Near-disaster when a recovery crane drops the McLaren onto the track as cars approach.

Drivers and marshals avoided what could have been a major disaster at the Historic Grand Prix of Monaco when a crane dropped a classic Formula 1 race car onto the track surface.

The McLaren M23 was being hoisted away from the circuit when it slipped out of its crane harness, plunging to the surface below. Marshals scrambled to reattach the race car to the crane , but they had much bigger worries on their hands. The race’s safety car had pitted, thinking danger had been averted, and wasn’t able to rejoin the track ahead of the leading race cars. Quick-thinking marshals did manage to wave red flags and slow the oncoming cars in time to prevent a crash -- or injury to workers. But during the unexpected slow-down, two other cars did collide as one brake more than the trailing driver expected.

Though the McLaren M23 undoubtedly sustained serious damage, the situation could have been much worse had other drivers collided with the paralyzed car at full speed. It’s still unclear just what went wrong to allow the car to fall from the crane, but we’re betting everyone involved will receive extra lessons on careful use of the recovery equipment.


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