View Full Version : Clay Regazzoni Killed In Road Accident

Alfa Fan
15th December 2006, 18:10
Regazzoni killed in a road crash

Former Grand Prix driver Clay Regazzoni was killed in a car crash in Italy today. He was 67 years old.

The Swiss driver is reported to have collided head on with a truck on the A1 Motorway near Parma, while driving a Chrysler Voyager.

Regazzoni won five races during a career that spanned from the 1970 Dutch Grand Prix to the 1980 United States West Grand Prix in Long Beach, where he suffered spinal injuries in a big accident.

That crash brought an end to his F1 career, but he was still determined to carry on with motor sports.

He competed in the Paris-Dakar Rally in the 1980s and used a hand-controlled sportscar in some events. He also commentated on F1 for Italian TV.


15th December 2006, 18:21
Very sad news. I remember when I left him a birthday message on his homepage six years ago. :(

15th December 2006, 18:34
What a way to go... RIP

15th December 2006, 18:53
I use to watch him race in Europe in the 70es. He was very Entertaining indeed.
He will be Sadly missed by the Racing World.

15th December 2006, 18:58
That's very sad news. RIP.

Giuseppe F1
15th December 2006, 19:00
Just found out...and still very shocked!

RIP Clay

You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers :(

Giuseppe F1

15th December 2006, 20:03
Sad news, indeed. I was at the 1980 Long Beach Grand Prix. I still remember seeing the helecopter taking off, after his accident, like it was yesterday.


15th December 2006, 20:31
What terrible news ;(

RIP Regga ;(

15th December 2006, 20:44
That's very sad :(

15th December 2006, 21:32
Ribbity-rip, indeed! :(

15th December 2006, 21:59
Just saw the news on ceefax, terrible news.

15th December 2006, 22:14
Very sad news :(

R.I.P Gianclaudio Giuseppe

15th December 2006, 22:22
Very sad to hear this. I was doing official timing of him at Long Beach in '80. In 12 years of T&S he's the only driver seriously injured at any race I worked. (A couple of the T&S crew were able to stay in town to drop off flowers at the hospital.)

16th December 2006, 00:42
I was a fan of his,
Took Williams to their first win,
A Gentleman and a real nice bloke.
The world is less for passing.
RIP Clay,
Thanks for your presents.

16th December 2006, 00:49
There goes the only F1 driver I have ever met...

R.I.P. Clay :(

jonny hurlock
16th December 2006, 01:16
r.i.p. clay

16th December 2006, 01:34
Sad news... roads are always dangerous.

RIP Clay.

Valve Bounce
16th December 2006, 01:42
He also drove for Ferrari, and left them on very friendly terms.
This is very sad.

16th December 2006, 02:12
RIP Clay

16th December 2006, 10:51
Arrivederci Clay.

Bolton Midnight
16th December 2006, 11:49
His Silverstone win in 79 was my first live GP, a quick driver that was good to watch.

Part of the old order

16th December 2006, 12:54
Sad news. I just read about it. I browsed through his CV, and it mentioned that among the many great teams he drove for, he was in Ensign F1 too. Roberto Guerrero was there too. Where they team mates?

RIP Mr. Regazzoni

16th December 2006, 13:49
RIP Clay.

16th December 2006, 13:52
RIP Clay. :(

16th December 2006, 18:54
Sad news. I just read about it. I browsed through his CV, and it mentioned that among the many great teams he drove for, he was in Ensign F1 too. Roberto Guerrero was there too. Where they team mates?

RIP Mr. Regazzoni

No, Clay drove for Ensign in 1977 & 78, then returned for the 1980 season where his F1 career finished with the accident at Long Beach. His place was taken by Marc Surer.

Atleast that's what I remember off the top of my head.

Guerrero didn't drive for Ensign until 1982.

16th December 2006, 21:05
Race In Peace Clay. :(

I met him at Long Beach for the Celebrity Race. Such a Great guy to talk to at the track.

17th December 2006, 01:33
RIP Clay Regazzoni

17th December 2006, 11:36

17th December 2006, 11:43

Bolton Midnight
18th December 2006, 03:17
Here's an article about CR

Yes, I well remember the '74 season. Emerson Fittipaldi won the title for McLaren, but the most exciting aspect of the season, for me, was the resurgence of Ferrari, who had been absolutely nowhere the previous year. Niki Lauda had joined the team, and Clay Regazzoni - after being dropped for one season - was back as his teammate.

It's a fact that race in, race out, Lauda was Ferrari's pacesetter in 1974, but he made several of the mistakes of youth, and Regazzoni emerged as the team's main hope in the World Championship. At the Nurburgring - the proper Nurburgring - Clay took a brilliant victory, never threatened through the entire race.

Regazzoni was - and is - a delightful man, with a deep love of motor racing, and an excellent sense of humour. What do I remember of him? The first thing, I suppose, is his final Grand Prix victory, at Silverstone in 1979. It was also the first win for the Williams team.

We didn't have post-race press conferences in those days, but sometimes there would be an informal ceremony, and they had one at Silverstone, in a marquee near the paddock. Given that Frank's team had won at last, the atmosphere was unusually emotional.

At first he could barely speak. Then someone gave him a whisky, and another a lit cigar, and FW, a lifelong teetotaller and non-smoker, gamely sipped the one, puffed on the other. "Thank you, thank you so much," he murmured to well-wishers, and there were tears in his eyes.

After a few minutes, Regazzoni came in, dabbing at his face with a towel. On the podium, in deference to the team's Saudi-Arabian sponsors, he had toasted his victory with orange juice; now he looked ready for a swig of his boss's scotch.

He shook Williams's hand. "Bravo, Frank," he quietly said.

That was the essential modesty of a man who had class to throw away. Clay had won a Grand Prix for the first time in three years, but uppermost in his mind was that this was Williams's day.

Regazzoni was never overly concerned with status. "I consider myself a good professional," he said to me once. "If I have a big fault, it's that I am not ambitious enough. I drive for me, sure, but also for the team and the public."

The fans adored him, particularly at Monza, where he - not Jackie Ickx, not Lauda - was always the favoured Ferrari son, for in Clay the tifosi saw a warrior. He looked the part, too, and his name - was ever there one more mellifluous than 'Clay Regazzoni' for a Grand Prix driver? - didn't hurt, either. Although Swiss, he was from Lugano, the Italian end of the country, and that would do.

Much of the time, you never quite knew what you were going to get from Regazzoni. Sometimes his driving was sloppy, sometimes - as at the 'Ring in 1974, or Long Beach a couple of years later - sublime. Like Jean Alesi, he always seemed to find something extra at Monza, winning there in 1970 and '75.

At the end of the '76 season, though, he was replaced by Carlos Reutemann. Clay always spoke his mind: "I never understood why [Enzo] Ferrari didn't speak clean with me. Before Monza he told me there would be no problem for 1977. That weekend I had offers from Brabham and McLaren, but said I was staying with Ferrari."

Perhaps, even 20 years ago, Regazzoni was too ingenuous a man for an increasingly commercial F1. Eventually he learned that Reutemann had signed with Ferrari many weeks previously. "Carlos could have told me," he said, "but Ferrari's behaviour was worse. If he had said no, it's finished for you, I say OK, I am happy to drive for you these six years."

Clay got in touch with Bernie Ecclestone, for at Monza the then Brabham team owner had offered an attractive contract for 1977. Now, when they met at Heathrow, Bernie was in more of a buyer's market. "He asked me how much I wanted, and I mentioned his offer at Monza. Now it was less than half. It was too late to join another big team, and for sure he thought I would agree. I said it wasn't even worth talking about, and got the next flight back to Switzerland. It wasn't the money that was so important. I like to race with nice people..."

Thus Regazzoni joined Ensign, moving at a step from one end of F1's financial spectrum to the other. If it was not a particularly successful year, it was a happy one, the glamorous ex-Ferrari star blending in easily with Morris Nunn's little outfit. In 1978 he joined Shadow, and then came the call from Williams, which is where we came in.

He did a superb job for Frank, as teammate to Alan Jones, but the contract lasted but one season. For 1980 he rejoined Ensign, and was running fourth in the Long Beach Grand Prix at the time of the final accident. At the end of Shoreline Drive, his brake pedal broke, and the car hurtled up the escape road. A barrier had been erected, closing it off, and this the Ensign struck, at colossal speed.

Clay soon knew he had to face the unimaginable. His spinal cord had been severely damaged, and he was paralysed. Finally, in 1985, he began coming to Grands Prix again, as a TV commentator. During practice at Monaco, I saw him in Casino Square, and several minutes went by before it dawned on me: he was standing, albeit leaning against the barrier.

"For a long time I felt very sorry for myself," he said, "but when something like this happens, you move into a different world - a world you never thought about. You see little children with cancer, and you feel ashamed - you've had years of good life which they will never have. I can't walk, but I can drive my Ferrari, I have my driving school for handicapped people, I can still go to races. I don't feel desperate any more."

A great man, I always thought.

Nigel Roebuck

18th December 2006, 04:04
Very sad.

Thanks for the article.

Neil Andrew
18th December 2006, 12:21
I met Clay when my brother was the fabricator at Ensign.
A friend and I had been to the Donnington Museum for the day, in the week between Christmas & New Years Day.
We carried on from Donnington to Ensign's base at Walsall Wood. I remember the roads were very icy, but we arrived safely to find the new car almost ready for testing. Clay, Mo Nunn, my brother and the rest of Ensign's small band were making minor adjustments for Clay's comfort in the car. There were going to test at Donnington in the morning. I will always remember Clay's wolfish grin when I mentioned how icy it was outside. Sorry, but I do not remember the year..

R.I.P. Clay, a true grand prix gentleman.


18th December 2006, 15:27

Dave B
18th December 2006, 17:06
Thanks for posting that article, BM.

RIP Clay, a true sportsman.

19th December 2006, 19:31
Oh My!!! Just heard about this today!!! My condolences to his family and friends at this time....Another legend passes...sad indeed.