Bien avant de s’illustrer chez McLaren, Ferrari ou Renault en F1, Patrick Tambay...
“A sunday afternoon I’ll never forget…” by Massimo Burbi
I’d like to share a personal memory.
This is the Italian GP 1984 and was the first ever race I’ve seen live. I was 9 years old.
No grandstand, just a general admission ticket. We were sitting on the grass in the middle of the straight after the Variante Ascari.
You can imagine, we were flat to the track (Monza is not Imola, it has no hills) cars were passing by at 300+ Kph so we could barely see hem for few seconds each lap but it still was the best thing I’d ever seen and their power seemed to be shacking the whole Earth.
I loved it.
My father placed a Ferrari cap on my head but I couldn’t care less about the red cars, all I wanted to see was Tambay and Prost.
Alain unfortunately broke his engine in the early stages but Patrick was dominating the race and I was cheering at each lap. Lauda was there too, he was the one who could take the title away from Prost and the race away from Patrick, as he did earlier that year in Digione.
“But not today” my 9 years old logic were saying to me “today I am here and I deserve better”. But the Renault throttle pedal had a different opinion: less than 15 minutes away from the chequered flag Lauda surged ahead.
I was still coming in terms with the disappointment for a victory turned, again, into a second place when suddenly there was no Renault running anymore.
That couldn’t be true, I turned to my father sit next to me like “is there anything we can do?”, but there wasn’t.
The throttle cable broke, I discovered later, the number 15 Renault was standing still, abbandoned, on the pit straight, and Patrick already walked away from it. Such a bitter disappointment.
But still a great thrill and a sunday afternoon I’ll never forget.