A Formula One racetrack is a sacrosanct environment. The two white lines marking the boundary of the circuit represent a physical and psychological barrier that shouldn't be crossed either deliberately or accidentally in any circumstances without express permission – as Mark Webber
will attest after his penalty at the Singapore Grand Prix.
However, for every seemingly innocuous lift home on the back of a rival's machine, there are many examples from F1's past where racetrack intrusions have been controversial, contentious, or downright dangerous.
Ahead of the Indian Grand Prix, Crash.net
looks back at some of Grand Prix racing's most infamous unauthorized on-track transgressions.
India's Buddh circuit is hosting its third and potentially last F1 Grand Prix in 2013, but its first race in 2011 was notable for the return of an almost forgotten blight on F1's past: animals on the track.
The first ever practice session at the Buddh circuit was suspended due to stray dogs breaching the circuit and running amok. Attracted to the circuit by the smell of food being cooked on construction workers' campsites, the dogs were able to slip through incomplete perimeter fences and gain access to the track.
The suspension of practice to allow for the removal of dogs in India marked the first time since the 1990 Mexican Grand Prix that a F1 session was halted due to an animal intervention. Putting out the red flags to clear animals from the track represents a modern concession to animal safety though, and invading critters of times past were much less fortunate.
In 1970 in Mexico City Jackie Stewart escaped injury when he hit a dog, and Stefan Johansson had a comparable let-off in 1987 when his McLaren
was destroyed by a collision with a deer at the original Österreichring. When the track re-opened in 1997, the deer remained, resulting in Juan-Pablo Montoya's memorably abysmal 'Oh deer!' pun over team radio after a near miss during practice at the 2001 Austrian GP.
Groundhogs have been a frequent and unwelcome on-track addition at Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, but common collisions have caused significantly more damage to the critters than the cars or drivers.
Perhaps F1's most tragic incident involving an animal came at the 1960 Belgian Grand Prix. Briton Alan Stacey, driving for Lotus, was struck in the helmet by a bird while lying sixth on lap 25 of the race. The ensuing accident killed Stacey instantly, marking the sole occasion when an F1 driver has lost their life due to an animal intervention.
Disgruntled Former Mercedes Employee