1991 BELGIAN GRAND PRIX
Riccardo Patrese, posing with my son Mathias.
By the time he retired from Formula 1, Patrese held the record of 256 Grand Prix starts. Moreover, he was a World Championship points scorer for longer than any other driver in F1 history and also has the longest winning record, eleven seasons separating his 1982 Monaco GP victory from his triumph in the Japanese race in 1992. After a distinguished record of achievement in karting and Formula 3, Patrese graduated to F1 with the Shadow team in 1977. When members of the team split to set up Arrows, Patrese went with them. He quickly gained a reputation for being over-aggressive and arrogant, on circuit and off, but he was unjustly accused by his peers of having triggered Ronnie Peterson's fatal accident at Monza in 1978. In 1982 Patrese switched to Bernie Ecclestone's Brabham team alongside Nelson Piquet, went to Alfa Romeo (1984-85), back to Brabham (1986-87) and then to Williams from 1988 to 92 where he partnered Nigel Mansell during the Englishman's World Championship winning season. Patrese had an F1 swan song season with Benetton alongside Michael Schumacher in 1992 before retiring from the F1 stage.