Monday 11th September 1978
The world of F1 was left in shock when it was announced the popular Swede Ronnie Peterson had died as a result of complications following his accident during the first corner pile-up at the start of the previous day’s Italian Grand Prix. As the cars hurtled towards the first corner, Riccardo Patrese had collided with James Hunt, setting off a chain-reaction that launched Peterson’s Lotus into the barriers, tearing it in half before it burst into flames. Hunt ran back and braved the flames to drag Peterson clear of the wreck. As Peterson lay on the track fully conscious but with broken legs, it took 20 minutes for medical aid to come, and when it did the priority was Vittorio Brambilla who had been hit on the head by a flying wheel. Peterson, whose injuries were not considered life threatening, was taken to hospital and operated on that evening. But a bone marrow embolism entered his bloodstream, and he died the following morning. Had he received medical attention more promptly he would probably have survived.