Prost Acer driver Luciano Burti suffered a terrible accident during the Belgian Grand Prix which took place today at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit. On lap 5, while he was trying to overtake Eddie Irvine's Jaguar in the Blanchimont corner, their...
Prost Acer driver Luciano Burti suffered a terrible accident during the Belgian Grand Prix which took place today at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit. On lap 5, while he was trying to overtake Eddie Irvine's Jaguar in the Blanchimont corner, their cars touched and Luciano went off at a very high speed, crashing into the tyre wall which fell on him on impact. The Medical crew cautiously extracted him from his car and diagnosed he was in stable conditions but concussed. He was transported to the hospital in Liège, where he underwent a complete check. He suffers bruising into places on his head and face. Brain scan showed head injury but with no brain swelling. As a precautionary measure, he will spend the night in observation and will undergo another scan tomorrow morning.
Heinz-Harald Frentzen - 9th "Unfortunately it started in the worst way with a stall on the grid. I had a dog to dog in the gearbox, I could not shift into first gear quick enough, so I tried to push the neutral, and to switch into first gear again, but the last light of the start procedure was almost off and I probably clutched too early. It was a very confusing situation. But the worst was to see Luciano's accident, it was really terrible and it was nice to hear before the second start that he was conscious and able to speak. For the rest, we tried to adapt our strategy as I had to start from the back of the grid. But my car's balance was really affected by an early impact with Montoya, which broke the side pod and the floor. I lost a lot of downforce. Finally it was really not a race in which we could fight for points"
Henri Durand - Technical Director : "After good practice sessions and a very respectable morning warm-up we had good expectations for the race. However Heinz' stall on the grid did seriously compromised his chance of a good result. We do not yet have a full explanation of the reasons for that and will investigate it in due course. As a result of his stall, he started from the back of the grid and had an encounter with two other cars very early on, which damaged his bodywork and compromised the aerodynamic balance of his car. Following Luciano's accident, it was difficult for us to keep focused, but we knew Luciano was in good hands and we tried to do our best to recover Heinz' race. While the safety car was out we tried to put enough fuel in his car to go on a one-stop stategy which was in Heinz' sight a mistake. The combination of him running high fuel load and damaged bodywolrk meant that his car was lacking balance and grip for the whole race. We come empty handed from this weekend but with a certain relief that Luciano is OK. For sure in any aspect our next race will be better."
Alain Prost : "We were hoping for a good result today, but things turned out in a totally unexpected way. Heinz-Harald had a very difficult race, but most of all, we have been really frightened by Luciano's accident. It is almost a miracle that he is now out of danger, considering the violence of the impact. This confirms the constant safety improvements of both the F1 monocoques and of the circuit equipments. We are now a bit relieved and all the team is looking forward to see him recovering very soon. All our thoughts go to him and his family."