death of Patrick Tambay, former French pilot

Former French Formula 1 driver Patrick Tambay has died aged 73 after a long illness.

Patrick Tambay won two Grands Prix, one in 1982 and the other in 1983, driving a Ferrari. He also raced for the McLaren and Renault teams. He also twice won the CanAm North American Championship (1977 and 1980). He had suffered from Parkinson’s disease for many years.

Born in Paris on June 25, 1949, Patrick Tambay started out in F1 in 1977 with the Theodore team before joining McLaren in 1978 then Ferrari in 1982. Promoted to the Italian team following the death of Canadian Gilles Villeneuve, he joined another Frenchman, Didier Pironi, who himself suffered a serious accident a few weeks later during qualifying for the German Grand Prix.

Tambay clinched victory at the same Grand Prix, thus putting a distraught Scuderia back on track. He finished that year 7th in the world championship standings. He achieved further success in 1983 at Imola, Italy, and finished 4th in the championship but left Ferrari at the end of the season to join Renault, a team for which he did not win a victory but signed a pole position. However, Renault was at the bottom of the wave and only finished 11th in the world championship in 1984 and 12th in 1985.

Considered a “gentleman driver”, Tambay also took part four times in the 24 Hours of Le Mans with his best result being 4th place at the wheel of a Jaguar in 1989. He also took part in the Paris-Dakar rally where he obtained two 3rd place twice (1988 and 1989).

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