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F2 god's too early debut



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Jean-Pierre Jabouille


Surtees-Cosworth TS16




1974 Austrian GP


Not many people are aware of JPJ's pre-Renault days in F1. Most of us think of the early-seventies Jabouille as a successful Matra sportscar racer and F2 pilot - even winning the European championship in 1976. This is a picture from his earliest days in F1, standing in for Surtees regular Jochen Mass at the last moment, but failing to qualify. (Eagle-eyed viewers can still see Mass' name on the side of the cockpit!)

It was not his first time in an F1 cockpit however. Earlier in the year, at his home GP at Ricard, he started off his F1 career with a one-off drive for Frank Williams, also failing to make the grid. His F1 race debut came in 1975, again at Le Castellet, where he got the chance of driving a third works Tyrrell, courtesy of Elf. But his 'real' F1 career took off a full two years later when he put Renault's first turbo car 21st on the grid at Silverstone. Alas he retired. Broken turbo of course...