Top 15 Worst Formula One Crashes Of All Time
The thrill of Formula One racing is extremely exciting for us spectators – whether we watch it live, watch it on television, or even if we are possibly the ones riding the vehicle. This big turn of events in the racing world has really made things more extreme – noting that it all rooted in the power of horses as the animal races with their tenants.
Nowadays, formula racing, aside from NASCAR, is known to be one of the most exciting events of all time thanks to the dashing speeds that each car has as they zip down the racetrack.
It’s really a given fact that racecars, the sounds that it provides, and so as the fearlessness of the drivers are the things that made it worth watching and experiencing.
You will also notice this emotion of excitement from the spectators themselves as they watch the amazing competition of cars dashing around, and how each car overtakes the other just to reach the first place.
Also, one of the things that always raise our attention during these events is also the crashes.
As the vehicle zips, there are instances where unlucky ones can experience a problem with their handling and/or the vehicle itself. It leads towards a crash that will totally damage the car and stumble it around the racetrack – leaving the vehicle and the driver unable to compete anymore.
Crashes are the most worrying happenings of all time in Formula One and not the most entertaining thing that fans would like to see. This is a very unexpected turn of events, and some accidents can really say that this is so tragic.
This also sets a reminder to all of us that crashes are the reason why motorsports are dangerous, aside from being extreme and thrilling.
There are lots of crashes that happened in the world of Formula One racing in its history, but what we’re going to tell you are the most intense among them all.
Among the hundreds of accidents that already occurred in the Formula One racetrack, there are fifteen of them that became the most notable and worth remembering due to the extreme damage that it caused.
The following crashes were the most intense as they provided a very bad reputation in their own right, and it caused a lot of reasons why they are named as the worst crashes of all time.
Some of these 15 crashes caused racers to get killed and severely injured to the point of ruining their careers while others are simply extreme in terms of the damage that it has caused in the field.
However, as with bad happenings, good resolutions were provided in order to make Formula One racing better for all of us, especially on the end of the racers thanks to the rules made in relation to those accidents.
Without further ado, here are the top fifteen worst Formula One crashes of all time:
Also check:- Top 15 Worst NASCAR Crashes Of All Time
- 15. The 1976 German Grand Prix
- 14. 2010 European Grand Prix
- 13. 1980 Monaco Grand Prix
- 12. 1998 Fuji JGTC
- 11. 1978 Italian Grand Prix
- 10. 1999 Marlboro 500
- 9. Silverstone 2004
- 8. 1998 Belgian Grand Prix
- 7. 1964 Indianapolis 500
- 6. 1977 South African Grand Prix
- 5. 1994 San Marino Grand Prix
- 4. 1973 Dutch Grand Prix
- 3. 1961 Italian Grand Prix
- 2. 1955 Monaco Grand Prix
- 1. 1982 Belgian Grand Prix
15. The 1976 German Grand Prix
This event happened in Nordschliefe and was also the last ever Grand Prix that ever happened in the place after the said incident. This was also inspired by the Rush film of 2013 due to the intensity of the events, as well as the rivalry between James Hunt and Niki Lauda – an Englishman and an Austrian, respectively.
Note that the place was also a track that is known for its dangers in the 1970s and so as the other past years. This became worse because of the event that happened on the racetrack in 1976.
On the second lap, Lauda lost his control during a swift turn to the left as he attempted to do so. This caused his formula one vehicle to ultimately struck towards the wall.
As a result, his car went up in flames, and what made this even more terrible was that another car struck the already damaged Ferrari a few seconds after the first incident.
As both the racecar and the driver were consumed by the fire, the other racers became good sports as they helped him get out of the car.
Unfortunately for the Austrian racer, he suffered severe burns on his body and so as a terrible scar on his face. This was the worst event of all time in Nordschliefe as it ruined one’s career, and ultimately became the last Formula One event that ever happened.
14. 2010 European Grand Prix
This event happened in Valencia in 2010 where Mark Webber experienced a very terrible crash, and this also became the very reason why safety measures were strictly noticed in racecars for Formula One up to this very day.
This is noted to be one of the most terrible events in history due to the accident that happened to Webber.
The accident happened during the ninth lap where Webber drove behind Heikki Kovalainen, and this accident caused his car to flip very high up in the air which is why spectators were shocked to see this terrible situation.
What made this incident way worse than others imagined is the fact that it landed to the ground upside down, and ultimately bounced due to the extreme speeds as it ran before the accident. Luckily for Webber, he got out without major injuries.
13. 1980 Monaco Grand Prix
Despite the fact that Monaco only had one racer who died, it still had a very bad reputation of getting cars crashed on almost every event that happened there.
The main reason was the narrow roads in the track, as well as the very sharp turns that the racers need to pass through every lap. In 1980, Derek Daly experienced the most terrible race in this place.
Daly collided with Bruno Giacomelli during the very start of the race, and the resulting crash threw Daly right away towards Giacomelli. This accident eventually became a chain reaction of melee events to other racers.
Although no one got critically injured after the accident, only eight drivers were able to finish the race instead.
12. 1998 Fuji JGTC
This event in Japan is really one of the most intense. Back then JGTC was the name of the Super GT events in Japan. This is an event that resulted in the production of supercars and various sports cars from Porshe and Ferrari.
Back then in 1998, the track in Fuji Speedway is known to be very challenging, yet terrible due to the fog and rain that served as obstacles.
The accident actually happened even before the race. It happened due to the safe car running too fast and braking all of a sudden. The bad handling caused two Porsches to collide towards each other – where the other was able to land on the grass off-track.
However, another car which is a Ferrari aquaplaned towards it from fog and struck the Porsche car. This caused both cars to go up in flames while the Ferrari was sliding across the racetrack.
The driver Tetsuya Ota was trapped for almost two minutes inside the burning Ferrari, but another racer was able to save him by extinguishing the flames. This required Ota to undergo a plastic injury and ultimately halted his career for good.
11. 1978 Italian Grand Prix
A signaling issue caused the race to come into shambles during the 1978 Italian Grand Prix. This problem in the signal caused the race to start right away before all of the racers were even prepared.
The surge of the vehicles on the back part caught up to the other ones in front – ultimately resulting in a terrible car crash. The most notable happening of this event was that one racer died, and there were also major injuries that happened to some racers.
Ronnie Peterson was the only racer who died in this accident. The reason has become he got struck by his burning vehicle prior to the crash.
He got leg injuries and some burns but was pulled out by the other drivers. What resulted in his actual death was because of the late response of the officials and medical team – they arrived 20 minutes after he got out of the car.
Due to complications of his injuries, he ultimately died – wherein these complications could be resolved if help arrived soon enough.
10. 1999 Marlboro 500
This was the last race of the CART World Series, and it happened at California Speedway (now the Auto Club Speedway).
Greg Moore got into the accident during this event, and it happened due to the fact that a vehicle crashed into his scooter. Despite this right-hand injury, he still joined the last race in 1999.
During the 9th lap, he lost control of the car, and at fast speeds indeed. It resulted in his car spinning uncontrollably towards a grass on the racetrack, and it also flipped on the road. The car ultimately crashed towards a barrier.
He has pulled off the vehicle but sustained major head injuries and internal bleeding – resulting in his death.
9. Silverstone 2004
Jarno Trulli was the one who crashed in 2004 and is actually one of the reasons that have proven the safety of Formula One compared to the 90s.
Trulli experienced an accident while he was exiting towards a corner. It caused his car to spin violently and was also flipping up in the air. His vehicle was completely damaged and torn apart into pieces – to the point where the inside parts remained.
Fortunately for the driver, Trulli came out alive without any injuries. Due to him being unarmed, he ran away from the racetrack in order to prevent further any danger that might come across in the event.
This is proof that F1 racing became a safer sport ever since that day, and that’s why people feel assured about the event nowadays despite some crashes that seem to usually happen at some point.
8. 1998 Belgian Grand Prix
One of the worst events in the Belgian Grand Prix was in 1998. This is a very terrible accident that involved 13 cars, and the reason to blame for the incident was still hard to identify up to this very day.
One of the possible causes of the accident was the rainy day and the wet road in Belgium, and that even caused the media to have a hard time viewing the race.
One notable happening caught on camera was David Coulthard losing control of his vehicle – resulting in him spinning towards a chain reaction that caused the 13 cars to pile up towards a disaster. There were lots of tires and metal parts that flew into the air and caused a huge melee between the cars.
The race was stopped by the officials in order to clean up the mess, and the race was restarted. There was no one who got seriously hurt, and no one even died. However, only eight racers were able to restart the race during the strong rain.
7. 1964 Indianapolis 500
This is a very terrible crash that resulted in an explosion and a huge fire. During the Indianapolis 500 in 1964, Dave MacDonald was reported to have an extremely fast setup for his car, as well as a very unstable one indeed.
However, this never hindered MacDonald’s thoughts since he was aiming for a risky way of driving towards victory.
There were a lot of instances where the car is out of control, and on the second lap, his car was out of control – spinning and crashing towards a wall.
This caused his car to explore and go up in flames. The car also slid back towards the racetrack which is why a lot of cars crashed as well.
Eddie Sachs was one of them as he tried to find an exit but ultimately crashed towards MacDonald’s car – resulting in another explosion.
Sachs died instantly due to his explosion, and MacDonald wasn’t able to resist his burns further during the accident. This halted the race to a stop and resulted in safety measures when checking unstable vehicles to avoid this incident once again.
This is also the first time Indianapolis 500 was stopped.
6. 1977 South African Grand Prix
Renzo Zorzi experienced a terrible accident during the 22nd lap of the race. He was able to pull off to the side of the racetrack before he crashes and caused his car to burst into flames.
There were two officials who ran across the track so then they can help him, but two cars caught the marshals as they zipped through the racetrack.
One of the marshals who is Jansen van Vuuren experienced an accident as Tom Pryce’s car crashed into him.
Vuuren crashed towards a wall and instantly died, while his extinguisher for saving Zorzi hit Pryce’s head – almost removing it. Pryce died, but Zorzi was only injured.
What’s disturbing was that Pryce’s car was still running until it ultimately crashed before the turning path.
5. 1994 San Marino Grand Prix
One of the most famous crash events of all time. Ayrton Senna was known to be one of the best Formula One drivers in history and is known to be a champion in the sport.
He had a great passion for racing and was able to earn hundreds of millions – where he donated $400 million to charity. However, Senna died during the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix.
His death doing the thing he loved happened when his car was dashing towards a straight path – which is a very risky move on the track.
This resulted from Senna hitting a barrier wall at a very fast speed, and it caused him to lose a huge amount of blood.
Medics arrived when he was already bleeding liters of blood which is why they realized that he lost a whole lot of it. He was already suffering a weak heartbeat at that time, and that resulted in his death as he never made it to the hospital alive.
This also changed the safety measured done in Formula One, and this resulted in a very safe and deathless race in the racetrack ever since.
4. 1973 Dutch Grand Prix
Roger Williamson was also one of the most notable people who died in Formula One racing due to the fact that it should’ve been prevented right away if only help was able to come easily.
Tire failure was the cause of the incident, and that caused him to crash towards a barrier on the left side of the track.
This caused his vehicle to launch far away towards the other side of the track, and it even ignited the fuel tank of the car.
The resulting ignition of the fuel trapped him inside a huge fire, unable to escape. David Purley went towards help in order to get Williamson, and also experienced a terrible injury.
That’s why officials and spectators were thinking that Purley got crashed and burned as well, but was actually helping out.
The race continued, while Purley was unable to adjust the vehicle.
Some even attempted to help Purley, even spectators but were prevented by the security in the racetrack. Williamson died due to the burns that he experienced, and due to lung problems.
David Purley was saved by fire officials who arrived very late.
3. 1961 Italian Grand Prix
This is one of the most terrible accidents in sports history as well, and not just in Formula One.
Wolfgang von Trips’ car got tangled with Jim Clark during the race, and this sends the racers off the racetrack. von Trips’ Ferrari crashed towards a curve in the track, and it landed towards a portion of the spectator’s area.
This didn’t just kill von Trips due to major injuries, but also, 15 spectators died as the car hit them all. It was noted that von Trips already got injured in a racing event in Italy more than once, and was terribly hurt during that time.
He never stopped racing, but those injuries resulted in his death in 1961 due to having a hard time racing already.
2. 1955 Monaco Grand Prix
Alberto Ascari experienced racing crashes two times in 1955. He was able to get out of the first one, but he experienced a broken nose because of it.
On the second one, he experienced a very terrible injury that killed him in just a few minutes. His first accident was in Monaco where he crashed towards the harbor and almost drowned as the car fell down to the water.
After four days, the second event came where he still joined due to his love of the sport. The crash happened as he tried to exit a left-hand turn, and it caused Ascari to skid out and his car fumbled.
The vehicle was caught spinning two times before it landed towards the front part of the racetrack. This resulted in his fatal death.
An interesting note about his death is that his father died due to racing as well. His father Antonio Ascari experienced a very fatal car crash when Antonio Ascari was still a baby.
Both became notable after Alberto Ascari’s death as they experienced a terrible accident in the sport that they both happened to love, and both accidents were the result of a left-hand exit.
1. 1982 Belgian Grand Prix
Another fatal crash from a Canadian racer happened in 1982 at the Belgian Grand Prix. It was Gilles Villeneuve, and he experienced a very disastrous crash during the event.
The accident happened when he noticed that a slow car was on his path. The remaining minutes of the event were the cause for him to lose control as he attempted to slow down his car but was unable to do so.
He tried to go around it, but the other car cut him off. This caused his Ferrari to launch high up to the air at a fast speed, which caused the car to disintegrate to pieces.
Villeneuve flew out of the car with his seat strapped to him, and he landed towards a fence that struck him at the edge of the racetrack.
He got his neck broken due to the accident, but was still alive. However, he died due to the injury when he was at the hospital.
These are the most notable Formula One crashes of all time and are known as a memory at this point. It might be very shocking to see this if you were one of the spectators, but because of this, Formula One became a safer sport to play nowadays even if there are still crashes that happen.
Extremity is one of the aspects of motorsports since it involves extreme speeds, and extreme dangers will surely happen because of that. However, with technology’s improvements, as well as people learning from mistakes, Formula One is becoming a better sport than it was decades ago.