Indy500 winner and former McLaren F1 team member Gil de Ferran has died, aged 56-years, after suffering a heart attack in Florida.

Gil de Ferran, winner of the Indianapolis 500 and formerly Sporting Director for Honda and McLaren in Formula 1, has passed away at the age of 56. The French-born Brazilian initially climbed the motorsport ranks as a driver, winning the British Formula 3 championship in 1992 and finishing third in International Formula 3000 two years later.

But rather than step up to F1, he made the move from Europe to form a highly successful career in the United States, culminating in two Champ Car titles at the turn of the millennium and victory at the Indy 500 in 2003. After his racing career, De Ferran held several management roles, including stints as Sporting Director of BAR-Honda in the mid-2000s and McLaren from 2018 to 2021.

De Ferran had recently returned to the Woking squad in a consultant advisory role before his passing on December 29. Here’s motorsport community paying their homage to De Ferran on his passing:

Roger Penske: “We are terribly saddened to hear about today’s tragic passing of Gil de Ferran. Our thoughts and prayers go out to [his wife] Angela, [daughter] Anna, [son] Luke, and the entire de Ferran family. Gil defined class as a driver and as a gentleman. As an IndyCar champion and an Indianapolis 500 winner, Gil accomplished so much during his career, both on and off the track. Gil was beloved by so many. He was a great friend to the Team Penske and IndyCar family, as well as the entire international motorsports community. Gil’s passing is a terrible loss, and he will be deeply missed.”

McLaren: “Everyone at McLaren Racing is shocked and deeply saddened to learn we have lost a beloved member of our McLaren family. We send our deepest condolences to Gil de Ferran’s family, friends and loved ones.  Gil was an important and integral part of our Racing team. He was a formidable force on and off track and made a lasting impact on everyone racing and working alongside him. He will be missed by everyone at McLaren Racing.”

Zak Brown: “I am shocked and devastated to hear of the loss of our great friend and teammate. I’ve raced with Gil all over the world and watched him win some of the biggest races. He’s been a great friend for over 20 years and will be greatly missed and never forgotten.”

Stefano Domenicali: “I am very shocked and deeply saddened by the news that we have lost Gil de Ferran. He was an incredible person and a true champion, and we will all miss him greatly. Our thoughts are with his family at this very sad time.”

Carlos Sainz: “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. R.I.P.”

Fernando Alonso: “I am at a loss for words. It’s a very sad day. Thank you for the moments we shared, for wholeheartedly teaching me how to race on ovals, and for the countless memories we created together. We will miss you Gil.”

Mario Andretti: “My heart sank at the news of Gil de Ferran‘s death. It’s heart-wrenching. Thinking of him now and savoring every conversation. He will be missed by so many. A wonderful man and a dear and loyal friend.”

Felipe Massa: “What sad news today. we lost a brother! Wonderful person, good people, d + and a legend in our world motorsport. Go in peace Gil. Much strength to your wife, your daughter, your son and all your family and friends. RIP Gil de Ferran.”

Patricio O’Ward: “Rest in peace to an absolute legend on and off the circuit, Gil. I can’t believe what I just read. I just saw you a few weeks ago! Reminds me of how important it is to treasure friendship’s and moments you get with your loved ones. We miss you already.”

FIA: “The FIA is saddened by the passing of Gil de Ferran. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time.”

David Brabham: I’m shocked and devastated to hear about my friend Gil de Ferran passing. Staying at his family home in Florida, eating and drinking by the BBQ, seeing our kids grow up together, we will miss you my friend.”

Williams: “We are shocked and saddened to hear of the sudden loss of Gil de Ferran, a huge figure in motorsport, who enjoyed many successes on the track as well as through his leadership roles later in his career in Formula 1. Our thoughts at this very sad time are with his beloved family and friends.”

Michael Andretti: “Devastated and shocked by the loss of Gil de Ferran. Gil was a great competitor and even better friend. My prayers are with Angela, Luke, Anna and all of Gil’s loved ones. Gone too soon. Rest in peace, Gil, you will be missed.”

Haas: “We join the motorsport community in mourning the loss of Gil de Ferran. The thoughts of everyone at Haas F1 Team go out to his family, friends and Gil’s many fans around the world.”

Ferrari: “Everyone at Scuderia Ferrari is shocked and saddened at the sudden passing of Gil de Ferran who made a significant contribution to our sport. He was a great racer and competitor and a friend to all who knew him. We offer our sincere condolences to his family and to our colleagues at McLaren.”

Damon Hill: “One of the nicest guys I ever met. He made me laugh. He got it. Jesus, Gil, you left too soon. My sincere condolences to his lovely family and all who knew him (there are many, many, many) and all at McLaren. He was a fighter and a winner. Big loss.”

Jenson Button: “Still in shock that we lost one of the good ones so young, one of the best behind the wheel and all round great guy Gil De Ferran. I will miss that wonderful smile, rest in peace my friend.”

Oscar Piastri: “It was a pleasure to get to know Gil this year, he will be greatly missed. Rest In Peace.”

Martin Brundle: “You won’t find anyone in motorsport who didn’t like, admire, and respect Gil. A true friend, brilliant racer, and a professional. This is a shocker. Our family condolences to Angela, Anna, Luke, and all of Gil’s family and friends.”

Tony Kanaan: “Champion, friend, rival, mentor at the track and outside of it. I have no words to describe this loss. May you rest in peace my friend.”

Chip Ganassi: “R.I.P. Gil de Ferran. His friend Rick Gorne and I had the honor of hosting Gil at his first IndyCar race at Michigan Speedway in 1994. It was a pleasure to watch Gil become an IndyCar winning driver, Indianapolis 500 Winner, and Champion. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.”


More to be added as they come

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[Note: The story is as per press release]

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