François Cevert – Profile of a Legend
40 years ago to this very day we lost the remarkably talented Formula 1 driver François Cevert. Tragically killed battling for pole position during Saturday morning qualifying at Watkins Glen, USA, the world never got to see the true full potential of Jackie Stewart’s friend, protégé and final Formula 1 teammate.
During the 1973 season in Formula 1 and driving with the top performing Tyrrell team François finished second six times, three times behind world champion Jackie Stewart. Poised to retire after his 100th and final Grand Prix at Watkins Glen, Jackie was handing over the baton to his teammate Cevert whom he once described as a very ‘obedient’ (meaning team orders possibly forced François not to challenge Jackie for the lead in certain races).
This short film shows Jackie and François discussing (minutes before the start of the practice session) how they both think should drive the The Esses complex where François was killed. Jackie believed it should be driven in fourth gear at the lower end of the engine’s rev range, with Cevert preferring third gear at the top of the rev’s.
Knowing that Cevert had what it takes to be the lead and number one driver for Tyrell in the 1974 season Stewart had talked about the possibility of handing the lead over to Cevert in Stewart’s final race with team principal Ken Tyrrell should they find themselves in a 1-2 track position again. Tragically they never made the starting grid with Jackie retiring from the race and from his Formula 1 career permanently.
Winner of 1971 United States Grand Prix, his one and only Grand prix victory ensured François Cevert is forever immortalized in Motor racing history. François Cevert was just 29 years old. Repose en Paix.