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Last Updated: Friday, 15 December 2006, 16:51 GMT
Regazzoni killed in road accident
Clay Regazzoni
Regazzoni was one of F1's most popular drivers
Former Grand Prix driver Gianclaudio "Clay" Regazzoni has been killed in a road accident.

The 67-year-old Swiss, a former Ferrari driver, was killed in a collision with a lorry on a motorway near Parma, Italian police said.

Regazzoni won five of his 132 Grands Prix in an 11-year career, which ended when he was paralysed from the waist down in a crash at Long Beach in 1980.

Regazzoni spent five years at Ferrari and was second in the '74 championship.

With Clay Regazzoni we lose a courageous driver and man who always lived life that way

Luca di Montezemolo
Ferrari president
He will also be remembered for giving the Williams team their first Grand Prix victory, at Silverstone in 1979.

Team owner Frank Williams said: "He was a gentleman and always a pleasure to have with us in the team. (Co-owner) Patrick (Head) and I and other team members will always remember him."

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo, who was Ferrari team manager in the mid-1970s, added: "With Clay Regazzoni we lose a courageous driver and man who always lived life that way.

"I remember him not just as one of my drivers but also as a man with a real passion for Ferrari."

Famous for his bushy moustache and relaxed personality, Regazzoni made his Formula One debut for the Italian team in the 1970 Dutch Grand Prix, in which he finished fourth, immediately establishing himself as one of the sport's most promising drivers.

He won the team's home Italian Grand Prix later that season, becoming a darling of the tifosi (fans), and was retained by Ferrari for 1971.

Clay Regazzoni in the Ferrari 312T at Monaco in 1970
Regazzoni enjoyed a successful time with Ferrari
But after an unsuccessful two years, he moved to BRM at the end of 1972, becoming team-mate to Niki Lauda.

Ferrari had hit the doldrums in 1973 but, after a major restructuring of the team and its personnel, re-hired Regazzoni to drive alongside Lauda for the 1974 season and embarked on one of their more successful periods.

Regazzoni actually outscored Lauda in 1974, despite the Austrian being team leader, and after a win in Germany that year the Swiss won two races in 1975, when Lauda dominated to win his first drivers' title.

Despite a victory in the US Grand Prix West at Long Beach early in 1976, Regazzoni fell out of favour with Ferrari and he was replaced by the Argentine Carlos Reutemann for 1977.

He drove for the also-ran Ensign and Shadow teams in 1977 and '78, before a surprise move to the then rising English team Williams as team-mate to Alan Jones in 1979.

Jones was very much the team's number one driver, but it was Regazzoni who scored their maiden victory, inheriting first place at the British Grand Prix following the Australian's retirement.

Despite that, Regazzoni was dropped - again in favour of Reutemann - for 1980 and at the age of 40 many expected him to retire.

Instead, he returned to Ensign, for whom he was running an impressive fourth at Long Beach when his brakes failed at the end of a 180mph straight.

The car hit a concrete barrier and Regazzoni suffered a broken spine.

His wish to walk again was never realised, but he did go on to compete in some hand-controlled vehicles in both the Paris-Dakar endurance rally and the Sebring 12 Hours sportscar race among other events.


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