- July 10, 1946
- Not Active
Jean-Pierre Jarier is a former racing driver from France who recorded 143 entries (134 starts) in the Formula 1 World Championship between 1971 and 1983. He never won a race but scored three podiums.
He was also successful sports car racer, participating fifteen times at 24 Hours of Le Mans and reaching an overall podium in 1977, together with Vern Schuppan in a Mirage-Renault.
Early racing career
Born in July 1946 in Charenton-le-Pont near Paris, Jean-Pierre Jacques Jarier started his racing career in 1967 when he has competed in the Renault Eight saloon. Already in the following year Jean-Pierre switched to single seaters. After scoring some impressive results in Formula France (later known as Formula Renault), he progressed to French Formula 3 Championship.
Jarier spent two years in the series and in he became the series champion in 1970, clinching the title in the final round of the season at Circuit de Albi. His talent was obvious but his driving style was quite aggressive, always on the verge of an accident.
Formula 1 debut and 1973 Formula 2 champion
Jarier’s progress through the ranks was quick, so in 1971 he raced in the European Formula 2 Championship and scored two podiums with the Shell-Arnold team. The same year Jarier debuted in the Formula 1 World Championship driving the rented March 701-Ford. The debut wasn’t glorious after French driver retired from the race on lap 47. He stayed with the team in 1972 Formula 2 but was dropped out in the mid-season due to financial reasons.
However, Jarier was signed by the March Engineering team in 1973 to race in Both F1 and F2. Whilst his first full season in the Formula 1 ended ingloriously (he was able to finish only one Grand Prix driving the unreliable March 721G), the F2 campaign was absolutely brilliant. Jean-Pierre won eight races and was crowned as the series champion. His performances were so fantastic and rumors suggested that even Ferrari was thinking about signing the Frenchman.
Maiden podium finish
In 1974 Jarier signed with Shadow team and tasted success in the top-tier of racing. He finished 3rd at Monaco Grand Prix, behind Ronnie Peterson and Jody Scheckter, while in the following race in Sweden he was 5th. Unfortunately, the rest of the year wasn’t as good and Jarier failed to score and finished 14th in the Championship.
The French driver stayed with the for another two years but they weren’t as good. In 1975 Jarier scored only once, taking the 5th position at the Spanish Grand Prix, while in 1976 he ended the season without a single point, with the 7th place at Long Beach as the highlight of the season.
Fortune wasn’t on Jarier’s side
After pretty impressive results with the small team, many were thinking that the Frenchman will have a good career but their predictions were wrong. He signed with ATS team in 1977. He debuted in the race at Long Beach and finished 6th but in the following races he rarely could finish in top 10. Late in the season Jean-Pierre had one-off appearances with Shadow and Ligier but again without success.
Luckily, he had better results in sports car racing. Driving an Alfa Romeo T33 alongside Arturo Merzario, he won a couple of races and also finished 2nd at Le Mans 24 Hours driving a Mirage with Vern Schuppan.
Jarier returned to ATS in 1978 and drove in selected events before being hired by new champions Lotus for the season-ending North American GPs when Ronnie Peterson was killed in the Italian Grand Prix. The Frenchman was on a good way of winning the Canadian Grand Prix before an oil leak denied his deserved victory
Move to Tyrrell was a good decision
In 1979 Jarier signed with Tyrrell, the ambitious team that always was among the dark horses. That was a solid opportunity for the French driver to establish himself as a solid F1 racer. After he has retired from the races in Brazil and Argentina, Jean-Pierre finished 3rd at Kyalami, losing to Gilles Villeneuve and Jody Scheckter. He also scored points in the following two races while in the second half of the season he again scored some notable results.
After finishing 5th at French Grand Prix, he took the 3rd place at British Grand Prix, behind Clay Regazzoni and Rene Arnoux. He sat out the races in Austria and Germany and before the end of the year he also picked points at Monza. Jarier finished 10th in the standings and that was the best result in his Formula 1 career.
The following season with Tyrrell wasn’t as good. Jarier scored thrice, finishing 5th in Belgium, UK, and the Netherlands. He dropped to the 13th position in the standings and left the team at the end of the season.
A couple more years with outsiders
At the beginning of 1981 Jarier replaced Jean-Pierre Jabouille in Ligier for the opening two races of the season but was released from the team when his compatriot returned. In the second half of the year the Frenchman signed with Osella and stayed with the Italian team until the end of 1982. Unfortunately, with one of the F1’s favorite outsiders he wasn’t able to achieve almost nothing.
Jarier scored his last F1 points by finishing 4th in the Grand Prix of San Marino at Imola but that year was marked by numerous retirements and failures in the prequalifying sessions.
Finally, at the end of 1983 he retired from Formula 1. He spent the season with Ligier but the results were horrible. Nevertheless, many drivers complained about Jean-Pierre’s behavior on the track and he was widely criticized by the media. „He's got a mental age of 10 in the first place, and that was an absolutely disgraceful bit of driving for a driver of his experience,“ commented legendary James Hunt during the Austrian Grand Prix after Jarier blocked many drivers as a back marker.
Switch to sports cars
After retiring from the Formula 1, Jarier spent many years in the sports cars racing. He has competed sporadically in the World Endurance Championship, World Sports-Prototype Challenge, Porsche Supercup, International GT Series, as well as in the FIA GT Championship. His best results of that period were titles in the French GT Championship won in 1998 and 1999.
Out of racing track, Jarier became involved in the film industry. He introduced himself to a new generation by contributing major stunt work to the famous movie Ronin in 1998.