Break out the champagne in France! Former Grand Prix driver Robert Manzon – the last living points-scorer in the very first Formula 1 World Championship season – is today celebrating his 95th birthday!
Born in the French city of Marseille, Manzon initially worked as a diesel equipment distributor before he became one of the cornerstones of Gordini’s Formula 1 foray.
He earned a call-up to the team in 1948 and became a regular fixture at the front of the field in their often-fragile cars. He earned a solid fourth place at the 1950 French Grand Prix, while in Gordini’s Formula 2 campaign, he was a regular podium-finisher.
Gordini introduced a new six-cylinder engine for the 1952 season, and with it came an immediate improvement in the team’s and Robert’s fortunes. Three points’ finishes – including an excellent third at Spa-Francorchamps – would come his way.
He ran an outstanding second at the 1953 Argentine Grand Prix before his car lost a wheel, and he repeated his podium effort at the following year’s French Grand Prix, this time driving a Louis Rosier-run Ferrari after he quit Gordini.
He returned to Gordini ahead of the 1955 season, and lost a certain podium finish at Monaco when his gearbox packed it in with a handful of laps to go. Sadly, he would enjoy little in the way of further championship success before he hung up the keys at the end of the 1956 season.