In what was the worst crash of his career, Michael experienced a high speed collision with a tyre barrier during the British Grand Prix in July 1999. The cause of the crash was rear brake failure. He sustained multiple right leg fractures and cuts and damage to the heel of his right foot. He was immediately airlifted to Northampton hospital and underwent emergency surgery as an inpatient to have a 12 inch metal plate inserted into his leg. He was out of racing until the Malaysian GP on 19/10/99. His times there were phenomenal and he proved not to have lost any speed or confidence as a result of the accident.