McLaren lead tributes after shock passing of Indy 500 winner Gil de Ferran

Jamie Woodhouse
Gil de Ferran and McLaren team boss Andrea Stella speak at the 2023 Brazilian Grand Prix.

Gil de Ferran and McLaren team boss Andrea Stella speak.

McLaren have led the tributes to Gil de Ferran after the sudden passing of the team’s consultant at the age of 56.

De Ferran made a name for himself in a highly- successful IndyCar career, the crowning achievement being victory at the Indianapolis 500 with Penske Racing in 2003.

More recently, De Ferran had been working as a consultant to the McLaren Formula 1 team, brought in back in May 2023 as part of new team principal Andrea Stella’s restructuring of the personnel.

Gil de Ferran suffers sudden heart attack

The Associated Press are reporting that De Ferran suffered a heart attack while racing with his son at The Concourse Club in Florida.

IndyCar legend Tony Kanaan was also in attendance and told the publication that De Ferran had pulled over feeling unwell, subsequently suffering a heart attack.

Reacting to the shock upsetting news, the McLaren F1 team posted the following statement on X: “Everyone at McLaren Racing is shocked and deeply saddened to learn we have lost a beloved member of our McLaren family.

“We send our deepest condolences to Gil de Ferran’s family, friends and loved ones.

“Gil was an important and integral part of our racing team. He was a formidable force on and off track and made a lasting impact on everyone racing and working alongside him.

“He will be missed by everyone at McLaren Racing.”

A statement from Team Penske owner Roger Penske read: “Gil defined class as a driver and as a gentleman. As an IndyCar champion and an Indianapolis 500 winner, Gil accomplished so much during his career, both on and off the track.

“Gil was beloved by so many. He was a great friend to the Team Penske and IndyCar family, as well as the entire international motorsports community. Gil’s passing is a terrible loss, and he will be deeply missed.”

McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown posted: “I am shocked and devastated to hear of the loss of our great friend and team-mate.

“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. My deepest condolences to his family. RIP Gil. The next win is for you! Godspeed.”

1978 F1 World Champion Mario Andretti, whose son Michael is attempting to join McLaren on the grid via the prospective Andretti-Cadillac entry, said: “My heart sank at the news of Gil de Ferran’s death. It’s heart-wrenching.

“Thinking of him now and savoring every conversation. He will be missed by so many. A wonderful man and a dear and loyal friend.”

Oscar Piastri, who made his Formula 1 debut with McLaren in 2023, wrote: “It was a pleasure to get to know Gil this year, he will be greatly missed. Rest in peace.”

Everyone at send our deepest condolences to De Ferran’s family and friends.

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