Skip to main content

These Formula One drivers survived horrific crashes and lived to drive again, reports Jeff Pappone

1 of 10

Alex Zanardi: Alex Zanardi had both legs sliced off above the knees in a terrifying accident in the 2001 CART race at the EuroSpeedway in Lausitz, Germany. While he never raced again in CART or F1, he drove a specially modified BMW Sauber F1 car in a 2006 test in Valencia, Spain. He won four World Touring Car Championship races driving a hand-controlled BMW.

MATTHIAS HIEKEL/AFP PHOTO EPA/DPA

2 of 10

Niki Lauda sustained severe burns in a fiery crash in the 1976 German Grand Prix at the famed Nurburgring. The three time world champion returned to the car six weeks later at Monza in Italy and drove to fourth.

Getty Images

3 of 10

Gerhard Berger: The fast response of the fire marshals saved Gerhard Berger from serious injury after he crashed in the 1989 San Marino Grand Prix in Imola and his car burst into flames. He missed one race but had to bandage his scarred hands before races for the rest of his career. These pictures show the Austrian's Ferrari crashing on the 4th lap of the Imola circuit.

AFP/Getty Images

4 of 10

Jackie Stewart: In the 1966 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps, future three time world champion Jackie Stewart lost control in the rain at 260 kilometres per hour and slammed into a telephone pole and a building before being trapped in his car as gasoline poured out of the tank onto him. He suffered a broken shoulder and ribs but came back after missing one race. He is pictured here travelling to St. Thomas Hospital with his wife Helen.

Getty Images

Story continues below advertisement

5 of 10

Felipe Massa: In Hungary in 2009, Felipe Massa was struck in the head by a spring that fell off another car. He suffered several broken bones on the left side of his face and almost lost his eye. A few centimetres to the right and he may have been killed. He missed the rest of the season and returned to race in 2010. The 28-year-old Brazilian driver arrived home in Sao Paulo with his wife and accompanied by a doctor a week after undergoing surgery for serious head injuries.

NELSON ALMEIDA/AFP/Getty Images

6 of 10

Mika Hakkinen almost died in a high speed accident during qualifying for the 1995 season finale in Australia and survived only because doctors performed an emergency tracheotomy after he was pulled from the car. He was back at the start of the 1996 season and went on to win two world titles. Pictured: Hakkinen is removed from the wreckage of his McLaren and taken to Royal Adelaide hospital.

Reuters

7 of 10

Robert Kubica: In the 2007 Canadian Grand Prix, Robert Kubica escaped a 300 kilometre per hour run into a wall and a cartwheel down the track with only a sore ankle and a concussion. He missed one race.

Paul Gilham/Getty Images

8 of 10

Rubens Barrichello: During one of F1 worst weekends ever, Rubens Barrichello survived a high-speed crash in practice for the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix. His car got airborne and hit the top of a tire barrier before landing upside down. He was taken to hospital for observation but was released and started the next race. Three time world champion Ayrton Senna and rookie Roland Ratzenberger died in separate crashes that same weekend.

Marco Guidetti/Reuters

9 of 10

Michael Schumacher broke his leg in a crash at the 1999 British Grand Prix and missed six races. He returned for the final two races of the year and took second in both. The next season, he began a run of five consecutive world championships. Pictured, his damaged Ferrari is lifted onto a flat bed truck after the crash on the first lap at Stowe corner, during the British Grand Prix in Silverstone, England.

Max Nash/AP Photo

10 of 10

Karl Wendlinger's heavy accident at the 1994 Monaco Grand Prix kept him out of the car until the next season with a severe concussion. While he returned to F1 in 1995 he was never the same and was out of the sport by the end of the year. Emergency services gather around the Austrian's crashed Sauber after he hit the guard rail at high speed at the exit of the tunnel. He was taken to hospital in serious condition.

Reuters

Report an error
Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Thank you!

You are now subscribed to the newsletter at

You can unsubscribe from this newsletter or Globe promotions at any time by clicking the link at the bottom of the newsletter, or by emailing us at privacy@globeandmail.com.