Roger Williamson

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Roger Williamson
Born(1948-02-02)2 February 1948
Ashby-de-la-Zouch, North West Leicestershire, England
Died29 July 1973(1973-07-29) (aged 25)
Zandvoort, Netherlands
Formula One World Championship career
NationalityUnited Kingdom British
Active years1973
TeamsMarch
Races2
Championships0
Wins0
Podiums0
Career points0
Pole positions0
Fastest laps0
First race1973 British Grand Prix
Last race1973 Dutch Grand Prix
 
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Roger Williamson
Born(1948-02-02)2 February 1948
Ashby-de-la-Zouch, North West Leicestershire, England
Died29 July 1973(1973-07-29) (aged 25)
Zandvoort, Netherlands
Formula One World Championship career
NationalityUnited Kingdom British
Active years1973
TeamsMarch
Races2
Championships0
Wins0
Podiums0
Career points0
Pole positions0
Fastest laps0
First race1973 British Grand Prix
Last race1973 Dutch Grand Prix

Roger Williamson (2 February 1948 – 29 July 1973) was a British racing driver who died during the 1973 Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort Circuit in the Netherlands.

Biography[edit]

Williamson was born in Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire. He won the 1971 and 1972 British Formula Three Championship titles. In 1973, he was offered a drive in the March Engineering works Formula One team. This was after testing for the BRM team and being advised not to take the drive.[citation needed]

Death[edit]

External video
Footage of David Purley attempting to save Williamson who was trapped in his overturned and burning car on YouTube

After his Formula One debut at the 1973 British Grand Prix, Williamson's second Formula One appearance was at the 1973 Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort Circuit. On his eighth lap, a suspected tyre failure caused his car to flip upside down and catch fire. Williamson had not been seriously injured by the impact, but was trapped under the car which was quickly engulfed in flame. The track marshals were both poorly trained and badly equipped, and did not assist him. Another driver, David Purley, upon witnessing the crash of his personal friend, abandoned his own race and pulled over in a desperate and valiant attempt to rescue Williamson. He ran across the track to Williamson's car and tried to turn it upright. When no-one came to help, he crossed the track and returned with a fire extinguisher. He emptied it on the car and signalled for others to help. Purley's efforts to turn the car upright and extinguish the flames were in vain as he received no help from nearby track marshals or emergency workers who merely stood by and looked on, in spite of attempts to encourage them, and other passing drivers, to come to his aid. Purley later stated he could hear Williamson's screams from underneath the car, but by the time the first fire engine arrived and the fire was extinguished, Williamson had died of asphyxiation. As most racers mistakenly identified Purley as the driver of the crashed car, and therefore thought the burning car to be empty, none of them stopped to help and the race continued, even as Purley stood on the circuit and gestured with his hands for them to stop.[1] Furthermore, the track marshals were wearing normal blazers and not the fire-resistant overalls which the drivers wore, and thus were not willing to go near the large flames. Purley was later awarded the George Medal for the bravery he displayed in attempting to rescue Williamson. A series of photos of the incident, showing a clearly desperate and ultimately dejected Purley, won that year's World Press Photo award for Photo Sequences. In the years following the accident, fire-resistant clothing would become mandatory for all trackside marshals so that they would be able to assist in the event of a fire.

In 2003, on the thirtieth anniversary of his fatal crash, a bronze statue of Williamson was unveiled at the Donington Park circuit in his native Leicestershire. Then-owner Tom Wheatcroft had provided financial backing to Williamson, and described the day Williamson died as "the saddest day of my life".[2]

Complete Formula One World Championship results[edit]

(key)

YearEntrantChassisEngine123456789101112131415WDCPts.
1973STP March Racing TeamMarch 731Cosworth V8ARG
BRA
RSA
ESP
BEL
MON
SWE
FRA
GBR
Ret
NED
Ret
GER
AUT
ITA
CAN
USA
NC0

References[edit]

Books[edit]

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Jo Siffert
Formula One fatal accidents
29 July 1973
Succeeded by
François Cevert
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Dave Walker
British Formula Three Championship
BRSCC North Central Lombard Series Champion

1971
Succeeded by
Rikky von Opel
Preceded by
Dave Walker
British Formula Three Championship
BARC Series Champion

1972
Succeeded by
Ian Taylor
Preceded by
Dave Walker
British Formula Three Championship
BRSCC Motorsport/Shell Series Champion

1972
Succeeded by
Tony Brise