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French Formula 3 1973

Jacques-Henry Laffite continued his ascent through French motor racing with a commanding victory in the Formula 3 championship. He drove a Martini for the BP France team, as he had in Formule Renault in 1972, and was paired with Jean-Pierre Paoli in new Holbay-powered MK12s. Also in Martinis were the ORECA pairing of Christian Ethuin and "Jean Max", using Vegantune power and running under the Motul Defence Mondiale banner, and Ecurie Volant Shell's team of Bernard Béguin and Bernard Chevanne, also using the Holbay powerplant. The factory Societé des Automobiles Alpines team of Michel Leclère and Alain Serpaggi used Renault R18-based engines built by Bernard Dudot.

March continued to make some headway and had two leading runners, Jean Ragnotti in the Antar-backed Ecurie Filipinetti March 733-Holbay and Pierre-François Rousselot in Ecurie ELF's 733-Holbay. Larry Perkins did well to win at La Châtre in May in his private Team Cowangie GRD 372.

The races

01 Apr 1973 > Nürburgring Formula 3 race

08 Apr 1973 > Silverstone

23 Apr 1973 > Nogaro

01 May 1973 > XII Circuit de vitesse du Nivernais at Magny Cours

06 May 1973 > Pau

20 May 1973 > La Châtre

02 Jun 1973 > Monaco Grand Prix Formula 3 Race at Monte Carlo

17 Jun 1973 > Clermont-Ferrand

23 Jun 1973 > Grand Prix de Rouen-Les-Essarts at Rouen-les-Essarts

01 Jul 1973 > Paul Ricard

15 Jul 1973 > Criterium du Nivernais at Magny Cours

22 Jul 1973 > Grand Prix de la Ville de St-Pol at Croix-en-Ternois

29 Jul 1973 > Brands Hatch

05 Aug 1973 > Thruxton

02 Sep 1973 > Paul Ricard

16 Sep 1973 > X Coupe de Vitesse d'Albi

23 Sep 1973 > Coppa Agip at Monza

30 Sep 1973 > Nogaro

07 Oct 1973 > Oulton Park

07 Oct 1973 > XXIX Coupe du Salon at Montlhéry

14 Oct 1973 > Mallory Park

21 Oct 1973 > Brands Hatch

28 Oct 1973 > Grand Prix de la Ville de St-Pol at Croix-en-Ternois

1973 Championnat de France de Formule 3 table

1Jacques LaffiteMartini MK12 - Ford twin cam Holbay R731452 pts8 wins
2Alain SerpaggiAlpine A364 - Renault R16 Dudot 4987 pts2 wins
3Michel LeclèreAlpine A364 - Renault R16 Dudot 4945 pts3 wins
4Jean-Pierre PaoliMartini MK12 - Ford twin cam Holbay R73706 pts 
5Christian EthuinMartini MK12 - Ford twin cam Vegantune570 pts2 wins
6Bernard BéguinMartini MK12 - Ford twin cam Holbay R73474 pts 
7Jean RagnottiMarch 733 - Ford twin cam Holbay R73287 pts1 win
8Pierre-François RousselotMarch 733 - Ford twin cam Holbay R73259 pts 
9Max Jean ("Jean Max")Martini MK12 - Ford twin cam Vegantune176 pts 
10Alain CudiniMartini MK12 - Ford twin cam Holbay147 pts 
11Lucien GuittenyAlpine A364 - Renault R16 Dudot 4126 pts 
12Philippe AlberaMarch 733 - Ford twin cam Holbay R7364 pts 
13Bernard ChevanneMartini MK12 - Ford twin cam Holbay32 pts 
14Max BonninMarch 733 - Ford twin cam Novamotor13 pts 

The Championnat de France de Formule 3 consisted of 23 rounds including the major Internationals at the Nürburgring, Monaco and Monza plus five British races: at Silverstone 8 Apr, Brands Hatch 29 Jul, Thruxton 5 Aug, Oulton Park 7 Oct, Mallory Park 14 Oct and Brands Hatch 21 Oct. Most of these races attracted all the top French runners but the only one shown by Echappement's season review as being a round of the French series was the October Brands. Very curiously, the race at Oulton Park in October clashed with the Coupe du Salon at Montlhéry; only three drivers went to Oulton. We are most grateful for the help of Pascal Katabian at the International Race Results and Data Association for his assistance in determing the championship structure.

It has not yet been possible to decypher the points system used in 1973. If it followed the pattern of 1972, then only French drivers would have scored points at each race using the traditional 9-6-4-3-2-1 system but with the application of a coefficient for each race. Whether these coefficients were based on the drivers competing or predetermined at the start of the seasons is not yet known. If anyone understands what was going on, please let us know!