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Fittipaldi Airlifted to Hospital With Broken Legs

Pietro Fittipaldi sustains suspected leg fractures in high-speed accident in Spa WEC qualifying…

Pietro Fittipaldi has been airlifted to to a Liege hospital with suspected fractures to both of his legs following a heavy accident in qualifying for Saturday’s FIA World Endurance Championship season-opening Total Six Hours of Spa.

The 21-year-old Brazilian lost control of his No. 10 DragonSpeed BR Engineering BR1 Gibson after the car appeared to have some sort of electrical glitch, before slamming head-on into the barriers at the high-speed corner.

While immediately attended to by trackside medical staff, including FIA Medical Delegate Jacques Tropenat, it took nearly 20 minutes to extract Fittipaldi from the car, before being transported by air to Centre Hospitalier de la Citadelle de Liege.

According to a statement released by the FIA, Fittipaldi was conscious at all times and is currently in stable condition.

He has been accompanied to the hospital by team owner Elton Julian.

The accident, which caused significant frontal damage to the Dallara-built car, has likely ruled the team’s LMP1 effort out of tomorrow’s season-opener.

Fittipaldi was due to share driving duties with Ben Hanley and Henrik Hedman.

The grandson of two-time Formula One world champion Emerson was due to contest this year’s Indianapolis 500 with Dale Coyne Racing.

He was serving as a substitute driver this weekend for Renger van der Zande, due to the Dutchman’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship commitments at Mid-Ohio. 

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Brandon

    May 4, 2018 at 12:30 pm

    So watching the attached video, was there some sort of mechanical issue perhaps? The lights shut off and back on right as he lost control. Perhaps something with TC or gearbox was effected by that?

    • N8

      May 4, 2018 at 2:37 pm

      I noticed that on the 3rd or 4th replay during the red flag. It also seemed like he couldn’t turn to avoid the barriers and I wonder if the electric power steering also cut out with the power glitch.

  2. Dave

    May 4, 2018 at 1:06 pm

    Broken legs are better than some of the alternatives, but he hit a 4-deep tire barrier at an angle (albeit at a high rate of speed). It seems like we’ve seen worse crashes (even at the same spot) with drivers walking away.

    • Matt

      May 4, 2018 at 1:50 pm

      I was thinking the same thing. Guys have crashed way harder here and walked away fine. The Dallara chassis should have protected him better than that.

      • Jack

        May 4, 2018 at 2:13 pm

        The guys who have crashed in the passed haven’t been head on.

    • KW

      May 4, 2018 at 2:45 pm

      This is what I was thinking, too. It seems that the connection between the front part of the chassis and the central part is not strong enough; the nose of the car was pointing in a completely different direction than the center of the car after the crash, which is unusual for carbon fibre tubs, and which most likely caused the heavy injuries.

  3. Dave

    May 4, 2018 at 7:46 pm

    John, is this the first time we have seen a head-on crash in a new chassis LMP1/2 car? I don’t think anyone in IMSA or WEC has hit the barrier at that angle before. We had a couple of flips last year but nothing like this recently.

  4. JeffB

    May 5, 2018 at 12:02 am

    I agree with the observations about this crash. It’s odd that the driver was hurt as badly as he was. Something strange was happening with the headlights flashing and it looked like the car had fair opportunity to brake before the impact and plenty of tires to absorb the hit, but unmistakably, the nose of the car has been shifted noticeably, which does not seem like something we have seen previously – and from harder hits. Let’s hope he makes a full recovery and soon.

  5. Thomas Roth

    May 8, 2018 at 7:27 pm

    We haven’t seen this kind of impact before. All the other crashes had the car continue it’s travel after impact in some form. This accident was the first, where the car suddenly stopped because of a very steep angle of impact. It’s like Schumacher breaking his leg in 1999.
    Whether it’s Rocky at Le Mans or Tincknell on Saturday or the Ford last year or the Porsche in Brazil. Neither crash had such a sudden deceleration compared to Fittipaldi.
    To round it off: The team confirmed a sudden drop of voltage from 14 to 8 volts.

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