Martin made his Formula 1 debut at the French Grand Prix in July 1989; just over a year later he made his final F1 appearance after an accident that makes him lucky to be alive today.
During 1988, as well as his racing commitments, Donnelly was the test driver for Lotus Formula One team. But it was during 1989 that Donnelly got his first race start when he substituted for Arrows driver Derek Warwick at the 1989 French Grand Prix. He impressed in France qualifying 14th. Donnelly finished his first F1 race 3 laps down in 12th place and was the last car running to finish.
Martin suffered a serious crash during practice at the Jerez circuit which ended his Formula One racing career. He sustained multiple injuries in the crash, including brain and lung contusions as well as severe leg fractures, the latter of which almost necessitated the amputation of his right leg. This marked the end of Donnelly’s career as an F1 driver. After the accident, which left him in a coma for 6 weeks, Martin continued to race in other series, and has made guest appearances at motorsport events. He has his own racing Academy in Norfolk, and joined the F1 stewarding team to oversee the current crop of driving stars.
Donnelly continues to have a close relationship with Elise Trophy organisers, LoTRDC, racing in a Lotus Evora in 2012, and he is currently working as a club steward for Lotus Cup Europe and Lotus Cup UK. Having many years’ experience in Motor Racing and F1, Martin will deliver great stories whilst sharing his learning experiences to benefit your business.