Matra F1 Logo

Historic

Matra

French

  • Equipe Matra Sports Official Name
  • Vélizy-Villacoublay, France Base
  • 1967 F1 Debut
  • Jean-Luc Lagardère Team Boss
  • n/a Technical Chief
  • 1 World Championships

The Matra F1 team, officially known as Equipe Matra Sports, took an innovative approach during their time on the grid and had strong performances during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Founded by the French aerospace and defence company Matra (Mécanique Aviation Traction), the team entered the Formula One World Championship in 1967, driven by its ambition to showcase French engineering.

Notable Team Members and Drivers

Ken Tyrrell (Team Principal for Matra International): Although he is associated with the Tyrrell team, Ken Tyrrell initially ran the Matra team. Under his leadership, the team secured the 1969 Constructors’ Championship.

Jackie Stewart (Driver): Sir Jackie Stewart, one of the most celebrated Formula 1 drivers, drove for Matra between 1968 and 1970. His most notable achievement with the team was winning the 1969 Drivers’ Championship.

Jean-Luc Lagardère (Matra Sports’ Manager): Jean-Luc Lagardère played a crucial role in Matra’s motorsport endeavours, overseeing the company’s racing activities, including their Formula One project. During his time with Matra, they also achieved success in sports car racing, including winning the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Initially, Matra focused on chassis development, using its advanced aerospace technology to create innovative and competitive racing cars. The MS10 and MS80 models, designed by the brilliant engineer Bernard Boyer, were particularly notable for their aerodynamics and structural design. Coupled with engines supplied by Cosworth, the cars outperformed many of the better-funded teams.

Like other prominent teams, such as Lotus and McLaren, Matra looked into the potential of four-wheel drive during the 1969 Formula One season. Driver Johnny Servoz-Gavin distinguished himself as the only F1 driver to earn a championship point in a 4WD car, securing a sixth-place finish at the 1969 Canadian Grand Prix with the Matra MS84. Notably, the MS84, alongside the Brabham BT26A, were among the final cars in Formula One to use a spaceframe construction.

The peak of Matra’s success came in the same season when the team, running as Matra International and managed by Ken Tyrrell, secured the 1969 Constructors’ Championship. This win was largely attributed to Jackie Stewart’s exceptional talent, who also won the Drivers’ Championship that year. Stewart’s skill, combined with the MS80’s superior design, made the team unbeatable.

One of their cars’ hallmark innovations was using structural fuel tanks, an idea adapted from aviation technology. This design reduced the chassis weight by around 15 kg but also provided structural integrity to the chassis, something other teams hadn’t thought to do. Despite the advantages, the FIA raised concerns regarding the safety of this technology, leading to its ban in the sport starting from the 1970 season.

Matra was also known for its distinctive blue racing colours, which reflected the team’s French national background and for racing in other motorsport series, including multiple wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Despite leaving F1 as a constructor after the 1972 season, Matra continued to supply engines providing V12 engines to teams like Shadow and Ligier.

Equipe Matra Sports Formula One World Championship Records

First entry1967 Monaco Grand Prix
Races entered61
Constructors’ Championships1 (1969)
Drivers’ Championships1 (1969)
Race victories9
Podiums21
Points163
Pole positions4
Fastest laps12
Final entry1972 United States Grand Prix

Equipe Matra Sports Drivers’ Champions

The following drivers won the Formula One Drivers’ Championship for Equipe Matra Sports.

DriverNationalityChampionship Year
Jackie StewartBritish1969

Equipe Matra Championship Results

YearNameCarDriversPointsWCC
1966Matra Sports
Tyrrell Racing Organisation
MS5Jean-Pierre Beltoise
Jo Schlesser
Jacky Ickx
Hubert Hahne
1967Matra Sports
Ecurie Ford-France
Tyrrell Racing Organisation
MS5, MS7
MS5
MS5
Jacky Ickx
Jo Schlesser
Jean-Pierre Beltoise
Johnny Servoz-Gavin
0
1968Matra Sports
Matra International
MS7, MS11
MS9, MS10
Henri Pescarolo
Johnny Servoz-Gavin
Jackie Stewart
Jean-Pierre Beltoise
8
45
9th
3rd
1969Matra Sports
Matra International
MS7
MS10, MS80, MS84
Henri Pescarolo
Johnny Servoz-Gavin
Jackie Stewart
Jean-Pierre Beltoise
661st
1970Equipe Matra ElfMS120Henri Pescarolo
Jean-Pierre Beltoise
236th
1971Equipe Matra SportsMS120BJean-Pierre Beltoise
Chris Amon
97th
1972Equipe Matra SportsMS120C
MS120D
Chris Amon128th

Previous/Next Team Names

Team Nationality Debut Season Status
Ligier French 1976 Historic
Prost French 1997 Historic