SEPTEMBER 5, 2001
Burti to be released from hospital
PROST driver Luciano Burti is due to be released from the hospital in Liege today following his monumental accident in last weekend's Belgian Grand Prix.
The Brazilian had got a run on the Jaguar of Eddie Irvine through Stavelot and was drawing alongside the Irishman for the run through Blanchimont when he was forced onto the grass and tagged the rear end of the Jaguar before hurtling across the circuit at unabated speed and making a colossal impact with the barriers.
The safety improvements made in recent years both to the strength of the cars and to the updating of crash barriers have both been lauded for saving the young Brazilian, whose most serious injury was bruising of the brain which a scan revealed had importantly not caused any swelling.
Irvine's former Jaguar team mate Johnny Herbert has placed the blame squarely at his feet, although he was exonerated by a stewards' inquiry. Herbert said: "It's ignorant if you just think 'oh well, I'm in front, he's got to make his way past' - which Eddie probably thinks."
Burti was reported to have been in an excitable state while he was extricated from the wreckage by the FIA medical team, and it is believed that Irvine was the root cause although his manager, Enrico Zanarini, denies the story.
His former housemate Rubens Barrichello spent much of Sunday night at Burti's bedside, and said: "Before the restart, I was told that Luciano was angry when they finally got to him in the car, which was very good news as far as I was concerned." Irvine too visited the hospital, but did not get to see his erstwhile Jaguar colleague.
Having been moved out of intensive care already, FIA doctor Gary Harstein explained that the team is pleased with the Brazilian's progress. "We have done new detailed examinations all over his body and the results are quite positive, since there are no fractures or injuries, just a few hematomas in the body, as well as in the forehead and cheeks, which should disappear in a few days."