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F1 driver François Santé - who was he?


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#1 Team Gunston

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Posted 21 August 2006 - 19:15

I have just discovered this completely unknown name on several entry lists for 1961 non-championship F1 events, where he was supposed to drive a Cooper T45. Did you hear that name before ?

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#2 Paul Parker

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Posted 22 August 2006 - 13:26

He does not appear in Maurice Louche's Un siecle des Grands Pilotes Francais 1895-1995 (assuming he was French).

However here he is at Pau (3 April 1961) practicing 32.7 seconds slower than Jim Clark in according to Christian Naviaux's book Les Grand Pix de Formule 1 hors championnat du monde, a Cooper T51 where he non-started after a failed magneto drive and no mechanics. Another source quotes T45.

He then non-qualified at Naples (14 May 1961) in the same car a minute slower than pole!

However the only person of this name that I could find was born on 6 December 1887 and died sometime before 1982 and came from the Ardennes region in Belgium.

Perhaps Doug (Nye) will know, but sadly the person who surely would have been able to tell us was 'Jabby' Crombac.

#3 Team Gunston

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Posted 23 August 2006 - 10:08

Thank you anyway Paul. It would be surprising enough that his car was a T51, which was, by 1961 standards, not a so outdated model. Furthermore, the man had been seen in 1960 in F2 already, and I think his 1961 F1 car was nothing more than his 1960 F2 chassis.

I'm not sure of the correct spelling of his name : Sante or Santé with é. But it sounds like a name from the South of France, maybe with Italian origins. I don't know.

#4 jimpoir

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Posted 18 February 2007 - 16:05

:lol: You got that right. The guy is from Southern France, a Basque that was active in smuggling in his youth, made a lot of money transfering cars with gold bumpers that were later chrome plated. This was to bring gold into algeria for wealthy residents. He bought a formula car and quit after he met his wife, a lovely lady 5 inches taller than him. He fathered 3 children and became very fat after he moved to Canada and had his entire family work for him while he sat like Buddha in his favorite leather chair. There he became a con man with considerable power, swindling Marcel Dutil of one million dollars ( the ex-president of Canam Steel Works ). He took me to Ivory Coast for an imaginary project where he set up a fancy office and a harem of beautiful secretaries, bought a new MErcedes Benz and installed a telex to Canam in Quebec. Never sold a thing. When he came back he caught his wife with a lover of Algerian origins, went totally beserk, cut all her lingerie in tiny pieces with scissors and had to be police restrained. She went into hiding. Then he disappeared and I was seraching for him on the web when I hit upon your posts. I have a photo of him circa 1979 that I can send for your pilot archives, but it is not a very good one. Still searching for him, though. Will try jail records.

I dont think he is of any interest for your archives

Jacques

#5 Hieronymus

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Posted 18 February 2007 - 16:11

A great post, jimpoir!

I guess one of those characters one can include in a movie script.

Did he ever race or was it just wishful thinking or some decoy for his other activities?

#6 jimpoir

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Posted 18 February 2007 - 16:28

This is a fella that did everything once so that he could brag about it. He talked as if he was a close buddy of Jim Clark so many times as to make everyone nauseous. Tokenism at its best. Here is the only photo I have of him, done in his Montreal West apartment:
http://picasaweb.goo...910237271406370

Best regards

Jacques

#7 Team Gunston

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Posted 18 February 2007 - 17:47

Waouh ! Thank you very much Jacques... And hello my friend Marius !

6 months without the smallest info about such a great racing driver :lol: and suddenly somebody who knew him personnally appears on TNF. Just can't see the photo.

Apparently he was not the kind of character I was dreaming of when I posted my thread. I did believe that he was something of an enthusiastic mechanic, lacking money but working hard and late in the night in a small garage. Not all that I'm afraid.

I suppose you don't have further info about his Cooper, but what about the correct spelling of his name : Sante or Santé ?

Thank you again.

#8 KJJ

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Posted 18 February 2007 - 23:19

If you can't see the picture just click here.

#9 Paul Parker

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 19:36

What this thread really proves is that virtually no person in living memory is safe any longer from being recognised, judged, pictured and discussed somewhere.

This is not a criticism, indeed it is yet another example of the far reaching influence and knowledge of TNFers.

It would be very interesting to do a proper book on these irregular racers but sadly of course no publisher would touch it.

#10 David M. Kane

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 20:16

I'm impressed!