French GP 1973

French GP, 1973

After the Swedish GP the teams rushed south again - a trip of 1200 miles - in order to get to Paul Ricard (having done the trip in reverse before going from Monaco to Anderstorp). This meant that there was little time for any modifications. Ferrari was back up to two cars again (Arturo Merzario rejoining Jacky Ickx) while Andrea de Adamich also reappeared in his Ceramica Pagnossin Brabham. Reine Wisell was called in to replace Mike Beuttler who had suffered some minor injuries when his F2 March had gone under the barriers at Rouen the previous weekend. Peter Revson was away racing in the United States and so McLaren fielded Jody Scheckter once again. Hesketh was back in action with a March for James Hunt and the Ensign team made its first appearance with Rikki Von Opel. John Watson had been scheduled to make his F1 debut with a fourth Brabham (being run by Team MRD, which fielded De Adamich) but the Ulsterman was out of action with a broken leg. With Nanni Galli having retired from racing Williams took on its old hand Henri Pescarolo. Chris Amon was entered in the Tecno but the car failed to appear because of a dispute between the team and its sponsor Martini.

Qualifying resulted in pole position for Jackie Stewart (Tyrrell) with the impressive Scheckter and Emerson Fittipaldi (Lotus) alongside on the front row. The second row featured Francois Cevert in the second Tyrrell and Ronnie Peterson's Lotus, while Denny Hulme (McLaren), Jean-Pierre Jarier (March) and Carlos Reutemann (Brabham) made up row three. The top 10 was completed by Clay Regazzoni's BRM and Merzario's Ferrari.

Scheckter took the lead at the start with a fast-starting Peterson being chased by Stewart, Hulme and Fittipaldi. The five cars stayed together for the first 16 laps but then Hulme disappeared with a tire problem. Stewart stopped with a similar problem a few laps later. With Stewart seemingly out of the way, Peterson waved Fittipaldi through into second place to see if he could challenge Scheckter. On lap 42 Scheckter hesitated while lapping Beltoise and Fittipaldi saw a chance to get ahead. Scheckter refused to give way and the two cars collided. Both retired and so Peterson took the lead and went on to win his first Grand Prix victory.

Cevert finished second with Reutemann third and Stewart recovered to take fourth. Hunt again impressed and finished sixth.

Ronnie Peterson Lotus-Cosworth 72E 54 1h41m36.520s  
Francois Cevert Tyrrell-Cosworth 006 54 1h42m17.440s  
10 Carlos Reutemann Brabham-Cosworth BT42 54 1h42m23.000s  
Jackie Stewart Tyrrell-Cosworth 006 54 1h42m23.450s  
Jacky Ickx Ferrari 312B3 54 1h42m25.420s  12 
27 James Hunt March-Cosworth 731 54 1h42m59.060s  14 
Arturo Merzario Ferrari 312B3 54 1h43m05.710s  10 
Denny Hulme McLaren-Cosworth M23 54 1h43m06.050s  
21 Niki Lauda BRM P160E 54 1h43m22.280s  17 
10 12 Graham Hill Shadow-Cosworth DN1 53  16 
11 20 Jean-Pierre Beltoise BRM P160E 53  15 
12 19 Clay Regazzoni BRM P160E 53  
13 24 Carlos Pace Surtees-Cosworth TS14A 51  18 
14 25 Howden Ganley Iso Marlboro-Cosworth IR 51  24 
15 29 Rikky von Opel Ensign-Cosworth N173 51  25 
16r 11 Wilson Fittipaldi Brabham-Cosworth BT42 50 Mechanical 19 
Jody Scheckter McLaren-Cosworth M23 43 Suspension/ Accident 
Emerson Fittipaldi Lotus-Cosworth 72E 41 Accident 
23 Mike Hailwood Surtees-Cosworth TS14A 30 Mechanical 11 
Andrea de Adamich Brabham-Cosworth BT37 28 Drive Shaft 13 
15 Reine Wisell March-Cosworth 731 20 Overheating 22 
16 George Follmer Shadow-Cosworth DN1 16 Fuel Vaporisation 20 
26 Henri Pescarolo Iso Marlboro-Cosworth IR 16 Overheating 23 
14 Jean-Pierre Jarier March-Cosworth 731 Drive Shaft 
17 Jackie Oliver Shadow-Cosworth DN1 Clutch 21