Ex-F1 driver claims Verstappen would've died had he raced in the 1980s

Max Verstappen (PA)
Max Verstappen (PA)

Former McLaren driver Bruno Giacomelli believes Max Verstappen could have died three or four times if he was racing 40 years ago.

Giacomelli raced in F1 from 1977 to 1983 before returning to the sport for one season in 1990.

During his time in the sport five drivers lost their lives as a result of crashes.

It was the 1994 San Marino GP and the deaths of Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna that forced F1 to take massive steps forward in safety.

Since then only two drivers, Jules Bianchi and María de Villota, have died as a result of injuries suffered in F1 crashes.

The sport’s ever-improving safety has led to the new generation being a lot more fearless in the cars.

It also, according to Giacomelli, gives more weight to Juan Manuel Fangio’s five World titles.

“Looking at the results, [Michael] Schumacher has won seven world championships,” the Italian told Motorsport.com.

“Fangio won five, but Fangio won them with different cars and at a time when people were dying, you know what I mean?”

Such is the difference between today’s safety and yesteryear’s that Giacomelli says the likes of Verstappen, a driver known for his daring moves, would not have survived had he been racing 30 years ago.

“It means that Verstappen would have died at least three or four times if he had driven the cars of the eighties I was driving,” he added.

“During accidents I really felt fear. In those few seconds that an accident lasts, that you are conscious.

“The first thing you think and say is: I don’t want to hurt myself. What are you doing?

“You hold the steering wheel, try to get as stiff as possible and wait for the crash. That’s the moment of fear.”

- TEAMtalk media

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