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#1 Richard Jenkins

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Posted 12 December 2001 - 18:33

I don't mean amongst other drivers (a la temporarily Patrese in 1978), I mean generally. I was interested by William Hunt's survey over driver popularity, where Jean-Pierre Jabouille was well down this list. This may be attributed to the fact that there were so many beloved drivers around at the same time (Ronnie, Gilles, Depailler, Cevert to name just a few) but I never get the impression that Jabouille ever got a) the credit he deserved for his efforts with the Renault or b) the fans generally. This is due to me being too young to remember this time in terms of the whole picture. I remember well speaking to a guy at Chater's booskhop (not the late Frank Stroud) someone else working there, but a clear F1 veteran who when he noticed my interest in the 1979 review of Formula 1 put down JPJ.


Could someone enlighten me if J-PJ was largely unappreciated (or whether I've met the wrong people) & are there any more that fall in the same category (if there is one). Maybe as time passed, they were lauded more, or is it that criticism has heightened since the 80's so that perfectly good drivers like Arnoux, de Cesaris, Coulthard & Ralf Schumacher get all the abuse?

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#2 Brian O Flaherty

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Posted 12 December 2001 - 19:14

I'd also like to know if Didier Pironi or Jochen Mass suffered much in the way of pit-lane friendships or lack of fan support after Gilles' crash at Zolder in '82 ?

Although I'm too young to remember, and got interested in F1 later on (I was 5 when Gilles died), I have since read everything I can get my hands on with regards to the era's that I missed and I have developed a dislike of Pironi.

#3 FEV

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Posted 12 December 2001 - 20:11

I'd also like to know if Didier Pironi or Jochen Mass suffered much in the way of pit-lane friendships or lack of fan support after Gilles' crash at Zolder in '82 ?


I don't think either Didier or Jochen had any problems with other drivers following the incidents they were involved with Villeneuve. About Pironi the other drivers, if they sure had an opinion about it must not have really cared a lot anyway. Pironi was "special" and he didn't have many close friends in the paddock, so he could not lose many anyway ! Mass I think had a great moral support from the other Grand Prix drivers after Zolder; and if some fanatic Ferrari fans must have been angry against him (like stupid Earnhardt fans against Marlin earlier this year) I don't think the general fans had anything against him. Mass was a popular carachter at least in Germany and France at the time.
In fact in 1982 one driver was not very popular among his peers : Teo Fabi who was clearly on Jean-Marie Balestre's side during the FIASCO war. He did not take part in the Kyalami revolution and its Lauda-Pironi led strike.

The only examples coming to mind about unpopular drivers are in NASCAR. A guy like Derrike Cope (who won the Daytona 500 twice) was far from being a fan favorite among in the south. Cope was from the Northeast and at the time were he was running at the front end of the pack (late 80s-early 90s) most of the NASCAR fans were still hard-core southern guys.

#4 Brian O Flaherty

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Posted 12 December 2001 - 20:17

Originally posted by FEV

Pironi was "special" and he didn't have many close friends in the paddock, so he could not lose many anyway !


Yeah, I've certainly got that impression from what I've read. Funny that it was he who first alerted Gilles to the fact that Ferrari were after his services :)

#5 Allen Brown

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Posted 12 December 2001 - 22:22

Not sure why you're having a thread on unpopular drivers when there's already a thread on Nigel Mansell. :D

Allen

#6 Jim Thurman

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Posted 12 December 2001 - 22:28

Originally posted by FEV
The only examples coming to mind about unpopular drivers are in NASCAR. A guy like Derrike Cope (who won the Daytona 500 twice) was far from being a fan favorite among in the south. Cope was from the Northeast and at the time were he was running at the front end of the pack (late 80s-early 90s) most of the NASCAR fans were still hard-core southern guys.


Derrike Cope was from the Northwest U.S. (Spanaway, Washington)...which was *far* worse. I didn't get the impression it was even the fans, more the media. Since they didn't know anything about or follow Western NASCAR racing, they considered it a "fluke" win. Cope and the Stoke Racing team out of Lakeport, California taking a NASCAR West car and putting it on the front row at Michigan in their first visit still ranks as a great NASCAR feat (granted, the engine was damaged in final practice and with no spares, he was a DNS).

Worse yet, he "beat" Earnhardt to win the 1990 Daytona 500 (though Earnhardt's car failing was the real reason for his loss). I'm sure some of the thick-headed element of Earnhardt's fans held that against Cope, much in the same way they "blamed" Marlin, but most of Cope's lack of respect in the racing media came from feeling he "hadn't paid his dues". He had, just out of their sight and minds :)

It didn't help that Cope was a "modern" style driver in regards to promotion, was considered rather handsome looking and even started wearing an F1 style firesuit (with the pronounced epaulets). Because of this firesuit, one of the other NASCAR drivers nicknamed him Elroy Jetson (a TV cartoon character), but I recall Cope himself laughing about that tag.

Oh, and the "fluke" Daytona win...he followed that up by lapping the field at Dover :)

On the Mass-Villeneuve incident, remember Niki Lauda shot his mouth off and blamed Mass for Gilles' death, but later publicly apologized for his remarks.


Jim Thurman

#7 FEV

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Posted 12 December 2001 - 23:59

Thanks for all the precisions Jim ! Could we put the late Tim Richmond in the same category ? Or maybe he was popular with the media (having many friends at Hollywood and in show-business) but not too many popular with fans, drivers and most of all NASCAR officials (whose behaviour regarding his disease was scandalous). He also came from nowhere (or IndyCar which can maybe also considered *far* worse ;) :lol: ) and he really trashed the good ol' boys as soon as he entered the NASCAR scene. I really have found memories of Tim Richmond. His great years were 1985-86 and that is when I lived in the States. My first american racing memories (and some of the best) are of this red n°25 car on these incredible oval tracks ! A couple of years later, back in Europe, I finally learned why he didn't appear any more in the sketchy french press reports on NSACAR races : he was ill, and passed away in 89. He is not a driver often mentionned in the "NASCAR Hall of Fame" "50 Greatest Drivers of All Time" and all this kind of tributes we had at the time of the NASCAR 50th anniversay celebrations. Was he unpopular in the NASCAR paddock at the time he was winning all those races or has this moral "ban" come at the time of his disease and death ?

It seems to have calmed down this last two years, but I remember Jeff Gordon being booed by the crowds at the time he was winning all these races in the mid 90s. Was there really an anti-Gordon mood ?

#8 bergwerk

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Posted 13 December 2001 - 14:50

Originally posted by Brian O Flaherty
I'd also like to know if Didier Pironi or Jochen Mass suffered much in the way of pit-lane friendships or lack of fan support after Gilles' crash at Zolder in '82 ?


Jochen was/is a soft spoken and private person who felt more comfortable cruising the oceans and working on his boat than dealing with sponsors and team management. People are naturaly drawn to him and while he raced he did not have any enemies or people who disliked him.

#9 fines

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Posted 13 December 2001 - 17:22

Originally posted by bergwerk


Jochen was/is a soft spoken and private person who felt more comfortable cruising the oceans and working on his boat than dealing with sponsors and team management. People are naturaly drawn to him and while he raced he did not have any enemies or people who disliked him.

A bit different when he started commentating F1... :lol:

#10 bergwerk

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Posted 13 December 2001 - 20:16

Originally posted by fines
A bit different when he started commentating F1.


Last contact was in 1983, long before his new career. Which network is he working for?

#11 rtcoman

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Posted 13 December 2001 - 20:50

Jochen Mass is currently working for RTL.

#12 Jim Thurman

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Posted 17 December 2001 - 22:39

Originally posted by FEV
Thanks for all the precisions Jim ! Could we put the late Tim Richmond in the same category ? Or maybe he was popular with the media (having many friends at Hollywood and in show-business) but not too many popular with fans, drivers and most of all NASCAR officials (whose behaviour regarding his disease was scandalous). He also came from nowhere (or IndyCar which can maybe also considered *far* worse ;) :lol: ) and he really trashed the good ol' boys as soon as he entered the NASCAR scene. I really have found memories of Tim Richmond. His great years were 1985-86 and that is when I lived in the States. My first american racing memories (and some of the best) are of this red n°25 car on these incredible oval tracks ! A couple of years later, back in Europe, I finally learned why he didn't appear any more in the sketchy french press reports on NSACAR races : he was ill, and passed away in 89. He is not a driver often mentionned in the "NASCAR Hall of Fame" "50 Greatest Drivers of All Time" and all this kind of tributes we had at the time of the NASCAR 50th anniversay celebrations. Was he unpopular in the NASCAR paddock at the time he was winning all those races or has this moral "ban" come at the time of his disease and death ?

It seems to have calmed down this last two years, but I remember Jeff Gordon being booed by the crowds at the time he was winning all these races in the mid 90s. Was there really an anti-Gordon mood ?


I think, as you wrote, Tim Richmond was most unpopular with NASCAR's management. He was quite outspoken about safety issues, particularly their lack of having well trained emergency response teams. He was a great talent. And, I agree, NASCAR handled his illness terribly. There was some well aimed criticism of NASCAR's reluctance to even mention him in the 50th anniversary salutes and tributes. I always got the perception that the turning point was with his illness, and I got the impression that some drivers were on good terms with Richmond until then.

You're asking the wrong person about Jeff Gordon :lol: Yes, there was (and still is) an anti-Gordon sentiment and, yes, he was (and still is) heavily booed. To the point where his biggest booster, ESPN, turned down microphones at one race so the viewers couldn't hear the overwhelming negative response. Then they proceeded to tell the viewers (over and over again), how he really *was* popular and that there weren't that many boos. When they couldn't overrule that, then they told everyone *why* he was unpopular ("they're just jealous"). Yoiks!.

I can't speak for other fans, but I know why I have those feelings (they are based on rather obscure unpublicized happenings that seemingly few others are aware of). The approach of ESPN has a lot to do with mine. I don't dispute Jeff's natural talent and abilities. I question *how* he got there and the meddlesome nature of who was involved (that should NOT have been).


Jim Thurman - who booed Gordon at a lightly attended Sprint Car practice session in 1989...just a preview Jeff :D

#13 William Hunt

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Posted 17 December 2001 - 22:53

... Derrick Cope was from the Northeast and at the time were he was running at the front end of the pack (late 80s-early 90s) most of the NASCAR fans were still hard-core southern guys. [/B][/QUOTE]

Judging people from their nationality or living place is so PATHETIC. Thypically something for those low inteligent Nascar redneck fans. They live with a very narrow view on sports and only have interest in their low tech "sport" disrespecting other sports. NASCAR really sucks big time, it's way too nationalistic.

#14 William Hunt

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Posted 17 December 2001 - 22:57

As for Jochen Mass : he had a lot of respect from his peers and fans. He was very popular, a very sportif driver.

Didier Pironi was a lo less popular : he was known to be very cold and without emotion during GP weekends. When he drove at Ligier this caused a lot of tention in the team. I'll post more on Didier in a moment.

#15 William Hunt

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Posted 17 December 2001 - 23:50

DIDIER PIRONI arrived in F1 in '78. For some years his successes in F.Renault had drawn favourable comment, and 1977, his first season in F2 had been higly promissing. Almost from the beginning of his carreer he had received Elf petroleum backing and when Ken Tyrrell's Elf sponsored GP team needed a replacement for Ronnie Peterson (who had moved to Lotus), Didier was an obvious choice.

He stayed with the Tyrrell team for 2 seasons and they were charachter building. After the years of glory the team was in sharp decline, its cars rarely competitive. During his time with Tyrrell Pironi had numerous accidents, most of them through no fault of his own. He was unharmed each time but a lesser man might have become unnerved.

For 1980, Pironi joined Ligier as team-mate to Jacques Laffite and at last he had a car worthy his talents. From the very beginning of the season he was undeniably quicker than the very popular Laffite, and soon, at Zolder, he scored his first GP victory. It was a faultless drive. Although Alan Jones' Williams had taken pole position, Pironi made a better start and confidently squeezed out the Australian at the entry of the first turn (the 'Sterrewachtboch'). From there the blue Ligier eased away and there was nothing that Jones could do about it.

That win seemed to lift Pironi to even greater heights. At Monte Carlo, the next race, his form was brilliant. From pole position he led away, unmoved by the pressure of leading on a tight street circuit where the tiniest mistake puts U into the barriers and out of the race.
The blue car ran easily at the front until twenty laps from the end. By then rain was falling and the track was greasy, but more of a problem to Pironi was the fact that third gear was jumping out, and he had to hold the lever in place. After 54 laps in the lead Didier one-handed fractionally overcorrected a slide at the Casino Square and the Ligier nudged the barriers. It is this races everyone loves to win most, yet the Frenchman stepped from the car with no exhibition of temper, no sign of emotion, hardly a backward glance.

Pironi is almost eerily in control of his feelings, and perhaps this contributed to his alienation from the very Galic, sometimes overemotional Ligier personnel. As the season wore on, it became clear that Didier and some members of his team were at odds. He is not a typical Frenchman, does not conform to a system. He goes motor racing for Didier Pironi. By the time of the French GP , in July, Guy Ligier and manager Gérard Ducarouge were treating him almost like a naughty schoolboy. He was showing dangerous signs of independence, and Ligier was heard to say that he wouldn't be renewing Didier's contract for 1981 although his results were excellent.

The young man seemed totally unmoved, apparently oblivious to the hostility. He finished a magnificent second to Alan Jones in the French race, then moved to Brands Hatch and another tremendous performance. On pole position by a huge margin he easily led the first quarter of the
race until a cracked wheel brough him into the pits. Then began a staggering drive in which he brought the Ligier through the field from 21st to 4th, breaking the lap record time and time again, travelling at a completelt different pace from every other car in the race. Towards the end he suddenly pulled off and stopped out on the track. Another wheel had cracked, and a tyre was flat. All that work and inspiration had brough no award. Abd yet again there was that cold control.

As season's end approached, the men of Ligiern recognizing Pironi's natural gift, had decided that they would keep him after all. But Didier had other idea's. He wasn't tied to the blue of France (like Laffite), and he never felt truly comfortable at Ligier. Therefor he signed instead for Ferrari (replacing the retiring '79 champion Jody Scheckter), and brought the wrath of Vélizy down on himself. He was leaving France for Italy ...! Why, it was the act of a traitor ! The newas broke the weekend of the Italian GP, that year held at Imola, and the Ligier pit was very tense indeed.

Pironi is intensely professional in everything he does, and he is a racing driver who genuinly love cars. His first winter with Ferrari was one of hard work, with constant testing. He is ideally equiped to handle the political in-fighting intrinsic in the Maranello team.

We all know what happened at Ferrari. The first year they weren't very competitive. His best results were a 4th at Monaco and a 5th at Imola, Dijon and Monza. But in 1982 they were the fastest team. Either he or Villeneuve would have been world champion that year had those awfeull crashed not happened. We all know what happened at Imola but contrary to what people liked to believe there weren't any teamorders. Pironi also won ath Zandvoort and took 2nd at Monaco & Brands Hatch, 3rd at Detroit and Le Castellet and 6th a Jacarepagua. It seemed like nothing could have stopped him from becoming the first French world champion F1. But then came Hockenheim...During his practice run Alain Prost wasn't paying attention and driving slowly swerving in front of Didiers Ferrari who was travelling at top speed. The impact was horrible and left Didier with awfull leg injuries. His F1 carreer and title hope was over. Ironically, it was Prost who caused the accident (that was a black spot on his carreer) that became the first French world champion and not Didier Pironi who really deserved it.

There is an apparent aloofness about him, but this is illusory. On the track the man who gives his all, the end of a race or practice will find him sweating and dishevelled. A few minutes later however, after a shower and a change of clothes, Pironi is his normak, relaxed self, watching the razzmatazz around him with a faint mocking smile...

In 1987 he was supposed to make a F1 come-back with the small French AGS outfit as a teammate of Pascal Fabre He tested their car intensively at the Paul Ricard track in Le Castellet. He looked set to return but unfortunately fate decided differently. An fatal accident in a boat race robbed us of one of the fastest drivers that ever sat in a F1 car. At the times I was only 11 years old but already a massive F1 fan since I was 6 years old and I was devastated. I liked Pironi a lot at the time and had already lost with Elio de Angelis in '86 one of my heroes.

Didier Pironi was a special man. He was always seen in the company of beautifull women and enjoyed to spent his with the upper class jet set in classy clubs or expensive restaurants. But his personal and family life were a mess, he wasn't the easiest person. Enzo Ferrari really loved him, he was one of Enzo's favourite drivers ever. And I will not forget him either, he deserves more respect from F1 fans but his cold, emotionless attititude and his problems with Gilles Villeneuve made him unpopular with fans & peers, he did not have a lot of friends in the paddock.

But I will always remember him. Rest in peace Didier.

William.

#16 David M. Kane

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Posted 18 December 2001 - 00:26

William are you sure Prost was weaving. I thought it was raining very hard
and there was extremely poor visibility due to the spray. I remember that
Prost was going very slowly and of course in the spray Didier had no way
of knowing of his speed.

I have trashed Didier many times in this forum, but you have paid the man
his just desserts for his good driving. I commend you for a beautiful
tribute to the man as a driver. Having been treated poorly several times
in Paris, I have a real hard on for Parisians.

Thank you for a well documented and well written piece.

#17 William Hunt

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Posted 18 December 2001 - 00:32

Do note that I didn't forget to mention his flaws and more negative aspects of his charachter but he deserves a tribute after the hard critics often heard. He deserves to be treated with respect. I did get a lot of info from books and mainly from Nigel Roebuck for this piece so a lot of credits should go to Nigel, one of my favourite autosport journalists.

#18 dmj

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Posted 18 December 2001 - 12:53

Pironi was my first F1 hero and I was really sad after Hockenheim and more so after his death. In Hockenheim Pironi hit Prost because an other driver (Piquet?) moved in front of Didier so he thought he makes space for him to pass. In fact, he was passing very slow Prost, so when Pironi floored the throttle an accident was inevitable.
BTW, William, did you read Roebuck's great article about Pironi in Motorsport (this version of Hockenheim accident is also taken from there)? When I first time read it I almost start to crying - someone should make a movie about his life... As final irony of destiny, Pironi's wife born two sons a few months after his death. Their names are Didier and Gilles.

#19 Crazy Canuck

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Posted 18 December 2001 - 13:20

Originally posted by Jim Thurman


....On the Mass-Villeneuve incident, remember Niki Lauda shot his mouth off and blamed Mass for Gilles' death...


Niki? Shooting off his mouth?? No, it couldn't happen.... The more things change the more they stay the same! :D


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#20 Rediscoveryx

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Posted 18 December 2001 - 15:56

I believe it was Derek Daly who moved aside to let Pironi through, Pironi didn't realize that there were two cars ahead of him so he drove into the back of Prost's car. Not really anyones fault, though there has been some interesting speculations that this incident proved a turning point in Prost's career and changed his attitude against racing in the wet. We all know what Prost thought about that...

#21 rdrcr

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Posted 18 December 2001 - 18:20

I might have been influenced by the other race nuts I was hanging out with at the time, (doubtful) but we all thought that Andrea de Cesaris was in over his head running with other drivers of the day. In his 14 years and 208 races, only 1 pole and 1 fastest lap indicate that his best quality was his determination to keep racing.

I don't really know how other drivers felt about him, (didn't he take out nearly everyone at one time or another?) but we really didn't care for him... the only driver I've ever felt that way about, then or now.

#22 ghinzani

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Posted 18 December 2001 - 18:48

[i]
In 1987 he was supposed to make a F1 come-back with the small French AGS outfit as a teammate of Pascal Fabre He tested their car intensively at the Paul Ricard track in Le Castellet. He looked set to return but unfortunately fate decided differently. An fatal accident in a boat race robbed us of one of the fastest drivers that ever sat in a F1 car
[/B]

Great piece of work William Hunt, just one thing was it not Laurousse rather than AGS he was sposed to come back with?

#23 Brian O Flaherty

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Posted 18 December 2001 - 19:05

Originally posted by William Hunt
We all know what happened at Imola but contrary to what people liked to believe there weren't any teamorders.


Villeneuve was 30 or 40 seconds ahead of Pironi when he was told to slow down and protect the car. He was cruising to victory. He slowed as requested and Pironi caught him. There WAS a gentleman's agreement between them that they wouldn't fight if they were 1, 2. Pironi decided to overtake him. 3 times was it ? The 3rd too close to the finish for Villeneuve to react. Defend it if you will but I say Pironi was an ass-hole in that race and I'd like to think few would disagree. My nasty side also thinks he got his just-deserts in Hockenheim regardless of how controversial it is to say so.

#24 fines

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Posted 20 December 2001 - 22:10

Originally posted by Brian O Flaherty


Villeneuve was 30 or 40 seconds ahead of Pironi when he was told to slow down and protect the car. He was cruising to victory. He slowed as requested and Pironi caught him. There WAS a gentleman's agreement between them that they wouldn't fight if they were 1, 2. Pironi decided to overtake him. 3 times was it ? The 3rd too close to the finish for Villeneuve to react. Defend it if you will but I say Pironi was an ass-hole in that race and I'd like to think few would disagree. My nasty side also thinks he got his just-deserts in Hockenheim regardless of how controversial it is to say so.

Oh well, the myth lives on...

It's probably futile to try and silence those who spill those legends, but at least TNF should head some of the facts: Villeneuve was never more than a couple of car lengths ahead, and Pironi was leading when the "slow" sign was shown for the first time. As for the rest, you could probably argue until your face is red (or blue), the "truth" seems to be somewhere "in between".

#25 William Hunt

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Posted 21 December 2001 - 03:35

Hi Ghinzani, glad U like my Pironi tribute.
I'm 100% sure that is was AGS wioth whom he was supposeed to com-back?
And I can prove it since I have pictures of him in the AGS but I don't seem to be able to put them on the forum.
However, anyone who wants to se the pics of Didier in the AGS can PM me his e-mail adress and I will send the pictures then. Ciao, William.

#26 Rediscoveryx

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Posted 21 December 2001 - 13:45

There seems to be a pretty close connection between liking Gilles Villeneuve and disliking Didier Pironi. This is a shame, because they were both great drivers and also great friends until the final week of Villeneuve's life.

Personally I like them both :)

#27 BRG

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Posted 21 December 2001 - 16:49

I notice that no-one has picked up on Richie's origianl question about Jabouille. I think that Jabouille was always hugely under-rated for some reason. He was obviously quick - his efforts in F3 and F2 and sportscars showed that he had the skills. And he got into F1 in advance of his drive for Renault, so he wasn't just riding on the Regie's coat-tails. Yet for some reason, he is almost never remembered although he helped pioneer the turbo revolution. I wonder why?

#28 Martyj

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Posted 21 December 2001 - 17:29

Continuing the topic of unpopular drivers, a word (or question) about Jean-Pierre Beltoise. There is the lingering controversy about his responsibility in the death of Guinti (spelling?) I've never heard how this went down around the paddock with fellow drivers. Was there sympathy, blame, etc? One thing I do recall was a scathing editorial by one of the classic journalist (can't remember who it was. Jenkins perhaps?) who took the occassion to vent a general hatred for JP, based on Beltoise basic demeanor ever since he arrived on the GP scene. It mentioned he was uncooperative with journalist. And yet, I have read over the years that JP was generally liked by team members and fellow drivers.

Can anyone shed more light on this.

#29 jmp85

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Posted 21 December 2001 - 20:54

about beltoise, iirc, he was blamed by much of the GP intelligencia. enzo ferrari never spoke his name again, only referring to him as "that french driver" (of course enzo was not happy about losing another italian driver). jpb was it seems not to blame though in this stupid incident. the only big name who stood up for him was fangio himself.

otherwise, about pironi: i don't think that he caused villeneuve's death, it would be stupid to say that. there was a broken agreement of some kind; pironi came out on top. GV was annoyed, yes, but i think that it was more GV's crazy (and awe-inspiring, yes! but totally crazy nevertheless) driving that killed him: i feel he was destined to die in his ferrari (not that i ever wanted that to happen!). in my opinion, saying that "pironi got what he deserved" is a mound of stupidity. he was a racer, as strong-willed as gilles. it was horrible enough losing gilles. does losing pironi as well make everything better?

cheers, jmp85

#30 Megatron

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Posted 21 December 2001 - 21:56

Didier also tested a Ligier Renault in 86, but he was supposed to return in 87 with AGS, who were using Renault tubs.

#31 William Hunt

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Posted 21 December 2001 - 22:12

Have U got a picture of Didier in the '86 Ligier, I never saw any. I do have pics of him in the AGS though.

#32 Megatron

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Posted 21 December 2001 - 22:47

No, but I think it was at Paul Ricard. I think he lapped consistenly, if not unspectacular.

#33 Jeroen Brink

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Posted 26 December 2001 - 08:47

Originally posted by fines

Oh well, the myth lives on...

It's probably futile to try and silence those who spill those legends, but at least TNF should head some of the facts: Villeneuve was never more than a couple of car lengths ahead, and Pironi was leading when the "slow" sign was shown for the first time. As for the rest, you could probably argue until your face is red (or blue), the "truth" seems to be somewhere "in between".


Another fact is that Gilles took the fight with the Renaults and did all the work. According to Gilles, the arrangement within the Ferrari team was that the one who leads, leads. He was taken by surprise in the last round. If he would not have been off guard, he surely would have kept "Didi" behind him. Moreover, he qualified 1 1/2 seconds faster.

Pironi was not always slower. E.g. in the Monaco-Maranello contests they were often on a par.

#34 Jeroen Brink

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Posted 26 December 2001 - 08:52

Further to Villeneuve and Zolder '82. According to Nigel Roebuck there was a driver who asked him in the same weekend who he thought would get the second Ferrari-seat. Roebuck does not disclose who it was, but this driver should have been mentioned here.

#35 mikedeering

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Posted 26 December 2001 - 10:33

Originally posted by Jeroen Brink
Further to Villeneuve and Zolder '82. According to Nigel Roebuck there was a driver who asked him in the same weekend who he thought would get the second Ferrari-seat. Roebuck does not disclose who it was, but this driver should have been mentioned here.


I heard this - also another driver's girlfriend was upset over Villeneuve accident - she was supposed to be hitching a ride in Gilles helicopter back to Monaco on Sunday evening after the race, but was concerned how she would get home now Villeneuve was dead. Nice.

I am convinced it was AGS Pironi was testing with in 1987. The team purchased an old truck off Renault, discovered some old GP parts in the back and cobbled a car together. Wasn't Fabre 14 seconds off the pace at some qualifying sessions? I am sure Mansell lapped him on lap 7 at Monaco!!!

As for unpopular drivers, what about Carlos "Lole" Reutemann. No one liked him! He was cold, aloof, and not exactly loyal. Enzo Ferrari hated him I understand - suggested he was like Fangio in always seeking the best car. But unlikely Fangio, he could never deliver the goods, despite always switching teams. Surely someone has some good Reutemann stories?

#36 Carlos Jalife

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Posted 26 December 2001 - 20:49

About Beltoise: He wasn't all that popular. He caused Pedro's crash at Enna in 1967 with a stupid move and fans in Mexico booed him every year at the GP. Some others were afraid he was too wild, willing to take any risk but he mellowed later and lived to tell. He was not that good because he had some trouble with one of his arms, legacy of a motorcycle crash which prevented full motion -and yet he won Moaco in the rain, how do you explain?- and he was a bit of a show off, doing stunts, sitting in the pits bare chest (with huge scars that impressed me as an 11 year old).

About Lole, there's another trend somewhere nearby. And although he had trouble with Niki, Enzo and others, all was temporary, he remains a well liked figure. I mean if you say Lole is disliked by Jones fans, well Jones is mucho more disliked for Lole and Piquet fans, and in the end he couldn't outdrive either one. :rotfl:

#37 Marcor

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Posted 27 December 2001 - 18:05

I'm very surprised that nobody add something about PATRESE and especially the 1978 season !!

Patrese finished second in Sweden but Peterson (who was third) asserted that he was faster than him and that he was blocked during nearly all the race. At Zandvoort there was a pile-up in the first lap of the race and Patrese was involved in it. At Monza it was worse. Brambilla and Peterson were seriously injured and Peterson died at the hospital the following day. The F1 drivers and especially James Hunt declared immediately that Patrese was guilty. He was even excluded in the US GP at Watkins Glen. After it was proved that Patrese was not really guilty but I'm sure he was unpopular behind the F1 driver's circle...

#38 ensign14

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Posted 27 December 2001 - 20:17

What was the full story with Chris Lambert's father and Clay Regazzoni? Lambert was killed in an accident and his father blamed Clay, stoking up a campaign in the British press. Did anyone see the incident - the reports I read suggested it was a racing incident, and I cannot believe otherwise. But did this make Regga unpopular in Britain for a while?

#39 Jeroen Brink

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Posted 27 December 2001 - 21:34

Originally posted by Marcor
I'm very surprised that nobody add something about PATRESE and especially the 1978 season !!

Patrese finished second in Sweden but Peterson (who was third) asserted that he was faster than him and that he was blocked during nearly all the race. At Zandvoort there was a pile-up in the first lap of the race and Patrese was involved in it. At Monza it was worse. Brambilla and Peterson were seriously injured and Peterson died at the hospital the following day. The F1 drivers and especially James Hunt declared immediately that Patrese was guilty. He was even excluded in the US GP at Watkins Glen. After it was proved that Patrese was not really guilty but I'm sure he was unpopular behind the F1 driver's circle...


I do not think Patrese was that unpopular. The aspects mentioned are not too convincing to me.
The Italian Justice department had better do some research into the doctors's work on Peterson (or on the chaos after the crash of Rindt).

Especially towards the end of his career the sympathic Patrese garnered a fair amount of respect.

I am not sure whether he was mentioned yet, but to me Michael Schumacher should top this thread. :confused:

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#40 Martyj

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Posted 27 December 2001 - 22:18

Marcor, at the start of this thread, Patrese was excluded on the basis of the original question (re-read the first post for reference.)

That said, Patrese was a knee-jerk victim of a kangaroo court, and it had the opposite effect of creating a lot of sympathy for him. As Jeroen Bink stated, Patrese eventually earned lots of respect.

As for Engign14 question about Regazonni, yes it is widely acknowledged he was at fault in the accident. However, it was never a personal issue among most folks (despite however Lamberts father may feel) and Clay always ranked high among the most likeable guys.

#41 dmj

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Posted 02 January 2002 - 12:41

I wonder how no one yet mentioned Bertrand Gachot. He was pretty unpopular among taxi drivers, I remember... And he is directly responsible for getting MS into F1.

#42 Maldwyn

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Posted 02 January 2002 - 13:47

Originally posted by Jeroen Brink
I do not think Patrese was that unpopular.

Unpopular might not be the right word but Riccardo certainly gained a reputation as an aggressive racer in his first full season. It appears that this was not received very well by established stars. John Watson was quoted as saying "I don't feel at all confident racing with him" and Ronnie Peterson, normally a laid back character, was reportedly furious with his driving after the Swedish GP. Jackie Oliver, Arrows team owner at the time, defended Patrese and said "whenever you get a junior driver who is instantly successful, he is never liked by senior drivers. They are embarrassed or feel pressured, and so they are quick to criticise." Alan Rees, the Arrows team manager supported this view when he told me that senior drivers who were very strong politically "ganged up on him because he was the new boy".
The GPDA, headed by Niki Lauda, acted immediately to ban Patrese from the Watkins Glen GP and as the Italian has pointed out "by timing it when they did, it looked as if they were punishing me for the Monza accident. Psychologically, I had no problem with that, because I knew it hadn't been my fault. But it took a long time to forget how the other drivers treated me..."
Nigel Roebuck has said that one of the drivers (a major star but un-named) involved said this was the only incident in his career of which he felt truly ashamed.

#43 Twin Window

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Posted 30 October 2004 - 22:04

Originally posted by dmj

I wonder how no one yet mentioned Bertrand Gachot.

So do I! Nobody liked him when he was driving, and since then he's successfully continued to nurture his unpopularity on civvie street.

#44 Muzza

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Posted 30 October 2004 - 22:55

Originally posted by dmj
Pironi was my first F1 hero and I was really sad after Hockenheim and more so after his death. In Hockenheim Pironi hit Prost because an other driver (Piquet?) moved in front of Didier so he thought he makes space for him to pass. In fact, he was passing very slow Prost, so when Pironi floored the throttle an accident was inevitable. [...]


I believe it was Brian Henton (or was it Derek Daly?) who Didier moved aside in an overtaking maneuver. Prost was indeed slowly returning to the pits when he was hit by Pironi.

Piquet was actually at the back of the pack of cars that included Prost and Pironi, and was amongst the first to stop to help the French driver.


Originally posted by Martyj
Continuing the topic of unpopular drivers, a word (or question) about Jean-Pierre Beltoise. There is the lingering controversy about his responsibility in the death of Guinti (spelling?) I've never heard how this went down around the paddock with fellow drivers. Was there sympathy, blame, etc? One thing I do recall was a scathing editorial by one of the classic journalist (can't remember who it was. Jenkins perhaps?) who took the occassion to vent a general hatred for JP, based on Beltoise basic demeanor ever since he arrived on the GP scene. It mentioned he was uncooperative with journalist. And yet, I have read over the years that JP was generally liked by team members and fellow drivers.

Can anyone shed more light on this.


Originally posted by jmp85
about beltoise, iirc, he was blamed by much of the GP intelligencia. enzo ferrari never spoke his name again, only referring to him as "that french driver" (of course enzo was not happy about losing another italian driver). jpb was it seems not to blame though in this stupid incident. the only big name who stood up for him was fangio himself.[...]
cheers, jmp85



Originally posted by Carlos Jalife
About Beltoise: He wasn't all that popular. He caused Pedro's crash at Enna in 1967 with a stupid move and fans in Mexico booed him every year at the GP. Some others were afraid he was too wild, willing to take any risk but he mellowed later and lived to tell. He was not that good because he had some trouble with one of his arms, legacy of a motorcycle crash which prevented full motion -and yet he won Moaco in the rain, how do you explain?- and he was a bit of a show off, doing stunts, sitting in the pits bare chest (with huge scars that impressed me as an 11 year old).[...]


Beltoise was very unpopular amongst his peers - Lauda, the Fittipaldi brothers, Merzario, Revson and Peterson are some of those that "had a problem" with him, and manifested it. In my opinion the death of Giunti was not only factor, as Beltoise was quite cocky then. I don't think Depailler liked him much either (wasn't Depailler who called Beltoise "a fake"?).

I met Beltoise in Reims in 1999 and, to my surprise, he mentioned himself the issue of not "having better friends" in his peers and, as he stated, "not being liked by the Saxon media" (what may explain why the French media was most of the time fiercely "pro-Beltoise", as if to counterbalance that). This is something that is rather painful to him. It seems that years later things cooled down - Beltoise was very incisive on stating how good friends he was with Emerson and Wilson Fittipaldi, saying that several times during our conversation -, but that is definitely a subject that bothers him.


Muzza

#45 petefenelon

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Posted 31 October 2004 - 00:17

Thinking of "unpopular drivers" generally, I must say that I've never encountered a Paul Tracy fan - I can and do admire his skill in the car, but I've never been able to warm to him as a driver and it seems that a lot of people share that opinion. I'm told by people who've met him that these days he's a much mellower guy than he was in his early days (I've only ever exchanged a few words with him at an autograph session and he seemed personable enough!)

I know Paul has something of a reputation for "physical" driving and for occasionally benefiting from the way the rules are applied - but hey, isn't the most popular driver in contemporary F1 just the same?;)

#46 Muzza

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Posted 31 October 2004 - 00:39

Pete,

Just my two cents: I follow the "Champ Car scene" rather closely and I believe Tracy is actually quite appreciated by his peers - I just thought of Jud Larson when I was about to type these words: a very though competitor on track but the fairest and most honest man you can find in the paddock. There is no one less politically correct than Tracy in any major motorsport series in the world at the moment. I covered the Champ Car launch this year and Tracy words heavily critizing his boss Gerry Forsythe - during the team's press conference - for the sleazy handling of Patrick Carpentier's contract was one of the most memorable motorsport-related speeches I have ever heard. Think of someone like Rosberg, Piquet, Depailler.

Some drivers I am sure would call themselves Paul Tracy's friends are Dario Franchitti, Patrick Carpentier, Michel Valiante, Mário Haberfeld and Sébastien Bourdais.

Also, Paul Tracy is definitely the most popular Champ Car driver amongst fans today - especially after the polemic end of the 2002 Indy 500 and his staunchy anti-IRL statements (before and after this race). Paul Tracy was actually the person that coined the expression "crapwagon" to refer to the IRL - now widely used... Bumper stickers saying "Paul Tracy for Prime Minister" (similar to the "Dan Gurney for President" of 1964) can be bought in kiosks at the Canadian Champ Car races.

The least liked current Champ Car driver is, definitely, Bruno Junqueira - by knowledgeable fans and drivers as well...

#47 petefenelon

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Posted 31 October 2004 - 03:41

That's interesting - PT is very unpopular with fans on this side of the Pond, Junqueira is fairly popular! - that could be because Junqueira came up through "European style" formulae, mind... Tracy is I think generally respected but not liked by the British fans.

#48 dfiedler

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Posted 31 October 2004 - 06:24

Thinking about this, I know which drivers I'm not great fans of, but this is personal to myself. When you go back to the early years of racing, all drivers got along as it was a society. They all had their moments though, with certain incidents.

I would however like to know how F1 circles treated Lella Lombardi, whom was described to me by my father as the token female f1 driver. Not sure if I would credit my father with too much wisdom in these matters though.

#49 Maldwyn

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Posted 31 October 2004 - 07:10

Originally posted by FEV
In fact in 1982 one driver was not very popular among his peers : Teo Fabi who was clearly on Jean-Marie Balestre's side during the FIASCO war. He did not take part in the Kyalami revolution and its Lauda-Pironi led strike.

Fabi did initially take part in the drivers 'strike' at Kyalami and joined everyone in the hotel. Keke Rosberg tells to story of how a key was left on a table for everyone to have access to the toilets, and they were all on trust to return it. Fabi, apparently, took the opportunity to leave during the night and did not return.

#50 chofar

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Posted 31 October 2004 - 14:27

Seeing this thread deviating to another Pironi-Villeneuve argument, no wonder why Jabouille was not so popular at the time. The man was (and still is) very silencious, almost shy, he was older than his compatriots at the time, and BTW these compatriots were numerous : 7 in 1978, and even more after. And as already said some of them had more PR talent than him. I am anyway glad to find an occasion to say all the good that this guy did in all his carreer : he was part of every significant french adventure in motirsport in the 70's-80's : he drove Matra prototypes, Alpines prototypes (and then Renault-Alpines), The first F1 Renaults and IIRC when he left F1 , he made some tests for the 205 T16 Groupe B for Peugeot, and was part of the 905 crew in the early 90's.
And i never heard a bad word on him. All that could be said was 'unlucky' . Was he yoo hard with the cars or was he testing different options ? After all, he was considered as a 'driving engineer' (can't remember if he was really a engineer). And last year he was still competing with a small Z3 in the french GT championship... discretly. Some of his most renown compatriots still have bills to pay before thinking about doing that. So, to the french public, he is not so unpopular. For the 'other countries' public, maybe he was just another french guy.