Jean-Denis Délétraz

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Jean-Denis Delétraz
Jean-Denis Délétraz - Le Mans 2012.JPG
Born (1963-10-01) 1 October 1963 (age 50)
Geneva, Switzerland
Formula One World Championship career
Nationality Switzerland Swiss
Active years 19941995
Teams Larrousse, Pacific
Races 3
Championships 0
Wins 0
Podiums 0
Career points 0
Pole positions 0
Fastest laps 0
First race 1994 Australian Grand Prix
Last race 1995 European Grand Prix

Jean-Denis Delétraz (born 1 October 1963 in Geneva) is a racing driver from Switzerland. He participated in three Formula One Grands Prix, debuting in the 1994 Australian Grand Prix, and his short F1 career was 2 retirements and a 15th.

Before reaching Formula One, he scored two third places in the 1988 Formula 3000 season, but principally earned his three Formula One drives as a pay driver.[1]

After Formula One, he competed in sports car racing, with two class wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Career[edit]

Pre-Formula One[edit]

Delétraz had some success in his early career, notably two wins that came while driving Formula Ford cars.[2] He went on to compete in Formula Three between 1985 and 1987 in the French championship, finishing third in the final standings in 1985.[3] Between 1988 and 1991, he competed in Formula 3000 and during 1990 he bought the FIRST racing team, but was never able to match the success of 1988 and scored no points.[4] During 1991 the team was impounded by an Italian court for a time after legal action from the team's other driver, Giovanni Bonanno.[4]

In 1992 and 1993, Deletraz competed in the French Touring Car Championship and the Porsche Supercup with little success. In 1994, Delétraz was signed as a driver for the SEAT works team in the French Touring Car Championship. His best result was fifth place in the race at Nogaro and he finished thirteenth overall in the standings.[2]

Formula One[edit]

1994: Larrousse[edit]

Towards the end of 1994, Larrousse was like a number of other teams at the time, running short on money and resorting to pay drivers to keep the team afloat.[5] Larrousse's number 19 car, which had started the year being driven by Olivier Beretta, was now being driven by drivers who could bring sponsorship money to the team.[5] For the final race of the year in Australia, Larrousse let Delétraz replace Érik Comas in the team's second car for more sponsorship money in order to aid their financial situation.[5]

During qualifying, Delétraz surprised some in the Formula One paddock when he qualified in 25th position, outqualifying Domenico Schiattarella.[2] However, Schiattarella overtook him during the first lap of the Grand Prix, and Delétraz, who was not phyisically fit enough to drive a Formula One car, gradually dropped back from the rest of the field. He retired on lap 57 with gearbox failure, after he had already been lapped ten times. He was lapping the circuit 6 seconds slower than the leaders, 2 seconds slower than his teammate Hideki Noda and 1–2 seconds slower than the next slowest driver Schiattarella.

Yes Delétraz, really, here having no business in Formula One. And demonstrating it there: he's spending all of his modest effort, frankly, keeping the car on the road. He's holding up Gerhard Berger there, who has now lost a second on Nigel Mansell, in the Larrousse. This is, I'm afraid, one of the problems of the Grand Prix season - at the end of the year we do get one or two drives being taken by people who've got more money than talent, and that's one example of it.

Jonathan Palmer, BBC broadcast of the 1994 Australian Grand Prix - transcript of recording from F1 Rejects.

1995: Pacific[edit]

Although the team started with Bertrand Gachot, who was also a shareholder, and Andrea Montermini as its drivers, by the middle of the season Gachot had stood down so that drivers with sponsorship could help aid the team's finances.[6] It was announced that Delétraz would be competing in the final five races of the season.[2]

I am very happy to be returning to Formula One and we will work hard together to make this a competitive end to the season. Although the Pacific team is quite small, they have a lot of motivation and I think everyone knows that Keith Wiggins is determined to make strong progress in Formula One. For me it is a good opportunity to gain more Formula One experience, and to develop a programme which hopefully will lead to my participation in the 1996 Formula One World Championship.

—Delétraz on signing with Pacific for the remainder of the season - transcript at F1 Rejects.

During qualifying for his first round of the year, in Portugal, Delétraz was hindered by a gearbox problem which saw him qualify last, twelve seconds behind pole-position sitter David Coulthard. The race proved problematic as well - Delétraz was so out of his depth that after 3 laps, he was 40 seconds behind Coulthard, and was lapping the circuit 12 seconds slower than the leaders and 6–7 seconds than the next slowest driver Roberto Moreno in a Forti and 7–8 seconds slower than his teammate Montermini. He was lapped by the leaders after just seven laps of the race, and after fourteen he retired from the race with cramp in his left arm- but this drew paddock wide criticism as Estoril is a clockwise circuit, which requires more work from the right arm, and English F1 journalist Nigel Roebuck made scathing comments about Delétraz's performance in the race. He did better at his second race, at the Nürburgring, saw him qualify just over nine seconds behind pole-position, and he finished the race in fifteenth place as the last finisher, seven laps behind the winner.

At the next race, Bertrand Gachot was unexpectedly back in the seat. It had been expected that Delétraz would be competing until the end of the season, but he defaulted on payment and Keith Wiggins, principal of the Pacific team stated, "On ability alone, we are not willing to keep him."[2]

The slow qualifying speeds of drivers like Delétraz forced Formula One to introduce the 107% rule for the 1996 season.

Sports Car Racing[edit]

24 Hours of Le Mans career
Participating years 19951996, 20002002, 2004, 2007
Teams Giroix Racing Team
Kokusai Kaihatsu Racing
Racing Organisation Course
Noël del Bello Racing
Barron Connor Racing
Swiss Spirit
Best finish 5th (1995, 2001)
Class wins 2 (2001, 2002)

After his rather interesting tenure in Formula One, Delétraz focused on endurance racing, running in the 24 Hours of LeMans and the BPR Global GT Series in 1995. 1996 saw Delétraz move to the FIRST Racing operation he now co-owned with fellow driver Fabien Giroix. Two years in the BPR Global GT Series in a McLaren F1 GTR was followed by a move to the FIA GT Championship in 1997, with FIRST running the works Lotus Elise GT1s. After a couple of years away, FIRST and Delétraz returned to the FIA Championship in 2000 with a Ferrari 550 Maranello. In 2002, he took four wins in the series with team-mate Andrea Piccini in a BMS Scuderia Italia-run 550, and the pair finished fifth in the championship. They then drove a works Lister Storm in 2003. He has also scored two class wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, in 2001 and 2002 in the LMP675 class. He was also one of the drivers of the Chevrolet Corvette C6.R that won the 2007 Spa 24 Hours.

Jean-Denis's son, Louis, won Swiss karting championships in 2009 and 2011 before moving to Formula BMW (2012) and Formula Renault (2013, 2014).

Racing record[edit]

Complete International Formula 3000 results[edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Entrant 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 DC Points
1988 Sport Auto Racing JER
9
VAL
DNQ
PAU
Ret
SIL
DNQ
MNZ
Ret
PER
DNQ
BRH
BIR
10
13th 8
GBDA Motorsport BUG
3
ZOL
3
DIJ
Ret
1989 First Racing SIL
14
VAL
Ret
PAU
Ret
JER
15
PER
Ret
BRH
Ret
BIR
12
SPA
DNQ
BUG
Ret
DIJ
9
NC 0
1990 First Racing DON
7
SIL
DNQ
PAU
Ret
JER
DNQ
MNZ
Ret
PER
HOC
BRH
BIR
BUG
NOG
NC 0
1991 First Racing VAL
DNS
PAU
DNQ
JER
Ret
MUG
PER
HOC
BRH
SPA
BUG
NOG
NC 0

Complete Formula One results[edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 WDC Points
1994 Tourtel Larrousse Larrousse LH94 Ford V8 BRA
PAC
SMR
MON
ESP
CAN
FRA
GBR
GER
HUN
BEL
ITA
POR
EUR
JPN
AUS
Ret
NC 0
1995 Pacific Grand Prix Ltd Pacific PR02 Ford V8 BRA
ARG
SMR
ESP
MON
CAN
FRA
GBR
GER
HUN
BEL
ITA
POR
Ret
EUR
15
PAC
JPN
AUS
NC 0

24 Hours of Le Mans results[edit]

Year Team Co-Drivers Car Class Laps Pos. Class
Pos.
1995 France Giroix Racing Team France Fabien Giroix
France Olivier Grouillard
McLaren F1 GTR GT1 290 5th 4th
1996 United Kingdom Kokusai Kaihatsu Racing
France Giroix Racing Team
France Fabien Giroix
Brazil Maurizio Sandro Sala
McLaren F1 GTR GT1 146 DNF DNF
2000 France Racing Organisation Course Germany Ralf Kelleners
France David Terrien
Reynard 2KQ-LM-Volkswagen LMP675 44 DNF DNF
2001 France ROC Auto Spain Jordi Gené
France Pascal Fabre
Reynard 2KQ-LM-Volkswagen LMP675 284 5th 1st
2002 France Noël del Bello Racing
France ROC Compétition
Switzerland Christophe Pillon
Austria Walter Lechner, Jr.
Reynard 2KQ-LM-Volkswagen LMP675 317 19th 1st
2004 Netherlands Barron Connor Racing Netherlands Mike Hezemans
France Ange Barde
Ferrari 575-GTC GTS 200 DNF DNF
2007 Switzerland Swiss Spirit Switzerland Marcel Fässler
Switzerland Iradj Alexander
Lola B07/18-Audi LMP1 62 DNF DNF
2012 United Arab Emirates Gulf Racing Middle East Japan Keiko Ihara
France Marc Rostan
Lola B12/80-Nissan LMP2 17 DNF DNF

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Smith, Bruce; Earnes, Mark (1995). Formula 1 Grand Prix Season 1995. Words on Sport Ltd. p. 60. ISBN 1-898351-25-2. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Jean-Denis Delétraz - Biography". F1 Rejects. 2003-10-08. Retrieved 2006-12-26. 
  3. ^ "Driver Biography: Jean-Denis Deletraz". FIA GT Championship. Retrieved 2006-12-26. 
  4. ^ a b "Drivers: Jean-Denis Deletraz". GrandPrix.com. Retrieved 2006-12-26. 
  5. ^ a b c "Constructors: Larrousse". GrandPrix.com. Retrieved 2006-12-26. 
  6. ^ Jones, Bruce (1998). The Complete Encyclopedia of Formula One. Carlton Books Ltd. p. 206. ISBN 1-85868-515-X.