watercolour painting of Joseph Siffert and Hans Herrmann-Porsche 917, by Belgian artist Carlos Ghys

Jo Siffert and Hans Herrmann (Porsche 917) during the 1971 24 hours race at Le Mans

1970 LE MANS 24 Hr
Jo Siffert sweeps his Gulf-Porsche 917 into 'the Esses',
ahead of the winning Herrmann/Attwood Porsche.

watercolour 48 x 36 cm

Swiss flag

Joseph Siffert portrait photo Think of Seppi, and you remember first a fearlessness that could be chilling. You watched him, and often you feared for him; there was a streak of wildness there, and the limits seemed fuzzy, ill-defined. A gentle fellow, with a fine sense of humour, Siffert was popular with the other drivers, but some were wary of him during working hours, running wheel to wheel at, say, Monza. In these circumstances, Stewart would say, Seppi rather tended to live for the moment. He was never a polished Grand Prix driver, in the Lauda sense of the word, never one to give his cars an easy time. Often he was over kerbs, brushing banks, sideways. There were other of greater natural gift, who perhaps needed to give less of themselves, but after every race in which he drove, you knew that Siffert had been at the limit. That was the man. His background was the poorest of the poor, but his love of racing, his commitment to it, took him finally into Formula 1. We remember Siffert chiefly for his days in the Rob Walker Lotus 49, but in 1971 he joined BRM, heroically taking over the team leadership after the death of Rodriguez. Only three months later Seppi, too, was gone.

(Source: Hazleton Publishing-The Grand Prix drivers)