On This Day In F1 – Ferrari Withdrew From A Race Because It Didn’t Want To Lose – WTF1

On This Day In F1 – Ferrari Withdrew From A Race Because It Didn’t Want To Lose

1950 French Grand Prix
Juan Manuel Fangio won ahead of Luigi Fagioli and Peter Whitehead after Giuseppe Farina had fuelling issues. Ferrari entered the race but over the course of the event discovered that its new car was too unreliable to race, while the old one wasn’t exactly competitive. Enzo Ferrari decided he’d rather not race at all than see his cars beaten by Alfa Romeo, so he withdrew.

1961 French Grand Prix
Giancarlo Baghetti became the first (and so far only) driver to win on their F1 world championship debut – well, apart from Giuseppe Farina, winner of the first-ever championship F1 race, but that’s kinda by default. Baghetti raced a Ferrari and when the three works cars of Phil Hill, Wolfgang von Trips and Richie Ginther all hit problems, Baghetti was left to battle Dan Gurney’s Porsche for the win. The lead changed frequently, but it was Baghetti who was in front at the end of the final lap, winning by just a tenth of a second.

1967 French Grand Prix
For the only time in F1 history, Le Mans hosted a Grand Prix – albeit not at the full-blown eight-mile la Sarthe circuit, but the short Bugatti circuit, which was used as a driving school. It was such an underwhelming venue compared to the other tracks that had hosted the French GP that some drivers didn’t even bother turning up, and those that did ended up complaining about the soulless layout. Graham Hill and Jim Clark both retired from the lead, leaving Jack Brabham to win from Denny Hulme and Jackie Stewart. Hardly anybody saw it, though – fans stayed away, completely disinterested in watching a race around such a slow circuit. Formula 1 never returned.

Listen to our podcast, ‘That Time When F1 raced at Le Mans’

1972 French Grand Prix
One of the greatest underrated drives in F1 history, Chris Amon and his Matra were unstoppable at the challenging Clermont-Ferrand circuit until a puncture dropped him from the lead right down the order. Fired-up, Amon went on a charge back through the field, breaking the lap record multiple times on his way back up to third, behind race-winner Jackie Stewart and Emerson Fittipaldi. It was yet another occasion in his career where Amon had looked set to win, only for something out of his control to deny him. It would be his last podium and his last pole – he later admitted that the disappointment of losing this race had affected his motivation.

This was also the last race at Clermont-Ferrand. The twisty track was known for being littered with stones from the rock faces which lined the circuit, which were the cause of many punctures. During the race, a stone from Fittipaldi’s car flicked up into the path of the following Helmut Marko – the stone pierced his visor and left Marko blind in one eye, ending his racing career.

1978 French Grand Prix
Despite the team withdrawing its fan car, Brabham drivers John Watson and Niki Lauda showed the regular BT46 had speed by qualifying first and third. However, in the race the Lotuses of Mario Andretti and Ronnie Peterson quickly got the upper hand, finishing one-two. Watson dropped to fourth behind James Hunt (his final F1 podium) while Lauda retired early with an engine failure.

1995 French Grand Prix
Although Damon Hill led the early laps from pole, Michael Schumacher had to pace to jump ahead at the first round of pit stops and cruised off to a dominant win. Hill finished second ahead of teammate David Coulthard, with Martin Brundle’s Ligier snapping at their heels.

2000 French Grand Prix
David Coulthard and Michael Schumacher had an epic battle for victory as the two drivers came to blows at the Adelaide hairpin on two occasions. Coulthard attempted to pass Schumacher for the lead, only to edged off the circuit, prompting the Scot to issue a one-fingered salute in the German’s direction. A few laps later Coulthard had another run and this time made it stick, going on to win ahead of Mika Hakkinen and Rubens Barrichello (Schumacher dropped out with an engine failure).

2006 United States Grand Prix
Seven cars were eliminated in a first-corner collision triggered by Juan Pablo Montoya running into the back of his own teammate Kimi Raikkonen. Three more drivers dropped out by lap 10 and at the end only nine cars were left running, with Michael Schumacher leading Felipe Massa home in a Ferrari one-two. Giancarlo Fisichella was third ahead of a superb Jarno Trulli, while Fernando Alonso struggled to a lowly fifth. Vitantonio Liuzzi finished eighth, scoring the first point for the Toro Rosso team. This also turned out to be the last race for Montoya – fed up with F1, he’d done a deal to race in Nascar the following year and by mutual agreement with Ron Dennis, his contract was terminated early.

Reg Parnell (born 1911) finished third in the first F1 championship race at Silverstone in 1950, starting five more races between then and 1954. He then started his own team, Reg Parnell Racing, which John Surtees scored a couple of podiums for in 1962.

Jacques Pollet (born 1922) started five races for Gordini across 1954 and 1955, with a best finish of seventh at Monaco in 1955.

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