Burti opens up for the first time on the Spa crash that ended F1 career

Luciano Burti

Luciano Burti bad memories

Sep.1 (GMM) More than a decade after the fact, Luciano Burti has finally opened up about the crash at Spa-Francorchamps that ended his Formula One career and changed him as a person.

The remains of Luciano Burtis' (BRA) Prost after his horrific crash at Blanchimont. Burti suffered only facial bruising and concussion. Belgian Grand Prix, Spa Francorchamps.  2 September 2001 BEST IMAGEDuring the 2001 race, the Brazilian was battling with Eddie Irvine when they collided, sending Burti’s Prost head-first into the barriers at a sickening speed.

“It took me two years to get back to normal,” Burti, now a television pundit, said on Friday at the same Belgian circuit eleven years on.

He subsequently spent some time at Ferrari as a test driver, but never raced in F1 again.

“The worst was the first four months, when I needed to take medicine against seizures,” Burti told Brazil’s Totalrace.

“My memory of that time is terrible. It was a hell of a drug. I remember being confused, getting words wrong, saying ‘cut the light’ rather than ‘turn out the light’.”

Burti says he does not remember the race or the crash, his first memory being woken up from an induced coma three days later and finding that Rubens Barrichello had spent the night sleeping on the hospital floor.

Luciano Burti (BRA) crashed out during Lap one. Belgian Grand Prix, Spa Francorchamps 2 September 2001 DIGITAL IMAGEAnd when he finally returned to Brazil, he was not the same.

“It was a time when I would remember things from ten years ago, but not what I did that morning,” said Burti. “I would see somebody in the morning and then in the afternoon say to them ‘Hi, it’s been so long!’

Burti contested 15 grands prix with Jaguar and Prost F1 teams, making his debut 2000 Austrian Grand Prix and racing his last race at Spa a year later.

Burti subsequently signed to test for the Ferrari team, but that came to an end at the end of his contract in 2004. He has since returned to Brazil, where he competes in Stock Car Brasil and commentates on Formula One races for TV Globo.

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  • McLaren Fan

    That was a life destroying crash I remember watching it live.
    I swear my heart stopped. Watching qualifying today some others would have suffered similar crashes if they hadn’t changed the run offs.

  • hillside

    saw this one too. its not really Eddie’s fault nor he did it deliberately but to have a carreer ending injury, but if i was Eddie i would offer some help or if he already did then props to Eddie

  • fgdfhf

    Hillside, he did. He climbed out of his car runned towards burti and started throwing away tyres to get him out.

  • McLaren Fan

    Yea if you look for this version you can see Eddie helping

  • McLaren Fan

    Sorry they do not allow links but search the video for a longer version

  • Marlin McGlone

    I was standing at that corner when that crash happened. Didn’t see burti, but saw Irvine hit the wall and then rush over to help. I’m sure he thought he’d kill him. Sickening sound!!