This is again one of our favorite images, Chris Amon in the Ferrari 312F1 during the French Grand Prix on July 6, 1969, probably in the long right-hand Gravenoire turn. This running of the French Grand Prix, the oldest of all, took place at the Charade circuit near Clermont-Ferrand, home town of Michelin, in central France. At the time this mini-Nürburgring public road circuit was also called Circuit Clermont-Ferrand and is now called the Circuit Louis Rosier after one of the great French drivers who also had a hand in its original design. But the name Charade continues. The original Charade which lasted from 1957 to 1988 was just over five miles in length and went up hill and down around a volcanic area with virtually no run-off area, having big drops on one side and a rock wall on the other. After 1988 a shorter and a bit safer new circuit was created while still maintaining the character of the original.
Amon was sent to France with a lone Ferrari for the 1969 race. Enzo Ferrari being on one of his rants about not fielding more F1 cars, most probably because the rather heavy 312 motor could not compete with the Cosworth DFV V8 that all of the other teams were using. Here is Amon on one of the sweeping bends in the lower part of the track. Poor Amon could only qualify sixth fastest, being a whopping 3.6 seconds behind Jackie Stewart’s pole time with a Matra. In the race Amon got as high as fourth on lap 30 of the 38 lap race distance but then his engine broke. Stewart cruised to the win with his teammate Jean-Pierre Beltoise second who had got past the Brabham of Jacky Ickx right at the end.
Photos by Yves Debraine ©The Klemantaski Collection www.klemcoll.com
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Enjoyed your featuring an entry other than the front-runners. Takes me back to my childhood fascination with such as Chico Landi . Grands prix have such rich tapestries of interwoven efforts and struggles throughout the field ! Bravo !