Éric Bernard

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Éric Bernard
Born (1964-08-24) 24 August 1964 (age 50)
Martigues, France
Formula One World Championship career
Nationality France French
Active years 19891991, 1994
Teams Larrousse, Ligier, Lotus
Races 47 (45 starts)
Championships 0
Wins 0
Podiums 1
Career points 10
Pole positions 0
Fastest laps 0
First race 1989 French Grand Prix
Last race 1994 European Grand Prix

Éric Bernard (born 24 August 1964) is a retired French Formula One racing driver, who drove for the Ligier, Larrousse and Lotus teams.

Bernard was born in Martigues, near Marseille. He started karting in 1976 and in the seven years that followed, won four French titles. In 1983 he attended racing school at Paul Ricard and was one of the finalists at the Volant Elf competition. He beat Jean Alesi and Bertrand Gachot to the prize, earning himself a fully sponsored drive in Formula Renault for 1984. He finished sixth in the series, but won the following year, and entering French Formula Three in 1986. He won the series the following year, finishing in second place for the championship, behind his old rival, Alesi. In 1988 he entered Formula 3000.

In 1989, he was called up to the French Larrousse team for the French Grand Prix, replacing Yannick Dalmas. On his debut, he ran as high as 5th place, and was still in 7th when his Lamborghini V12 engine failed a few laps from the end (Alesi also debuted at the race for Tyrrell, running as high as 2nd before finally finishing 4th). Bernard stood in again at the following British Grand Prix, before returning to his Formula 3000 commitments with DAMS.

He was rewarded with a full-season drive for Larrousse in 1990. He took his first point for 6th place at the Monaco Grand Prix, and his best result came at Silverstone in the British Grand Prix, where he took 4th place.

Bernard elected to stay on at Larrousse for the 1991 season, but the team were in trouble, losing their Lamborghini engines to the quasi-works Modena team, having their 1990 points stripped by the FIA and also losing sponsors. Bernard took 6th place in the Mexican Grand Prix, which was the last points finish for Larrousse with Lola Cars, but slipped back down the field, failing to qualify for the first time in his career at the Portuguese Grand Prix - partially due to a bereavement. Worse was to come, however, when Bernard broke his leg in the first practice session for the Japanese Grand Prix.[1]

Bernard fought back to fitness, and for the 1993 season his old sponsors Elf managed to get him into a test driver seat for the Ligier team. The two-year testing contract paid off, as a team backer was jailed for fraud before the 1994 season, and the reduced budget saw Bernard promoted to a race seat, alongside rookie Olivier Panis. Sadly for Bernard, Panis largely outpaced him, and the team's Renault V10 engine was counterweighted by the team using a "B"-spec version of the 1993 JS39 chassis - by this time a very unusual practice in Formula One which greatly harmed competitiveness. Bernard took third place in the high-attrition German Grand Prix, but by the European Grand Prix he was dropped in order to accommodate Johnny Herbert. He was engaged by Herbert's previous team, Team Lotus, to fill the seat at the European GP, but it was to be his last F1 drive, with Mika Salo taking over later in the season.

For 1995, he was linked to a return to Larrousse, but the team folded before the season began. Bernard moved to sportscars, enjoying considerable success in GT and ALMS series.

Racing record[edit]

Complete International Formula 3000 results[edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicate fastest lap.)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Pos Points
1988 Team Ralt Ralt RT22 Judd JER
6
VAL
10
PAU
4
SIL
11
MNZ
DNQ
PER
9th 13
Bromley Motorsport Reynard 88D Cosworth BRH
DSQ
BIR
DSQ
BUG
Ret
ZOL
4
DIJ
2
1989 DAMS Lola T89/50 Mugen Honda SIL
Ret
VAL
Ret
PAU
Ret
JER
1
PER
Ret
BRH
4
BIR
4
SPA
Ret
BUG
3
DIJ
2
3rd 25

Complete Formula One results[edit]

(key)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 WDC Points
1989 Equipe Larrousse Lola LC89 Lamborghini V12 BRA
SMR
MON
MEX
USA
CAN
FRA
11
GBR
Ret
GER
HUN
BEL
ITA
POR
ESP
JPN
AUS
NC 0
1990 Espo Larrousse F1 Lola LC89B Lamborghini V12 USA
8
BRA
Ret
13th 5
Lola 90 SMR
13
MON
6
CAN
9
MEX
Ret
FRA
8
GBR
4
GER
Ret
HUN
6
BEL
9
ITA
Ret
POR
Ret
ESP
Ret
JPN
Ret
AUS
Ret
1991 Larrousse F1 Larrousse Lola 91 Cosworth V8 USA
Ret
BRA
Ret
SMR
Ret
MON
9
CAN
Ret
MEX
6
FRA
Ret
GBR
Ret
GER
Ret
HUN
Ret
BEL
Ret
ITA
Ret
POR
DNQ
ESP
Ret
JPN
DNQ
AUS
18th 1
1994 Ligier Gitanes Blondes Ligier JS39B Renault V10 BRA
Ret
PAC
10
SMR
12
MON
Ret
ESP
8
CAN
13
FRA
Ret
GBR
13
GER
3
HUN
10
BEL
10
ITA
7
POR
10
18th 4
Team Lotus Lotus 109 Mugen Honda V10 EUR
18
JPN
AUS

References[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Yannick Dalmas
Championnat de France Formule Renault Turbo Champion
1985
Succeeded by
Érik Comas