Video: Patrick Depailler at Long Beach, 1978
Take a look at this dramatic on board footage of Frenchman Patrick Depailler during practice for the 1973 Long Beach Grand Prix.
He goes out hard from the pits and then really pushes during the second lap. It’s great stuff, with plenty of oversteer while he presumably seeks a good set up.
Depailler was regarded as being a very talented driver, if a bit unlucky with his choice of teams.
The high point was taking victory in the Monaco Grand Prix in 1978 driving a Tyrrell 008. For me, anyone who wins a Grand Prix must be pretty decent, but to win Monaco you need talent and some seriously big balls.
After 5 years at Tyrrell he moved to Ligier in 1979 and took a fine win in the Spanish Grand Prix at Jarama. The win placed him on top of the World Championship table, tied with Villenueve on 20 points after five races.
Things were obviously looking good until Patrick smashed himself to bits during a hang gliding accident in France. Depailler broke both his legs including badly injuring his heel and was replaced at Ligier and did not compete in another Grand Prix in 1979. He still finished the season in 6th place in the drivers championship.
Sadly things got much worse. Depaillier signed for Alfa Romeo for 1980 and the car was quick, but unreliable. Tragedy struck during practice for the German Grand Prix when his steering failed and he went full noise into the barriers at 280km/h, killing him instantly.