F1 Retro February 2005
They don’t make number two drivers like they used to. Hair flowing, effortlessly cool, Riccardo Patrese was the kind of F1 competitor who seemed readily on tap in the ’70s and’80s but is so rare today.
This month marks 40 years since the Italian took his debut F1 win at Monaco, in an utterly crazy race that, it seemed, nobody wanted to win.
Five different cars led on the final two laps before Patrese eventually came through to take a zany victory, the first of six in what would be a long 16-year F1 tenure.
This month’s F1 Retro sees Nigel Roebuck focusing his ‘Legends’ series on the Italian.
As Roebuck writes, Patrese went from being the pariah of the grid after being blamed for Ronnie Peterson’s Monza incident to one of the most well-liked: hisF1 odyssey took in Arrows, two stints at Brabham, Alfa Romeo and a star supporting role for Nigel Mansell in his championship year at Williams.
Though perhaps not a charger like Mansell or a Prost set-up scrutiniser, Patrese drove with a rarefied style.
When the Italian finally retired in ’93 after a long and rich career, it really seemed an era had ended.