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1970 French Grand Prix

Grand Prix de France

Sunday, July 5, 1970
Warm, dry and sunny
Pole position:
Fastest Lap:
Brabham, 3m00.75
1970 season:

From the Motor Sport Archive Another technical step forward Clermont-Ferrand, France, July 5th After some rather wild ideas about running the French Grand Prix on the little aerodrome circuit at Albi, common sense prevailed and the Circuit of Charade in the hills above Clermont-Ferrand was once again chosen as the scene for the race. Last year had seen a convincing first and second place by Matra, using the MS80 cars, albeit with Cosworth V8 engines, and it had proved to be a very popular event with everyone. The circuit is something of a miniature Nurburgring, of 8.055 kilometres in length among the forest-clad hills, and while it is terrific fun to drive round it suffers a bit from being narrow and having the corners following one another in quick succession so that overtaking is difficult, but in spite of that there is no comparison with an aerodrome circuit. The only driver not enthusiastic about driving round the Circuit of Charade is Rindt, as he has an incipient stomach ulcer complaint, aggravated by his insistent smoking, and the continual sideways-G effects of the circuit tend to bring on sickness. This was a distinct set-back for Team Lotus, having got the Lotus 72 approaching perfection, and they arrived with the two cars used at Zandvoort altered only in respect of trying different shock-absorbers on the rear, but with their star driver very disinterested in the prospects and refusing to stop smoking even though his doctor advised it. Miles in the less modified Lotus 72 was very enthusiastic about the circuit and could not do enough practice, but with the best will in the world Chapman could not pin Lotus hopes on the young Englishman. As practice progressed it became clear that Rindt's lack of enthusiasm for the circuit was the least of the Lotus worries, for along with all the other users of Cosworth V8 engines, the big worry was the way the Ferrari and Matra 12-cylinder engines had been advancing in the last race or two.