Harman Patil (Editor)

1951 French Grand Prix

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Date  1 July 1951
Course  Reims-Gueux
Location  Reims, France
Course length  7.816 km (4.856 mi)
1951 French Grand Prix
Distance  77 laps, 601.832 km (373.961 mi)

The 1951 French Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held at Reims-Gueux on 1 July 1951. It was the fourth round of the 1951 World Drivers' Championship and was won by Juan Manuel Fangio and Luigi Fagioli driving an Alfa Romeo. It was the first of three occasions where two drivers would be credited with a Grand Prix win after sharing a car.


The race, which also carried the honorific title of European Grand Prix, saw the World Championship debuts of Aldo Gordini, André Simon and Onofre Marimón. Fagioli's victory, his first in a World Championship race, made him the oldest driver to win a World Championship Grand Prix, a record he still holds.

This race also holds the record for the longest Formula One Grand Prix in terms of total distance needed to cover. 77 laps of the 4.856 mile Reims-Gueux circuit totaled to 373 miles.


About 10 laps into the race, the engine in Fangio's car began misfiring, so he stopped at the pits to have the magneto changed, but only completed one further lap before stopping again. Around this time, the gearbox in Ascari's Ferrari had broken, and he retired, although he took over the car of González, who had been pushing very hard. When Fagioli came in for his fuel stop, the team ordered Fagioli and Fangio to swap cars. Fuel stops and problems for the Ferraris enabled Fangio to make his way into the lead and win the race, with Ascari in González's original car finishing 2nd, 52 seconds behind. Fagioli, in Fangio's original car, finished 11th, 22 laps behind.


^1 — Juan Manuel Fangio qualified and drove 15 laps of the race in the #4 Alfa Romeo. Luigi Fagioli took over the car for a further 40 laps. ^2 — Luigi Fagioli qualified and drove 20 laps of the race in the #8 Alfa Romeo. Juan Manuel Fangio took over the car for the remaining 57 laps of the race. ^3 — José Froilán González qualified and drove 35 laps of the race in the #14 Ferrari. Alberto Ascari, whose own vehicle had already retired, took over the car for the remaining 42 laps of the race. ^4 — Piero Taruffi and Prince Bira both withdrew from the event prior to practice. ^5 — Reg Parnell qualified and drove the entire race in the #26 Ferrari. Brian Shawe-Taylor practiced in the car, but took no part in the race proper. ^6 — Eugène Chaboud qualified and drove the entire race in the #44 Talbot-Lago. Lucien Vincent, named substitute driver for the car, was not used during the Grand Prix.

Shared drives

  • Car #8: Fagioli (first 20 laps) then Fangio (57 laps). They shared the points for the win (Fangio scored one extra point for setting the fastest race lap).
  • Car #14: Gonzalez (first 35 laps) then Ascari (42 laps). They shared the points for 2nd position.
  • Car #4: Fangio (first 15 laps) then Fagioli (40 laps). When Fagioli rejoined the race in Fangio's car he was already 20 laps behind.
  • Championship standings after the race

    Drivers' Championship standings
  • Note: Only the top five positions are listed. Only the best 4 results counted towards the Championship.
  • References

    1951 French Grand Prix Wikipedia

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