Retired

Jacques Laffite

French

  • Paris, France Place of Birth
  • 21 November 1943 Date of Birth
  • 1974 German Grand Prix F1 Debut
  • Williams Current/Last Team

Born in Paris to a Parisian lawyer, Jacques Laffite began his motorsport journey as a mechanic, assisting his friend Jean-Pierre Jabouille during the 1968 F3 season. This professional relationship deepened into a family connection when Laffite and Jabouille married two sisters, becoming brothers-in-law.

NationalityFrench
BornJacques-Henri Laffite
21 November 1943
Paris, France

By 1972, Laffite had clinched the French Formula Renault Championship. He advanced to Formula 3 the following year with Automobiles Martini, securing the French title and victories at the Monaco and Pau Formula 3 Grand Prix, and nearly winning the British John Player title as well.

Supported by BP France, Laffite transitioned to Formula 2 in 1974, racing with a March-BMW and quickly making a mark by winning at the Salzburgring. Midway through the season, Frank Williams chose him for the German GP. Despite a crash ending his race, Laffite’s performance exceeded those of previous drivers, earning him a steady position for the next year and a half. In 1975, amidst a challenging season for Williams, Laffite secured a pivotal second place in Germany. Meanwhile, in Formula 2, he notched six victories with an Elf-backed Martini and won races at Dijon, Monza, and the Nurburgring with the Kauhsen/Autodelta Alfa T33.

In 1976, replacing Jean-Pierre Beltoise, Laffite joined the new Ligier-Matra team led by Guy Ligier, quickly becoming a key figure. His efforts paid off with a win at Anderstorp in 1977, although it soon became apparent that a switch to Cosworth engines was essential for ongoing success. In 1979, now teamed with Depailler, Laffite triumphed in the first two Grands Prix of the season. He continued to perform strongly, culminating in a fourth-place finish in the 1980 championship. However, 1982 saw a decline, leading to only two-point finishes and prompting a move back to Williams for a two-year stint alongside Keke Rosberg.

Laffite’s subsequent performances varied, with non-qualifications at Monza and Brands Hatch marking low points. However, he saw a resurgence in 1984, though overshadowed by Rosberg’s exploits. Returning to Ligier, Laffite found renewed vigour, highlighted by leading the 1986 Detroit Grand Prix briefly before a crash at Brands Hatch ended his Grand Prix career with severe injuries.

Laffite remained connected to motorsport, competing in the French touring car series and occasionally racing for enjoyment. He also rejoined F1 in a public relations role for Ligier and worked as a television commentator.

Jacques Laffite Formula One World Championship career

F1 Career1974–1986
TeamsIso–Marlboro, Ligier, Williams
Entries180 (176 starts)
Championships0
Wins6
Podiums32
Career points228
Pole positions7
Fastest laps7
First entry1974 German Grand Prix
First win1977 Swedish Grand Prix
Last win1981 Canadian Grand Prix
Last entry1986 British Grand Prix

Sources: Wikipedia.com and Historicracing.com

Teammates

Driver Nationality Current/Last Team F1 Debut Status
American Arrows 1978 Argentine Grand Prix Retired
French Ligier 1971 Italian Grand Prix Retired
Finnish McLaren 1978 South African Grand Prix F1 Legend
Italian Sauber 1980 Canadian Grand Prix Died
French Ligier 1978 South African Grand Prix Retired

Teams

Team Nationality Debut Season Status
Ligier French 1976 Historic
Williams British 1978 Current