Jean-Luc Roy: "Patrick Tambay, what a long story!"
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Jean-Luc Roy: “Patrick Tambay, what a long story!”

It is impossible to sum up the long history that unites us with Patrick Tambay in a few words, in a few lines. Between TV and radio, we commented on more than 300 major awards together, but we didn’t calculate the exact number, it didn’t matter much to us.

We started this long series with Canal + between 1997 and 2002, where together with the FOM teams we developed a massive system with Kiosque, allowing you to choose your screen among 7 channels and thus follow the races in very different ways, a system that is now in force again. Together we lived the first victories and the coronation of Jacques Villeneuve (1997 world champion), for whom Patrick Tambay was the godfather. I remember the day Jack was crowned at the end of a raucous European Grand Prix in Jerez, southern Spain, after Michael Schumacher took the wheel to try and finish him off. Patrick was so affected, and destroyed by emotion, that he could no longer speak. I had to finish the comments myself that day. It is of course necessary to remember the very strong friendship that binds him with Gil, since they started together in Formula 1, and then took over from Gilles at Ferrari after his death during qualifying at Zolder in Belgium in 1982. A story that is both awesome and awesome at the same time.

I started my Motors program on RMC in 2002, and Patrick was so glad we were able to commentate Grands Prix together from 2007. To my absolute delight, we were partners again. Patrick was a picky eater, a perfectionist, and always looking for information. When he introduced me to people I didn’t know yet, he always used this expression “my old partner” I’m lucky to have a brother, but we’ve shared so many adventures with Patrick, that I can say he was “like my brother”. I’ve seen this dreaded disease happen but Patrick struggled to the end to keep commentating on the Grand Prix. At some point, unfortunately, it became impossible because the stress and emotions of the live broadcast exacerbated the symptoms. Naturally, I insisted that his son Adrien Tambay succeed him by my side, because I knew Adrien would be able to do it, and I also knew he would help Patrick deliver, but we never really talked about it. Directly in these terms out of shame… I saw the birth of Adrian. He’d spent hundreds of hours between the two of us in the commentary booths, so he was totally legitimate in the role and skillfully took the baton.

We shared many happy and terrible moments in his life. Few people know it, but it is largely thanks to me, or because of me, that Patrick participated in the Paris Dakar. In 1986, during his final season with Lola Béatrice, I did several themes with him, including one on Aviator Day. I had given him my book “The Lost Tree of the Ténéré” which recounted my adventures in the Dakar and in particular my engagement with Daniel Balavoine in 1985. Arriving at the Hungarian Grand Prix for coffee at his mobile team house, Patrick suddenly throws at me: “ I had a sleepless night with you,” and he burst out laughing! In fact, he read the book in one go and told me he was going to get involved as soon as possible, keeping his word by participating in the 1987 edition of Atlas in Morocco in May. Nothing was too big for him.

In the comments, we’ve disciplined ourselves because I might sometimes scratch my Ferrari a little bit from time to time, when they deserve it. Who loves a good punishment, but it is immediately temporary because Ferrari was the team of his life, the team of his heart, with which he triumphed and lived this terrible history. On the contrary, he sometimes got carried away, because Patrick Tambay was above all a sentimental person, a very generous and very complete person, without language. In the end, each time, we decided to just let it go and let it go, with a thoughtful look!

Patrick Tambay (1949-2022)

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