Death of Jean-Pierre Jabouille, first Renault driver to win an F1 Grand Prix

Former French racing driver Jean-Pierre Jabouille, architect of Renault’s first victory in Formula 1, died Thursday at the age of 80, according to his family, who did not specify the causes of his death.

During his career, Jean-Pierre Jabouille, 49 F1 races to his credit between 1975 and 1981, had won two Grands Prix, in 1979 in France and the following year in Austria.

His first success on the Dijon-Prenois circuit – the first in F1 of a turbocharged engine, a technology which will then become the norm -, Jabouille was the craftsman on the track but also in the workshops.

Two wins but 37 retirements

Holder of an engineering degree, the native of Paris on October 1, 1942 was an integral part of this project at the laborious beginnings. The engine often broke in billows of white smoke, which earned his single-seater the mocking nickname of “yellow tea pot” (yellow teapot).

The Frenchman has a most surprising record in the premier category with 37 retirements mainly due to technical problems, six pole positions, three finishes in the points only but two victories.

In Dijon in 1979, “I was only thinking about finishing the race, he told AFP in 2018. I knew we had a chance if we made it to the end. It was a great pride because it’s hard to win in F1. A relief also because I had often been in the lead and, each time, I had experienced reliability problems. »

Four podiums at the 24 Hours of Le Mans

For the “Big Blonde”, the race stopped soon after. At the 1980 Canadian GP, ​​a broken suspension sent his Renault into the wall, breaking both of his legs. The accident ended his career as a Formula 1 driver.

Four times third in the 24 Hours of Le Mans (in 1973, 1974, 1992 and 1993), he was subsequently technical director at Ligier, then took over as head of Peugeot Sport before creating his own endurance team, Jabouille- Bouresche Racing.


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