Former F1 driver Patrick Nève is celebrating his 61st birthday today.
Born into a wealthy Belgian family in Liege, Patrick – whose full name is (wait for it!) Patrick Marie Ghislain Pierre Simon Stanislas Nève de Mévergnies – contested in 14 Formula 1 Grands Prix between 1976 and 1978 without scoring a championship point.
Nève’s first foray into motorsport was through Jim Russell’s racing school at Snetterton, and his persistence paid off with some results in his occasional Formula Ford outings, peaking with the 1974 STP title.
He graduated to Formula 1 the following year, finishing fourth in the series after switching between a host of different machines.
His F1 debut came in a rented RAM at the 1976 Belgian Grand Prix (he retired) and he later contested the French Grand Prix with Ensign.
Third place in the 1977 International Trophy Formula 2 race at Silverstone behind the wheel of a works March helped him secure funding from Belgium’s Belle-Vue brewery and a drive in a new team known as Williams Grand Prix Engineering, which had just been founded by Frank Williams and Patrick Head using a year-old March 761.
Although he failed to make the qualifying cut for a few races, he acquitted himself generally well and took a best finish of seventh at the Italian Grand Prix.
Williams secured Saudia backing and one Alan Jones for the 1978 season, and there was no room for Nève anymore. He rented a March 781S for his home race in 1978 but failed to prequalify.
His last F1 attempt was as a test driver for the Kauhsen team, but the car was pretty awful and Nève wisely decided to withdraw from the project.
Nève later raced in sports cars and touring cars, competing at Le Mans as well as being a regular competitor in the Belgian touring Car Championship and the Spa 24 Hours enduro.