Australian GP death linked to mechanical failure

By Erica Southey - Motorsport.com The Australian Grand Prix Chief Ron Walker, said today (Monday 5 March), that the failure of the cables designed to secure tyres to Jacques Villeneuve's BAR-Honda was the cause of the wheels flying off on ...

By Erica Southey - Motorsport.com The Australian Grand Prix Chief Ron Walker, said today (Monday 5 March), that the failure of the cables designed to secure tyres to Jacques Villeneuve's BAR-Honda was the cause of the wheels flying off on impact with the track catch fencing

Jacques Villeneuve's BAR-Honda collided with Ralf Schumacher's BMW Williams machine near the beginning of the Sunday race, sending the French Canadian flying through the air, while debris from his car splintered in all directions. One of the wheels killing a nearby marshal, who has been identified as the 52-yr old Graham Beveridge.

The impact tore the rear wing off Schumacher's Williams, and he skidded to a stop in a gravel trap. Villeneuve's car went airborne, spun around and impacted a retaining wall and catch fence tail-first, forcing the nose of the car into the ground, tearing the right-front wheel off the car and destroying the back end.

Momentum carried the car along the retaining wall and apparently the right-front wheel passed through an access hole in the catch fence and hit the unfortunate marshal in the chest.

Medical assistance was on the scene immediately, but reportedly the marshal's heart had stopped beating. Medical technicians applied heart massage on the scene and in the ambulance en route to Alfred hospital, but he was unable to be revived and was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Walker denies that safety regulations should be upgraded. He ascribes the accident to mechanical failure and went on to assure fans, that all safety precautions were taken in terms of track safety.

Former triple World Champion, Niki Lauda, has called for an inquiry into the tragic death of Mr Beveridge.

Jacques Villeneuve's BAR-Honda was impounded by the Victorian State coroner, Mr Graeme Johnston, as part of a routine investigation. Both Jacques Villeneuve and Ralf Schumacher were questioned as part of the investigation. Jacques Villeneuve, said that it is going to take time to sink in, due to the fact that he suffers from shock at the tragedy. Jacques checked himself into a Melbourne hospital for a check-up after he suffered stiffness in his neck following the crash and sustained bruises.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Ralf Schumacher , Jacques Villeneuve , Niki Lauda
Teams Williams