This Is Why Old Formula 1 Cars Were Absolutely Lethal

By Sam Gibbs on at

We're used to seeing all sorts of horrific-looking crashes in F1, but because the cars are so strong and safe the drivers almost always walk away with barely anything other than bruises. That totally wasn't the case with the cars of old. Those things were terrifyingly dangerous.

What you're looking at here is a classic Formula One race at Laguna Seca in California. When piling through a chicane named The Corkscrew, a Brabham BT44 touches another car and totally flips over, sliding down on the driver's head until grinding to a halt. As you can see in the video, the car's air intake at the top, which you'd think was rigid, completely crumples leaving the driver's head totally exposed.

Thankfully, the crash happened at low speeds, and the driver walked out of there OK. But it just goes to show how far we've come in terms of car safety, and with each advance in F1, there's a trickle-down effect for our road cars, making us safer on the roads (or able to go even faster). [YouTube via Jalopnik]