Gian- Claudio Giuseppe " Clay" Regazzoni ( born September 5, 1939 in Porza, † December 15, 2006 near Fontevivo in Parma, Italy) was a Swiss racing driver. He started from 1970 to 1980 in Formula 1 and 1974 Vice World Champion.
Clay Regazzoni began his career in 1963, went from 1965 in Formula 3 and joined Brabham in 1967 by the Italian team Tecno. The following year he went into the Formula 2. In 1969 he drove already briefly Ferrari, but went back to Tecno. In 1970 he began in an advanced age of 30 years, his Formula 1 career at Ferrari and immediately became third in the drivers' world championship. In parallel, he drove into this year in Formula 2 at Tecno, where he was European champion.
After a brief interlude in 1973 B.R.M. Regazzoni came together with his teammate Niki Lauda Ferrari back. The duo Lauda / Regazzoni led in the following years, then unsuccessful " Scuderia " back to the top in three years won Lauda and Regazzoni twelve times three times. After a collision caused by him with Niki Lauda at the Grand Prix of Great Britain 1976 in Brands Hatch Regazzoni had to leave at the end of the year the Ferrari team. In 1977 he moved to the Ensign team of Mo Nunn, took the five -seater championship points and missed the race in Fuji in second place by an engine failure. In 1978 he became a member of the Shadow team, with which he could not attain high rankings. His team-mate there was Hans -Joachim Stuck.
For 1979, he was obliged by Frank Williams as second pilot with Alan Jones. After initial difficulties Regazzoni finished with the Williams FW 07 ranked fifth in the drivers' championship, scoring the race in Silverstone first GP win for the Williams team. Nevertheless, Williams brought in for 1980 Carlos Reutemann as a new pilot because he wanted to have his own words not the best, but the fastest number two in the team. Regazzoni then returned to Ensign.
But in the fourth World Cup race in 1980 ended his career in a serious accident. At the Grand Prix in Long Beach Regazzoni was in fourth place, as in the braking zone on the Shore Line Drive straight line ( the fastest part of the track ) be manufactured from titanium brake pedal broke. He raced in the unrestrained standing in the outlet zone Brabham BT49 of Argentinian Ricardo Zunino and in the behind of car tires poorly protected concrete wall. The recovery of the Swiss from the totally crumpled Ensign took some time. Regazzoni was transferred with multiple lower leg fractures and head and vertebrae injuries in the St. Mary Hospital. The spine injury turned out to be so heavy that he was a paraplegic ever since.
In 1973 Regazzoni escaped death narrowly, as the Grand Prix at Kyalami South Africa after an accident with Mike Hailwood and Jacky Ickx his BRM burst into flames. However Hailwood quickly rushed to the rescue and pulled the unconscious man from the burning cockpit. Regazzoni came so of them with burns. How lucky he was in this accident, just weeks later showed at the Grand Prix of the Netherlands in Zandvoort, where the Briton Roger Williamson also had a fire accident, but any help came too late.
Regazzoni played a total of 132 Grand Prix, won it five pole positions, 5 wins and 212 championship points and went 15 fastest laps. His biggest success was the World Championship in 1974. Due to his indomitable By staying power he was soon called The Indestructible.
Despite his paraplegia Regazzoni drove on race. With a hand throttle device he took in the eighties and nineties, several times in the Paris-Dakar Rally and other similar races in part. In the new millennium, he drove several karting, cycling (on special tricycle ) and auto racing ( GP Tunis in 2004 on a 1964 Ford Mustang 289, Tour de España 2004 Lancia Aurelia BT20 2500 GT, etc ). In parallel, Regazzoni dedicated for medical research projects for paraplegics and worked as a television commentator. 1996 FIA refused his request for a license for the sports car world championship.
On 15 December 2006 Clay Regazzoni collided on the highway in Fontevivo west of Parma in northern Italy in his Chrysler Voyager with a truck. According to the Italian news agency ANSA, he was instantly killed as accident cause sudden nausea Regazzoni is suspected since the time of the accident prevailed best road and visibility conditions and there is allegedly no evidence of excessive speed. Clay Regazzoni left behind his partner, his wife and their two children.