BREAKING: F1 mourns the passing of legendary Renault driver at the age of 80

F1 mourns the passing of legendary Renault driver at the age of 80

Jean-Pierre Jabouille, the first Renault driver to win a Grand Prix passed away aged 80.


Jean-Pierre Jabouille, the legendary French F1 driver passed away this Thursday, February 2, aged 80. After the car manufacturing giant’s entry in 1977, the  Frenchman played a huge role in establishing Renault as a major force in the top tier of motorsport.

In 1979 he recorded a historic first Grand Prix win for his team on home soil at the Paul Ricard circuit. A statement from the current Renault Alpine team read: “A humble racing driver, brilliant engineer, and a pioneer of our sport. Jean-Pierre was a true racer”.

“He spearheaded Renault’s journey into F1 in 1977 with his resilient and dare-to-do attitude. He was Renault’s first Grand Prix winner in 1979, a landmark moment in Renault’s journey in Formula 1”, it continued.

The statement concluded: “His determination and dedication to succeed inspired many, and these values remain central to the current team in its now blue colours of Alpine. We are where we are today because of Jean-Pierre, and his legacy lives on”.

Jabouille was a part of the Renault Formula One project from the very beginning. He was a fully qualified engineer and helped to develop the team’s turbo engines, with which he became the first F1 driver to win in a turbo-charged car.

The French speedster drove his Renault to the chequered flag for the final time at the 1980 Austrian Grand Prix. His racing career ended abruptly after a nasty crash in Canada, where he broke his leg. At that time, his team had already lined Alain Prost up as their new driver for the 1981 season anyway.

An attempt at a comeback sadly failed when Jabouille failed to qualify in two out of four outings for Talbot Ligier. The team ruled him to be unfit and he was forced into retirement. During his career, from the late 1960s to the early 1990s, Jabouille also raced for Alpine, Matra, Sauber and Peugeot in the iconic 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Stefano Domenicali, the current CEO of the Formula One Group tweeted: “I am saddened by the news that JeanPierre Jabouille has passed away. He gave so much to motorsport and F1 and we cherish his memory and achievements. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this sad time”.

The Formula One Twitter account posted: “He gave so much to motorsport and F1, and we cherish his memory and achievements” Two-time Grand Prix winner JeanPierre Jabouille has sadly passed away”.

Current F1 star Esteban Ocon tweeted: “A great man has left us. I salute the memory of Jean-Pierre Jabouille, a legend of French sport who forever marked the history of F1 and Renault. Rest in peace champion, and thank you for everything”.


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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at