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Thierry Boutsen


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#1 man

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Posted 04 December 2001 - 16:11

What are your thoughts on this Belgian, winner of three GP's? I think he was an ideal number 2, in that he was steady, fairly quick on his day and could bring the car home with the minimum amount of fuss. I think he disappointed Frank Williams who perhaps thought Thierry would be the teams number 1 when in fact Patrese proved to be quicker.

After Williams he did very little, with the likes of Comas and Barrichello easilly having the upper hand. I think what helped his career was the fact that Fabi was a bit past his sell by date in 1987 which made Thierry appear to be better than he was.

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#2 Rediscoveryx

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Posted 04 December 2001 - 16:34

I never saw Boutsen as a driver with an immense natural talent. Instead I think he achieved his success through very hard work, a little bit of luck and a fair share of intelligence behind the wheel.

His best season in my opinion was 1988, when he at times faired extremely well in the naturally aspirated Benetton-Ford against the McLarens and Ferrari's. From memory I think he scored five or six podium finishes in that season of McLaren domination.

He was also very good in the wet (in fact, two of his three victories came in the rain).

Towards the end of his career I think he had lost the commitment that is necessary if you want to succeed, and I believe that is why he was outpaced by the 20-year old Rubens Barrichello.

#3 Wouter

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Posted 04 December 2001 - 17:03

Yes, Boutsen lost his motivation after the disappointment of his ligier years. He did drove a few very well races in his first year at ligier with the terrible ligier-lambo though (like San Marino 1991, in which Hakkinen finally inherited the 5th place they and others had fought so hard for).

It's not really correct to say that Patrese was faster at Williams. Patrese was often faster in 1989, when Boutsen struggled with some injuries from a winter test crash (I believe). During 1990 Boutsen was the faster driver (with some briliant performances in the first half of the year+ Hungary). Note that Mansell also had problems with Patrese initially during the 1991 season. Boutsen also did much testing on Williams' active suspension, used finaly in 1992-1993.

Boutsen best year was indeed 1988 (with the talentful teammate Nannini), but his debut years at Arrows (1984-1985) were also pretty well. He got 2nd place at San Marino 1985 (the "economy run"). Berger was his teammate then!

#4 FredF1

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Posted 04 December 2001 - 17:11

I've always read that the general opinion was that he had stayed for a season or two too long at Arrows and should have moved earlier.

#5 Wouter

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Posted 04 December 2001 - 19:09

Only his last year at Arrows (1986) was a waste, with the Arrows A9 being a disaster. Berger moved on a year earlier and won in 1986 his first GP in a Benetton-BMW. In 1987, Berger moved already on to Ferrari and Boutsen took over at Benetton.

So, Boutsen could have risen faster, but he still got a splendid seat at Williams-Renault. I heard rumors that Boutsen had much critique on the only partly succesful Williams FW13 and that Head didn't like this (the FW13 was his last design before Newey came). I read that Frank Williams congratulated Boutsen only per fax after his magnificent Hungary win! If Boutsen had managed to keep a good relation with/impress more the Williams team, he would have a fair shot at the title in 1991 and especially 1992 in the Williams FW14(B) spaceship.

Going to Ligier was a big mistake though.

#6 Louis Mr. F1

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Posted 04 December 2001 - 19:27

I was surprised when Boutsen said he was moving to Ligier, on eof the wose team on the grid and he said he was excited about the move becausle he'd now be more involved with the development of the whole team. I think that just PR talk. However, I still think there must be a better offer somewhere else.
Boutsen threw away the Brazilian GP when he was 2nd and entered the pitlane too fast, hit the mechanic with tires and damaged the nose. The leader at the time was Senna, who later had an accident. Without his "mistake" in the pit, Boutsen could've won that race.

#7 Zawed

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Posted 05 December 2001 - 00:36

I did'nt really rate Boutsen, a journeyman, nothing more. He was a damn steady driver though, so he was an ideal number 2.

#8 josh.lintz

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Posted 05 December 2001 - 01:43

Not a very exciting driver, but he should have signed with Jordan in 1991, not 1993.
His win at Hungary in 1990 is still one of my all-time favorite races. (Probably my only favorite with no passing for the lead.)

#9 Haddock

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Posted 05 December 2001 - 09:43

To be fair, if I remember rightly, Boutsen hit his mechanics in Brazil because of brake failure rather than his own mistake.

A good solid number two, but never a driver who would have threatened the established front men of the time.
He was, as has been pointed out, rather better in the wet....which suggests he had the technique, if not the aggression required to do the job.

#10 deangelis86

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Posted 06 December 2001 - 12:33

Originally posted by Haddock
To be fair, if I remember rightly, Boutsen hit his mechanics in Brazil because of brake failure rather than his own mistake.

A good solid number two, but never a driver who would have threatened the established front men of the time.
He was, as has been pointed out, rather better in the wet....which suggests he had the technique, if not the aggression required to do the job.


In some ways not too dissimilar to Elio de Angelis, Haddock?

Having much of the same qualities but perhaps lacking that cutting edge dedication.

#11 Geza Sury

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Posted 14 December 2001 - 12:01

Certainly, Boutsen wasn't a colourful driver. Jackie Stewart described him as 'gray'.

BTW I witnessed Bouten's fantastic victory in 1990 and boy, it was a great race! Senna had a long, 10 second pit stop for tyres and chasing the leaders. Berger and Mansell banged wheels, so did Senna and Nannini, all, but Senna retired. He was chasing Boutsen desperately, but the Belgian came home victorious.

I remember like it was yesterday...

#12 Maldwyn

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Posted 14 December 2001 - 12:47

Had Boutsen got the Spirit-Honda F1 drive instead of Johansson maybe he would have found his way into a more competitive seat faster than he did. Both of them were in the Spirit F2 team and I always had the impression the he felt let down when Johansson was chosen over him.
He certainly impressed at Arrows and was consistent with Benetton but he never gelled in the Williams environment...shades of Frentzen perhaps. After that he had nowhere to go.
He now runs a business buying and selling corporate aircraft (http://www.boutsen.com)

#13 -Jap-

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Posted 12 July 2006 - 16:23

First I have to say I'm pretty amazed how people at AtlasF1 BB underestimate driver after driver. Let say Thierry Boutsen is one good example. We know he wasn't such a character like racers are used to seen, more often he has been described as "grey" which is probably true but doesn't deny that he was fast driver on track (before '91) which can be seen from statistics as well. Beating his teammates Surer '84, Berger '85, Danner '86, Fabi '87, Nannini '88 and being even with Patrese as we plus together '89 and '90. I'd say Boutsen would have done in Williams '91 and '92 at least the same as Patrese, because it is said Patrese never felt comfortable with active suspension. (1.) So what went wrong at '90??

I agree that at '90 Alesi and Mansell were desirable drivers for Frank. (2.) But why to keep Patrese, not Boutsen? Was it Patrese's longer career, bigger experience or Boutsen's "grey" personality that didn't come along with Frank, Patrick and the whole team?

Renault had power to choose '93 Prost for Williams even though they knew it ment bye bye for "Frank's" Mansell, (3.) so why in earth Renault didn't have power to keep francophonic Boutsen in team instead of italian Patrese? (4.) Is it true that Boutsen chose Ligier because Renault promised him they would give the engines soon to Ligier as well? If so, it would point out that Renault did actually "care" about Boutsen, (5.) so why they kicked him out from Williams Renault in a first place(?), they still had the decision power over the Frank..

(6.) In which stage of the '90 Boutsen knew, he was the driver who wasn't going to continue with Williams? (7.) What were free driver seats at that time? (8.) Which teams Boutsen was negotiating with? (9.) Is it true he was negotiating with his former team Arrows, because he thought they would be fast with Porsches?

(10.) How could he overestimate Ligier's competitiveness so badly that made deal with them? Remember Ligier hadn't done particularly well at '90. And at last, (11.) why didn't he go back to Benetton?? After Nannini's accident there was free seat in top team! Had he signed for Ligier already and couldn't get out of contract anymore?

I'm not Boutsen's fan, but these things have been bugging me for years. Because here are lots of experts I would be thrilled if I could get answers to my (eleven) questions above. Please guys :)

#14 Richard Jenkins

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Posted 12 July 2006 - 22:06

Originally posted by -Japé-
(1.) So what went wrong at '90??
(2.) But why to keep Patrese, not Boutsen?
(3.) so why in earth Renault didn't have power to keep francophonic Boutsen in team instead of italian Patrese?
(4.) Is it true that Boutsen chose Ligier because Renault promised him they would give the engines soon to Ligier as well?
(5.) so why they kicked him out from Williams Renault in a first place(?), they still had the decision power over the Frank..
(6.) In which stage of the '90 Boutsen knew, he was the driver who wasn't going to continue with Williams?
(7.) What were free driver seats at that time?
(8.) Which teams Boutsen was negotiating with?
(9.) Is it true he was negotiating with his former team Arrows, because he thought they would be fast with Porsches?
(10.) How could he overestimate Ligier's competitiveness so badly that made deal with them? Remember Ligier hadn't done particularly well at '90.
(11.) why didn't he go back to Benetton?? After Nannini's accident there was free seat in top team! Had he signed for Ligier already and couldn't get out of contract anymore?


Well, I don't claim to be an expert, but I've had a look at my 1990 material & can try and answer some of the above.
Both Boutsen & Patrese knew their seats were under threat before the Hungarian GP, which Boutsen won. Both drivers KNEW before the Portuguese GP, round 13, that Mansell would replace one of them. That's when both of them went round to discuss 1991 with other teams, while they waited on Frank Williams' decision.
It was more Boutsen's choice than Williams. He did have a brief chat with Arrows, but nothing concrete. It has to be remembered that Ligier was not that bad a choice of a drive in 1991. Although they had had a lean spell, Boutsen would've remembered that they were a decent outfit a few years back, financially well off so that they wouldn't fold during the season (big problem 1989-1991) and with Lamborghini engines, potentially quite capable of doing well, if not short-term, long term.
Boutsen signed with Ligier after a few weeks of discussion. As I understand it, he had brief discussions before his Hungarian win, but from Belgium onwards Ligier talks took greater pace.
Williams kept Patrese really down to continuity - because of his Hungary win, Thierry actually had slightly more options available.
Why didn't he go to Benetton? Why should he? They didn't look that much of a better option necessarily for 1991. The Lamborghini link was an intriguing one and there was much hope that the car would be competitive. Besides, Boutsen was always a honest, straight guy who wouldn't dilly-dally, if a contract has been signed, it's been signed. I'm not sure Benetton were looking at Boutsen.
I also think there was more pressure from sponsors & Patrick Head re. Patrese than Boutsen.
The future Renault link with Ligier was an incentive as well, yes. That was a HUGE coup, back then, it really was. Larrousse were very pissed off they missed out.

Very quickly, who had seats available at that time: (whether Boutsen had a chance or not)
Brabham, Footwork, Ferrari, Williams, Lotus, Leyton House, Lola, Jordan.

Who was he speaking too? Informally, Brabham, Lola, Footwork, Williams & Ligier.

Why didn't he leave Ligier when it was a stinker? Again, Boutsen tends to be a man of his word.

Hope this might be some help - maybe a Belgian/Frenchman might know more but that's what the 1990/1991 notes say...

#15 subh

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Posted 12 July 2006 - 22:10

Originally posted by Wouter
Note that Mansell also had problems with Patrese initially during the 1991 season.


That is putting it mildly. In 1991, Riccardo Patrese out-qualified Nigel Mansell 10-6; and I’m including Belgium, where he was given a penalty due to his reverse gear not working.


Originally posted by Geza Sury
Berger and Mansell banged wheels, so did Senna and Nannini, all, but Senna retired. He was chasing Boutsen desperately, but the Belgian came home victorious.


Now that would be the race in which Alessandro Nannini was catching Thierry Boutsen, but was bundled off the track by Ayrton Senna at the top chicane (turns seven and eight, perhaps). As I understand it, Patrick Head felt that Nannini would have beaten Boutsen. I supported the Italian myself....

#16 -Jap-

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 10:03

Originally posted by Richie Jenkins


It has to be remembered that Ligier was not that bad a choice of a drive in 1991. Although they had had a lean spell, Boutsen would've remembered that they were a decent outfit a few years back, financially well off so that they wouldn't fold during the season (big problem 1989-1991) and with Lamborghini engines, potentially quite capable of doing well, if not short-term, long term. The future Renault link with Ligier was an incentive as well, yes. That was a HUGE coup, back then, it really was.

Williams kept Patrese really down to continuity - because of his Hungary win, Thierry actually had slightly more options available. It was more Boutsen's choice than Williams. I also think there was more pressure from sponsors & Patrick Head re. Patrese than Boutsen.

Who was he speaking too? Informally, Brabham, Lola, Footwork, Williams & Ligier.


Thank you Richie, your post helped to work out my thoughts :)

Even though I believe that huge changes on team's competitiveness between seasons is rare - We have to remember that Ligier have had four ('87-'90) bad season in row. It is true Boutsen had many reasons to believe Ligier could do well at '91. Further more because he had signed before Nannini's accident, Benetton wasn't option in any case. Comparing the options Boutsen had, it might be quite clear that it was decision between Ligier and Williams, right? Ligier might have looked like a good opportunity(the best of the rest) but I think also Boutsen knew it would be still in different category than Williams (and also Benetton).

What I still don't understand :confused: is that you said it was more Boutsen's choice than Williams. That was new information for me. I thought it was Frank and Patrick who wanted Patrese against Barclay and Renault who wanted Boutsen? But if Patrick Head and sponsors were also in Boutsen's side, why did he leave from better team to worse (like Raikkonen would now move to Toyota)? Doesn't it sound like a sueside for racing driver? There had to be some reason, because he couldn't expect to beat Williams with his Ligier.

When this "disastrous" move hade done why didn't it work out '91 nor '92? I thought Ligier would had done almost as well as Jordan and Tyrrell in '91 but not. Was it because of the car, engine, drivers, management, what was it?

#17 Richard Jenkins

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 10:12

Originally posted by -Japé-

What I still don't understand :confused: is that you said it was more Boutsen's choice than Williams. That was new information for me. I thought it was Frank and Patrick who wanted Patrese against Barclay and Renault who wanted Boutsen? But if Patrick Head and sponsors were also in Boutsen's side, why did he leave from better team to worse (like Raikkonen would now move to Toyota)? Doesn't it sound like a sueside for racing driver? There had to be some reason, because he couldn't expect to beat Williams with his Ligier.

When this "disastrous" move hade done why didn't it work out '91 nor '92? I thought Ligier would had done almost as well as Jordan and Tyrrell in '91 but not. Was it because of the car, engine, drivers, management, what was it?


I suspect it came down to 1) He didn't want to be second fiddle to Mansell, or even drive in the same team as him. 2) He had the chance to lead a GP team, be the elder statesman to Comas & be the figurehead to a historic team, a la Laffite.

Why did it fail? Bit of everything really. Car was the first problem - overweight, poorly designed, handled terribly. Engine didn't do as well as hoped and the drivers just got fed up. Comas, the new boy, stayed upbeat so he could progress in F1 - Boutsen, I think felt, I'm wasting my time here, there must be better things to do & hence wasn't as motivated as before.

#18 Bonde

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 10:49

This link may refresh memories: http://www.grandprix...ft/ft00092.html

#19 Fiorentina 1

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Posted 14 July 2006 - 01:26

Originally posted by FredF1
I've always read that the general opinion was that he had stayed for a season or two too long at Arrows and should have moved earlier.


I don't think it was his doing. Sure it would have been better to leave Arrows after 85, but there was nothing available for him in 1986. Remember even Derek Warwick was out of a ride in 86.

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#20 Huw Jadvantich

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Posted 14 July 2006 - 11:08

The problem with the 'how good was he' posts about this era is that people continually compare them with Patrese, and totally underestimate how good Patrese was.
I think people refer to Boutsen as Grey simply because of his looks and character, which seemed slightly unfashionable at the time. In my opinion Boutsen was the Ickx of the period. ie bloody good.

#21 Louis Mr. F1

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Posted 14 July 2006 - 12:42

I remember either Patrick Head or Frank Williams commented that they picked Patrese over Boutsen for the 91 season because they know Riccardo would get along with Mansell, but not so sure with Boutsen, he might not like to be a 'designated' number 2 driver of the team. Well you never know, it could even be Mansell's decision in choosing who he wanted to be his teammate, as Frank was desperated for his service, he'd agree to anything Mansell asked for (in 1990).

#22 dolomite

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Posted 21 October 2006 - 23:33

http://www.airbus.co...n_aviation.html

BOUTSEN AVIATION ANNOUNCES ORDER FOR TWO AIRBUS ACJS

Boutsen Aviation of Monaco has announced firm orders for two Airbus corporate jetliners (ACJs) on behalf of undisclosed customers. The deal takes this year’s orders for the Airbus ACJ Family to a record 20, while total sales to date stand at around 80 including one A330 VIP version widebody aircraft.

The Airbus ACJs will feature VIP interiors, based on the Prestige cabin concept, which comprises a large sitting and dining room, private office, bedroom and ensuite bathroom. They will be powered by CFM International CFM56-5B7/P engines.

“To win in Formula 1 you need to have the best car and be the best driver, and to win in business aviation you need to have the best aircraft and the best team to manage it. This is why we chose the Airbus ACJ,” says Thierry Boutsen, three times Formula 1 Grand Prix winner and President of Boutsen Aviation. “In our increasingly global world, companies need to send their executives farther afield, often in larger teams, which the Airbus ACJ does extremely well,” he adds.

The Airbus ACJ Family comprises the A318 Elite, ACJ and A320 Prestige, and customers can always opt for VIP versions of the widebody A330, A340 and A380.

“Corporate jet travellers already recognise the benefits of having their own aircraft, and are increasingly aware of the extra advantages of more space on board – such as the greater comfort and productivity that the Airbus ACJ Family delivers,” says Airbus President & CEO and EADS Co-CEO Louis Gallois. “Boutsen Aviation recognises this trend, and is well placed to capitalise on it,” he adds.

Airbus corporate jets are preferred by companies, governments and individuals, for their spacious cabins, modern design, robust reliability and solid support.

Airbus’ corporate jet sales success echoes that of the A320 Family, from which they are derived, which won an amazing 913 sales in 2005 - about twice as many as their direct competitor. Airbus delivered seven corporate jets in 2006, with more to come.

The Airbus A318 Elite, ACJ and A320 Prestige all share the same wide cabin, which delivers twice the cabin-width and three-times the volume of traditional top-of-the-line business jets. They also share the same modern design, a common cockpit, fly-by-wire controls, cost-saving centralised maintenance, fuel-saving aerodynamics that includes wingtip devices, and extensive use of weight-saving carbon fibre composites.

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Airbus is an EADS company.

#23 Twin Window

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Posted 22 October 2006 - 00:06

Originally posted by man

What are your thoughts on this Belgian, winner of three GP's?

A lovely bloke.

Just as one example... when he won the F2 race at the 'Ring in 1982, he absolutely insisted that he bought me my dinner. There really was no need - he only knew me as a friend of his team mate - but it was a gesture which I've never forgotten.

Here's [a totally irrelevant] pic I took of Thierry at Spa 1981;

Posted Image

Terrible weather that day... :rolleyes:

:up:

#24 FLB

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Posted 22 October 2006 - 02:30

Originally posted by Louis Mr. F1
I remember either Patrick Head or Frank Williams commented that they picked Patrese over Boutsen for the 91 season because they know Riccardo would get along with Mansell, but not so sure with Boutsen, he might not like to be a 'designated' number 2 driver of the team.

For one thing, Boutsen certainly didn't get along with Erik Comas at Ligier...

#25 Graham Gauld

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Posted 22 October 2006 - 07:20

And still interested in racing. Saw him last weekend at the 10th Annual Monaco Kart meeting, relaxed, smiling. Nice guy.

#26 wolf sun

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Posted 25 October 2006 - 22:47

A lovely bloke.

Just as one example... when he won the F2 race at the 'Ring in 1982, he absolutely insisted that he bought me my dinner. There really was no need - he only knew me as a friend of his team mate - but it was a gesture which I've never forgotten.




One of my first motor racing memories is seeing him winning the F2 race at the Ring in ´81 or ´82 (can´t make my mind up which year it was :rolleyes: ) - which of course contributed to my always keeping a soft spot for him.

As far as I remember he was in total control that day, which takes some doing on
that circuit against the opposition he faced.

Apart from that he was indeed a very capable driver in wet conditions, right until the end of his career. Taking into account the opposition he faced in his F1 days, I´d say Thierry was rather better than the typical journeyman. Maybe he was just too nice a fellow to really succeed in the top league. As I think Roebuck once pointed out, Boutsen would have fitted well into the late fifties´/early sixties´ GP scene.

A decent man, and surely no slouch on the track...

#27 wolf sun

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Posted 25 October 2006 - 23:18

...and to prove a point, at this very moment I´m watching the highlights from the 1985 Dutch GP on Google Video - the leaderboard on lap 20 reads as follows:
[list=1]
[*] Rosberg
[*] Prost
[*] Lauda
[*] Senna
[*] Mansell
[*] Warwick
[/list=1]

;)

#28 d.emerson

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 10:41

Thierry was a good, very good pilot, but certainly too timid, too nice, too fairplay.
I remember the first time I met him, it was on a hill climb at Houyet in Belgium, he was invited by the organisation and droved a porsche 911 from "Deville de Goyet" (He was a new formula 1 driver since Spa with Arrows). I was (and still be) timid too, I approached him and asked him an autograph on the program... and he answered timidly "oui, bien sûr, avec plaisir" ...

And do you forget what he did before F1 ? A great prize list, from Formula Ford to Formula 2.

#29 Arjan de Roos

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 12:06

Originally posted by d.emerson

And do you forget what he did before F1 ? A great prize list, from Formula Ford to Formula 2.


Indeed I often see race reports of the seventies / early eighties of races at Zandvoort in which Thierry was entered. A very modest, friendly guy. Even in F1 he was so relaxed!

#30 Sideways Dave

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 15:11

Wasn't Thierry involved in rallying before coming to F1, or am I thinking of someone else from that era? Just thinking it may have accounted for him being good in the wet....