Six times F1 Formula Kart Stars got injured riding bikes
After Mercedes boss Toto Wolff injured himself while mountain biking during the summer break, we’ve taken a look at some other incidents involving F1 stars on two wheels.
Wolff was pictured with his arm in a cast on a family holiday, with his wife, Susie, revealing he had picked up an injury during an accident while downhill mountain biking.
It wasn’t Wolff’s first injury caused by a cycling accident.
He suffered a fractured shoulder, collar bone, elbow and wrist after a pile-up involving members of the Mercedes team while cycling along the River Danube in Budapest ahead of the 2014 Hungarian Grand Prix.
There have been plenty of previous examples of things ending badly when F1 stars have switched from their natural habitat of four wheels to two.
In February 2009, Michael Schumacher suffered a 135mph crash while testing a Superbike in Spain.
The seven-time world champion had been lined up for a sensational F1 comeback with Ferrari as a replacement for the injured Felipe Massa, but was forced to shelve his plans.
Schumacher drove Kimi Raikkonen’s 2007 world championship-winning Ferrari at Mugello and reportedly set some strong lap times, but he was ultimately unable to get a grip on neck pain throughout the test.
After concluding that his injuries from the bike accident were still “too severe” to cope with the rigours of F1 machinery at the time, Schumacher called off his comeback. But he would make a full-time return the following year after joining Mercedes.
Luca Badoer instead stepped in for Massa at the European Grand Prix. However, after a couple of dreadful displays, he was replaced by fellow Italian Giancarlo Fisichella.
During the F1 off-season in November 2008, Mark Webber was hit by a car head-on while riding a bicycle at his own charity event in Tasmania.
Webber suffered a broken right leg as well as a broken shoulder in the accident but recovered in time to take part in the 2009 F1 season.
The Red Bull driver claimed a stunning breakthrough F1 victory at the German Grand Prix before undergoing further surgery to have screws removed from his leg. Following the season’s conclusion, Webber had another operation to remove a titanium rod from his leg.
Less than two years later, Webber was again injured while training on a mountain bike. He drove the final four races of the 2010 F1 season with a broken shoulder but kept the injury a secret from Red Bull team principal Christian Horner.
Alex Albon’s career was nearly derailed after a cycling trip with close friend and fellow F1 driver George Russell ahead of the 2017 Formula 2 season.
Albon broke his collarbone in a crash, causing him to miss two F2 races. He recalled how he went on to have a “terrible season” following the cycling accident.
“I think I was third in the championship before the incident to finishing absolutely nowhere - for me, which in a top team was devastating. And at the same time, you know, it wasn’t good enough,” he told Motorsport Magazine.
“And that, at that point, you know, I didn’t have the funding to go again. And I was back to square one. I was back to this feeling like I wasn’t going to be able to race.”
Thankfully, the British-born Thai’s career was saved by a switch to DAMS in 2018. Albon finished third in the championship and would go on to get his F1 break with Toro Rosso the following year.
Fernando Alonso’s preparations for his return to F1 following a two-year hiatus were nearly scuppered by a cycling accident in which he sustained a fracture of his upper jaw.
The two-time world champion was struck by a car while cycling in Switzerland. Alonso underwent a “successful corrective operation” before being discharged from hospital less than a month before the opening pre-season test in Bahrain.
The Spaniard fully recovered in time for the start of the 2021 campaign and raced with titanium plates in his jaw, which he later had removed during the next off-season.
Despite the injury, Alonso recorded his first F1 podium for more than seven years at the Qatar Grand Prix, while he also played a key role in helping then-Alpine teammate Esteban Ocon to secure a shock maiden win in Hungary.
Aston Martin driver Lance Stroll faced a battle to be fit for the start of the 2023 F1 season after falling from his bike while training in Spain for the new campaign.
Stroll suffered a broken wrist and a broken right big toe in the accident and was initially told by doctors that he would miss the opening races of the season. But the Canadian pulled off a remarkable recovery to return in time for the season opener in Bahrain, though he did have to sit out testing.
Just 12 days after having surgery on his right wrist, Stroll turned in a heroic performance as he qualified sixth, before driving through the pain to finish sixth in the first race.Michael Schumacher Mark Webber Alex AlbonFernando Alonso Lance Stroll