Despite the many safety measurements ensured by the drivers and the organizing committee, fatal accidents are bound to occur in the F1 racing game. They are one of the main reasons behind the high popularity of this game.
In this article, we will be discussing details about all of the drivers that died in an accident whilst racing for the F1.
Keep reading this article till the end for some interesting tidbits about these drivers.
How many F1 drivers have died?
52 drivers have died in Formula 1 since the start of the competition. The majority of these deaths occurred between 1950 and 1970.
Table of Contents
List of deaths in F1
|Driver||Date Of Accident||Event||Car||Session|
|Martin Brain||May 25, 1970||Nottingham Sportscar Club Meeting||Cooper||Race|
|Ricardo Rodríguez||november 1, 1962||1962 Mexican Grand Prix||Lotus||Practice|
|Chris Bristow||June 19, 1960||1960 Belgian Grand Prix||Cooper||Race|
|Riccardo Paletti||June 13, 1982||1982 Canadian Grand Prix||Osella||Race|
|Shane Summers||June 1, 1961||1961 Silver City Trophy||Cooper||Practice|
|Gary Hocking||december 21, 1962||1962 Natal Grand Prix||Lotus||Practice|
|Roger Williamson||July 29, 1973||1973 Dutch Grand Prix||March||Race|
|Jules Bianchi||October 5, 2014||2014 Japanese Grand Prix||Marussia||Race|
|Helmuth Koinigg||October 6, 1974||1974 United States Grand Prix||Surtees||Race|
|Peter Collins||August 3, 1958||1958 German Grand Prix||Ferrari||Race|
|Charles de Tornaco||september 18, 1953||1953 Modena Grand Prix||Ferrari||Practice|
|Jerry Unser Jr.||May 17, 1959||1959 Indianapolis 500||Kurtis Kraft||Pre-race test|
|Alan Stacey||June 19, 1960||1960 Belgian Grand Prix||Lotus||Race|
|Mario Alborghetti||april 11, 1955||1955 Pau Grand Prix||Maserati||Race|
|Eugenio Castellotti||March 14, 1957||–||Ferrari||Test|
|Tom Pryce||March 5, 1977||1977 South African Grand Prix||Shadow||Race|
|Piers Courage||June 7, 1970||1970 Dutch Grand Prix||De Tomaso||Race|
|Stuart Lewis-Evans||september 19, 1958||1958 Moroccan Grand Prix||Vanwall||Race|
|Jochen Rindt||september 5, 1970||1970 Italian Grand Prix||Lotus||Qualifying|
|Elio de Angelis||May 15, 1986||–||Brabham||Test|
|Cameron Earl||June 18, 1952||–||ERA||Test|
|François Cevert||October 6, 1973||1973 United States Grand Prix||Tyrrell||Qualifying|
|Pat O’Connor||May 30, 1958||1958 Indianapolis 500||Kurtis Kraft||Race|
|Onofre Marimón||July 31, 1954||1954 German Grand Prix||Maserati||Practice|
|Carel Godin de Beaufort||August 2, 1964||1964 German Grand Prix||Porsche||Practice|
|Brian McGuire||August 29, 1977||1977 Shellsport Championship||McGuire||Practice|
|Lorenzo Bandini||May 7, 1967||1967 Monaco Grand Prix||Ferrari||Race|
|Gilles Villeneuve||May 8, 1982||1982 Belgian Grand Prix||Ferrari||Qualifying|
|Bob Cortner||May 19, 1959||1959 Indianapolis 500||Cornis||Pre-race test|
|John Taylor||August 7, 1966||1966 German Grand Prix||Brabham||Race|
|Gerhard Mitter||August 2, 1969||1969 German Grand Prix||BMW||Practice|
|Wolfgang von Trips||september 10, 1961||1961 Italian Grand Prix||Ferrari||Race|
|Roland Ratzenberger||april 30, 1994||1994 San Marino Grand Prix||Simtek||Qualifying|
|Maria de Villota||July 3, 2012||–||Marussia||Test|
|Manny Ayulo||May 16, 1955||1955 Indianapolis 500||Kuzma||Practice|
|Luigi Musso||July 6, 1958||1958 French Grand Prix||Ferrari||Race|
|Ronnie Peterson||september 10, 1978||1978 Italian Grand Prix||Lotus||Race|
|Ayrton Senna||May 1, 1994||1994 San Marino Grand Prix||Williams||Race|
|Jo Siffert||October 24, 1971||1971 World Championship Victory Race||BRM||Race|
|Patrick Depailler||August 1, 1980||–||Alfa Romeo||Test|
|Peter Revson||March 22, 1974||1974 South African Grand Prix||Shadow||Pre-race test|
|Bob Anderson||August 14, 1967||–||Brabham||Test|
|Bill Vukovich||May 30, 1955||1955 Indianapolis 500||Kurtis Kraft||Race|
|Keith Andrews||May 15, 1957||1957 Indianapolis 500||Kurtis Kraft||Practice|
|Harry Schell||May 13, 1960||1960 BRDC International Trophy||Cooper||Practice|
|Mark Donohue||August 19, 1975||1975 Austrian Grand Prix||Penske||Practice|
|Giulio Cabianca||June 15, 1961||–||Cooper||Test|
|Jo Schlesser||July 7, 1968||1968 French Grand Prix||Honda||Race|
|Chet Miller||May 15, 1953||1953 Indianapolis 500||Kurtis Kraft||Practice|
|Fritz Glatz||July 14, 2002||2002 EuroBOSS Series Season||Footwork||Race|
|John Dawson-Damer||June 24, 2000||2000 Goodwood Festival of Speed||Lotus||Demonstration|
|Jules Bianchi||October 5, 2014||Japanese Grand Prix||Marussia MR03||Race|
|David Ferrer||september 2, 2017||Historic Grand Prix||March 701||Race|
Formula 1 drivers that have died
Cameron Earl was born in Yorkshire in 1923.
He was sent by the British Intelligence Objectives Sub-Committee to Germany after the second world war to study and write a detailed report on the 1930s Grand Prix.
Cameron was able to learn the secrets of German design by interviewing designers at Mercedes Benz and Auto Union. He also got his hands on the blueprints of engine designs which served as a great help to the British designers.
Cameron secured a job as a technical consultant for the English Racing Automobiles team.
On 18 June 1952, during a test drive of a racing car at MIRA’s race track in Nuneaton, his car overturned, and he fractured his skull.
Cameron, at the age of just 29, died in the hospital due to the severity of the fracture.
Chester Miller was born on 19 July 1902 in Detroit, Michigan.
He ran a garage and an upholstery business in Michigan.
In 1924, Chester entered the world of racing and was soon able to establish himself as a mechanically-emphatic driver.
Chet made several records over his four-decade-long career as an F1 driver.
He had the fastest qualifying time in the Indianapolis 500 game in 1952, despite him being as far as in the ninth row.
He also made a record of driving 5000 miles without leading a lap at Indianapolis.
This is why he was known as the Dean of the Speedway during his four-decade-long Indy career.
Chet got into a crash in 1939 but was lucky to avoid any serious injuries.
However, in the year 1953, when he promised his wife that this would be his last racing season, fate made sure to keep his word. His car got into a tragic crash, and he died at the age of fifty.
Charles de Tornaco
Charles de Tornaco was born on 7 June 1927.
He began his career on 22 June 1952 and participated in 4 Formula One World Championships Grand Prix.
However, he was unable to score any points during his career.
Charles co-founded Ecurie Belgique, later known as Ecurie Francorchamps, which is a Belgian motor racing team.
While practicing for the Modena Grand Prix in 1953, Charles’ car rolled over because of which he suffered serious neck and head injuries.
Due to the inadequacy of professional medical help present at the scene, Charles died in a saloon car whilst he was being driven to the hospital.
Onofre Marimon was born on 23 December 1923 in Argentina.
His father was a famous long-distance road racing driver in South America.
He started racing in Argentina in 1950 and later moved to Europe in 1951.
Marimon has participated in 11 Formula One World Championship Grand Prix and has attained two podiums.
In 1954, during the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, Marimon became the leader of the Maserati team.
The game started well, and he was able to secure several positions throughout the season.
However, things began to go downhill for Marimon at the German Prix.
He sought advice from his mentor but failed to follow his orders on the track, which resulted in him crashing heavily down a tricky hill at Adenau Bridge.
Marimon was killed on the spot of the crash.
Mario Alborghetti was born on 23 October 1928 in Milano, Italy.
He was the son of a wealthy textile designer.
Mario is known for commissioning his race car and entering major championships when he only had a minimum experience of participating in four minor events.
He hired designer Gianpaolo Volpini and engineer Egidio Arzani to design and build him a Grand Prix car for the 1955 Turin Grand Prix event.
However, the team was unable to finish their work on time and hence, failed to arrive for the 1955 championship.
Mario’s car was ready for the 1955 Pau Grand Prix.
This event was considered difficult for an inexperienced driver like Mario.
Things began to go sour from the start of the event.
Mario had the 15th fastest time out of 16 drivers. During his 19th lap, he got distracted by another driver trying to overtake him, because of which he set foot on the wrong pedal.
His car crashed into the straw bales, and he suffered fatal injuries.
Although the car wasn’t severely damaged, Mario broke his neck due to the accident and died on the spot.
Manny Ayulo was born on 20 October 1921 in Burbank, California.
He, along with his friend Jack McGrath, helped corroborate track roadsters as workable and practical race cars.
On May 16, 1955, during the Indianapolis 500 race practice event, his car crashed into a concrete wall.
It was later found out that Manny was not wearing a seatbelt whilst driving and had his pocket full of wrenches.
Bill Vukovich was born on 13 December 1918 in Alameda, California.
Born into a family of Serbian immigrants, he made his way into the game of race and cars in the 1940s.
He was named Vuky, which meant the mad Russian, for his aggressive driving style. He was also called the silent Serb due to his demeanor.
He was considered the best racing driver of his generation as he was the only driver to lead the most laps in 3 consecutive Indy 500.
In 1954, during the Indy 500, Vukovich had a stellar performance, but fate had to intervene.
He got caught up between three cars, and because of this, his car became airborne.
Vukovich’s car went over the fence, landing upside down, killing him instantly.
Eugenio Castellotti was born on 10 October 1930 in Milan, Italy.
Eugenio was very young when his father died and left him an inheritance.
At the age of 20, for his love for Ferraris, Eugenio decided to buy himself one from what his father had left him.
In the second year of campaigning with his Ferrari, Eugenio started to win many sports events.
In the year 1952, Eugenio won the Sicily Gold Cup, Circuito di Senigallia, and the Portuguese GP. He also came second in the Monaco GP race event that same year.
Within a very short time, Eugenio had managed to create a very successful career for himself.
Whilst Eugenio was on holiday with his famous girlfriend, Delia Scala, he received a phone call from Enzo Ferrari to beat a record in Modena.
He underestimated the track at Modena, and soon after taking two or three laps, Eugenio lost control of the car and was overturned into a grandstand. He lost his life immediately on the spot of the accident.
Keith Andrews was born on 15 June 1920 in Denver, United States.
Keith Andrews started from racing roadsters in 1947 to midgets and eventually progressed to racing bigger cars in 1955.
He won the Colorado midget championship for three years straight, from 1952 to 1954.
In 1957, Keith was selected as a backup driver in the Indy 500 for the 1950 Formula 1 Championship.
However, on 11 May 1957, while Andrew was taking his run on the track, he lost control of the car in his second lap. The back of his car crushed Andrews into the steering wheel, causing him to get fatal neck injuries.
Pat O’Conner was born on 9 October 1928 in North Vernon, Indiana.
Pat O’Conner was a famous young race car driver who had won the Midwest Sprint Car Championship thrice in the years 1953, 1954, and 1956. He has also won the last title of the USAC sanction with 2nd place in the final round of Salem Speedway.
Pat O’Conner took part in 43 champ-car races throughout his lifetime, winning two of the races in 1956 and 1957.
He has also won two poles in his racing career, including the one at the 1957 Indianapolis 500.
It was due to this win he became one of the favorite race car drivers of the people. He was featured on the cover of the magazine Sports Illustrated in May 1958, which was rumored to be the magazine that jinxed the legends.
In 1958, Pat O’Conner was caught up in a horrific 15-car pileup on the tracks of the Indianapolis 500.
He sustained a fatal neck injury, and his car caught fire during the first lap.
Pat O’Connor’s accident was one of the worst fatalities the world has ever seen of F1 drivers.
Luigi Musso was born on 28 July 1924 in Rome, Italy.
Luigi loved cars and had a passion to race them. So in 1952, he was able to persuade his brother to lend him his Stranguellini, and that’s when he began to show his true potential.
Until the age of 30, Luigi had managed to become a part of a team that was every Italian male’s dream, the Scuderia Ferrari.
After the death of Ascari and Castellani, Luigi was the only best Italian race car driver left of that generation.
He participated in and won many championships.
Despite him being in one of the world’s top teams, Luigi struggled financially.
To pay his debts, he desperately wanted to win the 1958 French Grand Prix.
At the start of the race, Luigi was in the second position, and victory could be seen to fall in his hands.
However, his car got out of control and was thrown up into the sky. He landed in a wheat field and was seriously injured.
He died later that day in the hospital in Reims.
Peter Collins was born on 6 November 1931 in Worcestershire, England.
His father was a famous businessman in the motor trade. Hence Peter had spent most of his childhood between cars.
He first started racing on 18 May 1952.
Peter had participated in a total of 35 World Championships, winning three races and securing nine podiums and 47 champion points.
During the 1956 season, when Collins was almost about to become Britain’s first F1 World Champion, he handed over his Lancia-Ferrari D50 to his team leader as he suffered from an arm failure.
This act demoted Peter to the third position. However, his act of selflessness earned him great respect and admiration from the people of Italy, his team members, and especially Enzo Ferrari.
1958 marked the last of Collins’ racing career. Whilst he was trying to keep pace with the other members on the track, he lost control of his car and went flying over, hitting a tree.
He suffered from several serious injuries and died later that day in the hospital.
Stuart Lewis was born on 20 April 1930 in Luton, Bedfordshire.
Stuart’s father was one of the famous Formula 3 racers, so it was of no shock when Stuart decided to follow in his father’s footsteps.
He made his debut in the world of racing in 1957 in Monaco with a Connaught car. He managed to earn the third position in that race.
Stuart managed to become one of the leading Formula drivers with notable wins and international successes. His last race was the 1958 season in Monaco.
Although Stuart was able to secure a constructors’ championship for his team but ended up losing his own life.
During the 41st lap, his Vanwall caught fire, and he suffered from serious burns. Six days later, he finally succumbed to death in East Grinstead hospital.
Stuart even donated his eyes to the eye bank of the hospital
Jerry Unser Jr.
Jerry Unser Jr. was born on 15 November 1932 in Colorado Springs, USA.
He was the first from the Unser family to ever compete in the Indianapolis 500.
During the practice session for his first ever Indy 500 race in 1958, his car was involved in a 13-car-pileup accident, because of which he was unable to participate that year.
The year 1959 was the last year of his career and life. On the 17th of May 1959, when Jerry was practicing, and everything seemed to be going okay, the car suddenly started to spin around and crashed into a wall in his 4th turn.
The car went flying into pieces and caught fire.
Jerry died two weeks later due to the burns caused by this accident.
It was after this accident that fire-resistant driving suits became mandatory to be worn by drivers.
Bob (Charles) Cortner was born on 16 April 1927 in California, USA.
Bob had been racing midgets for over ten years before taking a test for the Indianapolis 500 in 1959.
He had also won the Bay Cities Racing Association in 1957.
On May 18th, 1959, Bob appeared for his Indy 500 test.
Although he passed the test, during the practice session on the very next day, his car got caught in the wind, and he lost control.
He hit his car into a wall and sustained severe, fatal head injuries.
He died later that day in the evening.
Bob was the second race driver to die that year after Jerry Unser.
Harry Schell was born on 29 June 1921 in Paris, France.
Harry Schell was born to parents who were quite famous on the tracks for their racing skills.
He made his debut at the Grand Prix event in Monaco in 1950.
Harry never won any championships, but he was still very famous due to his great charisma and likable playboy nature.
He died during one of the practice sessions for the Silverstone International Trophy event in 1960 after crashing his car into a brick wall.
He died on the spot in the accident.
Chris Bristow was born on 2 December 1937 in London, UK.
Chris had the reputation of being in a collision or crash in every race that he took part in. This is why he was known as “the wild man of British club racing.”
Bristow was killed in the 1960 Belgian Grand Prix when his car was struck by the car of Alan Stacey during lap 25.
He flew over the fence and died within a few minutes of the accident.
Alan Stacey was born on 28 August 1933 in Broomfield, England.
Alan made his debut in the Formula One racing events by associating with Lotus and making his car using a kit. He drove this car in his first ever race in 1959.
He secured 8th position in the 1959 British Grand Prix. This was the only race that he ever finished in his whole racing career.
During the 1960 Belgian Grand Prix, a bird flew into Stacey’s face on lap 25, which made him leave the track. He crashed through a wired fence and fell into a field.
He died at the instant of the accident.
Shane Summers was born on 23 June 1936 in Rosette, United Kingdom.
Shane was a Formula One driver, but he never got to participate in a world championship.
He participated in many small-scale events.
He died during the practice session for the Silver City Trophy race at Brands Hatch when his car crashed into a concrete wall of a tunnel entrance.
Guilio Cabianca was born on 19 February 1923 in Verona, Italy.
Guilio made his debut in 1948 on the Mille Miglia.
He had set the record for the fastest race lap in the 1952 Mille Miglia.
Guilio made his debut in the Formula One race event of the Italian Grand Prix in 1958.
He secured second place for himself in the 1961 Mille Miglia.
In June 1961, while Guilio was testing his Scuderia Castelloti Cooper-Ferrari Formula 1 car, he had a gearbox formula in his ninth lap. To avoid a crash, he took an escape route, landing himself in Via Emilia, one of the busiest routes in Italy.
Along with him, seven vehicles got involved in the accident, with many of them being killed instantly or suffering from serious injuries.
Wolfgang von Trips
Wolfgang von Trips was born on 4 May 1928 in Westphalia, Germany. He made his racing debut in 1950 by riding a 500cc BMW motorcycle.
In the 1954 Mille Miglia, Wolfgang secured a second position in the 1600cc class. In that same year, he was also able to finish fifth in the Berlin Sports Car Grand Prix.
He was named Taffy by the British crowds for his fearless and brave nature.
In 1961, Wolfgang was at the top of his career. He won the Targa Florio, secured fourth place in Monaco, and had a dominating win in Holland. In that same year, he also won the British Grand Prix.
However, 1961 was also the end of his career and the year of his death.
In the Italian GP, Taffy’s car got hit by Jim Clark’s Lotus. Wolfgang went flying into the air, crashing into a fence, then up again into the air, and finally, crash landing into the circuit with a loud thud.
In that whole scenario, 14 spectators also died alongside him.
Ricardo Rodriguez was born on 14 February 1942 in Mexico. Ricardo started his career on bicycles and became the national youth champion of Mexico.
He later switched to motorbikes and won several championships in different classes.
It was in 1957 that he formally quit motorbikes and started his racing career in cars.
Ricardo, in his first ever car race in September 1957, was able to beat many top-class American drivers.
In January 1961, Rodriguez won his first single-seater car race.
Due to his exceptional driving skills, he was invited by Enzo Ferrari to drive for the Ferrari team in the 1962 Italian Grand Prix, making him the youngest driver to debut in an F1 race.
With his consecutive successes at a very young age, Ricardo was considered to be the next world champion by the people.
However, on 1 November 1962, when Ricardo was on his last lap, something broke in his vehicle. His car somersaulted a complete 180 degrees and crashed heavily.
Ricardo was almost sliced into halves by the windshield while the car had caught fire. He landed on a railing and died instantly.
Gary Hocking was born on 30 September 1937 in Wales, United Kingdom.
In 1958 he made his first official debut as a motorcycle racer in Nurburgring.
By 1960, Gary had become MV Agusta’s top champion in motorcycle racing.
In the 1962 Formula One season, Gary made his debut as the F1 driver, replacing Stirling Moss.
At Oulton Park Gold Cup, he won three races, and at the Kyalami Rand GP, he came in 4th position.
His victories made him a potential winner for the future world championships.
However, on 21 December 1962, in his last practice session for the Natal GP, his lotus went into a ditch and hit a 2-foot tree stump.
This collision made the car break into two pieces, and Gary received severe head injuries. He died on his way to the hospital.
Carel Godin de Beaufort
Carel Godin de Beaufort was born on 10 April 1934 in Maarsbergen, Netherlands.
Carel came from a very rich and aristocratic background. He was known as the last of the gentleman drivers.
He started driving around his estate and then participated in national and international events.
He made his Formula One debut in 1957 under the name Ecurie Maarsbergen.
In 1962, Carel decided to participate in all events that year. He even ended up scoring the highest finish of his career in the 1962 Dutch Grand Prix, securing the 6th position.
Carel’s death came in the practice session for the 1964 German Grand Prix. His car swerved directions on the track, and he was thrown out with a large force.
Carel suffered from the serious leg, head, and chest injuries and died three years later in a neurological hospital.
John Taylor was born on 23 March 1933 in Leicester, United Kingdom.
John was a former flight engineer in the British Royal Force.
He made his debut in the Formula One race in the 1963 Aintree 200 driving team, securing the ninth position for himself.
John participated in a total of five World Championship Grand Prix.
John died in his fifth world championship in the 1966 German Grand Prix.
Brabham collided with Taylor in their first lap due to heavy mist and rain.
John’s car caught fire, and he acquired serious burns. He died a month later from that accident.
Lorenzo Bandini was born on 21 December 1935 in Barce, Cyrenaica.
His father was murdered when Lorenzo was at a very young age. This is why he had to work as an apprentice in a motorcycle shop.
In 1950 he moved to Milan to work in the shop of Goliardo Freddi.
Being a racing enthusiast himself, he encouraged young Lorenzo to participate in racing events.
In 1956, Lorenzo made his debut in the world of racing by participating in the Castell’Arquato-Vernasca Hillclimb, securing the 15th position for himself.
Lorenzo competed in three F1 world championships, securing the third position in Monaco.
Lorenzo died in the 1967 Monaco Grand Prix when he was leading in second place, and his car turned over and burst into flames.
He died three days later in the hospital.
Bob Anderson was born on 19 May 1931 in Hendon, London. He suffered from osteomyelitis when he was young.
However, visiting a motorcycle race with his friends shifted him from his job to be one of Britain’s leading racers.
Bob participated in 29 Grand Prix events over five seasons, securing eight world championship points and third place in one of the seasons.
In1967, whilst testing for the event at Silverstone Circuit, his vehicle slipped from the track due to wet conditions and crashed into a pole.
He suffered from significant head and neck injuries and died later due to the effects of these injuries.
Joseph Schlesser was born on 18 May 1928 in North-East France.
However, he spent most of his childhood and youth in Madagascar. He later moved to France and worked as a clerk in a factory.
Jo made his debut in racing in 1952 in the Rally of Lorraine. He moved back to Madagascar in hopes of saving some money to buy a Mercedes 300SL.
In 1957 in Europe, he came second in the Liege-Rome-Liege Rally.
In 1968, Jo agreed to drive the Honda RA302 F1 in the 1968 French Grand Prix.
The car had some problems from the start of the race even though it was entered to be driven in the Grand Prix event.
In Jo’s third lap, the car was unstable and slid sideways from the track, crashing into a bank.
The magnesium body of the car with 58 worth laps of fuel inside burst into flames instantly.
Poor Jo was inside the car and was left with no chance of survival.
Gerhard Mitter was born on 30 August 1935 in Krasna Lipa, Czechoslovakia.
He was a very talented Formula 1 engineer and even designed his own Formula Junior car, which he used to score the first of his 40 victories.
Gerhard won the European Hillclimb Championship thrice, making him very popular in his hometown.
Gerhard died while practicing for the 1969 German Grand Prix when his car had a steering failure which caused him to get into an accident.
Martin Brain was born on 22 December 1932 in Birmingham, United Kingdom.
By the young age of 22, Martin was already competing in Formula Three and Formula 3000 events.
In the French Grand Prix, Martin showed many strong moves, which made him bound to receive a lot of interest from the people, even though he was unable to win the event.
By 1990, he was already signed up by the Lotus Team to compete alongside them in the upcoming Formula One season.
On 25 May 1970, during the seventh lap at the Silverstone event, Martin’s car collided with Eden’s car.
Martin’s car somersaulted in the air and crashed upside down onto the ground. He was dead at the instant of the accident.
Piers Courage was born on 27 May 1942 in Colchester, United Kingdom.
He was the eldest son of a wealthy brewing group chairman, making it possible for him to manage his racing career by using the riches of his family.
Piers was the first man to drive for Frank Williams in Formula One.
In the 1969 Monaco Grand Prix and the United States Grand Prix, he was able to secure a runner-up position in both of these races, which was the highest of his Formula One career.
In the 1970 Dutch Grand Prix, Piers’ car suffered from a steering failure which caused the car to fly off at a very high speed.
The car flew over a ridge, was dismantled, and caught fire.
Piers suffered from fatal head and neck injuries
Jochen Rindt was born on 18 April 1942 in Mainz, Germany.
He was orphaned when he was an infant and was brought up by grandparents in Austria. He was known for his headstrongness and rebellious nature. It was said that he either crashed or won the race.
He had a very acerbic personality to the point of seeming arrogant and intimidating.
He first won a race in 1970 in Monaco, securing the fifth position for himself. In 1970, he won four consecutive events of the Dutch, French, British, and German Grand Prix.
On 5 September 1970, whilst practicing for the Italian Grand Prix, Jochen’s Lotus plunged into a guard rail at Monza.
However, even after Rindt’s death, no one was able to strip him of the championship he deserved.
Jo Siffert was born on 7 July 1936 in Fribourg, Switzerland to a dairy owner.
He was nicknamed Seppi by his friends and family and began racing motorbikes in 1957.
He did not come from a wealthy background, so he did whatever he could to support his passion and love for racing. This included selling shells to the Swiss Army.
He became famous in 1961 when he won the Eifelrennen race and emerged as a European Formula Junior Champion.
In 1971, Jo had excellent F1 results and plenty of podium finishes and was really looking forward to the next season.
However, on 24 October 1971, just as he was before the braking zone in Pilgrim’s Drop, his car caused a suspension failure casting him into a bank.
The car caught fire while Jo was trapped inside his car.
Upon rescuing, it was known that he died because of asphyxiation and had survived the initial impact of the accident with nothing more than a broken leg.
Roger Williamson was born on 2 February 1948 in Leicester, United Kingdom.
He was the son of a speedway driver and started racing at the young age of 12.
Roger won the Special Saloon Car Championship in 1970, which bought him the special attention of Tom Wheatcroft.
At the end of 1971, he received an award for the most promising Commonwealth driver of the year.
Just 2 weeks after his debut in the British Grand Prix, Roger’s car had a tire failure in the 8th lap of his second race.
The car propelled for 300 yards at high speed. The car also caught fire due to the scraping of the tank.
No fire extinguishers or fire trucks were available at that moment, and Roger died because of asphyxiation.
Francois Cevert was born on 25 February 1944 in Paris, France.
He began his racing career using his mother’s Vespa when he was 16 years old.
In 1966, Francois signed up for the Volant Shell Scholarship competition, where he won an Alpine Formula Three car.
Cevert managed to secure the third position in the 1971 United States Grand Prix with 26 points.
1973 was the best and last season for Cevert. He was able to complete 7 out of 14 races with just 2 retirements. He also earned 47 points and secured the 4th position in the driver’s championship.
However, during the 1973 United States Grand Prix, in an attempt to steal the pole position, Cevert crashed into the barriers twice at very high speed.
He died instantly due to massive head injuries from the crash
Peter Revson was born on 27 February 1939 in New York, United States.
He started racing in 1960, securing the second position in his first race and winning his second race.
Peter never completed an entire season of Formula One, but still, he was able to win the 1973 British Grand Prix, which was his 24th attempt.
He still is the last American born to ever win a race.
In 1974, 8 days before the Grand Prix, Peter crashed his cars into the barriers whilst testing for the event. The car caught fire and Peter was killed instantly.
Mark Donohue was born on 18 March 1937 in New Jersey, United States.
Mark, also known as Captain Nice and Dark Monohue, had special engineering skills and was able to design his cars and drive them towards victory.
He first debuted as a racer in the 1971 Canadian Grand Prix, winning 3rd place on the podium.
On 19 August 1975, whilst Mark was practicing for the Austrian Grand Prix, his car had a tire failure and crashed into a fence.
He hit his head either on the fence or a billboard.
Mark was able to walk away from the accident, seemingly unharmed. However, he died due to cerebral hemorrhage a few days later in the hospital.
Tom Pryce was born on 11 June 1949 in Ruthin, North Wales.
In his career span of 27 years, he was successful enough to bring Wales into international motor racing and was thought to be one of the potential Formula One World Champions.
Tom was considered a great wet weather driver because he was able to skillfully drive even in wet conditions.
In his third full season at Shadow in the 1977 South African Grand Prix, Tom collided with safety marshall Frederik Jensen at a very high speed.
Both Tom and Frederik were killed in that accident.
Brian McGuire was born on 13 December 1945 in Melbourne, Australia. He moved to Europe with his friend Alan Jones, in an attempt to get better at racing.
Brian entered two Formula One British Grand Prix. However, he was denied a chance to compete at both events.
On 29 August 1977, whilst practicing for the Gp8 race at Brands Hatch, his car skidded off the track, killing a fire marshall along with himself.
Ronnie Peterson was born on 14 February 1944 in Orebro, Sweden. He made his debut in the Grand Prix in March 1970 in Monaco.
Ronnie secured the second position in Formula One Grand Prix a total of five times, which made him a runner-up in 1971’s World Championship.
In 1973 he won the French, Austria, Italy, and United States Grand Prix events.
In the 1978 Italian Grand Prix, James Hunt’s car collided with Ronnie’s car. Apart from these two, eight other drivers were involved in the accident. Ronnie’s car hit the barrier and caught fire.
However, he was rescued before he could get any burns from the fire. Ronnie suffered from 7 fractures in one leg and 3 in his other leg. He died later that night due to renal failure.
We contacted Isak Tingrot, who runs the Swedish Formula 1 site F1Sverige.se, to get a comment about Ronnie Peterson:
“Perhaps the greatest of all Swedish Formula 1 drivers is Ronnie Peterson. The son of Örebro who during his career, which tragically ended with an accident that caused Ronnie’s death, had double-digit race victories and 123 races. He came close to winning the Formula 1 World Championship and stopped second in the table in 1971. In Peterson’s hometown of Örebro, a statue has been erected of him, which shows how important he was to Swedish motorsport”.
Patrick Depailler was born on 9 August 1944 in Auvergne, Central France.
He was a dental technician by profession, although he had a passion for motorbikes and racing. Patrick debuted in racing in 1964 in the event of Coupe Des Provinces and secured a second position.
In 1973, he won the French F3 title. He also won the Europe Formula Two title in that same year. Patrick was the first driver to drive a six-wheeler, Tyrrell P34, at the 1976 Spanish Grand Prix.
In the 1980 German Grand Prix, Depailler was killed during an accident when testing for the pre-race.
Gilles Villeneuve was born on 9 April 1971 in Quebec, Canada.
He won the Formula Atlantic Championship in 1976.
In 1979, Gilles won three races and earned 4-second places in the championship.
In the 1982 Belgian Grand Prix, Gilles collided with Jochen Mass in a fatal crash.
Gilles had one of the shortest Formula One careers, but he was one of the best Canadian high-speed racers.
Riccardo Paletti was born on 15 June 1958 in Milan, Italy.
Riccardo entered Formula Super Ford racing in 1978 and managed to secure third place in the championship.
During the 1982 Formula One season, Paletti had a medical advisor monitoring his heartbeat and blood pressure during his test and practice sessions. Then he would adjust Ricardo’s meals according to the results obtained.
This practice, although very common today, was uncommon and unheard of back then.
In the 1982 Canadian Grand Prix, Riccardo’s car struck the back of Pilloni’s car at a very high speed.
Riccardo’s car started leaking fuel and was caught in flames. He suffered from severe chest injuries and had two broken legs.
Riccardo died after a few minutes upon reaching the hospital.
Elio de Angelis
Elio de Angelis was born on 26 March 1950 in Rome, Italy.
Elio made his debut in 1979 when he was offered a contract by Shadow.
In the 1980 Brazilian Grand Prix, Elio had almost earned the title of being the youngest Grand Prix winner in history by scoring a second-place finish.
At the end of the season, he was in 7th place in the World’s Driver Championship.
On 15 May 1986, whilst Elio was testing his car at the Paul Ricard circuit, his car lost downforce and collided with a barrier.
The car was caught in flames, and Elio was unable to escape the wreckage.
He suffered from collar bone injuries, light burns, and the inhalation of smoke. He died 29 hours later due to the inhalation of toxic smoke from the accident.
Roland Ratzenberger was born on 4 July 1960 in Salzburg, Austria.
Roland was an extremely popular Austrian Formula One driver and made his debut in the year 1983.
He won the Austrian and Central European Formula Ford Championships in the year 1985.
In the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, the front wing of Roland’s car broke due to excessive aerodynamic pressure. His car crashed into the wall at a very high speed.
The crash broke his neck, and he became the first driver to die at the Grand Prix event in the twelve following years after 1982.
Ayrton Senna was born on 21 March 1960 in Brazil to a wealthy Brazilian family.
In 1981, Ayrton took part in the British Formula Ford 1600 championship, where he won both the championships held that year.
Ayrton made his debut in the 1984 Brazilian Grand Prix and secured the 16th position out of the 26 positions, even though he was unable to finish the race.
Ayrton had a racing career of just ten years, but he was able to win Formula One Driver’s Champion thrice, Driver’s title in 1988, 1990, and 1991. He also won 41 races in his racing career.
It was due to his accomplishments that he was considered the most fantastic driver to ever grace the F1 championships.
His career came to an end in the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix when his car veered off and crashed into the wall during his seventh lap.
He suffered from fatal skull fractures, an indentation to his forehead, and a jagged part of his helmet’s visor that had struck his right eye. With three of these serious injuries combined with the bursting of his temporal artery which caused the loss of 4-5 liters of Ayrton’s blood, his death was inevitable.
John Dawson-Damer was born on 12 October 1940 in Berkshire, England.
John was a fine engineer, a gentleman, and a respected person in historic racing.
In 2000, John lost control of his Lotus when he passed the finish line, hitting two marshals and then crashing into the trees.
John was killed instantly at the moment of the accident.
Fritz Glatz was born on 21 July 1943 in Wien, Austria.
Fritz was a well-known driver who had accumulated several nicknames throughout his career. Fritz made his debut in the world of racing in 1971, at the age of 20.
In 2001, Fritz’s car was leading the race until something went wrong with the car and it somersaulted and hit the ground.
Fritz suffered from serious neck and chest injuries and went into a coma. He died two hours later in the hospital.
Denis Welch was born on 17 December 1944. He had a great experience driving vintage cars.
On 27 July 2014, Denis Welch’s Lotus got involved in a multi-car accident. Although the car was at low speed, it still rolled over, and Denis suffered from serious injuries.
He died a few moments later in the hospital.
Jules Bianchi was born on 3 August 1989 in France.
He debuted as a Formula One driver in 2008 in Australia, representing Marussia, securing the 15th position for himself.
In the 2014 Monaco Grand Prix, Jules scored the first points of his career.
In October 2014, during the Japanese Grand Prix, Jules lost control of his car on his 43rd lap. The car hit a nearby crane at a very high speed.
Although Jules was rescued from the scene of the accident seemingly unharmed, it was later diagnosed that he suffered from a serious head injury.
He was immediately operated on and was put into an induced coma. He later died in July 2015.
David Ferrer was born on 11 September 1955 in Paris, France. He ran the Dagefruti-Elite Fruit company.
On 2 September 2017, when David was driving his March 701-Ford Cosworth, he lost control of his car and crashed into a barrier.
The car was completely shattered due to the impact of the accident, and David was airlifted to a hospital. He suffered severe injuries and succumbed to those injuries five days later.
Today's death toll in F1 is much lower
With the increase in death tolls among F1 drivers, organizers and committee members drafted some safety measures to ensure the protection of their drivers.
- The fuel tanks of the Formula One cars are made up of military-grade Kevlar. Back in time, fuel tanks were made up of metal, which was more prone to catching fire. On the other hand, Kevlar is puncture-proof, flexible, and extremely strong. Plus, Kevlar is also extremely light in weight, so it doesn’t add unnecessary weight to the F1 car.
- Formula One cars are fitted with a halo, a protection device that protects the driver from flying debris or cars. It is a titanium structure that can withhold the weight of a double-decker bus.
- The cockpits of the F1 cars are padded, which helps protect the driver during collisions and accidents.
- Wearing fireproof suits is mandatory for F1 drivers.
- A Head And Neck Support system (HANS) is a device worn by drivers which helps distribute the shock caused by an accident onto the head rather than confining it to just the neck and shoulders. This helps in protecting the head from dislocating.
- Tecpro quad rails are used instead of the traditional quad rails. Tecpro can handle being hit by a car at high speed, making it much more reliable in sustaining crashes.
- The driver is surrounded by a survivor cell in a Formula One car which ensures that nothing can enter and injure the driver at the time of the accident. It is made up of carbon fiber, which is very light in weight but highly durable.
FAQ about deaths in Formula 1
When was the latest death in F1?
When was the first death in F1?
Formula One has made significant progress in chalking out measures to ensure the safety of its drivers. Whereas, on the other hand, many other motorsport races have failed to do so.
F1 has been successful to learn from the accidents and fatalities of their drivers.
However, much of the popularity for F1 came from these unexpected deaths and accidents.
With no or less death, the popularity of F1 is at stake or, as people call it, is hollow.
Nonetheless, no matter how many safety measurements are ensured, accidents are bound to occur when drivers race at such high speeds, for which the human body is not designed.
Despite the fatalities and the horrific accidents, the perished drivers of F1 have been able to cast a lasting image on their loving devotees and the lovers of F1.