1977 F1 Grand Prix

“I can either be world champion or die”: ‘The Death Years’ and improved safety in F1

“Racing is a drug. I’m addicted to it.” 

Harry Schell’s quote embodies many in motorsport, and the adrenaline provided by racing.

It is an addiction difficult to give up.

For Schell and countless others that addiction was costly, as deaths were common and often horrific in F1’s early years.

It is safer now, partially because of lessons learnt from the deaths of some of F1’s best and brightest.

The Death Years

Between 1950 and 1979, 41 people died in F1 or F1-related events.

These figures don’t include the deaths of anyone who died in F2 or unofficial testing.

Three-time world champion Jackie Stewart believes he attended the funerals of 57 drivers. 

Stewart walked away from the sport one race earlier than planned in 1973 when teammate Francois Cevert was killed.

You can read the full story here.

Featured image credit: Koen Suyk via WikimediaCommons

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