The no-ego Williams ace foiled by 90s F1’s technology push
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The no-ego Williams ace foiled by 90s F1’s technology push

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Racing drivers tend to have deep pockets and short arms, but not Riccardo Patrese, who used to treat his mechanics to sumptuous post-season dinners. NIGEL ROEBUCK looks at the career of a true gentleman

A karting world champion in 1974 and winner of the 1976 European F3 Championship, Riccardo Patrese arrived in Formula 1 the next year with Shadow. He didn’t set the world alight, but showed considerable promise, and the following year – now with Arrows – really made his mark. Had his engine not blown in the closing laps, he would have won the South African GP. Invariably competitive, his best result was second to Niki Lauda in Sweden – but that day also brought Patrese a lot of bad press.

Patrese, rivals suggested, had brought F3 driving manners into F1, and they didn’t like it. At Anderstorp, the phlegmatic Ronnie Peterson was livid at the way Riccardo had kept him from passing.

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