French GP 1969

JULY 6, 1969

French GP, 1969

It had been four years since the French GP's last visit to Clemont-Ferrand, the race having been held at Reims, Le Mans and Rouen in the interim. The field had shrunk to just 13 cars as BRM failed to appear, the team undergoing restructuring (with Tony Rudd departing) following the disastrous debut of the P139 in Holland. Also missing was Jack Brabham who had broken his ankle in a testing crash at Club Corner at Silverstone on the Monday before the French GP.

The only non-Cosworth car was, therefore, the single Ferrari for Chris Amon. Lotus fielded the four-wheel-drive Lotus 63 for engineer/driver John Miles.

Jackie Stewart, the winner of three of the first four races in his Matra, was dominant in qualifying, taking pole position by nearly two seconds from Denny Hulme's McLaren. Jochen Rindt's Lotus shared the second row with Jacky Ickx's Brabham while the third row featured Jean-Pierre Beltoise in the second Matra and Amon's Ferrari. Seventh on the grid was Bruce McLaren (McLaren) and a rather disappointing Graham Hill.

Stewart led the race from flag to flag. Hulme chased but had to pit on lap 13 when a front roll bar broke. That allowed Ickx to take second place although he was under pressure from Beltoise for most of the race and it was not until the last lap that Ickx made a mistake and the second Matra slipped through into second place to give the French crowd the perfect result.

Rindt ran fourth early on but retired because the twisting circuit made him sick and so the position fell to McLaren (who was having similar problems). He finished fourth, however, just ahead of his customer Vic Elford. Hill was a lackluster sixth.

Jackie Stewart Matra-Cosworth MS80 38 1h56m47.400s  
Jean-Pierre Beltoise Matra-Cosworth MS80 38 1h57m44.500s  
11 Jacky Ickx Brabham-Cosworth BT26A 38 1h57m44.700s  
Bruce McLaren McLaren-Cosworth M7C 37  
10 Vic Elford McLaren-Cosworth M7A 37  10 
Graham Hill Lotus-Cosworth 49B 37  
12 Silvio Moser Brabham-Cosworth BT24 36  13 
Denny Hulme McLaren-Cosworth M7A 35  
Jo Siffert Lotus-Cosworth 49B 34  
Chris Amon Ferrari 312 30 Engine 
15 Jochen Rindt Lotus-Cosworth 49B 22 Driver Had Double Vision 
Piers Courage Brabham-Cosworth BT26A 21 Mechanical 11 
14 John Miles Lotus-Cosworth 63 Fuel Pump 12