• Top Tens - Team-mate collisions

Pulling in opposite directions

Martin Williamson and Laurence Edmondson June 7, 2010

Martin Williamson and Laurence Edmondson look at ten instances where team-mates have proved anything but supportive

Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost, McLaren, Suzuka 1989
One of the most infamous collisions in F1 history between team-mates who were anything but. Prost led the drivers' championship by 16 points going into the penultimate race but the pair were hardly talking. After taking an early lead, Prost had been caught by Senna, and at the chicane on lap 46, the Brazilian went to overtake, Prost blocked him and the pair crashed. "I know everybody thinks I did it on purpose," Prost said. "What I say is that I did not open the door, and that's it … he tried to pass and for me the way he did it was impossible, because he was going so much quicker than usual into the braking area. As we came up to the chicane, he was so far back. When you look in your mirrors, and a guy is 20 metres behind you, it's impossible to judge, and I didn't even realise he was trying to overtake me. But at the same time I thought, 'There's no way I'm going to leave him even a one-metre gap. No way'. I came off the throttle braked - and turned in." As Prost climbed out of his crocked McLaren, Senna managed to re-start his car as marshals pushed it, and went on to win the race, only to be disqualified for missing out the chicane ... and Prost was world champion. Who was to blame? Much depends on whether you are a Prost or Senna fan, but the pair did exactly the same thing on the same track 12 months later. Click here to watch on YouTube

Mark Webber and Nico Rosberg, Brazil 2006
Although the accident was relatively straight-forward, Nico Rosberg misjudged his braking into a crowded turn four and tagged Williams team-mate Mark Webber, the race back to the pits that ensued was, in a word, crazy. Webber had a cracked diffuser and lacked rear-end stability while Rosberg had a damaged front wing, inducing copious amounts of understeer. The team realised this and, because a front wing is easily replaced and a diffuser isn't, Webber was told to cede position. But having been rear-ended by his younger team-mate, Webber was not willing to play game. Instead he forced the little upstart off the racing line, onto the dirty part of the track and, with Rosberg's front wing providing next to no downforce, into a massive accident. As he did so the team came over the radio, reiterating the orders for Rosberg to pit first. Webber replied: "Don't think so mate. Britney's in the wall."

James Hunt and Jochen Mass, McLaren, Canada 1977
Leading from Mario Andretti on the 62nd lap, Hunt went to lap team-mate Mass, who was in a distant third, and the pair collided - both spun off, and while Mass continued to take fourth, Hunt was out of the race. There was no doubting who he blamed as he stood on the side of the track, angrily waving his fist as Mass as he passed for several laps. When a steward tried to usher Hunt away he was hit. Hunt was fined $750 for walking on the track and $2000 for thumping the official. Click here to watch on YouTube

Juan Pablo Montoya and Kimi Raikkonen, USA 2006
When Juan Pablo Montoya went to McLaren there was genuine excitement that he might fulfil his potential in F1. However, it soon became clear that he was no better suited to Ron Dennis's team than he had been at Williams. The final straw came on the first lap at Indianapolis, when the brickyard fans were treated to their usual dose of first-lap carnage. It started with Montoya rather innocuously tagging Kimi Raikkonen's left-rear wheel but resulted in a chain reaction that saw Nick Heidfeld's BMW Sauber barrel-roll into a gravel trap. But the biggest casualty of all was Montoya's career, which, after an alleged bust-up with Dennis, was over at McLaren and over in F1.

Wolfgang von Trips and Tony Brooks, Ferrari, 1959
The final race of the season was a title decider between Jack Brabham, Stirling Moss and Brooks. There was bitter controversy at the start when Brooks was inexplicably replaced on the front of the grid by local driver Harry Schell who had posted a faster lap unseen by anyone. It proved crucial as on the first corner he collided with Ferrari team-mate von Trips and was forced to pit to inspect the damage. The two-minute stop ended his title hopes, and although he finished third, Brabham, who pushed his car for the last quarter of a mile to take fourth, did enough to take the drivers' crown.

Giancarlo Fisichella and Ralf Schumacher, Argentina 1997
It wouldn't be a list of team-mate bust-ups without Ralf Schumacher making appearance. The one we've picked, among a wide selection, was from his early F1 career when, perhaps, inexperience could be used as an excuse. However, Eddie Jordan would not have seen it that way; his cars were on for third and fourth position and seven valuable points at just the third round of the season. But Ralf, not happy to settle for position behind the lead Jordan of Giancarlo Fisichella, barged his way past and knocked his team-mate out of the race. Schumacher went on to finish third, but needless to say, was not joined wholeheartedly by his team in the post-race celebrations.

Christian Fittipaldi and Pierluigi Martini, Monza, 1993
One of the most bizarre F1 endings came at the Italian Grand Prix when Pierluigi Martini approached the finishing line ahead of Minardi team-mate Christian Fittipaldi. Fittipaldi simply got too close to Martini, his front clipped the back wheel of Martini, and his car did a complete mid-air somersault, slammed into the tarmac and crossed the line shedding body parts and sparks as it went. Martini finished in a more traditional manner while Fittipaldi was fortunate to walk away without serious injury. Click here to watch on YouTube

Derek Daly and Jean-Pierre Jarier, Monaco 1980
From an unusual finish to a not-so-unusual start. In the tight confines of the Monaco circuit, Derek Daly's too-late braking on one of the first corners caused him to smash into Bruno Giacomelli's Alfa Romeo, launching daly's car into the air where it landed on teammate Jean-Pierre Jarier and wiped out Alain Prost's McLaren. "The only people left smiling were the Tyrrell team's sponsors as the pictures were repeatedly shown around the world," laconically noted one commentator. Click here to watch on YouTube

Alex Caffi and Andrea de Cessaris, US Grand Prix 1989
It's one thing taking your team-mate out while racing for position, it's quite another to do it while being one lap down. As a result, the BMS Scuderia Italia team had every reason to be livid at Andrea de Cessaris when he got in the way of Alex Caffi who was on the way to a podium in Pheonix. The incident left Caffi out of the race while de Cessaris plodded round to finish 5 laps down. He did make up for it, however, by taking a podium at the next race in Montreal.

Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard, Austria 1999
Over their six-year period as McLaren team-mates, it's hardly surprising that Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard came together. The first incident was at Estoril in 1996 but the team only lost out on a couple of points at most. The slightly more serious crash was at the A1 Ring in 1999, when the pair led the race on the second lap only for Coulthard to inexplicably clip the rear of Hakkinen's car and tip him into a spin. Hakkinen staged a fight back to third while Coulthard lost the lead to Ferrari's Eddie Irvine to finish just one place higher in second.

Martin Williamson is managing editor of digital media ESPN EMEA; Laurence Edmondson is an editorial assistant on ESPNF1

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Feeds Feeds: Martin Williamson

Martin Williamson Close
Martin Williamson is managing editor of digital media ESPN EMEA Martin Williamson, who grew up in the era of James Hunt, Niki Lauda and sideburns, became managing editor of ESPN EMEA Digital Group in 2007 after spells with Sky Sports, Sportal and Cricinfo