2016 Canadian Grand Prix History Part 3 of 5

A look back at Canadian GP History by Carlo Carluccio in association with MISSED APEX PODCAST. Listen in the player below after you've enjoyed the article.

I struggle with the likes of Max Verstappen winning a Grand Prix at a mere 18 years old and please don’t insult me by suggesting if you’re old enough you’re good enough. Ultimately, if you are old enough to hold a dual shock controller you are old enough to have Dr Marko bang on your door to persuade Mummy and Daddy that you have outgrown your nappy and can challenge in a Red Bull kindergarten pram.

What a joke.

I remember when the new cars were being tested before the 2014 season. A few drivers made comments of how easy these vehicles had become; whereas others spoke of the combined driver/car weight limits meaning they couldn’t eat as healthily as they needed too. It seemed to be more dangerous following a diet than actually pedalling these electronic fantasy pieces of automotive art.

What stood out - perhaps more than most - was Fernando Alonso’s mutterings about his physical training programme. Basically he was working out as much as ever but his peak fitness and stamina wasn’t required because the demands of the car were less than they had ever been. In race simulations he found he was working significantly less than he had during the mid 2000’s.

In a roundabout way this thought process led me on to think of F1 fatalities. Prior to the freak accident that led to the untimely death of Jules Bianchi last year, F1 proudly claimed that the last time there had been a fatal accident in F1 was back in 1994 when Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger had lost their lives.

Whilst 20 years was a fantastic achievement, it seemed a somewhat complacent self-congratulatory attitude also. Something I had witnessed previously leading up to the black weekend at Imola in 1994.

The media would repeatedly assert that F1 had been without a fatality in a race weekend since 1982 – conveniently forgetting that Elio De Angelis was killed in 1986 whilst testing at Paul Ricard. That 1982 weekend happened to be the Canadian Grand Prix, which was a country already reeling from the loss of G. Villeneuve - barely a month before.

The Canadian race was won by Nelson Piquet but the race is sadly remembered for the horrific death of 23 year old rookie, Ricardo Paletti. The bespectacled Italian had qualified 23rd on the grid and had launched into his first proper race start as the lights turned green.

100 meters further down the grid, pole sitter Didier Pironi had stalled his Ferrari and was a stationary target that the others were swerving around. Paletti was unsighted and slammed into the rear of the Ferrari at about 120mph causing the nose of his Osella to crumble across his chest and abdomen.

As the safety crew and medical team attended to the unconscious driver the ruptured fuel tanks caught fire. By the time the fire was under control Paletti was without a pulse. The fuel continued to leak from the wreckage and the rescue team had to work under extreme duress to avoid sparks from their cutting equipment setting off the fireball again. 25 minutes later the lifeless body was transported to hospital. 

Join us here at www.spannersready.com/articles tomorrow for Canadian GP History.