1934 French Grand Prix

  • Sunday, July 1, 1934
  • Grand Prix de l'Automobile Club de France

By his success at Montlhery on July 1st, Louis Chiron further confirmed his reputation as a fearless driver who even in moments of stress keeps his head and spares his car. Displaced from the lead by Stuck on the Auto Union, and strongly challenged by Fagioli on the Mercedes, he made no mistakes, and had the satisfaction of leading the Ferrari team to victory, the only cars which survived the gruelling test of the French Grand Prix.

The single-seater Alfas have been in existence for four years, but not until the present season have cars been built which could hope to stand against them. Mercedes had been first and Auto Union second at the Nurburgring a few weeks before, and though the German drivers must have gained heavily over Chiron by being better acquainted with the winding course, the first trials of the German cars at Montlhery showed that their success on their home ground was no mere flash in the pan. The Mercedes team visited the course a fortnight before the race, and Fagioli beat Nuvolari's record of 5 min. 17 secs. by no less than 5 seconds. The Auto Unions arrived there on Thursday, the first day of practising, and Stuck managed to equal Nuvolari's record the first time round. Changing over to Momberger's car he quickly improved on this figure and finished off with a lap of 5 mins. 7 secs. On Friday the Ferrari Alfas had arrived in force, and a number of fast laps were recorded, the best being put up by Chiron. who managed 5 mins. 61 secs., only to be surpassed by Brauchitsch on a Mercedes who carried it to 5 mins. 51 secs., or 92 m.p.h. The wildest kind of rumours were circulating about the size of the Mercedes engines, which were said to have a capacity of 5 litres, which would make the cars too heavy for the 750 kg. weight limit. Whether this were true or not, there was every prospect of a fine race, and in many quarters it was thought that the German cars would have an easy victory.

The Bugattis had been prepared at the last minute, so that France might be represented in her great national car race, but beyond increasing the capacity to 3.3 litres there had been no time to get them going properly. On the first mornings they had suffered with plug trouble, but on Saturday Benoist, who was driving as well as in the old days of the Delages, effected a lap in 5 mins. 13t secs., Etancelin, who was driving the Maserati he used at Monte Carlo, had been troubled both with ignition and carburetion, while Zehender's car, which was an old-type two-seater, did not shine. The third Maserati was to have been driven by Peter de Paolo, but injuries received in Penya Rhin race the previous month had prevented him from driving.

Race Results


Circuit - Montlhery




Montlhery, Ile-de-France


Permanent road course


7.767 (Miles)


Louis Chiron (Alfa Romeo Tipo-B "P3"), 5m06.0, 91.376 mph, GP, 1934