Albert François Cevert Goldenberg (born 25 February 1944 in Paris, France – died 6 October 1973 at Watkins Glen, New York, United States) was a French racing driver who most notably drove for Tyrrell in Formula One.
Formula One Career
Cevert's racing experience first began at the age of 16 when he began to race motorcycles against his friends. His attention towards cars did not appear until he finished his National Service. By the year 1966, Cevert had completed the training course at the Le Mans school and had enrolled in the Magny-Cours racing school.
He began his Formula Three career after winning the Volant Shell scholarship competition and winning the prize of an Alpine Formula Three car. Unfortunately, he was not successful in Formula Three when racing his Alpine car because of his lack of funds and experience. It was not until the 1968 season that Cevert was able to find sponsorship and race with a Tecno car instead of his scholarship prize. After gaining a better car, Cevert was finally able to win races and become the French Formula Three World Champion.
Winning the F3 championship gained him a position on the Tecno Formula Two team for the 1969 season. Formula One racing legend Jackie Stewart also raced in Formula Two while competing in the Formula One series. Stewart faced a serious challenge when racing against Cevert. Stewart recommended to Ken Tyrrell, the owner of the Tyrrell Formula One team, that they keep an eye on Cevert.
Cevert finally made his way into Formula One because the team needed a driver, but was given short notice. The team eventually stated that they had hired Cevert because of Stewart's recommendation.
After the sudden retirement of Tyrrell driver Johnny Servoz-Gavin three races into the 1970 season, the team called upon Cevert to join the team as the number two driver. His teammate would be defending champion, Jackie Stewart.
Cevert began his Formula One racing career by the 5th race of the season, the Dutch Grand Prix. He was forced to retire the race after an engine failure. He would finish just out of the points until the Italian Grand Prix, when he would win the first point of his Formula One career and the only point of the 1970 season.
The Tyrrell team would have a strong season in 1971, as the team began to manufacture their own racing cars. After some race retirements early in the season, Cevert would finish 2nd place in both France and Germany directly behind his teammate.
Cevert would win the first and only race of his career during the United States Grand Prix held at Watkins Glen International, that track in which he would be killed at two years later.
Cevert officially finished 3rd place in the driver's championship with 26 points. This would place him behind Ronnie Peterson and World Champion Jackie Stewart.
For the 1972 Formula One Season, both the team and the media had high expectations for Cevert. Cevert did not manage to meet these expectations after five race retirements mostly because of mechanical issues.
Cevert only managed to collect 15 points in the season, placing him in 6th place. Unfortunately, this was not what the team and the media had wished for.
Cevert would have the best season of his career during the 1973 season, finishing 7 out of his 14 (15 in the season) races on the podium. He would only face two race retirements and would place in a points position for all of his other races, with the exception of Brazil and South Africa.
In the season he had earned 47 points placing him in 4th place in the driver's championship. Unfortunatly, Cevert would not complete the season after a fatal accident in the United States Grand Prix qualifying.
When qualifying for the 1973 United States Grand Prix, Cevert was trying to steal pole position from Ronnie Peterson. In the section of the track called "The Esses" Cevert's car was too far to the left side of the turn which caused the car to bump onto the kerbs. It then swerved into the powder blue safety barriers causing the car to spin and crash into another set of barriers. The barriers were uprooted by the speed, killing Cevert instantly because of massive head injuries from the barrier.
Cevert had crashed violently in the uphill Esses heading onto the back of the circuit. Fighting the car as he went up the hill, he brushed the curb on the left, whipped across the track and hit the guardrail on the right. The car began to spin, and he swerved back across the track at 150 mph and hit the outside guardrail almost head-on... They had left him [in the car], because he was so clearly dead. - Jackie Stewart
As a result of the fatality of his teammate, Jackie Stewart retired from the race and the sport, one race earlier than he had planned. That would have been the 100th race for his Formula One racing career.
The following year, Formula One driver Helmuth Koinigg would be killed during the race at the opposite end of the circuit. Because of these accidents, the FIA ordered a series of safety improvements, including adding a chicane to the section where Cevert crashed.
Cevert's helmet was striped vertically down through the front with a red, blue and yellow stripe. The side of the helmet was blue with F. Cevert in white letters on either side. The remainder of the helmet was white.
In the movie Rush, Cevert's accident is portrayed with a mixture of what is believed to be Cevert and Koinigg's accidents combined together.
Cevert is also featured in the documentary The Quick and the Dead (re-released in 1978 under the name Champions Forever: The Formula One Drivers). The documentary contains some interview footage of Cevert as well as biographical information.
Formula One Statistical Overview
Formula One Record
|Year||Entrant||Team||WDC Points||WDC Pos.||Report|
|1970||Tyrrell Racing Organisation||March-Ford Cosworth||1||22nd||Report|
|1971||Elf Team Tyrrell||Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth||26||3rd||Report|
|1972||Elf Team Tyrrell||Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth||15||6th||Report|
|1973||Elf Team Tyrrell||Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth||47||4th||Report|
|Front Row Starts||3|
|Distance Raced||11607.8 km (7213 mi)|
|Win Number||Grand Prix|
|1||1971 United States Grand Prix|
|Complete Formula One results|
|3rd||DNQ||Did not qualify|
|5th||Points finish||DNPQ||Did not pre-qualify|
|14th||Non-points finish||TD||Test driver|
|Italics||Scored point(s) for Fastest Lap||DNS||Did not start|
|†||Classified finish (retired with >90% race distance)||NC||Non-classified finish (<90% race distance)|
|P||Qualified for pole position||[+] More Symbols|
- Racing Reference - François Cevert
- ESPN Driver Profile
- Formula One’s forgotten heroes - Francois Cevert (2009)
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