Race-winning car designer Ducarouge dies aged 73

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Gerard Ducarouge, who designed Formula One cars raced by drivers including Ayrton Senna and Jackie Stewart, has died at the age of 73.


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Former F1 designer Gerard Ducarouge dies at 73 (Fox Sports)

"Gerard Ducarouge, the veteran F1 designer responsible for Ayrton Senna's first GP-winning Lotus, has died at the age of 73."

Felipe Massa - Q&A Interview (Crash)

"To be honest, I think (Max Verstappen) is amazing. He is a fantastic driver. He has won in everything he did until now, but it's too early (to be in F1)."

Franz Tost Q&A: Verstappen and Sainz will be evenly matched (F1)

"Unfortunately we only have nine teams on the starting grid. Next year Haas will join the Formula One club and then once more we will be ten teams and 20 cars, which is quite a good and successful starting field."

Wolff urges superlicence rule change (Autosport)

"We've got to be aware of the fact that the time in a Formula 1 car is absolutely so valuable because it's so limited."

Arrivabene aims to remove Ferrari politics (F1i)

"For me it was a clear objective to put the team together without any politics, without any parties or people that were hanging around or pulling left, right, up or down. Now they are all looking the same direction and I am quite proud of this."


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Comment of the day

What was F1’s best ‘all star’ car design team:

Probably the closest to an all star design team would be when Ross Brawn, Adrian Newey and Neil Oatley were all working together in the Lola Haas team in 1986.

Unfortunately, whilst they produced what was probably one of the beast handling cars that season in the shape of the THL2, the engine was simply not up to the job. It’s an intriguing question of what might have been, though, if they had had a better engine to work with.

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Ivz, Jake and Mike Roach!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is via the contact form or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

Happy 83rd birthday to Tony Brooks, who came within four points of winning the world championship in 1959. Brooks took six wins in his F1 career, half of which came in 1958 when he finished third in the points standings.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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63 comments on “Race-winning car designer Ducarouge dies aged 73”

  1. I hope that fortress of solitud doesn’t end up releasing an horrible album like Jacques’ did…

    1. It was called the 2014 bore/barge fest featuring ‘its not me its the car’ Hamster stylez. Only 3 tracks worth listening to were Canada, Hungary & Spa. :-)

      1. Let’s not forget Bahrain now! Although given your initials I don’t suppose you care much for that one ;)
        Besides, it was a better album than the ‘its not me its the car’ album from 2013!

        1. Got nothing against Vettel btw, was just making a point. Almost all championships are won by the best car. In fact the last driver to not win in the best car was Hamilton himself in 2008. Hamilton and Alonso came close to doing it in 2010 (16 pts and 4 pts off respectively), and Alonso came close again in 2012 (3 pts off). Even then, a front-running car is still required to have any chance.

          If you’re going to say Hamilton only won the championship because of his car in 2014, then I guess you also have a problem with Senna winning in 1988, in a car that had a superior turbo-charged engine and was up to 1.5-2 seconds a lap faster than the others, with only his teammate as competition… sound similar? Regardless of how fast the car was, they still had a tough teammate to deal with and drove very well regardless.

          If Maldonado was driving the Mercedes and crashed out in half the races yet still managed to win the championship because his teammate broke his leg at the start of the season, maybe then you could say it was just the car… but given that Hamilton drove very well in 2014 he’s a deserving champion. Just as Senna was in 1988, Vettel was in 2013, etc.

          1. Senna beat Prost, a four time World Champion regarded by most as one of the greats – Hamilton beat Rosberg, a few time GP winner, definitely not in anyone’s hall of fame… there is no comparison…

          2. Well to be fair, Prost actually beat Senna in their second season together. And Prost would’ve outscored Senna in 1988 as well if it wasn’t for the points-dropping system.

    2. It might sound better if he pushes some faders up :)

      1. I’m joking
        I’m joking,

        He’s rapping a poem and all he needs a track for his vintage Neumann U47 , an Aux send for a bit of comp and a master, 3 or 4 tracks tops,

        no I’m not jealous or envious of Lewis,
        but if I was (?) I would be Soooooooooooooooooo jealous and Soooooooooooooo envious,

        Dan’s the Man but Lewis is very cool.

  2. The man who built the car I grew up associating Formula One with. R.I.P

    1. RIP Mr. Ducarouge.

  3. DK (@seijakessen)
    25th February 2015, 0:15

    Really a shame about Gerard Ducarouge. He was one of the preeminent car designers in F1 history and did amazing things for teams that did not have the biggest budgets. His Ligier JS11 looked destined for the title in ’79 but wasn’t able to match the 312 T4’s down the stretch. He will be greatly missed as he was another link to a F1 that is increasingly being put in the rearview mirror. I do wonder what the cause of death was. I remember him being prolific smoker who thought nothing of lighting up in the garage at Brands Hatch in I think it was 1985 LOL. Good memories.

  4. I’m so glad that Arrivabene himself has said this about Ferrari. This shows clear direction and that he can see where LdM’s problem was, why they weren’t doing well.

    1. I’m starting to grow a positive feeling on Ferrari’s 2015 campaign. If they are competitive in early stages their confidence will grow and results will come but if Australia doesn’t go as well as testing suggested they risk losing their cool and focus going back to underachieving crazy solutions to get back to the front.

  5. Too bad about Mr. Ducarouge. That Lotus though. That gorgeous, amazing, dangerous-looking Lotus is the first car I can remember from my youth sat far to close to the front of a fuzzy tv set and yammering at my Dad, while he tried to pay attention to tape-delayed coverage. I still (through somewhat rose-colored nostalgic glasses I’m sure) like to think that was the car that hooked me on F1.

  6. This is the only thing I hate about Hamilton ( and about most celebrities). I dont mind if he likes music, dogs, training, helping children in poverty, driving fast cars outside of F1, but I do mind posting pictures about doing these thing. But what really grinds my gears is the pictures set on purpose, intended to look like they were snapshots. Can you imagine, that someone is following Hamilton everywhere with a camera and taking a picture of his every move? Thats called a paparazzi, and from what I’ve seen those sneaky pictures usually dont look like this.

    I guess what Im trying to say is that, Hamilton is a world champion, no picture would lift him higher, but in my eyes he gets more pitiful with every instagram post.

    1. I believe driving is an art. And F1 drivers are the top artists who sacrifice greatly to become World Champions.
      What would really grind my gears is an interview of an F1 driver who said s/he wanted to win a World Drivers Championship in order to be able to afford their own record label. It might also grind my gears if I could predict how well a driver would do based on following the celebrity tabloids to see how they were getting on with their significant other.

      Drivers, please don’t distract me with your distractions.

    2. Hamilton doesn’t go around uploading pictures to major websites so that he can show off, he just posts these photos on his social media accounts with the intention of sharing them with his followers. It’s not his fault that his photos/tweets are re-uploaded on websites like F1Fanatic, so he’s not shoving them in your face or anything. He’s just sharing them with his followers.

      To anyone who thinks Lewis is showing off/gloating/etc. with the pictures he uploads, I would like you to listen to his answer to this question during an interview:

      To me Hamilton comes across as very honest and open about himself, which is one of the reasons why I am a fan of his. Obviously I know he isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, and perhaps some would prefer F1 drivers to keep their opinions and personal lives to themselves, but personally I find Hamilton’s honest “what you see is what you get” approach very refreshing. Especially given that these days most people seem to be going on about how F1 drivers are too robotic and PR-friendly, how they hide their opinions, how there are “no characters” in F1, etc. etc.

      The rest of the interview (including part 1) is very interesting as well if you are willing to watch it, by the way.

    3. F1 drivers, sportsmen, and celebrities in general, are nowadays expected to keep a notable presence on social networks. If the man didn’t have a Twitter and an Instagram, everybody would be criticizing him for it, and demanding he’d get one. He does, and a bunch of people criticize him for using them for the exact purpose they were created for, which is posting pictures of you doing things nobody cares about and telling everybody about the things you do in your life that nobody cares about. He needs to look good in them, as he is a marketable person, so he has professionals do it for him. I know it’s strange, but it’s a valuable asset in this day and age – 1200 people have ReTweeted that picture alone so far.

    4. @bag0

      If you dont like his picture posts…dont bloody look at them..simples

      1. ColdFly F1 (@)
        25th February 2015, 3:55

        @jaymenon10, but this is the comments section, and @bag0 should be allowed to comment on the round-up!

        Are you also saying ‘if you don’t like the comment … don’t bloody reply to it … simple as’.

    5. GB (@bgp001ruled)
      25th February 2015, 3:09

      yep!!!! fakeness…

    6. simple question @bag0 – Why?

      Its easy enough to just not follow any of them and miss all these kind of posts if you don’t want to see them. For those that do want to see and hear and read these things its great when there is something to see, as well as giving us a bit of “who he is” info. Or at least who he wants to be.

    7. @bag0 If you look at his website, it’s full of a mix of personal stuff (his own photos & words) & managed PR fluff – for all the constant blather about ‘wanting F1 drivers who have personality’, you can’t really get much more than LH.

      Any music he produces will likely not be the sort I’d listen to (well, unless he goes full late-70s/early-80s Michael Jackson!) but if he manages to make something good enough whilst managing a sporting career, good on him.

      1. @reiter @bascb @optimaximal

        I think you misunderstood me. I dont mind if they have social media presence, but this kind of stuff is for the yellow press (and IMO yellow press is for those who dont have a life of their own, so they have to read about, and watch other people’s lifes). In my eyes this kind of self-marketing is similar to leaking your scandals to the press. But thats my personal opinion.

        My real problem with LH’s pictures are the fake snapshots. Showing what you do is a form of self expression, but I feel these pictures are taken like this:
        They are at the studio, doing something, than LH says,: Hey, take a picture of me while Im looking down to the faders, trying to understand the meaning of life, and generally looking gloomiy, the fans would love it. Then they take some set pictures, and after retouching he post them as snapshots, giving them funky captions as my fortress of solitude. But what really happened is, that the picture was purposefully created for marketing, not a random picture while he is doing something.

        1. Honestly, the re-touching is usually just whatever Instagram filter does the least damage…

          Wait, is Instagram on Blackberry at the moment?

        2. Welcome to the modern world of social media @bag0!

          1. I get the whole social media aspect these days, and people branding themselves, but I do also find a phoniness about it. Self promotion is different than having a following that comes from people just naturally being fascinated by a person’s actions or words.

            The press finds the likes of the Clooneys’ and the Bonos’, the Gates’ and the Buffets’, doing their incredibly massive charitable things, but LH sends pics to ‘the press’ ie. twitter to remind them he still goes to Haiti.

            I have no real problem with LH or pics like this of him in his studio, but I do find it disingenuine and put on to call it a fortress of solitude when the likes of Haitians wouldn’t even dare to dream of such things.

            I would trust pics like this and their sentiment more if I hadn’t read quotes from LH such as in mid-December when he was reviewing the season and had decided that the learning process the team went through in dealing with the rivalry, such as when they were both switching engine modes to compete until they were told not to, was harder on him than Nico, so he (LH) simply had to take it on the chin like he has been doing his whole life. Yes…poor hard done by Lewis.

            I think it must be a rap thing…if you don’t have actual street cred from growing up with nothing and getting involved in gangs and drugs and doing hard time, then you pretend as much as you can how hard you had it growing up, to create your brand that way.

            And if I hear LH one more time whining about growing up in Stevenage and making it sound like nothing could have been worse, (in between trips to the go-cart track I guess) I’ll wretch.

  7. Too bad “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” no longer exists because Lewis would be make a great subject… one-of-a-kind car, private jet, private sound studio, etc, etc. :)

    1. It would be a good laugh, that’s ‘for sure’ !

    2. Dude you sound like you’re jealous.

    3. Does MTV still do Cribs?

      1. @optimaximal LM sprinkles diamonds in his food so his dookie twinkles.

  8. Wolff has a point re: test and reserve drivers. It’s entirely possible under the new system that a driver could be eligible for the licence, spend a year as a test and reserve driver, then not be eligible for it the following season despite being far more prepared.

    But given how Mercedes are treating Wehrlein, they probably know something we don’t regarding exceptions…

    1. @neilosjames Indeed. F3 is now being flooded (to the detriment of GP3), along with GP2 (over FR3.5). 3 years isn’t much time to get the points required, include a reserve/test driver year and then make the step up into F1..

    2. @neilosjames, unfortunately, Susie is not ideally placed to complain about the superlicense system. I think the current implementation is no good, and too strict, and also I think there is no really good implementation, so they should just ditch it, so teams are free to put whoever they want in their cars.

      Having said that, I can agree with the idea of the superlicense system to prevent drivers who have achieved next to nothing from entering F1. Drivers like Wolff, or Ma Qing Hua (with Caterham a few years back). Of course, these drivers have so far not actually raced in F1, so I think the superlicense points system is a solution to a problem that does not exist.

      1. @adrianmorse the problem with the concept of ‘achieving next to nothing’ is it’s a subjective measure. I don’t want to drag the topic *back* to Maldonaldo, but didn’t he win GP2 in a year where he was faced with comparatively poor opposition? A win, none-the-less, but you’ve got drivers with less luck/budget stuck in larger talent pools with log-jams.

        The main issue is how the FIA has weighted the points – to randomly exclude some series and to give other series lower weighting than the more expensive (& FIA backed) series is wrong and I’m surprised it hasn’t been challenged by anyone other than Renault. WRC, DTM & other satellite series should all contribute in some way – definitely less so, as closed-wheel is a different discipline – but to shut them out in order to promote favoured sons, including one that doesn’t even exist, smacks of cronyism.

        Conversely, Susie Wolff & Ma Qing are outliers, as both likely had issues getting into motor sports early enough to make an impact due to their age and respective gender/culture.

        1. @optimaximal,

          he problem with the concept of ‘achieving next to nothing’ is it’s a subjective measure.

          Exactly, which is why I said that the system should be dropped altogether. I can understand the concept of a superlicense that should exclude drivers from racing in F1 that are not capable of handling the cars properly (ok, also subjective), but in the last ten years, how many drivers raced in F1 that were so rubbish they were a danger to themselves and others? I can’t think of a single one.

          As for making it more difficult for pay drivers to enter F1, I think that’s unrealistic and unnecessary. Motor racing is expensive, and drivers need backing as early as karting, or at least when they move up to single-seaters. The new points system won’t help talented but money-less drivers into a seat, but it does throw up barriers for drivers who would otherwise have a shot.

          1. Quote

            “but in the last ten years, how many drivers raced in F1 that were so rubbish they were a danger to themselves and others? I can’t think of a single one.”


            Any takers on that one ?

            Just off the top of my head lets pick a random driver/s

            uhm ,

            how about ——- uhm——- the current Lotus pairing, ??????

            now you said in the last ten years,

            Romain, 1st lap nutcase ? Nitro Circus style over Fred at Spa ?
            Pastor, Nitro Circus style with Estebans Sauber on its roll hoop ? and how many others, many being laughable except to the receiving teams and their repair budgets,

            But your point on the license setup is acknowledged

  9. Lewis’ control panel is affectionately referred to as ‘Nicole’, he’s not having much luck trying to figure out which buttons to push though ;-)

    1. He only seems to be using around four channels on what appears to be a 48 channel mixing desk…! Bless.

      1. @skylab

        He’s just setting up Roscoe’s vocal mate,

        he’ll fade in the band asap :) : ) : )

  10. Another Lewis Hamilton tweet and another predictably critical response from people who just don’t want to like him.

    He posted this, much like everything else he posts on Twitter, where people who want to follow him will see it. He’s not posting this on a public billboard as some ego trip, he’s putting it on his own twitter for his fans who have opted in to see it to see it.

    I don’t use twitter but I do use Facebook, and guess what? When I’m in the studio I post pictures. When I wash my car and take it out for a drive I post pictures. When I go to an event, I post pictures. It’s what normal people do, they share their life with people who care and Lewis is no different. He’s sharing his life with people who have expressed a desire to see these things by choosing to follow him.

    F1 Fanatic then posts them as well because it’s an F1 news site, and he’s the biggest star in F1.

    1. I wanted to write something like this, but didn’t have the patience. Good work.

    2. But it’s a comments section. The idea, ‘well it’s obvious not meant for me so why would I comment’ is, well, rather silly. I come onto this site and I read things and sometimes I feel like sharing what I think about them. If I don’t like something I might comment so.

      I think it’s interesting to see what other people think, but the idea that I am wrong to comment is not really fair.

      1. @mike: I understand where you’re coming from. But if all you’ve got to contribute to the discussion is “I didn’t like this thing which I didn’t have to look at in the first place”, you may want to consider whether you’re adding signal or noise.

      2. We could go round in circles on that though. You’re entitled to be critical, I’m entitled to be critical of your being critical, you’re then entitled to be critical of my being critical of your critique and so on.

        But it all skirts round the actual point that a portion of people just seem to want to find reason to dislike him when do far as I can see he’s actually a decent human being and it’s sad really.

    3. But do you post pictures where YOU are the subject matter or WHAT YOU ARE DOING is the subject matter?

      1. A, no wait B. Argh! I hate multiple choice quizzes. I give up, which is the acceptable answer?

  11. Lovely interview with Massa there. Apart from the parts about Williams and Verstappen, I liked this very much (part of his answer when asked about Ferrari’s design idea for changes ):

    I know how the situation is. They’re just complaining because of the engine, because they didn’t have the best engine. If they have the best engine, they will never complain. It’s like that. When you’re not winning it’s easy to complain!

  12. Lots of Hamilton tweets lately ready to be shot down in flames, but this ‘fortress of solitude’ one completely reminds me of tony lemezma and the ‘daggers of damaza’. For that I thank F1F.


  13. I can kind of relate to Lewis. I also love driving, on public roads as well as racing (in the sim, still, but finding the limit in general) and I also love music immensely. I guess I’m a ‘feeler’ guy as well – I also have that bit of issue that I sometimes get lost in the car setup, which is a lot more technical, tangible and scientific stuff.

    I do wonder why I’m not a Hamilton fan, but I guess I currently value total dedication to, dare I say obsession with, a cause just as much as the courage to find the limit in whatever you do. Like I said, I do have this curiousness in me that Lewis has which continually surges me to explore a lot of different things and makes it hard for me to stay focused of and attached to just one thing and one thing only.

    I guess I’m an Alonso fan, because, apart from also terribly good at finding his limits, he has this obsession with F1 in general. And I kind of look up and envy this ability to maintain singular focus.

  14. A legend indeed, and a good friend of mine from days where being amid the “piranha club” had yet to break by enthusiasm. One of F1’s true gentlemen will be greatly missed; my condolences to his family.

  15. It’s quite an insight into Alonso’s awareness and genius that he pulled for downshifts even when he was sliding off the track in opposite lock. As Martin said, not many drivers do so. He just once again did everything he could to be able to continue doing his job.

    It’s kind of… unfair, in this respect (I don’t like to use the words ‘fair’ or ‘unfair’), that he had this concussion and was put in jeopardy for that crucial final test when an infinitely more reckless Pastor Maldonado had no problems climbing from his car following a similar accident in May…

    1. No… you see, shifting down when you are losing control of the car will usually make things worse, since it upsets the rear of the car that little bit more.

      1. Maybe, but it also increases the engine braking effect.


  16. Did that whole Massa interview go without him saying “for sure” even once ?

    I know my eyes are pretty bad so correct me if im wrong but . WOW!!!!! lol

    1. Give him a break.
      English is not his first language.

      1. @brunes


        He speaks English very well,

        Seb Vett says “obviously”
        Fred Teflon says “Maximum”
        Pastor says “not my fault”
        Felipe Massa says “for sure”

        as soon as those bloke have an interview without saying those words I will jump in and make a note, :)

        Felipe doesn’t need me to give him a break , he’s in a happy place,

        He beat Alonso 6 times last year (yes fred retired twice, Monza Suzuka) and his new team Williams beat Ferrari , and ! Felipe scored a good 42% of his teams points, which is double awesome considering he retired thrice , and finished outside the points 5 times,

        Felipe is doing alright,

        Peace :)

  17. It’s ok to celebrities to post things like this. Button always puts some thriatlo things on his twitter. It’s important to have a connection with their fans as access to them is so hard.

    That said, i just care about what this guys do when they are driving. It’s not like they’re artists or something just cuz they are overpayed to do a job. They can be as boring as everybody who posts pictures of what they ate and other pathetic stuff like that.

  18. Shouldn’t we be worried about Lewis’s performance ON TRACK?

    Who care what he posts on instagran?

  19. Roscoe took a nice photo there. I mean, who else could it be? It’s a Fortress of Solitude™.

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