Heart

ByRichard Kelley

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Forty-five years ago this morning, I decided to follow François Cevert as he qualified for the 1973 US Grand Prix. He would inherit Jackie Stewart's leadership position and be the heart of the 1974 Tyrrell team.

That morning he seemed on top of the world as he picked up Helen, Jackie's wife for a bear hug. At the beginning of practice, I was my usual " fly on the wall" around the Tyrrell pit, when I noticed François suddenly become pensive and quiet - something was on his mind.

I selected a spot where I was alone in the rear of the Tyrrell pit stall, shooting him backlit with a longer lens, concentrating on isolating Jackie Stewart and Derek Gardner as they bent over François, deep in conversation concerning his setup.

This is my final frame of François, 26A. His eyes seemed to look through me into the distance - so deep it was chilling - I couldn't make another frame of his face.

When I arrived at the Esses, I saw François' car inverted atop the twisted Armco; François was still in the car. Heinz Klutemeier from Sports Illustrated ran up, blocking my path and whispered "…don't go over. He's gone."

Implausible horror had paid a visit and no one there that day, especially me, would ever be the same. Salut François.

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