Starting an F1 race illegally...

By on Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Hans Heyer in Hockenheim

Throughout Formula One history, qualifying sessions have not only decided the grid order, but whether a driver is actually permitted to take part in the race.

For example, at the Australian Grand Prix earlier this season, HRT failed to reach the designated 107% cut off time and were sent home. They didn't come back the next day and make an attempt at racing. But thirty-five years ago today (31st July), one man was not deterred...

Hans Heyer is a racing driver from West Germany. He had little experience of single seater cars, but ATS's Gunter Schmidt decided to employ a local driver in the second car for greater attention. But it came as little surprise when he failed to qualify in the uncompetitive Penske, as it was only his second race in a single seater!

Heyer, however, still took part in the race. As he was well known to the marshals at the old Hockenheimring, they didn't object to his participation. The lights failed, two top drivers collided at the first corner and Heyer snuck out of the pit lane. The crowd realised what was going on before the race officials did. Heyer lasted nine laps before a transmission failure and was eventually disqualified from the race. He did, however, start a Formula One race, even though it's debatable whether it counts in the record books!

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