Didier Pironi  France

  • Full name Didier Pironi
  • Birth date March 26, 1952
  • Birthplace Villecresnes, Paris, France
  • Date of death August 23, 1987 (35 years 150 days)
  • Place of death Freshwater, Wight, Great Britain
  • Teams Ferrari, Ligier, Tyrrell
driver portrait
World Championship Career
Year Car Race Start Won Pod Class Best Pole Front Best Lap Hat Pts Pos
1978 Tyrrell 16 16 0 0 10 5 0 0 9 0 0 7 15
1979 Tyrrell 15 15 0 2 9 3 0 0 6 0 0 14 10
1980 Ligier 14 14 1 5 8 1 2 4 1 2 0 32 5
1981 Ferrari 15 15 0 0 8 4 0 0 3 1 0 9 13
1982 Ferrari 12 10 2 6 9 1 2 2 1 2 0 39 2
Total 72 70 3 13 44 1 4 6 1 5 0 101
Race Circuit Date
First race Argentine Grand Prix Buenos Aires January 15, 1978 Race results
Last race German Grand Prix Hockenheim August 8, 1982 Race results
Profile

Motivated by a burning desire to be France's first World Champion, Didier's cold, calculating approach was disrupted forever in August 1982 when he crashed with extreme violence in practice for the German Grand Prix, badly breaking both his legs and ending his motor racing career. An impressive debut year with Tyrrell in 1978, when his reputation was bolstered by a win at Le Mans in an Alpine-Renault, followed by marking time the following year, led him to a drive with Ligier in 1980, where he comfortably outpaced team leader Jacques Laffite. Didier scored his first grand prix win in Belgium that year and was extremely unlucky not to win in Britain, too, following a superb charge through the field. For 1981 he joined Gilles Villeneuve at Ferrari, and for the first time in his career was unable to get on terms with a team-mate.

A sole fourth place was all he could achieve in a year when the brilliant French-Canadian took two wins. Didier was determined that the same fate should not befall him in 1982, when he was at the centre of a tragic sequence of events. He snatched victory against team orders as Villeneuve was cruising to the flag at Imola. Villeneuve was killed in the following race, and now Didier looked set for the world title. He won the Dutch Grand Prix in masterful style, and comfortably led the championship when he arrived in Hockenheim.

After the crash came dozens of operations, and although he vowed to return one day, it looked increasingly unlikely. For thrills, Didier turned to powerboat racing. The Frenchman's approach had always been uncompromising and when he hit the wake of an oil tanker without easing off the throttle his boat flipped and Didier and his two crew members were killed instantly.

Reproduced from The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Formula One published by Carlton Books

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July 3, 1982

Didier Pironi on the way to winning the 1982 Dutch Grand Prix

July 3, 1982

Didier Pironi celebrates on the podium after winning the Dutch Grand Prix

May 23, 1982

Riccardo Patrese leads Dider Pironi into Tabaca

     

Didier Pironi Formula 1 photos

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