Former French Formula 1 driver Philippe Streiff has died at the age of 67, F1Media, the organisation’s official communication body, said on Saturday.
By a fatal wink of fate, Philippe Streiff disappears some three weeks only after Patrick Tambay, another famous French driver of the 80s, of which he had been the teammate at his very beginnings at Renault (1984).
“I am saddened to learn of the death of Philippe Streiff. He showed incredible courage and determination throughout his life,” F1 president Stefano Domenicali said in a tribute tweet.
Streiff had been the victim of a terrible accident in F1, during private tests intended to test tires for the French team AGS in 1989 on the Brazilian circuit of Jacarepagua, in Rio de Janeiro. He remained quadriplegic.
The Isérois, born in La Tronche in 1955, had subsequently devoted himself to the defense of the disabled. Along with others, his crash helped F1 authorities improve circuit safety and medical infrastructure.
After studying engineering, he was introduced by Renault into the world of F1 as a test driver in 1984. In 1985, he climbed the podium for the only time in his career at the wheel of a Ligier in Australia before joining the English team Tyrrell with which he contested most of his Grands Prix, 48 out of 53.
Before F1, he raced in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and took second place in 1981 in a Rondeau.
After his accident, he had not left the world of motor sports and had devoted himself in particular to the organization of karting events, including one at the Palais des sports de Bercy, today Accor Hôtel Arena.
He spent a lot of energy to improve the living conditions of the disabled, in particular as a technical adviser to the interministerial delegation for the disabled in the 2000s.
“After his career in F1 and his accident, he had fought on all fronts so that people with disabilities could live as normally as possible, including behind the wheel, with ingenuity, and as a pioneer”, underlined this Saturday Sports Minister Amélie Oudéa-Castera in a tweet.