British GP scandals from Schumacher’s infamous Silverstone win to VERY awkward Cara Delevingne chat and X-rated blunder

IT’S one of the most legendary races in Formula 1, but the British Grand Prix has had to steer a path through shocks and scandals over the years.

From spying on the competition to insane collisions, countless infamous sporting moments have left fans reeling.

The British Grand Prix has given fans some of the most memorable moments in Formula 1Credit: Tim Williams/British Photography Awards
Michael Schumacher has been involved in controversies at SilverstoneCredit: AP:Associated Press
The legend celebrated coming second in 1994 – little did he know he’d be disqualified and banned shortly afterwardsCredit: Times Newspapers Ltd

And there’s been some spicy moments off the track too – remember Cara Delevingne’s infamous grid chat with Martin Brundle last year?

As Formula 1 returns to Silverstone on Sunday, there could be more fireworks in store, with the likes of Lewis Hamilton, Lando Norris, and Max Verstappen all vying for the top prize.

Here, we look at the British Grand Prix’s most memorable controversies – from the scandalous to the pure ridiculous.

No stopping him

Michael Schumacher is considered by many to be the greatest driver in F1 history, but his glittering career didn’t come without a few controversies.


In 1994, the star – who tragically suffered a severe brain injury in 2013 – was hit with a five-second penalty after illegally passing frontrunner Damon Hill on the formation lap.

Remarkably, he ignored the punishment and, after 21 laps, was served a black flag, which should have resulted in his disqualification – only to seemingly ignore that too.

He finally served the time penalty on lap 27, eventually finishing second as confusion reigned.

Princess Diana presented Hill with his award on the podium as Schumacher looked on.

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However, shortly after, Michael was disqualified and banned for two races after being dragged to the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council.

His protests that he had not seen the black flag did not go down well with officials.

Greatest F1 track on Earth’ created featuring iconic parts from Silverstone, Spa and Suzuka

Victory from the pits

Schumacher won in 1998 while not even on the trackCredit: AP:Associated Press

In 1998, Schumacher again came under intense scrutiny when he won the British Grand Prix… from the pit lane.

It all started when he was judged to have illegally overtaken Alexander Wurz while the safety car had been deployed as he chased down race leader Mika Hakkinen.

The German was given a 10-second penalty for the move, but Ferrari claimed to be confused by whether it would be added to their driver’s time or if he would need to come into the pits for a stop-and-go.

Ultimately, Schumacher was called in by his team on the final lap, meaning that by the time he reached the team’s garage, he had already crossed the finish line, sparking fury among their rivals.

It soon emerged that the bungling stewards had only announced the punishment with just two laps of the race left.

Despite many expressing disappointment at how Schumacher won, the rules at the time were vague, meaning his victory stood.

180mph smash

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen have had one of the most heated rivalries in Formula OneCredit: Getty
The pair collided at top speed, with Max having to go to the hospital to get checked out
Lewis Hamilton’s wild celebration did not go down well with everyoneCredit: PA

When it comes to heated rivalries on the grid, very few come close to the intensity of Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.

In 2021, their feud came to a head when they collided in a 180mph clash at Copse Corner. It was the first time that year that a battle between the two would end in a collision.

Max crashed heavily into the barriers and was taken to hospital for precautionary checks.

Lewis was penalised with a 10-second penalty but still went on to win the race by passing Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

He was later accused of “dirty driving by Red Bull’s Christian Horner as the debate about racing etiquette raged.

Max also slammed Lewis’ behaviour on X, writing: “Watching the celebrations while still in hospital is disrespectful and unsportsmanlike behaviour, but we move on.”


Nigel Stepney stole hundreds of pages of Ferrari data and passed them on to McLarenCredit: Getty
Their plan came to light when Mike Coughlan’s wife made photocopies of the documentsCredit: Sutton Motor Sport Images

In 2007, McLaren was hit with a huge $100million fine in one of the biggest controversies to come out of Formula 1.

Dubbed Spygate, it centred around Nigel Stepney, who worked for Ferrari and his old friend, Mike Coughlan, who was the chief designer of McLaren.

When Stepney felt like he had been unfairly shut out of a promotion, he stole almost 800 pages of confidential Ferrari data and passed them on to Coughlan.

But their plan came crashing down when Coughlan’s wife tried to make copies of the documents at a shop in Woking.

The photocopier, a Ferrari fan, became suspicious and alerted the team, who launched a bombshell legal case days ahead of the British Grand Prix in July.

While McLaren was initially cleared of wrongdoing, a second investigation led to the record punishment. The scandal remains a huge stain on McLaren’s legacy.

Protest on live track

Just Stop Oil protestors recklessly sat on the tracks while a race was underwayCredit: Rex
The protestors were arrested and charged for their actionsCredit: Rex

In 2022, a huge security lapse at Silverstone saw six environmental protestors storm the tracks and recklessly sit down while the race was ongoing.

Luckily, the cars had slowed by the time they got to the protestors, due to a multi-car incident at Turn 1.

After they were removed, all six Just Stop Oil protestors were arrested and charged with causing a public nuisance.

At their trial, prosecutors said they risked “serious harm” to the drivers and the marshals who had to get them off the tracks.

Although they were found guilty of the offence, they were spared jail and handed suspended sentences instead.

Cringe snub

Cara Delevingne declined an interview with Martin Brundle on the gridCredit: Sky Sports F1
The model was slammed on social media for snubbing F1 legend MartinCredit: Sky Sports F1

Former racing driver turned commentator Martin Brundle is one of the most respected figures in Formula One.

The Sky Sports presenter is known for interviewing team principals, drivers, and VIPs before the beginning of each race.

But it seemed last year, model Cara Delevingne didn’t get the memo when she appeared to snub him as he approached her for an interview during the grid walk.

Initially, a member of her team said she did not want to talk. Martin then responded with: “She doesn’t want to talk? But everybody needs to talk on the grid, that’s the deal now.”

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He then took matters into his own hands and asked her for a “quick chat”, to which she said: “No” and added that she couldn’t “hear anything”.

As Martin walked away from Cara, he quipped: “Oh well, I’m sure it would have been extremely interesting.”

Fans immediately took to social media to slam her over the incident, which went viral.

One vented: “Terrible form. This is Martin Brundle’s gridwalk. Has been for eternity.”

As the storm grew, Cara was forced to defend herself, telling one fan: “I was told to say no so I did. Thank you for seeing both sides xxx”

X-rated display

A screen malfunction resulted in a very awkward sceneCredit: YouTube

In 2015, fans in attendance were left in fits of laughter after the big screen malfunctioned and appeared to depict a lewd act.

The screen showed two men in a jerking motion, with one man’s hand in front of the other.


As the up-and-down hand motions continued, fans could be heard laughing, with one shouting, “What’s he doing?”

After a few more seconds, the two men disappeared from the screen as it went completely blank.

Source: Motorsport -


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