In Formula One, safety standards have improved since the first World Championship Grand Prix at Silverstone in 1950, where there was no medical back-up or safety measures in case of an accident. In the 1960s, helmets and overalls became mandatory and the FIA assumed responsibility for safety at the circuits. Further steps were taken to improve the safety of the Formula One car in the 1970s: the cockpit opening was enlarged allowing the driver quicker escape in the event of an accident and outside mirrors became mandatory. In the 1980s the carbon fibremonocoque replaced aluminium, increasing protection upon impact. Following the deaths of Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna at Imola in 1994, a number of measures were introduced in an attempt to slow the cars down, including a wooden undertray. In 1998 grooved tyres replaced racing slick tyres to reduce cornering speed. Safety measures continued to be introduced into the 21st century, with a number of circuits changing their configuration to improve driver safety.
This list includes drivers who have died during a FIA World Championship race weekend, and those who have died while driving a Formula One car outside of the World Championship. Track marshals and other race attendees who have died as a result of these accidents are not included in the list. Fifty-one drivers have died driving a Formula One car, with Cameron Earl being the first in 1952. Thirty-two of the drivers died during Grand Prix race weekends which formed part of the World Championship, seven during test sessions and twelve during non-championship Formula One events. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has seen the most fatalities; seven drivers have died there during the time that the Indianapolis 500 formed part of the world championship. Fifteen drivers died in the 1950s; fourteen in the 1960s; twelve in the 1970s; four in the 1980s and two in the 1990s. Following the deaths of Ratzenberger and Senna in 1994, there were no driver fatalities during world championship events for more than 20 years until Jules Bianchi's death in 2015, from injuries sustained during the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix.[note 1]
Only two Formula One Champions have died while racing or practising in Formula One, Jochen Rindt in 1970, and Ayrton Senna in 1994. Rindt is the only driver to win the championship posthumously.
Indicates a race or test drive that was not part of the Formula One World Championship.
List of drivers killed as a result of an accident during a Formula One World Championship event, or during a non-championship event while driving a Formula One car. This table does not include deaths of spectators or marshals.
^Ayulo died on May 17, 1955, the day after his accident.
^Lewis-Evans died of burns on October 25, 1958, six days after his accident.
^Unser Jr. died of burns on May 17, 1959, fifteen days after his accident.
^Bristow and Stacey died in separate accidents.
^Unable to slow down his car because of technical failure, Cabianca drove through an open gate onto an adjoining public road where he hit several vehicles. Cabianca was killed along with three other people.
^Von Trips and fifteen spectators died as a result of the crash. This is the deadliest F1 Grand Prix accident that includes fatalities of non-drivers.
^Godin de Beaufort died on August 2, 1964, the day after his accident.
^Taylor died of fifty per cent burns on September 8, 1966, thirty-two days after his accident.
^Bandini died on May 10, 1967, three days after his accident.
^Donohue died on August 19, 1975, two days after his accident. Manfred Schaller, a track marshal who had been hit by debris, succumbed the same day.
^Frederick Jansen van Vuuren, a teenage volunteer safety marshal, was killed in the crash along with Pryce, who had collided with him at high speed.
^Both McGuire and track marshall John Thorpe died in the accident.
^Peterson died in hospital on September 11, 1978, the day after his accident, as a result of fat embolism.
^De Angelis died on May 15, 1986, the day after his accident.
^Dawson-Damer crashed into a gantry at the finish line, killing Andrew Carpenter, a marshall, and seriously wounding another. The 59-year-old driver may have suffered a fatal heart attack before losing control of his racer.
^Bianchi remained comatose in hospital until he succumbed to his injuries on July 17, 2015, more than nine months after his accident.