The Crazy Formula: Five Mental Silverstone Moments
Five crazy moments from the classic Silverstone Circuit.
With the fantastic news coming out earlier this evening that Silverstone is set to stay on the F1 calendar until at least 2024, there is no better time to look at some of the mentally fantastic moments this historic track has given us. The former RAF World War II airfield played host to the very first official F1 World Championship Grand Prix in 1950, and has been a fond part of Formula 1’s history ever since.
Known for it’s fast, high speed nature, Silverstone underwent a reconstruction and ran a different layout from 2011, adding a second long straight and changing the position of the start/finish line and pit garages. The circuit is much loved amongst F1 drivers and fans alike, and is one of the most anticipated and loved rounds on the calendar.
1. Total Wipeout '73
The first lap of the 1973 British Grand Prix will probably go down as one of the biggest first lap accidents in Formula One history, resulting in a staggering 11 cars being taken out of the race thanks to the accident, leaving only 13 cars in the accident. It all came from an accident by McLaren’s Jody Scheckter, who hit the pit wall coming out of the final corner, Woodcote, and bounced back into the path of his oncoming rivals. Despite one driver suffering serious injuries, it was quite the miracle that nobody was killed in the accident.
Nigel Mansell drove home to an extremely well received victory for Williams in 1991 after a tense duel with McLaren rival Ayrton Senna throughout the race. However, it would not be the race that would be remembered as well as its aftermath. Senna ran out of fuel on the last lap and would be officially classified in fourth place, but as Mansell came around on his cooldown lap to return to the pits after taking the chequered flag, he unleashed his inner-uber and stopped to bring Senna back to the pits, forming that now iconic picture of the duo. Wonder did Senna have trouble with MyTaxi too?
3. Schumacher Wins...In The Pits
Eh, yeah..I still don’t understand this either. Ferrari’s Michael Schumacher was leading the 1998 edition of the race after taking the lead from McLaren’s Mika Hakkinen with ten laps to go when he handed a stop-and-go penalty after being found guilty of passing Alex Wurz under Safety Car conditions a few laps beforehand. Given three laps to serve the penalty, Schumacher came in on the last lap, crossing the line to finish the race in the process. Ferrari argued that they were made aware of the penalty too late to be able to properly serve it, and after a number of arguments and debates, the race stewards and the FIA eventually rescinded the penalty and handed Schumacher the win.
4 Horan Down the Hangar
Now, relying on my inner virtual F1 driver self, I can imagine the last thing you want to see when you’re going wheel-to-wheel with your rivals is a person standing in the way as you approach at nearly 200 mph. Well, at the 2003 British Grand Prix, that’s exactly what the drivers saw as they blasted down the Hangar Straight on lap 12. Irish priest and known lunatic Father Neil Horan managed to get out onto the circuit and run towards the cars as they sped down the straight, wearing a skirt and holding a sign encouraging patrons that the bible is always right. A safety car was deployed and Horan was quickly removed by marshals. Horan’s other escapades include tripping contestants during the men’s marathon at the 2004 Olympics and dancing on Britain’s Got Talent, while the incident wouldn’t be the first – or last – time a spectator made their way onto a Grand Prix circuit. Did I mention he was Irish? Yeah, I probably shouldn’t shout that too loudly..
5. Hamilton's Home Masterclass
Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton has the chance of becoming the most successful driver at Silverstone as he goes for a record sixth win this coming weekend, but his very first win on home soil for McLaren in 2008 has to be regarded as one of his best wins to date. Still a fresh faced 23-year old in only his second F1 season. During a race remembered for its treacherous rain and awful weather, the young and somewhat still inexperienced Hamilton showed his true style as he kept his head down and won the race by over a minute to second-placed Nick Heidfeld and managing to lap everybody to fourth place, while other title rivals such as Felipe Massa struggled badly in the conditions. A glimpse of what was to come from the then McLaren young gun.