Maurice Trintignant

Full Name:
Maurice Bienvenu Jean-Paul Trintignant
Born:
30th October 1917
Ste-Cecile-les-Vignes, Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur
Died:
13th February 2005 (Aged 87)
Nimes, Languedoc-Roussillon
Nationality:
French
Most recent race (in database):
Biography

Wealthy vineyard proprietor Fernand Trintignant was the father to five sons. His youngest child became a two-time winner of the Monaco Grand Prix. The teenage Maurice Trintignant began his love affair with motor racing as mechanic for older brothers René and Louis. However, those early days were darkened when Louis was killed practising at Péronne in 1933 having swerved to avoid a policeman who was crossing the track.

Early racing career

Maurice made his debut in the upgraded Bugatti T51 at Pau in 1938 and won at Chimay that year and the next. However, his best years were lost to World War II during which Trintignant hid the Bugatti in a haystack.

Trintignant lined up on the grid with it for the Bois de Boulogne races that celebrated peace in 1945. He apparently retired from the Coupe de la Libération with fuel starvation due to rats having lived in the Bugatti's fuel tank during years under the hay. Jean-Pierre Wimille called him "Le Petoulet" (the rat dropping) that day and the nickname stuck.

Grand Prix driver

Soon a race winner, he graduated to Grands Prix in 1947 driving an old Delage and he finished fifth in Belgium. He switched to Gordini for 1948 and was fourth at Monaco. He also won the very first Formula 2 race that spring – the GP du Roussillon at Perpignan.

However, Trintignant was severely injured in the voiturette race that supported the 1948 Swiss GP. His Gordini was involved in a pile-up among the leaders and he suffered a fractured skull when thrown into the middle of the track. That he was missed by the following cars was thanks to the selflessness of others. "Bira" swerved without damage but Giuseppe Farina and Robert Manzon both crashed rather than hit his prostrate body. Trintignant was in a coma for a week but eventually made a full recovery.

Formula 1 and victory at Le Mans

He returned with Gordini in 1949 – winning at Angoulême – and Trintignant raced in the new world championship for its first 15 seasons from 1950. He continued with the perennially under-funded French team for those first four championship seasons – often retiring but scoring fifth place finishes in France 1952, Belgium and Italy 1953.

Already in his mid-thirties, Trintignant enjoyed his finest season so far in 1954. His year started driving Louis Rosier’s private Ferrari 625 and he finished fourth in the Argentine GP before inheriting victory in the Buenos Aires Formule Libre race when Mike Hawthorn crashed on the last corner. He joined the works team for the rest of the season and shared victory in the Le Mans 24 Hours with José Froilán González. He was fourth in that year’s Formula 1 world championship having finished second in Belgium and third in Germany. Further to that, Trintignant won the Tourist Trophy as Ferrari clinched the World Sportscar Championship.

Grand Prix winner

Named 1954 French Champion, he continued with the team in 1955 and was classified both second and third in the Argentine GP when sharing with team-mates on an unbearably hot day. Ninth on the grid at Monaco, he ran a conservative race while others faltered. He was third with 20 laps to go when Stirling Moss’s engine expired and Alberto Ascari crashed into the harbour. Suddenly Trintignant was in a secure lead and he reeled off the remaining laps to win.

Fourth in the championship again that year, he was only retained by Ferrari for its sports car team in 1956. F1 appearances were with Vanwall and debuting the hopeless Bugatti T251. He only made three GP starts in 1957 but twice scored points with a Lancia-Ferrari D50.

Rob Walker Racing and further success

Trintignant joined Rob Walker’s privateer outfit in 1958 and scored another famous victory. Fifth on the grid, he won the Monaco GP after Hawthorn retired at half distance. 1958 French Champion, he was third in Germany later that year and scored further podium finishes at Monaco (third) and Sebring (second) during 1959.

That latter campaign was the last competitive season for the French veteran. He did not score a championship point for the next four seasons. His privately-entered BRM P57 was then classified fifth in the 1964 German GP (despite retiring on the last lap) and Trintignant made a final appearance in the 1965 Le Mans 24 Hours.

Trintignant then ran the Châteauneuf du Pape vineyard made successful by his father and included a wine called "Le Petoulet" among its vintages. He was awarded the Légion d’Honneur in 1960 and also served as Mayor of Vergèze.

Championship seasons

Season Name Starts Poles Podiums Wins Position Points
1965 International Championship of Makes
Ecurie Ford France
1 0 0 0 0
1964 F1 World Championship
Maurice Trintignant
4 (1) 0 0 0
0% win rate
16th 2
1964 International Championship of Makes
Maserati France
1 0 0 0 0
1963 F1 World Championship
Reg Parnell Racing
Scuderia Centro Sud
3 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1962 F1 World Championship
Rob Walker Racing
6 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1962 Speed World Challenge
Maserati France
1 0 0 0 0
1961 F1 World Championship
Scuderia Serenissima
5 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1961 World Sportscar Championship
Scuderia Serenissima
2 0 0 0 3
1960 F1 World Championship
Rob Walker Racing
David Brown Corporation
Scuderia Centro Sud
6 0 1 0
0% win rate
0
1960 World Sportscar Championship
Dr Ing F Porsche
Porsche
2 0 0 0 3
1959 F1 World Championship
Rob Walker Racing
8 0 2 0
0% win rate
5th 19
1959 World Sportscar Championship
David Brown Racing
Aston Martin Cars
2 0 1 0 9
1958 F1 World Championship
Owen Racing Organisation
Rob Walker Racing
Scuderia Centro Sud
9 0 2 1
12% win rate
7th 12
1958 World Sportscar Championship
David Brown Racing
1 0 0 0 0
1957 F1 World Championship
Scuderia Ferrari
3 0 0 0
0% win rate
12th 5
1957 World Sportscar Championship
Scuderia Ferrari
4 0 1 0 8
1956 F1 World Championship
Vandervell Products
Usines Bugatti
5 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1956 World Sportscar Championship
Scuderia Ferrari
1 0 1 1 8
1955 F1 World Championship
Scuderia Ferrari
6 0 3 1
17% win rate
4th 11.33
1955 World Sportscar Championship
Scuderia Ferrari
1 0 0 0 0
1954 F1 World Championship
Scuderia Ferrari
Ecurie Rosier
8 0 2 0
0% win rate
4th 17
1954 World Sportscar Championship
Scuderia Ferrari
2 0 2 2 16
1953 F1 World Championship
Equipe Gordini
8 0 0 0
0% win rate
11th 4
1953 World Sportscar Championship
Equipe Gordini
1 0 0 0 1
1952 F1 World Championship
Equipe Gordini
Ecurie Rosier
5 (1) 0 0 0
0% win rate
16th 2
1951 F1 World Championship
Equipe Gordini
3 (1) 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1950 F1 World Championship
Equipe Gordini
2 0 0 0
0% win rate
0