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Former McLaren sporting director and Indy 500 winner Gil de Ferran dies aged 56

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Gil de Ferran, winner of the Indianapolis 500 and formerly Sporting Director for Honda and McLaren in Formula 1, has passed away at the age of 56.

The French-born Brazilian initially climbed the motorsport ranks as a driver, winning the British Formula 3 championship in 1992 and finishing third in International Formula 3000 two years later.

But rather than step up to F1, he made the move from Europe to form a highly successful career in the United States, culminating in two Champ Car titles at the turn of the millennium and victory at the Indy 500 in 2003.

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De Ferran won the prestigious Indianapolis 500 in 2003

After his racing career, De Ferran held several management roles, including stints as Sporting Director of BAR-Honda in the mid-2000s and McLaren from 2018 to 2021.

De Ferran had recently returned to the Woking squad in a consultant advisory role before his passing on December 29.

“I am very shocked and deeply saddened by the news that we have lost Gil de Ferran,” said Formula 1 President and CEO Stefano Domenicali, amid a flurry of tributes from the motorsport community.

“He was an incredible person and a true champion, and we will all miss him greatly. Our thoughts are with his family at this very sad time.”

McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown added: “I am shocked and devastated to hear of the loss of our great friend and teammate.

“I’ve raced with Gil all over the world and watched him win some of the biggest races. He’s been a great friend for over 20 years and will be greatly missed and never forgotten.”

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