The last surviving driver from Formula One’s debut season back in 1950 has died.
Per Reuters, friends of the family of Robert Manzon, 97, have confirmed that the Frenchman has passed away at his home in the south of France.
Manzon, a native of Marseilles that worked as a distributor of diesel engine parts before becoming a racer, made 28 Grand Prix starts from 1950 to 1956.
In his career, he earned two podium finishes – a third at Belgium in 1952 for Simca-Gordini and another third on home soil in 1954 with a privateer Ferrari – as well as 16 championship points.
In 1950, F1’s inaugural campaign featured seven races: The British, Monaco, Swiss, Belgian, French, and Italian Grand Prix plus America’s Indianapolis 500.
Manzon competed in the Monaco, French, and Italian events. A fourth-place finish in his native country was sandwiched by two retirements in Monaco (accident) and Italy (transmission). However, he did win some Formula 2 events that year.
His most competitive F1 season came in 1952. With the schedule now featuring eight races, Manzon took part in all of them except the ‘500.’
That year, he retired from three races but took home points in three more, including the aforementioned podium in Belgium. His nine championship points were enough to give him sixth in the driver’s standings.
Manzon’s career in F1 would conclude with a retirement at the 1956 Italian Grand Prix.
Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones at this time.