Friends fear Freddie Flintoff may NEVER return to Top Gear: Cricket ace, 45, avoided serious physical injury in horror crash but has been left ‘psychologically traumatised’ and ‘could quit the show for good’
Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff may never return to Top Gear after a horror crash left him ‘psychologically traumatised’, his friends fear.
The presenter and former England cricketer, 45, is understood to have avoided serious physical injury in the incident, however he ‘could quit the show for good’.
He was airlifted to hospital following a collision on a test track at the Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey on December 13.
Friends revealed he was making a good recovery physically following the crash, but the psychological impact was less clear, according to The Times.
Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff may never return to Top Gear after a horror crash left him ‘psychologically traumatised’, his friends fear. Pictured after crashing a trike in 2019
The presenter and former England cricketer, 45, is understood to have avoided serious physical injury in the incident, however he ‘could quit the show for good’
Temperatures had plunged to 0C at the test track where he was reviewing a car at the time.
He also revealed Flintoff’s family were left ‘shocked’ after he was taken to hospital.
Corey told MailOnline: ‘He’s OK. I’m not too sure what happened but he is lucky to be alive.
‘It was a pretty nasty crash. It is shocking. We are all shocked but just hope he’s going to be OK.’
The Ashes hero’s wife Rachael had left the family home in Altrincham and raced to the hospital when she was told of the smash.
The BBC confirmed that the father-of-four was hurt in the crash and taken to hospital for further treatment.
It launched an investigation into the incident, due to be completed in the next two weeks, and insists ‘all health and safety procedures’ were followed.
Flintoff was behind the wheel filming when the incident occurred, with medics at the venue near Cranleigh rushing to his aid.
Chris Harris, who presents the show alongside Flintoff and Paddy McGuiness, was also at the Top Gear test track.
A review of the accident by the Health and Safety Executive, the government agency, has found no evidence of any serious failings requiring a formal investigation.
A spokesman said yesterday: ‘We’ve completed our initial inquires into this incident and will not be investigating further.’
Flintoff has not posted anything on his social media accounts since the accident and his official website appears to be down.
The smash comes three years after the ex-cricketer narrowly cheated death following a shock 125mph crash.
In 2019, Flintoff was heard fearfully yelling ‘I can’t stop,’ as he hurtled head-first down a runway just inches off the ground in a three-wheeled cycle car.
He had been racing his co-hosts when he realised he was running out of road and about to overshoot the finish line – seeing him spin off in a cloud of dust.
Flintoff walked away from the ‘near-death’ crash unscathed, insisting he was ‘absolutely fine’.
He said at the time: ‘I go to great lengths to make sure I do well in Top Gear drag races but, on this occasion, I went a few lengths too far. It will look more ridiculous than dangerous when you see it on TV.’
Chris Harris, who presents the show alongside Flintoff and Paddy McGuiness, was also at the Top Gear test track
Flintoff’s smash comes three years after the ex-cricketer narrowly cheated death following a shock 125mph crash
Richard Hammond was left in a coma after a serious crash during filming in September 2006
Flintoff was injured as cameras were rolling to capture his opinion of the car for the show’s review segment (stock image)
Flintoff, who was appointed England cricket captain twice, first in 2006 and 2007, retired from the game in 2010, before briefly returning to play for Lancashire four years later.
Following his illustrious sporting career he became a familiar face on television, joining various reality and panel shows and appearing as the face of supermarket brand Morrisons.
In 2010 he became a team captain on Sky’s A League Of Their Own, hosted by James Corden before being crowned king of the jungle in the first series of the Australian version of I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! in 2015.
After appearing in the BBC drama Love, Lies and Records in 2017, he went on to make his musical theatre debut in Kay Mellor’s Fat Friends The Musical and hosted All Star Musicals for ITV in December the same year.
He was announced in October 2018, ahead of the show’s 27th series, as a new host of Top Gear alongside Paddy McGuinness and Chris Harris.
McGuinness also cheated death after losing control of a red Lamborghini in the Yorkshire Dales in 2020.
Richard Hammond was left in a coma after a serious crash during filming in September 2006.
The ex-Top Gear presenter crashed a jet-powered Vampire dragster vehicle while travelling at 288mph, and spent five weeks in hospital recovering from his injuries.
In 2019, Flintoff was heard fearfully yelling, ‘I can’t stop,’ as he hurtled head-first down a runway just inches off the ground in a three-wheeled cycle car
The former England captain has previously spoken about suffering from bulimia
Describing how he would binge eat before making himself sick – even during international matches – he said: ‘I was doing it a lot. I was doing it at lunchtime, I would come off and have something to eat and go and bowl again.
‘I was cautious, you’d see if anyone was in the toilets with you and you’d find somewhere to go.’
He added: ‘Everyone was happy with me, I’d gone from that fat fella you saw making his Test debut to getting into some sort of shape.’
Freddie also said it was his wife Rachael, who he married in 2005, that helped him overcome his eating disorder, saying: ‘I don’t think I could have done all the things I’ve done without her. She’s always there.’
He realised he had an eating disorder while on holiday in Dubai with his wife and described throwing up a £400 scallop dinner.
He said: ‘I was in Dubai on holiday and we went to the fancy hotel. I remember I got this scallop three ways, and then this main course came.
‘And I went into the toilet and threw up. I came out thinking I’ve just paid £300, £400, for this and I’m throwing it up in the toilet.’
He explained that that was when he told his wife Rachael about his eating problem.
‘I thought at that point, I’m going to say something. And [my wife] could see something wasn’t right,’ he said.
Flintoff stopped his all-night drinking sessions in 2012 and says that drinking doesn’t help with depression
He was pictured looking worse for wear in 2005 at a Downing Street reception after England had beaten Australia to win the 2005 Ashes series but says his drinking days are now behind him
‘I think once I told her, that was the first part in being able to talk about it and ultimately stop doing it.’
He added: ‘It’s horrible. You know it’s wrong and you shouldn’t but something inside is telling you to do it.’
Freddie described how he would get ‘stick from the crowd’ about being overweight, having previously spoken about his weight ballooned to 17st 12lb.
Describing how his bulimia took hold, he continued: ‘I used to go out and get drinks and kebabs, and I would go home and make myself sick.
‘I was getting results, hitting targets, so it was working in theory.’
He also described how he became ‘paranoid’ that people were watching what he was buying at the supermarket after he admitted to having an eating disorder.
Flintoff said he stopped the all-night drinking sessions after making a documentary about depression in sport in 2012.
‘It’s not so much the drinking, it’s actually the reasons why you are drinking.
‘When you are drinking because you are trying to get away from something I think that is when you have got to look at everything,’ he remarked.
‘One of the reasons I probably stopped drinking is that I am prone to suffer from depression. Drinking doesn’t help one bit. I don’t touch it now.’
He realised his drinking had started to become a problem when he was sacked as England vice-captain in 2007 after getting drunk and into difficulties after taking a pedal boat out to sea in St Lucia following a World Cup defeat.
Top Gear crashes through the years
Richard Hammond crashes a Vampire Dragster – 2006
Richard was left fighting for his life after crashing the jet-powered car while going at 288 mph as he tested the vehicle at the former RAF Elvington airbase near York. Hammond was completing a seventh and final run in the car when the front-right tyre blew-out and the dragster veered off the runway, rolled over, and Hammond was left with a traumatic head injury and was in a coma for two weeks. In the year following the crash the TV presenter returned to the show and spoke about the crash on the Jonathan Ross Show, but couldn’t remember any of it because of his injuries.
Shocking: Richard was left fighting for his life after crashing the Vampire Dragster while going at 288 mph as he tested the vehicle at the former RAF Elvington airbase
Freddie Flintoff crashes a jet trike – 2019
In September, Freddie revealed he suffered a nasty escape after a high speed crash in a jet trike during filming. The cricket star, 41, insisted he was ‘absolutely fine’ after his jet trike careered off the road during a race at the Elvington Airfield near York. Freddie reportedly careered his high speed trike off the road as he filmed the high-speed race. Crew members rushed to Freddie – who was wearing a full motorcycling suit and helmet for the scenes – but he emerged with barely a scratch.
Close call: In September last year, Freddie revealed he suffered a nasty escape after a high speed crash in a jet trike during filming
Paddy McGuinness’ back axle comes off his Pontiac Firebird – 2020
In the latest series of Top Gear, Paddy embarked on the ‘original’ American Road Trip with Freddie and Chris Harris. He arrived in their start point of Peru with a Pontiac Firebird which didn’t have a roof amongst several other problems. When the trio decided to test out their cars on a straight 1/4 mile stretch of road Paddy’s car only got a few yards before the back end of the axle came apart entirely and he was forced to abandon the car.
In the latest series of Top Gear, Paddy was forced to abandon his Pontiac Firebird after the back end of the axle came apart entirely (pictured)
Jeremy Clarkson flips over his Reliant Robin – 2010
In a now famous segment from Top Gear, former presenter Jeremy flipped over a Reliant Robin multiple times. The motorcar journalist was flipping it over to prove that the three-wheeled car could easily tip over. In his Sunday Times driving column Jeremy revealed that he had actually asked crew to tinker with the car ‘so that the poor little thing rolled over every time I turned the steering wheel’.
Flipping heck: In a now famous segment from Top Gear, former presenter Jeremy Clarkson flipped over a Reliant Robin multiple times (pictured)