What Happened On This Day May 30 In F1 History?

From the inaugural Indianapolis 500 in 1911 to Mika Häkkinen's win at the 1999 Spanish Grand Prix.


By Ben Bush
Updated on June 13, 2024

1999 Mika Hakkinen (Finnish) 1st David Coulthard (Scots) 2nd Michael Schumacher (German) (3rd) Podium Spanish GP
1999 Mika Hakkinen (Finnish) 1st David Coulthard (Scots) 2nd Michael Schumacher (German) (3rd) Podium Spanish GP.

What happened on this day, May 30 in Formula 1 history? Find out interesting facts and stories about Formula 1 on this day.

Indianapolis 500 Highlights and Tragic Moments

The Indianapolis 500, first held in 1911, was included in the Formula One World Championship from 1950 to 1960. This event has seen numerous highlights and tragic incidents. Here are a few notable ones:


The inaugural Indianapolis 500 was held on a Tuesday, May 30, 1911, and drew an international crowd. Forty-six cars entered, with 40 qualifying by recording a 75 mph lap. Ray Harroun won the race using a rear-view mirror instead of a riding mechanic. However, his victory was marred by controversy as Ralph Mulford, who finished second, protested that Harroun had completed one lap too few. The protest was rejected, but the debate lingered for years. Harroun retired after winning the $10,000 prize, never to race again. Unfortunately, the event also saw its first fatality when mechanic Sam Dickson died after Arthur Greiner’s car hit a wall.


Defending champion Floyd Roberts died from head injuries after his car was clipped and crashed into a tree.


Carl Scarborough, 39, collapsed from heat exhaustion after the Indy 500, highlighting the extreme conditions drivers face.


Bill Vukovich, a two-time Indy 500 winner, died when his car became airborne and crashed after being hit. His death marked the first fatality in a FIA World Championship event.


A 15-car pile-up on the opening lap of the Indy 500 resulted in Pat O’Connor’s death. His car flew 50 feet through the air and burst into flames. Although he died from a broken neck, the incident led to safety changes at the track. Ed Elisian, who tried to save Vukovich three years earlier, was blamed for the crash and ostracised. He died in a crash the following year.


The final year the Indy 500 counted towards the F1 championship featured an all-American entry, highlighting the initiative’s failure to attract European drivers. Held the day after the 1960 Monaco Grand Prix, the race saw Jim Rathmann and Rodger Ward locked in a fierce battle, with Rathmann winning due to better tyre management. This race had the most recorded lead changes in Indy 500 history at the time, with 29. The record as of 30th May 2023 is 68 in 2013.


Eddie Sachs and rookie Dave MacDonald died in a seven-car crash on the second lap of the Indy 500. Sachs’ flame-proof suit could not save him from fatal injuries, and MacDonald succumbed to inhaling burning fuel. This incident prompted the switch from petrol to methanol fuel.


Graham Hill, at 36, won his third Monaco Grand Prix on May 30, 1965, closely followed by defending champion John Surtees, whose Ferrari ran out of fuel at the end. Paul Hawkins made headlines by driving into the harbour, becoming only the second person to do so. He safely swam to shore after his Lotus crashed through the barriers.


Niki Lauda dominated the 1976 Monaco Grand Prix in his Ferrari, extending his lead in the 1976 drivers’ championship with his fourth win in six races. The race began with yellow flags to prevent crashes at the opening corner, but Carlos Reutemann and Alan Jones collided and retired.


Mika Häkkinen won at the 1999 Spanish Grand Prix, his second in a row, helping him close the gap on Michael Schumacher for the drivers’ title. McLaren secured a 1-2 finish despite David Coulthard overshooting his pit crew. Jacques Villeneuve‘s day ended in frustration after overtaking the Ferraris at the start, only to retire due to a pit stop mishap and gearbox failure.

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About The Author

Chief Editor

Ben Bush

Ben is our chief editor specialising in F1 from the 1990s to the modern era. Ben has been following Formula 1 since 1986 and is an avid researcher who loves understanding the technology that makes it one of the most exciting motorsport on the planet. He listens to podcasts about F1 on a daily basis, and enjoys reading books from the inspirational Adrian Newey to former F1 drivers.

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