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Donnelly's horror smash

ESPN staff
November 28, 2013
Donnelly's car after the smash © Getty Images

Martin Donnelly was the driver-steward for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. When was that awful accident he had, and did he drive again afterwards? asked Andrew Harrison

Belfast-born Martin Donnelly was in his first full F1 season in 1990 (he'd had one race for Jordan in 1989) when his Lotus-Lamborghini crashed during qualifying for the Spanish GP at Jerez at the end of September.

The car was completely destroyed, and Donnelly was thrown out over the track, still attached to his seat. It seemed impossible that he could survive - his heart stopped on the circuit, but he was revived by the dedicated medical team led by Sid Watkins - and eventually he was woken from an induced coma after about six weeks.

Donnelly never did return to F1, although he did do a lot of racing in other formulae. And in July 2011, at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, Donnelly drove a Lotus 102 very similar to the one in which he had so nearly died 21 years previously.

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