RetroGP Gone but not Forgotten
Matra entered Formula One in 1968 when Jackie Stewart was a serious contender, winning several Grands Prix in the Tyrrell-run Matra MS10 which competed alongside the works team.The F1 team was established at Vélizy-Villacoublay in the southwestern suburbs of Paris, France. The car's most innovative feature was the use of aviation-inspired structural fuel tanks. These allowed the chassis to be around 15 kg (33 lb) lighter, while still being stronger than its competitors. The FIA considered the technology to be unsafe and decided to ban it for 1970.
Matra CEO Jean-Luc Lagardère made a radical strategic decision for the 1969 championship: The Matra works team would not compete in Formula One. Matra would instead focus its efforts on the Ken Tyrrell´s team (renamed Matra International) and build a new DFV powered car with structural fuel tanks, even though it would only be eligible for a single season.
The decision was even more radical given that Matra was seeking a partnership with Simca, which would preclude using Ford-branded engines for the following year. Jackie Stewart won the 1969 title easily with the new Cosworth-powered Matra MS80, which was designed by Gérard Ducarouge and Bernard Boyer, and corrected most of the weaknesses of the MS10.
It was a spectacular achievement from a constructor that had only entered Formula One the previous year. France became only the third country (after the United Kingdom and Italy) to have produced a winning constructor, and Matra became the only constructor to have won the Constructors' Championship without running its own works team.
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