Making history with a return to Switzerland
Formula E achieved an incredible feat for the 2017/2018 season with the inclusion of a race in Zurich in Switzerland. It had been over six decades (63 years, in fact), since racing was allowed in the Swiss state, having banned the events in 1955, immediately following the horrific events at Le Mans that same year.
(*Note, the guys in The Grand Tour comment on this ban, having wanted to find a race track to “test” their supercars, Season 2, Episode 1.)
The crash, (which you can watch here thanks to goentertain on Youtube) is beyond horrific. Watch as Mercedes-Benz driver Pierre Levegh launches over the barrier after hitting the Austin Healey and cartwheel into the stands. Levegh did not survive, having died from a fatal head injury. Although the numbers are still disputed regarding injuries and casualties, the numbers hover around over 80 spectators killed and over 120 injured.
It’s no surprise efforts were immediately made regarding the safety of drivers and spectators. Races were immediately cancelled in France, Germany, Spain and Switzerland. France would allow racing to return once they reviewed and made improvements to the safety of their spectators. Switzerland, however, would ban it permanently until 2018.
The racing ban was lifted specifically for the electric racing series, where Formula E took to the streets of Zurich on June 10th of this year. Although Zurich was unable to host the series this year, the Swiss agreed on a return, this time in Bern, June 9th, 2019.
If you want another look at the crash of 1955 at Le Mans, check out the film Le Mans 1955. The animated short, directed by Quentin Baillieux, who was looking to understand and recreate the odd juxtaposition as a tragedy marred the race, and yet it continued with everyone still celebrating the victory when Le Mans concluded.
You can visit the site here to read more about it.
(Img: Formula E on the Streets of Zurich, 2018. LAT/Formula E)