Christophe de Margerie, the CEO of major F1 sponsor Total, has been killed in an aeroplane accident at Moscow’s Vnukovo Airport, along with the plane’s three crew members. He was 63 years old.

The accident took place in clear conditions just before midnight on Monday, where the group’s Dassault Falcon collided with a snowplough as it was trying to take off from the airport. A criminal investigation has been launched into the accident, with Russian accident officials already claiming that the driver of the snowplough was drunk.

De Margerie was a grandson of champagne baron Pierre Taittinger. He joined Total in 1974 and worked his way up the ranks, becoming its CEO in 2007 and its chairman in 2010.

Total S.A. is one of the six ‘Supermajor’ oil multinational companies in the world which reported a revenue of €171 billion and net profit of €8.44 billion last financial year. In F1 circles, it serves as a sponsor of the Red Bull Racing and Lotus F1 teams, as well as a personal sponsor of Romain Grosjean.

The company has been involved in Formula 1 since the late 1960s, when predecessor company Elf joined as a sponsor of the Tyrrell team, later partnering Renault when it entered as a works F1 team in 1977. Since that point, Renault-powered (and branded) cars were synonymous with Elf sponsorship until 2008, when the branding changed to Total.

Image via Total

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.