Formula 1 racing is considered one of the most spectacular and, at the same time, one of the most dangerous sports. During their existence, more than 40 athletes have parted their lives on the racetrack. Engineers and designers are trying to make cars as safe as possible, but the high speed inevitably leads to a repetition of tragedies.
Sometimes the cause of the accident is a malfunction of machinery, sometimes the human factor is to blame. Of course, most of the deaths happened when racing was just emerging. In the 21st century, there were far fewer accidents on the tracks than in the 20. But even today, an accident can happen to any pilot.
Often the victims of accidents in Formula 1 are young and inexperienced pilots. But sometimes really famous drivers die in them. Below are the stories of 5 famous Formula 1 pilots, whose lives were cut short on the track. And you can find even more information about the sport on our website – mega-news.in.
Ayrton Senna was born in Brazil, his father was a very wealthy man and always supported his son’s hobbies. When the boy became interested in motor racing, his father hired him as a coach. The young man quickly began to show results at races of different levels. In 1988, 1990, and 1991, he became the champion of Formula 1.
Fans called Senna “Rain Man”. This interesting nickname he owes to his talent for winning races in rainy weather. While other racers slowed down in the wet, Senna accelerated and defeated his rivals.
In the last years of his life, Senna played for the team McLaren, but the results are not satisfied with it, he planned to move to a Williams team. In April 1994, Senna came to the Grand Prix of Formula 1 in San Marino. The competition was hard, one after another there were terrible accidents. On April 30, Austrian driver Roland Ratzenberger was killed. On May 1, Ayrton Senna accelerated to 310 km/h and crashed at full throttle into a concrete wall. Senna suffered a severe head injury and died. No one could even make such a prediction that the Brazilian would pass away.
It is worth noting that shortly before the race the racer repeatedly complained about his car. He said that the car is out of control and behaves unpredictably. Technicians have checked the car Senna but found no abnormalities. Perhaps it was the problems with the car that caused the death of “Rain Man”.
Ronnie Peterson was born in 1944. His father was an amateur racer and his son also inherited his passion for auto racing. When he was 19 he became the Swedish Karting Champion and remained so for 4 years.
In 1970 Peterson raced in Formula 1 for the first time, and the next season he was vice-champion. Because of his impressive victories, fans called Peterson a “super Swede”. However, Peterson was destined to leave at the height of his career.
In 1978, Peterson competed in a Formula 1 race at Monza in Italy. The race began with a fatal mistake. The start green flag was given too early when the cars had not yet had time to build on the grid. Because of this occurred pandemonium of cars. The collision threw Peterson’s car off the grid and it caught fire. Peterson was pulled out of the burning car, he was alive, but suffered multiple fractures. Swede was taken to the hospital, where the surgeons performed a complex operation. The driver’s condition rapidly deteriorated after the surgery and he died during the night. Later, it was found out that the cause of death was tissue particles, which got into the bloodstream and caused an embolism.
The tragedy sparked much debate about who was to blame and whether what happened could have been prevented. After Peterson’s death, the standards of racing and rider care were seriously revised. Ronnie’s wife never recovered from his death. A few years later she committed suicide.
The future great racer was born in 1936 in a small village near Edinburgh. His parents were farmers and expected that Jim as the only boy in the family will continue their work. But more than farming, little Jim was fascinated by machinery. He could spend a long time with tractors and secretly from his parents participated in car racing.
The first real victories happened to Clark in 1962. That year he won three triumphs at once. Already in the next year, 1963 such victories were 7 out of 10 races in which he participated. Despite his popularity and fame, Clark continued to feel like a farmer. When he was at home, he grazed sheep and avoided the attention of the public. It was even said that Jim wanted to give up racing altogether and return to the farm for good. But that was not to be. Jim Clark’s life was cut short during a race by a tragic accident when he was only 32 years old.
On April 7, 1968, Jim was racing in a Formula 2 race. It was normal for drivers at the time to take part in a minor start between major starts. The morning before the race there were problems with Clark’s car. The mechanics could not adjust the ignition. Also on that day, Clark raced on Firestone tires, which did not behave well on the track in rainy weather. Shortly before the race, Clark shared his doubts about the tires with his mechanic.
On the fifth lap, the driver lost control of the car. At speeds over 200 km/h, the car went sideways and crashed into a barrier. After that, the car fell into three parts, and Clark was killed on the spot. According to the official version, the cause of the racer’s death was a flat tire. Also, a possible cause was that the pilot did not cope with the control.
Canadian racer Gilles Villeneuve was born in the small town of Richelieu in the province of Quebec. Gilles had been interested in racing since childhood, and as a teenager, he had an old Ford Mustang tuned up to be able to try his hand at street racing.
The first official race for the driver was the Quebec Regional Championship. After that, Gilles began racing in Formula Atlantic and won their championship twice. He also became interested in Formula One and competed in the British Grand Prix in 1977. In 1979, Gilles managed to achieve his best result – second place in the Formula 1 Championship.
Tragedy struck on May 8, 1982, at Zolder in Belgium. There were eight minutes to go until the end of qualifying. Villeneuve’s car hit the wheel of Jochen Massa’s car. The impact was so powerful that the car flew upwards and overturned several times. Safety belts can not withstand such a heavy load, they are ripped out with the roots. Only the body was left of the car, and the wheels and other parts were scattered many meters around. The pilot was thrown out of the car, and Gilles hit a roadblock and punched through it. When the pilot was X-rayed, it turned out that his spine was broken where his neck joins his skull. Villeneuve was clinically dead a short time later and could not be saved.
Tom Price came from Wales, his father was a former military man, and his mother was a nurse. At the age of 10, the boy became obsessed with motor racing. His idol was Scotsman Jim Clark. When Clark was killed during a race Tom was genuinely worried about it.
Price made his first appearance in Formula 1 in 1974 as part of the Token team. The following year, 1975, the driver took his first victory in the Race of Champions in the Brands Hatch. To date, Price remains the only Welsh native to have won a Formula 1 race.
Tom’s first two rounds of the 1977 Championship were not too successful. In Argentina, he was among the leaders but eventually fell off track. In Brazil, Price was also unable to complete the race: he had an engine failure. The third stage was in South Africa. Here Price came in confident that he could break his losing streak. But all did not go according to plan.
He was last on the first lap and then managed to win back a few positions. Italian Renault Dzorzi’s car caught fire due to a short circuit. Two marshals ran out to the fire, they crossed the roadway. In the meantime, the race went on, it was not stopped. Jansen van Vuuren, 19, was carrying a heavy fire extinguisher when Tom Price’s car crashed into him at full speed. The young marshal died immediately. The fire extinguisher flew off and hit Price right in the head, doctors later said he died instantly.