Beltoise: “Stewart and me”
In 1969, Jean-Pierre Beltoise, a works Matra driver, was placed in Ken Tyrrell’s Matra F1 team that chose to use the V8 Cosworth, whilst the works V12 engine was developed in the factory. Driving alongside Scot Jackie Stewart, who was going to win six Grand Prix and claim the 1969 Drivers’ title, Beltoise took a second place in France and two thirds in Spain and Italy, and finished fifth in the standings.
Asked, a few years ago, how he recalls this 1969 season with Tyrrell, Beltoise answered: “Good memories. Very good memories indeed. I only finished fifth in the championship, it remains my best result in F1, but the car was very good. And then, Stewart won. He was a very, very nice person. When we arrived at Spa in 1968, for instance, as I was achieving lap times closer to his, he realised my dream was to beat him, but that I had to take care of myself and be careful.”
Jean-Pierre Beltoise continues : “At Spa thus, where a few years earlier he had a very bad crash, he came to see me and said: “Jean-Pierre, don’t ever oversteer on this circuit. Make yourself a neutral car. You can’t do it differently, because otherwise, if you fly off at 300 km/h, here-around you’ll find only trees, houses and ditches…”.
Wisely, the French driver took Stewart’s advise seriously and survived this fantastic but so dangerous era. Jean-Pierre Beltoise is seen here-below, flying around the Nürburgring in his Matra MS80-Ford during the 1969 German Grand Prix.