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The Worst Formula One Crashes in History

Updated September 18, 2019 20.4k 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. 

  • 1961 Italian Grand Prix at Monza

    Video: YouTube

    The Italian Grand Prix at Monza in 1961 was the site of one of the most tragic accidents in Formula One history. Wolfgang von Trips lost control of his car and it crashed into the spectator stands, killing 15 people as well as the driver.

    The race went on, delaying medical treatment to those in need.

  • 2017 FIA Masters Historic Formula One Championship

    Video: YouTube

    A 2017 crash at FIA Masters Historic Formula One Championship in the Netherlands left a French driver, David Ferrer, dead. Ferrer crashed his car during the race. While medics arrived promptly to resuscitate Ferrer, he was airlifted to a hospital where he later died. The race did not continue after the accident and Ferrer's car was completely shattered in the crash. 

  • 1994 San Marino Grand Prix

    Video: YouTube

    The weekend of the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix included several disastrous crashes. Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna both died in separate wrecks. Rubens Barrichello was also injured during the event, as were spectators and mechanics.

  • 1982 Belgian Grand Prix

    Video: YouTube

    Canadian race car driver Gilles Villeneuve died on May 8, 1982 during a qualifying round at the Belgian Grand Prix. His car was reportedly briefly airborne after a crash before coming back down to the track. Villeneauve was thrown from the wreck after the car somersaulted.

    He was helicoptered to a hospital where he was diagnosed with a neck fracture. He died as a result of his injuries.