Former F1 driver Patrick Tambay has died

The world of French motorsport is in mourning. Patrick Tambay, pilot of Formula 1 between 1977 and 1986 (114 Grands Prix), died at the age of 73 on Sunday, the family confirmed to AUTOweekly.

Born in Paris in 1949, the Frenchman had evolved in the premier category with six different teams, including Ferrari, with whom he won two victories in Germany in 1982 and at Imola in 1983. Called by Maranello (Italy) after the death of Gilles Villeneuve, Tambay was a key player in the constructors’ championship titles obtained by the Scuderia in those years.

In total, Patrick Tambay will have amassed five pole positions, 11 podiums and two fastest laps in the race in addition to his two victories. Winner of the Volant Elf in 1973, he won the honorary title of vice-champion of F2 two years later.

Weighed down by several retirements the following year, he did not do better than 3rd, and therefore decided to fly to America, where he won the Can-Am challenge at the wheel of a Lola T333-CS to everyone’s surprise. . A performance that opened the doors to F1 in 1977.

Two victories at Ferrari

It was at Engine Surtees that the Habs began their career in the premier category, before joining McLaren in the following two seasons, and to suffer from the gradual decline of the British stable at that time.

In 1981, he spent a season with the tricolor Ligier team, from which he was sacked and where he later felt that he had not been sufficiently supported.

If he left F1 at that time, he was recalled at short notice a few months later after the terrible and tragic accident of Gilles Villeneuve. Enzo Ferrari chooses him to replace him and for the first time in his life, Tambay is at the wheel of one of the best cars on the grid.

He won his first career success at the 1982 German Grand Prix, the day after his teammate Didier Pironi’s serious accident. Extended by Ferrari in 1983 after his successful interim, Patrick Tambay signed a new victory the following year at Imola following the abandonment of leader Riccardo Patrese, in front of tifosi in heaven.

Patrick Tambay driving the Ferrari 126C3 at the 1983 German Grand Prix / © DPPI

The end of the season is less to his advantage, but Mauro Forghieritechnical director at the time, also recently deceased, will say of him that he is “a smart man, with a healthy body and mind” and that it was “a real pleasure to work with such a meticulous boy. “.

He eventually bounces back to Renault for two seasons and before finally ending his fine career in F1 with Lola in 1986.

During his career, Patrick also took part in four editions of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. First with Renault Sport in 1976 and 1977 (two retirements), then in 1981 with Rondeau, before touching the podium eight years later with Silk Cut Jaguar.

Tambay continued his career in rally-raids (3rd in the Paris-Dakar in 1988 and 89). It was also in 1989 that he finished 8th in the World Sport-Prototype Championship on a Jaguar. We will then see it in IMSAon the Bugatti EB110 of Gildo Pallanca-Pastor (1995-96) as well as in Grand-Prix Masters (2005-06).

The writing of AUTOweeklysaddened by this news, sends its most sincere condolences to the family and loved ones of Patrick Tambay.

READ ALSO > Patrick Tambay (1949-2022)

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Former F1 driver Patrick Tambay has died

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