Jacques Laffite

Jacques -Henri Laffite Sabin ( born November 21, 1943 in Paris ) is a French racing driver who drove from 1974 to 1986 in Formula 1. In 176 Grand Prix races, he won six victories, seven pole positions and 228 World Cup points. 1979 to 1981, he came fourth in the drivers' world championship. Laffite was also a sports car drivers; In 1975, he won together with Arturo Merzario in an Alfa Romeo 33TT12 the 1000 km Nürburgring. He also drove in the DTM and the FIA ​​GT3 European Championship races.

Jacques Laffite is married to Bernadette and has two daughters named Camille and Marguerite; The latter is also a racing driver.

  • 3.1 Career stations
  • 3.2 Statistics in Formula 1 3.2.1 Grand Prix wins
  • 3.2.2 Individual Results

Childhood and youth

Laffite grew up the son of a lawyer in Paris. He spent his childhood in the world of the French upper class and attended good schools. His interests were determined from the sport. He quickly became a good tennis players, skiers and ice skaters. In the winter of 1958, he met his future brother in law Jean -Pierre Jabouille know. Both completed a little later together the military. Finally, it was Jabouille, which began to get excited for motorsports. Laffite moved initially with more sympathy.

After misslungenem high school he worked as a mechanic his friend Jabouille. Without much mechanical knowledge managed Jabouille and Laffite again and again to bring their cars to work. All this happened at his own expense.


Beginnings as a racer

Jean Pierre Jabouille could soon first successes as a race driver. So he made in 1968 the French industrialist Hubert Giraud attention. This inquired after a visit to the shop, why Laffite driving not racing. As Giraud learned that Laffite was penniless, he financed him a Formula Francesco race car. The condition was that Laffite the car had to build themselves. So it took some time before he could go first race. The interval used Laffite, by participating in the racing school École Winfield. At a talent competition, the second place was his first success as a racer. This second place, however, meant a lot more. He secured a paid Laffite season in Formula 3 Thus began his career much more professional than was originally assumed.

Formula 3 and Formula Renault

After a year with a martini chassis in Formula 3 Laffite moved in 1970 in the Formula Renault. Here, however, he experienced a disaster: The completely uncertain about fast Formula Renault cars were controlled by reckless young drivers. Laffite, after all, already 27 years old, initially was not willing to take the risk involved with. In 1971, the situation improved significantly. He shared the cockpit with a rich amateur racer, and came after the first season acclimatization better cope with the competitors. Laffite reached in Albi and Paul Ricard first victories and finished the season as fifth in the championship. 1972 Laffite moved to BP Racing team dominated the season with twelve wins and thus won his first major title.

The following year he the champion title of the international Formula 3 Championship brought beyond recognition over France. In 1974, he was originally supposed to start in Formula 2 for Ligier JS2 with a Maserati engine. This commitment, however, it did not come, because now the Formula 1 team boss Frank Williams became aware of the French and brought him into Formula 1.

Formula 1

1974-1975: Williams

At the age of 30 years, Jacques Laffite debuted in 1974 at the Nürburgring in Formula 1 with the team of Frank Williams Racing Cars. Frank Williams asked him the second iso IR1 available. In the remaining four races Laffite had to struggle with the transition to Formula 1. Because of the then uncompetitive cars his only success was a Driven to the end of the race. For the 1975 season he remained in the low - Williams team, against the dominating Ferrari, Brabham and McLaren had no chance. Nevertheless Laffite reached at the Nürburgring, exactly one year after its debut, the first podium of his career: Behind Carlos Reutemann he was able to complete the race in second place. This remained the only bright spot of the year.

1976-1982: Ligier

For season 1976, he accepted the offer of Guy Ligier to pilot the new French Gitanes Ligier - Matra race car. The first year ended successfully, with 20 world championship points and the first pole position at Monza.

The following season was unhappy at for Laffite. By the eighth world championship race in 1977, the Swedish Anderstorp, he had retracted a single championship point. In Anderstorp but he surprisingly won his first Formula 1 Grand Prix, which he and the team Ligier in France helped to enormous popularity. The season was but little more enjoyable. Only at Zandvoort Laffite could still make in the limelight in second.

The 1978 season did not improve, with 19 championship points, he joined the championship in eighth from. Two third places in Jarama and Hockenheim remained the best results in the average season. The Matra V12 engine had been served and the new Wingcar - Lotus cars drove the competition of it.

From 1979 began a two Ligier cars and Patrick Depailler came as second pilot to the team. Also the car numerous changes were made, which were mainly initiated by designer Gérard Ducarouge. So Ligier built also a Wing -car and switched to Cosworth V8 engines. As it turned out, the vehicle was a successful development. At her debut in Buenos Aires presented Laffite his race car with over a second ahead of the pole. In the race, he set the fastest lap of the race and won safely with a start - to-finish victory. The second race of the season at Interlagos won Laffite, after he had learned in training again the pole position and the fastest lap in the race. By the second place of Patrick Depailler Ligier scored the first double victory of his Formula 1 history. Laffite suddenly found himself in the role of the World Cup favorites again, it was within the team but major domestic problems; Laffite and Depailler fought constantly for the lead role in the team, designer Ducarouge built several times to the chassis and had internal disputes with Guy Ligier that culminated in his dismissal middle of the season. In Spain Laffite drove to the pole position and Depailler succeeded the third Ligier victory; Laffite captured in the following race in Zolder again the pole position in the race itself, he won second place. In the second half of the year, it turned out more and more that Ligier a fluke had succeeded with the race car more. The superiority of the Ligier had faded in the meantime, the causes were unclear. The technicians were not able to understand the racing cars and Laffite Ligier and were only mediocre. Although Laffite get three third places, but had been lost to the world title chance. World Champion Jody Scheckter was at Ferrari. To top it all up even teammate Depailler seriously injured during kite flying. At the end of the season was only the fourth place in the drivers' championship for Laffite. While this was the best result of his career so far, yet the Ligier team about the performance degradation was very disappointed.

The following year Laffite got a new, much younger teammates with Didier Pironi. The now 37 years old Laffite had great difficulty with the novice. At Hockenheim Laffite took the only win of the season. With 34 championship points, however, he joined the championship again in fourth place ahead of his teammate. So Laffite should remain number one in the French team for the 1981 season, this time with his friend Jean -Pierre Jabouille in a team. Twelve years after Laffite had worked as a mechanic for his brother, both were reunited in the Ligier team. However, there was only one race after Jabouille had signed with Ligier to a serious setback. At the Grand Prix of Canada 1980 Jabouille crashed heavily and suffered leg fractures complicated. This ultimately meant the end of his career. Although the cockpit, he was kept next to Laffite, but after a few unsuccessful comeback attempt was Jabouille race director of the Ligier team, which was acquired by the Group Talbot partially and renamed Talbot Ligier.

After a serious start of the season Talbot Ligier increased. With just a busy cockpit of the entire expectation of the Talbot Group weighed on Laffite. Finally, in Austria Laffite could enter the fifth win of his career, in the pouring rain, he took his second win of the season. This Laffite had before the last race in Las Vegas ( Caesars Palace ) a theoretical chance at the world title, by the media, but this was hardly noticed, since the three-way battle between Nelson Piquet and the two Williams drivers Alan Jones and Carlos Reutemann certain events. In the deciding race from Las Vegas Laffite finally had no chance, Piquet won the title. He finished the world championship for the third time in a row from fourth.

1982 plunged the Talbot Ligier team in a deep crisis. After a few good years, the team had in 1980 even reached second place in the constructors' world championship, the changes in the French auto industry had a negative impact on the future of Talbot Ligier. The best result of the season was the third place in Austria. However, it was in this race too chaotic and many favorites fell out. In the world championship Laffite reached the 17th place. Only five points stood at the end of the season to book. Laffite returned to his old employer Williams.

1983-1984: Williams

In the Williams team Laffite could not go on past successes. Keke Rosberg had previously not won with Williams in just under the drivers' title, but this was also due to a chaotic course of the season, in which the dominant Ferrari team both Gilles Villeneuve and Didier Pironi lost and Rosberg by accident so won the title with only one victory this season. In 1983, the odds were very low due by the technical break. The naturally aspirated engines used by Williams still were inferior to the turbo engines clear, although Keke Rosberg in Monaco one last victory came with a naturally aspirated engine. Laffite only won 11 world championship points this season and finished the world championship in eleventh from.

In 1984, Frank Williams win with Honda a strong turbo engine for his team. However, it took more than a year until the unit ran without errors. Again, Rosberg managed a victory (in the U.S. ), while Laffite had an even weaker season than a year previously recorded. With five points, he only reached 14th place in the World Cup. At the end of the season Laffite was replaced by the young Britons Nigel Mansell.

The now 41 years old Laffite was quit before deciding. He decided, however, to return to Ligier. He justified the decision with the ongoing presence of driving pleasure. "I 've still so much fun to drive, I really want to drive forever "

1985-1986: Ligier

The twelfth season of Jacques Laffite started better than most observers had expected. Although he could no longer fight for victory, but reached regular placements in the points classification. At Silverstone and Hockenheim he managed to take the Ligier to third place. At the season finale in Australia he finished even second place. With 16 points, he came in 9th place in the world championship, and joined so as better than in the past two years at Williams.

1986 Laffite went into its 13th and final season. Laffite turned out despite his 42 years as a very competitive, in the season opener in Brazil, he was third in the U.S. and he was able to celebrate with the second place his last success in Formula 1.

In the British Brands Hatch Laffite earned his 176th Grand Prix and hired the then-current record of Graham Hill for most GP race. At the start of the race he was involved in a collision, his Ligier struck head-on into an embankment off the track. The front area of the vehicle was badly damaged, so that Laffite serious leg fractures and a complicated fracture of the pelvis drew upon. The recovery took more than half a year to complete, so that his Formula 1 career had taken a sudden end.

Jacques Laffite reached six wins, seven pole positions, seven fastest laps and 228 points in 176 World Championship Grand Prix. He continued throughout his 13 -year career for just two teams, a total of four years for Williams, and nine years for Ligier, with whom he took all six wins. Laffite was denied an unqualified success, yet he drove for many years at the forefront of Formula 1 Laffite stayed during his long career, the joker and the lively, vital man than what he already made ​​his debut in Formula 1. Laffite enjoyed life to the fullest and, despite his innate ease a very professional and competitive racers.

Life after Formula 1

From his injuries healed, Laffite drove a few more years touring car races, including the DTM. He drove for BMW and Mercedes -Benz. Today Laffite has worked as a television commentator for the French channel TF1. In addition, he acts as a consultant for French young drivers. As before, Laffite is a frequent visitor to the pits at Formula 1 races. In the FIA ​​GT3 European Championship, he went in 2007 for the French AutoGT Racing team whose Morgan Aero GT3 and is currently the race director. Teammate was including his daughter Marguerite Laffite, who drove from 2007 to 2009 for the team.


Career stations

Statistics in Formula 1

Grand Prix victories

Individual results

Le Mans results