Formula 1 Wiki

Helmuth Koinigg (born 3 November 1948 – died 6 October 1974) was a Austrian racing driver who was killed at Watkins Glen International on only the second start of his career.

Although his racing career in Formula One was short, his death was in part responsible for important safety upgrades at Watkins Glen International.

Helmet Design[]

Koinigg used a plain black helmet with no sponsors or other designs.

Formula One Career[]

Pre-Formula One[]

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.


Koinigg in his Surtees car.

For his home grand prix, Koinigg was able to gather enough money to buy a seat with the Scuderia Finotto Formula One team. Koinigg did not qualify for the race.

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.


Warning: Text contained within this section contains graphical imagery.

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.

Film Appearance[]

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

Career Statistics[]

Entries 3
Starts 2
Pole Positions 0
Front Row Starts 0
Race Wins 0
Podiums 0
Fastest Laps 0
Points 0
Laps Raced 87
Distance Raced 358 km (222 mi)

Career Results[]

Complete Formula One Results
Year 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Pts Pos
1974 Flag of Argentina.svg Flag of Brazil (1968–1992).svg Flag of South Africa 1928-1994.svg Flag of Spain 1945 1977.svg Flag of Belgium.svg Flag of Monaco.svg Flag of Sweden.svg Flag of the Netherlands.svg Flag of France.svg Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Flag of Germany.svg Flag of Austria.svg Flag of Italy.svg Flag of Canada.svg Flag of the United States.svg 0 NC
DNQ 10th Ret
Symbol Meaning Symbol Meaning
1st Winner Ret Retired
2nd Podium finish DSQ Disqualified
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

External links[]

V T E F1 drivers killed while racing
1952: Cameron Earl
1953: Chet Miller
1954: Onofre Marimón
1955: Manny Ayulo
1955: Bill Vukovich
1957: Eugenio Castellotti
1957: Keith Andrews
1958: Pat O'Connor
1958: Luigi Musso
1958: Peter Collins
1958: Stuart Lewis-Evans
1959: Jerry Unser
1959: Bob Cortner
1960: Chris Bristow
1960: Alan Stacey
1961: Giulio Cabianca
1961: Wolfgang von Trips
1964: Carel Godin de Beaufort
1966: John Taylor
1967: Lorenzo Bandini
1967: Bob Anderson
1968: Jo Schlesser
1969: Gerhard Mitter
1970: Bruce McLaren
1970: Piers Courage
1970: Jochen Rindt
1971: Ignazio Giunti
1971: Pedro Rodríguez
1971: Jo Siffert
1972: Jo Bonnier
1973: Roger Williamson
1973: François Cevert
1974: Peter Revson
1974: Helmuth Koinigg
1975: Mark Donohue
1977: Tom Pryce
1978: Ronnie Peterson
1980: Patrick Depailler
1982: Gilles Villeneuve
1982: Riccardo Paletti
1986: Elio de Angelis
1994: Roland Ratzenberger
1994: Ayrton Senna
2015: Jules Bianchi
See also: List of fatal accidents
v·d·e Nominate this page for Featured Article