From the motorsport archive: Drivers ban Patrese

Prominent F1 figures refuse to drive at Watkins Glen unless 24-year-old Italian racer gets barred from competition

7th October 1978: Of the 10 vehicle drivers who have entered the most Solution 1 races, Riccardo Patrese attracts attention as the only one whose job was mainly in the 20th century, when the periods were much shorter.

He retired in 1993 as a well-respected veteran– something you never ever would certainly have believed feasible back in his first few seasons.

In 1978, so regular were his unsafe manoeuvres that, spurred into action by the heartbreaking fatality of Ronnie Peterson in a Monza pile-up, senior drivers including Niki Lauda, Emerson Fittipaldi and also James Quest sent a telex to the organiser of the US Grand Prix East claiming they would not race unless the Arrows motorist were barred.

This extraordinary move for a while looked set to strip the Watkins Glen race of its championship standing or get it terminated.

Despite a conference at which Patrese confessed his past blunders, the Grand Prix Drivers’ Organization specified a ban was “the only possible as well as reasonable method of dealing with the issue”.

The 24-year-old Italian’s response was to seek lawful advice from a regional judge, much to the alarm of the various other vehicle drivers as well as teams, but his case was disregarded. Arrows diplomatically determined to withdraw him.

Yet the story didn’t finish there, as Ferrari declared it thought about Patrese’s ban prohibited, reigniting the chance of the race being stripped of its championship condition– eventually unsuccessfully.

Although he was furious concerning it at the time, Patrese has given that recognized that the restriction altered his attitude right.

Ever since, simply six other drivers have been outlawed from going into a grand prix.