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Emerson Fittipaldi - just five F1 accidents


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#1 dmj

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Posted 13 September 2001 - 15:37

According to most statistics I have seen Emerson Fittipaldi had just five accidents in his entire F1 career (142 races). It is still one of most fascinating facts I ever heard about a F1 driver. How it is possible, especially in 70's when multiple start accidents weren't unusual? Is he the very best F1 driver ever in terms of safety? Who are other drivers of the past and present that were best in avoiding involvement in accidents?
Also, I recently took some time to read The top dozen thread - I would like to mention that Fittipaldi's decision to try driving his own car cost him 20 places in list of best drivers ever (he didn't win a race in later half of his career, with Copersucar/Fittipaldi team). What do you think, what he could achieve if he would stay with top teams forn rest of 70's?

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#2 fines

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Posted 13 September 2001 - 20:55

Who are other drivers of the past and present that were best in avoiding involvement in accidents?

Achille Varzi, Rudolf Caracciola and Alain Prost spring to mind.

#3 Wolf

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Posted 14 September 2001 - 00:14

AFAIK, Fangio had no accidents in all his WDC appearances. The only mistake he is said to have made was in non-championship '52 Autodrome GP, but not on the track...

#4 prettyface

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Posted 14 September 2001 - 00:22

Phil Hill. Raced (and won) in F1, LeMans, Can-AM...
Worst injury: Blisters on his knuckles. I'd let him drive me around any time. ;)

Fangio: Didn't he nearly break his neck in Monza '52? :(
In his defense: He was exhausted from a night drive getting to the race, barely made in on time, no previous sleep!

#5 Bernd

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Posted 14 September 2001 - 01:26

Jimmy Clark was never so much as scratched during his racing career unless you count the famous bird strike at Reims. He only had 1 note worthy shunt. While having a fantastic dice with Gurney at Brands Hatch he ran out of road and planted it in a bank, unscathed he stood by the side of the road to laugh and wave a finger at Gurney. This is the only shunt that Clark ever had that was put down to driver error as far as I know. His rare other shunts were put down to mechanical failures of some description, including the one at Hockenheim that sadly cost his life.

It was often said at the time that Clark simply did not make mistakes, this is of course not true but his mistakes were smothered before they were even seen most of the time due to his phenomenal car control.

#6 Gary C

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Posted 14 September 2001 - 02:19

didn't Jimmy have a big one at Aintree one year too?

#7 dmj

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Posted 14 September 2001 - 09:05

I don't know stats for Caracciola and Varzi, but Fangio (no accidents) and Clark (2 accidents) are impressive. However, Hill is statistically worse than Fittipaldi with 3 accidents in 48 starts and Prost is out of question - he had 19 accidents and spun offs in his career (of course, Senna is to blame for two of these...)

#8 Bernd

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Posted 14 September 2001 - 10:00

Aintree 200
April 30 1960
Formula 2 - Ret
Formula Junior - Ret

British Grand Prix
July 15 1961
Formula 1 - Ret

Aintree 200
April 18 1964
Formula 1 - Ret

Here is all the Retirements Jimmy ever had at Aintree I have all listed as Ret not as accidents. Could it have happened in Practice or Testing perhaps? Any more info very welcome as I can't find reference to this shunt anywhere.

DMJ
Fangio certainly had a shunt! A bloody colossal one at that. He broke his neck in a Ferrari at Monza and had to sit out the 1952 season. Hardly a nothing shunt!

#9 fines

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Posted 14 September 2001 - 11:55

Just to say Fangio broke his neck in a Maserati...;)

#10 dmj

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Posted 14 September 2001 - 12:30

Sorry, indeed it is my fault to forget it - I calculated number of accidents from a F1 database, where the reason for Fangio's DNF is stated "engine". What really happened that day? Broken engine usually doesn't involve a broken neck...

#11 Bernd

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Posted 14 September 2001 - 12:37

Indeed Fines! How did I make that mistake and a F2 Maserati at that!

Here is our own Karl Ludvigsens account of the crash.

"On the second lap taking his usual tight line, Fangio grazed a low barrier on the inside of the second Lesmos turn. Fatigued, reacting slowly, he failed to catch the resulting slide and shot off the outside of the turn, where an ancient haybale caught and upended his red car. He was thrown out."

This was the second serious injury Fangio had sustained to his neck a crash in South America had also caused a lesion.

#12 dmj

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Posted 14 September 2001 - 12:52

It makes two. Had Fangio any other known accident? Probably outside F1, in some sportscar race?

#13 fines

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Posted 14 September 2001 - 13:07

I know of one during one of those South American road races, when his co-pilot was killed. 1948?

#14 Wolf

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Posted 14 September 2001 - 14:35

Bernd- shouldn't July 15th 162 race be Solitude GP? Clark won British GP which was on July 21st...

#15 Bernd

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Posted 14 September 2001 - 14:50

Yes Wolf thanks mate it should be 1961. I'll edit it now.

#16 Martyj

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Posted 14 September 2001 - 15:32

Shouldn't Clark's 61 collision with Von Trips be taken into account? True, it was not HIS driver error, but it should add to his tally of F1 career accidents. If we are to discount every shunt that are something less than driver error, then perhaps Emersons F1 accident record would be less than the 5 previously stated.

#17 Wolf

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Posted 14 September 2001 - 15:39

Bernd- calling in Don's RVM '61 series to the rescue... He reports that Clark had a split oil pipe, resulting in hot oil bath ( :eek: ) as his DNF reason in XVI Royal Automobile Club British Grand Prix.

#18 oldtimer

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Posted 14 September 2001 - 19:42

Fangio also had a bit of an unruly day at Monaco in 1956, needing two cars to finish the race. Not that the finish was not without style, because his last lap was the fastest of the race.

I sometimes wonder whether the accident at Monza in 1952 didn't give him a nudge towards the 'winning at the slowest speed' approach we saw in the years after.

#19 Leif Snellman

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Posted 16 September 2001 - 09:20

Originally posted by dmj
I don't know stats for Caracciola and Varzi,

Varzi crashed only twice in his career. But his second crash would prove fatal.

For the first crash see :
http://www.kolumbus....man/gp361.htm#5 (Tunis 1936)
It was a changed Varzi who took part in the Tunis GP. Gone was his usual calmness and he forced himself into the lead sliding the Auto Union all over the road. On the long straight where the cars were traveling at high speed the wind suddenly grabbed the Auto Union and pushed it out of the track. In one of the most horrifying accidents ever seen in GP racing Varzi's Auto Union spun in some 250 km/h, turned over several times and disintegrated completely, the rests of the wreck ending up in a cactus wood. Amazingly Varzi walked away from the wreck unhurt! He was however seriously shaken as it was his first crash in a career that had started in the mid 20:s

and for the reason for his behavour see
http://www.kolumbus....man/gp361.htm#4 (Tripoli 1936)

But then Auto Union's new team manager Dr. Feuereissen began to give strange team orders, Stuck was ordered to slow down and Varzi to speed up. Varzi put in a new lap record on the last lap and passed a very surprised Stuck just before the finish line.
The whole thing ended with great bitterness and fury for both drivers when they found out the truth. Varzi, who had done nothing wrong, was humiliated in public at the victory party when the Governor of Libya, Marshal Balbo, proposed a toast for the real winner of the race, i.e. for Stuck.


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#20 MPea3

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Posted 19 September 2001 - 10:56

fangio shunts? look at this pic

http://www.klemantaski.com/page4n.html

and look at the nose of the car! not much of a shunt, granted, but a fascinating picture none the less.

#21 dmj

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Posted 19 September 2001 - 11:30

I remember a picture of Fangio in W196 streamliner, taken in Silverstone, where front of car was damaged. I think he hit a barrel but continued the race. Caption stated that Fangio didn't like the car and had some problems with handling whenever he drove it.

#22 FEV

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Posted 19 September 2001 - 13:16

Fangio had a big crash in WDC, altough he wasn't seriously hurt : Belgian GP 53 while chasing Ascari and Villoresi for the lead in the last lap of the race. He spun at Stavelot and was thrown out of the car, receiving only minor injuries.
After he retired from F1 in 1958 he tried to qualify at Indy, didn't he have some kind of incident at the brickyard ?

#23 Vitesse2

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Posted 19 September 2001 - 13:25

An incident, yes, but not his fault! He had a big spin in the Dayton Steel Foundry Special, which he complained was sometimes oversteering and sometimes understeering. He gave up and left Indy and the car was taken over by Mike Magill who encountered the same problems. The car was stripped down and a crack was found in the chassis, which was flexing at speed.

And as for the W196 - IIRC JMF complained that he couldn't see the front corner of the car, which was why he hit the marker barrels: just taking the tightest line ...

#24 Gary Davies

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Posted 19 September 2001 - 16:07

Originally posted by Bernd
Aintree 200
April 18 1964
Formula 1 - Ret

Here is all the Retirements Jimmy ever had at Aintree I have all listed as Ret not as accidents.

Hi Bernd. My favourite early sixties record book says the following of that race:

This was another interesting and closely fought event featuring a stirring duel for leadership between Clark in the brand new Lotus 33 and Brabham's normal BT7, ending when Clark was obstructed by Pilette's Scirocco entering Melling Crossing for the 47th time; the Lotus crashed heavily and Brabham was able to romp home to win ...


Vanwall.

#25 Roger Clark

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Posted 19 September 2001 - 18:26

Originally posted by MPea3
fangio shunts? look at this pic

http://www.klemantaski.com/page4n.html

and look at the nose of the car! not much of a shunt, granted, but a fascinating picture none the less.


Yes, it is a wonderful picture , but the caption is incorrect. Behra was driving a Maserati, Musso and Collins (both Lancia-Ferraris) were second and third. Behra was either fifth or sixth, see earlier thread on the race. I believe that the damage to Fangio's car was done in a minor collision with Behra on the first lap.

#26 oldtimer

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Posted 19 September 2001 - 19:17

There is a picture of Fangio driving a very crumpled Maserati sports car in DSJ's The Racing Driver. Jenks caption reads: 'The limiting factors of the perfect driver are anticipation and judgement. Here Fangio is seen...after making an error of judgement. His other faculties probably saved him from injury and also minimised the damage, so that he was able to continue to drive the car.'

I can only add an ! :)

#27 Don Capps

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Posted 19 September 2001 - 21:58

Has anyone said anything about the nasty road accident Emmo had in the Summer of 1971?

#28 Vitesse2

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Posted 19 September 2001 - 22:36

Originally posted by Don Capps
Has anyone said anything about the nasty road accident Emmo had in the Summer of 1971?


I'd forgotten all about that Don! Just dug out "Flying on the Ground" and found Emmo's description of it. Sounds like it was indeed nasty - happened on a French Autoroute when a car that looked like it was pulling over on the right turned left in front of him. Emerson got a bit of the steering wheel through his chest and lost a lot of blood. His wife Maria Helena was with him and she was also quite badly hurt: she was three months pregnant at the time and later the baby was still-born:(

#29 mat1

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Posted 20 September 2001 - 22:02

How did Fittipaldi achieve this? Car control? luck? Cleverness? Knowing when to take risks, and when not to take risks?

He was also known as a driver who could nurse an ailing car home.

mat