Jean-Pierre Jabouille
Jean-Pierre Alain Jabouille

Born October 1st, 1942 in Paris, France


One of the few drivers who can also claim to be an engineer, Jabouille constructed many of the cars he raced in minor formulae including Formula Two, where he finished as runner-up in 1974. His first attempts in F1 also came in 1974 with one-off drives for Williams (French GP) and Surtees (Austrian GP) though he failed to qualify in either. In 1975 he gained sponsorship from French oil company Elf and finished as runner-up in the European F2 Championship, which also led to a drive at the French GP at the wheel of a works Tyrrell. Returning to F2 in 1976, he finally captured the championship in a Renault powered chassis and was promoted to the fledgling turbo F1 program for 1977.

The single Renault RS01 made its race debut at the British GP and showed great power but with terrible reliability and Jabouille did not finish a race. The problem of persistent turbo lag also made the car very hard to drive on slow circuits (or slow corners of fast ones!) and the car made only sporadic appearances the rest of the season. The team skipped the first two rounds of the 1978 season and the team made steady progress through the year, culminating in the first point finish for Jean-Pierre and Renault at the US GP East (at Watkins Glen) where he finished 4th.

The team expanded to two cars for 1979 and Jabouille was paired with Rene Arnoux and was generally outpaced by the younger Frenchman, but he still managed to make the historic milestones of the teams first pole position (South African GP) and first win, momentously at the French GP (and from pole position). Although very fast in qualifying, the car was still not reliable and the 9 points for the win in France would be his only points all season. 1980 proved to be very similar, with great qualifying performances but just two finishes - one of which was a win in Austria. Arnoux was now regarded as the team leader and Jabouille signed to drive for the Ligier team in 1981, however a heavy crash at the 1980 Canadian GP left him with a badly broken leg. He had not recovered sufficiently from the injury for the '81 season and missed the first two races, then after failing to qualify twice, he announced his retirement from F1.

Jabouille in the Iso-Marlboro Williams during 1974 French GP qualifying 1978 US GP West at Long Beach Jabouille at Monaco in 1980

Formula One Record

Year Team / # Starts Wins Poles F Lap Pts Pos
1974 Williams - Ford #21
Surtees - Ford #19
0 0 0 0 0 -
1975 Tyrrell - Ford #15 1 0 0 0 0 -
1977 Renault #15 4 0 0 0 0 -
1978 Renault #15 14 0 0 0 3 17th
1979 Renault #15 14 1 4 0 9 13th
1980 Renault #15 13 1 2 0 9 8th
1981 Ligier - Matra #25 3 0 0 0 0 -


49 2 6 0 21  

1976 European Formula Two Champion
1975 European Formula Two runner-up
1974 European Formula Two runner-up

EMail your comments, suggestions and updates to:

Return to the Teams or Drivers Index