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Patrick Tambay’s Ferrari career lasted a year and a half during which time he started just 21 races in red.
A friend of Gilles Villeneuve, Tambay stepped into the breach when the most famous occupant of car number 27 was killed at Zolder in 1982. He won races in both his seasons with the team and there was understandable surprise when he was replaced at the end of his first full season with Ferrari.
It’s hard not to be won over by the enthusiasm Massimo Bulbi approaches the subject of Tambay’s short Ferrari career. Enhanced by lengthy discussions with the man himself, the book sheds fascinating light on an especially turbulent time for F1’s most famous team.
While Bulbi teases out many revealing details on how things didn’t always go well for Tambay at times it feels he is a little too unwilling to criticise his subject. However he makes a very compelling case for why Tambay was hard done by in losing his seat so quickly.
It satisfied almost every curiosity I had about this period, save for Tambay’s absence from the April 1983 Race of Champions at Brands Hatch. Rene Arnoux, who retained his Ferrari seat at Tambay’s expense, drove instead – a potentially significant detail.
The book is almost over-generously illustrated with gorgeous shots of early-eighties turbo Ferraris from the Cahier archive. It ends somewhat abruptly, with no reference to Tambay’s subsequent F1 career and – that most frustrating of omissions – no index.
But it’s no great criticism to say I reached the end of the book wishing there was more of it.
F1 Fanatic rating
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27: Patrick Tambay – The Ferrari Years
Author: Massimo Burbi with Patrick Tambay
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