It’s with nice disappointment that we should report the loss of life at 73 of former Grand Prix driver Patrick Tambay, one of the vital charming and charismatic racers of the late Seventies and Eighties.
Tambay was educated in France and in the USA and was an old-fashioned gentleman. He got here to prominence by help from Elf, after he gained the celebrated Volant Elf racing faculty prize at Paul Ricard and moved rapidly up the racing ladder to change into a star of Formulation 2. There have been so many Frenchmen at the moment that he struggled to interrupt into Formulation 1, however was helped on his method by a relationship with Carl Haas, for whom he raced Formulation 5000 after which gained the 1977 CanAm Championship for the group. He made his F1 debut on the French GP in 1977 with Surtees however then moved on to Theodore, run by Teddy Yip, who had a very good eye for racing expertise. His promise was such that McLaren signed him for 1978 and 1979, though these weren’t good years for the group and in 1980 he needed to return to CanAm with Carl Haas, which led to a second CanAm title.
He was again in F1 in 1981 with Theodore after which with Ligier however was then out once more till the traumatic 1982 season when Gilles Villeneuve was killed and Tambay was drafted in at Ferrari to exchange his good friend. Tambay was godfather to Jacques Villeneuve and later performed an necessary position in his improvement after his father had been killed. His first victory for Ferrari got here on the German GP the identical weekend that noticed his team-mate Didier Pironi critically injured in one other horrible crash.
He gained a second victory for Ferrari at Imola the next yr, however he was dropped by Ferrari to make method for Michele Alboreto in 1984 after which moved to Renault, though the group was then previous its greatest and he did not win any extra races. In 1986 he joined Carl Haas’s Beatrice Lola group, though it didn’t final lengthy. He stayed out of racing for a few years after that, increase a sports activities promotion enterprise however then returned to drive a Jaguar within the 1989 World Sportscar Championship, which led to a fourth place at Le Mans. He would go on to change into enamoured by desert raids and competed recurrently on the Paris-Dakar, twice ending within the prime three. He was breifly concerned with the Larrousse group in 1994 as a partnership with good friend and enterprise affiliate Michael Golay however that didn’t final lengthy.
He went on to a protracted and profitable profession as a TV commentator, whereas additionally serving because the deputy mayor of the city of Le Cannet, within the south of France. His son Adrien took up racing and achieved some success in DTM. Sadly Patrick was by Parkinson’s Illness for the latter a part of his life, which meant hat he stayed out of the general public eye as he discovered it tough to speak.
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