Jean Sage, who headed up Renault’s original factory effort in Formula One, has died at the age of 68 at his home in Annecy, France. Originally a rally codriver, sports car racer, and Formula Three driver, Sage became involved with Gerard Larrousse and Paul Archembaud in creating the Ecurie Elf Switzerland team that guided Jean-Pierre Jabouille to the 1976 FIA Formula Two championship. When Larrousse then took over Renault’s racing program, he tabbed Sage to lead The Regie’s groundbreaking turbocharged Formula One attack. Jabouille then famously won the 1979 French GP at Dijon for Renault and the team challenged for the World Championship in subsequent years, but never quite managed to win it, with Alain Prost coming closest, falling two points short in 1983.
When Renault quit F1 in 1987, Sage shifted to Charles Pozzi’s Ferrari France outfit, and ran an F40 in IMSA’s GTO category in the USA during 1989 and 1990 with drivers Jabouille, Jean Alesi, and Jean-Louis Schlesser. In recent years he indulged his passion for Ferraris by collecting and taking part in vintage events.