Iconic F1 designer Gerard Ducarouge dies at 73

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Gerard Ducarouge, veteran and iconic designer primarily for Ligier, Lotus and Matra, among others, has died at age 73 (shown right, in 1989, with Larrousse).

Ducarouge’s career began in missile projects before moving to Matra Sports in 1965. By 1969, the Cosworth-powered Matra MS80 won the World Championship with Jackie Stewart.

His success then continued at Le Mans in the 1970s, with the Matra MS670 prevailing in three consecutive 24-hour endurance classics from 1972 to 1974.

Once Matra ceased its motorsports operations, Ducarouge moved to Ligier, where he went onto have great success.

The JS5 – and its massive, memorable, giant airbox aboard Jacques Laffite’s chassis – won the pole for the 1976 Italian Grand Prix. A year later, the updated JS7 took Ligier’s first Grand Prix victory.

Further victories followed in 1979 with the JS11 but by 1981, Ducarouge was unceremoniously dumped by Ligier during the season.

He had a brief stint at Alfa Romeo and then moved to Lotus in 1983.

By 1985 he had Ayrton Senna in the driver lineup alongside the talented Elio de Angelis. Senna took his first Grand Prix victory at Estoril later that year, in the Lotus 97T. He stayed at Lotus for four years, and later headed to Larrousse.

A return to Ligier followed in the 1990s – Mark Blundell and Martin Brundle were among the drivers there during his second stint.

Blundell and Brundle were among those to offer their condolences, and some of the reflections on Twitter are linked below.

We join them in offering our condolences, as well.