Fittipaldi spent night in intensive care after violent 72G start-line crash

2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

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Enzo Fittipaldi, one of the two drivers involved in the violent start-line crash in Formula 2’s feature race in Jeddah last weekend, has given an update on his condition.

The grandson of two-time Formula 1 world champion Emerson Fittipaldi drove into the rear of ART’s Theo Pourchaire, who had stalled on the grid several rows in front of him, in Sunday evening’s race and their collision led to red flags being waved.

The race was heavily delayed while the pair were extracted from their cars. The impact, which Fittipaldi confirmed had a force of 72G, sent debris over the pit wall.

Both drivers were taken to hospital. Pourchaire reported later that evening he was uninjured, while information on Fittipaldi only came to light on Monday.

“Hey guys, I am very grateful that I only broke my heel and have some cuts and bruises,” Fittipaldi posted on social media from the hospital bed he is recovering in. “Thank you all for the messages, as well as the FIA and medical staff for taking great care of me. I am very happy that Theo is okay. I will be back on track soon and faster than ever.”

The FIA subsequently confirmed in a statement Fittipaldi suffered a fracture in his right heel as well as a “lesion on his left eyebrow”. He is said to be “making good progress” after spending a night in intensive care.

The F2 season concludes this weekend in Abu Dhabi, and neither of the teams involved in the crash has stated whether they will be able to complete the chassis repairs that would be required to the two cars for them to be race-ready by this Friday.

Pourchaire, who earlier on in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix weekend had spun into the turn 22 barriers at high-speed and carried damage from that crash into a 19th-to-sixth charge in the Saturday night sprint race, also reassure fans on social media he was recovering well.

“I’m globally fine,” Pourchaire wrote. “For the moment I don’t know if it’s already the end of the season for me. But the most important is not that, that was a really big one and Enzo is injured. I wish him the best recovery possible.”

In an exchange with fellow driver Jake Hughes, Pourchaire said the crash might not have happened if F2 cars were fitted with anti-stall electronics. “This is not acceptable to not have an anti-stall,” he wrote. “We could have avoided that.”

Stalling was a frequent problem when the Dallara F2 2018 chassis was first introduced to the championship three years ago. A spate of failed getaways led the series to temporarily replace standing starts with rolling ones. Since then teams have begun using different throttle maps which reduce the risk of stalling.

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2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

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Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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6 comments on “Fittipaldi spent night in intensive care after violent 72G start-line crash”

  1. Glad it isn’t worse really, hope to see both of them back in the car soon, hopefully next race.

  2. Impressive that both came away from this accident in decent shape.

    Anyone understand how the chassis is causing the stalls? Seems like an engine or drive issue instead of a chassis.

    1. RandomMallard (@)
      6th December 2021, 17:11

      @blueruck ‘The chassis’ I think is just the generalised term for this generation of F2 cars. It is much more likely a drivetrain or engine issue, but those parts are all spec and homologated at the same time as the rest of the car, which is usually referred to as the 2018 chassis, so it’s just become the accepted terminology for the car and everything inside it (I believe).

  3. Wonderful news. I was so worried for both drivers, especially Enzo. This could have been so much worse. Lady Luck shone her light on those boys on Sunday.

  4. I saw his hospital picture on Twitter.
    He’s got a cut above his left eyebrow and a huge black eye.

    Did anyone happen to read how that happened?

    Superficially it looks a lot like Massa’s injury in ’09. Luckily less severe because of the improved reinforcements in the top of the helmet. Alternatively he hit his steering wheel (like Barrichello ’94). Regardless, it must have been a hell of an impact.
    The worst cause I can think of would be that something penetrated his visor. Which seems more unlikely, because then he would have been extremely lucky to survive…

  5. The problem seems that there isn’t anti-stall system in those cars. With it in use, Pourchaire would have probably recovered – a poor start surely, getting going when someone like 5th row goes past him.

    It would also reduce subsequent safety cars when someone has a otherwise harmless spin on the track.

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