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Austrian Grand Prix 2002 - a look back 13 May 2003

Nick Heidfeld (GER) had a massive accident when he span and collided with Takuma Sato (JAP) Jordan Honda EJ12.
Austrian Grand Prix A1 Ring Austria., 12 May 2002

Last year's Austrian Grand Prix proved to be one of the most memorable races of the 2002 season, for a wide variety of reasons. Ever since Imola it had been clear that the Ferrari F2002 was in a league of its own and as such, attention was redirected to positions three and below.

Nick Heidfeld had grabbed a wonderful fifth place on the grid and at the start launched his Sauber up into third place at the first corner. But when Olivier Panis' BAR Honda engine gave up on lap 23 the safety car was brought out and the field bunched together. The restart caused chaos.

As drivers jostled for position into the Remus Kurve, Heidfeld, who had fallen down the field, was forced to brake heavily. On cold tyres the rear end of his Sauber kicked out and from there on he was a passenger. Spinning wildly over the curbs, his car was launched into Takuma Sato's Jordan, narrowly missing the Japanese driver's head in an explosion of carbon fibre shards. Neither driver was hurt, a testament to the modern safety standards in Formula One, but Sato was flown to a local hospital for a check up.

The two Williams eventually finished a promising third and fourth behind the Ferrari duo of Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello, while Jordan's Giancarlo Fisichella slotted into fifth ahead of David Coulthard's McLaren.

However, it was the nature of Ferrari's win that stole the headlines. Barrichello moving over to let Schumacher by on the final straight came as something of a surprise, especially given the Brazilian's domination of the Austrian weekend to that point.

Team orders had always been a part of Formula One, but jeers mixed with cheers as Schumacher tried to haul his team-mate onto the top step of the podium and the incident remained a talking point for the rest of the season.