French GP 1959

French GP, 1959

The third round of the World Championship took place at Reims with the Ferrari team having expanded to field five cars. Tony Brooks, Jean Behra and Phil Hill were joined by Olivier Gendebien while Ferrari's American agent Luigi Chinetti had found a new rising star from the United States called Dan Gurney.

The Cooper team was running Jack Brabham, Bruce McLaren and Masten Gregory, while Rob Walker fielded only Maurice Trintignant as Stirling Moss was driving a BRM for the British Racing Partnership, which had been formed the previous year by his father Alf and his manager Ken Gregory. The BRM factory team ran Jo Bonnier, Harry Schell and Ron Flockhart. Team Lotus fielded Graham Hill and Innes Ireland again and there were a variety of Cooper-Maseratis run by Scuderia Centro Sud and by High Efficiency Motors and there were even some old 250Fs run by Scuderia Centro Sud and by Scuderia Ugolini.

Practice resulted in Brooks setting the fastest time for Ferrari with Brabham second and Phil Hill third. The second row was shared by Moss and Behra and on row three Bonnier was alongside Gregory and Trintignant.

At the start Brooks took the lead with Moss second and Gregory third. Behra was left behind on the grid. In the early laps problems developed at the Thillois hairpin where the surface was breaking up and Gregory suffered a cut face when he was hit by a stone. Several others retired with mechanical problems related to flying stones. Brooks stayed at the front for the rest of the afternoon while the battles behind him ebbed and flowed. Trintignant worked his way to second but then he spun and stalled and had to push-start his car. This put Brabham up to second but he soon fell victim to Phil Hill and to Behra, who had driven a magnificent comeback. Soon afterwards Behra's engine failed. Moss then began a charge and overtook Brabham for third and chased after Hill. Moss was without a clutch and went off and stalled. He was disqualified for receiving outside assistance. Victory went to Brooks with Hill second and Brabham third.

There was drama at Ferrari where a frustrated Behra lost his temper with Ferrari team manager Romolo Tavoni and threw a punch. It cost him his job...

24 Tony Brooks Ferrari D246 50 2h01m26.500s  
26 Phil Hill Ferrari D246 50 2h01m54.000s  
Jack Brabham Cooper-Climax T51 50 2h03m04.200s  
22 Olivier Gendebien Ferrari D246 50 2h03m14.000s  11 
12 Bruce McLaren Cooper-Climax T51 50 2h03m14.200s  10 
44 Ron Flockhart BRM P25 50 2h03m32.200s  13 
Harry Schell BRM P25 47  
dq Stirling Moss BRM P25 42 Push Start After Spin 
40 Giorgio Scarlatti Maserati 250F 41  21 
42 Carel Godin de Beaufort Maserati 250F 40  20 
10 38 Fritz d'Orey Maserati 250F 40  18 
11 14 Maurice Trintignant Cooper-Climax T51 36  
30 Jean Behra Ferrari D246 31 Engine 
16 Roy Salvadori Cooper-Maserati T45 20 Engine 16 
28 Dan Gurney Ferrari D246 19 Radiator 12 
34 Innes Ireland Lotus-Climax 16 14 Mechanical 15 
18 Ian Burgess Cooper-Maserati T51 13 Engine 19 
10 Masten Gregory Cooper-Climax T51 Driver Exhausted 
32 Graham Hill Lotus-Climax 16 Radiator 14 
20 Colin Davis Cooper-Maserati T51 Mechanical 17 
Jo Bonnier BRM P25 Engine 
nq 36 Astrubel Bayardo Maserati 250F   22