Former Formula 1 driver Jean-Pierre Jabouille has died

Jean-Pierre Jabouille, the architect of Renault’s first victory in Formula 1, died at the age of 80, his family announced on February 2.

He was born in Paris on 1er In October 1942, in affluent surroundings, Jean-Pierre Jabouille, with an engineering degree, had just two victories in fifty F1 races to his name, often forced to retire due to the difficulties encountered in developing the turbo engine, a revolutionary technology. F1 at that time. However, his record also includes the 1976 Formula 2 European Championship title.

The driver made a low profile F1 debut in 1974 and competed in his first race in 1975. It was his association with Renault that allowed the man nicknamed “The Big Blonde” by the press to place himself in the queen discipline of the sport. , without involving the first jeers. The French manufacturer was the only one at the time to opt for a turbocharged six-cylinder engine over a “classic” V8 or V12.

“Simple, Jean-Pierre Jabouille, he was Mr. All or Nothing. Moreover, his statistics in the Formula 1 challenge “, writes a diary AUTO weekly About it “The Grand Blonde managed to make an impression and leave a mark in the history of the discipline.”

Also read: Renault celebrates 40 years in Formula 1 at Silverstone

The most surprising list

His first success at the Dijon-Prenois circuit – the turbo engine’s first in F1 – Jean-Pierre Jabouille was a master on the track as well as in the workshops. With an engineering degree, he has been an integral part of this project through its laborious beginnings. The engine often broke down in a puff of white smoke, earning it the derisive nickname of a single-seater. “yellow kettle” (“yellow kettle”).

René Arnoux joined him at Renault in 1979 and in July at the Dijon-Prenois circuit he climbed to the top step of the podium as a Renault for the first time. The irony is that history will be remembered more for Arnoux’s duel with Canadian Gilles Villeneuve (Ferrari) for second place than for his victory.

“I was only thinking about finishing the racehe told Agence France-Presse (AFP) in 2018. I knew if we got to the end we would have a chance. It was a great pride because it is difficult to win in F1. Also because I’ve often been a leader and every time I’ve had credibility issues. »

“Thanks to Jean-Pierre, we are who we are today and his legacy lives on”Alpine, which brings together Renault’s racing activities, said in a press release on Thursday.

Consequences that prevent him from coming back

It would then be until the Austrian Grand Prix that the “Big Blonde” would win again after more than a year, making it fourteen times between his two F1 victories last time without retirement.

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As turbo technology became the norm in Formula 1, Jean-Pierre Jabouille was replaced at Renault by Alain Prost after breaking both his legs at the end of the 1980 season. prevents it from returning to the level. He then decided to leave F1.

That didn’t stop him from saying in another interview with AFP in 2019: “Now we go out, go for a walk on the lawn and come back. We have made great progress in terms of material absorption and we have to put barriers around the circuits so that the car is slightly damaged when it goes off track without risk to the driver. »

The driver will then return to his first love, endurance, with Peugeot. Already rich with two third places at the 24 Hours of Le Mans with Matra in 1973 and 1974, he won two more places with the lion brand in 1992 and 1993. He then took charge of Peugeot-Sport until 1995, before forming his own endurance team, Jabouille-Bouresche Racing.

The world with AFP

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