The 2001 Belgian Grand Prix had to be restarted twice today after a series of events which saw the pole sitter Montoya stall and Jaguar Racing driver Eddie Irvine involved in a major accident with Prost driver Luciano Burti. Eddie was fighting the...
The 2001 Belgian Grand Prix had to be restarted twice today after a series of events which saw the pole sitter Montoya stall and Jaguar Racing driver Eddie Irvine involved in a major accident with Prost driver Luciano Burti. Eddie was fighting the former Jaguar Racing driver for 15th place when Luciano tried overtaking Eddie on the inside of the fast Blanchimont left hand corner. Luciano's front right tyre clipped the Jaguar R2's rear and both drivers went careering off the track at very high speeds. Luciano's impact was significantly more severe than Eddie's with the protective tyre wall completely covering Luciano's car on impact. It took medical crew several minutes to pull the Prost Acer out of the tyres and Luciano was immediately taken off to hospital in Liege. Eddie escaped unhurt. Luciano was diagnosed as being concussed but in a stable condition.
Pedro de la Rosa's race also took an unfortunate turn of events when, at the second re-start, he was hit by two cars going in the first hairpin, La Source. The Sauber of Nick Heidfeld hit Pedro on the inside and pushed Pedro into another car on his left. It is unclear at this stage as to which car Pedro was pushed into.
Pedro de la Rosa
"What a terrible end to what could have been a points-scoring race for us. There really isn't too much to say. I got a relatively good start and as I was going into La Source, I noticed Heidfeld's Sauber coming-up on the inside. He obviously mis-judged the situation and hit me. The impact forced my car over to the left of the track but there was somebody there and I felt another impact. I suffered a rear puncture and when I came into the pits for a new tyre the team also identified damage to the rear suspension. That was really all there was to it. Another racing incident, I know, but that's little consolation."
"I was taking my line out of Stavelot and into Blanchimont. There wasn't anything unusual about my entry into the fast left hander but midway through the corner I felt an impact on the rear and after that I was a passenger. I knew Luciano was there, but I simply didn't expect him to have a go on the inside of that corner. He hit the wall very hard indeed and I'm glad he's OK. The head and neck restraint system played a key role in saving Luciano from serious injury today. I was the first on the scene and his head was literally pushed over to one side with the weight of the tyres. The head and neck restraint system obviously absorbed the impact of the tyres. There's nothing more I want to add at this stage. There's a Steward's Meeting after the race and only then will we have the facts as presented by both parties. I'm just thankful that Luciano is OK."
Niki Lauda, Team Principal
"A terrible weekend for Jaguar Racing. Not the best first weekend in charge, but I learned a lot. There's nothing one can do about bad luck, but there are plenty of other areas that need addressing before we are happy. We didn't take full advantage of the weekend and a better qualifying performance should have been ours. The race situation was out of our control and I'm not apportioning any blame on the drivers today. They did their best, but we as a team should be doing a lot better over a three-day weekend. It's no good putting all your eggs into the race and we must arrive on the grid in far better shape and far higher up the order. With only three races left, our quest for points is paramount, especially with Benetton scoring more points again and in the process, making our lives even harder."
de la Rosa: R2-07
Spare (Irvine): R2-04