Didier Pironi

 
In his Formula One career Didier Pironi won 3 races, achieved 13 podiums, and scored a total of 101 championship points. He also secured 4 pole positions. |  Pironi was the winner of the 24 hours of Le Mans in 1978, with Jean-Pierre Jaussaud

FACTFILE

Name: Didier Pironi
DOB: Mar 26 1952
Place Of Birth: Paris
Nationality: French
Most Races For: Tyrrell - 31
No. Of Races: 70
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PROFILE
Didier Pironi

Born on March 26th, 1952, in Northern France, Didier Pironi was fast, aggressive, and ambitious, which was evident from the fact that he wanted to be the first Formula One champion from France. Studying to become an engineer at first, Pironi changed his mind after joining the Paul Ricard Driving School, where he won the Volant Shell award in 1969. Although he wanted to race cars he completed his engineering first on his parents’ insistence before going on to become a professional racing driver.

Like all young French drivers, Pironi started off racing in the Formula Renault series, winning the Formula Renault Championship in 1974 and the Formula Super Renault Championship in 1976. Such was his talent that he was offered a drive in Formula One to race alongside Patrick Depailler in Tyrell in 1978. Pironi’s first race at Argentina did not turn out the way he hoped it to be. Qualifying at 23rd and finishing on 14th, Pironi had a forgettable debut, but he bounced back in the second race of the season in Brazil. Qualifying 19th he managed to finish sixth to secure his first points finish. Since then till the end of the season the Frenchman finished in the points five times despite qualifying at the back of the grid.  In his second season he teamed up with childhood friend Jean-Pierre Jarier at Tyrell, and finished on the podium twice and collected 14 points that year.

In 1980, Pironi moved on to Equipe Ligier Gitanes and scored his first race victory at the Belgian Grand Prix. Despite five podium finishes that year, he could manage only a fifth place in the standings. The following season, Ferrari signed him on to team up with Gilles Villeneuve. Despite being the senior pro in the team, Villeneuve did not let Pironi feel like a number two, treating him as a friend and an equal. But so fierce was Pironi’s ambition to become the world champion that it did not stop him from taking advantage of Villeneuve’s congeniality. He overtook the Canadian driver at the 1982 San Marino Grand Prix to take the race win, where it was believed from the way Pironi was driving that he would not challenge for the win.

 In the following race at Belgium, Villeneuve was killed in a crash and Pironi’s relationship with the team began to sour. In 1982, Pironi was all set to win the title with a fast car at his disposal. But after a violent crash in the 1982 German Grand Prix his legs were damaged to such an extent that he had to quit racing. Until that accident, he was the championship contender but after that Rosberg took over and eventually the title which left Pironi at the second place in the drivers’ standings, his best ever finish.

In 1986, it seemed that Pironi would make a comeback after he tested for the French AGS team. Although he showed that he was quick enough to race in Formula One, Pironi decided to participate in powerboat racing instead. On August 23, 1987, Pironi was killed in an accident near the Isle of Wight that also took the life of two of his crew members.

Often blamed for the death of Giles Villeneuve, and allegedly arrogant on the track, Didier Pironi was never going to be a front runner in the contest of popularity. But put the man in a fast car, and one could safely bet on him to win a race.

-Rohhan A Divanji


  • YEARS
  • TEAMS
  • ENGINES
  • GPs
  • CIRCUITS
STATISTICS
YEARS
YearTeamClaGPs WinsPolesPods FLsPts
1978Tyrrell15th1600007
1979Tyrrell10th15002014
1980Ligier5th14125232
1981Ferrari13th1500019
1982Ferrari2nd10226239
Total 7034135101

Didier Pironi - HEAD TO HEAD (TEAM-MATES)

Didier Pironi - Season Performance

According to stats...

  • In his Formula One career Didier Pironi won 3 races, achieved 13 podiums, and scored a total of 101 championship points. He also secured 4 pole positions.
  • Pironi was the winner of the 24 hours of Le Mans in 1978, with Jean-Pierre Jaussaud

QUOTES ON DIDIER PIRONI

"SLOW means to be careful not to crash but there was no restriction on overtaking."
– Didier Pironi



OTHER DRIVERS

Most successful drivers to have raced with Didier Pironi



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