Welcome to Who? What? Where? When? Why? on the World Wide Web. Your comments, criticism and suggestions: editors#8w.forix.com (replace # with @).
8W is forix.autosport.com's motorsport history section and covers the drivers, cars, circuits, eras and technology that shaped the face, sounds and smells of motor racing.

Committed to life



Related articles


Patrick Depailler


Tyrrell-Cosworth 004




1972 French GP


This was F1's first acquaintance with a lively and powerful character taking life as it comes.

In hindsight, Patrick Depailler couldn't have had a more fitting place for his F1 debut than his home GP at the dangerous mountain track near Clermont-Ferrand (now called Charade), the French equivalent to the old 'Ring. Apart from being talented and bloody fast, Depailler was in F1 for kicks. In his 8-year career he got plenty of them. In fact, his whole life was centered around taking it to the wire, much like his countryman and Ligier successor Didier Pironi. A motorcycle accident ruined his 1973 chances for Tyrrell at the two North American GPs. And it came as no surprise either that a hanggliding accident put paid to Depailler's 1979 championship challenge.

After a brave but hopeless comeback with Alfa Romeo in 1980, a freak testing accident at Hockenheim, while trying hard to improve the cumbersome Alfa, put an end to his life. This was a sad loss to F1. Patrick is remembered best taking a smoke with a wry smile on his face while strolling through the paddock after qualifying.