Paletti's helmet was blue with a light blue "V" type pattern that was added near the visor. The visor also had a Pioneer sponsor.
Formula One Career
Paletti entered the Formula Super Ford for nine races in 1978. At his first race, he led a total of 18 laps but did not win the race. He did not win during his first season of racing, but did finish 2nd twice and managed to earn 3rd place in the season championship.
Close to the end of the Formula Super Ford season, Paletti was offered a racing sport in Formula Three, by the March-Toyota team. He raced his first F3 race at the Italian Grand Prix. After racing the Italian Grand Prix, Plaetti had earned a full time Formula Three seat for the 1979 season. He was unsuccessful in the series only placing 5th (twice) as his highest position.
During the 1979 season, Paletti managed to race a few Formula Two races with Mike Earle's Onyx Formula Two team. In 1981, Paletti performed winter testing with the Onyx team which eventually led to a season spot on the team. The beginning of the season was off to a great start after he managed to maintain 2nd place in the championship. Unfortunately, a streak of bad luck began and Paletti fell down in the championship to finish in 10th place.
Paletti's sponsor, Pioneer wanted him to move up to Formula One. Although the sport struck him with a little fear, Paletti joined Formula One for the 1982 season. He joined the Osella team which was not very competitive during the time because of a lack of funds. He was teamed with Jean-Pierre Jarier from France.
Something that was unusual for the time, was that Paletti had a personal medical adviser. This adviser would monitor Paletti's blood pressure and heartbeat during test and practice sessions, then modify Paletti's diet based upon the results. Although this is a popular tactic in the sport today, it was uncommon during this period of time.
Paletti served as the secondary driver for the team, but struggled to qualify for any races until the San Marino Grand Prix when he qualified in 13th position. Although, he was unable to complete the race due to a suspension failure.
For the Detroit Grand Prix, Paletti qualified for the race, but Jarier crashed his car at the end of the qualifying session. Therefore, since Paletti was the number two driver, his teammate took his car as a spare meaning Paletti was forced to sit out the race.
Paletti was killed on the second start of his career at the Canadian Grand Prix, only two days before his 24th birthday.
Race driver Didier Pironi had the pole position for the race, but had stalled his engine off of the start of the race. Despite giving hand signals to cancel the start, the race began. Drivers at the front of the pack swerved to avoid Pironi's stationary car, causing an accident. Meanwhile at the back of the field, Paletti stuck the back of Pironi's car at speeds estimated to be around 180km/h.
From the force of the impact, Paletti had suffered many internal chest injuries, was unconscious had two broken legs. Pironi was the first on the scene as he jumped from his car to help clear the wreckage from Paletti. When the safety and medical crew arrived on the scene, the leaking fuel from the car caught fire, engulfing the entire car in flames.
According to the track crew, Paletti was (for the most part) unaffected by the fire because the safety crew we sure to aim fire extinguishers at Paletti. When the fire was put out, Paletti had no pulse. The medical crew carried out the 25 minute task of cutting Paletti from the car, where he was transferred to the nearby Royal Victoria Hospital. There he was pronounced dead shortly after he had arrived.
According to doctors, Paletti died because the chest injuries had made it hard to breath. In addition, he was also poisoned because he had inhaled the chemicals inside of the fire extinguishers for too long.
In his memory, the race track located in Varano, Italy was renamed the Autodromo Riccardo Paletti.
Formula One Statistical Overview
Formula One Record
|Year||Entrant||Team||WDC Points||WDC Pos.||Report|
|1982||Osella Squadra Corse||Osella-Ford Cosworth||0||NC||Report|
|Front Row Starts||0|
|Distance Raced||35.280 km (22 mi)|
|Distance Led||0 km (0 mi)|
|Complete Formula One results|
|3rd||DNQ||Did not qualify|
|5th||Points finish||DNPQ||Did not pre-qualify|
|14th||Non-points finish||TD||Test driver|
|NC||Non-classified finish (<90% race distance)||DNS||Did not start|
|Italics||Scored point(s) for Fastest Lap||[+] More Symbols|
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