Roland Ratzenberger (4 July 1960 – 30 April 1994) was an Austrian racing driver who raced in various categories of motorsport, including British Formula 3000, Japanese Formula 3000 and Formula One. Having had sporadic success throughout the lower formulas, Ratzenberger managed to secure an F1 seat in 1994 for the new Simtek team, at the unusually old age of 33. He was killed in a crash during qualifying for the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix just three races into his F1 career. The weekend would become notorious for also seeing the death of Ayrton Senna, a three time world champion, during the race the following day.

The Grand Prix Drivers' Association was reformed as a direct result of Ratzenberger's death, while the weekend as a whole led to a markedly increased emphasis on safety in the sport.

Ratzenberger greatly desired to race in Formula One, especially as former rivals in F3000, such as Eddie Irvine and Johnny Herbert, managed to reach the top level while he did not. He came very close to securing a drive with the Jordan team for their inaugural season in 1991. Negotiations were at a very advanced stage when Ratzenberger lost the financial support of a "major sponsor."

In 1994, he achieved his ambition of becoming a Formula One driver. After gaining a sponsor in a wealthy German woman, who negotiated a deal over the 1993-4 winter, Ratzenberger signed a five-race deal with the new Simtek team, partnering David Brabham. With a very uncompetitive car, Ratzenberger failed to qualify for the first race at Interlagos. However, the next round at the TI Circuit in Aida went much better, as he not only managed to qualify, but finish in a very commendable eleventh place, even considering that he was the only driver who had raced at the venue before.

In Imola (San Marino GP), the next day Rubens accident, the second qualifying session proceeded as normal. Early in the session, Ratzenberger went off the track at the Acqua Minerale chicane. With his sponsor in attendance for the first time, and at the halfway point of his contract, he decided to carry on, after checking the car to the best of his abilities. Unknown to him, the minor incident had damaged his front wing; as he tried to turn into the high-downforce Villeneuve corner, it broke and became lodged under the car, which crashed into the outside wall at 314.9 km/h (195.7 mph).

Grand Prix: 3
Drivers Championships: -
Victories: 0
Podiums: 0
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Career Points: 0