Passing of Gil de Ferran: Celebrated Indianapolis 500 Champion and Ex-McLaren Sporting Director at 56

Gil de Ferran, renowned for his Indianapolis 500 victory, has passed away at 56.


By Ben Bush
Updated on January 16, 2024

Passing of Gil de Ferran

The Brazilian Automobile Confederation (CBA) announced that De Ferran succumbed to a heart attack while at a private racing club in Opa-locka, Florida, last Friday.

The CBA’s statement revealed that despite immediate transportation to a nearby hospital, De Ferran could not be saved.

Since May, De Ferran has been involved with McLaren as a consultant advisor. This role followed his tenure as the team’s sporting director from 2018 to 2021.

READ MORE: Bahrain’s Mumtalakat to Become Sole Owner of McLaren Group

In a team statement, McLaren said: “Everyone at McLaren Racing is shocked and deeply saddened to learn we have lost a beloved member of our McLaren family.

“Gil was an important and integral part of our Racing team. He was a formidable force on and off track and made a lasting impact on everyone racing and working alongside him.”

During his tenure as sporting director, De Ferran was pivotal in revitalizing McLaren from their nadir in 2018 to a remarkable third place in the constructors’ championship by 2020.

The French-born Brazilian, who triumphed in the 2003 Indy500, also claimed victories in the 2000 and 2001 Champ Car World Series with Team Penske.

2003 Indy 500 winner Gil de Ferran has died
2003 Indy 500 winner Gil de Ferran has died

His earlier career saw him clinching the British Formula Three championship in 1992.

Former F1 driver and fellow Brazilian, Felipe Massa, commented: “What sad news today. We lost a brother! Wonderful person and a legend in our motorsport world. Go in peace Gil.”

CBA president Giovanni Guerra said: “On behalf of myself and the entire CBA family, we pray to God to receive our brother with all glory and to support his family, friends and millions of fans around the world.”

Source: BBC Sport

Seen in:

About The Author

Chief Editor

Ben Bush

Ben is our chief editor specialising in F1 from the 1990s to the modern era. Ben has been following Formula 1 since 1986 and is an avid researcher who loves understanding the technology that makes it one of the most exciting motorsport on the planet. He listens to podcasts about F1 on a daily basis, and enjoys reading books from the inspirational Adrian Newey to former F1 drivers.

Latest Reads