20 years since Elio de Angelis died
Formula One's last 'gentleman player', Elio de Angelis, died 20 years ago. The Italian was killed during testing at the Paul Ricard Circuit on 15 May 1986. Elio de Angelis was born in Rome, Italy, on 26 March 1958.
De Angelis raced for the Shadow Team, Lotus and Brabham. In 1986, the year Elio died, he drove the Brbham-BMW BT55 car. During tests at Le Castellet in France, the rear wing of the BT55 came off while driving at high speed, making it lose downforce on the rear wheels and causing the car to cartwheel over a barrier and catch fire. The impact did not kill the Italian, but, tragically, he could not get out of the car unassisted and the lack of marshalls on the French circuit - or indeed anyone who could have assisted - and a 30 minute delay before an emergency helicopter arrived meant he died of asphyxiation from the smoke. His only other injuries were a broken collar bone and light burns on his back.
Today it has been 20 years since this accident and the young, popular F1 driver died.