Jump to content


Photo

Villeneuve, Zolder and seat belts (merged)


  • Please log in to reply
136 replies to this topic

#1 angst

angst
  • Member

  • 7,135 posts
  • Joined: December 03

Posted 10 June 2004 - 23:53

This is something that has troubled me for some time (since that fateful day in May 1982, in fact), and it is something I don't remember there being much made of at the time, or since.
I know the speed of the accident will be a factor, and as far as I know Gilles didn't lift before the initial impact and with the car being airborne not alot of speed will have been taken off the vehicle, but I cannot remember another accident where there was such a complete failure of the seatbelts/seatbelt anchors.
Was there a design flaw in the original set up of the belts? Pironi's remained intact during his equally violent crash later in the season so were they redesigned by then? Why was so little made of the issue at the time?

Also his helmet had come off. Having read the thread about Depailler's Hockenheim crash, where something similar seems to have happened (due to the catches not always fully locking), weren't there calls for a redesign of it?

Advertisement

#2 conjohn

conjohn
  • Member

  • 487 posts
  • Joined: July 03

Posted 11 June 2004 - 05:29

Didn't the whole seat come away, with Gilles in it, at the accident?

#3 ghinzani

ghinzani
  • Member

  • 1,990 posts
  • Joined: October 01

Posted 11 June 2004 - 05:53

Originally posted by angst

Also his helmet had come off. Having read the thread about Depailler's Hockenheim crash, where something similar seems to have happened (due to the catches not always fully locking), weren't there calls for a redesign of it?


The GPA twin-horseshoe helemt also came in for criticism in Dick Parsons fatal accident. See my post at the bottom of this http://forums.atlasf...&threadid=62899

I also never quite understood why Gilles belts broke, yet Pironis didnt, perhaps they strengthened them in the wake of Zolder.

#4 JB Miltonian

JB Miltonian
  • Member

  • 542 posts
  • Joined: February 04

Posted 11 June 2004 - 07:05

I'm sure I remember reading somewhere that the seatbelt anchors on Gilles' Ferrari were bolted through the floor structure with no washers on them (!!) and ripped right through in the impact. As far as I know the belts themselves were intact. I'll try to find the reference. I'm sure someone here knows the details.

#5 Ray Bell

Ray Bell
  • Member

  • 53,690 posts
  • Joined: December 99

Posted 11 June 2004 - 07:24

The belts pulled out of the tub... that was the gist of all reports at the time...

It would have been a simple matter to have the tub reinforced in that area before the next race.

#6 Doug Nye

Doug Nye
  • Member

  • 8,302 posts
  • Joined: February 02

Posted 11 June 2004 - 08:13

Harvey Postlethwaite once described for me how the Villeneuve Ferrari landed on its first bounce (after being launched over the Mass car) on its nose in soft sand "like a spear".

The front end of the car skewered into the sand where it was in effect instantaneously trapped.

The inertia of the rear engine of the car - the heavy end - then completely disrupted the monocoque structure.

The entire seat back panel complete with seat-belt mounts exploded from the structure, permitting the unfortunate driver to be thrown free.

Back at Maranello Harvey and his team took a sister monocoque and tested it to destruction to investigate just what forces were necessary to reproduce such a failure. He told me that to reproduce it required "unbelievable" loads which were far in excess of any design parameters as understood and accepted at that time. You might - cynically - think that the designer would say that wouldn't he - but the manner in which Harvey described the affair to me left me in no doubt that what he told me was bluntly factual and an honest memoir of what was a ghastly day.

DCN

#7 ghinzani

ghinzani
  • Member

  • 1,990 posts
  • Joined: October 01

Posted 11 June 2004 - 08:29

So I guess the first impact where it stuck in the floor did for Gilles rather than the being thrown out? Not a lot they could have done in that case.

Didnt a Champ car do something similar a couple of years back at the first corner at Laguna. Driver walked away uninjured iirc.

#8 Felix

Felix
  • Member

  • 706 posts
  • Joined: December 03

Posted 11 June 2004 - 08:51

I believe a former Ferrari team mate of Gilles' - no names, no pack drill - approached Enzo Ferrari about the structural integrity of the 126C's belt mountings and threatened to severely embarrass the team unless 'commensurate' compensation was paid to the family. Alas, silence is golden, so we'll never know...

#9 angst

angst
  • Member

  • 7,135 posts
  • Joined: December 03

Posted 11 June 2004 - 09:38

Originally posted by Doug Nye
Harvey Postlethwaite once described for me how the Villeneuve Ferrari landed on its first bounce (after being launched over the Mass car) on its nose in soft sand "like a spear".

The front end of the car skewered into the sand where it was in effect instantaneously trapped.

The inertia of the rear engine of the car - the heavy end - then completely disrupted the monocoque structure.

The entire seat back panel complete with seat-belt mounts exploded from the structure, permitting the unfortunate driver to be thrown free.

Back at Maranello Harvey and his team took a sister monocoque and tested it to destruction to investigate just what forces were necessary to reproduce such a failure. He told me that to reproduce it required "unbelievable" loads which were far in excess of any design parameters as understood and accepted at that time. You might - cynically - think that the designer would say that wouldn't he - but the manner in which Harvey described the affair to me left me in no doubt that what he told me was bluntly factual and an honest memoir of what was a ghastly day.

DCN


Thanks Doug. That is the first time I have heard anything like that. As I said the accident happened with tremendous speed, so factoring in the rotational forces of the car 'flipping', plus the extra forces of the momentum of the engine trying to pull the car one way while the sand holds the car firm, all that would have had a devastating effect on the integrity of the monocoque's structure.
It makes more sense now. There had been plenty of high speed crashes involving Ferraris before (Gilles at Imola springs to mind) where there had been no hint of a problem with the belts, and I'd always got the impression that Harvey Postlethwaite was the kind of designer who liked to make his cars strong.

#10 Sintra

Sintra
  • Member

  • 332 posts
  • Joined: March 02

Posted 11 June 2004 - 10:28

Maybe off topic here but what about Martin Donnelly's crash? Monocoque disintegrated and driver lay in the middle of track by himself. I wonder if he had remained stuck to the car if he wouldn't have been even more seriously injured (if that is possible).

#11 Macca

Macca
  • Member

  • 3,304 posts
  • Joined: January 03

Posted 11 June 2004 - 11:07

IIRC Martin Donnelly was still strapped to the seatback and the bulkhead with the unpunctured fuel cell attached to that as he lay in the track - so the tub seemed to do an amazingly good job in absorbing a head-on impact at very high speed and the inertia of that big heavy engine trying to push it through the wall.

The accident that left me unimpressed was Lauda's - his helmet came off, his balaclava half came off, the fuel tanks were punctured, and basically everything that shouldn't have happened, did. Yet he was still conscious afterwards - was he just stunned by a catch-pole?


PM

#12 Paul Taylor

Paul Taylor
  • Member

  • 1,093 posts
  • Joined: March 02

Posted 11 June 2004 - 11:54

Originally posted by ghinzani
Didnt a Champ car do something similar a couple of years back at the first corner at Laguna. Driver walked away uninjured iirc.


Oriol Servia, I believe, back in 2001?

#13 JacnGille

JacnGille
  • Member

  • 1,574 posts
  • Joined: July 02

Posted 11 June 2004 - 15:44

Did Niki Lauda, in one of his books, say that Ferraris of that era were cars that you did not wish to have an accident in?

#14 Marcel Visbeen

Marcel Visbeen
  • Member

  • 237 posts
  • Joined: July 03

Posted 12 June 2004 - 19:07

It's not totally true that this 'seatbelt-discussion' was no issue at the time.
Autosprint published several pictures of the monocoque after the crash. They very much support the discription Postlethwaite gave Doug.

Alas I'm not able to post pictues but you can find them in Autosprint no. 24 of June 15th 1982.

The pictures illustrate the story very clearly:

- the monocoque minus the torn off back-panel and half of the racing seat,
- the back-panel and the torn seat themselves (kept together by seatbelts!),
- the place where the other belts where pulled from the monocoque-floor,
- the bolts which should have kept them there,
- the lose seatbelts themselves, not torn, but just with holes where the bolts attached them to the monocoque,
- the nosecone of the Ferrari, that took the first impact .

#15 JohnH

JohnH
  • Member

  • 143 posts
  • Joined: March 03

Posted 14 June 2004 - 11:22

Originally posted by Paul Taylor


Oriol Servia, I believe, back in 2001?



That is right.

John

#16 AdrianM

AdrianM
  • Member

  • 4,854 posts
  • Joined: September 01

Posted 14 June 2004 - 15:18

Yeah it was Servia but it was nowhere near the same speed and hit the ground flush compared with Gilles who hit it at a slight angle.
But wasn't the ground at Zolder soft grass?

#17 Pedro 917

Pedro 917
  • Member

  • 1,767 posts
  • Joined: August 02

Posted 17 June 2004 - 20:33

Here are the pictures from Autosprint that Marcel describes :

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

And here are some close-up pictures of the right hand side-belt that was found by a flag marshal behind a guard rail near the place of impact. The belt was indeed ripped from the floor of the tub :

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

#18 masterhit

masterhit
  • Member

  • 1,837 posts
  • Joined: May 02

Posted 18 June 2004 - 16:31

Originally posted by Doug Nye
Harvey Postlethwaite once described for me how the Villeneuve Ferrari landed on its first bounce (after being launched over the Mass car) on its nose in soft sand "like a spear".

The front end of the car skewered into the sand where it was in effect instantaneously trapped.

The inertia of the rear engine of the car - the heavy end - then completely disrupted the monocoque structure.

The entire seat back panel complete with seat-belt mounts exploded from the structure, permitting the unfortunate driver to be thrown free.

Back at Maranello Harvey and his team took a sister monocoque and tested it to destruction to investigate just what forces were necessary to reproduce such a failure. He told me that to reproduce it required "unbelievable" loads which were far in excess of any design parameters as understood and accepted at that time. You might - cynically - think that the designer would say that wouldn't he - but the manner in which Harvey described the affair to me left me in no doubt that what he told me was bluntly factual and an honest memoir of what was a ghastly day.

DCN


That makes complete sense Doug, thanks for that information.

When drivers interlock wheels like that the car wants to go in a different direction to that it was designed for, and all rules of safety go out the window as the air flips it over like a rag doll.

#19 T54

T54
  • Member

  • 2,479 posts
  • Joined: November 03

Posted 18 June 2004 - 20:51

Thanks for the photos. They are very telling...

It is obvious that "normal" fastening of the belts had been ignored and the guy(s) who did this botched job have a great deal of responsibility in Gilles death... I can't even believe that BOLTS were used to attach the lap belts to the floor instead of the usual alloy plates pinching them after a couple of loops around them, which allows some stretch. Looks like something done by a Saturday-night oval racer a budget somewhere in rural Iowa...

Even at that relatively early time in auto racing safety, the belt manufacturers were selling their products with pretty good installation instructions... Arexons, Sabelt, Willans, Stand 21... all already using a camlock system and anti-sub belts that wrapped into loops in the lap belt.
If it is possible that Gilles could have escaped a dampened shunt against a rail or a wall with such a bogus installation, the sand took care of that in pretty brutal fashion.

As a happier comparison, I retain in my collection of old race "junk" the set of Stand 21 belts I fitted to Jacques Villeneuve's Reynard Indy car in 1994 a couple of months before he had this huge 150mph shunt in Phoenix. The car was utterly destroyed, the engine going one way while the front end separated from the tub, leaving Jacques legs free to float in the airstream... After we got the belts back from the Green team and replaced them by a new set, I measured the stretch, and the polyester fibers of the lap belts had stretched a full inch, while the shoulder belts had grown 1/2 inch. If they had been the usual nylon kind, Jacques might not have survived as he would have been projected forward so much that he would have had a broken spine or a cerebral fracture. The measured impact at the nose of the car was nearly 150G... Thanks for technical progress and a sound installation!

So what happened to the father did not happen to the son because of better products, proper and responsible installation and lots more concerns for the safety of the driver in the following years.
Regards,

T54

Advertisement

#20 mogwai

mogwai
  • Member

  • 45 posts
  • Joined: November 03

Posted 18 June 2004 - 21:22

I have to say that this thread is the reason I keep bragging about AtlasF1 to everyone I know. it has been extremely eye opening. Thanks fellas.

#21 cheesy poofs

cheesy poofs
  • Member

  • 3,120 posts
  • Joined: July 01

Posted 18 June 2004 - 21:35

Pedro 917,

Those pics are very revealing !! Would you have any pics of Pironis car ?

#22 Pedro 917

Pedro 917
  • Member

  • 1,767 posts
  • Joined: August 02

Posted 19 June 2004 - 23:16

Here are some pictures (thanks to my brother who scanned them for me) of the Pironi crash during practice for the German GP at Hockenheim 1982. They are from various motor racing magazines of that time and so credit goes to their photographers, sadly unknown. All magazines were cut to pieces and the pictures filed per driver....hell of a job but quite easy to retrace a particular moment.
IIRC, Prost was on a slow lap and drove on the left side of the track, just before entering the stadium. All Pironi saw was spray and he probably thought he was passing Daly before slamming into Prost's Renault. During an interview later on Pironi declared having flown at the same heighth of the tree tops and they're about 10 to 15 meters high there.... He was a great driver anyhow.

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

#23 angst

angst
  • Member

  • 7,135 posts
  • Joined: December 03

Posted 19 June 2004 - 23:51

Very telling photographs Pedro 917. There wasn't an awful lot left of the front of either cars was there? How Pironi didn't lose a leg is a miracle, and a testament to the surgeons who worked on him. I must admit that I always had a problem with the fact that the belts failed, and having seen some of those photos it seems I was right to be bothered. It serves as a reminder of what a sad season '82 was.

#24 T54

T54
  • Member

  • 2,479 posts
  • Joined: November 03

Posted 20 June 2004 - 00:01

With all due respect, a little correction:

I must admit that I always had a problem with the fact that the belts failed, and having seen some of those photos it seems I was right to be bothered.



Correction: the belts did NOT fail. The man (men?) who installed them failed. Belts are inanimate objects.

"The car went out of control" or "the gun fired"... No. The DRIVER loses control, the SHOOTER pulls the trigger.

Please draw the logical conclusion, thank you.
Regards,

T54

#25 masterhit

masterhit
  • Member

  • 1,837 posts
  • Joined: May 02

Posted 20 June 2004 - 00:49

Nikai Lauda made a comment about how the Ferraris "simply broke apart" that year. The thing is they were two spectacular and horrendous accidents, and carbon fibre technology was in its infancy at the time.

The Ferrari C2 was using a combination of aluminium and carbon fibre.

Before anyone jumps in with "Why did they not use full carbon fibre?", it was considered at the time to be the stronger combination.

A lot of cars did not use carbon fibre at all at the time.

Before we feel safe, drivers seldom remain unscathed from such violent accidents today.

#26 SEdward

SEdward
  • Member

  • 833 posts
  • Joined: January 04

Posted 21 June 2004 - 11:55

I had already seen some of those photos of Pironi's accident, but not all of them. I remain astonshed that he survived that accident, never mind that he retained, more or less, the use of his legs. Apparently, the doctors in Heidelberg were very close to amputating. I'm not sure what swung their decision.

Does anyone have more details about the accident? All I know is that Pironi hit Prost, and that's that.

Apparently, Prost was distraught about the crash. In a documentary on French TV in 1988/1999-ish, he claimed that he very nearly gave up during the 1982 season (Villeneuve, Paletti and then Pironi).

The last few months of Pironi's F1 career reads like a Hollywood film script.

Edward.

#27 Arjan de Roos

Arjan de Roos
  • Member

  • 2,081 posts
  • Joined: July 02

Posted 21 June 2004 - 14:54

I doubt it if Villeneuve would have survived when his belts would have been mounted properly. The aluminium chassis of the day and the construction itself were pretty dangerous (in combination with bhp of the turbo engines).

Pironi was damn lucky to survive.

#28 Mark Bennett

Mark Bennett
  • Member

  • 256 posts
  • Joined: September 03

Posted 21 June 2004 - 15:16

Originally posted by SEdward
Apparently, the doctors in Heidelberg were very close to amputating. I'm not sure what swung their decision.


I don't know about that - but I recall that reports of the day said the only reason they did not amputate in order to to get Pironi out of the car, was because he was concious and begged them not to.

#29 T54

T54
  • Member

  • 2,479 posts
  • Joined: November 03

Posted 21 June 2004 - 15:29

I doubt it if Villeneuve would have survived when his belts would have been mounted properly. The aluminium chassis of the day and the construction itself were pretty dangerous (in combination with bhp of the turbo engines).



There are plenty of examples of very serious crashes with aluminum-tub cars (even today!) in which the proper mounting off seat belts saved their drivers from terminal injuries. See Tom Sneva at Indy as a good example of it, in a tub similar in technology to Mauro Forghieri's 312B. The belts did their job and saved him from possible death.
The comments of Lauda about this are a bit like Monday-morning quarterbacking. It's easy to make such comments after 20 years of carbon tubs. At the time, the Ferrari tub was state of the art and no worse than any British "kit car" tub. Problem was, it was rather very exploratory work, and the FIA had no crash standards, and the safety concern was just not there even in the mind of most drivers. Frankly, Gilles COULD have objected to the way the belts were mounted on his car, but did not because like most racing drivers in his time, it was just not a concern and they were very ignorant and negligent about safety, especially their own. Many still are today, especially in the vintage-racing field.
Regards,

T54

#30 cheesy poofs

cheesy poofs
  • Member

  • 3,120 posts
  • Joined: July 01

Posted 21 June 2004 - 15:31

Originally posted by Mark Bennett


I don't know about that - but I recall that reports of the day said the only reason they did not amputate in order to to get Pironi out of the car, was because he was concious and begged them not to.


By the look of the above pics, there seemed to be nothing left of the front end of the car to wrangle him out of...

#31 Mark Bennett

Mark Bennett
  • Member

  • 256 posts
  • Joined: September 03

Posted 21 June 2004 - 15:48

Maybe, if you are assuming his legs are neatly laid out in front of the car...?

#32 dolomite

dolomite
  • Member

  • 947 posts
  • Joined: March 01

Posted 21 June 2004 - 16:35

Originally posted by masterhit
Nikai Lauda made a comment about how the Ferraris "simply broke apart" that year. The thing is they were two spectacular and horrendous accidents, and carbon fibre technology was in its infancy at the time.

The Ferrari C2 was using a combination of aluminium and carbon fibre.

Before anyone jumps in with "Why did they not use full carbon fibre?", it was considered at the time to be the stronger combination.

A lot of cars did not use carbon fibre at all at the time.

Before we feel safe, drivers seldom remain unscathed from such violent accidents today.


IIRC the Ferrari C2 chassis was of purely aluminium honeycomb construction, with no significant carbon fibre content. Ferrari did not go to a full carbon monocoque until the C3 in 1983.

#33 SEdward

SEdward
  • Member

  • 833 posts
  • Joined: January 04

Posted 21 June 2004 - 17:05

I don't think that they needed to amputate to get him out of the car. It was later that Pironi begged them not to amputate.

Edward.

#34 cheesy poofs

cheesy poofs
  • Member

  • 3,120 posts
  • Joined: July 01

Posted 21 June 2004 - 18:44

Originally posted by dolomite


IIRC the Ferrari C2 chassis was of purely aluminium honeycomb construction, with no significant carbon fibre content. Ferrari did not go to a full carbon monocoque until the C3 in 1983.


IIRC - Carbon was later added to the chassis to improve the cockpit sides.

#35 Manfred Cubenoggin

Manfred Cubenoggin
  • Member

  • 789 posts
  • Joined: October 02

Posted 21 June 2004 - 20:04

I was subscribing to the late and only moderately lamented Grand Prix International magazine at the time of Didi's shunt. When that issue arrived, I was horrified to see the pix of this dreadful crash. But as human nature is wont, you study it just the same. It was some minutes in gazing at the pix before I realized, and recoiled in disbelief, that the road wheel seen in the foreground is actually the left-front assembly, sitting just about where the right-front should be. It was then that I realized just how devasting this shunt had been.

:(

#36 David M. Kane

David M. Kane
  • Member

  • 5,395 posts
  • Joined: December 00

Posted 21 June 2004 - 20:07

i photographed the new seat belt arrangement at detroit at the following gp. it was a very significant engineering change. i remember that dr. harvey p. was really upset. the Pironi photos
take the romance out of it don't they? he really looks like he is in pain. that could have been me last week. i did bite into both of my lips fairly well.

how he got through that rehab and to then get killed in another accident this time in a boat.
brave man, selfish man, twins with no father...

#37 Nikos Spagnol

Nikos Spagnol
  • Member

  • 1,379 posts
  • Joined: April 02

Posted 22 June 2004 - 04:58

There`s a story about Piquet criticizing the 1982`s Ferrari, after the both accidents. It seems Piquet called C26 a "meat grinder". That explains why he was "persona non gratta" to Enzo.

But at those times there was virtually no safety standart. Palleti, for instance, was killed when his Osella was doing 100mph, his steering whell hitting him in the chest...

#38 smithy

smithy
  • Member

  • 2,459 posts
  • Joined: March 03

Posted 22 June 2004 - 06:04

I thought Paletti was killed by the subsequent fire?

#39 Mark Bennett

Mark Bennett
  • Member

  • 256 posts
  • Joined: September 03

Posted 22 June 2004 - 08:58

I understood it was the massive chest injuries from the wheel.

Advertisement

#40 BorderReiver

BorderReiver
  • Member

  • 9,935 posts
  • Joined: April 03

Posted 22 June 2004 - 09:35

Originally posted by Mark Bennett
I understood it was the massive chest injuries from the wheel.


It's always been my understanding that Paletti was killed by the internal injuries he suffered when the nose of the Osella was crushed. He was alive during the fire (though thankfully probably not conscious), and died in hospital later. . .

#41 Mark Bennett

Mark Bennett
  • Member

  • 256 posts
  • Joined: September 03

Posted 22 June 2004 - 10:41

I'm sure Sid Watkins covered this in his 1st book.
Anyone with a copy handy (mines at home - and I'll have forgotten by then!) care to check?

#42 BorderReiver

BorderReiver
  • Member

  • 9,935 posts
  • Joined: April 03

Posted 22 June 2004 - 10:46

Be Advised . . .This Photo Is Quite Graphic and Depicts The Aftermath Of The Paletti Accident

Posted Image


It has to be said, with that amount of structural deformation, Riccardo must have been very seriously injured to say the least.

#43 BorderReiver

BorderReiver
  • Member

  • 9,935 posts
  • Joined: April 03

Posted 22 June 2004 - 13:01

Actually, studying the above photo more carefully it is possible to see the Osella's steering wheel, rammed up to the level of Ricardo's chin. . . .

It is amazing to think that this occured at only 100 mph. Was the Osella structurally sound? Was their an enquiry into this accident? I have never heard of any such questions being asked at the time, if indeed they were.

#44 Mark Bennett

Mark Bennett
  • Member

  • 256 posts
  • Joined: September 03

Posted 22 June 2004 - 13:15

I think the structural integrity of the cars these days (at least on the 1st impact) has severely upped our expectations of what was possible from a bit of folded aluminium a few years ago.

When I look around the paddocks at historic meetings these days I look at the chassis and think "No-way! They must have been mad!" But of course, that's all there were those days.

Harking back to a previous post - I remember the Ferrari Chassis was derided and scorned as being a real "lash-up" by the "Garagistis" of the day. Gilles was none too complementary about it either, referring to it as a (forgive the hidden swearing) "$hit-box" to Mr Ferrari himself.

#45 joachimvanwing

joachimvanwing
  • Member

  • 465 posts
  • Joined: August 01

Posted 22 June 2004 - 13:39

Originally posted by smithy
I thought Paletti was killed by the subsequent fire?


the former presse chef of Balestre told me Ricardo died on impact.

A few years ago (1999/2000) I was racing at RKC (near Paris), where I met the former chef de presse of mr Balestre in these years. I can't remember his name, but if some of you were in and out f1 in the early 80's, you may know who I mean, a very large/wide guy, not tall, with thick glasses, a dominant status kind of guy.

#46 Tom Glowacki

Tom Glowacki
  • Member

  • 239 posts
  • Joined: December 03

Posted 22 June 2004 - 16:06

A friend of mine knew a SCCA tech inspector who did the tech inspection at the Detroit GP. The inspector said if it had been a FF at a SCCA regional and not a F-1 Ferrari at Detroit, they'd have sent the entrant and the car home.

#47 cheesy poofs

cheesy poofs
  • Member

  • 3,120 posts
  • Joined: July 01

Posted 22 June 2004 - 21:44

Unfortunately, poor Paletti stood no chance with that crushing impact. His legs were pushed so far behind and the massive chest injuries he sustained were far too serious for him to survive.

#48 Twin Window

Twin Window
  • Nostalgia Host

  • 6,609 posts
  • Joined: May 04

Posted 22 June 2004 - 23:12

And Ricardo was a nice, unassuming chap too - not at all from the stereotypical F1 driver mould. IIRC the fire resulted because the tank had been ruptured due to the engine surging forward into it upon impact.

To my mind John MacDonald was a hero on the day; he leapt over the pitwall and did his damndest to assist in the rescure - fire et al - with just his normal gear on...

But, overriding all of that, must be the dreadful fact that his poor mother was in the pits right in front of the incident. Just awful, and I'll never forget the images I saw of her distress at the time. It always reminds me of the fact that that Nella Pryce was in the grandstands opposite the pits when her husband died. Too horrible to believe, frankly.

TW

#49 Lec CRP1

Lec CRP1
  • Member

  • 182 posts
  • Joined: January 03

Posted 23 June 2004 - 01:05

Originally posted by Twin Window
And Ricardo was a nice, unassuming chap too - not at all from the stereotypical F1 driver mould.


Tell me, is it always the nice guys who get killed in racing cars?

#50 angst

angst
  • Member

  • 7,135 posts
  • Joined: December 03

Posted 23 June 2004 - 07:15

Originally posted by Tom Glowacki
A friend of mine knew a SCCA tech inspector who did the tech inspection at the Detroit GP. The inspector said if it had been a FF at a SCCA regional and not a F-1 Ferrari at Detroit, they'd have sent the entrant and the car home.


How did they get away with it? If, as your friend obviously knows there was, there were standards that had to be met in FF races did these not apply to F1? If they did apply to F1, why did Ferrari get away with not being up to the regs? Looking at the pictures of the seatbelt fittings, it's just incredible the level of - what else can one call it - carelessness and stupidity. Locating the belts onto a back panel only vaguely attached to the car, and those bolts.....what!!!?

Originally posted by Twin Window But, overriding all of that, must be the dreadful fact that his poor mother was in the pits right in front of the incident. Just awful, and I'll never forget the images I saw of her distress at the time. It always reminds me of the fact that that Nella Pryce was in the grandstands opposite the pits when her husband died. Too horrible to believe, frankly.



Those poor women. What a terrible way for a mother to lose a young son. But to be witness to the whole episode....it doesn't bear thinking about.