Didier Pironi

Didier Joseph Louis Pironi (26 March 1952 – 23 August 1987) was a French racing driver. During his career he competed in 72 Formula One World Championship Grands Prix, driving for Tyrrell (1978–1979), Ligier (1980) and Ferrari (1981–1982). He won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1978 driving a Renault Alpine A442B.

Didier Pironi
Didier Pironi 1982
Pironi after winning the 1982 Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort
Born26 March 1952
Villecresnes, Val-de-Marne, France
Died23 August 1987 (aged 35)
off the Isle of Wight, England, UK
Formula One World Championship career
NationalityFrance French
Active years19781982
TeamsTyrrell, Ligier, Ferrari
Entries72 (70 starts)
Championships0
Wins3
Podiums13
Career points101
Pole positions4
Fastest laps5
First entry1978 Argentine Grand Prix
First win1980 Belgian Grand Prix
Last win1982 Dutch Grand Prix
Last entry1982 German Grand Prix
24 Hours of Le Mans career
Years1976–1978, 1980
TeamsPorsche Kremer Racing, J. Haran de Chaunac, Renault Sport, BMW France
Best finish1st (1978)
Class wins1 (1978)

Professional driving career (1972–1982)

Pironi was born in Villecresnes, Val-de-Marne. He is the half brother of José Dolhem (they had the same father and their mothers were sisters).[1] He began studying as an engineer and earned a degree in science, but entering the family construction business fell by the wayside following his enrollment at the Paul Ricard driving school.

He was awarded Pilot Elf sponsorship in 1972, a program designed to promote young French motorsport talent, that also led Alain Prost, René Arnoux and Patrick Tambay into Formula One. After becoming Formula Renault champion in France in 1974, taking the Super Renault championship title in 1976 and winning the prestigious Monaco Grand Prix Formula Three support race in 1977, Pironi made his F1 debut at the Argentine GP on 15 January 1978. This was with Ken Tyrrell's team which, despite being British, had a strong working relationship with Elf, dating back to the late 1960s. In the same year, Pironi was part of the massive Renault squad tasked with winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Partnering Jean-Pierre Jaussaud in the team's second car, the unusual "bubble roof" A442B, he won the race by four laps from the rival Porsche 936s.

Didier-1
Pironi as a Formula Two driver in 1977 at Monaco

Two seasons with the underfinanced Tyrrell team demonstrated enough promise for Guy Ligier to sign Pironi to his eponymous French team in 1980, a season in which Pironi recorded his first victory, in the Belgian Grand Prix at Zolder, as well as several podium finishes. The Ligier JS11/15 was an excellent car but could not reach its maximum potential. A combination of the team's incompetence and Laffite being in firm political control meant that Pironi was not going to win the championship with Ligier. Pironi's performance piqued Enzo Ferrari's interest in the Frenchman's services, which he secured for 1981. Ferrari later recalled, "As soon as Pironi arrived at Maranello, he won everyone's admiration and affection, not only for his gifts as an athlete, but also for his way of doing things - he was reserved while at the same time outgoing."[2]

Teamed and compared with Gilles Villeneuve, who welcomed the Frenchman and treated him as an equal, Pironi was slower in qualifying but steadier in races during his first season with Ferrari. Establishing a fine rapport with the senior members of the team, Pironi arguably exploited this good relationship in the aftermath of the controversial 1982 San Marino race, where Pironi is widely thought to have duped Villeneuve into conceding victory by giving the impression that he would finish behind his teammate, only to unexpectedly power past him into the Tosa hairpin, despite the team having signaled both drivers to slow down. Villeneuve was furious with Pironi and vowed never to say another word to him. The Canadian was killed in qualifying two weeks later at the following Belgian Grand Prix at Zolder trying to better Pironi's lap time, and Villeneuve's state of mind is often considered a contributory cause to his fatal accident.

Harvey Postlethwaite (the co-designer of the 126C2) believed that the "drama" following San Marino was blown out of proportion by the press, "Villeneuve was really upset because he felt he should have been handed the race on a plate ... They were competitive and either of them could win."[3]

He also mentioned a technical reason as to why the two Ferraris were swapping places so often during the San Marino race. "The (Ferrari 126C) turbo pressure was very, very difficult to control. Most of the reason that they were able to pass one another so evenly was that one would go through a sticky patch and sort of only be giving 4-bar of boost or 4.2, and the other would be getting a burst of 4.5, so it would have the legs of the other guy. It wasn't quite as spectacular as it appeared at the time."[4]

According to Ferrari's chief mechanic Paolo Scaramelli, the team had agreed before the race that if the two Renaults were out, the drivers should have maintained position.[5] Pironi did say a deal took place but the terms were more complex, "We had a meeting before the race; Arnoux, Prost, Gilles and me, in my motorhome. We agreed to make a spectacle for the first half of the race so long as our positions on the lap after half-distance were the same as on the grid. We started the real race at half-distance and so had plenty of fuel. The team (Ferrari) didn't know that, Marco Piccinini and Gérard Larrousse (Renault F1's team manager) didn't know, only the mechanics knew, but Prost and Arnoux - they will tell you the same." [6] Pironi went on to add, "When I passed Villeneuve the first time, this was because he had made a mistake and had gone off the circuit. The first slow sign we got was a few laps after that, and by then we knew we had a lot of fuel left because of the way we drove the first half of the race." [6]

In a 2002 interview with Motor Sport, Marco Piccinini supported Pironi's view, "It was a genuine misunderstanding triggered by Gilles making a mistake. He went off the circuit slightly and Didier passed. The sign was hung out because we were 1-2, not because we favored one driver over the other. We didn't favor either because it was at an early stage of the championship. We just wanted to maintain 1-2." [7]

In 2007, former Marlboro marketing executive John Hogan (whose company sponsored Pironi in his time as a Ferrari driver) disputed the claim that Pironi had gone back on a prior arrangement with Villeneuve. He said: "I think Gilles was stunned somebody had out-driven him and that it just caught him so much by surprise."[8]

With a fast, reliable car, Pironi appeared to be on course for being 1982 World Champion, but the Frenchman's own state of mind underwent severe stress due to several factors. Widespread antipathy by many in the F1 fraternity was directed toward him in the wake of the Zolder tragedy. There was also the rapid breakdown of his marriage to longtime girlfriend Catherine Beynie within weeks of the ceremony taking place. He observed first hand the death of Riccardo Paletti in the 1982 Canadian Grand Prix, the young Italian rookie ploughing into Pironi's stalled Ferrari on the starting grid.

Ferrari team members are reported to have observed changes in Pironi's behaviour throughout that summer following Villeneuve's death. Shortly before the 1982 British Grand Prix, Pironi remarked "I feel I am beginning to touch the World Championship."[9]

1982 German Grand Prix

After claiming pole position for the German Grand Prix, Pironi was also busy testing a new-composition Goodyear rain tyre (under the guidance of Mauro Forghieri) in untimed practice. The "new-spec" Goodyear rain tyres proved to be very successful, with Pironi lapping up to 2.5 seconds faster than newly recruited teammate Patrick Tambay driving the sister Ferrari. (Pironi: 2 min 10.9 sec, Tambay: 2 min 13.4 sec)

Racing journalists at the circuit were quick to say Pironi was driving "like a mad man." In defense of Pironi, Forghieri said the substantial differences in the lap times between the two sets of Goodyears were no surprise to the team.[10] The weather conditions at Hockenheim that weekend were highly uncertain: quickly alternating back and forth between wet and dry.

In the rain, one of the many problems caused by "ground effect" F1 cars was that the spray was forced out from under the side pods as a fine mist and virtually created a fog. To those behind, this made cars in front close to invisible.[11]

When Pironi tried passing Derek Daly's Williams, the Ferrari 126C2 smashed into the back of Alain Prost's invisible Renault: a violent accident which bore some similarity to that suffered by Villeneuve. Pironi survived, but multiple fractures to both of his legs meant he never raced again in Formula 1. In the immediate aftermath of the accident, he said he felt no pain. "It was just like my accidents before, when I had no injuries. All I could think about was the car, that the spare one didn't work as well as this one, and that I would have to use it (the spare) for the race. Then I saw my legs and I thought maybe I wouldn't be doing this race, after all. In the helicopter, they began to hurt very seriously. But if I was to have this accident, it was lucky for me that it was in Germany and not in a more primitive place."[12] The extent of Pironi's leg fractures was severe; however, contrary to Pironi's account of the accident,[13] medics under the guidance of Professor Sid Watkins did not consider amputation in order to extricate him from the car.[14]

At this point, he was leading with 39 points in the championship, ahead of Watson (30) and Keke Rosberg (27), but Pironi was relegated to runner-up as Rosberg passed him to become World Champion. Despite missing four races of that year's fourteen, Pironi lost the title to Rosberg by just 5 points.

In his Formula One career Didier Pironi won three races, achieved 13 podiums, and scored a total of 101 championship points. He also secured four pole positions.

Death

In 1986, after he was able to walk with both legs unaided, it looked as if Pironi would make a comeback when he tested for the French AGS team at Circuit Paul Ricard and subsequently, the Ligier JS27 at Dijon-Prenois. He proved that he was still fast enough to be competitive, but coming back to F1 was not truly practical due to the extent of his injuries. A return to F1 was further complicated by his insurance payout based on the premise of sustaining career-ending injuries; Pironi would be required to pay the money back to his insurer had he returned to the sport.[15]

Pironi decided to turn to offshore powerboat racing instead. On 23 August 1987, Pironi was killed in an accident in the Needles Trophy Race near the Isle of Wight, that also took the life of his two crew members: journalist Bernard Giroux and his old friend Jean-Claude Guénard. Their boat, "Colibri 4," rode over a rough wave caused by an oil tanker, causing the boat to flip over.[16]

After Pironi's death, his girlfriend Catherine Goux gave birth to twins. In honour of Pironi and Gilles Villeneuve, she named them Didier and Gilles. In 2014, one of the twins, Gilles Pironi, joined Mercedes AMG Petronas as an engineer.[17][18]

Biographies

  • Lettre à Didier – Catherine Goux
  • Didier: Dreams and Nightmares – Lorie Coffey, Jan Moller
  • Didier Pironi: La flèche brisée (The Broken Arrow) – Martine Camus
  • Pironi: The Champion Who Never Was - David Sedgwick (e-book published August 31, 2017, paperback edition published January 1, 2018)

Complete Formula One World Championship results

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 WDC Points
1978 Elf Team Tyrrell Tyrrell 008 Cosworth V8 ARG
14
BRA
6
RSA
6
USW
Ret
MON
5
BEL
6
ESP
12
SWE
Ret
FRA
10
GBR
Ret
GER
5
AUT
Ret
NED
Ret
ITA
Ret
USA
10
CAN
7
15th 7
1979 Team Tyrrell Tyrrell 009 Cosworth V8 ARG
Ret
BRA
4
RSA
Ret
USW
DSQ
ESP
6
10th 14
Candy Tyrrell Team BEL
3
MON
Ret
FRA
Ret
GBR
10
GER
9
AUT
7
NED
Ret
ITA
10
CAN
5
USA
3
1980 Equipe Ligier Gitanes Ligier JS11/15 Cosworth V8 ARG
Ret
BRA
4
RSA
3
USW
6
BEL
1
MON
Ret
FRA
2
GBR
Ret
GER
Ret
AUT
Ret
NED
Ret
ITA
6
CAN
3
USA
3
5th 32
1981 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 126CK Ferrari V6T USW
Ret
BRA
Ret
ARG
Ret
SMR
5
BEL
8
MON
4
ESP
15
FRA
5
GBR
Ret
GER
Ret
AUT
9
NED
Ret
ITA
5
CAN
Ret
CPL
9
13th 9
1982 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 126C2 Ferrari V6T RSA
18
BRA
6
USW
Ret
SMR
1
BEL
DNS
MON
2
DET
3
CAN
9
NED
1
GBR
2
FRA
3
GER
DNS
AUT SUI ITA CPL 2nd 39

References

  1. ^ Small, Steve (1994). The Guinness Complete Grand Prix Who's Who. London, UK: Guinness. p. 123. ISBN 0851127029.
  2. ^ Pirelli Album of Motor Racing Heroes(1992) p. 130
  3. ^ Echoes of Imola(1996) p.78
  4. ^ Echoes of Imola(1996) p.77
  5. ^ <"Profondo Rosso">"Gli ultimi giorni di Gilles". Leo Turrini. 2011.
  6. ^ a b Autosport, July 3, 1986 Issue, p. 44
  7. ^ Motor Sport, February 2002 Issue, p. 160
  8. ^ "Doubt over facts of Villeneuve-Pironi row". F1Fanatic.co.uk. 2007.
  9. ^ Grand Prix Greats: A Personal Appreciation of 25 Famous Formula 1 Drivers (1987) p. 123
  10. ^ Didier: Dreams and Nightmares(2004) p.172
  11. ^ Ferrari Turbos: The Grand Prix Cars, 1981-88 p.37
  12. ^ Grand Prix Greats, p.124
  13. ^ "Grand Prix Times | Formula 1, GP2, GP3, Formula E, WEC, IndyCar, MotoGP News". www.f1times.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-06-12.
  14. ^ Simon Taylor (13 September 2012). "Lunch with ... Professor Sid Watkins". MotorSport.
  15. ^ Didier: Dreams and Nightmares (2004), p.185
  16. ^ "Racing driver dies on boat crash". The Glasgow Herald. 24 August 1987. p. 1.
  17. ^ "Great Rivalries: Didier Pironi vs. Gilles Villeneuve". Automobile Magazine. Retrieved 9 July 2011.
  18. ^ "Auto123.com | Car News | Auto123". www.auto123.com. Retrieved 2016-06-12.

Sources

  • Surtees, John (1992). Pirelli Album of Motor Racing Heroes. Wisconsin, USA: Motorbooks International Publishers & Wholesalers. ISBN 0-87938-671-1.
  • Tremayne, David (1996). Echoes of Imola. Croydon, England, UK: MRP Limited. ISBN 1-899870-05-9.
  • Lorie Coffey, Jan Moller (2004). Didier: Dreams and Nightmares. Balsall Common, West Midlands, England, UK: Mercian Manuals Ltd. ISBN 1-903088-16-X.
  • Pritchard, Anthony (1989). Ferrari Turbos: The Grand Prix Cars, 1981-1988. UK: Aston Publications. ISBN 0-946627-50-9.
  • Roebuck, Nigel (1987). Grand Prix Greats: A Personal Appreciation of 25 Famous Formula 1 Drivers. UK: Patrick Stephens. ISBN 0850597927.

External links

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Bruno Giacomelli
Monaco Formula Three
Race Winner

1977
Succeeded by
Elio de Angelis
Preceded by
Jacky Ickx
Hurley Haywood
Jürgen Barth
Winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans
1978 with:
Jean-Pierre Jaussaud
Succeeded by
Klaus Ludwig
Bill Whittington
Don Whittington
1977 European Formula Two Championship

The 1977 European Formula Two season was contested over 13 rounds. Frenchman René Arnoux was the season champion, driving a Martini-Renault/Gordini for Ecurie Renault Elf.

1978 Brazilian Grand Prix

The 1978 Brazilian Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held on 29 January 1978 at Jacarepagua. The race was won by Argentine driver Carlos Reutemann driving a Ferrari 312T2 in a flag-to-flag performance. The win also represented the first win for tyre manufacturer Michelin. Local driver Emerson Fittipaldi was second, scoring the first podium finish for the Fittipaldi team with Austrian Brabham driver Niki Lauda finishing third. French driver Didier Pironi took his first points in Formula One, finishing sixth.

1979 Belgian Grand Prix

The 1979 Belgian Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held on 13 May 1979 at Zolder. It was the sixth race of the 1979 World Championship of F1 Drivers and the 1979 International Cup for F1 Constructors.

The 70-lap race was won by Jody Scheckter, driving a Ferrari. Scheckter collided with Clay Regazzoni's Williams-Ford on the second lap, but recovered to take his first victory of the season. Jacques Laffite finished second in a Ligier-Ford, having started from pole position, while Didier Pironi achieved his first podium finish with third in a Tyrrell-Ford.

The race also saw the first appearance of Alfa Romeo as a works team since 1951. Driving the Alfa Romeo 177, Bruno Giacomelli qualified 14th, ahead of both Renaults and both McLarens, before retiring following a collision with Elio de Angelis in the Shadow-Ford.

1980 Belgian Grand Prix

The 1980 Belgian Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held at Zolder on 4 May 1980. It was the fifth round of the 1980 Formula One season. The race was the 38th Belgian Grand Prix and the seventh to be held at Zolder. The race was held over 72 laps of the 4.262-kilometre circuit for a total race distance of 307 kilometres.

The race was won by French driver Didier Pironi driving a Ligier JS11/15. It was Pironi's debut World Championship victory and he was the fourth driver to win in the first five races of the season. Pironi won by 47 seconds over Australian driver and eventual 1980 champion, Alan Jones driving a Williams FW07B. Third was Jones' Williams teammate Argentinian driver, Carlos Reutemann. It was the first of three wins in Pironi's accident-shortened Formula One career. Jones' second place allowed him to close to within two points of series leader René Arnoux who had collected three points for finishing fourth in his Renault RE20. Piquet was one point behind Jones with Pironi just one point further behind.

1980 British Grand Prix

The 1980 British Grand Prix (formally the XXXIII Marlboro British Grand Prix) was a Formula One motor race held at Brands Hatch on 13 July 1980. It was the eighth round of the 1980 Formula One season. The race was held over 76 laps of the 4.207-km (2.614-mile) circuit for a total race distance of 319.73 km (198.67 miles).

The race was won by Australian driver, Alan Jones driving a Williams FW07B. The win was Jones' eighth Formula One Grand Prix victory and his fourth of the year. Including the non-championship Spanish Grand Prix it was Jones' third victory in a row as he built his charge towards becoming the 1980 World Drivers' Champion. Jones won by eleven seconds over the man becoming his arch-rival, Brazilian driver Nelson Piquet driving a Brabham BT49. Third, and the only other car to finish on the lead lap, was Jones' Williams Grand Prix Engineering teammate, Argentinian driver Carlos Reutemann.

1980 United States Grand Prix

The 1980 United States Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held on October 5, 1980 at the Watkins Glen Grand Prix Race Course in Watkins Glen, New York. This event was also referred to as the United States Grand Prix East in order to distinguish it from the United States Grand Prix West held on March 30, 1980 in Long Beach, California.

It was the final race of the 1980 Formula One season. The race was the 30th United States Grand Prix, the 20th and last to be held at Watkins Glen and the last to be held for nine years. The race was held over 59 laps of the 5.435-kilometre (3.377 mi) circuit for a total race distance of 320.67 kilometres (199.26 mi).

The race was won by the new world champion, Australian driver Alan Jones, driving a Williams FW07B. It was Jones' fifth world championship Formula One victory of the season and the sixth of the seven Grands Prix (including Spain and Australia) he would win in his career defining season. Jones won by four seconds over his Argentinian team mate Carlos Reutemann with French driver Didier Pironi finishing third in his Ligier JS11/15.

1981 San Marino Grand Prix

The 1981 San Marino Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held at Imola on 3 May 1981.

The race was the first to bear the title "San Marino Grand Prix", although the Imola circuit is in Italy and several non-championship Formula One races and the 1980 Italian Grand Prix had previously been held at the circuit. The Acque-Minerali chicane had been widened from the year before and was faster; the chicane in its original narrow configuration in 1980 was unpopular with drivers because it was very slow.

The Lotus team withdrew their entries because the FIA upheld the ban on the Lotus 88 and team owner Colin Chapman felt the 81s were no longer competitive.Didier Pironi held the lead until late in the race and was passed by Nelson Piquet, who eventually won the race. As well as being Michele Alboreto's Grand Prix debut, the race is also notable for the recovery of Gilles Villeneuve to seventh place, after misjudgement of tyre selection for the conditions. While the team did not qualify for the race, it was the first race entered by Toleman, which is now Renault Sport F1.

1982 British Grand Prix

The 1982 British Grand Prix (formally the XXXV Marlboro British Grand Prix) was a Formula One motor race held at Brands Hatch on 18 July 1982. It was the tenth race of the 1982 FIA Formula One World Championship.

The 76-lap race was won by Niki Lauda, driving a McLaren-Ford, after he started from fifth position. Didier Pironi finished second in a Ferrari, while teammate Patrick Tambay achieved his first podium finish by coming third. Pironi took over the lead of the Drivers' Championship from Lauda's teammate, John Watson, who spun off on the third lap.

1982 Canadian Grand Prix

The 1982 Canadian Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on 13 June 1982. It was the eighth race of the 1982 Formula One World Championship. This was the first Canadian Grand Prix to be held in June, the organisers having moved the race from the autumn to allow for warmer weather; it has been held in June ever since.

The 70-lap race was won by Nelson Piquet, driving a Brabham-BMW. It was the first Formula One victory for a BMW-engined car, but the only victory of the season for defending Drivers' Champion Piquet. Team-mate Riccardo Patrese finished second in an older Brabham-Ford, with John Watson third in a McLaren-Ford.

The race was marred by the death of young Italian driver Riccardo Paletti, in only his second F1 race start. At the start of the race Didier Pironi, on pole position, stalled his Ferrari. Most of the other cars were able to avoid Pironi, but Paletti, starting from 23rd in his Osella, ran straight into the back of the Ferrari at around 110 mph (180 km/h). Paletti was knocked unconscious and was trapped in the wreckage of his car, which caught fire as Pironi and rescue workers tried to free him. He was eventually airlifted to hospital, where he died of internal injuries some two hours later. Paletti was the last driver to be killed during a Formula One race weekend until Roland Ratzenberger at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, and the last to die in a Formula One car until Elio de Angelis lost his life while testing for Brabham at the Circuit Paul Ricard in France in 1986.

1982 Dutch Grand Prix

The 1982 Dutch Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held at Zandvoort on 3 July 1982. The race, contested over 72 laps, was the ninth race of the 1982 Formula One season and was won by Didier Pironi, driving a Ferrari, with Nelson Piquet second in a Brabham-BMW and Keke Rosberg third in a Williams-Ford.

René Arnoux started from pole position, but he crashed out at the notorious Tarzan Corner when his Renault's throttle stuck open and he hit the tyre barriers. Arnoux walked away from the crash unharmed.

This was the first Grand Prix after the death of Riccardo Paletti three weeks earlier in Montreal. This was also the final win of Didier Pironi's Formula One career at this race.

Ferrari entered Patrick Tambay to replace Gilles Villeneuve, who had been killed during qualifying a few race weekends prior, at the Belgian Grand Prix.

1982 French Grand Prix

The 1982 French Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held at Paul Ricard on 25 July 1982. It was the eleventh race of the 1982 Formula One World Championship.

The 54-lap race was won from pole position by René Arnoux, driving a Renault. The turbocharged Renaults, Ferraris and Brabham-BMWs took up the first six grid positions, and Arnoux led home a French 1–2–3–4, with teammate Alain Prost second and the Ferraris of Didier Pironi and Patrick Tambay third and fourth respectively. However, Arnoux achieved his win in sour circumstances: he violated a pre-race agreement that if he and Prost were running first and second respectively, he would let Prost past to aid his Drivers' Championship hopes. Arnoux would leave Renault at the end of the year.

The top six was completed by Keke Rosberg in the Williams-Ford and Michele Alboreto in the Tyrrell-Ford. Pironi's third place enabled him to extend his lead in the Drivers' Championship to nine points, though this would turn out to be his last finish before his career-ending accident at the next race in Germany.

The eleventh lap of this race saw a big accident when Jochen Mass's March and Mauro Baldi's Arrows collided at Signes. Mass's car went through the catch fencing into the tyre walls, then catapulted into a spectator area and caught fire. Mass escaped with burns on his hands, while several spectators were injured. The West German driver retired from Formula One immediately after this race.

1982 German Grand Prix

The 1982 German Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held at Hockenheimring on 8 August 1982. It was won by Patrick Tambay for Scuderia Ferrari.

1982 Monaco Grand Prix

The 1982 Monaco Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held at Monaco on 23 May 1982. It was the sixth race of the 1982 FIA Formula One World Championship.

This was the first race following the death of Gilles Villeneuve at the Belgian Grand Prix two weeks previously. Consequently, Ferrari entered only one car, for Didier Pironi.

René Arnoux took pole position in his Renault and led until he spun off at the Swimming Pool on lap 15. Team-mate Alain Prost took over the lead and held it until the closing stages, when rain started to fall. On lap 74, three from the end, Prost pushed too hard and crashed into the Armco barriers coming out of the Chicane du Port (also known as the Dog Leg), handing the lead to Riccardo Patrese in the Brabham. Then, on lap 75, Patrese spun on oil at the Loews hairpin and stalled.

Pironi now led, only for his car to run out of fuel in the tunnel on the final lap. Andrea de Cesaris then ran out of fuel before he could pass Pironi, and Derek Daly, the next leader, had already lost the wings from his Williams after an accident and had also damaged his gearbox, which seized up before he could start the final lap. Patrese, who had managed to restart his car by rolling downhill and bump-starting, came through to take his first Formula One victory, with Pironi, de Cesaris and Daly classified second, third and sixth respectively.

BBC commentator and 1976 world champion James Hunt commented, "Well, we've got this ridiculous situation where we're all sitting by the start-finish line waiting for a winner to come past, and we don't seem to be getting one!"

1982 San Marino Grand Prix

The 1982 San Marino Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held on 25 April 1982 at the Autodromo Dino Ferrari, Imola, Italy. It was the fourth race of the 1982 Formula One World Championship.

The race was boycotted by many teams as part of a political war, unrelated to the event itself, involving the two dominant forces within Formula One, the Fédération Internationale du Sport Automobile (FISA) and the Formula One Constructors' Association (FOCA). Only seven teams took part, giving a field of 14 cars.

The 60-lap race was won by Frenchman Didier Pironi, driving a Ferrari, with Canadian teammate Gilles Villeneuve second and Italian Michele Alboreto third in a Tyrrell-Ford. After the Renaults of René Arnoux and Alain Prost retired, Villeneuve led from Pironi before the Ferrari team ordered both drivers to slow down, with Alboreto far behind. Villeneuve interpreted this as an order to maintain position on the track; Pironi did not and thus overtook Villeneuve on the final lap, infuriating the Canadian to the point that he vowed never to speak to Pironi again. Villeneuve would lose his life in a crash during qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix two weeks later.

1982 South African Grand Prix

The 1982 South African Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held at Kyalami on 23 January 1982. It was the first race of the 1982 FIA Formula One World Championship.

The prelude to the race was notable for a strike action by the Grand Prix Drivers' Association, led by Niki Lauda and Didier Pironi, in protest at the new superlicence conditions imposed by FISA, which would have tied the drivers to a single team for up to three years. A late compromise was reached and the race went ahead. The drivers were subsequently fined between US$5,000 and US$10,000 and handed suspended race bans; however, the FIA Court of Appeal later reduced the penalties and criticised FISA's handling of the dispute.Turbocharged cars took the first six positions on the grid. Despite Alain Prost suffering a puncture while leading, he was able to recover to win the race. Lauda, in his first race after two years out of F1, finished fourth.

Jean-Pierre Jaussaud

Jean-Pierre Jaussaud (born 3 June 1937) is a French former racing driver, noted for winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1978 and 1980.

Jaussaud was born in Caen, Calvados, and started racing in automobiles in 1962, taking courses in the Jim Russell Drivers School and the Winfield Racing School. In 1964, he graduated to Formula Three racing, with backing from Shell, and joined the works Matra team in 1966, where he stayed for two years, and won the French title in 1970, in a private Tecno.

In 1971 he moved full-time to Formula Two in a works March, and the following year drove a privateer Brabham and fought for the European Formula 2 title with Mike Hailwood. In 1975 Jaussaud quit single-seaters and entered endurance racing, where he was invited to drive for Renault Sport starting in 1976. Two years later, Jaussaud and partner Didier Pironi won the 24 Hours of Le Mans race overall.

Although he tested the Renault F1 car, Jaussaud instead stayed in touring cars and endurance, winning the 1979 Production title in a Triumph Dolomite. Teaming up with Jean Rondeau, he won at Le Mans once more, and also took part in the Paris-Dakar Rally for Rondeau's team. Jaussaud continued racing until 1992, when he retired to become a racing instructor.

José Dolhem

Louis José Lucien Dolhem (26 April 1944 – 16 April 1988) was a racing driver from France, and the half brother (and also 1st cousin) of Formula One driver Didier Pironi (they had the same father and their mothers were sisters).Dolhem was born in Paris. He participated in three Formula One Grands Prix, debuting on 7 July 1974, and scoring no championship points. His single grand prix start came to end when he was withdrawn by his team after his team-mate Helmuth Koinigg's fatal accident during the season-ending US Grand Prix. Dolhem died in a plane crash near Saint-Etienne in 1988.

Dolhem and Pironi are buried in the same plot at Grimaud, near St Tropez in southern France.

Tyrrell 008

The Tyrrell 008 was a Formula One car manufactured and raced by the Tyrrell Racing Organisation team during the 1978 season. Driven by Didier Pironi and Patrick Depailler, it achieved several podium finishes including a win at the 1978 Monaco Grand Prix.

Tyrrell 009

The Tyrrell 009 was a Formula One racing car that was designed by Maurice Philippe for Tyrrell Racing for the 1979 season.

The 009, was powered by the Ford-Cosworth DFV V8 engine and made its competition debut in the first race of the season in Argentina. The 009s were driven by Frenchmen Didier Pironi and Jean-Pierre Jarier, Englishman Geoff Lees replaced Jarier for German GP and Irishman Derek Daly at Austrian GP. Daly later drove a third car at two final races of the season. For the 1980 season 009 raced in first two races and then was replaced by 010.

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