World Champion Depailler

In your opinion, do you think that if Patrick Depailler had not had his hand gliding accident in 1979 he would have been World Champion in his Ligier JS11?
Simon Davies

Dear Simon,

No, sad to say, I don't believe Patrick Depailler's hang gliding accident kept him from winning the World Championship in 1979.

I know Jacques Laffite won the first Grands Prix of the year in a Ligier JS11, and Depailler then won at Jarama, shortly before his accident. But the JS11, although highly competitive at some circuits, was nowhere at others, and Patrick - a delightful bloke and a very quick driver - was not on the level of either the Ferrari drivers, Jody Scheckter and Gilles Villeneuve, or Alan Jones, who largely dominated the second half of the season in his Williams FW07.

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