Haas driver Mick Schumacher crashed heavily during qualifying for the 2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, the German driver lost control at high speed before slamming the wall in what Jenson Button described as a horrible crash.
The ferocious incident forced a red flag stoppage as the car was removed, debris cleaned and an apparently conscious Schumacher taken to the trackside medical centre.
The Haas driver was enjoying his brightest Saturday session, ninth on the timing screens in Q2 and ahead of teammate Kevin Magnussen when he lost control of his Haas at around 27o kph exiting of Turn 12. With no run-off, the Haas slammed the wall viciously.
Button said on Sky F1: “That is a horrible incident. A big, big impact.”
Amid a lengthy delay, with Race Director Niels Wittich inspecting the scene of the high-impact shunt, David “Crofty” Croft reported: “We’re hearing from the Haas team that Mick appears physically fine. He’s spoken to his mum and he’s going to be taken to hospital for a scan as a precaution.”
Haas were quick to report that their driver was conscious:
Reuters confirmed that Mick was taken by ambulance to the circuit medical centre after being extracted from the shattered car, which split in two when lifted onto a recovery truck and then flown by helicopter to the King Fahad Armed Forces hospital.
The governing FIA said in a statement said: “The FIA advises that an incident occurred during Qualifying for the 2022 FIA Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix today, 26/03/22, involving car #47, Mick Schumacher.
“Assessment at the Medical Centre revealed no injuries, and he has been transferred to King Fahad Armed Forces Hospital, Jeddah, for precautionary checks.”
Haas team boss Guenther Steiner confirmed the same on Sky F1: “He has no injuries which you can see, they just wanted to check on him and do some scans to see that there is no damage from the impact,”
Pundits estimated the car was travelling at 170mph (274kph) at the time of impact into the concrete barriers at the exit to turn 10, scattering debris across the asphalt.
The floodlit Corniche street circuit is one of the fastest tracks on the calendar.
Steiner added: “Maybe he just tried a little bit too hard. Here if you make an error there’s no run-off. It’s walls.”
The crash was the second of the session, with Williams’s Canadian driver Nicholas Latifi bringing out red flags in the first phase.
Steiner cast doubt on Schumacher being able to take part in the race: “We need to see after the scans how he is doing, how the car is and then we decide what we do tomorrow.
“At some stage, it’s maybe better not to start but I don’t know yet, I don’t want to anticipate that we don’t start. We are considering everything for tomorrow. We have to see the car, which position we are in with spare parts.
“The car, there will be nothing left – everything needs to go back to be checked anyway after an impact like this so you need to build a complete new car.”
Schumacher junior is son of F1 legend Michael Schumacher who has not been seen in public since he suffered a skiing accident in 2013.