A on March 17th it will be back on Be subject. Then Robert Kubica makes his Formula 1 comeback after a 3,045 days break in racing in the Williams. The 33-year-old Pole drove his last Grand Prix on November 14, 2010 in Abu Dhabi. There are 158 grand prix between then and the 2019 season opener in Melbourne. Kubica was considered a future world champion in specialist circles. On February 6, 2011, a world collapsed for the 2008 Montreal winner. In a rally accident, Kubica injured his right hand so severely that it is only 10 percent functional.
Kubica fought his way back with an iron will. At first it looked as if the Formula 1 star would only be able to race in rally cars or touring cars with spacious cockpits. But the Pole trained until he was able to steer again even in the confines of a Formula 1 cockpit. Mainly with the left arm. With the right one he just follows up and gets his feedback from the steering wheel.
Last unction for Lauda and Surtees
Kubica stands for a whole series of drivers who come back after serious accidents Find the way back to the racing car. We won't know whether his comeback will be a success until a few Grand Prix 2019 have passed. However, there are examples in which drivers were not impressed by serious injuries and were as good as before after the accident. The most famous example is certainly Niki Lauda, who finished fourth at the Italian GP 42 days after his fire accident at the Nürburgring. Six weeks earlier, Lauda struggled with death for three days. A pastor had already donated the last unction to him.
Even John Surtees hovered between life and death for days after an accident in Mosport in 1965. He too had already been ordained as a priest. The Englishman was buried under his Lola sports car after a rollover. Surtees suffered fractures in his legs, pelvis and spine, and his kidneys were crushed. 252 days after the accident, the indestructible was back at the start of a Grand Prix. Enzo Ferrari had even offered Surtees to equip the car with hand throttle and manual transmission should Surtees still have problems with his legs. But Surtees bit his way through and won the second race after his comeback in Spa.
Juan-Manuel Fangio broke two neck vertebrae in an accident in Monza in June 1952. The injury put him on sick leave for the remainder of the season. In 1953 the maestro returned. He was then four times world champion.
Nino Farina burned his legs in training for a sports car race in Monza at the end of June 1954. The season was also over for the tough fighter from Turin. After a mandatory break of 210 days, he got back into his Ferrari at the start of the 1955 season. The burns still hurt. Farina had an injection of morphine before the start. He still took part in three Grand Prix, finishing them third, fourth and third.
Stirling Moss also proved his ability to take when he had an accident during training for the Belgian GP in 1960 and was hospitalized with a fractured vertebra. Just 57 days later, Moss made his comeback at the GP Portugal. There he was disqualified because he briefly drove his car against the direction of the race after a spin. The convalescent won the following Grand Prix in the USA on Lotus.
The fastest comeback after a broken leg
Graham Hill's career seemed to end with the GP USA in 1969. The two-time world champion fell unbuckled from the car after a rollover and broke his legs several times. Just 152 days later, Hill forced himself back into his Lotus at the 1970 GP in South Africa. He still walked on crutches. The 6th place was an act of will.
Patrick Depailler was seriously injured on Pentecost Sunday 1979 when he crashed in a hang-glider near Clermont-Ferrand. Both legs were broken several times. The French had to skip eight races. At the 1980 season opener in Argentina, he hobbled with a walking stick to his Alfa Romeo. Driving but not walking.
Olivier Panis took a break of 105 days after his broken leg at the 1997 Canadian GP. Then he was back in his ligier. His career after the accident lasted until the end of 2004. Panis lost nothing of its speed. His compatriot Jean-Pierre Jabouille did. The man who pioneered Renault's turbo project never fully recovered from his severe leg fractures after an accident in Montreal in 1980. After three races in the Ligier 1981 at the end of the field it was over.
Michael Schumacher allowed himself only 98 days of rest after his broken leg at Silverstone 1999. Then he returned to the circus at the Malaysia GP. Not entirely voluntarily. Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo had to ask him. Schumacher should help teammate Eddie Irvine to win the title. The plan failed. Schumacher fulfilled the mission a year later.
Three luck in misfortune
Ralf Schumacher was gone for as long as his brother five after his crash in Indianapolis in 2004 due to a severe concussion and fractured vertebrae Years before: Six races, 98 days. The accident was much more serious than that of his brother. On impact, the driver was pressed into the cockpit rear wall with 78 g. The gearbox was halfway in the engine. The then Formula 1 doctor Sid Watkins judged: 'If the angle of the angle into the wall had only been a little less favorable, Ralf would not have survived the accident.'
Felipe Massa was also lucky when he was in training at the GP Hungary 2009 hit a spring of a car in front on the helmet. The Brazilian suffered severe head injuries. Ferrari reserved a car for him for 2010. Massa was just the same again. Or not? The 2008 runner-up was on the podium 13 times over the next eight years, but he never won a race.
Mika Häkkinen also scarcely missed death in Adelaide in 1995. His McLaren crashed into a pile of tires after a flat tire. The driver's head hit the steering wheel hard. HANS didn't exist back then. Häkkinen fractured the base of his skull. Because it was the last race of the year, the Finn didn't even have to miss a race. 120 days later he was back at the start. And finished fifth. Two years later, Häkkinen became world champion.
Schumi's voluntary break lasted 1,239 days
In addition to the breaks forced by accidents, there are also voluntary ones with no less spectacular comebacks. Michael Schumacher suspended a total of 1,239 days between 2006 and 2010. His return in the Mercedes was a sensation. Unfortunately not sporty. Mercedes didn't have a car to win in the three Schumacher years. The most successful driver of all time was on the podium only once in his second career and set the fastest time in practice, which was only 6th on the grid due to a penalty.
Niki Lauda did better. He said goodbye in autumn 1979 by saying that he no longer wanted to go around in circles. The Austrian took care of setting up his airline. In 1982 he returned to the circus after 867 days of private life. With a 4th place in the debut, a victory in the third race and a world title two years later.
Kimi Räikkönen won three more Grand Prix after two years in the rally scene. Two for Lotus, one for Ferrari. Alain Prost consciously took a year off in 1992. There was no competitive car for the French. Prost used the break to position himself with the best car for his comeback. He got the Williams contract, and archenemy Ayrton Senna looked down the tube. The plan with the fourth world title worked.
Alan Jones was gone twice. From the USA GP in mid-1981 to the USA West GP in 1983 and from there to the Italian GP in 1985. Neither the second nor the third attempt at Arrows and Haas-Lola were crowned with success. Nigel Mansell said goodbye to Formula 1 as world champion in anger at the end of 1992. Bernie Ecclestone brought him back 602 days later. In between, Mansell had won the IndyCar title. In 1994 the Englishman only took part in four races because he was still doing his IndyCar duties in the USA. Mansell finished his guest starts with the perfect result. He won the Australian GP at the end of the season.
Three lesser-known drivers took the longest breaks in motorsport history. They were neither forced nor voluntary. There was simply no cockpit for them in between. Jan Lammers missed 164 races and 3,767 days between the 1982 GP and the 1992 Japanese GP. Luca Badoer had an absence of 167 races and 3,584 daysand number three in the statistics Pete Lovely on 87 races and 3,226 days.
auto motor und sport is celebrating the 1,000th. Formula 1 races this season with a large series in 100 parts. In the daily countdown we provide you with an exciting story and interesting video features from the history of the premier class. You can find all previous articles on our >> Overview page for the big anniversary Grand Prix.