Retired Formula One driver Justin Wilson, who suffered fatal head injuries last year in a terrifying crash, was among a list of celebrities being investigated after a start to the English Grand Prix on Sunday in Le Mans left a scene of carnage.
French police say a 21-year-old Formula One driver has been detained for questioning after allegedly attacking members of the racing team looking after Michael Schumacher in their garage.
Afterward, TV cameras caught another spectacular crash involving American James Calado, who appeared to intentionally plow into an unfortunate bystander — a young woman — on the track. The unidentified woman lay down in the infield at the Circuit de la Sarthe while medics gave her first aid.
French press reports suggested that Calado intentionally aimed for her. An independent inquiry was immediately launched.
Two other women were injured in the track incident — one bleeding from her nose and one with a shoulder injury, the FIA said in a statement. It said that two helicopter teams were summoned to the track after the collision.
Colleagues of Schumacher — who survived a horrific head injury in 2013 — expressed their “disgust” at the incident and a statement on behalf of the seven-time F1 champion said that he was “concerned to see so many young men and women injured.”
Calado, 22, is the 2009 GP2 champion. His outracing ability made him a promising F1 driver with several hopeful partnerships but he has yet to have a full-time F1 drive. He drives for Caterham.
The two-day F1 race is shaping up to be one of the wildest in recent years with at least two more cars bouncing off each other on a virtual downhill gradient as they went to the pit stops early on Sunday.
There were a total of four race-related incidents and five crashes. The turbulence was brought to the fore by faster-than-expected German car manufacturer Ferrari and Red Bull who both approached the 62-kilometer (36-mile) circuit at well over 220 kilometers per hour (141 mph).
Speeding up, the cars came close together in the corners, causing unexpected contact between the Red Bull of Max Verstappen and KERS-equipped car of Pierre Gasly on a downhill. Verstappen skidded into the safety car and exited the race. The team called it a “coincidence” while Red Bull went for driver changes.
The second-to-last lap appeared even more frantic. Jean-Eric Vergne of Toro Rosso had a breakout race with the fastest time until he hit a barrier.
It caused more chaos as he careened back onto the track, touched the barrier and careened into Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat. Another collision also resulted in a crash involving the Force India of Sergio Perez.
Polesitter Romain Grosjean was devastated as he struggled after missing the morning session because of a disrupted takeoff.
“A complete disaster,” Grosjean said. “It was the first time I had gone through on the outside of my tire but no matter how hard you do it you still end up with something like this.”
The race was red-flagged for several minutes.
Hassan Kitewah failed to complete the podium — he didn’t even get to the finish line — following his second-place finish in the first qualifying.
Kitewah ended up with an Uber-like exit from the sport when he took a helicopter to the hospital and reportedly walked out when the ride wasn’t to his liking.