Jackie Stewart is unbeatable in the Matra

The closest finish of all time? Jackie Stewart takes the flag to win just ahead of Jochen Rindt and Jean Pierre Beltoise at Monza © Sutton Images

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Jackie Stewart marched forward to take the title with Ken Tyrrell's Matra-Ford, since there was virtually no one else who could offer a consistent challenge. It looked certain that now Stewart would be the man to beat.

Jackie Stewart had come close to the title the previous year, and in 1969 everything went his way. With Matra withdrawing its own team, all efforts were concentrated on Tyrrell's outfit. Stewart and team-mate Johnny Servoz-Gavin were joined by Jean-Pierre Beltoise. Rindt took up a golden opportunity and joined Hill at Lotus, while Ickx left Ferrari to replace him at Brabham. Jack had finally given up on Repco and joined the DFV bandwagon. Surtees was available because Honda had withdrawn at the end of 1968. The DFV supremacy had taken its toll. Also gone from the scene were Eagle-Weslake and Cooper-Maserati.

The big development of the year was four-wheel drive. Matra, McLaren and Lotus all tried it, but it was a white elephant and none of the cars really worked. Stewart started the season in fine form, dominating the opening race at Kyalami. Andretti, who would have occasional drives in a third Lotus, gave him a hard time early on. Stewart won again at the Montjuich Park circuit near Barcelona. First Hill and then Rindt had huge crashes after their wings failed.

Rindt would have to miss Monaco, where the FIA announced an immediate ban on the high-mounted aerofoils which had proliferated. They soon crept back in, but in a new and less outrageous form, attached to the bodywork. Stewart and Amon both led but retired, allowing Hill to score a historic fifth win. Piers Courage finished second in a Brabham entered by Frank Williams -- the first significant result for the British team owner.

The race at Spa was cancelled, and Rindt was fit enough to return at Zandvoort. He took pole and led until retiring, so Stewart scored another win. Jackie's fourth victory came at Clermont-Ferrand in France, where team-mate Beltoise did a good job to finish second. Stewart won once more at Silverstone, where he battled hard with Rindt until the Austrian had to pit with a loose wing. Ickx had a good run to second with the Brabham, and two weeks later he went one better at the Nurburgring, where he gave the team its first win since 1967.

The Scot clinched the title with a sixth win in an epic, slipstreaming battle at Monza, where he headed home Rindt, Beltoise and McLaren. But, after such a run of success, Stewart failed to win any of the last three races. Ickx triumphed in Canada, Rindt scored his first success at Watkins Glen and Hulme provided more variety with a win for McLaren in Mexico. Missing from the Mexican race was Graham Hill, who had broken his legs in a massive accident at Watkins Glen. He was fit for the following season, but would never again win a grand prix.

Reproduced from The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Formula One published by Carlton Books

Round Grand Prix Circuit Date Race result
1 South African Kyalami March 1 1. J Stewart (GBR) 2. NG Hill (GBR) 3. D Hulme (NZL)
Results | Report | Articles (1) | Photos (1)
2 Spanish Montjuïc May 4 1. J Stewart (GBR) 2. LB McLaren (NZL) 3. JPMG Beltoise (FRA)
Results | Report | Articles (1) | Photos (4)
3 Monaco Monaco May 18 1. NG Hill (GBR) 2. P Courage (GBR) 3. J Siffert (SUI)
Results | Report | Articles (1) | Photos (2)
4 Dutch Zandvoort June 21 1. J Stewart (GBR) 2. J Siffert (SUI) 3. CA Amon (NZL)
Results | Report | Articles (1) | Photos (1)
5 French Clermont-Ferrand July 6 1. J Stewart (GBR) 2. JPMG Beltoise (FRA) 3. J Ickx (BEL)
Results | Report | Articles (1) | Photos (2)
6 British Silverstone July 19 1. J Stewart (GBR) 2. J Ickx (BEL) 3. LB McLaren (NZL)
Results | Report | Articles (1) | Photos (2)
7 German Nürburgring August 3 1. J Ickx (BEL) 2. J Stewart (GBR) 3. LB McLaren (NZL)
Results | Report | Articles (1) | Photos (1)
8 Italian Monza September 7 1. J Stewart (GBR) 2. KJ Rindt (AUT) 3. JPMG Beltoise (FRA)
Results | Report | Articles (1) | Photos (2)
9 Canadian Mosport September 20 1. J Ickx (BEL) 2. JA Brabham (AUS) 3. KJ Rindt (AUT)
Results | Report | Articles (1) | Photos (1)
10 USA Watkins Glen October 5 1. KJ Rindt (AUT) 2. P Courage (GBR) 3. J Surtees (GBR)
Results | Report | Articles (1) | Photos (1)
11 Mexican Mexico City October 19 1. D Hulme (NZL) 2. J Ickx (BEL) 3. JA Brabham (AUS)
Results | Report | Articles (1) | Photos (1) | Championship standings