Austrian GP flashback: Johansson’s deer disaster (VIDEO)

Leave a comment

With the Austrian Grand Prix set to return to the Formula One calendar next year we’re taking a look back at some of the memorable moments in F1 history seen in the country.

The 1987 Austrian Grand Prix was the last to be held on the classic Osterreichring with its daunting curves that swept drivers up and over the Styrian countryside.

Two incidents during the weekend made it inescapably obvious F1 had outgrown the venue. The first occurred during practice today in 1987, when Stefan Johansson came over the blind brow heading towards the Jochen Rindt curve and found himself confronted by a deer.

Despite Johansson’s efforts to avoid it the McLaren MP4-3’s front-left wheel struck the unfortunate beast. Johansson, who was travelling at over 150mph at the time, was incredibly lucky to survive – the deer, of course, was not so fortunate. The furious driver later pointed out the deer had been spotted close to the track long before he hit it, yet nobody bothered to remove it or halt the practice session.

Two days later the 26-car field assembled on a narrow start-finish line ready for the start of the 52-lap race. But as the lights went green and they screamed towards the first corner Martin Brundle’s Zakspeed inexplicably veered left into a barrier and was collected by several others. With the track blocked the race was stopped.

The second attempt to start the race was no more successful. This time the clutch on Nigel Mansell’s Williams failed and as the field tried to avoid the slowing second-placed car mayhem ensued and the track was blocked once more.

It was third time lucky for the starters and ironically it was Mansell who went on to win the final F1 race on the Osterreichring. A shortened version of the track returned to the calendar in 1997. Fortunately by then the organisers were alert to the danger posed by deer, as Juan Pablo Montoya discovered in 2001:

Ricciardo set to see Dale Jr.’s final Texas ride in two weeks (VIDEO)

Getty Images
Leave a comment

We’ve written before about Daniel Ricciardo’s love of Dale Earnhardt and his love of the No. 3, which Ricciardo has selected as his permanent number for the duration of his Formula 1 career. And additionally, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has offered up the opportunity that one day Ricciardo could race a JR Motorsports car in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition, and Ricciardo has said he’d be up for it.

And although Earnhardt Jr. has only used the No. 3 on a handful of occasions in his career in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Ricciardo knows how much the number means to the NASCAR veteran as he prepares for his final few starts in the Cup Series the tail-end of this year.

After the Mexican Grand Prix next week, Ricciardo is set to stay in North America for the off-week between the Mexican and Brazilian Grands Prix.

In that break, he said he’ll see Earnhardt Jr. in person at the Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway (Sunday, Nov. 5, 2 p.m. ET, NBCSN) to ensure he gets to see him before he retires from full-time competition.

Ricciardo explained his planning during Thursday’s pre-race edition of the NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass, speaking to NBCSN’s Will Buxton at the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas in Austin.

“Well I’ll see him for the first time in Dallas. I’m gonna go to the NASCAR race in two weeks time at Texas Motor Speedway,” Ricciardo told NBCSN.

“Yeah, so, I gotta see him race before he hangs up the helmet.

“The Earnhardt family is a huge name in motorsport, not only in America but all over the world. Yeah I wish him well.”

Ricciardo is also optimistic he’ll get the chance to do a helmet swap with Earnhardt Jr. at the event.

“Hopefully I get to see him perform well in Texas. I’m gonna try to do a helmet swap with him. We’ll see how we go.”

Stay tuned for more on this over the coming weeks.