Энциклопедия Формулы 1:

Rambler's Top100

Гонщики, B

Курсивом отмечены гонщики,
выступавшие только
в Indy 500 (1950-1960)


Эрик Бернар

Bernard, Éric

Эрик Бернар / Bernard, Éric

(c) 'Who is Who' by Steve Small, 2000



Истр, Франция

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Ф1: 1989-1994

Эрик Бернар / Bernard, Éric - 1989-1994




1989Equipe LarrousseLola LC89
Lola LC89
1990Espo Larrousse F1Lola LC89
Lola LC89
Lola LC90
Lola LC90
1991Larrousse F1Larousse Lola L91
Larousse Lola L91
1994Ligier Gitanes BlondesLigier JS39B
Ligier JS39B
Team LotusLotus 109
Lotus 109

A four-times French karting champion, Bernard showed immediate ability in a Winfield School competition (in which he beat Jean Alesi) and his prize was a season in Formule Renault. Fifth place in the 1984 championship formed the platform for a successful title bid the following season.

He had little money but decided to tackle the French F3 series. Running his own Martini-Alfa, Eric finished a creditable fifth, and armed with a Ralt for 1987 ran old rival Alesi and his mighty ORECA team very close as the pair dominated proceedings.

The backing of Winfield and Elf facilitated the step up into F3000 and after a false start with a works Ralt Bernard switched to Bromley Motorsport to kick-start his season. A fine second place in the final round at Dijon led to a place in the DAMS Lola team for 1989. He won at Jerez, but was out of luck elsewhere and, compounding this with some unforced errors, could only finish a disappointed third in the championship. The year had its compensations, though, a couple of drives for Larrousse in mid-season paving the way for a full-time ride in 1990, with a magnificent fourth place in the British Grand Prix the highlight of his first full season. The Larrousse team lost the use of Lamborghini engines in 1991, putting Eric into the also-ran category, and his season ended disastrously when he sustained a broken leg in a practice crash at the Japanese GP.

With the injury proving slow to heal, Bernard was sidelined for the following season, but he was not forgotten by his long-time sponsors Elf and became the Ligier team's test driver in 1993. The oil giant then placed their faith in him for 1994, and Ligier gave him a contract for the season alongside newcomer Olivier Panis. Once the Briatore/Walkinshaw axis took control, however, the student remained in situ while the tutor, despite his third-place finish in the crash-decimated German GP, was dumped after the Portuguese race and replaced by Johnny Herbert. As some recompense it was arranged for him to take the Englishman's place at Team Lotus for the European GP at Jerez but after he finished in 18th place, three laps behind, his departure from the Grand Prix stage was barely noticed.

Eric has since followed many other erstwhile unemployed Grand Prix drivers into the world of sports car racing. After contesting the Global GT series in a Ferrari, he moved to DAMS to help develop their front-engined Panoz-Ford. The 1997 season brought little but a spate of retirements, but the following term he began an excellent partnership with David Brabham as the car became a contender for honours.

Outright victories finally came in 1999, the Frenchman sharing wins at Portland, Road Atlanta, Donington, the Nürburgring and Kyalami with Brabham, Wallace and Gounon. When DAMS were chosen to run Cadillac's sports challenger in 2000, the team lost little time in ensuring that they had Bernard's signature on a three-year contract.

(c) 'Who is Who' by Steve Small, 2000

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