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Patrick André Eugène Joseph Depailler (der-PIE-yay; born 9 August 1944 – died 1 August 1980) was a French racing driver who most notably drove for Tyrrell in Formula One. In addition to racing Formula One, he also participated in both Formula Two and sports car racing.

He spent most of his career racing for Tyrrell, but left the team after the 1978 season. He then joined the Ligier team, until he was badly injured in a hang-gliding accident halfway through the season.

Nearly a year after his accident he entered Formula One again with the new Alfa Romeo team. He was still in pain and was unable to complete any races with the team because of various mechanical failures.

He was later killed in an accident during pre-race testing for the 1980 German Grand Prix.

Formula One CareerEdit

Pre-Formula OneEdit

During his Formula One career, Depailler also participated in Formula Two as well as sport car racing.

1972Edit

In the 1972 season, Depailler was given a chance to drive at his home Grand Prix and the United States Grand Prix, alongside François Cevert and Jackie Stewart at Tyrrell. He did not classify in the French Grand Prix, but finished a respectable 7th position at Watkins Glen.

1973Edit

Depailler was going to be offered the third Tyrrell drive in Canada and the United States, but a motorcycling accident meant that he was unable to drive in either race.

1974Edit

Patrick Depailler - 1974

Patrick Depailler at the 1974 Swedish Grand Prix

After the death of Tyrrell driver François Cevert and the retirement of Jackie Stewart, the team invited Depailler back to the team for a full time position alongside Jody Scheckter.

Depailler gained the first pole position of his Formula One career at his 9th race at the 1974 Swedish Grand Prix. His would later place second, behind his teammate during the race. Depailler wound up ninth in the championship.

1975Edit

In 1975, Depailler was again alongside Scheckter. it was predicted early in the season that Depailler had terrible odds of winning the championship (25:1).

He had an average season, his highest finish being 3rd position at the South African Grand Prix. He managed to complete all but three races in the calendar, again coming in ninth in the championship.

While qualifying for the final race of the season at the United States Grand Prix, Depailler suffered a big accident in which his car was sent into the catch fence. Luckily, he escaped uninjured.

1976Edit

Depailler had a rocket start to the season after finishing 2nd in the first race of the season at the Brazilian Grand Prix. He made history as the first driver of a six-wheeled car in Formula One, piloting a Tyrrell P34 in the Spanish Grand Prix.

He finished 4th in the drivers' championship, which would be the best season of his career.

1977Edit

Depailler's teammate Scheckter left the team after the end of the previous season. His new teammate at Tyrrell was Ronnie Peterson.

Depailler had a rough start to the season after he was hospitalized for a leg injury that he had obtained from an accident during the Brazilian Grand Prix. It was not too severe and he managed to make it back for the next race.

Later in the season, Depailler was promoted to the number one driver, after his new teammate Ronnie Peterson left the team for a contract with Lotus. Despite this, Depailler still had an average season, placing 9th in the drivers' championship.

1978Edit

During the 1978 season, Depailler would only manage to complete half of his races and would retire from the other half.

One of the biggest moments of his career came in the 1978 Monaco Grand Prix when he won the first Grand Prix of his Formula One career, after leading 38 out of the 75 laps. This would then aid him to a 5th place in the drivers' championship.

1979Edit

Depailler left the Tyrrell team and decided to join Ligier for the season.

Depailler initally had a good season, winning the Spanish Grand Prix. During one point in the season, he was tied for first in the drivers' championship with Gilles Villeneuve.

His 1979 season ended when he was involved in a hang-gliding accident near his home-town. He broken both his legs and was hospitalized with more than a half of a season to complete. He required multiple operations on his legs and was unable to complete the season.

By the end of the season, it was announced that Depailler had lost his place with the Ligier team. The hang gliding violated the terms of the contract.

1980Edit

In 1980, Depailler joined the new Alfa Romeo team.

He was still on the road to recovery from his hang-gliding accident the previous year. Despite being in pain, Depailler still competed in the season races. He was unsuccessful in finishing any races though, because of various mechanical issues.

DeathEdit

Depailler was killed during an unofficial test session for the 1980 German Grand Prix. He suffered a suspension failure which sent his car into the barrier. The car was overturned and jumped over the barrier. Depailler received fatal head injuries as a result.

This tragedy occurred just 8 days prior to his 36th birthday.

Helmet DesignEdit

Patrick Depailler Helmet

Depailler's helmet design

Depailler's helmet was blue. It contained a white straight line that circled the helmet and a thinner, red line that was raised where the ears would be. This too circled around the helmet. Many described the pattern as a hairline.

Film AppearancesEdit

Depailler is portrayed by actor Daniel Christodolou in the 2013 movie, Rush.

Formula One Statistical OverviewEdit

Formula One RecordEdit

Year Entrant Team WDC Points WDC Pos. Report
1972 Elf Team Tyrrell Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth NC 0 Report
1973 did not compete
1974 Elf Team Tyrrell Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 9th 14 Report
1975 Elf Team Tyrrell Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 9th 12 Report
1976 Elf Team Tyrrell Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 4th 39 Report
1977 Elf Team Tyrrell Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 9th 20 Report
1978 Elf Team Tyrrell Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 5th 34 Report
1979 Ligier Gitanes Ligier-Ford Cosworth 6th 20 Report
1980 Marlboro Team Alfa Romeo Alfa Romeo NC 0 Report

Career StatisticsEdit

Entries 95
Starts 95
Pole Positions 1
Race Wins 2
Podiums 19
Fastest laps 4
Points 141
Laps Raced 4635
Distance Raced 21297 km
Races Led 6
Laps Led 164
Distance Led 614 km
Hat-Tricks 3

Race WinsEdit

Win Number Grand Prix
1 1978 Monaco Grand Prix
2 1979 Spanish Grand Prix

Career ResultsEdit

Complete Formula One results
Year 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 Pts Pos
1972 Flag of Argentina Flag of South Africa 1928-1994 Flag of Spain 1945 1977 Flag of Monaco Flag of Belgium Flag of France Flag of the United Kingdom Flag of Germany Flag of Austria Flag of Italy Flag of Canada Flag of the United States 0 NC
NC 7th
1973 did not compete
1974 Flag of Argentina Flag of Brazil Flag of South Africa 1928-1994 Flag of Spain 1945 1977 Flag of Belgium Flag of Monaco Flag of Sweden Flag of the Netherlands Flag of France Flag of the United Kingdom Flag of Germany Flag of Austria Flag of Italy Flag of Canada Flag of the United States 14 9th
6th 8th 4th 8th Ret 9th 2nd 6th 8th Ret Ret Ret 11th 5th 6th
1975 Flag of Argentina Flag of Brazil Flag of South Africa 1928-1994 Flag of Spain 1945 1977 Flag of Monaco Flag of Belgium Flag of Sweden Flag of the Netherlands Flag of France Flag of the United Kingdom Flag of Germany Flag of Austria Flag of Italy Flag of the United States 12 9th
5th Ret 3rd Ret 5th 4th 12th 9th 6th 9th 9th 11th 7th Ret
1976 Flag of Brazil Flag of South Africa 1928-1994 Flag of the United States Flag of Spain 1945 1977 Flag of Belgium Flag of Monaco Flag of Sweden Flag of France Flag of the United Kingdom Flag of Germany Flag of Austria Flag of the Netherlands Flag of Italy Flag of Canada Flag of the United States Flag of Japan 39 4th
2nd 9th 3rd Ret Ret 3rd 2nd 2nd Ret Ret Ret 7th 6th 2nd Ret 2nd
1977 Flag of Argentina Flag of Brazil Flag of South Africa 1928-1994 Flag of the United States Flag of Spain 1977 1981 Flag of Monaco Flag of Belgium Flag of Sweden Flag of France Flag of the United Kingdom Flag of Germany Flag of Austria Flag of the Netherlands Flag of Italy Flag of the United States Flag of Canada Flag of Japan 20 9th
Ret Ret 3rd 4th Ret Ret 8th 4th Ret Ret Ret 13th Ret Ret 14th 2nd 3rd
1978 Flag of Argentina Flag of Brazil Flag of South Africa 1928-1994 Flag of the United States Flag of Monaco Flag of Belgium Flag of Spain 1977 1981 Flag of Sweden Flag of France Flag of the United Kingdom Flag of Germany Flag of Austria Flag of the Netherlands Flag of Italy Flag of the United States Flag of Canada 34 5th
3rd Ret 2nd 3rd 1st Ret Ret Ret Ret 4th Ret 2nd Ret 11th Ret 5th
1979 Flag of Argentina Flag of Brazil Flag of South Africa 1928-1994 Flag of the United States Flag of Spain 1977 1981 Flag of Belgium Flag of Monaco Flag of Sweden Flag of France Flag of the United Kingdom Flag of Germany Flag of Austria Flag of the Netherlands Flag of Italy Flag of Canada Flag of the United States 20 (22) 6th
4th 2nd Ret 5th 1st Ret 5th C INJ INJ INJ INJ INJ INJ INJ INJ
1980 Flag of Argentina Flag of Brazil Flag of South Africa 1928-1994 Flag of the United States Flag of Belgium Flag of Monaco Flag of France Flag of the United Kingdom Flag of Germany Flag of Austria Flag of the Netherlands Flag of Italy Flag of Canada Flag of the United States 0 NC
Ret Ret NC Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret


Key
Symbol Meaning Symbol Meaning
1stWinner Ret Retired
2ndPodium finish DSQ Disqualified
3rd DNQ Did not qualify
5thPoints finish DNPQ Did not pre-qualify
14thNon-points finish TD Test driver
NCNon-classified finish (<90% race distance) DNS Did not start
[+] More Symbols

External linksEdit

V T E F1 drivers killed while racing
1952: Cameron Earl
1953: Chet Miller
1954: Onofre Marimón
1955: Manny Ayulo
1955: Bill Vukovich
1957: Eugenio Castellotti
1957: Keith Andrews
1958: Pat O'Connor
1958: Luigi Musso
1958: Peter Collins
1958: Stuart Lewis-Evans
1959: Jerry Unser
1959: Bob Cortner
1960: Chris Bristow
1960: Alan Stacey
1961: Giulio Cabianca
1961: Wolfgang von Trips
1964: Carel Godin de Beaufort
1966: John Taylor
1967: Lorenzo Bandini
1967: Bob Anderson
1968: Jo Schlesser
1969: Gerhard Mitter
1970: Bruce McLaren
1970: Piers Courage
1970: Jochen Rindt
1971: Ignazio Giunti
1971: Pedro Rodríguez
1971: Jo Siffert
1972: Jo Bonnier
1973: Roger Williamson
1973: François Cevert
1974: Peter Revson
1974: Helmuth Koinigg
1975: Mark Donohue
1977: Tom Pryce
1978: Ronnie Peterson
1980: Patrick Depailler
1982: Gilles Villeneuve
1982: Riccardo Paletti
1986: Elio de Angelis
1994: Roland Ratzenberger
1994: Ayrton Senna
2015: Jules Bianchi
See also: List of fatal accidents
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