French GP 1966

JULY 3, 1966

French GP, 1966

After visits to Rouen in 1964 and Clermont-Ferrand in 1965, the French GP returned to Reims in 1966. A fortnight earlier at Le Mans John Surtees had finally lost his temper with the politics at Ferrari and had walked out. He appeared at Reims at the wheel of a Cooper-Maserati alongside Jochen Rindt and McLaren's Chris Amon (who had moved to Cooper for the weekend after Ritchie Ginther left the team and Bruce McLaren was trying to sort out the problems with his Ford engines). Ferrari promoted British engineer-driver Mike Parkes to the F1 team.

In qualifying Jim Clark hit a bird and suffered sufficient injury to his eye to pull out of the meeting, Lotus putting Pedro Rodriguez in as his replacement. Peter Arundell continued with the frustrating Lotus-BRM 43.

As a result Lorenzo Bandini was fastest in his Ferrari with Surtees in the middle of the front row and his Ferrari replacement Parkes on his outside. Jack Brabham and Rindt shared the second row while the third row featured Jo Siffert (Rob Walker Cooper), Amon and Graham Hill in the BRM (he practiced with the H16 but raced on old V8). With Jackie Stewart out of action as a result of his crash at Spa BRM decided to run only one car.

At the start Surtees got off the line quickly but his fuel pump failed and so Bandini took the lead with Brabham and Parkes giving chase. They were followed by the Cooper-Maseratis of Amon, Rindt and Siffert. As Bandini built up his lead over Brabham and Parkes, Denny Hulme made good progress through the field (having a Repco-engined car for the first time) and moved up to fourth. On lap 32 Bandini's Ferrari suffered a throttle cable failure. Brabham took the lead and went on to win his first victory with the Repco engine. Parkes came home second on his F1 debut, one of the best debut results in Grand Prix history, and Hulme finished third.

12 Jack Brabham Brabham-Repco BT19 48 1h48m31.300s  
22 Mike Parkes Ferrari 312 48 1h48m40.800s  
14 Denny Hulme Brabham-Repco BT20 46  
Jochen Rindt Cooper-Maserati T81 46  
26 Dan Gurney Eagle-Climax T1G 45  14 
44 John Taylor Brabham-BRM BT11 45  15 
36 Bob Anderson Brabham-Climax BT11 44  12 
Chris Amon Cooper-Maserati T81 44  
nc 42 Guy Ligier Cooper-Maserati T81 42  11 
Pedro Rodriguez Lotus-Climax 33 40 Mechanical 13 
nc 20 Lorenzo Bandini Ferrari 312 37  
nc 30 Jo Bonnier Brabham-Climax BT22 32  17 
16 Graham Hill BRM P261 13 Engine 
38 Jo Siffert Cooper-Maserati T81 10 Overheating 
32 Mike Spence Lotus-BRM 25 Clutch 10 
10 John Surtees Cooper-Maserati T81 Overheating 
Peter Arundell Lotus-BRM 43 Gearbox 16 
ns Jim Clark Lotus-Climax 33  Hit By Bird 18