Laurent Delahaye

Laurent Delahaye and the F1 test that wasn’t

Blog Forgotten F1 drivers

Laurent Delahaye born in Perpignan the 6th of January 1977 had a promising career in karting. Together with Patrice Gay and Christophe Ravier it seemed they had a great future in the autosport. However, after some seasons of autosport Delahaye disappeared from the scene. What has been long forgotten is the fact that Delahaye was rumoured to test for Minardi in 1999. So who was Laurent Delahaye and how was his career? Perhaps more important how did he came in the scope from Minardi?

Perhaps you think about the name Delahaye about the French car manufacturer that was active between 1894 and 1954. However, Laurent Delahaye debuted in early 1990s in Karting. According to this French forum post, he couldn’t even reach the pedals! He was that young. According to sources, he did a decent job furthermore. He was one of the best in those days. Eventually he made the step to single seaters in 1999.

In 1999 Delahaye made his debut in the Euro Open by Nissan, it was a Spanish series with 16 teams. The teams used the Coloni CN1 powered by a Nissan engine. He did well in the series. Finishing third with one win and two more podiums. A guy named Fernando Alonso won the championship. In between, he was active in the in the Formula 3000 International Championship. He attempted 5 races, four times it was a DNQ. He only qualified for the race in SPA. However, his transmission broke on it’s way to the grid. In 2000, he would race another season in the Euro Open by Nissan with the G-Tec team. It was not his best season with three third places he finished eighth in the championship.  

For 2001, he moved to the German Formula 3, where he drove for Team Rosberg the complete season. He drove there with the Dallara F399 powered by the Renault engine. In only two races, he managed to score points for the team. Delahaye finished 26th in the championship. In 2002, he moved to the French Formula 3 championship, which was the last year of the championship. He drove for the Signature team the first eight races and scored 32 points, ending 10th in the championship. He drove another single race for the team during the Formula 3 European Cup.

Obviously you read this article because he was to test for Minardi. The test that never happened. To be fair it is a bit of a weird story how this message appeared in Autosport edition 5 August 1999. The article stated that he was in line to test for the Minardi team at the end of 1999. He did a decent job in his first year. However, there are no further mentioned about his supposed Minardi test.

I contacted Giancarlo Minardi and asked him if he knew more about Laurent Delahaye and the Minardi test. He told me that he did not spoke in person with Laurent. There might have been talks with some other members of the team to test a Minardi. Minardi was certain that there was on test planned for Laurent at all. So well, I assume we can say that his test never happened. I tried to contact Laurent as well though haven’t received a reaction.

After 2002, he returned to the karting for two or three years before the trail of his autosport career stops. Between 2007 and 2012, what I could uncover, he was helped several drivers in the Formula One and what then known as the GP2. In 2009, he became an instructor for BMW. Today he runs a company called CEO of G&C Partners SA that helps athletes.