The winner of the 1972 Monaco Grand Prix Jean-Pierre Beltoise has died at the age of 77.
The race in Monaco in 1972 would be the Frenchman’s only Grand Prix triumph and would be the legendary BRM teams’ last ever victory in Formula 1.
Before making a name for himself on four wheels, Beltoise was a very successful motorcycle racer, winning no fewer than eleven French National titles.
A heavy crash during a 12-hour sportscar race in Reims in 1964 almost cost him his career, and he never fully regained full movement in his left arm that was badly broken in the accident. However, he never gave up on racing, and claimed titles in Formula 3 and Formula 2 with Matra.
He made his debut in an F1 race for Matra back at the 1966 German Grand Prix, albeit in Formula 2 machinery, and finished a creditable eighth in the overall standings, but was first in the classification of Formula 2 cars in which he was entered. It would be 1968 before he made a full time jump into F1, continuing his association with Matra, taking six podium finishes before he joined BRM for the 1972 season.
It was generally a frustrating season for Beltoise, but he was in a class of his own around the streets of Monaco, where wet weather saw him dominate, beating Jacky Ickx’s Ferrari by almost forty seconds, and the rest of the field by over a lap.
He remained with BRM until he retired from the sport at the end of 1974 so to focus his attention on sportscars and French touring cars, but also tested Ligier F1 machinery for a number of years.
He also was famous for marrying Francois Cevert’s sister Jacqueline, while both of his sons Anthony and Julien followed him into motorsport. He died after suffering two strokes at his holiday home in the Senegal resort of Dakar.