rocknrolljunkie989: (Default)
as requested by roadjerseys, I'm here with a carefully crafted French Stew primer for your viewing pleasure.  grab a box of tissues and prepare yourselves for massive amounts of Tyrrell team angst, because here we go

[but before we really get down to introducing you to the humans in question, here is a video]

"For zest and sparkle, there were François Cevert, winner of the U.S. Grand Prix, whose girlish features belie his rakehell nature."
- an actual, honest-to-god sporting magazine

François Cevert
(formally known as Albert François Cevert Goldenberg) was born 25 February, 1944 to Charles Goldenberg (who was a Jewish Russian emigre and who joined the French Resistance during WWII; the reason the Ceverts are the Ceverts is because taking his last name was too dangerous) and Hugette Cevert (a French national).  

He had three siblings: Charles, Elie, and Jacqueline. 


François was especially close with his sister Jacqueline, who married racing driver Jean-Pierre Beltoise!  Jacqueline even drove him around when he started racing.


I apologize right now for the picture dump this post is about to become.  It is a shame that you'll have to deal with all of them, really.

ANYWAY.  François talked his mom into buying a Vespa when he was around 14, which his mom didn't actually ride because François took it and raced his friends down the streets of Neuilly (a suburb of Paris where they grew up).  François's interest in motorcycle racing didn't last particularly long, though.  he moved onto car racing after like.... one event


His dad was a jeweler and wanted François to go into the family business after he graduated, but François wanted to go into racing, which was a pretty big family issue.

(Francois, Jacqueline, and their grandma!)

(Also, here's François and his brother Elie with their graduating class.  François is the farthest on the right; Elie is second to the left.  François didn't really dig the whole ~school~ thing.  He was "too pretentious and not sufficiently hardworking", according to his philosophy professor.)

I feel like it is also important to note that François was a classically trained pianist!  He was apparently good enough that he could have been able to pursue a career in it.  His favorite piece was Beethoven's Pathétique Sonata, which will inevitably make you cry every time you hear it bc they play it in like every François documentary and it hurts.


Here's Jackie on the BBC feature Desert Island Discs, where famous people would choose a handful of songs they'd take with them to a desert island.  You know what's gonna be on here.  You know.

When François was 19, he had to do his National Service and chose to be stationed in Germany because he wanted to have a chance to perfect his German.


When he came back, François decided he wanted to pursue racing full time.  But without support from his family, François had no money and recruited the help of a married woman named Nanou that he met when he was 19 on a vacation and ended up falling for.  The two of them entered themselves into the Magny Cours driving school and eventually François moved on to the Volant Shell Scholarship competition, which would award the winner an actual F3 car.  Even though he was the only one without formal racing training, you bet François brought home that win.  Look at him go:


His first years of racing were incredibly difficult.  François chose poorly from the F3 cars he had been offered, which meant his car was prone to breaking down.  He and Nanou spent a lot of time sneaking into hotel rooms or sleeping on tarps in sketchy houses while François worked as a salesman and doing something in the fashion industry in order to save some money, until François's talents finally shone through, he won the French F3 Championship, and was signed to a F2 team.

(here he is celebrating a win with his parents!  they may not have helped fund his career, but they definitely did care for him)

back in the 1960s and 1970s, Formula 1 drivers used to compete in lower series like F2 on occasion for extra money and because that was just a thing you could do back then.  François was a Formula 2 driver when Jackie was driving in F1, and it was during a F2 race at the Reims-Geux circuit in 1969.  The two were locked in a slipstream battle right up into the final corner, where François eventually held out long enough to gain the upper hand and beat Jackie to the finish.

(there he is on podium at Reims)

on that occasion, Jackie didn't really take too much notice.  After all, it wasn't rare for an F2 driver to beat an F1 driver in a race!  It wasn't until Crystal Palace later that season that Jackie was forced to pay attention.  even though he was the one who came out on top this time, Jackie had such a hard time getting around the Frenchman that he went to Ken Tyrrell and told him to keep an eye on François.  a personal recommendation from Jackie Stewart.  that's some pretty high praise right there

random fact: one time François slept with someone dressed entirely in his race gear.  like.  overalls, helmet, gloves.  the whole shebang.  there is no reason for this inclusion but i just wanted to mention that bc it will amuse me to the end of time.  he may have also had a thing with Brigitte Bardot????


so there's that.

and now we diverge to talk about another topic!

Sir John Young Stewart, OBE, better known as Jackie Stewart!

Born on 11 June 1939 in Milton, West Dunbartonshire, Scotland, Jackie was born to a family of Austin and later Jaguar car dealers.  His dad was an amateur motorcyclist and his older brother Jimmy reached a certain amount of local fame when he drove for the Ecurie Ecosse team for the 1954 British GP.  

(Jimmy and Jackie!)

Growing up, Jackie struggled a lot with school and ended up dropping out at age 16 after years of being humiliated by his teachers and peers (he learned via official diagnosis in 1980 that he suffers from dyslexia when he took his son in to try to understand why he couldn't focus in school; during Jackie's childhood, though, dyslexia was a completely unheard of concept).  Jackie has always said that a lot of dyslexic people will find something they're good at and channel all of their energy into that thing, and for Jackie at first, that was competitive shooting, which he was really successful at, bringing home the British, Scottish, and Welsh skeet shooting championships alongside the Coupe des Nations European Championship AND was runner-up to becoming the shooter for the 1960 Olympic team.

but it was still racing to which he gravitated.  Jackie worked in the family garage from a young age and was offered a chance to test a racing car at Oulton Park in 1961.  he showed his talent and was given a Marcos and an Aston to compete, and he ended up winning four races.  it all snowballed from there; Jackie raced and was a test driver in 1962, and 1963 found him winning 14 races with Ecurie Ecosse.  he stuck with them in 1964, which was the year that Ken Tyrrell took note.  Tyrrell at the time was running a Formula Junior team and witnessed Jackie beat Bruce McLaren during a test at Goodwood; Ken signed Jackie immediately.

a duo made of racing and general amazingness was made that day

so, Jackie was driving for Tyrrell in 1964 in F3 and made a statement right away when he managed a 25 second lead within the first 2 laps in the wet weather.  teams were eager to sign him left and right, but Jackie decided on driving alongside Graham Hill at BRM and finished sixth at his debut race, securing his first championship point, and ended the season 3rd in the championship.  as one does when one is Jackie Stewart

one of the things most closely associated with Jackie is his insistence on safety improvements, and that started in 1966 when he crashed on lap 1 at Spa due to a rainstorm that wiped a lot of cars out.  he was trapped under his car with fuel leaking onto him for twenty-five minutes which was obviously a huge fire hazard, and his teammate and Bob Bondurant (who had also crashed near Jackie) had to actually borrow supplies from a spectator's car to get Jackie out because the track marshals weren't equipped with literally anything that could do anything.  to make things worse, getting an ambulance and getting to a hospital took so long that anyone with serious injuries wouldn't have made it; the driver got lost on the way there, and ended up depositing him in a hospital with cigarette butts littering the floor (obviously a great thing to see when you're covered in gasoline).  (after that, Jackie always brought his own doctor to the track and kept a wrench taped to his steering wheel in case of emergencies; BRM started bringing along their own medical truck that anyone could use)

[it's probably also important to note that Jackie was really close to a lot of drivers who passed away.  he considered Jim Clark one of his closest friends when he was just starting out in F1 and later was incredibly close to Jochen Rindt (it was actually Jackie who passed on the news to Jochen's wife that he had passed away).  in a time where drivers were incredibly close a pilot who raced for five years had a two-thirds chance of dying, it's understandable that Jackie risked his popularity to campaign for better safety measures]

(Jackie and Helmut Marko; if i remember the context correctly, they're actually instructing drivers to wear their seatbelts in the car because, at the time, being thrown from your car was a more favorable fate than being trapped in a burning one)

(a track inspection by Jackie and Emerson Fittipaldi, including some choice language from a certain M Cevert)

Jackie and Jochen

Jackie and Jim Clark!

idk what this is but i feel like it accurately depicts the closeness of F1; featuring Jochen, Graham, and Jackie

for as stringent as he was about safety, Jackie would still go out and race.  i think a particularly notable example was the German GP at the Nurburging in 1969, where the rain and fog were horrific.  Jackie won the race by a margin of four minutes.  he's actually talked a lot about how the Nurburgring was one of those circuits that absolutely terrified him while also giving him the satisfaction of having driven it; apparently he can still remember every single feature of the circuit to this day.

Jackie did a lot of racing in other series, including the Indy 500 and the Tasman series alongside his racing in F1.  in '68 he signed with the Matra F1 team which was owned by Ken Tyrrell and really showed his skill by completely dominating the rest of the field in quite a few races.  he won his first championship in 1969 (fun fact: Jackie is the only driver to have won a championship with a French-build car, because Fernando Alonso's 2005 Renault was built in the UK!)

also important:  Jackie married a woman named Helen and had two sons, Paul and Mark.  i honestly just love the Stewarts so much so please take these very amazing pictures of these very amazing humans:


but yes.  1969 was the year Jackie met François during F2 races, which means it's finally time to get down to the good stuff

"[Francois] was so glamorous, he was so colorful, he was so exciting, he was so good-looking... he was very dangerous with the young ladies. There was a lot of damage done. And yet, he was such a basic man.
My role with him was like the student and the professor, because I was passing on everything I knew to him because I saw he had enormous potential. He had great natural skills. He was a racing driver who would, in my opinion, unquestionably have gone on to win the World Championship."
-Jackie Stewart

the Tyrrell team formed properly in 1970 when Matra wanted to use their own engines but Jackie and Ken wanted to stick with the Cosworth engines and therefore keep up a good rapport with Ford.  so, they bought a chassis from March and decided to form their own team.  there's some thought that their sponsor, Elf (a French oil company) had a lot of sway in who was signed as a second driver.  for the first few races of 1970, Johnny Servoz-Gavin drove alongside Jackie, but he failed to qualify in Monaco and had suffered a previous eye injury that made him feel at risk behind the wheel.  so, without much forewarning, he retired three races into the season

which meant that, courtesy of the good word Jackie had put in for the man, Ken Tyrrell called upon François Cevert to fill the gap left in the team.  (François had a feeling he'd be getting called about it and spent actual days just hovering around his phone, never leaving the house just in case.  naturally, it was when he decided it was time for a bath that the actual call came in.  there's no purpose for this anecdote other than just think about the fact that François Cevert was in the bathtub talking to the man offering him his first F1 drive).  François made his debut at the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort and god bless the photographer who documented that event:


and just.  those two.  they were close, even in an era when racing drivers would frequently go on holiday together

now, one thing to keep in mind about François is that... he had a bit of a temper.  basically the entire chapter of his biography where they talk about him racing in Le Mans is like, descriptions of François frequently pitching fits.  he was stubborn, maybe not the best team player all the time, he got sulky when he lost, etc. etc.

except.... not with Jackie

"François's fits of anger never lasted, and at times even used to find his pleasure at Jackie's victories somewhat incredible.  Just think how many grands prix he would have won if there had been no Jackie."
- Ken Tyrrell

❝François was like a sponge. He just wanted to take in everything because he was coming up from Formula 2, he knew he didn’t know much and he wasn’t that quick to begin with. I think it was Zandvoort where I had him follow me round. Ken asked me to do it. I kept the pace and got faster and faster, and he got faster and faster because he was staying with me. He found something like four seconds, and you’ve never seen such an effervescent face afterwards. He kept on learning, and he never stopped.❞
- Jackie Stewart

With Jackie, hotheaded François turned into the perpetually patient protegée, listening carefully to all of Jackie's instructions and suggestions (maybe not agreeing with all of them, but certainly never arguing about it, as François did elsewhere).  he showed so much respect for Jackie and Jackie treated François as an equal.  I feel like I keep saying "even in a time when racing drivers were all close..." but it's honestly true.  François and Jackie kind of transcended the boundaries of being brothers-at-arms in a sense, and they transcended the boundaries of teammates.  i mean, what teammates tell each other literally everything about the setup of the car?

^  I love this video and let me tell you why.  this is François and Jackie going over how to achieve a perfect lap at Monaco in 1971.  Jackie is obviously the one in charge here, he's driven this circuit way more times than François, he knows his way around, he's won this race, so naturally he's going to have a lot more to contribute to the conversation.  but it's not simply instruction.  François makes suggestions, Jackie acknowledges them, and he even appreciates the fact that they would work and starts strategizing based on that.  and for someone who has won a world title, is on track to win a second one, and is talking to a man who has never driven this circuit in a Formula 1 car before.... that's incredible.
also, Jackie slips in a lil bit of French there with the deuxième.  an added bonus.

"He was very anxious to learn.  He was a good listener, and wanted to know everything we were doing. He was a young, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed racing driver with incredible enthusiasm and energy. At Tyrrell we'd always made a point of sharing everything between both drivers, so he got everything that I had in the way of setup, lines, gear ratios, anything at all. He learned that he had to be smooth, that he couldn't upset the car."
- Jackie

basically, bros 4 lyf.  if you're not convinced, here's some Kyalami-ranch related evidence

(what is this.  what are you two doing.  i do not understand but i assure u i am here for it)


(i don't actually know if that's Kyalami ranch.  i don't even know what it is.  but it's relevant.)

(Also, I'm just gonna link this video so that it doesn't embed the entire hour of it!!)

François had a little bit of a rough start to his career, retiring on his first race and only scoring one championship point in 1970 (keep in mind, though, that at that time, you only started scoring points at P6, so....) but he was constantly learning and Tyrrell in general were learning how to get their car sorted out.  Jackie came in 5th that year, but the two of them were ready to make a strong resurgence in 1971!

and they most definitely did

(the post-season awards ceremony.  Jackie won the championship and François came in third.  a perfect opportunity for even more pictures of the two of them looking all wrapped up in one another)

that year, they started taking up the Tyrrell 1-2 pattern that became pretty characteristic of them (the first one in France, of all places).  

and bc they're cute, here's some more podium pictures:

(b r u h)

that sound you hear is me crying

the 1973 German GP was the last time François and Jackie shared a podium  /sad facts

ANYWAY.  1971!  the last race of that season, the US GP at Watkins Glen, was the first race that François won!  the odd thing was, he wasn't actually trying to win it.  Jackie started from pole and François from fifth, but it was Denny Hulme who took the lead in the beginning of the race, in front of François and then Jackie.

I felt a bit uneasy to be in the lead ahead of Stewart; I much preferred to see him ahead of me and to try and follow him. I didn’t want to run the risk of slowing him down and stopping him from giving his maximum because I wasn’t fast enough for him, so I prepared to get him in front of me and try to follow him if I could.

As I overtook Hulme, therefore, I squeezed him a bit to one side, braking a little earlier than planned so as to leave on my right all the room I could for Stewart to overtake.

Jackie saw my maneuver, charging into the hole and took the lead. I was second.

...immediately after, I realized that I was getting away from all the others. I was mentally rubbing my hands; 'That's all we need. Jackie in the lead, me second.' I wasn't thinking of pressing Jackie then, the idea hadn't even occurred to me. I was simply thinking 'I'm second, that's good, that's perfect.'

- Francois
But it didn't stay that way for long.  As it was over 100 (American) degrees, Jackie's tires started to suffer and he soon realized that he was going to have to change them if he wanted to continue racing.  so, seeing that François's tires were holding up fine, he flagged his teammate through and fell back.  Jacky Ickx was in third and the other Jackie put up a fight to keep him away from François, so by the time he managed to get around Jackie, François had already set up a considerable lead of a few seconds.  BROS.

about halfway through the race, François's tires started to go whereas Jacky's only seemed to improve under the excessively hot conditions (the benefits of having different tire manufacturers tbh), but Jacky's alternator fell off, punched a hole in the gearbox, and left oil in the track that caused Hulme to crash.  Even François hit the wall but kept right on trucking with a lead of 29 laps.  nobody came even close to touching him for the remainder of the race

With both arms raised as a sign of victory, Francois crossed the finishing line; he had won his first Grand Prix. He was overcome with joy. That night, the world was his, and Jackie Stewart shared his teammate’s pleasure. To help Francois make his getaway, he did everything he could to hinder Ickx and only allowed him to overtake when his own car packed up after the long struggle to delay him. As Jackie reached the pits, before his car had even stopped, the first question he asked was: “Has Francois won?”

(honestly, one of my favorite lil François anecdotes from this day is the fact that he got on podium, ready to celebrate his first race win with an impressive bout of champagne spray.... except, he couldn't figure it out....... so all he got was this lil squirt of champagne and like...... oh hon..... according to people in the crowd, he tried really really hard to get some champagne spray going and just eventually gave it up)


which always amuses me bc here he is at the French GP, slaying even the race winner with champagne: 

and because video footage is not always the easiest to come by, I have done you all a favor and provided some

also, here's a feature on François that I believe is post-Watkins Glen '71?  maybe??  possibly?????  it's in French, but it's still really gr8, i just found this like last night and cried about it.  skip ahead to ~21 minutes for the good stuff

important facts to note of you don't speak French (thank u Rélie): when he's in Paris, François likes having a quiet dinner in front of the TV.  he has so many trophies that they don't fit in his 2-bedroom apartment and therefore he has to keep some of them in the basement.  and, at this point in time, François's favorite series was F2 because "I actually win there"

also hi i went to that apartment building where François lived when i was in Paris OOPS

ANYWAY.  after their success that year, 1972 was... not the best.  Jackie finished 2nd in the championship and François finished 6th, which wasn't terrible, but Jackie went through three different car styles, and there were retirements and non-classifications on François's part.  a bright side?  François came second with Matra-Simca at Le Mans!  i am not 100% sure if these pictures are from Le Mans, BUT here are pictures of Jackie visiting François while François was taking part in other series:

but 1973 had a lot of promise for them.  they were both on podium for the first race of the season!

and it seemed to go pretty smoothly from there.  there were a few hiccups along the way, but overall, the Tyrrell Twins were showing a pretty consistent performance, and there were lots of shared podiums and generally beautiful moments.  i think one of the most interesting aspects of that season was Monza, though.   Jackie had an issue with his engine right before the race, and while the team had a brand new engine, it was completely untested, and they felt unsafe running it.  instead, they decided to equip Jackie's car with the only other engine they had on hand: François's old one from Austria.  and François went nuts.  since he considered the old engine a complete throwaway, he actually marched right up to Ken Tyrrell and let him know that he thought they were sabotaging Jackie's chances of winning the championship that afternoon.

surprisingly, though, that didn't happen.  even after an early puncture and a pitstop that cost him half a lap, Jackie stormed his way up the grid, setting one fastest lap after another until eventually he passed François for fourth place, securing the points he needed to become world champion (apparently, François was pretty demoralized by the fact that Jackie had managed to take an engine that François had written off as ineffective and make it work with such an awesome payoff; any negative emotions didn't last long, though, because François was happier for Jackie than anything else)

and that's something that happened more than once.  at Kyalami that same year, Jackie completely destroyed his car in a practice session, and there was no second car available.  so, François and Jackie traded cars; Jackie took François's out immediately in order to get a feel for the circuit and find the perfect setup, and François stayed behind until they repaired Jackie's wrecked car.  even after starting at the absolute back of the grid, Jackie managed to win the race; François's results weren't classified.


(there's actually a video of that incident.  and lots of other generally interesting things)

but now we deviate to a special topic.  an event that is honestly so important that it deserves an entire section all to itself.  that event is the Great Bermuda Vacation of 1973.

some setup: Mosport, Canada.  Jody Scheckter was pretty new to the scene at that time and had a bit of a... reputation, if you will.  a bit like Pastor Maldonado, he was prone to shunts, although it could be argued that he was just a new driver who still hadn't learned.  during the race, the weather turned to shit, and after some pitlane chaos, Jody wound up driving François off the road.  the Frenchman hit a barrier and absolutely destroyed his car.  I feel like nothing quite compares to the way this quote puts it: 
Cevert twisted his foot and was shaken up, but even so he limped up to Scheckter and started a boxing match. The hot-tempered Frenchman disregarded the fact that Scheckter hadn’t taken off his helmet yet and so he twisted his wrist too.

So there he is.  He's got no car, three bruised limbs, and most definitely a sullen attitude, and on the second to last race of the season.

After the race, Helen and I didn’t know how badly hurt he’d been, so when they said he was in hospital we went there feeling a bit anxious. ‘Are you a member of the family?’ they said - which is never a good sign. I said, ‘No, but I’m his team-mate’, and they said OK, he was in room so-and-so. We went there - but the room had been cleared, and I thought, ‘Oh Christ…’ I said to the nurse, ‘Is everything all right with Mr Cevert?’ ‘Yes,’ she said, ‘he’s coming along well’. ‘Oh, great - where is he?’ ‘Out on the balcony,’ she said, ‘smoking…’ God, the relief we felt!"

- Jackie

So what does Jackie propose?  Why, François, why don't you accompany me and my wife on our vacation to Bermuda?  We're going to see the Niagara Falls, drive down to New York, it'll be a lovely time!  François declined at first out of politeness, but the Stewarts persisted, and soon enough...
The three of us packed into a Ford Fairlane - with me driving, Helen in the passenger seat, and Francois behind - and we drove up to Niagara Falls. It was an impressive sight, even if my young French teammate had insisted that I carry him from the car to the viewing point.
'I don't want crutches,' he laughed. 'You carry me.'
'No way,' I replied, before being persuaded to put this grown man on my shoulders, as if he was Paul or Mark.
- Jackie
(Too good to be true, right?  There's no way Jackie actually carried François around like one of his sons.)

(isn't life beautiful)

alright, back to Bermuda
In Bermuda we had a two-bedroom apartment and every night we’d go to the Ocean Reef Club, and he would play the piano. The place was full of very old people, pretty dead! But when he played the whole place lit up. His pièce de résistance was Beethoven’s Pathetique. He wooed them all, and then would go into some ragtime thing. Remarkable.
- Jackie [x]

This was also the time approaching Jackie's retirement, which he had kept on the down-low.  it seems like François had picked up some of those vibes, realizing Jackie was reaching the end of his career, but after everything they'd shared with one another before, it seems like he was a little confused as to why Jackie wasn't saying anything.  So, there was a lot of subtle probing going on in Bermuda: 

During that week he kept saying to Helen, 'Is Jackie going to retire or not?’ And Helen, of course, did not know. He’d been asking me, too, and I kept saying, 'I haven’t made up my mind.’ I mean, if I didn’t tell Helen, I couldn’t tell him…
François had kept telling me he was getting offers from Ferrari and so on, and I said, 'Well, that’s good - but you don’t have to decide until the season’s over. I think you should stay with Ken.’ He said, 'Well, Ferrari are saying if I don’t sign they’ll get someone else…’ I said, 'Who are they going to get who’s better than you? And next year’s Tyrrell’s going to be awful good…’
- Jackie

Every day, Jackie will have to go through the same routine with Helen and Francois. It goes like this:

'This morning Helen and I have decided to grant you one more year. Unfortunately for you, of course, it means that I shall be World Champion. You'll have to face that. Of course I'm not ungrateful, so I won't let anyone suggest you are only a has-been. I've nothing against a little of my success spilling over on you. I'll manage to puff you up a bit for old time's sake.' 

Or else as a variation: 'Helen and I have just decided that you are retiring. It's obvious that I am a lot faster than you are and we can't bear to watch you going downhill. It's for your own good that we have made this decision.'

'Okay, Maestro,' is all Jackie ever answers - chuckling to himself.

Basically, the situation was: Jackie didn't want to tell Helen that he was planning on retiring at the end of the season, because, with all of the dangers of motorsport, he thought it would be difficult for her to go to a race knowing Jackie planned to quit but also that there was a good chance he could die before that happened.  If he didn't tell his wife, then it seemed wrong to tell his teammate.  There were a grand total of three people who knew about Jackie's plans.

But he planned to hand Tyrrell over to François.  Knowing he was going to retire, Jackie's instruction changed from just trying to teach François the best ways to drive to literally grooming him to take the place of a world champion, sharing everything he could think of to try to prepare the man for his future as #1 driver.  At the same time, François was reaching that point where he wanted to continue under Jackie's tutelage because he enjoyed working with him while also wanting to branch out and really show his skill.  there were no team orders, but François had a hard time not deferring to Jackie out of genuine respect for him.

“The car in which Jackie won his last championship, in ‘73, was 005, and he and Francois finished 1-2 on several occasions, including at the Nurburgring – the old Nürburgring. Now you’ve heard how much Jackie helped François – he couldn’t have done more for him, OK? Well, at that race at the ‘Ring, they went round together, start to finish, first and second – and afterwards Jackie said to me, ‘François could have passed me any time he liked…’”
- Ken Tyrrell

Ferrari had started tailing François, obviously seeing his talent, but Jackie obviously didn't want to leave Ken without both of his drivers (but it's kind of thought that François started wielding the Ferrari threat to try to get Jackie to tell him what he was hypothesizing: that Jackie was retiring)

(there's no relation of this picture to the story but u need it)

nothing much came out into the open during the Bermuda vacation.  Jackie revealed nothing.  after a relaxing few weeks, François, Jackie, and Helen packed up and headed up to New York for the US GP at Watkins Glen, which was to be Jackie's 100th and last grand prix

The next day, from Niagara Falls which he visited leaning on Jackie Stewart's shoulder, [Francois] rang up his mother.
Francois said, "You know, maman, I can't believe I got out scot free from such an accident. Well I know it now. Nothing more can happen to me in a Tyrrell.

Cevert also had given thought to Jackie Stewart’s dilemma. Earlier in the week he had said, “Jackie faces two options, neither of them very appealing. He can quit racing and save his life, or he can quit racing and lose what his life is about. There are two kinds of death in this sport. Perhaps in any sport. There is physical death, which probably does not hurt so very much, and there is a kind of psychic death, which I’m certain hurts quite a little bit. If Jackie retires, what can he do that will take the place of this….” And he gestured at the dining room overlooking Seneca Lake, at the autumn colors and the strangely slanted land, at his fellow drivers—oh, so dashing and trim and alive, in love with the earth and with its uncle, death. “Yet he could retire into a life of commerce,” Cevert continued. “He has an affection for it, and perhaps it would satisfy him. I cannot predict what he will do, but whatever it is, it will be interesting.

❝In his short life Cevert had been the most glamorous of drivers, and one of the most talented. He was handsome, almost pretty, but he had the best of the Gallic traits—courage, skill, humor. At breakfast on the morning of his death he had been amused by a caption accompanying his photograph in a local newspaper that described him as “intense and waiting.” He smiled over his tea. “Aren’t we all?” he asked.

It was an interesting weekend, one that should have held promise for them.  It was Jackie's 100th and final race.  It was the circuit where François had won his first GP.  Ken Tyrrell had actually signed Jody Scheckter to the team for the following season at the Seneca Lodge on Friday.  and, in addition, there was talk of an interesting send-off on the table.  Ken had proposed that, should Jackie be leading the race with François on his tail, he should let François through so that the man could win the race.  it would be something of a symbolic passing of the reins: Jackie Stewart hands over his position to François Cevert, both during his final race but also in the team in general.  Jackie was skeptical at first, but he soon warmed to the idea.

you don't have to watch the whole thing, but in the beginning, François and Jackie are discussing a specific part of the track known as the Esses.  it was one of the trickier bits of the circuit, and the two were at odds about it.  Jackie preferred to use fourth gear, which would make the car a bit more steady and easy to control; the Tyrrell was always jumpy at that section of the track just due to the build of the car, so he counteracted that in the higher gear, but it also required a perfect line (if he went into it wrong, he'd suffer a time penalty).  François insisted that third gear was better because, although the car was a lot more nervous, he was at the top of his engine's power range and had a little more room to rectify a bad line

François was at a point in his career where he was ready to prove himself.  he and Jackie discussed the Esses, and François still felt his was the better choice.  so, on Saturday, François winked to Helen Stewart as he left the pitlane in a heated battle for pole position with Ronnie Peterson, and he didn't come back.

The more I drive, the more I realize that [death] could happen to me; but in fact, it would take more courage for me to give up racing than it does to go on.
I am very attached to life, I am very happy to be alive, and really believe that I am one of the happiest men on earth; but I don't think I can give up racing, because it is what I love above everything else. I have chosen to do what I like to do and to risk death.

If I stopped racing I would not really have a problem taking on another job. I would even try to put everything I have got into it, for I am an enthusiast by nature; and the day I decide to stop racing because I am no longer fast enough, or indeed for any other reason, I think I shall be able to put my enthusiasm into something else. But as long as I am able to race, I cannot see myself doing anything else.
- Francois

[there's a lot of quotes about this situation and all of them are painful so i'm not gonna stick them in here, but I think it really stands as a testament to François's popularity and likability that so many people were as affected as they were.  Jacky Ickx, a man not known for deep displays of emotion, came back to the pits in tears.  Ronnie Peterson was one of François's closest friends and was in a similar state.  Emerson Fittipaldi had to leave the circuit for a bit and actually contemplated retirement.  Jody Scheckter was the first driver at the scene of the accident, and he's said that seeing it made him determined to clean up his act and keep out of accidents]

 and Jackie.  even today, you can tell how deeply Jackie was hurt by this
[i will not spare you from these quotes i am sorry]

‘I was angry, very angry, about the whole sport, the whole thing. One of my regrets is that I didn’t stay with François. I don’t think anybody dies immediately. Okay, that may seem a ridiculous thing when the ferocity of the accident is on such a scale, but I just felt as if I should have taken his helmet off, or done something. Anything. Just stayed there a bit longer. To this day, I regret not doing that.’


It was a motoring accident, not mechanical failure. I had sworn I would never get close to another driver again, not after Jochen, but I cannot control my affections as well as I can a car. It hurt, it hurt so very much.


(Nigel Roebuck on
I did not know Cevert terribly well, but I remember him as a man of immense charm, and upon those close to him, I have found, he made an indelible impression. “Ah, François…” Jackie Stewart will smile at the mention of someone he came to regard as team mate, brother, son. For the entire Tyrrell family, too, he always had a special place.
Cevert was a gentleman in the truest sense. So often folk who seem to have everything are all too aware of it, to the detriment of their personality. François had the sort of gypsy good looks to make ladies gnaw at the backs of their hands, yet none of the accompanying arrogance which invariably makes such people insufferable. He took a simple delight in life, and his face reflected it.
“He was a classically-trained pianist,” Stewart recalled, “and you never saw a man so serene as François when he was playing Beethoven or Chopin or Mozart. He had a real passion for music, but an even stronger one for racing. What he wanted most from life was to be France’s first World Champion, and I’ve never doubted he would have done it.“


By 1973, Francois was very quick. I think he could have won the World Championship in ‘74, because that car was better than in '73. And I would have been there, because I’d have gone to all the races with him. His father and mother were lovely people, and his sister and brothers too. I send flowers to his grave every year, and his mother wrote me a letter every year.


We had one of the great human relationships between two racing drivers on the same team. And, you know, I was supposed to be the master and he was supposed to be the pupil. And I would have liked nothing in the world more than for him to take over from where I left off and be the world champion. That would have been the perfect end to a perfect story and a perfect relationship.

As it was, it was the end of my racing career and it was a sour way to leave the sport. But one in which the sport told me that nobody is big enough to think they can do everything when they want to do it, and complete whatever little goals they have set in life. And it was maybe just a question of God saying ‘never take things for granted, this is the down side’. And it was a very profound way of doing it, it couldn’t have been more painful or with more clarity.

But… he’s still often with me

Jackie went back out on track that day to try to find out what happened to François and deduced it was  simply just a driver error regarding the gear the Frenchman took the Esses in.  after that, he drove the car back to the pits and retired out of respect for François.  the Tyrrell team withdrew entirely from the race.  Jackie never completed his 100th Grand Prix.

i was debating not including this picture but I'm gonna do it anyway.  here's Jackie blessing François's coffin at his funeral: 

A few years earlier, during a Memorial Service to Roby Weber, who was killed in practice at Le Mans, Francois had whispered to his girlfriend, 'I would like to have a funeral as beautiful as this. Promise me you will do everything you can to make sure I get it.' The young woman had only been able to shrug her shoulders. Francois was then silent for a few moments and added, 'I would like them to play the Sonata at the end.'

On October 11th, 1973, in the Church of St. Peter, Neuilly, Beethoven's Pathétique Sonata was played once more in honor of Francois Cevert.

one of the most curious things about François is the level of myth surrounding him, and I think one of the biggest stories is the one with the clairvoyant.  Nanou, François's girlfriend, had gone to a clairvoyant seven years prior to meeting François and felt that this woman had predicted their meeting.  in 1966, Nanou returned, interested to see what waited in the future for the two of them, only to learn that François would become a great success, but that his success would tear them apart; after telling a skeptical François, the Frenchman went to meet this clairvoyant himself, without Nanou.  the clairvoyant didn't know he was the man whose fate she had predicted and proceeded to add onto her prophecy: François will be a huge success, but that he wouldn't see his 30th birthday

François had laughed it off, saying it was no problem, by then he would be world champion.  his sister Jacqueline has confirmed the story as being true, but whether or not you're still skeptical, you can't really deny the fact that François passed away on the last race before his 30th birthday


“There was a fine restaurant in the hotel, and every evening we dressed for dinner in a collar and tie. The atmosphere was wonderful, the food was excellent and, while coffee was served, François would get up and walk across the dance floor to a large grand piano, where he would sit down and play Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 8 in C Minor, commonly known as Pathétique. It was his favourite piece of music, and, as his fingers danced, I recall looking around and seeing how everybody, particularly the women, looked completely enchanted…

François Cevert had been extremely close to Helen and he had told her that, if anything ever happened to him, wherever he was, he would make sure that somehow he would send us a message or some kind of sign to let us know that he was alright. Imagine, then, how we felt when, on that Christmas morning, just eleven weeks after his accident, Helen and I opened the present from Mark, something chosen completely at random by a five-year-old child, and discovered it was a record of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 8 in C Minor, commonly known as Pathétique.”
- Jackie


alright.  now that i feel as though i have properly ruined all of your hearts and caused everyone immense amounts of distress, please allow me to throw some fic recommendations your way.  none of these are my own because I feel weird about that but there is a lot of quality content here SO.
  • Je le connais si bien [I Know Him So Well] - the first listed François/Jackie fic on AO3 and still one of my absolute favorites.  I go back and read this every couple of months just because
  • Heat of the Moment - about François's incident with Jody.  the characterization here is honestly some of my favorite ever ughhhh it is excellent
  • Snapshots - about François, Jackie, and Helen on holiday and just.  yes.
  • Through the Streets of Paris series - tbh when I went to Paris, the #1 thing I could think about was Suite Parisienne and i have no idea why but I am just so fond of all of this omg
  • Dolce Droga - one of those fics I just want to wrap myself up in forever and a day
  • Wind - part of a 30 day challenge.  something about this entire fic just makes my day omg (while you're at it, just read everything else in there too.  also Promise.  that one SLAYS ME.)
  • Snow Angels in Scotland - just.  just.... the cute........... 
  • Silence - another 30 day challenge this time with lots of greatness but i still remember when everyone started doing these and this was like THE FIRST FIC to be posted and i laid on the couch and groaned in agony for like 20 minutes
  • headcanons! - there are a lot of really great headcanons in the fandom so my suggestion is to just peruse the French Stew tag on tumblr.  but these are some of my favorites tbqh, I have spent a lot of time thinking about this particular set
  • Untitled - JUST READ IT.  J U S T  READ IT.
  • technically not fics, but go look at Lara's art:  x  and  x
  • and there are honestly just so many more.  Again, just go peruse the Tumblr tag for these two and revel in the glory.  this is just something to get you started!

when I was in school and we had to make PowerPoint presentations, it was a standard that everybody ended every single slideshow with a PICTURE PAGE!!!!!! or three, stuffed with all the pictures that they couldn't fit in the rest of the presentation.

and so here you go.  pictures and videos that did not fit anywhere else: 



AND also this photoset.  literally the greatest thing

The urge to learn everything showed itself in the most extraordinary way. 'Often, while Francois was getting ready for a race,' Nanou relates, 'I would sit knitting on a chair or on the bed. One evening he came and sat next to me demanding to be shown how it was done. It was not so very long before he had mastered the secrets of moss-stitch, ribbing, and stocking stitch.'



i think that about sums it up.  i realize i probably went above and beyond the call of duty here but.... these things are important.

anyway I leave you with this:



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