1971 French Grand Prix
- Sunday, July 4, 1971
- Grand Prix de France
- F1 World Championship
Before anyone gets too excited it is worth remembering that the original series of French Grand Prix races ended in 1967, when the Automobile Club of France succumbed to the nouvelle vague and handed over the sport in France to the FFSA who started a new series of French GP in 1968, hence this year’s event being the fourth Grand Prix of France, even though Grand Prix racing started in France in 1906.
Once the 1971 Calendar was published last winter there was never any doubt left in anyone’s mind as to where this year’s French GP was to be held. The organisation of the new Circuit Paul Ricard took over the publicity of the event and made a splendid job of it and since the Spring, there has been continuous publicity telling us to come to the Circuit Paul Ricard for the World Championship of Formula One; they almost entirely forgot to mention that it was the French Grand Prix that was going to take place, such is the seriousness of the new regime in French sporting circles. It was as bad as being told to attend the Woolmark Grand Prix at Silverstone, when the RAC Meant the British Grand Prix!
However, I digress, and everyone went to the arid wastes of the Castellet area, not far from Marseilles, where Mr Ricard the alcohol millionaire has spent some of his millions on an enormous edifice with his name on the front, which forms the nerve centre of a motor speedway laid out in the form of a road circuit. Over the past months almost everyone in Grand Prix racing had been to this new circuit, opened last year, practising, experimenting, and generally thrashing round its flat, featureless 5.8 kilometres of newly-laid tarmac road, Gold Leaf Team Lotus being about the only exception.
Le Castellet, Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur
Permanent road course
Keke Rosberg (Williams FW10-Honda), 1m39.914, 130.072 mph, F1, 1985
First Race1970 Paul Ricard F2