The 1986 British Grand Prix would not only become one of the worst pile-ups in Formula One history, but would also end the Formula One career of Frenchman Jacques Laffite. As the 9th race of the 1986 Formula One season, it would be the last time a Formula One race would take place at Brands Hatch and move to the Silverstone Circuit from next year onwards.
The race was a turn of fate for many. As Thierry Boutsen lost control of his Arrows midfield, he bounced off the wall and landed right in the middle of the track. Almost all the cars including Laffite’s Ligier either crashed into other cars or into the barriers. The impact was so high for Laffite’s Ligier that almost the entire front of the car had been completely crumpled, as a result of which Laffite had to be cut from the wreckage and immediately flown to the hospital. The French racing driver who was about to equal Graham Hill’s 176 Grand Prix starts had broken both his legs in the crash that also ended his career as a Formula One driver.
It was evident that luck was not with many during the 1986 British Grand Prix, only to be found quite strongly with Nigel Mansell. Mansell had a driveshaft failure when the race first started, but was allowed to re-start his race as the lap had not been completed before the massive pile-up had taken place. He went on to win the race against an already weakened grid due to the crash.