Many will remember the terrible crash at Le Source during the 2012 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps involving Lewis Hamilton, Romain Grosjean, Fernando Alonso Sergio Perez, Pastor Maldonardo & Kamui Kobayashi.
Pastor Maldonado let his clutch slip a fraction too soon and started his race before the lights had gone out, passing the Saubers. Grosjean made a good start and moved up to the inside of La Source, but in doing so, squeezed Hamilton between himself and the pitwall.
The two touched wheels, both drivers losing control. Grosjean then speared into the back of Pérez and became airborne, crashing heavily into Alonso, missing Alonso’s head by a few inches. Grosjean came to rest at the outside wall.
Hamilton crashed into Kobayashi as well as Alonso after Grosjean’s heavy impact. Pérez lost his rear wing from Grosjean’s hit and touched Maldonado when the accident happened, making Maldonado spin.
Only the latter two emerged from the crash, Kobayashi with a substantial hole in the side of his car. Kobayashi who had started on the front row for Sauber, pitted after the accident and resumed in last place.
Romain Grosjean was fined €50,000 and was given a one-race ban at the Italian Grand Prix for his role in the crash at the start.
Pastor Maldonado was given two five-place grid penalties at the Italian Grand Prix, the first of which was for his jump start and the second for causing an avoidable collision with Glock.
Many cite this crash as to the reason Fernando Alonso lost out on his third Formula 1 World Championship that year. Certainly, this DNF (did not finish) and the crash during the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka played a significant loss of points for the Spaniards challenge that year in a sub-par Ferrari.
Over at the Reddit Formula 1 subreddit, a redditor called u/Akashic101 has used some clever video rendering software to resample the crash footage of that seminal moment of 2012 – effectively slowing the on-board footage down to 400 frames per second, thus creating a ‘super slo-mo’ version of the incident.
Of course, it’s not an incident to dwell on for too long and is difficult to watch due to the close proximity Fernando Alonso’s exposed helmet came to the tumbling Lotus of Romain Grosjean. We very nearly lost the Spaniard had the contact occurred in a slightly different place.
But one can appreciate this to be a significant contributing factor (amongst several others) that led the FIA to create the ‘halo’ safety hoop on open wheel racers of our modern era.