Formula 1 has shared an old video showing the astonishing moment a camera attached to the rear wing of a Ferrari came loose and struck the other Ferrari following behind.
The accident ended the race of Gerhard Berger 28 years ago this weekend and to make matters worse it was Ferrari’s home race in Monza, Italy.
The footage shows the camera flapping off Jean Alesi’s Ferrari, sticking out from the rear wing with his teammate Berger just behind him on track.
As they make their way around Grande Curve, the camera falls off Alesi’s car directly into the path of Berger. While the TV cameras do not pick up the moment it actually hits Berger’s car, when Berger comes into view, the car is shaking from side to side as a result of the front suspension being broken from where the camera struck it.
Berger pulls over onto the grass with his arm in the air to signal his car is in trouble. We later see a despondent Berger walking away from the circuit having retired through no fault of his own.
F1 Camera Evolution
It is a far cry from the modern camera technology employed in Formula 1 today where the cameras are so minuscule that even if they do fall off it is unlikely they would cause any damage.
In fact, for this season of Formula 1, the drivers have tiny cameras inside their helmets that weigh just 0.05 ounces (1.4 grams) and are 0.3 inches (8mm) in diameter. The Driver’s Eye cameras were developed over two years to ensure they can withstand rigorous testing in the name of safety.
But back in 1995, the cameras attached to Formula 1 cars for onboard footage were significantly bigger. When the camera fell off Alesi’s car, Berger was extremely lucky not to be hit on the head with it which could have caused a far bigger problem.
As if it wasn’t bad enough luck for the Ferrari team that weekend, Alesi later retired from the race just eight laps from the end after a wheel bearing caused his front wheel to catch fire.