Ligier

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World Championship Career
Year Engine Driver Race Start Won Pod Class Best 1+2 Pole Front Best Lap Pts Pos
1976 Matra JHS Laffite 16 16 0 3 9 2 0 1 1 1 0 20 6
1977 Matra JPJP Jarier, JHS Laffite 17 18 1 2 10 1 0 0 2 2 1 18 8
1978 Matra JHS Laffite 16 16 0 2 14 3 0 0 0 5 0 19 6
1979 Ford PAEJ Depailler, J Ickx, JHS Laffite 15 30 3 8 14 1 1 4 8 1 3 61 3
1980 Ford JHS Laffite, D Pironi 14 28 2 10 18 1 0 3 7 1 3 66 2
1981 Matra JP Jabouille, JPJP Jarier, JHS Laffite, P Tambay 15 28 2 7 10 1 0 1 1 1 1 44 4
1982 Matra EM Cheever, JHS Laffite 15 29 0 4 10 2 0 0 0 4 0 20 8
1983 Ford RGD Boesel, JPJP Jarier 15 28 0 0 12 7 0 0 0 9 0 0 -
1984 Renault A de Cesaris, F Hesnault 16 31 0 0 12 5 0 0 0 7 0 3 9
1985 Renault A de Cesaris, JHS Laffite, P Streiff 15 30 0 4 15 2 0 0 0 5 1 23 6
1986 Renault P Alliot, RA Arnoux, JHS Laffite 16 32 0 2 19 2 0 0 0 4 0 29 5
1987 Megatron RA Arnoux, P Ghinzani 15 28 0 0 11 6 0 0 0 12 0 1 11
1988 Judd RA Arnoux, SNE Johansson 14 24 0 0 9 9 0 0 0 17 0 0 -
1989 Ford RA Arnoux, O Grouillard 14 21 0 0 11 5 0 0 0 10 0 3 14
1990 Ford P Alliot, NG Larini 16 30 0 0 22 7 0 0 0 10 0 0 -
1991 Lamborghini T Boutsen, E Comas 16 29 0 0 18 7 0 0 0 14 0 0 -
1992 Renault T Boutsen, E Comas 16 31 0 0 15 5 0 0 0 7 0 6 8
1993 Renault M Blundell, M Brundle 16 32 0 3 20 3 0 0 0 3 0 23 5
1994 Renault E Bernard, J Herbert, F Lagorce, OD Panis 16 32 0 2 26 2 0 0 0 6 0 13 6
1995 Mugen-Honda M Brundle, OD Panis, A Suzuki 17 33 0 2 20 2 0 0 0 6 0 24 5
1996 Mugen-Honda PPFD Diniz, OD Panis 16 32 1 1 15 1 0 0 0 8 0 15 6
Total 326 578 9 50 310 1 1 9 19 1 9
Race Circuit Date
First race Brazilian Grand Prix Interlagos January 25, 1976 Race results
Last race Japanese Grand Prix Suzuka October 13, 1996 Race results
Profile

Guy Ligier is a former butcher's assistant who was a top rugby player in his native France and made his fortune in the road construction industry. His company was responsible for building French autoroutes.

Always a motor racing enthusiast, Ligier drove Cooper-Maserati and Brabham-Repco Formula One cars in the mid-1960s and then teamed up with his long-standing friend, Jo Schlesser, to drive a pair of Formula Two McLarens in 1968.

Ligier was appalled by Schlesser's death in a fiery accident aboard the new air-cooled Honda in the French Grand Prix at Rouen-les-Essarts. He withdrew from driving and ran a GT programme with a car designed by Frenchman Michel Tetu. All Ligier cars would race with the "JS" model designation in Schlesser's memory.

Ligier achieved second place in the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1975, with sponsorship from the Gitanes cigarette company, which was keen to move up to Formula One. France was lacking a national Formula One entrant after the withdrawal of Matra Sports, so talented design engineer Gérard Ducarouge joined from Matra. The first Formula One Ligier, the JS5, arrived on the scene in 1976 and was a distinctive car. Ducarouge persuaded Matra to develop its V12 engine to give the Ligier project more of a Gallic flavour. Jacques Laffite, dominant in Formula Two, was taken on as driver.

The JS5 had a distinctive high airbox that earned the car its "teapot" nickname. Laffite qualified it on pole for the Italian Grand Prix. He won the Swedish Grand Prix at Anderstorp in 1977 in the JS7, and this was the first win by a French driver in a French car with a French engine since the modern-day World Championship began in 1950.

The Swedish win was fortunate and it could never be said that the Ligiers looked set to dominate. All that changed in 1979, however, when the team switched to Ford engines and built the ground-effect JS11 with its distinctive aerodynamic kick-ups.

Ground-effect cars were something of a black art. The Lotus 79 had worked superbly in 1978, but the Ligier's JS11 was suddenly the class of the field in 1979. Nobody at Ligier really knew why, but Laffite won the two opening races of the season. Team-mate Patrick Depailler took another victory in Spain, then broke his legs in a hang-gliding accident and was replaced by Jacky Ickx. With the Williams taking over as the best car in the field, Ligier could not maintain its early form, though. Then, for 1980, Ligier signed Didier Pironi, who won in Belgium and drove one of the races of the year at Brands Hatch.

Talk of a tie-up between Ligier and Alain Prost in 1992 came to nothing and Guy Ligier sold the team to financier Cyril de Rouvre.

Ligier looked shaky at the start of 1994, but Benetton's Flavio Briatore bought it, and 1993 Formula 3000 champion Olivier Panis had a fine debut season in which he finished 15 of the 16 races. However, Ligier never managed to capitalize on a three-year deal for Renault's V10s, and changed to Mugens for 1995.

Panis did not drive as well in 1995, but peaked with a lucky second in the season's final race at Adelaide. Martin Brundle did a far better job, but had to share the other car with Japanese driver Aguri Suzuki.

Panis took a surprise win in the wet at Monaco in 1996, but it was all-change for 1997, with Alain Prost taking control and renaming the team eponymously. Panis broke his legs in Montreal, but the team was cheered when stand-in Jarno Trulli led in Austria. However, 1998 was a disaster and the team scored just one point through Trulli.

The Italian again saved the team in 1999, claiming a surprise second place at the Nurburgring. Trulli was replaced by Alesi for 2000, but Prost was at loggerheads with engine supplier Peugeot and the team went nowhere. The 2001 season was Prost's last as, despite points scored by Alesi, its finances were finally exhausted.

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

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