Formula One is the most popular racing series held around the world. As amazing as it is to see countries come together and race, it is a great tragedy when a racer loses his life doing what he loves. As a salute and a remembrance of the great racers we have lost, here is a list of the most recent Formula One racer fatalities.
Jules Bianchi (25), 2014 Japanese Grand Prix
On October 5, 2014 Jules Bianchi suffered from an accident while racing the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix. On that day, the Suzuka Circuit was experiencing heavy rain fall and diminishing day light due to the incoming typhoon. Bianchi was driving at a speed of a 132 mph. After he passed the double red flags, Bianchi started to veer off the circuit and rear ended the crane at 78 mph. He was transported to Mie Prefectural General Medical Center, where he underwent surgery and was observed to have serious brain injuries. He was put into an artificial coma for many months, and died on July 17, 2015. The Bianchi Family is currently suing the FIA, Marussia, and Bernie Ecclestone’s Formula One Group stating that Jules accident and/ or death could have been avoided if certain actions and decisions have not been made.
Fritz Glatz (58), EuroBOSS
On July 14, 2002, Fritz Glatz was racing in the EuroBOSS series at the Autodrom Most. He sustained fatal injuries when his car bounce over the curb making the car airborne. He died at the site of the accident.
John Dawson-Damer (59), Goodwood Festival of Speed
Through an onlooker views it seemed that Dawson-Damer lost control of the vehicle, which collided with a wooden structureat the Sussex Course and hit two marshals. The hit killed Andrew Carpenter, it left Stephen Tarrant in a critical but stable condition, which he recovered from. At first it was thought that Dawson-Damer died from crash, but now it’s been stated that he was already dead before the crash. It seems that he may have suffered a heart attack, which would explain why the car was out of control all of a sudden.
Ayrton Senna (34), San Marino Grand Prix
On May 1, 1994 died from fatal skull fractures, brain injuries and a ruptured temporal artery. He was rounding on the seventh lap at a speed of 191 mph and veered off the track. He hit the concrete wall at a speed of 145 mph. Senna was extracted from the vehicle and tended to on site by a Professor Watkins and anesthetist Giovanni Gordini. While treated, they observed that he had a week heartbeat and significant blood loss. An on-site tracheotomy had to be performed, and Senna was then airlifted to Bologna’s Maggiore Hospital. Unfortunately, Senna was already brain dead on-site, and they was not anything more that doctors could do.
Roland Ratzenberger (33), San Marino Grand Prix
Previous to the lap when his death occurred, Ratzenberger veered off the track and damaged his front wing. Instead of headed to the cockpit, he decided to continue racing. Due to speed and downforce, his wing broke off and went under his car. He then hit the outside wall at a speed of 195.6 mph. He was transported to Maggiore Hospital in Bologna, Italy where he was pronounced dead. The autopsy show that a basilar skull fracture was the cause of death. He died on April 30, 1994, a day before the death of Ayrton Senna.
One recent F1 racer fatality that we did not mention here but mentioned in our other article Fallen Racers was the death of Denis Welch. Click on the link to read about Welch and other motorsports racers.