The above photograph was taken on the morning of the 6th October, 1973. 40 years ago today.
It was qualifying day of the US Grand Prix at Watkins Glen. Jackie Stewart had already wrapped up the world title - his third - and was secretly preparing to retire after this race, which would be his 100th. The leadership of the Tyrrell team would pass to the young Frenchman, Francois Cevert, who had spent three years learning everything from Jackie.
They went out for morning practice. Jackie preferred to take the formidable Bridge complex in fifth gear - the lower revs made the car slower, but more docile and easier to handle over the bump just after the apex. Francois took the corner in fourth, at much higher revs. He lost control and the car smashed into the barriers on each side of the track, flipping over in the process. He was killed. The Tyrrell team withdrew from the Grand Prix, meaning Jackie retired on the spot with 27 wins to his name. Francois had just one - two years before, at the very track he died. He was 29 years old.
Rest in peace, Albert François Cevert Goldenberg. Wherever you are, I hope your eternal spring continues.
You know the fantastic thing, I think every man in the world is looking for that: to make, from his passion, his business. That’s what I have done. I have passion for motor racing and it’s my business. I cannot be more happy. Everything I do about motor racing, I enjoy it. Anything. Because it is my passion.
- François Cevert (February 25, 1944 – October 6, 1973)