I was saddened today to hear of the death of former Grand Prix race winner Clay Regazzoni in a road traffic accident near Parma in Italy.
Regazzoni had a fine Grand Prix career in the 1970s, winning pole position for his fourth race and winning his fifth, at Monza in his home country of Italy, for Ferrari.
He left Ferrari for BRM but returned after one season in 1974, partnering Niki Lauda. He remained there during Lauda’s first World Championship year (1975) but at the end of 1976 was replaced with Carlos Reutemann.
He spent the next two seasons with the lower-ranking Ensign and Shadow teams, managing a handful of victories. But he made history at Silverstone in 1979 when he gave Williams their first win.
However that was not enough for Regazzoni to keep his place in the team. He returned to Ensign in 1980 and at the fourth round in Long Beach crashed heavy, sustaining spinal injuries.
Despite his injuries he later returned to motor sport, contesting the Paris Dakar Rally with a car adapted with hand controls.