(Advertorial Column) From the 1960s to the early 1990s, Formula One was more than just sport. The stakes were very high as the drivers literally gambled with their lives every time they stepped on to the tracks. The experience at the time could be likened to that of gladiators who expected to be killed whenever they went on to tracks. Drivers were going faster than ever but the design of the cars and circuits didn’t change in line with the increased need for more safety measures. This piece takes a look at some of the deadliest crashes over that period.
Ayrton Senna – Imola, 1994
The early 1990s weren’t as deadly as the 1970s but the death of Ayrton Senna was a game changer. It was the death of the sport’s greatest driver at the time and it happened live on television as millions of people, including those outside of the sport watched in horror.
The reason for the death of the Brazilian is still a bone of contention but on that day, the world champion plunged into the wall at Tamburello at around 145 mph. A part of the suspension assembly pierced his helmet visor leading to his death from fatal skull fractures. This was the last Formula One car death. Some of the new online casino that can be find at free gaming portals still pay respect to the legend by using his image in backgrounds and designs.
Gilles Villeneuve – Zolder, 1982
The horrific accident that took away one of the most exciting and popular drivers of the time happened during the qualifying stages of the Belgian Grand Prix. With 10 minutes to go in the final qualifying session, Villeneuve rammed into the back of another car travelling at 140 mph and got launched into the air. He was pronounced dead in hospital as he sustained a fatal neck fracture.
Roger Williamson – Zandvoort, 1973
Roger Williamson’s death drew attention from different parts of the globe because it showed the inadequacies of the safety measures in place by Formula One. After a crash, Roger Williamson’s car got engulfed in flames. Fellow driver David Purley tried desperately to cut him loose from the inferno but help didn’t come as bystanders and Marshalls stayed away as he tried to lift the car over on his own. Other racers sped on as though nothing had happened. Roger Williamson died soon after but the harrowing experience led to a closer scrutiny of the safety measures in place by the racing body.
Jim Clark – Hockenheim, 1968
Jim Clark’s death, for many, marked the beginning of the most dangerous period in F1 history. He was the darling of Formula One at the time and was on a path to progressing towards becoming the greatest ever. There were no barriers around the edge of the track and thus, Clark’s Lotus veered off the track, crashing into the trees. He died before reaching the hospital as he broke his neck and fractured his skull.
Newer safety measures have since been put in place by the Formula One but these deaths are some ofthose that influenced the decision to change things up. (Advertorial Column)