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The Worst Formula One Crashes in History

Updated September 18, 2019 20.7k views12 items

The safety of race car driving is of upmost concern to both fans and participants and the worst Formula One crashes illustrate why. There have been many accidents during races, often involving multiple cars and even spectators. The only good that comes out of the biggest crashes and pileups is they often inspire increased safety regulations. 

What are some of the worst Formula One accidents? The Italian Grand Prix at Monza in 1961 saw one of the most tragic accidents in Formula One history with the death of both spectators and a driver. However, not every Formula One crash ends in fatalities, but the crashes can nevertheless be scary for drivers and spectators. Wet weather cased a 13 car pileup during the Belgian Grand Prix in 1998.

What do you think Formula One can do, if anything, to prevent future accidents? Read this list of the worst F1 crashes in history to get more informed on the issue. 

  • 1978 Italian Grand Prix in Monza

    Video: YouTube

    Ronnie Peterson's car caught fire and he experience several injuries during a crash at the 1978 Italian Grand Prix. His fellow drivers helped him escape the burning car and he suffered serious severe leg injuries.

    Peterson was taken to a hospital where he later died from complications.

  • 1977 South African Grand Prix at Kyalami

    Video: YouTube

    Fire Marshal Frederick Jansen van Vuuren and driver Tom Pryce died in an accident during the South African Grand Prix in 1977. The fire marshal was extinguishing an engine fire when Pryce swerved into him. A fire extinguisher hit Pryce in the head, causing instant death.

  • 1955 Monaco Grand Prix

    Video: YouTube

    Alberto Ascari crashed into the Bay of Hercules at the 1955 Monaco Grand Prix. He escaped with merely a nose injury. Unrelated, he died a few days later after crashing while running test laps at Monza.

  • 1976 German Grand Prix

    Video: YouTube

    The 1976 German Grand Prix almost didn't take place as drivers were protesting dangerous conditions exasperated by the weather. A boycott of the race was overturned by just one vote.

    As the race went on, Niki Lauda - who spearheaded the potential boycott - was involved in a fiery crash that nearly cost him his life when he slammed into an embankment on the side of the track at full speed. Lauda had to undergo various operations, including surgeries to fix his eyelids. He also needed to wear a specially modified helmet while racing for the rest of his life due to his injuries.