Graphed: Formula 1 Driver Fatalities
By John Beltz Snyder
April 21, 2011
Racing is a dangerous sport, and our beloved Formula 1 is no exception, as we were reminded with Felipe Massa’s frightening injury in July of 2009. Thankfully, safety has come a long way throughout motorsports history, and gone are the days when deadly accidents were a regular part of racing. We put together this graph to illustrate the fatal history of one of the world’s favorite racing series, Formula 1.
Fortunately, we haven’t seen a driver fatality in Formula 1 since Ayrton Senna at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix (preceded the day before in qualifying by the death of Roland Ratzenberger). But Formula 1 has a dangerous past, with 45 drivers having been killed since 1952, including races, qualifying, testing, and non-championship events.
What this graph doesn’t show are the fatalities of crew, spectators, and other unfortunate individuals. For Instance, during the 1961 Italian Grand Prix, Wolfgang von Trips was on course to become champion. His Ferrari went airborne after a collision, killing von Trips and 15 spectators.
The most deadly venue for Formula 1 has been the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which has claimed the lives of seven Formula 1 pilots, all Americans, and all during the 1950s.
Scroll down for the complete list of Formula 1 driver fatalities by year.
Charles de Tornaco
Wolfgang von Trips
Elio de Angelis