Motor Racing: Lamy in 'horrifying' crash at Silverstone: Lotus driver breaks kneecaps and thigh as car disintegrates following 150mph smash during testing for Spanish Grand Prix

FORMULA ONE'S torment continued yesterday when the Portuguese driver, Pedro Lamy, testing modifications intended to make the sport safer, crashed into and over perimeter fencing at Silverstone, landing in a spectator area. The 22-year-old Lotus-Mugen Honda driver broke both kneecaps and a thigh, but was said to be stable following an operation at Northampton General Hospital.

Lamy's Lotus, incorporating the new aerodynamic changes ordered by the governing body, FIA, for Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona, went out of control at 150mph, between Abbey Curve and Bridge, a section of the track not regarded as especially dangerous.

The car spun, then lifted and plunged into the wall and debris fencing on the left. Much of the wreckage was strewn across the track but the survival cell, with Lamy strapped inside, was tossed along a walkway and into a pedestrian tunnel. No one was in the area yesterday, but at a grand prix meeting there would have been hundreds of spectators in the vicinity. Almost immediately on the scene was Lamy's English team- mate, Johnny Herbert. He said: 'I had been following Pedro, about 100 yards behind, when his car spun. There was lots of dust and it just took off.

'I stopped my car and jumped out but at first I couldn't find him. Then I could see the tub had been thrown on to the other side of the fence. I couldn't believe it, he was half-way down the tunnel.

'The back end of the car was on fire. Even his helmet was steaming. The marshalls soon appeared and I helped them put out the fire. I didn't really want to go in there but I had to. I feared the worst after what's happened recently.

'He was unconscious when I got to him but he gradually came to. He was breathing heavily and obviously in pain. They put his legs in splints and carried him to the helicopter to be taken to hospital. It was as horrifying as any as the recent accidents we've had.'

The incident had repercussions across the Atlantic, where Carl Haas is opposed to Nigel Mansell's possible limited return to grand prix racing. 'I am not comfortable with it and the latest accident involving Pedro Lamy makes me feel worse,' Haas, the co-owner of Mansell's IndyCar team, said.

Lamy was driving one of Lotus's older cars, converted in line with the new regulations. Herbert, who was testing the team's new car, which he is due to drive in Spain, added: 'I tested the old car on Monday and it was fine. It's impossible to say what went wrong.'

Drivers, teams, officials and the public will be asking whether the changes, decreed by FIA, to reduce downforce and cornering speeds, following the deaths of Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger, at Imola, and the serious head injuries sustained by Karl Wendlinger, at Monaco, have been introduced too hastily. Less serious accidents have occurred at Jerez, where other teams have been preparing for the Barcelona race.

A Silverstone spokesperson said: 'The debris fencing at that point is 10 feet high. We will be looking to see whether it was a freak accident and whether we should improve or increase the height of the fencing at that point. If there is any danger of an accident like this happening again we would shut off the area to the public. Our concern is not only for the safety of the drivers but especially for the spectators. We had already drawn up plans to amend parts of the track that the drivers have expressed concerns about.'

Derek Warwick, nominated by the revamped Grand Prix Drivers' Association to inspect Silverstone ahead of the British Grand Prix, on 10 July, said: 'This is not an area of the track that springs to mind as being particularly dangerous. There are a couple of small crests across and along the road, but I would suspect car failure.'

It is estimated this first phase of changes to the cars has reduced downforce by up to 25 per cent, adding about three seconds to a lap of Silverstone. The fear in some quarters, however, is that the alterations may have created unforeseen problems.

Doctors in Nice have restarted attempts to bring Karl Wendlinger out of his controlled coma. An earlier attempt was halted because of brain swelling.

(Photograph omitted)

Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
art
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleActor, from House of Cards and Benidorm, was 68
News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features staging of a playground gun massacre
Travel
travel
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
News
i100This Instagram photo does not prove Russian army is in Ukraine
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Sport
sportVan Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
Life and Style
Martha Stewart wrote an opinion column for Time magazine this week titled “Why I Love My Drone”
lifeLifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot... to take photos of her farm
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
filmReview: Sometimes the immersive experience was so good it blurred the line between fiction and reality
News
i100
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Environment
Tyred out: should fair weather cyclists have a separate slow lane?
environmentFormer Labour minister demands 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists
News
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

VB.Net Developer - £40k - Surrey - WANTED ASAP

£35000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: .Mid Level V...

Digitakl Business Analyst, Slough

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Competitive Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Dig...

Mechanical Estimator: Nuclear Energy - Sellafield

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Car, Medical, Fuel + More!: Progressive Recruitmen...

Dynamics NAV Techno-Functional Consultant

£50000 - £60000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: An absolutely o...

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices