Ex-F1 driver suffers cardiac arrest after choking emergency on Christmas Day

Sam Cooper
Wilson and Emerson Fittipaldi in the paddock.

Wilson is three years older than his brother Emerson Fittipaldi, a two-time F1 champion.

Former Brabham driver Wilson Fittipaldi Jr suffered a cardiac arrest after he choked on a piece of meat on Christmas Day, his wife has said.

Fittipaldi Jr, brother of two-time champion Emerson, was said to be “sedated and intubated” after the incident but was stable following the emergency.

He is 80 years old, three years older than Emerson, and was looked after by his son and NASCAR driver Christian in the hospital.

Wilson Fittipaldi in hospital after Christmas Day emergency

The news was confirmed by his wife on January 5 in an Instragm post.

She said: “During dinner, he choked on a piece of meat and suffered a lack of oxygen followed by cardiac arrest.

“He was resuscitated and is now sedated and intubated, we are waiting for him to wake up.

“He has a difficult post-surgical history of returning post-sedative, one day at a time, let’s wait.


“Yesterday I received countless phone calls and kind messages of support for the whole family.

“I appreciate all the messages, I know they are the ones that give us strength in this very difficult time. Continue the positive vibes of health and restoration for Wilsinho. God will make the best!”

Fittipaldi Jr. competed in 35 F1 races from 1972-1975, earning three championship points before retiring after the 1975 United States Grand Prix.

That was not the last of his F1 involvement though, with him and his brother setting up what remains the only Brazilian team in the sport’s history, Fittipaldi.

He has also returned to the paddock with his brother, most recently at the 2022 Sao Paulo Grand Prix.

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