Nisha Rathode (Editor)

Helmuth Koinigg

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Nationality  Austrian
Podiums  0
Entries  3 (2 starts)
Name  Helmuth Koinigg

Championships  0
Role  Racing driver
Wins  0
Active years  1974
Horrific scene at the place of Helmuth Koinigg's fatal crash

Born  3 November 1948 , Vienna, Austria (1948-11-03)
Teams  Scuderia Finotto, Surtees
Similar People  Francois Cevert, Jose Dolhem, Dieter Quester, Tim Schenken, Denny Hulme
Died  6 October 1974 (aged 25) Watkins Glen, New York, United States

Career points  0

Pole positions  0

Fastest laps  0

First entry   1974 Austrian Grand Prix

Last entry   1974 United States Grand Prix

Helmut Koinigg

Helmuth Koinigg (3 November 1948 – 6 October 1974) was an Austrian racing driver who died in a crash in the 1974 United States Grand Prix, only his second Grand Prix start.


Helmuth Koinigg's fatal crash


  • His career in Formula One consisted of three entries, with two starts, but no wins, podiums, or championships.
  • Koinigg's first racing car was a Mini Cooper, which he bought from fellow driver Niki Lauda.
  • He initially raced in touring cars, Formula Vee, and Formula Ford, later transitioning to sports car racing.
  • He managed to buy a seat with the Scuderia Finotto team in 1974, driving a Brabham in his home grand prix, which led to a contract with Surtees for the season's last two races.
  • Koinigg died in a crash at the 1974 United States Grand Prix, which was only his second Grand Prix start.
  • Despite a low-speed crash, Koinigg was killed instantly due to a suspension failure causing his car to hit an insecurely installed barrier.


Koinigg was born in Vienna. Like several other Formula One drivers, Koinigg's first racing car was a Mini Cooper. He purchased the car from Niki Lauda, which was also his first racing car. He raced in touring cars, Formula Vee and Formula Ford before a period in sports car racing. He subsequently found the finance to buy a seat with Scuderia Finotto driving their Brabham at his home grand prix in 1974, and although he failed to qualify, this led to a contract with Surtees for the last two races of the season.

Helmuth Koinigg driving his Surtees car

After a good showing at the 1974 Canadian Grand Prix, Koinigg was beginning to establish himself as a good prospect for 1975. But running near the back in the US Grand Prix at Watkins Glen, Koinigg's car suffered a suspension failure at turn 7, pitching it head-on into the Armco barrier. The speed at which Koinigg crashed was relatively minor, and he ought to have escaped the scene uninjured. However, as with a number of other circuits at that time, the Armco was insecurely installed and the bottom portion of it buckled as the vehicle struck it. The car passed underneath the top portion, which remained intact, decapitating Koinigg and killing him instantly. Koinigg's accident was reminiscent of the death of Formula One driver François Cevert in the same event the previous year. In qualifying for the 1973 USA Grand Prix, Cevert ran wide into the esses, crashing into and uprooting the barrier, killing him instantly. After Cevert's death, a chicane called the "Scheckter Chicane" was placed at the esses to slow the cars down and help them avoid further serious accidents. However, it was removed ten years later in 1985, four years after Watkins Glen stopped holding the USA Grand Prix for Formula One.

Scene from the 2013 film 'RUSH'

Complete Formula One results

First entry 1974 Austrian Grand Prix 
Last entry 1974 United States Grand Prix
Career points 0

Helmuth Koinigg wearing a white and orange jacket and white turtle neck long sleeves
Helmuth Koinigg driving his Surtees car

Helmuth Koinigg


Helmuth Koinigg Wikipedia