Career Summary:

Louis Rosier

  • November 05, 1905
  • October 29, 1956
  • France
  • Not Active
  • 110
  • 12
  • 26
  • 2
  • 10.91%
  • 23.64%

Louis Rosier (1905-1956) was a French racing driver and team owner who was one of the pioneers of Grand Prix racing in the early days of Formula One. He recorded 38 starts in the F1 World Championship between 1950 and 1956, scoring two podiums. He won several non-championship Grand Prix events.

In sports car racing, his greatest success was a victory at 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1950, together with his son Jean-Louis Rosier in their own Talbot-Lago T26. In that race, Louis was driving a car for almost entire race, handing a car to his son for just about thirty minutes.

Unfortunately, Louis Rosier was one of many fatal victims of early Grand Prix racing. He was injured in a crash at the Montlhery track in October 1956, succumbing to the injuries three weeks later.

Louis Rosier

Louis Rosier

Rosier recorded his first Le Mans participation in 1938

Born in November 1905 in Chapdes-Beaufort in central France, Louis Rosier started his intense racing career after the World War II, although he recorded one attempt 24 Hours of Le Mans before the was. In June 1938, he and Robert Huguet raced at Le Mans in Luigi Chinetti's #6 Talbot-Lago T150SS Coupe. They retired from the race after 81 laps.

Rosier resumed with racing in 1947, racing with different Talbot-Lago models in Grand Prix and sports car events all over Europe. His most notable win was at Albi Grand Prix, the first of four at Albi Circuit.

Rosier father and son together at Le Mans in 1949

Louis Rosier recorded his second attempt at Le Mans in the first post-war edition in 1949, sharing the #7 Talbot-Lago Speciale with his son Jean-Louis (born 1925).

Rosier stopped after 21 laps because of overheating. Because it was before the 25-lap minimum he was not allowed to refill the water and he had to retire from the race.

Louis Rosier in 1949

Louis Rosier in 1949

Victory in the 1949 Belgian Grand Prix

In 1949, Rosier also participated in many Grand Prix races. The highlight of the season was a victory in the Belgian Grand Prix at 14km long Spa circuit. At the wheel of the #24 Talbot-Lago T26C, he defeated three Ferrari drivers Luigi Villoresi, Alberto Ascari and Peter Whitehead.

Of other Grand Prix events, Rosier scored no success in Argentina, Pau and Sanremo, finishing best in the third place at Grand Prix de l'Albigeois and British Grand Prix.

Sensational victory for father and son at 1950 Le Mans 24 Hours

Determined to gain success, Louis Rosier returned to Le Mans in June 1950, again with his son Jean-Louis as his co-driver in the #5 Talbot-Lago T26GS.

In that time, it was allowed to drive entire race and Louis Rosier was in a car for almos entire race, handing a car to his son for half an hour. In the end, they won a race with a one-lap advantage over rivals in the similar car.

Louis Rosier in the #15 Talbot-Lago at 1950 Grand Prix

Louis Rosier in the #15 Talbot-Lago at 1950 Grand Prix

Two podiums in the inaugural F1 World Championship season

In 1950, Louis Rosier was one of few racers who participated in all six European races of the inaugural Formula 1 World Championship season. He was fifth in the season-opening British Grand Prix at Silverstone in a Talbot-Lago T26C. Then, he retired from Monaco Grand Prix after a massive opening-lap accident.

In the next race, the Swiss Grand Prix at Bremgarten, Rosier reached his first podium by finishing third, behind Alfa Romeo drivers Nino Farina and Luigi Fagioli. He was the third again in the Belgian Grand Prix, behind Juan Manuel Fangio and Luigi Fagioli.

In the French Grand Prix at Reims-Gueux, Rosier retired with his Talbot-Lago after ten laps and he then jumped into Charles Pozzi's car to race 42 laps until the end, finishing in the sixth place. Rosier scored more points in the season's finale at Monza, finishing fourth in the race and fourth in the championship.

Two victories in non-championship Grand Prix events in 1950

Out of F1 Championship, Rosier clinched two victories in non-championship events. First, he won at Albi Circuit on July 16 and then, just a week later, he was the winner in the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort.

In other races, he was third at Pau Grand Prix, second at Coppa Acerbo and second at 500 Millas de Rafaela Formula Libre race in Argentina.

Louis Rosier and Juan Manuel Fangio were rivals but also also teammates

Louis Rosier and Juan Manuel Fangio were rivals but also also teammates

Rosier and Fangio together at 1951 Le Mans 24h

In 1951, Rosier participated in seven F1 Championship races, all but Indianapolis 500, still driving a Talbot-Lago T26C. He scored points just once, finishing fourth in the Belgian Grand Prix. In the non-championship races, he repeated a victory in the Dutch Grand Prix and won the 1st Grand Prix de Bordeaux.

In sports car races, Rosier was defending his Le Mans victory by sharing the #6 Talbot-Lago T26GS with Juan Manuel Fangio. Their race lasted for just nine hours before they had to stop with broken oil tank.

Ecurie Rosier switched to Ferrari race cars in 1952

In the 1952 Formula 1 season, the Ecurie Rosier switched to Ferrari 500. Louis raced with a car in four races, recording three DNFs and tenth place at Monza. He was more successful in non-championship races, scoring one more victory at Albi Circuit and a win at Circuit de Cadours.

Rosier also switched to Ferrari at Le Mans, running the #15 Ferrari 340 America Vignale Spider for Maurice Trintignant and himself. A broken clutch stopped them after six hours.

Louis Rosier in a blue Ferrari in 1953

Louis Rosier in a blue Ferrari in 1953

Fourth victory at Albi Circuit in 1953

Another Formula 1 season with Ferrari followed in 1953. The results were not better as Rosier scored no championship points in seven races. In the non-championship events, he won Grand Prix de l'Albigeois one more time.

In sports car races, Rosier recorded DNF at Le Mans, sharing a Talbot-Lago with Elie Bayol, and second place at Reims 12 Hours together with Yves Giraud Cabantous. In November 1963, he travelled to Mexico to race at Carrera Panamericana, finishing fifth in a Talbot-Lago T26GS.

Combining Ferrari and Maserati in 1954

In the 1954 Formula One season, Rosier recorded four starts in a Ferrari 500/625 and then switched to Maserati 250F in Italy and Spain but without notable results. He scored no points for the third year in a row. He was also without wins in non-championship events.

In sports car event, Rosier raced in a Ferrari. He was sharing the #5 Ferrari 375 Plus with Robert Manzon at 1954 Le Mans race, not finishing the race because of a broken gearbox after 177 laps.

Louis Rosier 1955 Monaco

Louis Rosier in a damaged car at 1955 Monaco Grand Prix

Rosier scored his last F1 points at Nurburgring Nordschleife

In the 1955 F1 Championship season, Rosier raced with Maserati in Monte-Carlo, Belgium and Netherlands, not scoring points. In sports car events, he drove Ferrari 750 Monza to victories in some minor races. At Le Mans, he didn't' manage to start the race in a Talbot-Lago T26GS because of a broken engine.

In the 1956 F1 season, which turned to be his last, Rosier participated in five championship races with Maserati and managed to score two points in the German Grand Prix by finishing fifth at Nurburgring Nordschleife.

One last great win before the premature death

Rosier was also driving a Maserati in his last victorious race, the Paris 1000 Kilometers in June 1956. He was sharing the #1 Maserati 300S with Jean Behra, defeating four Ferrari crews. Rosier and Behra also raced together at Le Mans, sharing a Talbot-Lago Sport 2500, and not finishing the race.

A few months later, on October 7, Rosier was injured in a heavy crash in a Ferrari 750 Monza during the Coupe du Salon at Montlhery Circuit. Three weeks later, on October 29, he died.

Charade Circuit was bearing Louis Rosier's name

The greatest monument to Louis Rosier's life is the Circuit de Charade near Clermont-Ferrand. Rosier was one of few men that started a project of a race track around Clermont-Ferrand.  They had a set of preliminary designs but the Le Mans disaster in 1955 brought the project to a halt.

A year later, Rosier died after an accident and he didn't witness the opening of the race track in July 1958. The track was bearing his name - the Circuit de Charade Louis Rosier.