998. Disgruntled ex-Mercedes employee in rain coat interrupts 2000 F1 Grand Prix in Germany

YouTube video download  / A former Mercedes employee in a raincoat interrupts the Formula One German Grand Prix of 2000, at the Hockenheim in Germany.
 
This is the latest segment in a Headline Surfer multimedia compilation of the Top 1,000 "Worst of the Worst: Motorsports Crashes" captured on video or still images, with an emphasis on the need for constant vigilance in keeping drivers, crew members, emergency workers, and especially spectators, safe at racing events around the globe.​ There's a full description below on the premise of this multimedia feature along with a recap of previous segments.
 
By HENRY FREDERICK
Headline Surfer

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- The July 30, 2000, running of the Formula One German Grand Prix motor race at the Hockenheimring near Hockenheim, Germany, was won by Brazilian driver Rubens Barrichello driving a Scuderia Ferrari F1-2000 in his debut.

But it was the actions of a disgruntled ex-Mercedes employee in the roadway wearing a raincoat that will long be remembered. This brought out a safety car, which caused havoc and confusion for McLaren Mercedes' teams and ruined their chances of winning as they wound up in second and third behind the Brazilian. who took the checkered flag.

Barrichello promptly won the race by 7 seconds over Finnish driver Mika Häkkinen in a McLaren Mercedes MP4/15. Häkkinen's British team-mate David Coulthard was third.

Barrichello's win was the first victory by a Brazilian driver since three-time world champion Ayrton Senna at the 1993 Australian Grand Prix. The race marked the 62nd running of the German Grand Prix and the 24th to be held at Hockenheim. The race was 45 laps of the 6.8-kilometer circuit for a total race distance of 307 kilometers.

David Coulthard had the pole with Michael Schumacher second, Giancarlo Fisichella third, Mika Häkkinen fourth, Pedro de la Rosa fifth and Jarno Trulli sixth.

As the race was winding down, Barrichello passed de la Rosa for fourth, but he was 8 seconds behind Trulli and was 31 seconds behind the McLarens. He closed the gap to Trulli to 4 seconds and the McLarens to 30 seconds, but there were dark clouds looming.

Then, suddenly a disgruntled former Mercedes employee appeared beside the track with a banner that read, "Mercedes Benz, who knew about my health problems, offered me a job I could not do and then sacked me for physical ineptitude after 20 years service." 

The man ran across the track as marshals chased him and so the safety car was sent out until he was was caught. But the sign only came after the McLarens had started the next lap and so others like Trulli, Barrichello, de la Rosa and others went into the stops.

Man in raincoat runs across track during F1 Grand Prix in Germany back in 2000 / Headline SurferAs the race was winding down, Barrichello passed de la Rosa for fourth, but he was 8 seconds behind Trulli and was 31 seconds behind the McLarens. He closed the gap to Trulli to 4 seconds and the McLarens to 30 seconds but there were dark clouds looming.

Then, suddenly a disgruntled former Mercedes employee appeared beside the track with a banner that read, "Mercedes Benz, who knew about my health problems, offered me a job I could not do and then sacked me for physical ineptitude after 20 years service." 

The man ran across the track as marshals chased him and so the safety car was sent out until he was was caught. But the sign only came after the McLarens had started the next lap and so others like Trulli, Barrichello, de la Rosa and others went into the stops.

There was confusion in the McLaren garage as they could not handle both cars at the same time. By the time it got sorted out, Barrichello was well on his way to victory.

Some fans blame this stunt as a reason for the eventual close of the famed Hockenheim road course.

One wrote wrote on the YouTube comment section of the video above this summary: "What a complete (expletive). So many people have been killed in F1 running across tracks. Drunk, sober, politics, whatever his reason, he is a first class (expletive)."

Another wrote: This piece of (expletive) man -- This mother (expletive expletive) is one of the main factors why the old Hockenheim racetrack was destroyed and a new, shorter racetrack was created."

He added, "Hockenheim was a pearl and a very unique race in the calendar. Now, it's just a racetrack like the others."

Another poster summed up the incident that marred the race: "Mercedes protester makes the Mercedes safety car come out. The irony." 

Fast Facts:
After a cameraman was injured by a run-away tire at the 2013 German Grand Prix, Formula One announced a ban on media in the pit lane, even during practice sessions.​ The rule has since been relaxed.
 
Did You Know?
Formula One  is lesser-known in the US than the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series or their mostly domestic open-wheel racing series, the IndyCar Series, but in terms of budgets and global TV audiences F1 is much larger than both combined.
 
Premise for the series: 
Motorsports fans are drawn to racing for different reasons: The excitement of speed, skill of drafting & passing; strategies on when to pit for fuel, tires or repairs; the will to win and so forth. Ultimately, though, it's the big crashes like th one here at left from Daytona that fans seem to like more than anything. And though nobody wishes serious injury or death to drivers, crew members, emergency personnel & especially spectators, the sad reality is carnage is always lurking. Despite the latest technology & improvements in aerodynamics of vehicles, driver equipment and enhanced track safety features, the fine line between life & death is always at play in any given sanctioned motorsport. Given that Headline Surfer® puts such an emphasis on racing with Daytona Beach International Speedway, the 24/7 internet news outlet is counting down its listing of the top 1,000 Worst of the Worst motorsports crashes. While on the surface it may come across as gratuitous gore to critics, there can never be enough discussion about the need for constant vigilance in looking at safety.
 
Henry Frederick Picture

Short Bio

Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via HeadlineSurfer.com since 2008. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most prolific daily news reporters, having amassed close to a hundred award-winning byline stories narly eveenly split in print and digital platforms. Frederick earned his Master of Arts in New Media Journalism with academic honors from Full Sail University in Winter Park in February 2019. He was a metro reporter with the Daytona Beach News-Journal for nearly a decade and then served as a city editor for the Taunton Daily Gazette in Taunton, Mass, while maintaining a residence in Central Florida. Prior to moving to Florida, Frederick was a metro reporter for the Rockland Journal-News in Wst Nyack, NY, for seven years. Headline Surfer was named the Sunshine State's top internet news site by the Florida Press Club in 2018.