The pileup at the end of lap one of the British Grand Prix of 1973 was one of the most spectacular moments in Formula 1 history.
Coming out of Woodcote, the young, charging Jody Scheckter ran wide onto the grass, spun across the track into the pitwall and came to rest broadside in the middle of the track. Cars scattered in avoidance; one just escaped around the back of Jody's McLaren, clipping the rear wing which was removed and bounced into the path of James Hunt, narrowly missing his head and damaging his airbox.
Behind, the Surtees of Pace slewed into a spin but could not avoid Jody's car and Beltoise in the BRM was unable to avoid him. Mass in the other Surtees was caught up as he tried to go to the left and all three headed towards the grass. With Beltoise almost stopped on the track in front of him, Andrea de Adamich arrived at high speed with locked up brakes and nowhere to go. He rammed Beltoise, launching the rear of the BRM into the air, and all four cars headed towards the barrier. With the front end heavily damaged and no more brakes, De Adamich's car rebounded and continued head on into the sleepers further up the track.
The third Surtees of Hailwood attempted to go to the right of Scheckter's McLaren, but Pace and Beltoise's impact pushed it further towards the pitwall and Hailwood was unable to avoid it. Roger Williamson, who was running near the back, then piled in at high speed and was launched on two wheels towards the pitwall, the March coming to rest further down the track.
Unaware of the accident behind them, the leaders continued on for another lap and did not realise the race was being stopped until they came through Woodcote again at full speed. Stewart and Peterson only just got their cars stopped on time as the rest of the field came through, some with locked brakes.
This expensive accident wiped out the entire Surtees team. Andrea de Adamich was trapped in his wrecked car for over half an hour with a broken ankle and the race wasn't restarted for another hour. It was fortunate that no one else was injured.
British Grand Prix
Bernard Cahier, Facebook; Autosport; Asag.sk; TopFoto
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