Was pygmée looking into Formula One?

Unraced 1970 - 1979

Pygmée (Constructions Mechaniques Pygmée), founded in 1960 in Annecy by Marius Dal Bo and was a French manufacturer specialised in racing cars.  The company existed for 13 years before they had to close down their doors due to financial difficulties. The team was well known for constructing Junior Formula, Formula 2 and Formula 3 cars in the 1960s and the 1970s. While they gained success there were rumours of pygmée was looking into the Formula One. How serious were their plans?

In 1969, the company started constructing Formula 2 cars. In 1970, pygmée worked on their MDB (Marius Dal Bo) 15 chassis. It was their first full-length monocoque single seater. The results were average with some good once. However, it seemed enough to have the team looking into the Formula One. A huge step for such a small team.   

It is hard to find any decent information about it. For 1971, the team designed the MDB 16. Jean-Louis Burgnard was the designer of the car. In my archive I found some old article regarding this MDB 16. The article was in French, difficult to read for me. While the MDB 16 raced in the Formula 2 in 1971 with drivers such as Helmut Marko and Jean-Pierre Beltoise, it seems the intention was to debut in the Formula One as well.

In the Book Les monoplaces Pygmée de Marius et Patrick Dal Bo by Didier Martin is written, in chapter “Construite comme une Formula 1” that the car was designed like a Formula One car in those days. What I understood from a friend who owns the book is that the Team did not apply for a Formula One race, nor were they planning to race in a Grand Prix in 1971. The reason they probably did not make it to the Formula One is the lack of funding. Only two years later the team would disappear.

Pygmée built two MDB16 cars. The MDB16 with chassis number 171 and the MDB16 with chassis number 272. The 171 belonged to Patrick Dal Bo and the 272 belonged to Jean-Pierre Beltoise.