Part Three - hospitals & helicopters

Since 1950, the speed, technology and glamour of Formula One racing has attracted people from all over the globe. And as the sport has developed, with the cars getting faster and the drivers younger, safety has become an increasingly important consideration for everyone involved.

In the early days, serious, even fatal crashes were almost an accepted part of a Grand Prix weekend. Nowadays, however, the FIA, the teams and event organisers all work to maintain the very highest safety standards. Extensive regulations, dedicated personnel and ground-breaking technology unite in managing the risks so that the fans can concentrate on what’s really important - the race!

Did you know...?

  • that the FIA has founded its own Institute for Safety in Motor Sport? That was one of the many measures for greater safety in Formula One racing as a consequence of the catastrophic spring of 1994, when two drivers died at the San Marino Grand Prix. 
  • that 5,500 additional crash barriers are fitted on the streets of Monte Carlo for the Monaco Grand Prix?
  • that approximately 15 hospitals are placed on alert during a race weekend? As a special service at the circuit, sometimes a dentist is also available.
  • that the gravel traps in a run-off zone are about 25 cm deep and filled with spherical gravel stones of between 5 and 16 mm diameter? The stones are designed to generate as much frictional resistance as possible - like sand scattered on an icy pavement - and so reduce the speed of a skidding car quickly and effectively.
  • that safety belts have only been compulsory in Formula One racing since 1972? It must be possible to release all the individual belts for the shoulders, pelvis and legs with a single hand movement, because the regulations specify that a driver must be capable of getting out of the car within five seconds.
  • that the safety of the spectators at Formula One races is controlled by approximately 150 security officials, in addition to approximately 130 medics and doctors?
  • that two ambulances and a helicopter manned by a doctor, two paramedics and a pilot stand by throughout the race. A second helicopter is kept ready outside the circuit and four additional ambulances are posted along the race track.