Alexandre Louis Chiron (born 3 August 1899, died 22 June 1979 in Monte Carlo, Monaco) was a Monegasque racing driver who competed in numerous Grand Prix from 1926 until 1938, before entering the Formula One World Championship in 1950. Chiron competed in nineteen Formula One Grands Prix between 1950 and 1958, securing one podium finish during his career, at his home Grand Prix in 1950.
In addition to his Grand Prix racing, Chiron also competed in nine editions of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but failed to finish each time. He would, however, claim victory in the Monte Carlo Rally of 1954, becoming one of the oldest ever winners of the rally, aged 55. Chiron would claim another age related record when he became the oldest driver to compete in a Grand Prix, the 1958 Monaco Grand Prix, at the age of 58, although the veteran racer failed to qualify.
After his retirement from Formula One in 1958 Chiron continued to be active in motor racing, helping with the organisation of the Monaco Grand Prix through to the mid-1970s, often waving the starting flag. In 1979, Chiron died in his home town of Monte Carlo at the age of 79.
In 2016 French supercar manufacturer Bugatti would name their newest supercar after the Monegasque racer, whose exploits in pre-war Bugattis had made him one of the standout names in the "Age of the Titans".
Before Formula 1 World Championship
As a teenager, Monegasque Louis Chiron fell in love with racing cars. He learned to drive at a young age and joined the Grand Prix circuit after WWI when he had worked as a chauffeur for the French artillery.
In 1926 he won his first local race and from then on he drove Bugattis and Alfa Romeos to important wins in Marseille and Spain, he partnered up with endurance specialist Luigi Chinetti to win the Spa 24 Hour in 1933, and he took 7th in the 1929 Indianapolis 500 in a Delage.
His most famous victory came in 1931 where he took the nimble Bugatti Type 35 to an extraordinary win at Monaco. This was against the powerful factory Alfa of Luigi Fagioli, which resulted in the Bugatti team manager leaping the barrier and running on the track to greet his charge.
In 1949, after finishing second in the Monte Carlos Rally, Louis denounced female driver Helle Nice as having been a Gestapo Agent during WWII at an awards ceremony party. His unsubstantiated allegations destroyed Nice’s career.
Formula 1 Career
Chiron did however pick-up Maserati's only podium of the season when he picked his way through the mele at Tabac corner at Monaco when the track became flooded by a tidal wave that crashed across the circuit on the first lap.
Chiron struggled through the rest of the season, often out paced by other Maserati's like Felice Bonetto and Prince Bira but his fine podium at Monaco was enough to earn him joint 9th in the championship.
Formula One Statistical Overview
Formula One Record
|Year||Entrant||Team||WDC Pts.||WDC Pos.||Report|
|1950||Officine Alfieri Maserati||Maserati||4||10th||Report|
|1956||Scuderia Centro Sud||Maserati||0||NC||Report|
|Front Row Starts||0|
|Distance Raced||3626 km (2253 mi)|
|Win Number||Grand Prix|
|Complete Formula One Results|
|1952: Did not compete|
|1954: Did not compete|
|1957: Did not compete|
|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|
|18th†||Classified finish (retired with >90% race distance)||NC||Non-classified finish (<90% race distance)|
|4thP||Qualified for pole position||[+] More Symbols|
- 8. France 1979', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2015), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1979/france.aspx, (Accessed 24/12/2018)
- 'Bugatti Chiron facts: 50 things you need to know about the 261mph hypercar', telegraph.co.uk, (Telegraph Media Group Limited, 21/12/2017), https://www.telegraph.co.uk/cars/features/bugatti-chiron-facts-numbers-stats/bugatti-chiron-facts-numbers-louis-chiron/ (Accessed 25/12/2018)
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