- October 30, 1917
- February 13, 2005
- Not Active
- Ferrari Maserati,BRM,Gordini,Vanwall,Bugatti,Cooper,Lotus,BRM
Maurice Trintignant was a French racing driver, who was active in the early days of Formula One, from 1950 to 1964. He recorded 82 starts in the Formula One Grand Prix races, with two victories (both at Monte-Carlo) and ten podiums. He also won the 1954 24 hours of Le Mans.
Maurice Bienvenu Jean Paul Trintignant was born on October 30th, 1917, in Sainte-Cecile-les-Vignes in the Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur region in southeastern France. His brother Louis was Bugatti race car driver and he was killed in 1933. Maurice started racing five years after, in 1938, also driving the Bugatti. He won two years in a row at Grand Prix de Frontieres at the street circuit in Belgian Chimay.
Rat droppings clogged the Bugatti's fuel filter
His racing activities were interrupted by World War II. During the war his Bugatti was stored in a barn, what caused unusual problems for Maurice when he started to race again in 1945. He started at Coupe de la Liberation but retired because of clogged fuel filter. He discovered later that the filter was blocked by rat droppings, so he earned the nickname Le Petoulet, which means the rat droppings man.
Formula One debut with Gordini in Monte-Carlo
In the following years, Trintignant raced with different cars, mostly with Simca-Gordini T15, scoring some podiums in the Formula 2 and Formula Libre races during 1949. When the first Formula One championship was organized in 1950, Trintignant gets an offer to drive for Equipe Gordini. In the inaugural Formula One championship, he debuted at Monaco Grand Prix on May 21st. He qualified for the 13th place on the starting grid, but retired in the race after a massive pile-up on the opening lap, together with eight more drivers.
Le Mans debut also ended with retirement
He started again in the final round of the championship at Monza. He retired again, after 13 laps, because of technical problems. Between two F1 races, Trintignant participated at 1950 24 hours of Le Mans, sharing the Simca-Gordini T15S with Robert Manzon. One more time he didn't reach the finish, he retired after 34 laps with a broken radiator. Not all races ended with retirements and crashes, Trintignant reached the finish line in few non-championship races and even scored his first victory at German Grand Prix at Nurburgring.
How to finish the race?
The 1951 Formula One season was again extremely bad, with four retirements in four races with Gordini Type 15. All four retirements were caused by the broken engine. The same thing repeated at Le Mans, where Trintignant came with Jean Behra as a co-driver.
To the opening race of the 1952 Formula One season, Swiss Grand Prix, Trintignant came with Ecurie Rosier's Ferrari 166, but the engine failure prevented him to even start the race. Louis Rosier and Maurice Trintignant raced together at Le Mans with Ferrari 340 America Spyder and, guess what, they retired again.
First points at 1952 French Grand Prix
Trintignant finally finished his first Formula One championship race in July at Rouen-Les-Essarts circuit in the French Grand Prix. He was again driving Gordini Type 15 and with a fifth place he took his first points. Later in the season Equipe Gordini switched to a new car (Type 16) and Trintignant succeed to finish one more race, the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort.
Sixth overall at 1953 Le Mans
In 1953, his fourth consecutive season with Gordini, Trintignant scored points in two races, finishing fifth at Spa-Francorchamps and Monza. With four points in his account, Maurice finished 11th in the championship standings. Things went better at Le Mans also, because Trintignant finally finished the race. He was driving Gordini T24S together with Harry Schell and they crossed the finish line sixth overall, but also first in the S 3.0 class.
1954 Le Mans victory with Ferrari 375 Plus
In 1954, Trintignant started the season driving Rosier's Ferrari 625 at Argentina Grand Prix and he scored his best result so far, finishing fourth. He joined Scuderia Ferrari for the rest of the season and partnered Jose Froilan Gonzalez at Le Mans. Their #4 Ferrari 375 Plus won the race ahead of brand new Jaguar D-Type of Tony Rolt and Duncan Hamilton.
First Formula 1 podium at Spa
A week later Trintignant scored his first Formula One podium, finishing the race at Spa 24 seconds behind Juan Manuel Fangio, in his last race with Maserati. In August, at Nürburgring Nordschleife, Trintignant scored one more podium. In total, he scored 17 points and finished fourth in the championship.
Maiden Formula One victory at 1955 Monaco Grand Prix
The season 1955 was even better because Trintignant again finished fourth in the final standings and scored his first championship victory. He triumphed in the Monaco Grand Prix, in the famous race when Alberto Ascari crashed into the harbour.
Maurice participated in the tragic 1955 Le Mans race
One more famous race was held in 1955, unfortunately, it was remembered as the biggest tragedy in the motorsport history. Of course, we are talking about 1955 24 hours of Le Mans, when more than 80 people were killed. In that race, Trintignant was driving Ferrari 121LM alongside Harry Schell and they retired after 107 laps.
Third place at 1956 Le Mans with Ferrari
After two successful seasons with Scuderia Ferrari, Trintignant competed with Vanwall in 1956. He didn't finish any of four races with Vanwall, neither the French Grand Prix in which he races with Bugatti T251. It was the last race of the famous French manufacturer in Formula One. The highlight of the season was Trintignant's participation at 1956 Le Mans race, together with Olivier Gendebien in the Ferrari 625LM Touring. They finished third overall.
One more F1 season with Ferrari
Maurice returned to Ferrari in 1957 and participated in just three races of the Formula One championship, scoring points at Monaco Grand Prix and British Grand Prix to finish 13th in the final classification. Gendebien and Trintignant were again co-driver at Le Mans, driving the Ferrari 250 TR, but this time, they didn't reach the finish.
Cooper T45 was victorious at 1958 Monaco Grand Prix
The season 1958 was the longest and the most diverse F1 season in Trintignant's career, as he participated in nine races with four different cars. He had the best possible start of the season, with a victory at Monaco Grand Prix, driving the Cooper T45 for Rob Walker Racing Team. With the same car Trintignant finished third at Nürburgring. He also drove Cooper T43 in two races. Except Coopers, Maurice competed with Maserati 250F and BMW P25 in one race each.
New team and new car at 1958 Le Mans race
Trintignant didn't miss Le Mans race in 1958, but he changed the manufacturer and moved to Aston Martin DBR1 of David Brown. Trintignant shared the car with Tony Brooks and they retired after 173 laps because of gearbox failure.
In 1959, Maurice had just one team and one car in the Formula One championship. The team was Rob Walker Racing, the car was Climax-powered Cooper T51. He finished third in Monaco and second at Sebring, added three more races in the points and finished fifth in the final standings.
Second place at Le Mans with Aston Martin DBR1
Trintignant wasn't good just in 1959 F1 season, he also scored great result at Le Mans. He was again driving David Brown's Aston Martin DBR1, this time with Paul Frere, and they finished 2nd overall. The winners were their teammates in another DBR1 Roy Salvadori and Carroll Shelby.
In 1960, Trintignant again had a diverse season, with three different teams in Formula 1 and two cars in Formula 2. His best result was third place at Argentine Grand Prix with Cooper T51, but he didn't score points because he was sharing the car with Stirling Moss. The rule of scoring points in shared drives was changed in 1958, prior to that the drivers in the same car were getting the split points.
Unsuccessful Aston Martin's attempt in the Formula 1 championship
The most interesting about season 1960 was the unsuccessful attempt of Aston Martin to enter a new car to Formula One. Roy Salvadori and Maurice Trintignant were driving DBR5 F1 car at British Grand Prix and it was the only race of that car because Aston Martin withdrew from the competition.
At the 1960 24 hours of Le Mans Trintignant changed the manufacturer one more time and joined Porsche factory team. He was driving Porsche 718/4 alongside Hans Herrmann but they retired after just 57 laps.
Last F1 championship points with his own car
Trintignant spent four more seasons in Formula One, changing the teams every year. In 1961, he was driving five races with Cooper T51 for Scuderia Serenissima, then six races with Lotus 24 for Rob Walker Racing in 1962. In 1963, Trintignant participated in just three races with three different cars – Lola Mk4A, Lotus 24 and BRM P57. He didn't score any points in those three seasons.
In 1964, his final F1 season, he was driving his own BRM P57 and he scored points in one more race, at German Grand Prix.
Last Le Mans participation with Ford GT40
Parallel to F1, he regularly competed at Le Mans in his final years of racing. In 1961, he was sharing the Scuderia Serenissima Ferrari 250 GT/TR SWB with Carlo Maria Abate and they retired. One more retirement followed in 1962, with Maserati Tipo 151/1 which he shared with Lucien Bianchi. He skipped 1963 Le Mans and returned in 1964, one more time with Maserati Tipo 151. His co-driver was Andre Simon and they retired after 99 laps.
Trintignant's last race was 1965 24 hours of Le Mans. Maurice joined Guy Ligier in the Ford GT40 roadster but they raced just 11 laps before retirement.
Wine growing business after racing career
At the age of 48, Maurice retired from racing and focused on the wine growing business. He named his winery Le Petoulet. He was eventually elected as a mayor of Vergeze, the town in which he had a winery. Maurice Trintignant died at the age of 87, on February 13th, 2005.