Former F1 driver and multiple Grand Prix winner Patrick Tambay dies aged 73

Henry Valantine
Former Formula 1 driver Patrick Tambay, pictured in 2015.

Former Formula 1 driver Patrick Tambay, pictured in 2015.

Two-time Formula 1 race winner and former Ferrari driver Patrick Tambay has passed away aged 73, following a lengthy illness.

Tambay’s family confirmed the sad news to AFP on Sunday, with the Frenchman having suffered from Parkinson’s disease in later life.

Tambay had 114 race starts to his name in Formula 1 when he raced in the 1970s and ’80s, taking two victories for Ferrari at Hockenheim in 1982 and Imola the following season respectively, as well as five career pole positions.

The Paris-born racer made his Formula 1 debut in 1977 after winning the Can-Am sportscar title with Haas Racing, initially taking part in a practice session with Surtees before spending the remainder of the year with Theodore.

He would later drive for the likes of McLaren and Ferrari in his Formula 1 career, alongside taking another Can-Am title in 1980.

He joined the Scuderia under tragic circumstances following the death of close friend Gilles Villeneuve in 1982 – with Tambay having also been godfather to his son and future World Champion, Jacques.

Tambay would achieve his career-high championship finish of fourth in the 1983 season, before moving on to Renault after being replaced at Ferrari by Michele Alboreto. He competed in Formula 1 for three more seasons before leaving the sport in 1986, also taking part in the Le Mans 24 Hours four times, finishing fourth in 1989.

He also took part in the Paris-Dakar Rally on several occasions, twice finishing in the top three, before going on to work in commentary for French television after retiring from racing full-time, as well as serving as deputy mayor of Le Cannet in southern France.

Ferrari gave a tribute to Tambay on social media in reaction to the news, writing on Twitter: “We are all truly saddened by the news of the passing of Patrick Tambay.

“He was one of the true stars of the 80s winning two races with the Scuderia and contributing to winning the Manufacturers’ titles in 1982 and 1983.”

Current Alpine driver Esteban Ocon also paid tribute, writing: “I just heard the sad news about Patrick Tambay’s death. An icon of French motorsport has passed away. My thoughts are with his family, friends and loved ones. Rest in peace, Patrick.”