Entries 3 (2 starts)
Name Helmuth Koinigg
Role Racing driver
Active years 1974
|Born 3 November 1948 , Vienna, Austria (1948-11-03) |
Teams Scuderia Finotto, Surtees
Died October 6, 1974, Watkins Glen, New York, United States
Similar People Francois Cevert, Jose Dolhem, Dieter Quester, Tim Schenken, Denny Hulme
- Helmut Koinigg
- GP Austria Osterreichring 1974 Qualifying Iinterview Helmuth Koinigg
- Complete Formula One results
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.
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.