Maurice Trintignant: A sticker not a quitter

27 Jun

Today is day three of the Formula 1 Formula week of legends (25th June – 1st July). These legends are drivers who have been unsung but have completed achievements that deserve merit. Todays driver is Maurice Trintignant, a driver who competed in 15 consecutive seasons in Formula 1 from 1950 to 1964.

In recent years drivers like Rubens Barrichello and Jarno Trulli have become well known and built a reputation on being in F1 for what seems like forever, but in the 50s and 60s that role was taken by French driver Maurice Trintignant who competed in fifteen consecutive seasons.

Now this achievement may seem unimportant in comparison to Rubens Barrichello’s 19 consecutive seasons but Maurice’s achievement is especially impressive due to the dangers in the sport during his time and during his time 24 F1 drivers died due to race related incidents.

Maurice started his F1 career in 1950, the inaugural year with Equipe Gordini but it wasn’t a success he retired from both races he started. He stayed with Gordini for 1951 but it was much the same as Maurice started four races and retired from four. Maurice started 1952 with Ecurie Rosier a team ran by Louis Rosier which for 1952 bought the Ferrari 500 chassis. Maurice was entered for one race with the team but he didn’t start the race. After that Maurice went back to Equipe Gordini and at France he picked up his first ever points (and his first ever finish). For finishing 5th he picked up 2 points. Overall of the five races with Gordini that season he finished two (the other finish was 6th at the Netherlands). In 1953 Maurice stayed with Gordini, he started 8 races, finishing 4 picking up 4 points.

For 1954 Trintignant went back to Ecurie Rosier for the first race and he finished 4th in Argentina. But after the first race Maurice moved to another new team, Scuderia Ferrari and he started with a bang, finishing 2nd in Belgium and then 3rd in Germany in his fourth race for Ferrari. In 1954 Maurice started 8 races, finished 6 (his highest so far) finished on the podium twice and picked up 17 points which gave him fourth in the championship. The next year was 1955 and Maurice stayed with Ferrari, he finished the first race of the season (Argentina) in both 2nd and 3rd positions (due to car sharing) picking up 3.333 etc. points. The second race of the season saw the return of Monaco for the first time since 1950 and it was a great success for Maurice as he won his first ever GP by 20.2 seconds. Overall in 1955 Maurice started 6 races, finished four of them picked up 2 (or 3 podiums depending on how you see it) and one victory, overall Maurice finished on 11.33333 etc. points and finished 4th in the championship.

In 1956 Maurice drove for two teams: Vandervell Products Ltd. (4 races) and Automobiles Bugatti (1 race). Of the five races he started he retired from all five of them. In 1957 he returned to Ferrari for three races, finishing two races where he picked up points. He finished 5th in Monaco and 4th in Great Britain (another shared drive) to finish the season on 5 points.

1958 saw Maurice drive for three teams:  Owen Racing Organisation (1 race), Scuderia Centro Sud (1 race) and Rob Walker Racing team (7 races). At the Rob Walker team Maurice won his second -and last- GP again at Monaco yet again by 20.2 seconds and he also finished 3rd at Germany. Maurice finished 1958 with 9 starts, 6 finishes and 12 points. 1959 was an abnormal year for Maurice in that he finished all 8 of the races that he started including two podiums at Monaco and in the USA. He stayed with Rob Walker Racing Team for the entire year and he finished 5th in the drivers standings with 19 points.

In 1960 Trintignant drove for three teams: David Brown Corporation (1 race), Rob Walker Racing Team (1 race, in Argentina where despite finishing 3rd he was ineligible  due to a shared drive with Stirling Moss) and Scuderia Centro Sud (4 races). 1961 and 1962 was an equally uneventful years,in 1961 he drove for Scuderia Serenissima where he finished three of the five races he started but he did surpass the previous record for most Grand Prix entries, and in 1962 he returned to Rob Walker Racing Team where he finished two of the 6 races he started. In 1963 Trintignant drove for both Reg Parnell Racing (2 races) and Scuderia Centro Sud (1 race).

Maurice’s final year was 1964 and for that season he privately entered his own team, he finished two of the five races he entered and picked up his final championship points at Germany where he finished 5th.

During Maurice’s career which spanned 15 seasons: he reset the record for the most Grand Prix entries (84) of which he started 82 and finished 43, 19 of these in points positions. Over the years he drove for 12 teams, he picked up 72.3333 points, set 1 fastest lap, picked up 10 podiums (if you include both 2nd and 3rd place at Argentina 1955) and won two races. Outside of F1 he won the Le Mans 24 hours in 1954 with Jose Frolian Gonzalez, and was elected to be mayor of Vergeze, France.

In 2005 Maurice Trintignant died aged 87.

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2 Responses to “Maurice Trintignant: A sticker not a quitter”

  1. Janella June 28, 2012 at 06:47 #

    Frolian Gonzales,’the Wild Bull of the Pampas’ is well worth a look at; larger than life in every way.

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