Teen Scots F1 Academy driver rescued after car flipped and caught fire

Chloe Grant, from Perth, and Filipino driver Bianca Bustamante came together on turn one of Saturday's race in Monza.

A Scots F1 Academy driver has thanked medical teams after her car flipped and caught on fire following a crash.

Chloe Grant, from Perth, and Filipino driver Bianca Bustamante collided on turn one of Saturday’s race in Monza.

The crash resulted in the 17-year-old driver’s wheel dragging along the top of Bustamante’s halo crash-protection system, before flipping and sliding off the track upside-down while on fire.

The incident was reminiscent of F1 driver Zhou Guanyu’s crash at Silverstone last year, which saw him being flipped upside down and sliding on his halo before the car became wedged between crash barriers and fencing.

Zhou Guanyu and George Russell crash at the 2022 British Grand Prix. Getty Images

All three drivers walked away from the incidents unhurt, mainly thanks to the halo – with Bustamante even going on to place second in the race.

In a statement on social media, Grant announced she would have to withdraw from round five of the F1 Academy championship as a result.

She continued: “However, I’m glad that I’m ok and no one was hurt.

“Thank you to those who have sent me messages, and to the medical team and marshals here at Monza who acted so swiftly in getting me out of the car.”

The halo crash-protection system was introduced in open-wheel motorsports for the first time in 2018, following the death of F1 driver Jules Bianchi three years prior.

The halo was not well received by all on its introduction, with criticism that it detracted from the aesthetics of open cockpit cars, but it has repeatedly proven its worth since.

Bustamante credited the technology with saving her life, writing on Instagram: “Walked away from this one. She [the halo] kept me safe.

Grant's wheel dragged along the top of Bustamante's halo crash-protection system, before flipping and sliding off the track upside-down while still on fire.Getty Images

“Made two positions up in the start heading to [turn one], I was hit from behind and the car [Chloe Grant] flew on top of me.

“Tires went over my head but the halo saved my life today.”

Bustamante’s close call is also reminiscent of an earlier incident, involving Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen, also at Monza, during the 2021 Italian Grand Prix.

Hamilton’s car was hit by his title rival Verstappen, with the Dutchman’s Red Bull riding over and onto the British driver’s head.

Hamilton and Verstappen crash at Monza in 2021.

Relatively unhurt after the incident, seven-time world champion Hamilton said the halo system saved his life.

“I feel very, very fortunate today,” he said at the time.

“Thank God for the halo. That ultimately saved me. And saved my neck. I don’t think I have ever been hit on the head by a car before and it is quite a shock for me.

He added: “I have been racing for a long, long time and I am so so grateful I am still here and feel incredibly blessed that someone was watching over me today.”

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