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

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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:

Audi bids farewell to Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich upon retirement

Audi Sport
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Audi bid farewell to its iconic head of motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, at its end-of-season ‘Race Night’ event in Germany on Friday upon his retirement.

Ullrich took over the reins as Audi’s head of motorsport in 1993 and stayed in the role for 23 years, overseeing its arrival in the prototype class of sports car racing and domination of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Ullrich stepped down from the position at the end of 2016, handing the reins over to ex-Audi DTM chief Dieter Gass, and attended his final racing event with the German marque at its first works Formula E outing in Hong Kong earlier this month.

Ullrich was honored at the Race Night event on Friday and thanked for his efforts in developing Audi into a force within global motorsport.

“In 566 factory-backed commitments during this period he celebrated 209 victories, 13 of them in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, eleven in the 12-hour race at Sebring and nine in the ‘Petit Le Mans’ at Road Atlanta,” a piece on Ullrich’s tenure for Audi’s website reads.

“31 driver titles in super touring car racing, in the DTM and in the sports prototype category are credited to him. 57 campaigners were Audi factory drivers during Wolfgang Ullrich’s era and he was responsible for 18 new developments of racing cars – an impressive tally.”