Five spectacular airborne F1 crashes

Massa car closeup

Five of the most spectacular upside-down crashes in F1 history - all of which saw the driver escape without injury.

Felipe Massa’s head-over-heels accident in yesterday’s German Grand Prix was terrifying, but once the driver has stepped unharmed from the car the replays make for spectacular viewing. F1 has had several crashes of a similar nature down the years. Here are five of the best. 

Luciano Burti - Hockenheim, 2001

Massa’s countryman Luciano Burti had a huge roll of his own at Hockenheim. At the start of the 2001 race the Prost driver slammed into the back of Michael Schumacher, who was creeping off the line due to a technical problem. Burti was launched into the air and suffered a series of terrifying rolls - but somehow walked away uninjured.

Mark Webber - Valencia, 2010

This is about as scary as they come. Webber was lapping the Caterham of Heikki Kovalainen during the 2010 European Grand Prix at Valencia, but misjudged his move. The Finn’s car became a launchpad, sending Webber into the air before he came crashing back to earth upside-down. The Australian then made heavy contact with the tyre barrier, but was nevertheless able to climb from his car and walk away.

Alexander Wurz - Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 1998

Alexander Wurz came a cropper at the start of the 1998 Canadian Grand Prix after he badly misjudged his braking into turn one. The subsequent collision sent Wurz into the gravel and a series of rolls ensued. Fortunately, the Austrian emerged unscathed.

Andrea de Cesaris - Österreichring, 1985

How Andrea de Cesaris walked away from this one is anyone’s guess. The Italian crashed spectacularly during the 1985 Austrian Grand Prix, sliding into the grass and then bouncing upside-down along the bank. Given the uneven surface, it’s a miracle that the Ligier driver climbed unaided from his stricken car. He even had mud from the bank on his crash-helmet and overalls afterwards.

Jarno Trulli - Silverstone, 2004

This huge crash for Jarno Trulli during the 2004 British Grand Prix ended with the Italian rolling through the gravel. He’d already suffered a heavy impact at high speed beforehand and the car’s roll-hoop then appeared to dig into the ground, making his escape all the more incredible.