Riccardo Paletti

@Michal51 (660)
November 28, 2006 12:11pm CST
I think he is one of my favourite perished F1 heroes... Do you know anything about him? Riccardo Paletti From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Riccardo Paletti (June 15, 1958 - June 13, 1982) was an Italian Formula 1 driver, born in Milan. Paletti's Formula 1 career is among the shortest of all drivers, as he fatally crashed on the start grid in one of his first real Formula 1 starts.[edit] Biography Born in Milan, Paletti joined the uncompetitive Osella team in 1982, bringing his own funding to secure the second seat in the team. Making his first attempt during the Grand Prix of Kyalami in January of 1982, he did not manage to qualify for the first three Grand Prix races of the season with the poor Osella. For the fourth Grand Prix of the season, in Imola on April 25, 1982 amidst a war between the FISA/FOCA, only 14 cars loyal to the organisation started the race and Paletti's Osella was one of them. He retired from the race while in 13th position with a defective suspension. For the next two races, again with a full starting grid, he did not qualify. On his seventh Grand Prix, in Detroit, Michigan, he managed for the first time to qualify on a proper GP grid, but due to a crash in the warmup, he never started the race. When he qualified for the Canadian Grand Prix on Sunday, June 13, 1982, it was the first time Paletti started in a full line up. At the start, the lights took an unusually long time to turn to green. During this time, Didier Pironi, who had pole position, stalled the engine of his Ferrari. When the lights switched to green, the other cars swerved across the track, trying to squeeze past Pironi's stationary car. Unfortunately, Raul Boesel just clipped the back left of the Ferrari, spinning his March into the path of Eliseo Salazar and Jochen Mass. Salazar, Boesel and Mass suffered minor impacts but it looked as if everyone had passed the Ferrari without serious consequences. But Riccardo Paletti could not react in time and slammed into the rear of the stranded Ferrari at 180km/h, catapulting it into the path of Geoff Lees. Several other cars were instant retirees. Paletti sustained heavy chest injuries and was lying unconscious in his car, wedged against the steering wheel. Didier Pironi and Sid Watkins, the FIA's head doctor, were on the scene in a matter of seconds to stabilize and assist Paletti. As Watkins climbed over the wreckage of the Osella, the petrol that had leaked from the fully loaded car's ruptured fuel tank ignited, enveloping the car in wall of fire. The heavy fire was quickly extinguished but by then the critically injured Paletti was without a pulse. He was cut from his wrecked car and rushed to hospital, where he died soon after arriving. It is however a testament to the quality of Formula One's medical team and protective clothing that despite the fire he suffered no burns. Just a few weeks after the tragedy of Gilles Villeneuve's fatal crash during qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix at Zolder, Paletti was the second fatality in Formula 1 that year. He would be the last driver to die at a Grand Prix meeting for the next 12 years until the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, which took the lives of Roland Ratzenberger during qualifying, and triple world champion Ayrton Senna during the Grand Prix itself. As a tribute to the young Italian, the racetrack at Varano de' Melegari (Parma), Italy is now called the Autodromo Riccardo Paletti. His body is buried in the Cimitero Maggiore di Milano.
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