Riccardo Patrese made his Formula One debut at the Monaco GP on this day in 1977 with the Shadow. Riccardo was asked about driving the Shadow for the first time before the Monaco GP one of our 'Ask Riccardo' features:
What do you remember about your first F1 test at Paul Ricard before making your debut at Monaco in 1977?
I remember that it was on the Monday before the Grand Prix and my first laps were run in damp conditions because it had rained overnight. Having a car with 500bhp in comparison with my F2 car which had 300bhp was a big difference and in those days the F1 car didn’t really have efficient aerodynamics. Now you can jump from a Formula Renault, for example, to a F1 car quite easily because the grip levels are very high. The difference there is really just a question of speed but for me testing the Shadow, 500bhp with no downforce, was really a big difference. For me it was a real challenge but I liked it.
It was my first time in an F1 car I really only had Monday afternoon in dry conditions and did not run many laps. My second time in the car was official practice at the Monaco GP. Of course the two circuits were very different and I was in a very new situation. It was difficult, especially the first laps, as I had to feel my way around the circuit while the others were immediately going quickly. I had about 10 laps to learn everything but after two days of practice I managed to qualify the car and I think I did a good job. In those days only 20 cars qualified for the Grand Prix, and there were 26 cars competing for those places.