Incredible amateur video of Fittipaldi’s 1993 Monza crash

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No-one who saw the 1993 Italian Grand Prix will forget Christian Fittipaldi’s heart-stopping backflip across the finishing line. And plenty of other fans will know it from the video that aired at the time.

But I’d never seen this video of the accident filmed by a fan at the track before. Here’s a new angle on one of F1’s most famous crashes.

You can hear the crowd gasp and see the gantry where the man waving the chequered flag was standing, just a few metres away from where Fittipaldi flew through the air. The side-on angle shows just how far he travelled in an accident which began as the cars were pushing towards 200mph.

Fitipaldi was trying to pass Minardi team mate Pierluigi Martini for seventh place at the time. The two cars made contact, Fittipaldi’s M193 flew into the air and, with incredible fortune, landed on all four wheels, still pointing the right way. And he still had enough momentum to get across the line.

Afterwards, Fittipaldi was furious with his team mate. The crash illustrates just how dangerous and unpredictable crashes between open-wheel cars at high speeds can be. And why rules on acceptable driving standards need to be clearer than they are now.

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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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  • 33 comments on “Incredible amateur video of Fittipaldi’s 1993 Monza crash”

    1. Why do FOM insist on taking videos down? They same to do everything they can to stop the fans enjoyment.

      I had a video where I recreated some of F1’s best momemnts on GP4. It got over 250,000 views and then FOM took it down. I’d like to know why as it was footage from the game?

      Anyway this bit of footage is incredible. I watched a bit of fan footage from Spa 2008 at the bus stop, gave me goosebumps when the whole crowd were cheering! :D

      1. Very silly isn’t it? Sometimes I am unable to show my friends some great clips to get them interested in F1 but I can’t because FOM takes them down!

        Absolutely stupid as it could be good publicity for the sport.

      2. I’d like to see that video, Tommy.

        1. For some reason they kept this one up but took down the recreation of Montreal 2007 down :(

          1. Wow, really impressive video. I haven’t played GP4 in a looooong time. Need to get me some of those early 90’s mods though, they look excellent.

          2. Really Miss the good old Murray Walker. Nobody has come any close to his style of generating enthusiasm in every lap of even the dullest GP.

          3. I am hamsur :D
            20th January 2010, 2:07

            I am from montreal… sorry for that one Tommy :( . Keep gaming though :D

      3. FOM taking down videos from sites such as YouTube would be understandable if they offered an alternative but they don’t, you can’t even buy season reviews from most years on DVD.

      4. In 2013… nonsense

    2. Wow amazing! Quite incredible the distance he travelled. I remember seeing this as a kid, Murray Walkers reaction after seeing the replay was ace.

      I think this is a great f1 fan video.

      The speed he hits! And the lucky marshall.

    3. Everytime I see the video (from whichever side or point of view) I realize how lucky was him :-P

    4. Wow, that’s pretty incredible. It adds to the whole event when you hear the crowd’s reaction.

    5. Amazing it was indeed. I was there with my wife and I sat quite nearby from where this footage is taken. It must be the old Agip Petroli grandstand. I remember looking to the right just as the two Minardis came out of the Parabolica and I couldn’t believe my eyes when this amazing accident happened, more or less, in front of us. My wife didn’t see it though, she was reading a book…

    6. Tommy’s right, in a sport such as F1 with it’s passionate fans it should realise that the power of the internet can have. It’s amazed me that FOM keep taking down great clips of F1 which memories live on for the older and younger fans. Youtube and other video sharing sites are great for people to learn more about other cultures and intrests and FOM need to realise the web’s potential. Yes now has videos up on it’s site showing brief highlights of races, i seem to recall first seeing a video on there after the fiasco between Massa and Bourdais in Fuji in 2008, when the frenchman was wrongly penalised after Massa collided into him. Also there were clips of the start of the race, from different onboard and action viewpoints where Lewis was penalised after his start in which he forced the ferrari’s wide.

      Anyway as for the video that you’ve shown for us Keith, it’s an intresting and almost scary viewpoint. All of us growing up on here would have imagined wanting to be an F1 driver, the glory, the speed and hey let’s face it the women. But for Christian to experience a somersault is awfully scary and he was dreadfully lucky to only suffer abit of shock not having his life ended.

    7. Awesome footage! I love clips like this, you get to see things from a different angle.

      I couldn’t believe my eyes at the time, because to see an F1 was go through the vertical like that is unheard of!

      The crowds reaction is great, they are initially stunned by the Fitipaldi accident, by their minds are soon back on to looking for the Ferrari cars coming across the line!

      I also though Jean Alesi might have jumped the start when field gets away – what do you think?

      Also who is the car that is missing from his grid slot? There’s a quiz question for the F1 fanatics.

      1. That’s JJ Lehto. He started from the back. This race is also historic because it was Michael Andrettis last race in F1 – despite coming third. His short stay with McLaren was close to a fiasco. He was replaced by Häkkinen.

        1. That’s proper F1 Fanatic knowledge right there :-)

          1. Thanks Keith!
            Been a fan of F1 since 1977, although the interest has diminshed slightly the last couple of years. But your site has started to change that. It’s absolutely fantastic! Thanks!

          2. This was hardcore and I remember it well because I was standing in the pit lane exactly level with where the car took off and watched it loop the loop with my heart in my mouth. It was like Hot Wheels!

            I remember how calm everyone was in the pit lane, like it was no big deal. I was working as a pit reporter for ESPN in those days. Do you remember that a couple of years earlier Riccardo Patrese had flipped and almost gone over in a Williams? Andretti drove very well that day for his podium, just before he was dropped.

    8. Reminds me of Monza ’61. Close running at high speed…always dangerous. That being said, I certainly despise the present chicanes.

      The track layout itself certainly seems straight forward enough, but then probably the all time leader in track simplicity was Reims, and it could be deadly. Both a case of “velocity-ferocity” I suppose.

    9. if your going to finish in 8th place you may as well finish in style :) … very lucky guy

    10. Prisoner Monkeys
      19th January 2010, 2:35

      It would have been awesome if the car flipped and just kept going …

      1. José Baudaier
        19th January 2010, 6:04

        Whatch it, if Bernie reads it he might considering installing some springs under the car’s front wings so the driver is forced to make one somersault per race. And not on the same lap he takes a shortcut.

    11. I just remember a cartoon where the hero and the bad one raced each other in the final event and in the last lap jumped each other on the rear wing again and again, in something that looked like a continuous Fittipaldi-Martini clash.

    12. A real piece of history here..

      Great hearing the cheers for Alesi at the end.

    13. Bet Fittipaldi was sorry to not still have Fabrizio Barbazza as his team mate….. this was the first race back for Martini in the Minardi team after bringing much needed cash to them. Barbazza (who was born in Monza and for whom it would have been a home race in front of family) was asked to step down for this reason even though he had placed the car in the points twice in the half season with them. Minardi really needed the money Martini brought.

      1. Sandy, Barbazza was replaced by Martini for Silverstone race and this was already Martini’s fifth race of the season.

    14. WOW!!!!!!

      I’m to young to remember this so I have never seen it before.

      Lucky lucky man.

    15. Will never forget that one. When his car took off, I forgot to breathe. Thought the poor guy had no chance. One very lucky dude. Scariest thing I ever saw in F1 – 205mph upside down. To this day I can’t believe the car landed the right way up. Not that one should have a list of bad crashes, but this is my number one. The Belgium pile up and Brundle’s Australian flip also stunned me for walkaways (Brundle actually restarted in the spare if memory serves – check out the huge cojones on that guy!).

      Hope this isn’t too controversial, but at end of the day, F1 is all about the balancing act between speed and the ultimate risk. If you geld the sport too much by limiting speed, having a book full of rules about when you can legitimately overtake and wrapping the drivers in 20 layers of kevlar, you will end up with a Playstation sport being won by 13 year olds. No one wants that.

      If Senna, Schmacher, Alonso and Hamilton are anything, they are examples of great drivers who push that bit further than the rest; take bigger risks; use more aggression. They understand the ultimate risk, but the true reward isn’t the money for them I think. It’s the rush of going that bit deeper into a corner, pushing the next guy out wide, being number one.

      That why I watch.

      1. GOd its been years since i’ve seen that, though for me Brundle had the biggest walkaway, well actually he didn’t walk as so much ran back to the pits for the 3rd car …. ah these were the days.

    16. Well said Salty……….I’m 110% into that sentiment.

      It’s difficult to be rational and not be pro-safety. With the extreme risks of GP racing in the early years of the sport…fire being the major culprit, any improvement which made the cars or tracks more survivable was always welcomed. But now,50 years after I first began watching F1, we have a totally different dynamic.

      Today,to a significant degree, the driving is about athletic ability…coordination, balance, reaction time, even visual acuity and endurance…but is it missing some element of courage that once was so manifest to everyone each time a driver climbed into a car?

      Tony Brooks said it best, “An awful lot of people can drive well when they know they can go off the road and not hurt themselves. It’s not the same challenge. That’s what’s wrong today. There’s just no comparison with the sport in our day. I’m not against the idea of safety. But in becoming so safe, it’s become a totally different sport.”
      (from THE LAST ROAD RACE by Richard Williams)

    17. I’ve talked to Christian yesterday at night and he told me about that near-of-death moment while his car was looping and how insane Martini was on that day. After Christian stopped, he was so happy for being a survivor from the accident that the matter with his team-mate was put on second level.

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