Although his racing career in Formula One was short, his death was in part responsible for important safety upgrades at Watkins Glen International.
Koinigg used a plain black helmet with no sponsors or other designs.
Formula One Career
Koinigg purchased his first racing car from racing legend Niki Lauda. The Mini Cooper was also Lauda's first race car.
Koinigg entered into the touring cars, Formula Vee and Formula Ford. After competing in theses series, he moved to sports car racing when he earned money to finance his Formula One dream.
Shortly after his appearance in his home grand prix, the racing team Surtees gave him a contract for the final two races of the season. He then finished 10th in the Canadian Grand Prix and was tragically killed during the United States Grand Prix.
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While racing near the rear of the field in the 1974 United States Grand Prix, the suspension of Koinigg's car failed sending him into the barrier on the outside of Turn 6. The barriers were the standard steel guardrails that could be found on public roads.
Although the speed of the accident was slow, the guardrail was not maintained properly. As a result, the bottom half of the barrier failed allowing the car to crash through. Unfortunately, the top half did not do the same, decapitating Koinigg and killing him instantly. No medical procedures or hospitalization were given to Koinigg because the accident was so severe.
The previous year, Formula One driver François Cevert was killed during qualifying at the opposite end of the circuit, but with an almost identical failure of the guardrail. Because of the accidents, the track management, at the behest of the FIA, substantially upgraded the level of safety around the track.
In the 2013 movie Rush, Koinigg's accident is portrayed with a mixture of what is believed to be Koinigg and Cevert's accidents combined together.
Formula One Statistical Overview
Formula One Record
|Year||Entrant||Team||WDC Points||WDC Pos.||Report|
|1974||Scuderia Finotto||Brabham-Ford Cosworth||0||NC||Report|
|Team Surtees||Surtees-Ford Cosworth|
|Front Row Starts||0|
|Distance Raced||358 km (222 mi)|
|Complete Formula One Results|
|3rd||DNQ||Did not qualify|
|5th||Points finish||DNPQ||Did not pre-qualify|
|14th||Non-points finish||TD||Test driver|
|Italics||Scored point(s) for Fastest Lap||DNS||Did not start|
|18th†||Classified finish (retired with >90% race distance)||NC||Non-classified finish (<90% race distance)|
|4thP||Qualified for pole position||[+] More Symbols|
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