Francois Cevert : 40 years ago

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fritticaldi
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Francois Cevert : 40 years ago

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Oct.6, 1973 during qualifications for the US GP at Watkins Glen, NY. Francois Cevert driving the Tyrrell lost his life. This death was the reason Jackie Stewart retired from the sport having witnessed countless deaths in his career. Jackie didn't even participate in the race the following day leaving him at 99 GP starts. The sport that day was deprived from surely a future champion. Feel free to add any info or thoughts about this great driver who died way before his time.

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GitanesBlondes
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Re: Francois Cevert : 40 years ago

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Francois was an absolute gentleman, and was loved by everyone he came into contact with. He had a charisma very few have, and even fewer racing drivers have. Even though we know him best for being behind the wheel of a Tyrrell, he also was a classically-trained pianist.

We were absolutely robbed of a chance to see what Francois Cevert would have done. He was the real deal, and it was only a matter of when, not if he would have been world champion.

This quote sums of his ability better than anything.

“The car in which Jackie won his last championship, in ‘73, was 005, and he and Francois finished 1-2 on several occasions, including at the Nurburgring – the old Nürburgring. Now you’ve heard how much Jackie helped François – he couldn’t have done more for him, OK? Well, at that race at the ‘Ring, they went round together, start to finish, first and second – and afterwards Jackie said to me, ‘François could have passed me any time he liked…’” -Ken Tyrrell
"I don't want to make friends with anybody. I don't give a sh*t for fame. I just want to win." -Nelson Piquet

munudeges
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Re: Francois Cevert : 40 years ago

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The thing that always gets me looking at Cevert was his eyes from behind that helmet. It's one of those pictures you see and it just looks other wordly. Racing then was a different world.

As for being robbed, well, racing was brutal back then. You knew you were going to have at least one accident you would be lucky to get out of in your career without you pushing the boat out too far. Francois pushed the boat out just that bit too far and it was something Jackie Stewart probably should have got over to him a bit more. Should a driver pay with his life for it though? I don't think so.

xpensive
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Re: Francois Cevert : 40 years ago

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In parallel to his 1971 F1 season, when he won the US GP at Watkins Glen, he was favorite to win the European F2 championship in a Tecno, but after two wins and a 3rd followed eight DNFs. Ronnie Peterson was pretty unknown when the season began.

But they were great friends, most of them were in those days.
"I spent most of my money on wine and women...I wasted the rest"

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GitanesBlondes
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Re: Francois Cevert : 40 years ago

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munudeges wrote:The thing that always gets me looking at Cevert was his eyes from behind that helmet. It's one of those pictures you see and it just looks other wordly. Racing then was a different world.

As for being robbed, well, racing was brutal back then. You knew you were going to have at least one accident you would be lucky to get out of in your career without you pushing the boat out too far. Francois pushed the boat out just that bit too far and it was something Jackie Stewart probably should have got over to him a bit more. Should a driver pay with his life for it though? I don't think so.
His eyes remain stunning to look at. People talk about Senna's eyes, but looking at Cevert was something else I've never seen in another driver, ever.

What happened at Watkins Glen is just one of those quirks of fate I suppose that could easily have gone differently. Good drivers could take the esses there flat out in '73, and Francois had already set a fast time the prior lap. He got the line wrong heading up hill just enough to touch the kerbs....and that was it really. The Tyrrell wasn't entirely stable in that section, which was something Stewart had picked up on. The car had better stability through the esses in 4th, rather than the 3rd gear Cevert took it in. It's all academic though as the end result was horrific. People I know who were there at The Glen that day, still shudder from the sound of the accident.

But here are some pictures of Francois in better times...

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"I don't want to make friends with anybody. I don't give a sh*t for fame. I just want to win." -Nelson Piquet

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MOWOG
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Re: Francois Cevert : 40 years ago

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I was at The Glen that day and standing further down the front straight from the spot where he crashed. In the pe-digital era, with nothing but the track's PA system for information, most of us didn't really know what happened until we read about it in Road & Track months later. We sometimes forget what the world was like back before information was set free.

I have driven the track on a track day, and to take those uphill esses at speed in a fast car still requires balls the size of cantaloupes. The difference is that modern safety measures have made the consequences of getting the esses wrong much less dangerous.

Jackie Stewart has been a tireless advocate for safety improvements to the cars and the world's race tracks and a lot of his passion for that campaign came from what happened to Cevert.
Some men go crazy; some men go slow. Some men go just where they want; some men never go.

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GitanesBlondes
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Re: Francois Cevert : 40 years ago

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xpensive wrote:In parallel to his 1971 F1 season, when he won the US GP at Watkins Glen, he was favorite to win the European F2 championship in a Tecno, but after two wins and a 3rd followed eight DNFs. Ronnie Peterson was pretty unknown when the season began.

But they were great friends, most of them were in those days.
That reminds me of this photo.

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"I don't want to make friends with anybody. I don't give a sh*t for fame. I just want to win." -Nelson Piquet

Sombrero
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Re: Francois Cevert : 40 years ago

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Jackie & François, variation en F-2 1600 ccm.

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François Cevert (Tecno 70-Cosworth #20) and Jackie Stewart (Brabham BT30-Cosworth #1) at the 1970 1st Trophée de France Formule 2, July the 26th 1970, Circuit Paul Ricard, Le Castellet. The #5 (DNF) is Jacky Ickx in a work BMW 270.

François (fastest lap) went on to finish third behind Clay Regazzoni also in a Tecno 70-Cosworth #19 and Tim Schenken in a Brabham BT30-Cosworth #8, whilst Jackie retired on lap 13 with a clutch problem.

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bdr529
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Re: Francois Cevert : 40 years ago

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GitanesBlondes wrote: This quote sums of his ability better than anything.

“The car in which Jackie won his last championship, in ‘73, was 005, and he and Francois finished 1-2 on several occasions, including at the Nurburgring – the old Nürburgring. Now you’ve heard how much Jackie helped François – he couldn’t have done more for him, OK? Well, at that race at the ‘Ring, they went round together, start to finish, first and second – and afterwards Jackie said to me, ‘François could have passed me any time he liked…’” -Ken Tyrrell
How odd is that, I just watched that race last weekend, and he does a great job of shadowing Jackie the whole race
There's no commentary, it's just the sound of the cars and the PA system in the back ground

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IhI7ah4nKwQ[/youtube]

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GitanesBlondes
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Re: Francois Cevert : 40 years ago

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Something that goes forgotten is Cevert also did sports car racing too, and did it well.

He drove a McLaren M8F for the 1972 Can-Am season, finishing 4th in the championship behind Mark Donohue who was in 3rd. That's about as impressive an achievement as any, as the Porsche 917's were not losing. George Follmer easily won the championship for Penske.

But here's what's really impressive, the M8F was the 1971 offering from McLaren. Denny Hulme and Peter Revson had the new M20, and while Hulme finished 2nd overall, Revson finished behind Cevert. Even more impressive, at Round 8 at Laguna Seca, Cevert started dead last in a field of 32 and finished 3rd, 2 laps down from pole sitter, and second place finisher Mark Donohue.
"I don't want to make friends with anybody. I don't give a sh*t for fame. I just want to win." -Nelson Piquet

Sombrero
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Re: Francois Cevert : 40 years ago

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Or sports car racing like the 1000 km de Paris 1970 Linas-Monthléry with Jack Brabham and the Matra MS660 (Winner).

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQbIQH4je8A

The life in blue...

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Re: Francois Cevert : 40 years ago

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Here is a selection of photos I have with François

1970
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Great Britain 1971
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France 1971
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Italy 1971
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United States 1971 - how ironic is that the place where he won for the first and single time in Formula 1 was the place where he died.
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Germany 1971
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Brazil 1972 - test session
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Spain 1973
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Great Britain 1973
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"...and there, very much in flames, is Jacques Laffite's Ligier. That's obviously a turbo blaze, and of course, Laffite will be able to see that conflagration in his mirrors... he is coolly parking the car somewhere safe." Murray Walker, San Marino 1985

airborne12
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Re: Francois Cevert : 40 years ago

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I was there that week end in the Gold Star Supervee race and remember the circumstances surrounding his death well.
Have a look at my book: Grand Prix: Formula One in the deadly years: http://MelvilleAuthor.com

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Re: Francois Cevert : 40 years ago

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That has nothing to do with his driving abilities or personality, but for me Cevert had one of the most beautiful helmet designs. Yet very simple, but to me so good looking. I'm not a fan of these fancy designs nowadays where some drivers have to have special designs for each race?!

Cold Fussion
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Re: Francois Cevert : 40 years ago

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His helmet appears to be in a Swiss Design inspired style, much like that of James Hunt. I agree that is a great design, too bad we so few bearable helmet designs these days.