French Formula 3 1979

France's FFSA introduced a Formula 3 championship for 1979, due to run over 12 rounds, including four rounds of the European F3 championship, Monaco, and seven domestic races, one of which would be a support race for the French Grand Prix at Dijon on 1 July. Only French drivers could score points, and they were expected to be on Michelintyres, at least for the domestic races. However, there was very little support from French drivers, and Alain Prost, who was dominant in the European F3 series that year, was the only Frenchman to finish in the top ten at either of the first two Euro rounds. After the first domestic race was very poorly-supported, the next two domestic races evaporated, including the support race for the French Grand Prix. The series finally picked up again after a four-month break with the European F3 race at Jarama at the start of September, and concluded with two more minor races over the next two weekends, but two more events planned for October also failed to take place. One of the International races may have been dropped from the French championship, because it is hard to make sense out of the points table published in Sport Auto. Autosport's detailed coverage of F3 in 1979 made no mention of a French championship, referring only to the European, British, Italian, German and Swiss. Neither Echappement nor Sport Auto made any mention of it during the season.

Alain Prost won the title with maximum points in his Renault-engined Martini MK27, run for him by Oreca with lavish funding from ELF and the full backing of Regie Renault. Prost's engines were even more powerful than they had been in 1978, with Gordini sparing no expense on the development of the aluminium block engine. Other drivers had Renault engines, but none of them were anything like Prost's. He won Monaco, the Euro rounds at Zolder, Magny Cours, and Jarama, and all three of the domestic races. Philippe Strieff was the only other top driver to participate regularly in the championship, also in a Martini MK27, but he changed his significantly less 'special' Renault powerplant for a regular Novamotor Toyota engine. It appears that he did not use the right Michelin in the final two 'home' races, so lost almost half his points score. Other drivers were also recorded as having less points than would be expected, but the reasons are unclear.

The races

01 Apr 1979 > Goodyear-ADAC-300-km-Rennen (snowed off) at Nürburgring

22 Apr 1979 > Grote Prijs van Zolder

01 May 1979 > Trophée Jean Bernigaud at Magny Cours

06 May 1979 > Dijon-Prenois

26 May 1979 > Monaco Grand Prix Formula 3 Race at Monte Carlo

01 Jul 1979 > Championnat de France de Formule 3 (cancelled) at Dijon-Prenois

08 Jul 1979 > Championnat de France de Formule 3 (cancelled) at Dijon-Prenois

09 Sep 1979 > Trofeo Villa de Madrid at Jarama

16 Sep 1979 > La Châtre

23 Sep 1979 > Albi

14 Oct 1979 > Championnat de France de Formule 3 (cancelled) at Le Mans-Bugatti

28 Oct 1979 > Championnat de France de Formule 3 (cancelled) at Paul Ricard

1979 Championnat de France de Formule 3 table

1Alain ProstMartini MK27 - Renault 20TS Dudot75 pts7 wins
2Philippe StreiffMartini MK27 - Renault 20TS Dudot
Martini MK27 - Toyota 2T-G Novamotor
28 pts 
3Philippe AlliotLola T770 - Renault 20TS Gordini
Argo JM3 - Toyota 2T-G Novamotor
Martini MK27 - Toyota 2T-G Novamotor
18 pts 
4=Richard DallestMartini MK27 - Toyota 2T-G Novamotor16 pts 
4=Bernard BirbèsChevron B38 - Toyota 2T-G Novamotor16 pts 
6=Bernard PerroyDuqueine VG3 - Toyota 2T-G Novamotor12 pts 
6=Serge SaulnierMartini MK27 - Toyota 2T-G Novamotor12 pts 
6=Jean-Louis SchlesserMarch 793 - Toyota 2T-G Novamotor
Argo JM3 - Toyota 2T-G Novamotor
12 pts 

Points table from Sport Auto January 1980 p107. The points system used was 15-12-10-8-6, down to 1 point for tenth place, and points were only awarded to French nationals.