5 of Formula 1's Greatest Lost Talents - Part 2
- Following from last month's article, we take a look at drivers such as Ronnie Peterson and Cevert, talents that were lost before their time
We covered five of Formula 1's greatest lost talents last month, but there are sadly far more than five who passed away before their time. A total of 32 have passed during championship Grands Prix, and even more, have died in other racing series and non-championship events.
Thanks to the likes of Sir Jackie Stewart and Professor Sid Watkins, safety in F1 and motorsport, in general, has improved to the point where death is extremely rare today. Only 1 driver has passed away during a Grand Prix weekend since the tragic 1994 San Marino Grand Prix.
Unlike some lists, this one isn't ranked, as it seems unfair to compare drivers who never got a chance to fully live up to their potential. They all have one thing in common, though -- they were supreme talents who had much more to give before their time on earth was untimely cut short.
#1 Tom Pryce (1949-77)
Tom Pryce is one of Britain's "lost generation" of Formula 1 drivers, alongside Roger Williamson and Piers Courage. There was a sixteen-year gap between British F1 champions (James Hunt in 1976 and Nigel Mansell in 1992) and had Pryce lived, he could've been the one to plug this gap. Pryce was and still is the only Welshman to win a Grand Prix, the 1975 non-championship ROC and he was a hugely talented driver.
Pryce drove for Shadow for the majority of his short Formula 1 career, achieving 2 podiums and a number of solid points finish in a car that wasn't a worldbeater by any stretch. He also achieved pole position for the 1975 British GP, a stunning display against the greats of the day. The true measure of a driver's talents is to compare him to his teammate and Pryce comfortably beat Jean-Pierre Jarier in his only two full seasons in the sport.
Pryce definitely had a bright future ahead of him, but fate dictated that he wouldn't make it further than the 1977 South African GP. During the race, Pryce collided with a fire marshall (who was ironically attending to Pryce's teammate) killing both instantly. Pryce was only 27-years-old and Frederik Jansen van Vuuren just 19.