French motor-racing driver and World Drivers' Champion (1985, 1986, and 1989), who ranks with Fangio as the most successful Formula One driver ever. An Officier of the Légion d'honneur, he was awarded an honorary OBE in 1994.
Born in St Chamond in southern France, he drove his first Formula One race in 1980 in Argentina and scored his first Grand Prix success (in France) in 1981, driving a Renault. In 1984 he switched to the Marlboro-MacLaren team and a year later won his first world championship, becoming the first Frenchman to do so. Remaining with Marlboro-MacLaren, he repeated his success in 1986 and, driving for Marlboro-Honda, again in 1989 and 1993. He was runner-up in 1983, 1984, 1988, and 1990. In 1987 he passed Jackie Stewart's record of twenty-seven Grand Prix victories; by 1996 he had scored fifty-one wins. In 1990 he also established a new record with his career total of Grand Prix points.
Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).