1973 Dutch Grand Prix
The 1973 Dutch Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held at Zandvoort on July 29, 1973. It was race 10 of 15 in both the 1973 World Championship of Drivers and the 1973 International Cup for Formula One Manufacturers. Zandvoort returned to the Formula One calendar following a year's absence for extensive safety upgrades to the race track including new asphalt, new barriers and a new race control tower. Jackie Stewart won the race, this Grand Prix being fourth of five wins for Stewart during the 1973 Formula One season, and he became the most successful Formula One driver of all time with his 26th Grand Prix victory, surpassing Jim Clark's record of 25 victories. Stewart's friend and future world champion James Hunt scored his first podium finish.
Driver Roger Williamson was killed in the race; this was the first of two driver fatalities in the 1973 season. François Cevert, who took the podium in second place at this race, would later perish during practice for the 1973 United States Grand Prix.
Death of Roger Williamson
On the eighth lap of the race through the high speed esses near the Tunnel Oost (East Tunnel) right-hand corner, a suspected tyre failure caused Williamson's car to pitch into the barriers at high speed, and be catapulted 300 yards (275 m) across the track, eventually coming to rest upside down against the barriers on the other side. The petrol tank had ignited whilst being scraped along the track, and the car caught fire. Williamson had not been seriously injured by the impact, but was trapped in the car. The race was not stopped and continued with a local yellow at the scene, a fact which would become significant over the next few minutes.
Fellow driver David Purley, who witnessed Williamson's impact, almost immediately pulled his car over on the opposite side of the track, then ran across the live racetrack to assist him. Williamson was heard shouting to Purley to get him out of the car as Purley tried in vain to turn the car upright. There appeared to have been ample time to right the car and pull Williamson out, but as desperately as he tried, Purley was unable to do it by himself, and the marshals, who were not wearing flame retardant overalls, were unable to help due to the intense heat.
Race control assumed that it was Purley's car that had crashed and that the driver had escaped unharmed. Many drivers who saw Purley waving them down to stop later claimed that they assumed Purley to be trying to put a fire out from his own car, having safely exited it, and thus did not know that a second driver had been involved. As a result, the race continued at full pace while Purley desperately tried to save the life of Williamson.
There was only a single fire extinguisher in the area, and it was not enough to put out the fire. With the car still burning upside-down, the situation became hopeless, and the distraught Purley was led away by a marshal. Some spectators, appalled at Williamson's plight, tried to breach the safety fences in order to assist Williamson, but were pushed back by track security staff with dogs.
With the race still on, it took some eight minutes for a fire truck to completely travel around the circuit with the flow of race traffic. By the time the car was eventually righted, and the fire extinguished, Williamson had died of asphyxiation. A blanket was thrown over the burnt-out wreck with Williamson still inside, and the race carried on.
Purley was awarded the George Medal for his brave actions in trying to save his fellow sportsman. Williamson's remains were later cremated and his ashes transferred to an undisclosed location.
|14||28||Rikky von Opel||Ensign-Ford||1:22.01||+2.54|
|20||26||Gijs van Lennep||Iso-Marlboro-Ford||1:22.95||+3.48|
|2||6||François Cevert||Tyrrell-Ford||72||+ 15.83||3||6|
|3||27||James Hunt||March-Ford||72||+ 1:03.01||7||4|
|4||8||Peter Revson||McLaren-Ford||72||+ 1:09.13||6||3|
|5||20||Jean-Pierre Beltoise||BRM||72||+ 1:13.37||9||2|
|6||26||Gijs van Lennep||Iso-Marlboro-Ford||70||+ 2 Laps||20||1|
|7||24||Carlos Pace||Surtees-Ford||69||+ 3 Laps||8|
|8||19||Clay Regazzoni||BRM||68||+ 4 Laps||12|
|9||25||Howden Ganley||Iso-Marlboro-Ford||68||+ 4 Laps||15|
|10||16||George Follmer||Shadow-Ford||67||+ 5 Laps||22|
|NC||12||Graham Hill||Shadow-Ford||56||Not Classified||17|
|Ret||21||Niki Lauda||BRM||52||Fuel Pump||11|
|Ret||22||Chris Amon||Tecno||22||Fuel System||19|
|Ret||14||Roger Williamson||March-Ford||7||Fatal Accident||18|
|DNS||28||Rikky von Opel||Ensign-Ford||0||Non Starter||14|
Championship standings after the race
- Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings. Only the best 7 results from the first 8 races and the best 6 results from the last 7 races counted towards the Championship. Numbers without parentheses are Championship points; numbers in parentheses are total points scored.
- Admin. "Formula 1 complete – all access F1 – Williamson, Roger". Archived from the original on 2009-02-27. Retrieved 2009-06-19.
1973 British Grand Prix
|FIA Formula One World Championship
1973 German Grand Prix
1971 Dutch Grand Prix
|Dutch Grand Prix||Next race:|
1974 Dutch Grand Prix