Mourning in the world of Formula 1. On the evening of Friday, December 30, Gil De Ferran passed away, struck by a heart attack. The announcement was made by the official IndyCar website. The former Brazilian driver had been the sporting director of McLaren until 2021, then returned to the paddock a few months ago as a consultant for the Woking-based team.
Gil De Ferran, 56 years old, had been the champion of the Indianapolis 500, and ironically, a track proved fatal for him. At the time of the illness, the Brazilian was in a private racing club in Florida, in the company of his son.
According to information revealed by the BBC, while the Brazilian was on the track with his son, he pulled over, saying he didn’t feel well. Thus, the former driver was urgently transported to the hospital but did not survive.
McLaren bids farewell to him with a statement to remember the work done in Woking. “Gil was an important and integral part of our team. He was a formidable force on and off the track and had a lasting impact on everyone who raced and worked alongside him.”
Gil De Ferran had brought McLaren to good levels when, in 2020, the British team secured third place in the Constructors’ Championship after the dismal results of 2018 when the former driver had taken on the role of Sporting Director.
The former Brazilian driver of French origins had also won the IndyCar title in 2000 and 2001 with the Penske team. He had never reached Formula 1, effectively stopping at Formula 3 with Rubens Barrichello and David Coulthard.
In addition to his son Luke, who was on the track with him, the Brazilian leaves behind his wife Angela and daughter Anna.
Scuderia Ferrari Spanish driver also wanted pay a tribute to the ex-McLaren Sporting Director with a message posted on Twitter:
I’m heartbroken to hear about the passing of my friend Gil.
My thoughts are with his family and loved ones, specially with Angela, Anna and Luke.
We will miss you.
— Carlos Sainz (@Carlossainz55) December 30, 2023