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Riccardo Paletti


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#1 cheesy poofs

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Posted 13 June 2002 - 18:01

June 13 1982...

It's been 20 years since poor Riccardo Paletti lost his life in the tragic Canadian GP.
Gone but not forgotten.

May he rest in peace. :cry:

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#2 Gary C

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Posted 13 June 2002 - 18:05

you wouldn't believe it was 20 years...................RIP.

#3 stavelot

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Posted 13 June 2002 - 20:37

Incredibile that an accident on the starting grid can take the live.

I saw the accident in the TV and hoped that the poor Riccardo didn't get any serious injuries. I thought on the grid accident with the Arrows mechanic Luckett 1981 in Zolder. After got the serious injuries Luckett come back some weeks later.

#4 LittleChris

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Posted 13 June 2002 - 22:04

I remember it well

:cry: :cry: :cry:

#5 ghinzani

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Posted 14 June 2002 - 22:04

I have only ever seen the pictures of the wrecked Osella in GPI magazine, but I read an article by Roebuck in an Autosport of the time that said that there was a cameraman filming the accident who was actually getting in Pironi and the marshalls way as they tried to help poor Riccardo. Has anyone ever seen this footage?

What might Palleti have achieved? he had good backing from Pioneer and as somewhat of a late starter who had virtually no experience when he went into F2 he had'nt really shown his potential... The fact that Enzo Osella never ran anyone in his second car for the rest of the season was a nice mark of respect.

R.I.P. Palleti

#6 chooch

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Posted 15 June 2002 - 00:18

I saw that footage. It was shown in french in Montreal later that year or early next. It was, I remmerber, what youd expect - a lot of shaky pictures of a guy trapped in his car and then fire explodes. I beleive it was shown during a documentary on GV (not the Forumale Villeneuve but another superior one) which Ive never seen again. 20 years...isnt there a track named after him in Italy? The race was delayed a long time - I remember the fire spreading a smoky haze over the island. There is a good desc of the whole awful incident in Watkins book.

#7 maxim

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Posted 15 June 2002 - 14:28

Originally posted by chooch
...isnt there a track named after him in Italy?


Yes, there is. It's Varano de Melegari, not far from Parma.
Here's an accurate trackmap: http://www.varano.it...l/Show?_id=e433.

RIP Riccardo :cry:

#8 Keir

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Posted 15 June 2002 - 20:39

I happened to have been there that day, albeit down the track from the accident. It started out as a bad day with the weather being quite cold.
Things didn't get better.

Keep racing, Riccardo!

#9 Buford

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Posted 15 June 2002 - 23:42

I have the accident on tape from the official broadcast but I have not looked at it in years. However, I do not remember any photographer getting in the way. Rescuers ran up right away because it was right in front of the pits where there could me nowhere on the course where less people were. There was a fire. Then it blew up and they all jumped back but they got right back on it in a second or two. The fire didn't kill him anyway. His chest was crushed by the steering wheel in the impact. They could not have saved him no matter how fast they were on it, and they were on it fast.

#10 MattFoster

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Posted 16 June 2002 - 07:20

Originally posted by Buford
I have the accident on tape from the official broadcast but I have not looked at it in years. However, I do not remember any photographer getting in the way. Rescuers ran up right away because it was right in front of the pits where there could me nowhere on the course where less people were. There was a fire. Then it blew up and they all jumped back but they got right back on it in a second or two. The fire didn't kill him anyway. His chest was crushed by the steering wheel in the impact. They could not have saved him no matter how fast they were on it, and they were on it fast.



I have this race on tape also and can confirm that there is no obvious photographer hampering rescue efforts.

This was the first fatality I had seen in a F1 race live (I was 15 at the time) and it still sends a shiver when I think about it.

#11 Buford

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Posted 16 June 2002 - 09:21

It brings to mind the best rescue I ever saw. Bergers crash at Imola at the same place that killed Senna. There was a very big fire. All around the cockpit. He was not moving and it looked very very bad. The announcer said, "Oh this is a tragedy, such a tragedy." He was just sitting there burning for 5 - 10 seconds. Where was everybody? Then a marshall ran up with an extinguisher. One was going to be no way enough. It was hopless but he started dumping it in the cockpit area and in short bursts, runing a circle around the car. The fire was massive but he was holding it off just enough around the cockpit. Then another guy arrived and started helping. It was a losing battle but they were doing just enough. Then a car pulled up and they opened the trunk and a bunch of guys arrived and grabbed bottles from the car and suddenly they had some real power and they put it out fairly quickly.

It still looked very bad but it turned out he was hardly burned at all and I think only missed one race. It was a brilliant rescue. I had been to Italy and no offence to the Italians I hope (though it will be I guess) but that place didn't seem to be very well run. Pretty damned disorganized mess. Funny and wacky but a pretty goofy place. About the last place I would have expected a world class fire rescue would have been by the Italians. But they sure pulled it off that day.

#12 AlesiUK

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Posted 16 June 2002 - 11:17

i dont remember paletti since i was too young,but i have seen the incident on tv and it strikes me as being very similar to the startline incident at imola94,when lamy hit jj lehto,lucky no one was killed there.

the fact that berger survived his accident is a miracle,all credit to the marshalls involved.

#13 chooch

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Posted 17 June 2002 - 22:25

Originally posted by MattFoster



I have this race on tape also and can confirm that there is no obvious photographer hampering rescue efforts.

This was the first fatality I had seen in a F1 race live (I was 15 at the time) and it still sends a shiver when I think about it.


The cameraman was definetley there - whether he was in the way was Watkins opinion.

#14 rdrcr

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Posted 18 June 2002 - 12:43

Hard to believe that it's been 20 years already.

I was there as well... a tragic and horrid accident. It happened right in front of me. I had left my group in the grandstands across from the pits to watch the start at the fence. I watched as the safety crew tried to extract poor Riccardo from his car. After just a few moments, I just knew it would be in vein, and turned away. I don't recall any photographer being in the way, but it was long ago, and really a frantic scene.

Thanks for remembering his life.

#15 Jerry Lee

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Posted 18 June 2002 - 15:56

I have an mpeg of this incident and I can see the cameraman in question. (I know most people frown upon having such mpeg's, but they can be of use at times like this) It seems that he may be in the way a time or two but I imagine he was mostly a nuisance to the rescuers as he wasn't helping when he could have been.

#16 cheesy poofs

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Posted 14 May 2007 - 13:58

...and now almost 25 years on.

#17 ex Rhodie racer

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Posted 14 May 2007 - 14:43

BTW, the film of the accident is on youtube. First thing I thought when I saw it was, why doesn´t someone tell that bloody cameraman to either help or bugger off. He was in amongst the rescue crew, so yes, I imagine he was getting in peoples way. Heartless sod.

#18 David M. Kane

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Posted 14 May 2007 - 15:03

God bless your soul Riccardo; and God bless that Italian firefighter at Imola.

#19 Bruno

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Posted 15 May 2007 - 06:18

je me souviens de ce terrible départ du GP du Canada à Montréal. . . c'était terrible. insoutenable.
de plus, les parents de Riccardo étaient là pour la première fois.

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#20 Alan Cox

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Posted 15 May 2007 - 07:38

Posted Image

#21 Greatest

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Posted 15 May 2007 - 16:47

In an Italian made VHS film called "Turbo Time" there was quite a lot of film material of Gilles Villeneuve (especially the accident and his funeral) and also the accident of Riccardo. There was also a clip where Riccardo was shown carried away on a strecher. I also remember comparatively well the commentators words and the message went something like this: "He will remain forever young in our memories". R.I.P., Riccardo! :(

#22 ex Rhodie racer

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Posted 15 May 2007 - 17:49

Originally posted by Alan Cox
Posted Image


He looked like an intelligent and intense young man. Who knows what greatness he would have achieved?
RIP Riccardö.

#23 Jerome

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Posted 15 May 2007 - 20:48

Should Ricardo have driven that car? Should he have received a superlicense? As I remember, most people thought Riccardo's accident was due to inexperience... he was looking down (at his revcounter?) just before he crashed into Pironi's stalled car.

I really felt for his mother (who was present in the crowd, to witness her sons only second start in F1 (the other one was Imola). It's time like these, puts doubt in my heart about motorracing.

#24 f1steveuk

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Posted 16 May 2007 - 08:40

Always reminds me of De Adamich to look at. Terrible accident. In the FOM film archive there is footage from several other cameras, including the camera man on the track, and the collision from the pit wall, and the impact is horrible, although difficult to tell if he was looking at his rev counter (why would you?).

How time flies, but we never forget...................

#25 ensign14

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Posted 16 May 2007 - 08:51

Originally posted by Jerome.Inen
Should Ricardo have driven that car? Should he have received a superlicense? As I remember, most people thought Riccardo's accident was due to inexperience... he was looking down (at his revcounter?) just before he crashed into Pironi's stalled car.

He had had podia in F2 so he was certainly qualified. Derek Ongaro thought he was looking at his gearbox. 99% of the time he would not have had a problem as there would not have been anyone stalled on the front row...

#26 Marcel Visbeen

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Posted 16 May 2007 - 08:55

Originally posted by f1steveuk
Always reminds me of De Adamich to look at. Terrible accident. In the FOM film archive there is footage from several other cameras, including the camera man on the track, and the collision from the pit wall, and the impact is horrible, although difficult to tell if he was looking at his rev counter (why would you?).

How time flies, but we never forget...................


Excuse my ignorance and being off topic, but what is the FOM film archive?

#27 Valvert

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Posted 16 May 2007 - 09:38

Originally posted by f1steveuk
In the FOM film archive there is footage from several other cameras, including the camera man on the track,


I accidently spotted that clip on Youtube awhile ago. It's one of the most bizarre and unpleasant things I ever saw. Just what was that man thinking??

#28 f1steveuk

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Posted 16 May 2007 - 09:47

Originally posted by Marcel Visbeen


Excuse my ignorance and being off topic, but what is the FOM film archive?


Sorry. I worked for Bernie Ecclestone's Formula One Management (FOM) and there is a very large film archive there, mainly from BCE's organisation, but also older footage, and everything (if possible) where accidents have occured.

#29 Twin Window

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Posted 16 May 2007 - 11:20

Originally posted by ex Rhodie racer

Heartless sod.

The cameraman in question was Brian Kreisky who made his millions largely out of filming other people's misfortune; the Havoc video series being one such example.

Kreisky died under extremely ironic circumstances when he crashed his light aircraft into a warehouse shortly after take-off from Blackbushe just before Christmas 2000. Sky News broadcast live footage of the scene showing smoke from the burning wreckage billowing out of the building. Exactly the way he used footage he'd captured of stricken racing drivers, in fact - the only difference being that the accident itself wasn't captured on film...

Riccardo was a very nice chap; quiet, unassuming, and in many ways the antithesis of an archetypal 1980s racing driver. Contrary to popular opinion at the time he was more talented than given credit for, and suffered unjustly as a consequence of being funded by his father's company which imported Pioneer goods into Italy IIRC.

At the start of the '82 season I arranged a calendar-poster for Denim Italy which featured Riccardo in the main pic - a really nice shot - and was inserted into Autosport. As usual, some run-on copies were available and so I rang Riccardo to see if he'd like some for his own use. "No, it's ok thank you - I have one already on my wall here". He'd missed my point, but it emphasised that there was simply no ego to the man.

Salazar got on well with him (I think they shared a mattress during the Kyalami drivers' strike) and was quite upset about the accident - in fact he was caught-up in it - which was unusual for him.

#30 f1steveuk

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Posted 16 May 2007 - 12:19

Blimey, that was Brian?? Funny half the freelance cameramen FOM took to GPs in the F1+ days did work for him at Greenlight, some even had a good word to say for him, sometimes, if there was a full moon, etc etc. Why doesn't this surprise me?

I quite liked Paletti's helmet colours, but only knew of him what I had read through GPI, but remember he was supposed to have thrashed Jumper Jarier in indentical cars somewhere...

#31 bigbrickz

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Posted 16 May 2007 - 16:44

I was struck by how involved Pironi was in the rescue effort, it wasn't something that I remembered from the accident. Or is just a sign of how things have changed since then?

#32 Jerome

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Posted 16 May 2007 - 18:31

Originally posted by ensign14

He had had podia in F2 so he was certainly qualified. Derek Ongaro thought he was looking at his gearbox. 99% of the time he would not have had a problem as there would not have been anyone stalled on the front row...


F2 at the time was a dying spec, and a podiumfinish was not the same as, say, a podiumplace in Gp2 now.

Perhaps Twin Window or somebody else very close to motorsport knows this better. But from what I understood at the time Riccardo Paletti was too inexperienced, and not crafty enough (sorry) to drive a F1 car. That's why I have always found his accident so tragic. A young man with a passion for a sport that was not really his, that's how it sticks in my mind.

But I could be very much mistaken.

#33 David M. Kane

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Posted 16 May 2007 - 19:59

Bigbrickz and others:

The reason Pironi was so involved is because this accident was just weeks after Gilles fatal crash at Zolder.

I just looked at the YouTube video 3 times. IMHO he didn't see Pironi. When you have been in a F1
car just a few times, you are very conservative with your starts for 2 reasons. First you are still getting use to the bigger tires, more power (in this case TURBO POWER), so you drive in a straight line, you don't weave all over the place, you don't want to wreak and piss your owner off; AND you don't want to raise the ire of the new "club" you are trying to join. Secondly, it's hard to see who is in front of the guy you're behind because you're so low down and so close...plus the TURBO is just starting to kick in. The guy in front pulled over just late enough that Riccardo couldn't react or froze for just a millisecond.

Hardly the mistake of an incompenate. I'd say it was a racing accident; and I applaud the young man for trying and daring to live his dream.

Trying doing a standing start in a 125cc shifter kart with other karts in front of you and tell me how it works out for you...Doing it in a Formula Ford is one thing, doing a standing start with something with real quicks is a whole different beast!

#34 Jerome

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Posted 16 May 2007 - 20:12

Originally posted by David M. Kane


I'd say it was a racing accident; and I applaud the young man for trying and daring to live his dream.


I have to admit I know not enough about Riccardo to state anything conclusive about his abilities. Never the less, those were still times that money could really get you into F1 - unregarding of your driving skills or experience. And my impression at the time - and one that stayed with me - was that Paletti was not experienced enough, and was driving for a team that did not have a great reputation regarding the safety of their cars. His teammate Jarier, the first driver, refused to drive the last year of that season, because once again a wheel came loose from his Osella. 'Osella is a killer,' Jarier said at the time.

No, that did not have anything to do with the accident. But all in all, my memory does not paint a rosy picture of why and how Paletti drove for Osella.

By the way: The Osella was a normally aspirated car, Ford Cosworth driven. Most cars in 1982 were. (Worldchampion: Keke Rosberg in the Williams-Ford). Exceptions: Renault, Toleman, Ferrari and Brabham. In that fateful Montreal race, by the way, Piquet won in the turbo Brabham, and Patrese, teammate, became second in the normally aspirated Brabham. Piquet switched about three times that year, between the Cosworth and the BMW turbo car.

#35 Twin Window

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Posted 16 May 2007 - 20:47

Originally posted by Jerome.Inen

F2 at the time was a dying spec...

In 1980/81? I don't think so, Jerome!

With regard to the cause, the only theory I've ever heard - back in 1982 - was that in all likelyhood he was glancing at his rev-counter at the crucial moment. From memory, this was his first grid start in an F1 car (the other - Imola - I believe he made from the pitlane) and thus he would more than likely have been pretty keyed-up as well as not wanting to buzz the engine.

Someone mentioned his mother in an earlier post; unfortunately she was spectating from the pitlane almost precisely opposite the front row of the grid...

#36 cheesy poofs

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Posted 16 May 2007 - 20:53

Originally posted by David M. Kane
Bigbrickz and others:

The guy in front pulled over just late enough that Riccardo couldn't react or froze for just a millisecond.



You've nailed it correctly Dave! Its exactly what I think happened. I've read that the Osella was stuck in 3rd gear and travelling at more than 120mph when he crashed in the back of the Ferrari.

#37 Fiorentina 1

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Posted 17 May 2007 - 00:54

The best photos of the crash, frame by frame were taken by of all people Christie Brinkley (yes, her!) as she stood in the pit lane. The sequence is in Autosprint #25 of June 22-29 1982. That cameraman in yellow is sceen filming Pironi stalled, but turned around to film cars going by when Paletti hit (so he missed the impact shot). There is something interesting about her sequence of shots, when Pironi gets out there is no smoke coming out of the Osella, but when he arrives to the car there is white smoke coming out the lower back (almost like tire smoke). Do you think it was the fire system?

#38 David M. Kane

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Posted 17 May 2007 - 03:23

Christie Brinkley was dating Oliver Chandon de Brailles who was racing Formula Atlantic at the time. He was the heir to Moet-Chandon. Unfortunately, he too was killed in a racing accident in 1983. They had met at Studio 54 in 1982.

Beautiful woman, but looking for love in all the wrong places...

#39 ensign14

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Posted 17 May 2007 - 08:10

Originally posted by Jerome.Inen


F2 at the time was a dying spec, and a podiumfinish was not the same as, say, a podiumplace in Gp2 now.

:confused: With Alboreto, Boutsen, Johansson, the underrated Geoff Lees and Corrado Fabi, Mike Thackwell and Roberto Guerrero amongst others it was a lot more competitive than many other series since.

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#40 Jerome

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Posted 17 May 2007 - 08:29

Originally posted by ensign14

:confused: With Alboreto, Boutsen, Johansson, the underrated Geoff Lees and Corrado Fabi, Mike Thackwell and Roberto Guerrero amongst others it was a lot more competitive than many other series since.


Perhaps I've got it all wrong, but I remember that though F2 was very competitive, there were already some serious funding problems for F2 teams. (talented drivers and competitiveness say nothing about the health of the racing series itself, alas). Which meant that pure paydrivers were slowly seeping into that class. And now I am going to be very unnationalistic: in the seventies Dutch driver Gijs van Lennep won a F2 race. In the eighties Huub Rothengatter also won a F2 race. Huub's a nice guy, but there's a big gap between him and Gijs...

By the way: I am completely willing to change my opinion on the Riccardo Paletti accident and his driving abilities. Again: I am working from memory here. I've looked up the times of his two qualifyings and he was 2.1 and 1.2 seconds slower than Jarier. Which is a smaller gap than I would have reckoned.

#41 MCS

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Posted 17 May 2007 - 09:24

van Lennep won an F2 race ? Didn't know that.

#42 Jerome

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Posted 17 May 2007 - 09:27

Originally posted by MCS
van Lennep won an F2 race ? Didn't know that.


Oh sod. I made a mistake. Van Lennep won a F5000 race. My mistake. Aargh! :blush:

#43 Twin Window

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Posted 17 May 2007 - 11:00

Originally posted by Jerome.Inen

Van Lennep won a F5000 race.

Van Lennep won the F5000 championship...

#44 Mallory Dan

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Posted 17 May 2007 - 11:19

Fwiw, I too think F2 was excellent in 1981, when Paletti had his 2 podia. Works cars from March, Ralt, Maurer, Minardi, Toleman, plus some decent private teams, it was probably the last decent F2 season.

IIRC Paletti was 2nd or 3rd at the wet Silverstone, so that may have been a little lucky, can't recall now where his other one was, but early in the year I think, as he lead the series early on. When the 'better' teams/drivers got their cars sorted, he slipped down to midfield.

I'd say he was an OK driver, but no more than that, and certainly, on merit alone, there were many more 1981 F2 drivers who were better qualified for an F1 seat. Money talked then, as ever...

#45 charles r

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Posted 17 May 2007 - 13:25

Originally posted by Mallory Dan

[I'd say he was an OK driver, but no more than that, and certainly, on merit alone, there were many more 1981 F2 drivers who were better qualified for an F1 seat. Money talked then, as ever... [/B]


Spot on, and the "what if" thread could start on that basis...

#46 ian senior

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Posted 17 May 2007 - 13:31

Originally posted by Mallory Dan
I'd say he was an OK driver, but no more than that, and certainly, on merit alone, there were many more 1981 F2 drivers who were better qualified for an F1 seat. Money talked then, as ever...


So, a kind of Italian Mike Beuttler, but a few years later.

#47 charles r

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Posted 17 May 2007 - 13:50

Not quite....;)

#48 Paolo

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Posted 17 May 2007 - 14:10

There was an one page interview to Paletti in Autosprint (or was it Rombo? ), in 1982, before the start of the season.
He said that he would have personally preferred to stay in F2 another year, but the sponsor (Pioneer)
wanted F1, so F1 he went.
He also was asked what he liked of F1. His answer: "I like money and women, and I think F1 can give me that".
As an idealistic teenaeger I did not appreciate this sentence at all.
The older I grow , the more I subscribe his position...

#49 Jerome

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Posted 17 May 2007 - 14:40

Originally posted by Twin Window
Van Lennep won the F5000 championship...


I am really out of form, today... :blush:

#50 MonzaDriver

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Posted 17 May 2007 - 16:19

Originally posted by Twin Window
.................
Someone mentioned his mother in an earlier post; unfortunately she was spectating from the pitlane almost precisely opposite the front row of the grid...


Yes Twin,
I remember clearly a footage of her in this position. And the bad luck, the grief, and the disperation of this mother, in my mind is much bigger than the fact that Riccardo Paletti payed for his driving seats. Just like many others persons.

Just like David Kane suggest the car in front of him swerved at the very last tenth of a second,
and I dont think it's possible sitting so low with all this wheels and wings in front, judge what is happening many rows ahead.

To start in a GP, the dream of everyone here, he too was following his dream, and if you think about, he died precisely on the start-finish line of his very first GP................too much of a cost.

The F1 of those years were really fragile, with the legs of the driver criminally positioned
between the front suspensions. And he stroke precisely the gearbox of Pironi also that were real Bad Luck for Riccardo.

Even now I cannot stand the idea of this mother looking at the whole scene just some meters close
I really hope that the idea: that his son were doing what he loved most, helped to releive his grief during this years. All my solidarity to her.

MonzaDriver.