Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Tom Pryce, (June 11, 1949-March 5, 1977) was a Formula 1 driver, born in Ruthin, Wales as the son of a policeman. Pryce entered Formula 1 in 1974. His first race was May 12, 1974 for the Token team but after his first race he moved to Shadow . His best results were a third place in Austria (1975) and Brazil (1976).
Pryce was fatally injured in one of the most bizarre accidents in the history of Formula 1. A few years earlier Roger Williamson was killed during the Grand Prix of Zandvoort (1973) because safety marshalls were too cautious in crossing the track to extuingish Williamson's burning car while Williamson was trapped inside.
Now, during the Grand Prix of Kyalami, South Africa, on March 5, 1977, at the end of lap 21, Renzo Zorzi retired his Shadow with a split fuel pipe which had caused a small, but harmless fire. Even though Zorzi's car was parked in a blind brow, two marshalls crossed the racing track to soothe the fire. At that moment, the cars from Hans-Joachim Stuck and Pryce suddenly appeared, nearly side-by-side. Stuck's car passed behind the first marshall and ahead of the second marshall. Pryce however could not avoid the second marshall, hitting him at high speed and killing the marshall instantly. The impact seemed to have only minimum influence on Pryce's car, only slightly damaging its front wing. However, the fire extinguisher the marshall was carrying was thrown into the air, hitting Pryce on the head, killing Pryce at nearly the same moment the marshall was killed. Pryce's car continued down the straight track, gradually slowing down and verging to the right. Jacques Laffite, who was unsure what was going on, moved alongside as the two cars approached Crowthorne, at that point Pryce's car skidded off off the barriers, back on the track again, where it hit Lafitte's Ligier, taking Laffite out of the race but unhurt.
Complete Formula One results
(Note: grands prix in bold denote points scoring races.)
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