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Hunt versus Depailler


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#1 tyrrellp34

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Posted 13 November 2000 - 07:05

I almost hate to ask this but what was happened during the 1976 U.S.A Grand Prix at Long Beach?
I just know that James Hunt was very upset about Patrick Depailler during the Post race press conference....




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#2 fines

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Posted 13 November 2000 - 20:44

Not that much, actually: just Hunt trying to pass, Depailler losing control while braking and stuffing James into the wall, followed by the "usual" Hunt show. Funny thing Patrick did the same to Peterson at the South African GP three weeks earlier... ouch!

#3 tyrrellp34

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Posted 16 November 2000 - 13:45

I heard that Hunt was after crashing, the still standing on the place where his damaged McLaren was, and wave his fist into Depailler's direction....

#4 fines

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Posted 16 November 2000 - 20:03

Correct! That's what I meant when I said "usual Hunt show". Sometimes he would go on and strike a nearby marshal...

#5 tyrrellp34

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Posted 17 November 2000 - 07:52

Are you sure that it was Depailler who collided in Kyalami 1976 with Ronnie Peterson? I think that Peterson was crashing with his Team-mate Brambilla.....

#6 fines

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Posted 17 November 2000 - 19:27

I checked two other sources (making it three: Mike Lang's "Grand Prix!", "rallye racing" and German "sport auto") - sorry, it was Patrick! He spun trying to overtake Ronnie for fifth on lap 16 at Crowthorne, the March being forced out with right rear suspension failure following contact.

Nevertheless, I liked Depailler, too, and was terribly shocked when he perished four years later. A true loss...

#7 tyrrellp34

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Posted 20 November 2000 - 08:01

Yes, you are right! It was the same year in Brand Hatch when both March drivers were crashing at Druits. It was also the place where Depailler and Stuck colliding after the 2nd Start. The British GP in 1976 must be really a strange race…..

#8 Johnny Lugnuts

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Posted 22 November 2000 - 19:07

Originally posted by fines
Correct! That's what I meant when I said "usual Hunt show". Sometimes he would go on and strike a nearby marshal...


Indeed, as a young thirteen year old attending my first car race of any kind, I was witness to this "show" at the Canadian G.P. at Mosport in '77. In what Hunt himself described as "...by far the worst accident of my Formula 1 career.", he struck a trackside marshall, who went down like a sack of wet cement, after a misunderstanding with his teammate Jochen Mass, whom he was attempting to lap while racing for the lead with Mario Andtretti.

I thought to myself at that moment: "Are all car races like this? Cool!"

Regards,

Johnny Lugnuts

#9 fines

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Posted 22 November 2000 - 19:15

Well, let's get this one sorted...

Was the hitting of the marshal his "worst accident" or the preliminary car crash? :confused:;)

#10 Johnny Lugnuts

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Posted 22 November 2000 - 19:54

That'd be the crash itself, of course. :)

JL

#11 tyrrellp34

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Posted 30 November 2000 - 14:27

James Hunt mentioned in 1982 to Nigel Roebuck that Depaillers deat could also be a suicide.

#12 Ray Bell

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Posted 30 November 2000 - 21:30

With that kind of temper, no wonder he died of a heart attack....

#13 Stefan Schmidt

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Posted 31 August 2006 - 10:06

Posted Image

#14 Hieronymus

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Posted 31 August 2006 - 10:19

Nice photo, Stefan. It is the first time that I have seen a photo of this much talked out incident.

I recall that James once described Patrick as, "a very nice guy, but barking mad..."

#15 kayemod

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Posted 31 August 2006 - 11:34

Originally posted by tyrrellp34
James Hunt mentioned in 1982 to Nigel Roebuck that Depaillers deat could also be a suicide.


A very old post, but I've not heard this suicide theory before, can anyone add anything more?

#16 Hieronymus

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Posted 31 August 2006 - 13:29

Originally posted by tyrrellp34
James Hunt mentioned in 1982 to Nigel Roebuck that Depaillers deat could also be a suicide.


Was it James that originally said it, or a sensation seeking journalist from the British or Italian press?

#17 kayemod

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Posted 31 August 2006 - 13:39

Originally posted by Hieronymus
Was it James that originally said it, or a sensation seeking journalist from the British or Italian press?


It's interesting, but the theory/story seems to have died. Stange, as the late James Hunt must have had some supporting evidence for what he originally said, even if only in his mind. It's rare for journalists not to follow this kind of thing up, I met James a couple of times, and although a bit mad, he was certainly no fool. If he really said this, he was clearly convinced that there was some factual basis for it.

#18 Hieronymus

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Posted 31 August 2006 - 14:01

Personally I believe that there are no grounds of believing this suicide comment.
Patrick was never someone that showed any signs of depression and he had a pretty stable life outside of racing at the time of his death.

He was worried after his hang-glider accident in June 1979, that he would never race again and several weeks in hospital does no-one’s confidence very good. He co-operated well with doctors and medical personnel and set himself the target to be back in F1 by 1980. That he accomplished and played quite a major role in making the Alfa Romeo quite competitive, even under the obstinate Carlo Chiti.

Patrick’s accident at Hockenheim was somewhat of a mystery, since Alfa somehow wanted to blame the driver and not themselves. They were quick to say that Depailler could have suffered from a black-out. Depailler has serious accidents at Ricard and Brands Hatch, all in fast corners. The same happened at the Ostkurve at Hockenheim…

Referring to the incident with Hunt at Long Beach. Shortly afterwards (4 April) Depailler again made news when he took both himself and team-mate Jabouille out of the race at the Nürburgring in a sports car race. He was immediately sacked from the Renault Alpine team for a couple of races.

Luckily he followed these incidents up with a win at Charade at the end of May, athird at the Monaco GP and a close second at the Swedish GP.

#19 David M. Kane

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Posted 31 August 2006 - 14:30

I never saw Patrick race after the glider accident; but before that I found him to be a very upbeat person. One year at Watkins Glen I was standing near James Hunt McLaren when Patrick appears and says with a little smile, "James I know you don't like me; but you don't need to throw things at me!" The back part of one of Hunt's header had come off and had bounced in front of him on the front straight. Everyone around thought it was very funny.

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#20 Scuderia SSS

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Posted 01 September 2006 - 00:23

Perhaps this photo may jog a few memories, and its currently for sale in its original form.
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#21 Hieronymus

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Posted 01 September 2006 - 05:44

Following the controversy that surrounded Patrick’s fatal accident, his compatriot and fellow F1 driver, Jean-Pierre Jarier, had the following to say:

“Patrick Depailler’s accident is a typical case of an accident caused by mechanical breakage where the driver had absolutely no chance of doing anything about it. It’s quite obvious that the accident was caused by a mechanical failure. His car turned into the first part of the corner perfectly normally and then suddenly it shot off the track. There could have been a number of reasons for this, but personally, I think something broke on the left side of the car. It could have been a puncture or the tyre coming off the rim, it could have been a suspension breakage, or either the upright or the rim could have broken. It was clearly something that happened suddenly, not like a skirt sticking in the ‘up’ position.

I find it very serious that people can put Patrick’s own driving skill in doubt, even though he had nearly a hundred Grands Prix under his belt. Patrick was an expert. A driver who realises he has a problem with his car immediately lifts off for the next corner. Patrick would have noticed if something was wrong, because he was a very good test driver. He would only have been caught out by a sudden and serious breakage. He was the victim of an accident that allowed him no time to do anything about it. What I think is wrong is that, in spite of his enormous experience, his quality as a driver and his sensitivity in a car, his driving skills can still be placed in doubt by some people. If people think that, they know nothing about driving a F1 car.”

#22 David M. Kane

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Posted 01 September 2006 - 13:27

Well said Jean-Pierre.

#23 ensign14

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Posted 01 September 2006 - 14:04

Originally posted by kayemod


It's interesting, but the theory/story seems to have died. Stange, as the late James Hunt must have had some supporting evidence for what he originally said, even if only in his mind. It's rare for journalists not to follow this kind of thing up, I met James a couple of times, and although a bit mad, he was certainly no fool. If he really said this, he was clearly convinced that there was some factual basis for it.

Maybe disbelief that Depailler could crash by accident in the manner he did?

#24 BRG

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Posted 01 September 2006 - 14:46

Originally posted by Hieronymus
Personally I believe that there are no grounds of believing this suicide comment.
Patrick was never someone that showed any signs of depression and he had a pretty stable life outside of racing at the time of his death.

I had a close friend just like that. A really cheerful chap, loads of mates, always busy.

He killed himself last February - his friends and family still can't really believe it, but there was no question.

#25 kayemod

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Posted 01 September 2006 - 15:12

Originally posted by BRG
I had a close friend just like that. A really cheerful chap, loads of mates, always busy.

He killed himself last February - his friends and family still can't really believe it, but there was no question.


I've had exactly the same experience. A friend, great bloke, everything to live for, no problems as far as anyone knew, killed himself for no reason that those who knew him could explain or understand, and in this case too there was no doubt that it was suicide. I wasn't trying to blacken Depailler's character in any way of course, just curious that a suggestion by a pretty clever guy in James Hunt, who one supposes must have had some insider information, doesn't seem to have been investigated much, or even discussed as far as I can see. I don't recall ever seeing any mention of this theory before.

#26 David M. Kane

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Posted 01 September 2006 - 17:27

There is about a 1% chance it was suicide. I majored in Psychology and I did a paper on the subject. 90% or thereabouts of all suicides are self-inflicted executions, gunshot wounds, hangings,
slit wrists or drug overdoses. Very, very few involve car crashes into trees, etc; or flying airplanes into the ground.

Are we to conclude that David Purley and Chris Meek committed suicide because they died while performing aero stunts?

The anger in a suicide is directed inward, crashing someone's expensive F1 car is an outward directed act of aggression. An act against Alfa, not Patrick.

Sorry doesn't remotely commute.

#27 kayemod

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Posted 01 September 2006 - 19:56

Chris Meek ????

I saw him last month, fit and well, who were you confusing him with?

Also, I got the point you were making, but David Purley's death was a flying accident pure & simple. Never any suggestion of anything else as far as I know, but then again, I'd never heard the James Hunt speculation about Patrick Depailler's untimely demise.

#28 D-Type

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Posted 01 September 2006 - 20:03

Originally posted by ensign14
Maybe disbelief that Depailler could crash by accident in the manner he did?

I'll go along with this theory.

#29 David M. Kane

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Posted 01 September 2006 - 21:31

Chip Mead, the Indy driver, Formula Atlantic driver...sorry brain fade, we've been talking about Chris Meek here recently, my apologies!!!

#30 Crowthorne

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Posted 05 September 2006 - 12:28

Not that much, actually: just Hunt trying to pass, Depailler losing control while braking and stuffing James into the wall, followed by the "usual" Hunt show



In his book James Hunt, The Biography, Gerald Donaldson gives an account of the post-race press conference. The following is quoted from page 162 :

...James launched himself into an extravagant verbal attack on a bewildered Depailler who, though he had no trouble hearing it, needed the services of an interpreter to translate the finer points of the Anglo-Saxon tirade into French.
'It was just flagrant stupidity!', James bellowed. 'I came alongside you and you saw me but you just moved over and squeezed me out...'
Depailler protested that he hadn't seen James because he was distracted by a brake problem with his Tyrrell. He was very upset and apologised: 'James I am desolate at what has happened. I am so sorry.'
...James felt his tantrum in Long Beach was fully justified, though he later modified his stance to an error in judgement on his part. He kept a mental file on each driver and in his book Patrick Depailler (who was killed in an accident in Germany in 1980) was not to be trusted at close quarters.

Ironically it was found that Hunt's car only suffered a crumpled nose section during their coming together and he could have continued had his anger not overpowered his reason.

In Hunt's defence it should be mentioned that he complemented Depailler after the latter's fine drive into second place later that same year at the Canadian Grand Prix.


James Hunt mentioned in 1982 to Nigel Roebuck that Depaillers deat could also be a suicide.




In an article in the March 2000 edition of Motor Sport Nigel Roebuck refers to some tapes containing an interview he had with James Hunt in the early 1980's. In the article the following remarks by Hunt appear :
'Patrick Depailler...well, I've no doubt that he had a death wish. Very pleasant bloke - but I always thought he was barking mad...'

Roebuck also interviewed Nick Britttan, Depailler's manager for many years, who had the following to say as a response to Hunt's comments :
'No,no, not at all. Patrick loved life more than most people but he accepted the inevitability of death.'

At the end of the article Roebuck recounts the remarks of Francois Guiter from Elf who had holidayed with Depailler in the Azores after the 1980 British Grand Prix :
'I never knew him happier than then,' Guiter said. 'He was with a girl he loved, completely relaxed and at peace.'

I am simply guessing but looking at the replies by Brittan and Guiter it seems difficult to understand why Depailler would have contemplated suicide. Patrick once commented as ground effect cars came into being, that 'I think I am courageous, you know, but I am not mad.'

#31 David M. Kane

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Posted 05 September 2006 - 13:47

Crowthorne:

Good work!

#32 Stefan Schmidt

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Posted 27 July 2007 - 19:40

Another Depailler vs. Hunt incident

http://www.youtube.c...related&search=

#33 David M. Kane

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Posted 27 July 2007 - 20:35

Patrick was crazy brave, but nobody's fool! In the bloody tunnel...!!

#34 Stefan Schmidt

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Posted 28 July 2007 - 01:55

He was on the way to fastest lap! ;)

#35 f1steveuk

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Posted 28 July 2007 - 08:37

Depailler is one of my few motorsport heroes, superb car control, and fascinated by all things mechanical. I always liked the story of how during a test, Ken Tyrrell couldn't find him. He was out on track on the works ELF endurance racer bike, because he asked for a go on it, and they said yes!

Is it just me, but in that youtube clip, Jarier looked bluddy awesome?

#36 Jerome

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Posted 28 July 2007 - 08:41

About suicides: there is a stubborn belief that suicide is a kind of 'decision', like taking a new job. I've done a lot of research in this subject, and written articles about it, and I am sure that the 'balanced suicide' is a romantic myth. People - even cheerful, happy people - can at one moment suddenly get so desperate with life, that they kill themselves. And the other way round: a lot of people who genuinely wanted to kill themselves (apparent from the method they chose), and were saved at the last moment, are still living today, and are happy that their suicide failed.

So suicide is almost always a 'moment-decision', not a deliberate, long weighing decision. I think THAT kind of suicide is only 1 out of 10 cases.

#37 COUGAR508

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Posted 28 July 2007 - 14:54

Originally posted by f1steveuk


Is it just me, but in that youtube clip, Jarier looked bluddy awesome?


I presume that you are referring to the fish-tailing and the audacious overtaking attempt on the run up the hill to Casino?

#38 David M. Kane

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Posted 28 July 2007 - 15:04

I saw Jarier race several times in F1 and he too was bloodly quick with very fast hands and he was aggreesive too! He wasn't lacking in the bravery department either.

#39 Stefan Schmidt

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Posted 28 July 2007 - 15:58

Monaco 1974 - Jarier again :eek:



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#40 f1steveuk

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Posted 28 July 2007 - 19:50

Originally posted by COUGAR508


I presume that you are referring to the fish-tailing and the audacious overtaking attempt on the run up the hill to Casino?


Yes! :eek:

Superb, certainly brave, i rewound that a couple of times........

#41 COUGAR508

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Posted 29 July 2007 - 09:49

Originally posted by David M. Kane
I saw Jarier race several times in F1 and he too was bloodly quick with very fast hands and he was aggreesive too! He wasn't lacking in the bravery department either.



He should have won at least a couple of F1 races in the period 1974-76, and of course he had a big chance when he took Ronnie's seat at the end of 1978.

#42 David M. Kane

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Posted 29 July 2007 - 12:57

Cougar508:

My only criticism of him was he didn't have very good race craft. He could only drive flat out; but boy was he fun to watch!

#43 Jerome

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Posted 29 July 2007 - 13:09

Jarier could and should have won Long Beach 1983 (the race where Watson and Lauda won a 1-2 from the back)... he had it for the takings, screwed it, and admitted later he screwed it himself...

#44 COUGAR508

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Posted 30 July 2007 - 19:36

Originally posted by Jerome.Inen
Jarier could and should have won Long Beach 1983 (the race where Watson and Lauda won a 1-2 from the back)... he had it for the takings, screwed it, and admitted later he screwed it himself...


I have some of that race on video, and it was incredibly competitive. Many people had a chance to win it, but Jarier was up near the front for some time.

#45 Jerome

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Posted 31 July 2007 - 07:52

Originally posted by COUGAR508


I have some of that race on video, and it was incredibly competitive. Many people had a chance to win it, but Jarier was up near the front for some time.


Most important : he was on Michelin tyres, just like Watson and Lauda. The Michelins were a dog to qualify on, because they warmed up badly (due to the canceled groundforce by the flat-bottom rule change), hence Watsons and Lauda's 21 and 22nd startingplaces (they subsequently did not qualify for Monaco, remember?). But in the race the Michelins were much, much quicker than the Goodyears, especially in the latter part of the race, when the Goodyears started to disintergrate. Jarier was much too hasty to soon. He could have waitend for halfway, pick his way past everbody on Goodyears and disappear into the sunset too far for the McLaren boys to catch up.

So Jarier: bad luck in his career, but also a lot of downfalls of his own making.

#46 COUGAR508

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Posted 31 July 2007 - 19:26

Yes, on reflection Jarier could have afforded to play more of a waiting game in that race, and he should have won easily, when you consider how far in front of the McLarens he was.

#47 Lec CRP1

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Posted 01 August 2007 - 13:56

Originally posted by Jerome.Inen
So Jarier: bad luck in his career, but also a lot of downfalls of his own making.


What was it Tony Southgate said of Jarier? "He could have been World Champion if only he could have been bothered."?

#48 David M. Kane

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Posted 01 August 2007 - 16:26

That's Jarier in a sentence, he couldn't slow down just a bit and pace himself. He had no patience, just flat out all the time.

#49 COUGAR508

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Posted 01 August 2007 - 19:25

That is probably why Jarier was never given a long-term chance with one of the really top teams. He acquired a reputation, deserved or otherwise, for inconsistency. As a result he languished in teams which could not offer proper development or progression. Witness his two pole positions at the start of 1975 -Shadow simply could not sustain it on a regular basis.

#50 Jerome

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Posted 01 August 2007 - 21:27

Originally posted by David M. Kane
That's Jarier in a sentence, he couldn't slow down just a bit and pace himself. He had no patience, just flat out all the time.


Funny, I think that lack of patience could very well have to with Jariers physical stamina. My experience as a professional tenniscoach tells me: 'Impatience is often tiredness.'

I remember some pictures of Jarier jogging in 1983. He was unbelievably tubby, for a F1 driver that is.