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Formula One stars attend funeral of Regazzoni

The helmet of a young fan said its own goodbye to Regazzoni


About a thousand people, including personalities from Formula One racing, have attended the funeral in Lugano of Swiss driver Clay Regazzoni, who died on Friday.

Regazzoni, aged 67, was killed in a collision with a truck in a motorway accident near the northern Italian city of Parma.

Among those attending the service on Thursday were drivers Jackie Stewart, Emerson Fittipaldi and Niki Lauda, as well as the former boss of Switzerland's Sauber racing stable, Peter Sauber.

Stewart told Swiss television that it had been marvellous to race against Regazzoni. He had been a wonderful person with humour and good for the sport of motor racing.

Stewart also described him as a good ambassador for Switzerland.

After the funeral, also attended by authorities of canton Ticino, he was laid to rest in the family vault in the cemetery of the village of Porza, above Lugano.

Only family and close friends attended the burial.

More than 40 Lugano politicians are supporting a motion for a street or square to be named after Regazzoni, who was born in the southern Swiss city.

Regazzoni was paralysed after suffering spinal damage in the United States Grand Prix West in Long Beach in 1980. Afterwards he was confined to a wheelchair.

High points

He enjoyed the high points of his Grand Prix career with the Williams and Ferrari teams.

The Swiss gave Williams their first Grand Prix victory in Britain in 1979 and won four races for the Italian team.

"Clay won the very first Grand Prix for the Williams team in 1979 at Silverstone," said team boss Frank Williams after hearing the news of Regazzoni's death.

"This was probably the most important event ever to occur in the history of our time in Formula One.

"He was a gentleman and always a pleasure to have with us in the team. [Co-owner] Patrick [Head] and I and other team members will always remember him."

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo said Regazzoni's death had "robbed us of a man of courage and generosity who lived his life demonstrating those values".


"I remember him as one of my drivers during unforgettable times, but also as a true supporter of Ferrari. For him, races had to be tackled with boldness and at the limit, from the first to final lap."

Christened Gianclaudio Giuseppe but known quite simply as Clay, Regazzoni made his Formula One debut with Enzo Ferrari's star team at the 1970 Dutch Grand Prix, in which he finished fourth.

In only his fifth race, he beat Jackie Stewart into second place in Ferrari's home Italian Grand Prix at Monza. He finished third overall in the championship despite competing in just eight races.

He drove for BRM for a season in 1973 before returning to Ferrari in 1974 as team mate to future triple world champion Niki Lauda.

Regazzoni was runner-up for Ferrari in the 1974 championship and in 1975 he again won the Italian Grand Prix with Ferrari.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

Clay Regazzoni was born in Lugano on September 5, 1939.
He was considered one of the best racing drivers never to have been world champion.
During his Formula One career, he obtained five pole positions and collected more than 200 world championship points.
After his career ended, Regazzoni spent much of his time promoting the integration of handicapped people into society.

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