Patrick Depailler

Patrick Depailler

Former F1 driver
Name = Patrick Depailler
Nationality = flagicon|France French
Years = F1|1972, F1|1974 - F1|1980
Team(s) = Tyrrell, Ligier, Alfa Romeo
Races = 95
Championships = 0
Wins = 2
Podiums = 19
Points = 139 (141)Up until F1|1990, not all points scored by a driver contributed to their final World Championship tally (see list of pointscoring systems for more information). Numbers without parentheses are Championship points; numbers in parentheses are total points scored.]
Poles = 1
Fastest laps = 4
First race = 1972 French Grand Prix
First win = 1978 Monaco Grand Prix
Last win = 1979 Spanish Grand Prix
Last race = 1980 British Grand Prix

Patrick André Eugène Joseph Depailler (9 August 1944 - 1 August 1980) was a racing driver from France. He participated in 95 World Championship Formula One Grands Prix, debuting on July 2, 1972. He also participated in several non-Championship Formula One races.

Depailler was born in Clermont-Ferrand. As a child, he was inspired by Jean Behra. Talented and charismatic, Depailler never quite drove the kind of machinery his talent deserved, joining a Tyrrell team that was beginning a long, slow decline, eventually moving to the erratic Ligier team before finally ending up with the revived Alfa Romeo squad in 1980. It was for this final team, which Depailler was helping to advance up the grid, for which he was driving at a private test session at Hockenheim on August 1st, 1980, when a suspension failure pitched his car into the armco at the high-speed Ostkurve, inflicting fatal head injuries when the vehicle overturned and vaulted the barrier. The Alfa Romeo skidded along the top of the guard rail for several hundred feet prior to flipping onto its top.

Depailler had worked his way back from a hang-gliding accident the previous year. He had equipped his car with special brakes designed to toughen his leg muscles. He was driving in pain while practicing for the 1980 German Grand Prix on August 10."Depailler Dies In Accident", Washington Post, August 2, 1980, Page C4.]

He won 2 races, secured 1 pole position, achieved 19 podiums, and scored a total of 141 championship points.

ports cars and Formula Two

Depailler finished .9 seconds behind Peter Gethin in the 1972 Pau, France Formula Two Grand Prix. He battled Gethin closelyin a March 922 over the 70-lap course which curved through the French city. Both drivers lapped the field twice. ["Article-No Title", New York Times, May 8, 1972, Page 53.] Depailler came in 3rd with a time of 1:31:40.5 in an April 1973 FormulaTwo race at the Nürburgring. He was driving a Ford Alpine. ["Wisell Wins Formula Two Race", New York Times, April 30, 1973, Page 42.] In May 1974 Depailler qualified his March to1st position in qualifying for the Pau Formula Two Grand Prix. He recorded a time of 1 minute 16.17 seconds for an average speed of 80.8miles per hour. ["Wohlhuter's Team Victor At Quantico", New York Times, May 4, 1974, Page 32.] In June he crashed his March 742 through a guard rail during time trials for a Formula Two race in Salzburg, Austria. Depailler was uninjured but qualifying was stopped so that workman could replace a section of railing which was torn off in the accident. ["Depailler Car Crashes", New York Times,June 1, 1974, Page 23.] In April 1976 the Renault sports car team suspended Depailler for three races after he was involved in a crash which knocked out both his car and the Renault of teammate Jean-Pierre Jabouille. The incident occurred on the 2nd turn, slightly more than a mile after the beginning of a convert|180|mi|km|sing=on race at the Nurburgring. Depailler lost control and wrecked, after which Jabouillecrashed while attempting to avoid his teammate. The drivers had been instructed not to contest the lead with each other. ["People In Sports", New York Times, April 8, 1976, Page 52.] Depailler placed 2nd in the 1976 Swedish Formula J Grand Prix. He was 19 seconds behind winner Jody Scheckter. Depailler recorded a time of 1:47:17 over 72 laps. ["Scheckter Wins In Six-Wheeler", Los Angeles Times, June 14, 1976, Page F8.] Depailler drove in the
International Race of Champions event at Riverside International Raceway in September 1978. ["IROC", Los Angeles Times, September 21, 1978, F10.] He was behind the wheel of the Paul Newman entered Spyder-Chevy in the October 1978 California Grand Prix. ["British Stamp Car's Alain de Cadenet to debut at Riverside, Los Angeles Times, October 10, 1978, Page D11.]

Formula One

Tyrrell (1974 "-" 1978)

In December 1973 Depailler was chosen with Scheckter to drive for Tyrrell. They replaced the deceased François Cevertand retired Jackie Stewart. ["Ickx Joins Peterson At Lotus", New York Times, December 2, 1973, Page 296.] Depailler captured the pole for the 1974 Swedish Grand Prix, his 9th race as a Formula One driver. He negotiated the convert|2.49|mi|km|sing=on Anderstorp course in a time of 1 minute, 24.758 seconds, for an average speed of 105.8 miles per hour. ["Depailler Gains Pole In Sweden", New York Times, June 9, 1974, Page 214.] Depailler would finish 2nd in the race behind team-mate Jody Scheckter; this proved his only podium of the year.

In January 1975 Depailler was given 25-1 odds of becoming the 1975 Formula One World Champion. ["Handicapping '75Driver Title Race", New York Times, January 5, 1975, Page S15.] He finished 5th in the 1975 Argentine Grand Prix in Buenos Aires. ["E. Fittipaldi Victor In Grand Prix", New York Times, January 13, 1975, Page 53.] He took 3rd at Kyalami in the 1975 South African Grand Prix. Depailler stayed behind 2nd place finisher, Carlos Reutemann, throughout the 78 laps of the event. ["Scheckter Takes Grand Prix", New York Times, March 2, 1975, Page 187.] On the first day of qualifying for the 1975 United States Grand Prix, Depailler crashed his Tyrrell into a catchfence at Watkins Glen. He was not injured. ["Lauda, in 'TrainingCar', Paces Qualifying at Glen", New York Times, October 4, 1975, Page 22.]

Depailler came in 2nd in the 1976 Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos. ["Lauda Wins Brazil Grand Prix", New York Times, January 26, 1976, Page 34.] With a speed of convert|86.69|mi/h|km/h|abbr=on. in qualifying for the 1976 United States Grand Prix West, Depailler exceeded his lap record at Monte Carlo by convert|4|mi/h|km/h|abbr=on. His Tyrrell circuited the street course in Long Beach, California in 1:23.884. ["Depailler's Car Is Speediest", New York Times, March 27, 1976, Page 46.] He ended up 2nd to Clay Regazzoni on the2nd day of time trials, with a speed of 87.31. ["Regazzoni Takes Coast Race Pole", New York Times, March 28, 1976, Page 175.] Depailler gained a 3rd place finish but drew the ire of rival James Hunt, who went out on the 4th lap. Hunt claimed that Depailler forced him off the track and shook his at him after his exit from the race. Depailler, who wrestled with brake trouble, claimed that he did not seethe English driver in his mirror. ["Regazzoni Drives a Ferrari To Grand Prix West Victory", New York Times, March 29, 1976, Page 52.] Depailler placed his six-wheeled Tyrrell in 3rd position for the start of the 1976 Monaco Grand Prix with a time of 1:30.33. ["Lauda to Start on Pole Today", New York Times, May 30, 1976, Page 129.] The Tyrrells of Scheckter and Depailler were the only cars able to stay on the same lap with Lauda's Ferrari, who won from pole position. ["Lauda Triumphs Again in Monaco Grand Prix", New York Times, May 31, 1976, Page 24.] Depailler was 2nd to Hunt in the 1976 French Grand Prix at Le Castellet. He achieved a time of 1:41:11.30. ["Hunt Winner asFerraris Fall Out", Los Angeles Times, July 5, 1976, Page D8.] Hunt held off a determined Depailler at Mosport Park in the 1976 Canadian Grand Prix. Both drivers were ill at the conclusion of theevent, with Depailler having inhaled fumes over the last third of therace. He lost consciousness after pulling his car off at the first corner following the finish. He regained consciousness momentarily. ["Canadian Race Taken By Hunt", Los Angeles Times, October 4, 1976, Page D7.] Depailler finished 2nd to Hunt at the 1976 Japanese Grand Prix, despite encountering tire problems as the Fuji Speedway track dried. ["Hunt, Andretti Both Win In Fog", Los Angeles Times, October 25, 1976, Page D7.]

He skidded off the Interlagos track at Sao Paulo during the 1977 Brazilian Grand Prix. He was hospitalized with a leg injury. ["Reutemann Ferrari Wins Brazil Race", Los Angeles Times, January 24, 1977, Page E7.] Depailler qualified in the 6th row, 12th position, for the 1977 United States Grand Prix West. His time was 87.959. ["Hunt Still Savoring World Title: Lauda Wins the Pole", Los Angeles Times, April 3, 1977, Page D1.] In December 1977 Depailler was promoted to the number one driver for Tyrrell, when Ronnie Peterson left to drive for
Lotus. At the same time Tyrrell revealed that it was quitting its experiment with six-wheeled Formula One cars. ["Lauda's Switch Sparks Shuffle", Los Angeles Times, December 9, 1977, Page OC15.]

Depailler was 3rd in the 1978 Argentine Grand Prix in an Elf-Tyrrell. He covered the 52 lapsin 1:37:18.11. ["Andretti Wins Shortened Argentine Grand Prix", Los Angeles Times, January 16, 1978, Page D14.] Peterson passed Depailler on the last turn of the last lap at Johannesburg, to claim the 1978 South African Grand Prix. Peterson erased a 9 second gap to win. ["Peterson Wins South Africa Race on Last Turn of Last Lap", Los Angeles Times, March 5, 1978, Page C6.] Depailler made a strong move to climb from 12th starting place to end in 3rd position in the 1978 United States Grand Prix West. ["It's A Big Day for Reutemann and Long Beach", Los Angeles Times, April 3, 1978, Page D1.] Depailler gained his first Formula One triumph by winning the 1978 Monaco Grand Prix. Piloting a Tyrell-Ford, Depailler secured the 36th annual event, witha time of 1:55:14.66 over 75 laps, for an average speed of convert|80.359|mi/h|km/h|abbr=on. It was his first victory in 69 championship races although he had been 2nd seven times. ["Depailler Scores First Grand Prix Win", Los Angeles Times, May 8, 1978, Page E5.]

Fastest Laps - Monaco 1979,Swedish 1974,1976 Canadian

Ligier (1979)

Depailler switched to the Ligier team for 1979. The marque began to field cars with V-8 Ford Cosworth engines, ["Andretti Sets Some High Goals", Los Angeles Times, January 18, 1979, Page D11.] rather than the French-built Matra V-12 engines of 1978."Ligier setting GP world on its ear", Los Angeles Times, April 2, 1979, Page H14.] Depailler led the first 10 laps before his engine experienced problems in the 1979 Argentine Grand Prix. He was forced to make a pit stop but managed a 4th place finish. ["Capsule look at Formula One series action so far this year, Los Angeles Times, April 2, 1979, Page H27.] Depailler came in 2nd to his victorious teammate, Jacques Laffite, in the 1979 Brazilian Grand Prix. Laffite was more than 5 seconds ahead at the end of the race. ["Laffite Two for Two With Victory in Brazil", Los Angeles Times, February 5, 1979, Page D5.] Depailler made contact with the fence at "Barbecue Bend" in the 1979 South African Grand Prix. ["A Tire Gamble Gives Canada's Villeneuve Win", Los Angeles Times, March 4, 1979, Page E8.]

Ligier team manager, Gerard Ducarouge, said that the Ligier JS-11 had been in the planning stages for some time. The JS-9 had been tested as a "wing car" following the 1978 United States Grand Prix West, but the wind tunnel tests proved unsatisfactory. The JS-11 was built and tested in December 1978, with positive results. TheV-8 engine was lighter and the Cosworth exhaust system was modified so that it sounded much the same as the old Matra engine's "distinctive whine". The new body features of the JS-11 were revealed at the 1979 United States Grand Prix West.

Depailler posted a flag-to-flag win at Jarama in the 1979 Spanish Grand Prix. The win enabled him to tie Gilles Villeneuve in the standings for the Formula One world championshipat the end of April, with 20 points each. ["Depailler Wins Spanish Grand Prix", Washington Post, April 30, 1979, Page D6.] Depailler posted 3rd position in qualifying for the 1979 Monaco Grand Prix on a staggered grid. ["Scheckter Wins Monaco Pole", Washington Post, May 27, 1979, Page D8.] Depailler was replaced in June 1979 by Ligier, after sustaining a hand injury in a hang gliding incident. The race team was receiving financial support from the French government, which specified that the new driver beFrench. ["Motor Sports", Washington Post, June 24, 1979, Page A1.] On August 29 Depailler said that he was "resigned not to race again until next year." He expected to leave a Paris hospital by the end of the week. He had undergone a number of operations on his legs, both of which were broken while hang-gliding on June 3, near his hometown of Clermont-Ferrand. His heel was also critically injured. He had hopes to attend both the 1979 Canadian Grand Prix and the 1979 United States Grand Prix as a spectator."Depailler Resigned To Sideline Status", Washington Post, August 30, 1979, Page C13.]

Alfa Romeo (1980)

In 1980, Patrick joined the newly formed Alfa Romeo team, that was on a comeback trail. The car was quick, Patrick qualified 3rd for the 1980 United States Grand Prix West, but the car was not reliable enough to finish. He was killed testing for the 1980 German Grand Prix, when his steering failed at Ostkurve, and he crashed into the barriers at convert|280|km/h|mi/h|0|abbr=on. He died instantly.

Fastest Laps - Monaco 1979,Swedish 1974,1976 Canadian

Complete World Championship Formula One results

() (Races in bold indicate pole position)


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