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Video: Barrichello’s steering wheel incident, a new angle
Video: Barrichello’s steering wheel incident, a new angle
Posted By: James Allen  |  06 Jun 2010   |  6:45 am GMT  |  185 comments

This is amazing. It was sent in by a JA on F1 reader and, although a few weeks after the event, I think it’s worth showing because you see Rubens Barrichello’s accident at Monaco and the infamous steering wheel incident so clearly.

You also realise how incredibly brave the marshals are, tending a car on a blind bend on a street track.

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To be fair, he’s just driven a car into a barrier at +100 mph and facing oncoming traffic doing similar speeds. I don’t think he was thinking too much about the steering wheel. Yes, it can be seen as petulant in hindsight. However, Rubens appears to be one of the nicest guys in the paddock and I don’t think he’d do something if he thought it would harm anyone. There doesn’t seem to be a malicious bone in his body.


As far as I can see, he tossed the wheel onto the fairing, a bit too hard perhaps, but not SO much, and it hit whatever that first vertical part is, rather than coming to rest on the bodywork. It deflected on to the track and bounced.

I don’t think it was intentional.


David you have not seen the Video properly. Pls see it once again from 0.23 to 0.25 scs you will com to know whether he has thrown the steering or he has tossed the same on to the fairing. Also view from 0.45 scs whrein he has kep the neck rest on the fairing, that is the way he should have kept the steering.


Send this Footage of Rubens throwing the Steering to Damon(Demon) Hill.


Thats a great different view of the whole incident. Thanks James for sharing this!


Great site and articles James but I cant view the video?


Guys.!! Be fair on Rubens. Do you expect him to sit IDLE at the middle of the track in monaco?? anytime you could get hit by a car at 170 kmph at that corner… He got to come out of the car and so he took the steering and put it down. Unfortunately it rolled and went the other way.. 🙂 even hakkinen did this..


He did toss it.


Am I right in thinking that the weight distribution of the Williams seems to be more towards the front of the car since its not tilting backwards like the Ferrari.


Wow, so many comments condemning Barichello’s actions during a few select seconds during a high speed automobile race. He had just crashed his car at high speed while racing through the narrow streets of one of the most dangerous race tracks in the world, so his adrenaline would have been peaking.

He appears to then rather absent-mindedly toss the wheel towards the top of the car but it misses and it drops onto the track, bouncing awkwardly away due to its oval shape, much the way a rugby ball or American football bounces.

Considering he was facing backwards at oncoming cars, it is understandable that his mind may have been occupied with more pressing matters such as survival more than his aim. At any rate he didn’t hurl it with any real force, that’s for sure, so all told it wasn’t exactly a John McEnroe-esque tantrum, now was it? :s


As a fellow marshal from Oz – RESPECT. Alguersari $100000 – Marshal $0


Is it just me then that is really concerned in seeing the wrecked Williams being hoisted high up in the air with one of its front wheels hanging from the (already battered after the crash) tether? What it that thing broke off and the (very heavy) wheel came crashing down on unsuspecting marshalls or spectators even? Surely they should have moved it to one side, removed the loose wheel and only then lifted the car from the track… right?


I had exactly the same thoughts about the dangling wheel. That looks scary to me.

As for the steering wheel – I am not sure I’d be thinking too clearly after a shunt like that so I am loathe to criticise. There is debris everywhere and any of it could he picked up by the passing cars.

Karun probably thought this was nothing compared to what Trulli did to his race!


The point of the video is to highlight the bravery and efficiency of the marshals – how quickly they moved the car off the track is incredible.

Those of you criticising Rubens for “carelessly” throwing his steering wheel across the track clearly have little imagination. I assume you’d all be paragons of considered thought and rational action if you’d just inexplicably crashed at 150mph! To connect this with the Massa incident in Hungary is just absurd and little tasteless.

Quite obviously this angle shows that he simply removed the wheel and aimed to toss it by the side of the car – as most drivers do if their car is wiped out and they need to expedite an exit from it. It was unfortunate that it bounced into the path of the HRT and I agree the stewards should have reminded him to be more careful, but it hardly smacked of ‘unconcerned for the safety of other drivers’. I think accusing Rubens, of all drivers, of this is grossly unfair.


Here’s my two cents as they say.

Whilst it does look unintentional that the steering wheel went into the racing line, it still prompts the question why did it bounce?

I don’t except the reasoning of Rubens that he was in a panic and wanted to get out of the car quickly, he clearly takes some time after undoing his seat belt and waiting for cars to go past, surely this shows that he was clearly thinking about his actions in a calm manner, in which case the steering wheel should of been placed on the nose, yes it was quite a bad crash but I have seen worse and have seen drivers act in a better way in worse situations. Barichello should of at least been cautioned for this incident.


Looks like Rubens had a little temper tantrum. When you think of what he put up with at Bruan and ferrari I guess we can forgive him. I wounder if this will be his last year???


I note Ruebans is featured in F1 racing magazine stating he has learned not too be emotional and he is 100 per cent German in coping with what he says and the track decision he has made. Oh well, after Turkey, Vettel displayed a new side to the German coping display.

Throwing out the steering wheel is like tossing your golf club after a bad shot, a moment of emotion that is fine for your weekend golf buddies but not condoned at the professional level.


For all of Ruben’s critics out there go and have an accident in a street car at 30kmh not 260kmh in an F1 car and see how good your nerves are after it. Good video shame he didn’t get a close up of the underbody when the car was suspended mid air. That marshall must be counting his lucky stars though amazing he didn’t lose a toe or two.


Rubens clearly didn’t have any interest in the safety of others. He tossed the steering wheel and then tossed the cockpit cover back into the car rather than fitting it properly. This could easily have fallen out while the car was being removed. Careless from start to finish. Maybe, James can tell us what the rules are, but I would think the drivers have an obligation to put things back in place so the marshalls can do their job quickly and efficently. I think the FIA should have revoked his super license as a lesson to all the drivers that racing is a privilege and not a right – and a right that will be taken away if you put others safety at risk. Rubens clearly learned nothing from the Massa incident.


There’s one thing that comes through to me loud and clear after reading all the above posts, and many others from other articals, and that is that we, as humans, seem to just thrive on being able to critisise. I can hardly believe the B/S that is being written by people, many of whome have never raced cars, or evan competed in sporting competitions, or ever hit a wall at 20kph, let alone 140kph! When you heart’s going 200 beats/min., and you’ve just experienced maybe 15gs of force, and you’ve just stoped sliding along a road with no control, wondering if you’re going to hit the wall again, or if another car is going to run over you, I’d love to see what sort of actions you guys would take under the same circumstances, of course that would never happen because you’ll never have the skills or the balls to get there!



That’s a decent point you make there. I can imagine hitting the wall winds/puts off the most experienced driver.

I still think he did it out of frustration though.


I saw the article a few weeks ago about the Ferrari being lifted off the track, and noted James’ comments about the angle it was hanging at showing the rearward weight distribution. Looks like the Williams was almost level – so pretty even weight distribution?


Great video to give a different perspective. It really shows 2 things to me:

1) How idiotic Rubens was – should have been penalised without doubt.

2) How little respect for the marshall’s safety a lot of the drivers have. I’ve long thought this was the case, but this just emphasises that.

We could have far less safety cars in F1 (and other categories) if drivers treated yellow flags with some respect meaning localised yellows led to safe/slower driving.


Regarding why the video hasn’t been taken down from YouTube yet, I believe I’m right in saying that Monaco is the only race on the calendar which FOM doesn’t own the TV rights to – they’re held by ACM, which means FOM can’t claim ownership of this footage and get It removed.


The back of this years Monaco ACM F1 tickets does not have the usual message about “audio and visual recordings only for non-commercial use”.

Also I still can’t see how any one can own footage taken from private property (e.g. the balconies and gardens overlooking the monaco track).


Very interesting.

I’m planning to go to Spa later this year – its the first GP I’m going to(!) and I want to take cameras (video and stills). Is it illegal for me to take footage/photos? or is it ok as long as I don’t try and release it into the public domain?


Good question. Stills are fine. Video is more of a problem. Check with FOM to be sure. Also a word of warning the security men in Spa are deeply unpleasant. The sort who wear black and have shaven heads and dogs. Don’t mess with them


So they’ll mind if I pack my bag full of wigs?

Seriously though, I don’t want to jeopardize the (expensive) trip by not being allowed access due to contraband (video camera). I will check.


Great video.

Looking at it more and more, although Rubens seems to have ‘thrown’ the steering wheel, it looks like he aimed for in front of him, forward of the cockpit, rather than throwing it out of the car – the camber of the road sent it out of the car to his right.

The organisation in Monaco looks admirable, good on the marshalls.


I’ve seen a few people ask here why Rubens waits for so long between throwing the wheel out and actually getting out. He has to undo the seatbelts, the harness, try to radio the pits, and wait for the whole field to pass him so he can get out without being crushed. I’m now pretty sure Rubens is not a “Petulant Child” as some describe him. He is a human being and he makes mistakes and gets frustrated when things go wrong, just like the rest of us. Besides, the only reason Rubens is being critised is because he is in a media conscious age of F1 and it happened on a street circuit; Drivers that go out in gravel traps (Senna in Barcelona) get no coverage at all besides the crash, how are we to know that Rubens is the first person to make this mistake? I’ve changed my mind, I was looking too deep into it before and I distinctly want to apologise.


The track marshalls were superb. I would assume, hope, that the marshalls had live video of the preceding corner. Barrichello acts out of anger, but at least he manages to settle down and place the Hans Device back in the cockpit. Thanks for sharing this video.


That’s not the HANS device, its the remoable padding that surrounds the cockpit. The HANS device stays attached to the drivers helmet.


James, a bit unrelated question, but will you be writing an article on new tire supplier and no testing agreement. I mean, it’s total insanity that in the “pinnacle of motorsport” teams can’t actually try tires they never used, before they make the cars that will use them. I understand the need to cut costs but this is getting ridiculous. I mean, they might as well pull names out of the hats instead of doing qualifying. This is supposed to be engineering excellence and what we have now is stabbing in the dark.

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