There is no doubt in the fact that Formula 1 lies in the category of the most dangerous sport in the world. It is because the F1 drivers travel at breakneck speeds where one mistake can also lead to the death of the driver. And we are not only assuming this horrible situation, we also have witnessed such traffic incidents in the history of Formula 1. Jules Bianchi at Suzuka in 2014 and Ayrton Senna at Imola in 1994, are the two most horrific deaths in F1. In this column, we are going to recall the 1977 Grand Prix Accident in which racer Tom Pryce lost his life.
Who was Tom Pryce?
Tom Pryce was a British driver who was widely acknowledged for his great wet-weather driving skills. He established himself as a great F1 driver in the early 1970s after debuting his Formula One career with the small Token team. The Welshman marked his Formula 1 debut in 1974 at the Belgian Grand Prix. After his debut, he went on to emerge as the winner of many races including two podium moments with the Shadow Racing Cars in the same year in 1975 first in Austria and second in Brazil.
Tom Pryce’s 1977 Grand Prix Accident
The 1977 Grand Prix accident cost the lives of Tom Pryce and Jansen Van Vuuren who was a safety marshall. This accident will live long in the minds of every F1 fan. Reportedly, Tom Pryce’s fatal grand prix accident took place at the fan-favorite Kyalami circuit where Tom had registered the fastest finish during the wet practice sessions. However, in the qualifying, he dripped down to fifteenth and later lost ground when the race began and slipped to 22nd but by the end of the 6th lap, he had gained back to 16th. Drag down the page and read further details.
Tom Pryce’s teammate Renzo Zorzi pulled off to the left side on the 22nd lap and parked the car due to some malfunctions in the fuel meter. Reportedly, the fuel was pumping directly onto the engine due to which the car caught fire leading Zorzi to disconnect the helmet’s oxygen supply. At that time, two safety marshalls went to the other side of the track to help Zorzi with fire extinguishers. But the oncoming drivers, Tom Pryce and Hans-Joachim Stuck could not spot the safety marshalls at the crest of the hill. Stuck somehow avoided the marshals by millimeters but Tom Pryce could not see Vuuren and hit him at the speed of 270 kmph. In the crash, Tom Pryce sustained a head injury by the safety marshall’s fire extinguisher. Both, Tom Pryce and Vuuren died at the scene.