PEOPLE: GERARD DUCAROUGE
Name: Gerard Ducarouge
Trained at the Ecole Nationale Technique d'Aeronautique, Ducarouge joined Matra Sports in 1966 and was soon working on the company's sportscar with the BRM-engined MS620 which was driven with some success by Jean-Pierre Beltoise. This was followed by the MS630 but in 1968 Matra became involved in Formula 1 with the MS10 chassis being supplied to Tyrrell while the company built its own MS11 for the Matra V12 engine. Ducarouge was involved in the chassis programs until it was wound down in 1972 and he concentrated on the development of the MS670s for the Le Mans 24 Hours. They finished 1-2 with Henri Pescarolo and Graham Hill ahead of Francois Cevert and Howden Ganley. The development of the sportscar program continued in 1973 and there was another Le Mans victory for Pescarolo and Gerard Larrousse, and victory in the Constructors' title that year. The following year Matra dominated sportscars after Ferrari withdrew and the Pescarolo/Larrousse pairing were able to win another Le Mans victory and give Matra a second constructors' title with nine wins in 10 races.
At the end of the year the company announced it was giving up competition and sold its racing operations to Guy Ligier. A Ford-engined Ligier sportscar finished second at Le Mans in 1975 but Ducarouge and his team were by then working on the design of the first Ligier F1 - the JS5 - which appeared in 1976 with Matra engines and Jacques Laffite driving. The car was revised in 1977 as the JS7 and Laffite won the Swedish Grand Prix. The JS9 followed in 1978 but Laffite scored only a couple of podium finishes and it was decided in 1979 to switch to Cosworth engines. Ligier expanded to two cars and hired Patrick Depailler to partner Laffite. Ducarouge designed the ground-effect Ligier JS11 and Laffite won the first two races of the year. Depailler then won the Spanish GP and the team seemed to be on course for the World Championship but the pace of development dropped in midseason and the team's rivals caught up; Ligier slipped to third in the Constructors' title.
Ducarouge revised the car for 1981 and the JS11/15 was driven by Laffite and Didier Pironi. Laffite won in Germany and the team ended the year second in the Constructors' title. The success attracted the attention of the Talbot car company and Ligier sold part of the team to the firm. A deal to use BMW engines flopped and so the team was forced to rely on the old Matra V12s again. The Ligier-Matra JS17 enabled Laffite to win twice but Ducarouge and Guy Ligier fell out in the midseason and Ducarouge was sacked.
He moved to Autodelta in Italy, developed the Alfa Romeo 179 chassis and then built the new 182 for the 1982 season. At the end of that season Alfa Romeo decided that Autodelta should hand over chassis design to Paolo Pavanello's Euroracing team. The 182 was updated to take the Alfa Romeo V8 turbo engine and redesignated the 183T. Early in the season, however, Ducarouge was replaced as technical director by Luigi Marmiroli.
Ducarouge moved to Team Lotus in 1983 where he revived a demoralized team, producing the Lotus-Renault 94T in just five weeks. The following year Elio de Angelis finished third in the World Championship in Ducarouge's 95T, despite not winning a race. The 97T in 1985 was a big success in the hands of Ayrton Senna and de Angelis with the Brazilian winning in Portugal and Belgium and the Italian at Imola. The following year Senna won twice more with the 98T and in 1987 the Honda-engined 99T enabled him to take eight pole positions, although he won only twice. After Senna departed Ducarouge designed the 100T but, despite the team finishing fourth in the Constructors' Championship, the year was judged to be a poor one and Ducarouge decided to take up an offer from the new Larrousse team and go back to work in France.
The team was running Lola chassis which Ducarouge developed in league with Lola's Chris Murphy. The result was some promising performances in 1990 and Ducarouge was then lured back to Ligier for the 1991 season. He stayed at Magny-Cours as technical director until the middle of 1994 when the team was taken over by Flavio Briatore.
He returned to Matra, heading the development team of the Renault Espace F1 program, a demonstration car fitted with a Renault F1 V10 engine and a Williams semi-automatic gearbox and traction-control.
He has since become the international development director of Matra Automobiles.