What Happened On This Day July 4 In F1 History?

From Mercedes first Formula 1 victory in 1954 to Alain Prost and Damon Hill's Williams 1-2 finish at the 1993 French Grand Prix.

Lee Parker

By Lee Parker
Updated on July 3, 2024

1954 French Grand Prix – Fangio and Kling score close 1-2 on Mercedes debut August 1954
1954 French Grand Prix – Fangio and Kling score close 1-2 on Mercedes debut August 1954 // Image: Motor Sports Magazine

What happened on this day, July 4 in Formula 1 history? Find out interesting facts and stories about Formula 1 on this day.

1954

Juan Manuel Fangio led Karl Kling to victory as Mercedes dominated the 1954 French Grand Prix at Reims, securing its first Formula One win as a team. Arriving with their striking but unconventional silver W196 cars, Mercedes dominated in practice, securing the front row alongside Alberto Ascari in a Maserati. However, Ascari’s race ended abruptly due to a transmission failure on the first lap, allowing Fangio and Kling to pull away from the pack, finishing a lap ahead of Robert Manzon in a Ferrari.

1971

Jackie Stewart won the 1971 French Grand Prix from pole position, leading his Tyrrell teammate and home crowd favourite, François Cevert, to a 1-2 finish. Cevert, starting from seventh on the grid, drove tenaciously and capitalised on the retirements of Clay Regazzoni and Pedro Rodriguez, securing his first-ever podium finish behind his good friend at his home race.

1976

James Hunt won the 1976 French Grand Prix, finishing ahead of Patrick Depailler and John Watson. Starting from pole, Hunt was initially overtaken by Ferrari’s Niki Lauda, who led until his engine blew on lap nine. Hunt then faced a strong challenge from Clay Regazzoni, but Regazzoni’s subsequent retirement left Hunt with a clear path to victory. John Watson secured a fortunate third place after late retirements by Jody Scheckter and Ronnie Peterson.

1993

Alain Prost led Damon Hill to a Williams 1-2 finish at the 1993 French Grand Prix. Ayrton Senna, competing in his 150th Grand Prix, finished fourth behind Michael Schumacher in a Benetton. Shortly after the race, Senna announced his departure from McLaren to join Williams for the 1994 season.

2004

Michael Schumacher clinched his ninth victory in ten races during a dominant season by winning the 2004 French Grand Prix. Renault had shown exceptional speed in qualifying, prompting Ferrari to adopt an unconventional four-stop strategy. This tactic surprised Renault and Fernando Alonso, allowing Schumacher to capitalise on lighter fuel loads and set blisteringly quick laps. He ultimately finished over eight seconds ahead of his Spanish rival.

F1 Driver Birthday’s 4 July

Birth DateF1 Driver
4 July 1907Ernst Loof
4 July 1918John “Johnnie” Woodrow Parsons
4 July 1926Wolfgang Seidel
4 July 1927James Robert “Jim” McWithey
4 July 1938Ernest “Ernie” Pieterse
4 July 1948René Alexandre Arnoux
4 July 1960Roland Ratzenberger
4 July 1973Jan Ellegaard Magnussen

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About The Author

Senior Editor

Lee Parker
Lee Parker

Lee is our staff writer specialising in anything technical within Formula 1 from aerodynamics to engines. Lee writes most of our F1 guides for beginners and experienced fans having followed the sports since 1991, researching and understanding how teams build the ultimate machines. Like everyone else on the team he listens to podcasts about F1 and enjoys reading biographies of former drivers.

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