Francois Cevert fatal crash - United States Grand Prix Qualifications (06-10-1973)

Stewart talking to Cevert how to drive through "S" corner, later Cevert crashed and died at same corner. ------------- 1973 United States Grand Prix Death of François Cevert Stewart had already clinched his third World Driver's Championship when the teams came to Watkins Glen, and he intended the final Grand Prix of 1973 to be his swan song. "I had decided in April that I would retire at the end of the season, win or lose," Stewart recalled. "Watkins Glen was going to be my last race in a Formula One car. François Cevert was going to be number one in the team for 1974, although he never knew it. Ken Tyrrell and I had kept it a secret that I was going to retire after that race. In fact, not even my wife, Helen, who was with me that weekend, knew." With just a few minutes left in the Saturday morning qualifying session, however, the track suddenly fell quiet. Cevert had crashed violently in the uphill Esses heading onto the back of the circuit, between Turns Three and Four. Fighting the car as he went up the hill, Cevert ran too high on the kerbs and slid into the right hand guardrail. The car then lashed sideways across the track and struck the Armco on the left side of the track at 150 mph at an almost 90 degree angle. The nose of the car submarined into the ground, causing the car to flip upwards on over the barrier, coming to rest upside down on top of the Armco. Jody Scheckter's McLaren was close behind, and he stopped and rushed over to help Cevert out of the car, but Cevert had died instantly. Ken Tyrrell had lost a great driver and Jackie Stewart an outstanding teammate at the circuit where Cevert had taken his only Grand Prix win. "It was a horrendous accident which took the life of a wonderfully charming, personable, handsome young man, who was a tremendous friend to both Helen and me," Stewart said. When qualifying resumed, Peterson's time from the morning session stood up for his ninth pole of the year. The Tyrrells of Stewart and Chris Amon had earned the fifth and twelfth spots on the grid, but the team decided to withdraw in tribute to Cevert, and Stewart's driving career was over after 99 races and an all-time record 27 Grand Prix wins. Cause of the accident analysed by Stewart When practice resumed, Stewart went out on the track in his car on a personal fact-finding mission. His conclusion was that his preference was to take The Esses complex in fourth gear in the Tyrrell, hence he would be at the low end of the engine's rev range, making the car more tractable and less nervous (in exchange for a bit less throttle response). Cevert, however, preferred to use third gear and be at the top end of his engine's power range: it was always something of a compromise because of the need to accelerate through the combination of corners.[6] Stewart noted that the Tyrrell always felt jumpy through this section of the Watkins Glen track owing to its short wheelbase; he felt that this was somewhat counteracted by driving in the higher gear even though this meant a time penalty if he got his line wrong through the corner.

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