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A complete French victory
Le Castellet, April 17th
In a vain attempt to make the French Grand Prix pay at the Paul Ricard circuit on the desert-like plateau in the hills behind Toulon and Bandol, the organisers opted for a date in April instead of their usual July date at the height of the holiday season. It was a misguided move as few people in France or other European countries are interested in making a long journey to the featureless Paul Ricard circuit to spend the day on the dusty plateau to watch not very much.
There was nothing wrong with the entry for it was very full, with 29 drivers and 42 cars filling the pit-lane garages and with all the major teams having spent a lot of time at the circuit during the winter, everyone seemed ready to go. There were two changes to the scene, one being the addition of a second March-RAM driven by Jean-Louis Schlesser who had made his Formula One debut at the Race of Champions and the other the absence of Alan Jones from the Arrows team. Jonesey had agreed to drive the Arrows at Long Beach and Brands Hatch, acting as a "sprat to catch a mackerel", the mackerel being represented by a big, wealthy sponsor who would pour vast sums of money into the Arrows team purely on the knowledge that Alan Jones would be driving for them. With the team's known record it was not surprising that no sponsor came forward, even allowing for the known qualities of Alan Jones; and that was that, Jones stepped out of his commitment and the Arrows cars were unsponsored apart from some small local advertising. It would look as though the sea has dried up as far as mackerel are concerned, leaving only a few basking sharks! Just in case anyone in a half-decent car should fall ill, or have an accident, Alan Jones was in the pits with his driving equipment not far away.