|description||On the approach to the Variante Goodyear, Riccardo Patrese's Arrows, which had qualified 12th, touched James Hunt's McLaren, which started from 10th position. The McLaren was spun into Peterson's Lotus and the Lotus was spun into the barriers on the right-hand side of the track, crushing the front of the car. Vittorio Brambilla, who had started from the back of the grid, tried to avoid the accident but his Surtees crashed into Peterson's Lotus. Peterson's Lotus burst into flames.
10 cars were involved in the accident.
James Hunt leapt from his McLaren and pulled Peterson from the burning Lotus. Peterson's condition looked not too bad and he was brought to hospital where his condition was considered stable.
Peterson died in the hospital in the next night from a fat embolism - a fairly rare condition that can follow fractures of the thigh. In layman's terms, fat deposits form in the blood vessels of the patient, which, in Peterson's case, blocked circulation through the lungs and starved his brain of oxygen.
Because of this accident, many new regulations made Formula 1 safer:
Professor Watkins and the Formula One Constructors Association (FOCA) chief Bernie Ecclestone, with the support of Niki Lauda and Jackie Stewart, concluded that a medical car should follow the Formula One cars on the first lap so that injured drivers could receive almost immediate medical help. It was also clear that expert firemen should be putting out fires quickly instead of drivers having to pull their fellow drivers from burning wrecks.