MONACO - The second free practice for this weekend's Italian Grand Prix was red-flagged to a halt after three minutes on Friday when Marcus Ericsson was involved in a high-speed accident. The Swedish driver was unhurt after his car snapped to the left off the track and into the barriers at the chicane, spinning and then rolling several times in a spectacular arc before slamming to a halt.
"You ok?" asked his Sauber team on the radio. "I'm ok. No idea what happened," he responded.
Ericsson was helped from his car apparently uninjured and taken to the medical centre at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza. The crash happened as Ericsson approached the chicane, having accelerated to close to 350 kph. The Drag Reduction System (DRS) on his Sauber's rear wing remained open as he braked, perhaps causing the lurid swerve and massive impact. The DRS would normally close to assist in reduction of speed as the car braked to negotiate the chicane. As the track barriers were repaired during the stoppage, Ericsson was seen leaving the medical centre and walking back down the pit lane to the Sauber garage. He gave a thumbs-up signal and waved to the cheering crowd.
His car was wrecked in the collision with debris flying in all directions as the car smashed, spun, pirouetted and then barrel-rolled. All corners and wheels of the car were damaged and torn away from the tub.
For the Sauber team, it was the second major smash in less than a week following last Sunday's multiple collision in which Fernando Alonso's McLaren flew across the cockpit of Charles Leclerc's car on the opening lap of the Belgian Grand Prix. On Twitter, F1's tyre suppliers Pirelli said: "Fair to say that the @SauberF1Team crash structure has been tested pretty comprehensively over the last couple of races. Conclusion: it's a strong car."
The session, run after the morning's opening practice was affected by wet conditions, re-started after a 20-minutes delay.