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François Picard was a company director who lived on the fashionable Promenade des Anglais in Nice. He began racing a Renault 4CV in 1949 and enjoyed some sports car success with a Porsche at the start of the 1950s. Class winner on the 1951 Tour de France Automobile, he won the following year’s Circuit d’Agadir in Morocco.
He often shared his racing with French Ferrari importer Charles Pozzi and almost exclusively competed in France or its dependencies. 1954 began with victories at Agadir and Marrakesh with a works Ferrari 500 Mondial, continued with class wins in the 12-hour sports car races at Hyères and Reims with Pozzi and concluded with victory during the Penya Rhin Grand Prix meeting on Barcelona’s Pedralbes circuit.
Grand Prix debut
His only single-seater race was the final GP of 1958 when Picard drove a Rob Walker Cooper T43-Climax in the Formula 2 class of the Moroccan GP. He qualified at the back for what was the Stirling Moss versus Mike Hawthorn title decider just outside Casablanca and ran third in the six-car F2 section. However, Olivier Gendebien spun on oil left by Tony Brooks’ Vanwall and the hapless Picard crashed into the Belgian’s car.
The seriously injured Picard was taken to hospital by helicopter and he eventually recovered after a lengthy stay. However, he never raced again and finally retired to his native Riviera where he died three days after his 75th birthday.