1969 Formula One season
|1969 FIA Formula One
|Drivers' Champion: Jackie Stewart
Constructors' Champion: Matra-Ford
The 1969 Formula One season was the 23rd season of the FIA's Formula One motor racing. It featured the 20th World Championship of Drivers, the 12th International Cup for F1 Manufacturers, which commenced on 1 March 1969 and ended on 19 October after eleven races, and numerous non-championship races.
Matra, which had entered Formula One the previous year, withdrew their works team from the 1969 championship and focused on their partnership with Ken Tyrrell. Stewart won the 1969 title easily with the new Matra MS80, which corrected most of the weaknesses of the MS10. Stewart's title was the first won by a French chassis, and the only one won by a chassis built in France. It would also be the only time a constructor won in Formula One without fielding a works team.
Jacky Ickx had a strong second half to the season for Brabham, winning in Germany and Canada, after Jack Brabham was sidelined by a testing accident. Ickx finished second in the Drivers' Championship, with 37 points to Jackie Stewart's 63.
The season was the first to see the use of add-on aerodynamic devices. After several incidents in which wings, struts, or the suspension (to which they were attached) collapsed, wings were banned from Monaco 1969. They were reintroduced later in the season but were to be restricted in size and height, and attached directly to the chassis in a fixed position.
1969 also saw a brief resurgence of interest in four wheel drive following a number of wet races the previous year. Four such cars were entered for the British Grand Prix, and Johnny Servoz-Gavin became the one and only driver to score a point with a 4WD, finishing sixth with the Matra MS84 at the Canadian Grand Prix. At the same race, Al Pease made history by being the only driver disqualified from a World Championship event for being too slow. Wide tyres and downforce quickly proved to be superior means of increasing grip, and the technology was largely abandoned, although Lotus continued to experiment with the idea for a few more years. Bruce McLaren described the handling of his M9 as being like trying to sign an autograph while someone was jogging his elbow; Cosworth discovered that their car handled better the more drive went to the rear wheels.
1969 was the first year in which genuine safety measures were implemented at circuits. The cars were going far faster over time, particularly with the increased engine capacity rules for 1966 onwards from 1.5 litres uncompressed to 3 litres uncompressed or 1.5 litres compressed. The Montjuic circuit was a first in Grand Prix racing- the circuit was completely Armco-lined. Although safety measures in 1969 were still nearly non-existent compared to today's modern safety standards, these measures were a new step forward to protect drivers from further harm. About half the circuits in Formula One at this time had some safety standards, such as Monaco, Silverstone and Magdalena Mixhuca in Mexico City; although circuits were nearly unchanged from previous years, such as the Nürburgring in Germany and the Clermont-Ferrand circuit in France; both were mountain road circuits with all kinds of unprotected drop offs and solid obstacles on the sides of both circuits. Another example was the feared Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium. The Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps was boycotted by many of the drivers because of the extreme danger of the track after an overall inspection of Spa by Jackie Stewart, who was responsible for most of the activities in Formula One to try to make it safer. He demanded changes to the circuit that the track owners did not want to pay for, so the race was boycotted and eventually cancelled. Spa was included in 1970 after Armco was added to the track.
Teams and drivers
- Pink background denotes F2 entrants to the German Grand Prix.
1969 Drivers' Championship final standings
Bold – Pole position
† Formula Two cars occupied fifth to tenth positions in the German Grand Prix, however drivers of these cars were not eligible for championship points. The points for fifth and sixth were awarded to the drivers of the eleventh and twelfth placed cars.
1969 Constructors' Championship final standings
Points were awarded on a 9–6–4–3–2–1 basis to the first six finishers at each round, however only the best placed car from each manufacturer was eligible to score points. The best five results from the first six rounds and the best four results from the last five rounds were retained.
- Bold results counted to championship totals.
Non-Championship race results
Other Formula One races held in 1969, which did not count towards the World Championship.
|Race Name||Circuit||Date||Winning driver||Constructor||Report|
|IV Race of Champions||Brands Hatch||16 March||Jackie Stewart||Matra-Cosworth||Report|
|XXI BRDC International Trophy||Silverstone||30 March||Jack Brabham||Brabham-Cosworth||Report|
|Madrid Grand Prix||Jarama||13 April||Keith Holland||Lola-Chevrolet||Report|
|XVI International Gold Cup||Oulton Park||16 August||Jacky Ickx||Brabham-Cosworth||Report|