|First race||Dutch Grand Prix||Zandvoort||June 21, 1970||Race results|
|Last race||United States Grand Prix West||Long Beach||March 30, 1980||Race results|
Gianclaudio, also known as Clay, became one of Formula One's most respected performers - and also one of its saddest stories. He made his grand prix debut for Ferrari midway through a remarkably successful Formula Two season in 1970, and proved himself to be an accomplished driver straightaway. Not only did he take an excellent fourth place on his debut in Britain, and follow it with a second place in Austria, but he also assured himself of a permanent place in the hearts of Ferrari fans when he won the Italian Grand Prix.
Clay stayed with the Italian team for another two seasons, before being dropped for 1973, only to return in 1974 alongside Niki Lauda. He proved the perfect foil for the Austrian, and came close to winning the World Championship in 1974, and supporting Lauda ably for another two years, before he was replaced by Carlos Reutemann for 1977.
Two years in the comparative wilderness with Ensign and Shadow were followed by a splendid return to the limelight in 1979 with Williams - indeed he gave the team its first grand prix win, at Silverstone, before again being replaced by Reutemann and returning to Ensign.
Tragedy was soon to follow. In his fourth race of 1980, the car's throttle jammed open along the flat-out Shoreline Drive at Long Beach, and he careered down an escape road and into a wall at unabated speed. He suffered severe spinal injuries which left him confined to a wheelchair. Clay's post-racing career as a commentator was brought to an end when he died in a car crash in 2006.
Reproduced from The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Formula One published by Carlton Books