Did terrorists blow up a bridge at a Grand Prix in the 1960s? Why did an old Ferrari F1 car snap in half? And where does ‘The Stig’ get its name from?
Answers to these and more of your questions below.
Bridge collapsing onto a track
Here’s an unusual question from Kim:
During the 60’s I believe, terrorists took out a pedestrian bridge during a formation lap and the bridge with people fell on the cars. What year and track was that?
There are a few instances of bridges falling onto tracks during races. I think the one you’re after is the sad incident at a Formula Junior race at Aix-le-Bains, France, in 1960. However, I’ve never heard any claims of foul play being involved.
The reports I’ve seen put the blame for the bridge collapse on the large number of people standing on the temporary structure. It came down across the circuit during the race.
One of the first drivers on the scene was Keith Ballisat in a car entered by Ken Tyrrell. He spun his car to a halt, avoiding the stricken spectators who had tumbled from the bridge.
But Chris Threlfall was unable to avoid the wreckage and crashed into the remains of the bridge. He was killed, along with two other spectators.
The closest we have seen to anything like this in modern Formula 1 is probably the occasion in 2000 when advertising hoardings fell onto the track during qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos, forcing the stoppage of the session.
1961/2 German Grand Prix
Alan is trying to identify a car from the German Grand Prix:
I have some old black and white negatives from a rainy 1961/62 Grand Prix at the Nurburgring. Cannot for the life of me pin down car #28 make and driver despite multiple searches.
I haven’t seen the pictures, but my dog-eared “Grand Prix Data Book” tells me the number 28 car in 1961 was a Cooper-Climax T53 driven by Jackie Lewis and in 1962 a Lotus-BRM 24 piloted by Heinz Schiller. Would be interested to see the pics if you can share them (use the drop.io or email if you prefer).
Lewis Hamilton pictures
Hamilton fan Jackie writes:
Hi there I was wondering if you can help me I am doing a file on Lewis Hamilton. Do you know where I can get GP2 photos of Lewis Hamilton driving in races at the different tracks?
I get a lot of questions for pictures of drivers, particularly Hamilton. With that in mind I’ve started updating the driver biographies sections to include more pictures of them, starting with Hamilton. Here’s the updated section on Hamilton plus lots of pictures of him in GP2 in 2006.
Texan F1 fan has a Top Gear-ish question:
Not really an F1 question but maybe you can answer it? So, The Stig is the test driver on Top Gear, right? Where did that name come from? Does it mean something that Americans might not “get”? I have seen some Top Gear shows on YouTube, but I’m out of the loop.
It’s well know that the original black-suited Stig was former Andrea Moda F1 driver Perry McCarthy. In his autobiography “Flat out, flat broke” he claimed The Stig was originally going to be called The Gimp, because of the all-back outfit.
After he refused to get stuck with such a dubious name they settled on The Stig, which was a nickname presenter Jeremy Clarkson remembered from school.
Ferrari snapped in half
Aaron spotted this astonishing picture:
I stumbled across this picture and thought you’d be my best bet to tell me who it was. It looks quite astonishing though.
There’s a lot of speculation about exactly what happened to this 1999-spec Ferrari F399. What is known is that it was driven by Dutchman Federico Kroymans in a demonstration event at Laguna Seca in California five years ago. He crashed at turn six and went into the barriers at around 66mph (106kph).
Any F1 fan who’s seen the picture will be astonished by how a comparatively low-speed impact did such serious damage to a relatively recent car.
Did the car have some pre-existing damage to the chassis that was not repaired? There was speculation that the chassis might be the same one Michael Schumacher crashed at Silverstone in 1999, breaking his leg.
But this seems unlikely. There is another suggestion that Kroymans made modifications to the car himself in order to accommodate his tall frame (which is clearly evident in this picture). This could have weakened the car’s ability to withstand impacts.
Today heritage Ferrari F1 cars are run by the company’s Corse Clienti division. This was who supplied the F2007 that Michael Schumacher drove at Mugello recently.
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