Formula 1

The Austria marsh where Mario Andretti nearly died

by Mark Hughes
1 min read

This piece of marshland at the Red Bull Ring is never captured by the TV cameras, given that it’s a long way beyond even the gravel traps on the exit of Turn 6 and hidden in a depression.

But it has Formula 1 history.

Red Bull Ring marshland

At the first grand prix here, in 1970, Mario Andretti suffered a stuck throttle in his STP March on the approach to the corner, launching him over the rear wheel of Pedro Rodriguez’s BRM, the March rolling at high speed and ending up upside down in the marsh.

“I thought this was it,” Mario told me a few years ago, “that I was going to drown in there. But then some spectators came running over – I think they were Italian and a bunch of them rolled the car the right way up. Saved my life.

“Later the team went back to collect the car and there was nothing left of it! Pretty much just the tub and the wheels.

“Those guys must’ve made off with a load of souvenirs; even the instruments were gone!”

That was the last race for the shortlived Granatelli F1 project. It ended right there in that marsh. Andretti was already in discussion with Ferrari for ’71.

Mario Andretti 1970

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