to an appalling extent. Yet, if you talk to him about it, he says that the accident didn't bother him at all on a mental level, because he was able to rationalise what had happened and the mistake he had made. Of course he went on to win a further pair of Indy 500s (though during his win in the '91 race he had to put his left foot on top of his right in order to maintain full throttle in the latter stages of the race). "Popular wisdom" had it that he was no longer a force on road courses after the accident, but this is tosh. The biggest effect on him is that the first few steps in the morning are painful, and he prefers to wear flip-flops rather than shoes when he can because shoes are pretty uncomfortable for him.

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#10 kayemod

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 11:48

Agreed - Apart from Piquet Jnr :)



Or M Schumacher.

#11 Ibsey

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 12:14

Not wishing to be classed as a pedant but surely any accident is out of the driver's control, else there probably wouldn't be an accident.

Just a thought.


Apologies Barry Boor perhaps I didn't make myself clear enough on this point. What I meant was, if a driver had an accident because they were pushing too hard (i.e the driver was "in control" up to the point of the accident), then psychologically speaking they usually are relatively easily overcome. This is because the driver can look & understand what caused the accident, and say to themseleves for instance "ok, I should have lifted off at this moment...next time I go through there I will back off a bit". So they can understand the reason for the accident, & take action to avoid it next time around. Thus they will have a clear mind when they are next on track.

Whereas if an accident happened because of something unexpected, such as a driver getting hit from behind, or the car unexpectedly snapping away (say oil on the track or mechical failure) - for which the cause was unknown. Then the accident happen because of some factor outside of the driver's control and psychologically speaking it is much harder for them to overcome it, until the cause is discovered and the driver knows how to avoid that kind of accident in future. Psychology speaking, a driver will have this in his mind, the next time he is out on track i.e. "is someone going to hit me from behind here" or "is the car going to snap away from me here" until they have worked out why the crash happened & what they can do to avoid it.

With accidents caused by mechical failures or oil on the track, obviously in modern F1 with telementary data etc, it is usually simply to investigate & find a cause for that kind accident. However before telementary (& therefore before the causes of a mechical failure accident were usually known) I do wonder how drivers minds were rest assured afterwards? I'm guessing they just had to listen to the car more closely, or be more aware of the mechical parts / oil on the track etc? Perhaps someone would be kind enough to enlighten me?
Whereas accidents where a driver hits you from behind are, in my opinion, very difficult to overcome, as there is very little you can do to avoid it in future. It is just an occupational harzard, that one has to deal with.

I hope this is all clear & makes sense.

Edited by Ibsey, 23 February 2010 - 12:25.


#12 Arjan de Roos

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 12:40

Indeed it has often been said that (some) drivers lost their sheer speed in a first huge accident. By this I mean mentally as they recovered fully. Also Van Lennep, Villeneuve Jr. and others spring to mind.

It should be a good subject for a scientific psychological investigation.

#13 hansfohr

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 13:08

After sometimes F1 driver Roelof Wunderink crashed a F5000 Chevron B24 heavily at Zandvoort during a private test - suffering a broken cheekbone and a severe concussion - he was never the same again. Such an accident eats your brain.

#14 JtP1

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 13:46

The Prost not being able to drive in the wet , basically comes from his retirement at Silverstone, can't remember the year exactly. MaClaren issued a statement the following week that there a fault in the tub and that was why it felt odd and Prost came in and complained. Anyone as fast and smooth as Prost in the dry has got to be quick in the wet.

There has also got to be a differentiation between an accident caused by driver error and car breakage. But real point is how the driver handles being hurt, not just stepping out the debris. Being hurt and leaving by stretcher is the part that matters and it is those who are brave because they do not realise the risks are the ones who disappear as quickly as they drove.

#15 Lights

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 14:01

Well if you look at more recent times... Button's crash at Monaco '03, Firman's at Hungary the same year or Kubica's at Montreal '07 didn't exactly make them drive any slower. Infact, they all got out of it very positively. IIRC Button and Kubica even responded with the likes of 'now I know how safe these things are', or in other words, it might even make them stronger. Ofcourse, the safety of the cars vastly improved compared to most examples in this topic, but they were still huge shunts.

#16 Michael Ferner

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 14:48

A. J. Foyt certainly wasn't the same driver after his terrible Touring car crash at Riverside in January of 1965. He broke his back and a heel because of brake failure, and it took him a couple of months to get back behind the wheel of a racing car. When he took pole position for his comeback race, people began saying he was just as fast as before, but he had lost much of the intensity in his driving. He was still a "great" after that accident, but before it he was simply incredible. Just like the great Belgian bicycle rider, Eddie Merckx, Foyt was an insatiable "cannibal" who'd be fighting like a lion for a Wednesday night Midget win as much as for the Indy 500, and his win-per-start ratio was simply amazing, and getting better still with every year. Foyt had an exceptional career, yet his contemporaries can be thankful for that accident since else they wouldn't have had anything to cheer about, and that certainly includes that slightly big-mouthed Pennsylvanian with the Italian blood.

#17 Barry Boor

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 14:53

Wow! A slightly non-fan of M.A. I thought I was the only one.

#18 kayemod

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 15:04

A. J. Foyt certainly wasn't the same driver after his terrible Touring car crash at Riverside in January of 1965. He broke his back and a heel because of brake failure, and it took him a couple of months to get back behind the wheel of a racing car. When he took pole position for his comeback race, people began saying he was just as fast as before, but he had lost much of the intensity in his driving.


But wouldn't you attribute much of that to physical impairment? I've been there, a major road car accident in my case, but no matter how well you appear to have recovered, things never work quite as well as they did before. I never saw AJ as a man to suffer from mental problems, but people almost never recover from major physical trauma 100%, a broken arm or leg is one thing, but serious damage to one or more joints, or spinal injuries, quite another. Racing drivers are no different from anyone else where this kind of thing is concerned, sure, they are often never the same again following a bad crash, but in most cases I'd say problems were more physical than mental.


#19 Michael Ferner

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 15:10

Actually, I do like Mario (in a way), but having read his comments about Foyt's Le Mans win in the "useless" thread I was again reminded that, on occasions, he can be so full of himself that he doesn't even register how dumb he looks when he does so.

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#20 Michael Ferner

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 15:23

But wouldn't you attribute much of that to physical impairment? I've been there, a major road car accident in my case, but no matter how well you appear to have recovered, things never work quite as well as they did before. I never saw AJ as a man to suffer from mental problems, but people almost never recover from major physical trauma 100%, a broken arm or leg is one thing, but serious damage to one or more joints, or spinal injuries, quite another. Racing drivers are no different from anyone else where this kind of thing is concerned, sure, they are often never the same again following a bad crash, but in most cases I'd say problems were more physical than mental.


Well, I'd say it goes both ways. His physical trouble can't have been that bad when he went on racing for another three decades, but I believe it was his first major injury in racing, and I would guess it triggered thoughts he may not have entertained before. Also, it was a brake failure that led to the accident, something which must've shaken his confidence and trust in his equipment. He had other accidents after that, some with fire which he said affected him especially, and let's not forget he came back after the Elkhart Lake crash when he was nearer sixty than fifty, and had absolutely nothing left to proof. In my opinion, Foyt was taking setbacks as good as anyone, and injuries were accepted as part of the game and do not seem to have had much effect on him, but this first one cut off a slight edge of his desire to win absolutely EVERYTHING. After that, he was content to be merely the greatest... ;)

#21 JtP1

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 15:33

Well if you look at more recent times... Button's crash at Monaco '03, Firman's at Hungary the same year or Kubica's at Montreal '07 didn't exactly make them drive any slower. Infact, they all got out of it very positively. IIRC Button and Kubica even responded with the likes of 'now I know how safe these things are', or in other words, it might even make them stronger. Ofcourse, the safety of the cars vastly improved compared to most examples in this topic, but they were still huge shunts.


Which is the whole point. Did they sit in casualty contemplating their accident?

The real difference between Prost and Senna? Prost had been to GPs that drivers had died in, Senna only did one GP in which someone died and it was himself.

Edited by JtP1, 23 February 2010 - 15:35.


#22 Rob

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 16:30

Karl Wendlinger was never the same after his accident.

I don't think Alex Wurz was as quick after his smash at Monaco.

#23 alansart

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 16:38

Senna only did one GP in which someone died and it was himself.


Harsh, and wrong. Senna was affected by the Ratzenburger tragedy the day before and I believe went to the scene. I also think he may have done the same after Martin Donnellys life threatening accident.

Edited by alansart, 23 February 2010 - 16:39.


#24 angst

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 16:46

I watched a very interesting documentary on the BBC recently regarding the psychology of downhill skiers, especially after big accidents. I must admit that, while I was watching I couldn't help but think that the mentality is (or at least was) very similar to racing drivers. Some of the accidents that these people came back from were....frankly, plain awful. To watch a guy motionless in the snow apart from some involuntary twitching... just horrible. But to come back from that...!?

Generally the conversation lead toward the idea that they were not fearless, as in they knew no fear, but that they respected the dangers inherent in their sport. That if they were fearless, they wouldn't be in it for long - but that they overcome that fear with confidence in their abilities. They all talked of giving in to fear down the slope as being more dangerous to them, that the way they approached the slope would compromise their safety if fear took hold.

Of course, the confidence in one's own abilities becomes diluted in motor racing, as one also has to have confidence in the mechanical contraption that you're strapped into (or sat upon), and also the mentality of those around you.

There was one skier who chose not to race on, a French Olympic Gold medallist; and he said that after the accident, after he had seen replays, he went down the slope thinking that, for the first time, he understood how dangerous it was, indeed that it was 'foolish' to take the risks that he was.

I think I was going to make a point, but can't remember what it was... but it was an interesting insight into the mentality of risk in sport, I thought.

Franz Klammer was very honest; he said that, while the skiers are racing they won't admit it, but that afterwards they'll accept, as he did, that they were all "sh****ng their pants" while they waited up in the start cabin for their turn.


#25 kayemod

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 16:50

Karl Wendlinger was never the same after his accident.

I don't think Alex Wurz was as quick after his smash at Monaco.


True, and I still say that physical impairment had a lot to do with that, someone who has never suffered serious physical injury can't really understand, but it's a fact, and as I said earlier, I speak from experience. Many racing drivers have made truly remarkable recoveries from terrible injuries, almost without exception, they are very determined and superbly fit sportsman, but I still say that in a purely physical sense, leaving aside any psychological issues, they can never be quite the men that they were before a bad crash. To give specific examples, Graham Hill, Johnny Herbert, Olivier Panis, Martin Brundle and several more suffered serious leg injuries, and they never regained their earlier form 100%. It was especially noticeable on circuits that called for heavy brake applications, but Fines will be relieved to know that AJ's handshake didn't appear to have suffered...


#26 milestone 11

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 16:58

Wow! A slightly non-fan of M.A. I thought I was the only one.

No you're not.

#27 alansart

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 17:00

True, and I still say that physical impairment had a lot to do with that, someone who has never suffered serious physical injury can't really understand, but it's a fact, and as I said earlier, I speak from experience. Many racing drivers have made truly remarkable recoveries from terrible injuries, almost without exception, they are very determined and superbly fit sportsman, but I still say that in a purely physical sense, leaving aside any psychological issues, they can never be quite the men that they were before a bad crash. To give specific examples, Graham Hill, Johnny Herbert, Olivier Panis, Martin Brundle and several more suffered serious leg injuries, and they never regained their earlier form 100%. It was especially noticeable on circuits that called for heavy brake applications, but Fines will be relieved to know that AJ's handshake didn't appear to have suffered...


Johnny Herbert is an interesting example as he had his accident before he got into F1. The fact he finished 4th in his first race whilst still unfit is remarkable, but would he have achieved anymore than he did had that awful Brands shunt not happened?


#28 JtP1

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 17:13

Harsh, and wrong. Senna was affected by the Ratzenburger tragedy the day before and I believe went to the scene. I also think he may have done the same after Martin Donnellys life threatening accident.


Not Harsh and wrong. Senna might have been affected by Ratzenburger's accident, but he was the first driver to be killed at a GP during the whole of Senna's F1 career. Senna certainly did have a great interest in other driver's serious accidents. He also seemed at times to have little interest in his own or other driver's longlivety at times, with Prost at the top of the list.

#29 JtP1

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 17:26

Johnny Herbert is an interesting example as he had his accident before he got into F1. The fact he finished 4th in his first race whilst still unfit is remarkable, but would he have achieved anymore than he did had that awful Brands shunt not happened?


Johnny Herbert is surely a ideal example of a pure racer, where the speed was in Johnny and not his lack of imagination. He certainly would have carried physical handicaps for the rest of his career and would have achieved much more without them. He afterall won more GPs than some supposedly more highly rated drivers.

Consider M Schumacher, where he seemed more dominant after his accident. Strangely enough, Hakkinen was also probably better after his accident, because I think he stopped over driving the car.

#30 kayemod

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 17:37

Johnny Herbert is an interesting example as he had his accident before he got into F1. The fact he finished 4th in his first race whilst still unfit is remarkable, but would he have achieved anymore than he did had that awful Brands shunt not happened?


True, but that took place in Rio de Janeiro, a track that doesn't place especially great demands on braking performance, flattering to deceive. Johnny's form suffered quite badly in subsequent races, and he never got near a podium again, the team replaced him with Emanuele Pirro from France onwards for that very reason. His poor old legs just couldn't manage heavy braking, though he improved considerably with time and after further therapy etc with Stewart and Sauber. As he now admits, he tried to come back far too early, though he still limps today, I met him at Goodwood last year and saw that for myself, he admits that his leg problems still bother him quite a lot.


#31 bigears

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 18:29

The Prost not being able to drive in the wet , basically comes from his retirement at Silverstone, can't remember the year exactly. MaClaren issued a statement the following week that there a fault in the tub and that was why it felt odd and Prost came in and complained. Anyone as fast and smooth as Prost in the dry has got to be quick in the wet.


At the 1988 British Grand Prix?

I recall someone not mentioned in this thread so far, had a big accident but was never the same again but the name keeps escaping me... He was a F1 driver. I will get back to you when the name have popped up!


#32 bigears

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 18:37

Another driver affected "psychology speaking" is Jochen Mass after Villeneueve's accident in Belgium 1982. I believe Jochen, sighted this incident as the reason he ultimately quit F1.


Also his huge accident at the 1982 French Grand Prix after tangling with Mauro Baldi's Arrows contributed into his reasons for retirement.

Ah, I remember now, it was Francois Henault who retired after a big testing accident at Paul Ricard in a Renault (?)


#33 Michael Ferner

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 19:02

I recall someone not mentioned in this thread so far, had a big accident but was never the same again but the name keeps escaping me... He was a F1 driver. I will get back to you when the name have popped up!



Ah, I remember now, it was Francois Henault who retired after a big testing accident at Paul Ricard in a Renault (?)


Never the same again? So, why would he retire then when he was finally going fast...

#34 bigears

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 19:17

Never the same again? So, why would he retire then when he was finally going fast...


..in the midseason Hesnault had an enormous testing accident at Paul Ricard, which ended up with his car wrapped in catch-fencing with the driver trapped in the car. It was an unnerving experience for Hesnault and soon afterwards he decided that he did not want to continue in F1. Later that year he was asked to drive a third factory Renault in the German GP in order to demonstrate the use of a camera car. He obliged but thereafter disappeared from racing.

http://www.grandprix...drv-hesfra.html

Not exactly the same thing but something like that you know?  ;)

#35 Ibsey

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 19:45

Generally the conversation lead toward the idea that they were not fearless, as in they knew no fear, but that they respected the dangers inherent in their sport. That if they were fearless, they wouldn't be in it for long - but that they overcome that fear with confidence in their abilities. They all talked of giving in to fear down the slope as being more dangerous to them, that the way they approached the slope would compromise their safety if fear took hold.


This sounds very familiar to an idea put forward in an F1 book, which I believe is called "life at the limit" (I can't remember the exact title of the book, so please forgive me if that is incorrect). However within this book, it examines the idea that fear is a neccessary part of being an F1 driver, as it can act as the "reality check" if & when drivers overstep the limit to much. For instance, when Senna experienced his "out of body experience" in qualifying for Monaco 1988, he was in the "zone" so much that he began to feel invincible. Therefore at that moment he had no concept of the danagers involved. The "pin prick" or "reality check" that woke him up from that trance was the realisiation that he was not invincible, and that if he kept going in that trance, there was a good chance he would hurt himself (i.e. fear kick in). I believe the book goes on to argue that the trick is to manage that fear, so you keep a sense of balance. I don't have that book with me, but it is a very interesting read into precisely this subject.

Also quite a telling insight into how Gilles Villeneueve "managed that fear" is a quote from him at Zolder 1978; When asked if he considered himself fearless he relied;

"No, that's not true. I'm frighten of the unknown like anyone else. But I don't have any fear of a crash. No fear of that. Okay, on a top gear corner I don't want to crash - I'm not crazy. But I never think I can hurt myself - it seems impossible to me - and if its near the end of qualifying, and you're trying for pole maybe, then I guess you can squeeze the fear.."

In light of what happened in the same place, four years on, I think this is quite a chilling insight.


#36 angst

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 19:59

I've heard that Beltoise was hampered greatly by the injuries sustained in his crash at Reims, and that was as a result of the physical restrictions, but what of Trintignant? Was he a different driver after his crash at the Swiss GP in '48? He seemed afterward to be remembered as a 'steady' driver. Did that crash affect his approach to racing?


#37 Bob Riebe

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Posted 24 February 2010 - 08:19

On a slightly different note:
Up here at Alexandria, they had a snowmobile race on a large fast one-half mile track where Sammy Sessions was killed.
That same week-end the top Artic Cat driver (they were paid very well, plus the priize money was bigger than winning a Trans-Am race) had a accident similar to the one Sammy had.
As he went off of the curve and was flying through the air, in his mind he thought he was going to do a replay of Sammy's fatal accident.
He missed all the trees and was bruised but un-hurt.

He walked into the pits and retired on the spot.

Bob
P.S.- They found out later that Sammy crashed because he already died before he left the track.

Edited by Bob Riebe, 24 February 2010 - 08:21.


#38 hansfohr

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Posted 24 February 2010 - 09:05

Niki's infamous Nürburgring crash in 1976 had quite an impact, even on one of the best and bravest drivers in the business: Chris Amon. He was very fortunate to escape injuries after summersaulting his Ensign at Zolder a few months before. He simply had enough.

"I'd seen too many people fried in racing cars at that stage. When you've driven past Bandini, Schlesser, Courage and Williamson, another shunt like that was simply too much. It was a personal decision..."

Walter Wolf managed to lure him into driving a Williams FW05 in the Canadian GP. However after a nasty shunt in practice Chris left F1, never to return again.




#39 hansfohr

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Posted 24 February 2010 - 09:14

I've heard that Beltoise was hampered greatly by the injuries sustained in his crash at Reims, and that was as a result of the physical restrictions.

I think JPB was even more affected after being blamed for Ignazio Giunti's dreadful accident in Buenos Aires.
http://www.f1-web.co...71accidente.htm

Edited by hansfohr, 24 February 2010 - 09:19.


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#40 kayemod

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Posted 24 February 2010 - 11:32

I've heard that Beltoise was hampered greatly by the injuries sustained in his crash at Reims...


Can't find a source to back this up, but I'm sure I read somewhere that Beltoise was significantly compromised by injuries from his pre-car motorcycle racing days, the Reims arm injuries just added to these, and as I've said earlier, humans almost never recover 100% from major injury. One factor in his only GP win at Monaco in 1972 was that the wet track lightened the steering, helping his arms. Jackie Stewart made a similar comment after winning a wet race at the Nürburgring with an injured wrist supported in a fibreglass cast.


#41 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 24 February 2010 - 12:11

Karl Wendlinger was never the same after his accident.

I don't think Alex Wurz was as quick after his smash at Monaco.


Neither was the car fundamentally. I think after Monaco and Canada he didn't get scared so much as realised he needed to reign it in a bit.


#42 JtP1

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Posted 24 February 2010 - 12:23

Can't find a source to back this up, but I'm sure I read somewhere that Beltoise was significantly compromised by injuries from his pre-car motorcycle racing days, the Reims arm injuries just added to these, and as I've said earlier, humans almost never recover 100% from major injury. One factor in his only GP win at Monaco in 1972 was that the wet track lightened the steering, helping his arms. Jackie Stewart made a similar comment after winning a wet race at the Nürburgring with an injured wrist supported in a fibreglass cast.


Stewart made the comment after winning at Zandvoort in 68, the following race at Rouen was a complete disaster for him. By Nurburgring in August his scaphoid fracture had healed.

This brings us back to the original thread and that was JYS was a much more cautious man in a racing car after Spa in 66.

#43 Tim Murray

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Posted 24 February 2010 - 13:23

By Nurburgring in August his scaphoid fracture had healed.

That is what I always used to think, but I was wrong - see some of the comments in this earlier thread:

Jackie Stewart's broken wrist

#44 kayemod

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Posted 24 February 2010 - 13:31

Stewart made the comment after winning at Zandvoort in 68, the following race at Rouen was a complete disaster for him. By Nurburgring in August his scaphoid fracture had healed.



All contemporary reports including Autocourse, said that he won that race "With a broken wrist". He said after winning that the wet track had helped by reducing steering loads, and that he'd been careful to avoid kerbs etc around the track. I agree that the injury would have pretty much healed by then, though I thought he was still wearing that wrist support.

#45 kayemod

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Posted 24 February 2010 - 13:35

JYS's wrist injury was a broken scaphoid, as Doc surmises, and it was a considerable problem for him. So much so, that if the German GP had been run on a dry road he doubted he would have done very well at all, since the Matra's steering would have been so much heavier than it proved to be in the wet. He for one was both helped and hindered by the weather conditions that day. Still a stunning performance, whichever way one slices it.

DCN



... and there's no higher authority than this.

#46 hansfohr

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Posted 24 February 2010 - 16:40

All contemporary reports including Autocourse, said that he won that race "With a broken wrist". He said after winning that the wet track had helped by reducing steering loads, and that he'd been careful to avoid kerbs etc around the track. I agree that the injury would have pretty much healed by then, though I thought he was still wearing that wrist support.

It should be added that life was even made easier for JYS because the handcut Dunlop wets had a HUGE advantage over the rest. I attended that GP, it was extremely cold and wet, close to frostbite. LOL



#47 JtP1

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Posted 24 February 2010 - 17:38

... and there's no higher authority than this.


There probably insn't. but Stewart's injury was prior to Jarama on May12. So probably somewhere around May 4th as iirc it was in practice at Pau. But it does not take over 3 months for your scaphoid to repair, so why would it be a problem at Nurburgring in August when Stewart had already competed in dry races prior to Germany? So the only races that would be affected would be early ones on his return, amazingly the first two were wet. Brings up another thought, was 68 the wettest GP season?

Had an ex girl friend who broke hers at under 5mph crashing her mini.


#48 kayemod

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Posted 24 February 2010 - 18:05

If it was a scaphoid fracture, and the length of immobilisation using a plastic wrist support suggests that is indeed what it was, the recovery is long and painful, usually meaning immobilisation for 12 weeks or more. And at the end of that, of course, the arm will have none of its usual strength, and require a long period of physiotherapy
before it is back to normal. At three months, I would expect his wrist to be painful in use, and nowhere near its muscular strength prior to the accident.
Compare that with the common radius fracture in which the bone has usually set within six weeks, and training
to regain strength will be well under way.


There aren't many greater authorities than this one either.

I've had a broken scaphoid, Doug Nye has had a broken scaphoid, Don Capps has had a broken scaphoid, and you can take it from the three of us that they are no fun at all. The recovery period is long, and the injury causes long-term, sometimes even permanent problems as often as not. This brings us back to a point that I keep making here, there's almost always a long-term legacy from a serious injury involving a joint, and I'm certain that this is a major reason that so many drivers have never been quite the same again after a bad crash, no matter how good a recovery they may appear (or claim) to have made.

#49 Tim Murray

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Posted 24 February 2010 - 18:26

There probably insn't. but Stewart's injury was prior to Jarama on May12. So probably somewhere around May 4th as iirc it was in practice at Pau.

I suggest you go back and read the previous thread where you made the same statements which were shown to be incorrect. Stewart won the race at Pau on 21st April, and damaged his wrist in practice for the race at Jarama a week later.

Edited by Tim Murray, 24 February 2010 - 18:31.


#50 Dave Ware

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Posted 24 February 2010 - 18:35

At some point in the early or mid-seventies I read that Beltoise had damanged an arm in a motor cycle racing accident. It was never the same since, and it comprimised his ability in the dry.

Rob Walker wrote race reports for Road and Track for a time, and every year he did an annual "10 best" drivers. Beltoise was often included, and I believe it was Walker who said something to the effect that Beltoise did better in the wet because it was easier on his arm. Unfortunately I don't have my Road and Tracks handy.

Not quite on topic for this interesting thread, but I did want to reinforce what Kayemod posted earlier.

Dave