Two-time Grand Prix winner Patrick Tambay passes away, aged 73

FAWKHAM, ENGLAND - JULY 16: McLaren Formula One Driver Patrick Tambay of France during the British

Former Ferrari, McLaren and Renault Formula 1 driver Patrick Tambay has died at the age of 73, his family announced on Sunday.

The Frenchman, who had been suffering from Parkinson's disease, won two Grands Prix during a Formula 1 career that lasted almost a decade.

After impressive performances in Formula 2, he first stepped up to F1 for a one-off appearance for Surtees at the 1977 French Grand Prix, though he failed to qualify.

An immediate switch to the Theodore team was much more fruitful and he sealed three points finishes before the year was out – which was enough to earn him a seat at McLaren the following year.

Race winner Patrick Tambay (FRA) Ferrari 126 C2B.
Formula One World Championship, Rd4, San Marino

Tambay is perhaps best remembered as a Ferrari driver, having taken his two F1 victories for the Scuderia

Five points finishes followed in 1978, but 1979 was a poor year for the team and for 1980 he left F1 for the Can-Am series, winning the championship for the second time.

He returned to F1 with Theodore in 1981, and then in 1982 he was drafted in by Ferrari to replace his friend Gilles Villeneuve, who had been killed at the Belgian Grand Prix.

He took his first victory at the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim, to add to a third place at Brands Hatch and an emotional second place on Ferrari home turf at Monza, while carrying Villeneuve's famous number 27 on his car. He delighted the tifosi again the following year by taking victory in the San Marino Grand Prix at Imola.

On Sunday, Ferrari paid tribute to their former driver, calling him "one of the true stars of the 80s".

Spells at Renault and Team Haas followed his time with the Scuderia, before he bowed out of Grand Prix racing for good, later returning to competition at Le Mans – where he finished fourth in 1989 – and in the Paris-Dakar race, achieving two top-three finishes.

After retiring from racing he worked as a commentator for French television and also served as deputy mayor of Le Cannet in southern France. He was also godfather to 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve.

Stefano Domenicali, President and CEO of Formula 1 also paid tribute to Tambay.

"I am saddened by the news that Patrick Tambay has passed away," he said. "He was a great talent and ambassador for Formula 1 throughout his life. We will all miss him deeply and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this sad time."

To learn more about Tambay and his racing career, tap hear to listen to his appearance on the Beyond The Grid F1 podcast from June, 2019.


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