1950 French Grand Prix

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1950 French Grand Prix
Race 5 of 6 in the 1950 Formula One season
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Race details
Date 2 July 1950
Official name XXXVII Grand Prix de l'A.C.F.
Location Reims-Gueux, Reims, France
Course Temporary road course
Course length 7.815 km (4.856 mi)
Distance 64 laps, 500.160 km (310.785 mi)
Pole position
Driver Alfa Romeo
Time 2:30.7
First Alfa Romeo
  • Italy Luigi Fagioli
Alfa Romeo
  • Italy Alberto Ascari
Lap leaders

The 1950 French Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held on 2 July 1950 at Reims-Gueux. It was the fifth round of the 1950 Formula One season with it being the 37th edition of the French Grand Prix.

After claiming the pole position, Alfa Romeo driver Giuseppe Farina took out the race and also the first World Championship with one race to go. Rounding out the podium was fellow Italian drivers, Luigi Fagioli and Alberto Ascari.

Background[edit | edit source]

Heading into the fifth round of the 1950 season, Giuseppe Farina led the overall championship but after retiring in the previous race, their margin towards the chasing pact had dropped to 11 points. This was led by previous winner and fellow team-mate Luigi Fagioli with Louis Rosier who finished third, a further four points back.

Qualifying[edit | edit source]

Much like the previous races, the Alfas lead from the front of the pack with Giuseppe Farina taking the pole position in front of team mate Juan Manuel Fangio and Luigi Fagioli. Outside of the Alfa's, Ferrari pair of Ascari and Villoresi rouned out the top five drivers. Qualifying through didn't went out without a hitch with five not being able to finish their laps with issues to car during the qualifying. The strangest being Yves Giraud-Cabantous accident on the back straight which meant they went were out of the session.

Qualifying classification[edit | edit source]

Pos Driver Constructor Time Gap
1 Italy Giuseppe Farina Alfa Romeo 2:30.7
2 Argentina Juan Manuel Fangio Alfa Romeo 2:30.9 +0.2
3 Italy Luigi Fagioli Alfa Romeo 2:31.4 +0.7
4 Italy Alberto Ascari Ferrari 2:32.6 +1.9
5 Italy Luigi Villoresi Ferrari 2:32.7 +2.0
6 United Kingdom Peter Whitehead Ferrari 2:33.3 +2.6
7 Italy Franco Comotti Maserati 2:33.4 +2.7
8 Switzerland Toulo de Graffenried Maserati 2:33.5 +2.8
9 Thailand Prince Bira Maserati 2:33.7 +3.0
10 France Philippe Étancelin Talbot-Lago-Talbot 2:33.8 +3.1
11 France Eugène Martin Talbot-Lago-Talbot 2:34.0 +3.3
12 France Louis Rosier Talbot-Lago-Talbot 2:34.4 +3.7
13 France Charles Pozzi Talbot-Lago-Talbot 2:34.5 +3.8
14 France Robert Manzon Simca-Gordini 2:34.7 +4.0
15 Italy Felice Bonetto Maserati-Milano 2:34.8 +4.1
16 Italy Franco Rol Maserati 2:34.9 +4.2
17 Argentina José Froilán González Maserati 2:35.0 +4.3
18 France Pierre Levegh Talbot-Lago-Talbot 2:35.2 +4.5
19 Monaco Louis Chiron Maserati 2:35.3 +4.6
20 United Kingdom Reg Parnell Maserati 2:35.4 +4.7
21 France Eugène Chaboud Talbot-Lago-Talbot 2:35.5 +4.8
22 Belgium Johnny Claes Talbot-Lago-Talbot 2:36.3 +5.6
23 France Yves Giraud-Cabantous Talbot-Lago-Talbot 2:36.5 +5.8
24 United States Harry Schell Talbot-Lago-Talbot 2:37.1 +6.4
WD United Kingdom David Hampshire Maserati

Race[edit | edit source]

24 drivers competed in the race which saw the weather once come out to be a beautiful sunny day in France. It wasn't long until the first retirements occurred with Prince Bira, Reg Parnell and Yves Giraud-Cabantous all having to retire due to issues with the car. On the track, the big movers was Franco Rol and José Froilán González both moving up three spots as they moved to 12th and 13th respectively. For González, they would only last two more laps with an accident at Geux ending his race on lap 3. At the front of the field, Luigi Villoresi moved into third as they passed Alberto Ascari and later Juan Manuel Fangio (who also retired on lap 3) to move into third place, behind him Luigi Fagioli in the Alfa Romeo.

On Lap 5, Johnny Claes went off line to go into rough at Thilois, but was able to continue on racing. For Toulo de Graffenried and Peter Whitehead, they would collide while in 6th and 7th which at first look like would slow both drivers down, but that wasn't the case. Four laps later, Philippe Étancelin got pass Peter Whitehead to move into seventh place on track. By lap 9 the order was Farina, Fagioli, Villoresi, Ascari, Comotti as the top five. Five laps later, Franco Rol had troubles with the engine as they had to go to the first of two pits with another error six laps later.

Louis Chiron and Louis Rosier retired on lap 14 and 16 respectively with Chiron having suspension issues while Rosier had brakes issues to end their race. Three laps later, Eugène Martin passed Peter Whitehead for eighth place on track as the battle for the front as all Farina that was at the front of the field. Later in the race, the Maserati of Felice Bonetto passed Robert Manzon for 13th place as Etancellin and De Graffenried continued to battle for sixth place. Lap 37 saw Pierre Levegh going slightly off the line but would hold on to their position on track.

Lap 42 saw Robert Manzon having to retire with issues to the front of the car causing them to slow to a halt. Two more retirements occurred in lap 48 with both Luigi Villoresi and Peter Whitehead both having engine failures which ended the Ferrari's chances for those two. The following one saw a collision between Levegh and Bonetto, but it was Harry Schell who retired from the race after being caught in the two car collision as he had to retire from the race. For Bonetto, they would have to go to the pits to fix the issue and end their chance of getting points. Comotti and De Graffenried also bumping wheels during that lap with only Comotti losing time on track. This issue though would plague the rest of the race as he would retire on lap 59 with another engine issue. In the end it would be Farina that would take out not only the Grand Prix but also the World Championship with one race still to go. He would finish ahead of Fagioli, Ascari, De Graffenried and Étancelin as the top five drivers for the race.

Race classification[edit | edit source]

Pos Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 Italy Giuseppe Farina Alfa Romeo 64 2:58:13.4 1 9
2 Italy Luigi Fagioli Alfa Romeo 64 +42.7 3 6
3 Italy Alberto Ascari Ferrari 64 +1:21.4 4 4
4 Switzerland Toulo de Graffenried Maserati 64 +2:29.6 8 3
5 France Philippe Étancelin Talbot-Lago-Talbot 63 +1 lap 10 2
6 France Eugène Martin Talbot-Lago-Talbot 63 +1 lap 11
7 France Charles Pozzi Talbot-Lago-Talbot 63 +1 lap 13
8 France Eugène Chaboud Talbot-Lago-Talbot 63 +1 lap 21
9 France Pierre Levegh Talbot-Lago-Talbot 63 +1 lap 18
10 Belgium Johnny Claes Talbot-Lago-Talbot 63 +1 lap 22
11 Italy Felice Bonetto Maserati-Milano 63 +1 lap 15
12 Italy Franco Rol Maserati 63 +1 lap 16
Ret Italy Franco Comotti Maserati 58 Engine 7
Ret United States Harry Schell Talbot-Lago-Talbot 49 Accident 24
Ret Italy Luigi Villoresi Ferrari 47 Engine 5
Ret United Kingdom Peter Whitehead Ferrari 47 Engine 6
Ret France Robert Manzon Simca-Gordini 41 Tyres 14
Ret France Louis Rosier Talbot-Lago-Talbot 15 Brakes 12
Ret Monaco Louis Chiron Maserati 13 Suspension 19
Ret Argentina Juan Manuel Fangio Alfa Romeo 2 Hydraulics 2
Ret Argentina José Froilán González Maserati 2 Accident 17
Ret Thailand Prince Bira Maserati 0 Suspension 9
Ret United Kingdom Reg Parnell Maserati 0 Suspension 20
Ret France Yves Giraud-Cabantous Talbot-Lago-Talbot 0 Tyres 23
DNS United Kingdom David Hampshire Maserati Withdrew

Championship standings after the race[edit | edit source]

Drivers' Championship standings
Pos Driver Points
1 Italy Giuseppe Farina 34
2 Italy Luigi Fagioli 20
1 3 Switzerland Toulo de Graffenried 11
1 4 France Louis Rosier 10
5 France Philippe Étancelin 9
  • Note: Only the top five positions are listed. Only the best 4 results counted towards the Championship.

References[edit | edit source]

Previous race:
1950 Belgian Grand Prix
FIA Formula One World Championship
1950 season
Next race:
1950 Italian Grand Prix
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1949 French Grand Prix
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1951 French Grand Prix