Formula One is a high-speed high-stakes sport. Racing is dangerous, and F1 cars regularly exceed 200mph. Should anything go wrong at those speeds then the drivers are likely to have a massive crash.
Below is a list of the 12 worst crashes Formula 1 has encountered in the last 10 years.
F1, safety, and fatal crashes
Formula One’s safety record has improved dramatically since the sport first began in the 1950s. Back then tragic accidents were sadly commonplace. It wasn’t uncommon for a handful of drivers to be killed each season.
Thankfully there have since been massive advancements in safety policy, both to the driver’s safety equipment, the cars and to the circuits themselves. This has reduced the number of fatal crashes down to near-zero.
The last driver to be killed in Formula 1 was Jules Bianchi who sadly died at Suzuka in 2015. That one accident was a large driving force behind one of the most notable safety enhancements in F1 over the last few decades; the HALO.
Before Bianchi, the last F1 fatality was Ayrton Senna in 1994. That was undoubtedly most high-profile loss in the history of the sport, and it brought about numerous safety improvements.
Prior to 1994 the 1982 season saw two fatal accidents, one of which sadly involved the legendary Canadian Formula One driver Gilles Villeneuve.
The 12 worst Formula One crashes in the last decade
Below is a list of the 12 worst Formula 1 crashes and accidents over the last ten years, ranked in order of their severity.
12 - Alonso & Leclerc Belgium 2018
This is the first of a few crashes on this list at the Belgian Grand Prix. This one in 2018 was an incident on the opening lap of the race at the incredibly tight La Source hairpin where Alonso got airborne and rode over the top of Leclerc.
An FIA investigation later proved that the HALO helped protect Leclerc’s head from the flying Scuderia Ferrari of Alonso.
11 - Lando Norris Belgium 2021
During Q3 at a soaking wet Belgian Grand Prix in 2021, Lando Norris lost control through the fearsome Eau Rouge and Raidillon corners and collected the barrier at high speed.
Everyone feared for Lando’s wellbeing, especially as Antoine Hubert’s recent fatal crash in Formula 2 at the same spot was fresh in their minds. But thankfully Norris walked away ok.
10 - Kevin Magnussen Belgium 2016
During the 2016 Belgian Grand Prix, Kevin Magnussen’s lost control after existing Raidillon at high speed, sending him crashing into the barriers in his Renault. Despite the intensity of the impact, Magnussen emerged unharmed.
9 - Max Verstappen Monaco 2015
Max Verstappen experienced a heart-stopping moment during the 2015 Monaco Grand Prix when he collided with Romain Grosjean, sending his Toro Rosso airborne and careening nose-first in to the tyre wall at Sainte Devote. He was winded and shaken, but ok.
8 - Carlos Sainz Russia 2015
Carlos Sainz Jr. faced a terrifying high-speed crash during the 2015 Russian Grand Prix when driving for Toro Rosso.
He lost control of his car just as he hit the brakes after a long straight, skimmed the barriers first on the left of the track and then skidded head-first in to some others. He was carried away on a stretcher, but ok.
7 - Lance Stroll Singapore 2023
Lance Stroll was pushing during qualifying at Singapore, but on the final corner he pushed slightly too hard.
After running a wheel off the edge of the tarmac he had a massive snap of oversteer, over-corrected and was spat violently in to the tyres on the outside. The car was destroyed but Lance was ok.
6 - Mick Schumacher Saudi Arabia 2022
Mick Schumacher’s F1 career with HAAS was overshadowed by a number of big crashes. And his wreck during qualifying for the 2022 Saudi Arabian GP was the biggest.
The German driver ran slightly wide on a corner exit, bottomed out on a kerb and shot back across the track in to a concrete barrier. The barrier won, the HAAS was destroyed but thankfully Mick recovered.
5 - Max Verstappen Silverstone 2021
One of the defining moments in the incredible 2021 Formula 1 World Championship battle between Hamilton and Verstappen was their clash at the British Grand Prix.
Lewis dived up the inside of Max in to the incredibly fast Copse corner (one of the fastest corners ever), but ran slightly wide.
The drivers made contact with Lewis clipping Max’s back wheel. That sent Verstappen in to an incredibly high-speed spin across the track, through the gravel and in to the barriers on the outside. Max was unhurt but very unhappy.
4 - Marcus Ericsson Italy 2018
During practice at the 2018 Italian Grand Prix at Monza, Marcus Ericsson suffered a high-speed crash. His DRS failed, pulling him off to one side as he braked where he hit the barriers and rolled 4 times.
Despite the severity of the impact, Ericsson walked away unharmed, underscoring the importance of safety advancements in the sport.
3 - Fernando Alonso Australia 2016
Fernando Alonso was involved in a frightening crash during the 2016 Australian Grand Prix when his McLaren flipped after colliding with Esteban Gutiérrez. Both drivers were unhurt.
2 - Zhou Guanyu Silverstone 2022
As if Max’s crash at Silverstone in 2021 wasn’t big enough, the following year saw an even more terrible accident at the British Grand Prix.
At the start of the race, Zhou Guanyu’s Alfa Romeo tangled with Gasly and Russell. Zhou was immediately flipped upside down and skidded the wrong way up for hundreds of feet. The gravel trap flipped his car in to the air and over the barriers, where he eventually came to rest up against the fencing.
Guanyu was miraculously unharmed thanks to the HALO undoubtedly saving him.
1 - Romain Grosjean Bahrain 2020
The worst F1 crash in the last decade has to undoubtedly be Romain Grosjean’s horrendous accident at the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix. This is also one of the worst Formula 1 crashes in history.
After contact with another car on the first lap of the race, Grosjean’s HAAS speared off to the left and hit an armco barrier.
The race car was ripped in two; the rear half stayed on the track side but the front half, including the cockpit and the driver, pierced a hole in the barrier and went through. It immediately burst in to flames.
Rescue teams were on the scene within seconds, but no-one expected the crash to be survivable. The impact and the fireball were too severe.
Unbelievably, pictures showed Romain Grosjean emerging from the flames and hauling himself over the barrier, with the assistance of a medic. It’s a pure miracle that he survived, and the only lasting damage were burns to his hands.
Afterwards Grosjean said his foot was trapped, but he pulled his leg so hard that his boot slid off his foot which let him escape. Incredible.