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The French Grand Prix was the sixth race of the 1972 season, and returned to the Charade Circuit, near Clermont-Ferrand. In a race dominated by stones thrown onto the track by the cars, Jackie Stewart drove a careful race and inherited the win, ahead of Emerson Fittipaldi. Pole sitter and front runner Chris Amon lost almost a lap from a flat tire caused by the stones, but recovered at a furious pace to finish third, setting fastest lap along the way. Early in the race, Helmut Marko was hit in the eye by a stone kicked up by Emerson Fittipaldi, and lost most of his sight in that eye, ending his driving career.


Background Edit

The Charade circuit had an unusual element of danger attached. It was built around an extinct volcano, and a large number of small (but very hard and sharp) igneous rocks were used for the foundation of the roads. As the cars got wider, it became increasingly common for a driver to put a wheel into the rocks, flinging a number of them onto the track and at following cars. The large number of flat tires, lack of run off room, and Marko's injury, all combined to ensure that this was the final Formula One race at the circuit.

There was another very large entry of 29 cars, and since only 24 would be allowed to start, some folks would be going home unhappy. Because of the cancellation of the Dutch GP, there had been a four week gap since Belgium, and a number of teams had modified their cars.

The Formula One world was also saddened by the death of Jo Bonnier, who had been killed at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, three weeks earlier.

  • Brabham: Carlos Reutemann's car was fitted with a revised rear suspension, in anticipation of a new model of Hewland gearbox (which had not yet arrived). All three cars had their rear wings moved further back.
  • BRM: the car of Jean-Pierre Beltoise had been fitted with P180 front and rear suspension, giving the car a 5cm wider track. The car was designated a P160C, even though it was one of the P160B chassis. The team felt this move would allow them to evaluate the suspension independently, helping to sort the P180s.
  • Ferrari: Mario Andretti was at the USAC Pocono 500, and Clay Regazzoni had suffered a broken wrist in a soccer match. So the team obtained Nanni Galli on loan from Tecno. Since Belgium, the cars had had their rear suspensions modified, and the rear wings moved further back. Jacky Ickx decided that the spare car was better suited for the circuit, and drove it in the race.
  • Lotus: The cars all had the rear wings mounted atop the oil tank, with the oil radiators on either side of the tank, further improving the airflow.
    • Dave Charlton showed up once again with his 72D having all of the latest bells and whistles. This would be one of three European races contested by Charlton.
  • March: In the four weeks since Nivelles, the team retired the 721X cars, and built their own 721Gs, similar to Mike Beuttler's car. But the team claimed that they had made 43 improvements to the original design. And the experimenting continued: Ronnie Peterson's car had an aluminum rear wing, whereas Niki Lauda's car had one made of fiberglass.
  • Matra: Now that Le Mans was over with, the factory could pay some attention to the F1 team. They arrived with a brand new MS120D chassis, looking much smoother and efficient than the previous cars. Chris Amon was obviously pleased with it, and spent much of the weekend showing the field that the old spark was still there.
  • McLaren: Peter Revson was at the USAC race, so once again the team welcomed Brian Redman in his stead. The cars had their rear wings moved further back, on very sturdy supports. The oil tanks were now mounted between the rear bulkhead and the engine, and the oil coolers were mounted lower next to the gearbox. There were some tweaks to the suspension, too.
  • Tecno: With Nanni Galli at Ferrari this weekend, Derek Bell was given a shot. This was the second chassis built, and with it Galli had finished third (out of seven starters!) at the non-championship race at Vallelunga.
  • Tyrrell: Jackie Stewart returned to the team, looking rested and fitter than he had for a while. For the second time in less than two years, the team startled the paddock by arriving with an unsuspected brand new design. Chassis 005 was a major upgrade on the 001 series. The full width nose was lower, except for the section just in front of the tires, but still enclosed the water radiator. The chassis was rectangular, as apposed to the bulbous oval of the 001 series. On either side of the driver were inlet ducts, like the Lotus 72, but these were for the oil radiators. The bodywork continued on a gentle upward slope until the very rear of the car, and the rear wing had a fairing that continued back from the engine airbox. The whole effect was very neat and aerodynamic, with the bodywork covering almost all of the car. Since Stewart was still on the mend, he stuck with his normal 003 car, and 005 was entrusted to François Cevert in his homeland. In addition, the team entered promising Formula 2 driver Patrick Depailler in 004, and Cevert's old 002 chassis was kept as the spare. Unfortunately, Cevert would have to resort to the spare, when he crashed the new car in the first session, after breaking the lap record.


Entry listEdit

The full entry list for the 1972 French Grand Prix is outlined below:

No. Driver Entrant Constructor Chassis Engine Model Tyre
1 Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi United Kingdom John Player Team Lotus Lotus 72D Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 F
6 Australia Dave Walker United Kingdom John Player Team Lotus Lotus 72D Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 F
2 New Zealand Denny Hulme United Kingdom Yardley Team McLaren McLaren M19A Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 G
11 United Kingdom Brian Redman United Kingdom Yardley Team McLaren McLaren M19A Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 G
3 Belgium Jacky Ickx Italy S.p.A. Ferrari SEFAC Ferrari 312B2 Ferrari 001/1 F12 3.0 F
30 Italy Nanni Galli Italy S.p.A. Ferrari SEFAC Ferrari 312B2 Ferrari 001/1 F12 3.0 F
4 United Kingdom Jackie Stewart United Kingdom Elf Team Tyrrell Tyrrell 003 Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 G
7 France François Cevert United Kingdom Elf Team Tyrrell Tyrrell 005 Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 G
8 France Patrick Depailler United Kingdom Elf Team Tyrrell Tyrrell 004 Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 G
5 France Jean-Pierre Beltoise United Kingdom Marlboro BRM BRM P160C BRM P142 V12 3.0 F
22 United Kingdom Peter Gethin United Kingdom Marlboro BRM BRM P160B BRM P142 V12 3.0 F
23 New Zealand Howden Ganley United Kingdom Marlboro BRM BRM P160B BRM P142 V12 3.0 F
24 Sweden Reine Wisell United Kingdom Marlboro BRM BRM P153B BRM P142 V12 3.0 F
25 Austria Helmut Marko United Kingdom Austria-Marlboro-BRM BRM P153B BRM P142 V12 3.0 F
9 New Zealand Chris Amon France Equipe Matra Sports Matra MS120D Matra MS72 V12 3.0 G
10 Germany Rolf Stommelen Germany Team Eifelland Caravan March 721 Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 G
12 Sweden Ronnie Peterson United Kingdom STP March Racing Team March 721G Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 G
14 Austria Niki Lauda United Kingdom STP March Racing Team March 721G Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 G
15 United Kingdom Mike Beuttler United Kingdom Clarke Mordaunt Guthrie Durlacher Racing March 721G Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 F
16 France Henri Pescarolo United Kingdom Team Williams-Motul March 721 Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 G
17 Brazil Carlos Pace United Kingdom Team Williams-Motul March 711 Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 G
18 United Kingdom Graham Hill United Kingdom Motor Racing Developments Brabham BT37 Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 G
19 Brazil Wilson Fittipaldi United Kingdom Motor Racing Developments Brabham BT34 Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 G
20 Argentina Carlos Reutemann United Kingdom Motor Racing Developments Brabham BT37 Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 G
21 United Kingdom Derek Bell Italy Martini Racing Tecno PA123/3T2 Tecno Series-P F12 3.0 F
26 United Kingdom Mike Hailwood United Kingdom Brooke Bond Oxo Team Surtees Surtees TS9B Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 F
27 Australia Tim Schenken United Kingdom Brooke Bond Oxo Team Surtees Surtees TS9B Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 F
28 Italy Andrea de Adamich United Kingdom Ceramica Pagnossin Team Surtees Surtees TS9B Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 F
29 South Africa Dave Charlton United Kingdom Lucky Strike Racing Lotus 72D Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 F

Practice OverviewEdit

QualifyingEdit

Qualifying ResultsEdit

Pos No. Driver Constructor Lap Gap
1 9 New Zealand Chris Amon Matra 2:53.4
2 2 New Zealand Denny Hulme McLaren-Ford 2:54.2 +0.8
3 4 United Kingdom Jackie Stewart Tyrrell-Ford 2:55.0 +1.6
4 3 Belgium Jacky Ickx Ferrari 2:55.1 +1.7
5 27 Australia Tim Schenken Surtees-Ford 2:57.2 +3.8
6 25 Austria Helmut Marko BRM 2:57.3 +3.9
7 7 France François Cevert Tyrrell-Ford 2:58.1 +4.7
8 1 Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi Lotus-Ford 2:58.1 +4.7
9 12 Sweden Ronnie Peterson March-Ford 2:58.2 +4.8
10 26 United Kingdom Mike Hailwood Surtees-Ford 2:58.3 +4.9
11 17 Brazil Carlos Pace March-Ford 2:58.6 +5.2
12 16 France Henri Pescarolo March-Ford 2:59.0 +5.6
13 28 Italy Andrea de Adamich Surtees-Ford 2:59.1 +5.7
14 23 France Jean-Pierre Beltoise BRM 2:59.2 +5.8
15 11 United Kingdom Brian Redman McLaren-Ford 2:59.4 +6.0
16 19 Brazil Wilson Fittipaldi Brabham-Ford 2:59.5 +6.1
17 10 Germany Rolf Stommelen March-Ford 2:59.6 +6.2
18 8 France Patrick Depailler Tyrrell-Ford 2:59.6 +6.2
19 20 Argentina Carlos Reutemann Brabham-Ford 3:00.7 +7.3
20 24 Sweden Reine Wisell BRM 3:00.7 +7.3
21 30 Italy Nanni Galli Ferrari 3:00.7 +7.3
22 23 New Zealand Howden Ganley BRM 3:02.0 +8.6
23 22 United Kingdom Peter Gethin BRM 3:02.8 +9.4
24 18 United Kingdom Graham Hill Brabham-Ford 3:03.0 +9.6
25 14 Austria Niki Lauda March-Ford 3:03.1 +9.7
26 6 Australia Dave Walker Lotus-Ford 3:04.7 +11.3
27 14 United Kingdom Mike Beuttler March-Ford 3:05.9 +12.5
DNQ 21 United Kingdom Derek Bell Tecno 3:06.9 +13.5
DNQ 29 South Africa Dave Charlton Lotus-Ford 3:11.6 +18.2

GridEdit

RaceEdit

ResultsEdit

Pos. No. Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Pts
1 4 United Kingdom Jackie Stewart Tyrrell-Ford 38 1:52:21.5 3 9
2 1 Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi Lotus-Ford 38 +27.7 8 6
3 9 New Zealand Chris Amon Matra 38 +32.1 1 4
4 7 France François Cevert Tyrrell-Ford 38 +49.3 7 3
5 12 Sweden Ronnie Peterson March-Ford 38 +56.8 9 2
6 26 United Kingdom Mike Hailwood Surtees-Ford 38 +1:36.1 10 1
7 2 New Zealand Denny Hulme McLaren-Ford 38 +1:48.1 2  
8 19 Brazil Wilson Fittipaldi Brabham-Ford 38 +2:25.1 14  
9 11 United Kingdom Brian Redman McLaren-Ford 38 +2:55.5 13  
10 18 United Kingdom Graham Hill Brabham-Ford 38 +2:59.5 20  
11 3 Belgium Jacky Ickx Ferrari 37 +1 Lap 4  
12 20 Argentina Carlos Reutemann Brabham-Ford 37 +1 Lap 17  
13 30 Italy Nanni Galli Ferrari 37 +1 Lap 19  
14 28 Italy Andrea de Adamich Surtees-Ford 37 +1 Lap 12  
15 5 France Jean-Pierre Beltoise BRM 37 +1 Lap 24  
16 10 Germany Rolf Stommelen March-Ford 37 +1 Lap 15  
17 27 Australia Tim Schenken Surtees-Ford 36 +2 Laps 5  
Ret 6 Australia Dave Walker Lotus-Ford 34 Transmission 22  
Ret 15 United Kingdom Mike Beuttler March-Ford 33 Out of fuel 23  
NC 8 France Patrick Depailler Tyrrell-Ford 33 +5 Laps 16  
Ret 24 Sweden Reine Wisell BRM 26 Gearbox 18  
Ret 17 Brazil Carlos Pace March-Ford 19 Engine 11  
Ret 25 Austria Helmut Marko BRM 8 Eye injury 6  
Ret 14 Austria Niki Lauda March-Ford 4 Driveshaft 21  
DNS 16 France Henri Pescarolo March-Ford   Accident    
DNS 25 New Zealand Howden Ganley BRM   Accident    
DNS 22 United Kingdom Peter Gethin BRM   Accident    

MilestonesEdit

Standings after raceEdit

ReferencesEdit

  • Pritchard, Anthony (1973). The Motor Racing Year No4. W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.. pp. 81-90. ISBN 0-393-08677-1.
V T E France French Grand Prix
Circuits Reims (1950–1951, 1953–1954, 1956, 1958–1961, 1963, 1966)
Rouen-Les-Essarts (1952, 1957, 1962, 1964, 1968)
Charade Circuit (1965, 1969–1970, 1972)
Bugatti Circuit (1967)
Circuit Paul Ricard (1971, 1973, 1975–1976, 1978, 1980, 1982–1983, 1985–1990, 2018)
Dijon-Prenois (1974, 1977, 1979, 1981, 1984)
Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours (1991–2008)
PR Screen Shot 2017-03-23 at 12.15.31 AM
F1 Races 195019511952195319541955195619571958195919601961196219631964196519661967196819691970197119721973197419751976197719781979198019811982198319841985198619871988198919901991199219931994199519961997199819992000200120022003200420052006200720082009-20172018
European Championship Races 1931193219381939
Non-Championship Races 190619071908191219131914192119221923192419251926192719281929193019331934193519361937194719481949
V T E 1972 Formula One Season
Constructors Brabham • BRM • Connew • Ferrari • Lotus • March • Matra • McLaren • Politoys • Surtees • Tecno • Tyrrell
Engines BRM • Ferrari • Ford Cosworth • Matra • Tecno
Drivers de Adamich • Amon • Andretti • Barber • Bell • Beltoise • Beuttler • Brack • Cevert • Charlton • Depailler • Ferguson • E. Fittipaldi • W. Fittipaldi • Galli • Ganley • Gethin • Hailwood • Hill • Hulme • Ickx • Lauda • Love • Marko • Merzario • Migault • Oliver • Pace • Pescarolo • Peterson • Posey • Redman • Regazzoni • Reutemann • Revson • J. Scheckter • Schenken • Soler-Roig • Stewart • Stommelen • Surtees • Walker • Wisell
Cars Brabham BT33 • Brabham BT34 • Brabham BT37 • BRM P153 • BRM P160 • BRM P180 • Connew PC1 • Ferrari 312B • Lotus 72 • March 711 • March 721 • March 721G • March 721X • Matra MS120 • McLaren M19 • Surtees TS9 • Surtees TS14 • Tecno PA123 • Tyrrell 002 • Tyrrell 003 • Tyrrell 004 • Tyrrell 005 • Tyrrell 006
Tyres Firestone • Goodyear
Races Argentina • South Africa • Spain • Monaco • Belgium • France • Britain • Germany • Austria • Italy • Canada • United States
See also 1971 Formula One Season • 1973 Formula One Season • Category
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