Here, 1971 US Grand Prix winner, Francois Cevert listens intently to ELF Team Tyrrell-Ford designer Derek Gardner as they try to find the best compromise for the suspension set-up of the new ELF Team Tyrrell-Ford 005 during the United States Grand Prix at Watkins Glen, NY.
Without sensors or telemetry that are the norm with Formula 1 racecraft today, testing to lower lap times of a Formula One car in 1972 was perilous hands-on trial and error.
To avoid catastrophe, there had to be clear communication, pure honesty and intense trust between driver and race engineer. The most successful drivers of that day needed a strong mechanical background, the ability to observe and report the cornering nuances of a car at speed, and the bravery to stand behind their beliefs.
At Watkins Glen, with Stewart having already clinched his third World Championship, Cevert was killed during Saturday morning qualifying, while battling for pole position with Ronnie Peterson. In the fast left-right uphill combination called "The Esses" Cevert's car was a little too far over towards the left side of the track, getting a bump from the kerbs. This made it swerve towards the right-hand side of the track, where it touched the track's signature powder blue safety barriers causing it to spin and crash into the barriers on the other side of the track at a near 90° angle, uprooting and lifting the barrier. Cevert died instantly of massive injuries inflicted by the barrier, which cut his body in half between his neck and hip. RIP Cevert.
Thu May 02 2013 19:41:31 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)