Long before Toro Rosso’s Jaime Alguersuari and his baby blues first made female Formula 1 fans’ hearts flutter, there was dark-haired, blue-eyed Francois Cevert. More than a handsome face, he was a great talent – and is another for the “what might have been” category. He takes his place at #18 on my grid in his Tyrrell 002 – with its bright livery that was quite coincidentally … blue.
Not only was Francois a promising talent, he also became a close and valued teammate and friend to the veteran Jackie Stewart. Team orders – spoken or not, like them or not – were not necessary at Tyrrell. Francois embraced his role and his place. After all it gave him the opportunity to learn from, support and challenge one of the best.
And, in turn, Formula 1 embraced Francois. The Frenchman scored his first and only win at the United States Grand Prix at Watkins Glen, 1971. The red, white and blue of France and the USA seemed to blend so well that weekend. Many saw the victory as the beginning of another storied F1 career only to see it come to a tragic end in the very same venue two years later.
Francois Cevert decorates my grid in his own special way. Yes, a good-looking Prince Charming but more importantly a prince of a fellow, a driver, a teammate and a friend.