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#271 1976 Sweden Grand Prix

2021-04-15 01:00

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#1976,

#271 1976 Sweden Grand Prix

Settimo appuntamento per i protagonisti della Formula 1: il luogo di ritrovo è questa volta il circuito di Anderstorp, in Svezia. Trenta piloti sono i

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Seventh appointment for the protagonists of Formula 1: the meeting place is this time the circuit of Anderstorp, in Sweden. Thirty drivers are enrolled for the Grand Prix tests. The twenty-six who will obtain the best times will be able to line up at the start on Sunday afternoon. Needless to say, perhaps, that two are the superfavorites: Niki Lauda and Clay Regazzoni with their Ferraris, to the point that local bookmakers are ready to pay 43 crowns (8,200 lire) for each crown (190 lire) bet in the event that any other driver crosses the finish line first.

 

The circuit of Anderstorp is formed by the runways of an airport lost in the woods of southern Sweden. The village is a fairly important industrial and commercial center, which owes part of its fame and fortune to the fact that car and motorcycle races are held there every year. Swedish fans naturally hope not for the victory, but at least for the placing of the three local drivers: Ronnie Peterson (March), Gunnar Nllsson (Lotus) and the newcomer Connie Andersson (McLaren). If only for the interest aroused by their presence, the arrival at Anderstorp of about 100,000 fans is expected. Lotus had given a glimpse of the possibility of presenting in Sweden a new single-seater with six wheels, but the week before the Grand Prix, traditional cars arrived, with the front end considerably reinforced.

 

The device, however, did not help much: in fact, during some preliminary tests on Friday, June 10, 1976, Mario Andretti's car broke its front end while it was traveling at almost 200 km / h. The Lotus of the Italian-American ended up against the protection net and was damaged irreparably, so much so that it was sent back to England together with the car that Nilsson had to test. Andretti survived with a light concussion. In these days the Swedish press has dedicated a lot of space to Ferrari as a team, in the most complete sense of the word. It emphasized the high level technological effort of the Italian company and the quality of the men-machines of Maranello. For the local experts there can be no doubts about the outcome of the Anderstorp race even if, as has been written many times, this will mean the early end of the 1976 World Drivers' Championship.

 

The tests of the Swedish Grand Prix will begin on Friday at 11:00 am and will continue until 3:00 pm with an interval of ninety minutes. Same time on Saturday. On Sunday the race will start at 13:40, and it will take place over a distance of seventy-two laps, equal to 289.3 kilometers. The lap record is by Depailler, set in 1973, with a time of 1'27"262, at an average speed of 165.785 km/h. On the race weighs the unknown of the bad weather: until Friday it rains intermittently, it is cold and during the night the thermometer does not exceed the six degrees above zero.

 

Friday, June 11, 1976 the idyllic peace of the Anderstorp airport is broken during the morning by the roar of the engines at full throttle: twenty-nine drivers enrolled in the tests take to the track, in search of this first taste of the route. Among them there is John Watson with Penske, who presents the new PC4 model, and the American drivers Mario Andretti (Lotus) and Brett Lunger (Surtees) are seen again. RAM also participates again, with the debut of the Danish driver Jac Nelleman, to team up with Loris Kessel. Another Danish driver, Tom Belsø, is entered in one of the Wolf-Williams, replacing Jacky Ickx, who is competing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Belsø, whose last presence in the world championship was the 1974 British Grand Prix, does not take part in the tests.

 

The gazes of all those present are mostly turned towards Ferrari and Tyrrell, who have taken to marching in the best way. The Maranello factory, on site since Thursday (mechanics and cars had already been at Anderstorp for a few days, while Lauda, Regazzoni and some of the managers arrived in the afternoon), carried out a collective reconnaissance in the early evening, during which the main directives were set and the situation was clarified. After that, morning wake-up call for all and start of the work. Niki Lauda, whom a Stockholm evening paper called one of the greatest conductors of all time, makes some brief remarks to the journalists:

 

"The circuit is quite difficult. The 312 T2s lend themselves better to undulating tracks. Here, on the other hand, we are faced with a very flat circuit, with curves that are all the same. Anyway, we're here to win, and in all likelihood we will. Problems, for the moment, none".

 

And Regazzoni is of the same opinion:

 

"At Anderstorp we have never obtained, to tell the truth, a really convincing victory. Last year Reutemann was first, when, at ten laps to the end, he had to retire for a breakdown. Lauda, then, took the lead, crossing the finish line first. I really hope that this is the good time: the time, that is, of a Ferrari victory obtained for pure superiority".

 

Also in Tyrrell the optimism is of prammatica, with Scheckter that declares:

 

"Last year we did not have the mechanical means able to contrast the superiority of the Ferrari. This year the matter is different: Tyrrell cars are the only ones able to break the monopoly. At Anderstorp we have already had some satisfactions, one year, with a splendid victory of Depailler. Maybe this is the right time for me".

 

For his part, Depailler declares:

 

"The six-wheeler, welcomed with incredulity and skepticism, is proving to be up to its. task. It is absolutely safe and works perfectly. If today someone asks what the difference is between a four-wheel car and a six-wheel car, I can give the exact answer: the six-wheel car is the only one that has a chance to beat the Ferrari at the moment".

 

In the other teams the looks are more tense and the atmosphere more heated. Everyone knows that they have very little to oppose to the superiority of the Ferrari and Tyrrell. The swedes, that is Peterson, that doesn't succeed to acclimatize with the March, Nilsson with a Lotus that has always some problem of tuning, and Andersson to the guide of a McLaren, with which he doesn't have the least confidence, have the maximum desire to do well in front of the public of house, but they certainly ask themselves how it is possible to obtain at least an honorable placing, also because at the end of the tests of Friday 11 June 1976 Niki Lauda obtains the best time.

 

The Ferrari is not free from problems that have been solved one by one, therefore in the team of Maranello the satisfaction and the confidence is evident. Anderstorp is not the most suitable circuit for Ferrari, but it is on the right track. In these terms we can perhaps summarize the first day of testing, which saw an increase in the competitive level of the 312 T2 driven by Lauda and Clay Regazzoni.

 

Both the Tyrrell and one of the Lotus have been a nuisance and have also shown to be very dangerous, but Lauda is in splendid form and it seems very difficult, at the moment, that someone can overtake him. McLaren, on the other hand, brings two different cars: the single-seater driven by Mass has a double rear wing, while both cars mount another air intake for the front brakes. The bodywork has been fixed after well-known technical problems, and has been set back about six centimeters laterally to make room for the famous oil pipe passage, disputed in Spain.

 

During the tests, Mo Nunn confirms that from the French Grand Prix LellLombardi will not run with the second Ensign. In fact, unless there is a lot of money to pay, the team will bring only the car for Amon, also because the amount of money that brings Lella Lombardi from Lavazza, about thirty-five million lire, is poor, if you think that a Formula 1 race costs around £ 20.000.000. Rehearsals begin at 11:00 a.m. and the six-wheel Tyrrell of Patrick Depailler and Jody Scheckter run at 1'27"9. Mario Andretti, in the Lotus, threatens their times and only after this trio does Lauda take over.

 

The fact is that the Maranello single-seaters, also due to a lowering of the temperature, are unable to find a compromise of set-up valid for this circuit, which has oversteering and understeering curves; if you adjust the car in one way it goes well or even very well in a curve but not in another. The returns to the pits are frequent, and the talks between drivers and technicians are long and detailed. Regazzoni's 312 T2 has an anomalous behavior at the rear axle, and it breaks down under braking, so it is decided to let the Swiss driver continue with the mule. Daniele Audetto, Ferrari's sporting director, says:

 

"I believe it is a transient problem. The other teams were able to test last Saturday and Sunday, so they have fine-tuned the cars more completely. We are now making our experiences, and in all likelihood we will improve little by little."

 

This is how the first part of the tests ends, the morning ones, with Depailler setting the best time of 1'27"076, followed by Andretti with 1'27"270, Scheckter with 1'27"480 and Lauda with 1'27"534. Then come Amon (Ensign) with 1'27"731, Peterson (March) with 1'27"882 and Laffite (Ligier-Matra) with 1'28"012.

 

During the first session of tests no particular incident is recorded, except for an exit of Pryce due to the breakup of a suspension of his Shadow, while the Tyrrell of Scheckter loses the first of the small wheels on the left without consequences for the driver, and must stop after only twenty-three laps, after that to the curve Opel is Andretti to signal the breakdown to the South African driver. Also Brambilla makes few laps, twenty in total, before that his March reports the breakup of the engine. This brings us to the afternoon.

 

At 15:00 Lauda goes on the track and immediately starts to go fast, a sign that the famous compromise on the set-up has been made in the right way. Regazzoni tries with the mule and records better times than in the morning. The Tyrrell do not improve. Only Andretti with the Lotus seems able to threaten Lauda. The times of the two drivers show differences of a few tenths of a second, and they go down constantly. Twenty minutes before the end of practice, Lauda completes a series of laps under 1'26" and thus takes the lead. Having finally obtained 1'26"535, the Austrian returns to the pits. To those who ask him why he returned, Lauda replies:

 

"I don't think there is any chance to do better today. Therefore I stop and we will talk about it tomorrow".

 

Immediately afterwards Regazzoni arrives at the pits with the car smoking and losing lubricant, as an oil pipe has come off and is quickly fixed to allow the Swiss driver to restart; the interruption is a pity because it breaks Clay's rhythm, who was improving his times. Apart from Stuck, who breaks the engine of his March, there are no other important elements in this second part of the tests, which ends at 4:00 p.m. Audetto sums up the situation:

 

"We are also very satisfied because we went much better than on the first day last year. Today's times have amply demonstrated that Ferrari is also competitive at Anderstorp, the circuit where many were waiting for us. No problems for the moment. Let's see what will happen tomorrow".

 

Lauda appears calm and smiling:

 

"The car seems fine to me. In the morning I had some problems but they have been eliminated. We just have to wait for tomorrow".

 

And Regazzoni declares:

 

"Tomorrow I will continue with the mule that works properly, the other car will be set up by the mechanics this evening and then we will see".

 

In Lotus there are smiles and hopes: Andretti at the second place after the first day of tests they didn't expect it either. Between the two Tyrrell cars there is Amon on the Ensign, while Brambilla is immediately after Regazzoni. In any case nothing is certain yet. A Ferrari, the two Tyrrell and one of the Lotus have already imposed a certain physiognomy to the complex of the race. It's a terrible moment for Emerson Fittipaldi, who with his Coopersucar can't get good results:

 

"I don't know what to say, the car is undriveable, the wheels are not sticking to the ground. I can't understand where the problem lies. Now we're going to fit more bars. Of course it is tiring".

 

Teddy Mayer and James Hunt are not happy at all, since at the end of the first session the British driver is only fifteenth. To solve the problem of the car not being competitive at all, it is decided to set up the car as it had been prepared during the Spanish Grand Prix, that is to say with the 1.8 centimeters more width of the rear axle allowed by the regulations, except for the position of the oil radiators, which remain on the back under the rear wing because the mechanics do not have the necessary equipment to make this change. But nothing will change.

 

Saturday 12 June 1976 the second day of practice takes place, decisive for the starting positions. At 11:00 a.m. Lauda goes on the track trying to keep the pole position, checking that the car continues to run properly, while Regazzoni, in addition to trying to get a good time with the mule, also tries his normal car, which on Friday has reported an abnormal behavior at the rear axle. Ferrari's excellent and disciplined mechanics worked hard during the night and Saturday morning around Regazzoni's car, which will hopefully be in place for good in the afternoon.

 

But at the end of the tests four drivers are able to do better than Lauda: Scheckter (Tyrrell), Andretti (Lotus), Depailler (Tyrrell) and Amon (Ensign), while the Ferraris, that on Friday had gone very well, are not able to improve. The threat of Tyrrell and Lotus, just hinted on Friday, is realized on Saturday, at least here at Anderstorp. The day has two very different and distinct aspects: in the morning the drivers go on track for ninety minutes of free practice without official time recording. Lauda starts immediately strong and so does Regazzoni, to the point that at the end, the unofficial times compared with the official ones of Friday see Lauda in the lead, followed by Scheckter, Regazzoni and Amon.

 

During the first practice sessions Scheckter hits Reutemann's Brabham-Alfa, causing it to go off the track. Leaving the car, the Argentine reaches the box on foot and goes directly to Scheckter, who had previously gone to Ecclestone to apologize and to tell the incident. Reutemann approaches while Jody is getting ready to start: not a word between the two, only that Carlos makes sign to Scheckter that his behavior has been crazy. The Argentinean driver will go to the first aid station because they fear the fracture of three fingers of the hand, but fortunately there are no injuries: only the blow, that hurts a lot.

 

When in the afternoon the official tests start, nobody expects anything but a confirmation of the situation clearly outlined before. Instead, while Lauda runs with difficulty on the times of Friday, that is under 1'27", Scheckter starts on 1'26" to drop after a few laps to 1'25"80. Then, not even a quarter of an hour after the start of practice, Amon records an excellent 1'26", and Depailler starts to run constantly on 1'26"50. The sensation of a series of times better than those of the Ferraris becomes more and more concrete: Andretti, on Friday in second place, makes only one lap during which his third gear fails; he returns to the pits and the repair takes more than twenty minutes.

 

Back on track, Mario records times inferior to 1'26" inserting himself between the Tyrrell, that do not denounce the least problem. Regazzoni, still driving the mule, because his normal car is not perfectly tuned, runs with great regularity in times that are definitely higher, that is on 1'27". At this point Lauda goes back to the pits to try to set up the car more and more frequently, but without changing the situation. At three minutes from the end of the practice session, Niki decides to change the tires, but he gives up immediately afterwards. In practice, Lauda's car, as the Ferrari sport director Daniele Audetto will declare during the evening, has significant understeer problems, while Regazzoni's car is oversteering.

 

Moreover, towards the end of the tests, Lauda complains of a drop in the engine, so much so that he runs much slower than usual. It took the Swedish Grand Prix and the Anderstorp circuit to break the positive series of the Ferrari, that lasts from September 1975, that is from the Italian Grand Prix won by Clay Regazzoni. The men of the British teams and those who feared a premature end to the Formula 1 World Championship breathed a sigh of relief, but the substance did not change: Niki Lauda and Regazzoni remained in the top positions even when things did not go well. In short, a mediocre Ferrari, for once, is better than many adversaries.

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Sunday 13 June 1976, at 13:40, with an overcast sky and a rather cold temperature, the race begins with Mario Andretti in the lead, thanks to an early start. Behind his black Lotus are Scheckter, Depailler, Amon and Lauda. Regazzoni is in eighth position behind Pace and ahead of Brambilla. The race has just begun when the only spectacular accident occurs: during the third lap Gunnar Nilsson, with the second Lotus, in the most difficult curve of the entire route skids and ends up against the wall that divides the track from the pits. The driver remains unharmed, while the car has a broken right rear hub and is recovered by a huge crane that lifts it in the air just when the group is arriving.

 

Andretti tries to set a certain margin with respect to the pursuers, just in the attempt to make up for the possible penalty, in terms of time, for the early start: only on the fifth lap the penalty of one minute will be communicated, to be added to the time of the Lotus driver, who continues to lead the platoon even if, in fact, first is Scheckter, distanced by a handful of seconds from Andretti. The Swedish Grand Prix takes on a precise physiognomy: the Tyrrell cars are doing very well, and after receiving the communication from the box of Andretti's penalty in front of them, they limit themselves to control Amon and Lauda. This last one, ascertained that the tires offer a scarce adherence, decides to carry out a race in defense. Behind these very first ones, Regazzoni is noticed who attacks trying to gain positions. Brambilla does the same and also Peterson, who in fact travel very well.

 

The race goes on until the thirty-ninth lap, when Amon's Ensign breaks the front left suspension while he is in the gymkhana curve. The driver loses control of the car, and after frightening undulations ends up in the grass. Lauda gains one position. Now the classification sees Andretti always in the lead but penalized by one minute, therefore out of the points zone, followed by the virtual leader Scheckter, Depailler, Lauda, Laffite and Hunt. Andretti leads until the forty-sixth lap, when he is betrayed by the engine, leaving the leadership to Jody Scheckter. In the back of the field, the fight for the zone just below the points becomes clear, with a great recovery of Arturo Merzario who at the 55th lap is ninth, after having passed Brambilla.

 

So here are the two Tyrrell really in the lead, followed by Lauda's Ferrari. Behind are Lafitte with the Llgier-Matra and Hunt with the McLaren, while Regazzoni continuously attacks a very competitive Peterson. Also Brambilla shows aggressiveness and attacks Regazzoni, whose Ferrari at a certain point shows notable vibrations. At the end of the race the Swiss driver will have sore hands because of the effort to keep the steering wheel still. The cause of the vibrations, it will be ascertained at the end, is given by the loss of one of the pommels put to balance the wheels. Brambilla, in a curve, goes to the limit of the track and ruins the nose of the car.

 

In the lead the positions do not change, while Regazzoni just at the last lap manages to overtake Peterson. Always at the last lap Merzario breaks the engine of his March and cannot finish the race. Jody Scheckter wins the Swedish Grand Prix, the first one for a six-wheel car, and to complete the Tyrrell triumph Patrick Depailler comes second and gives the British team the seventh double in its history. Niki Lauda finished third: for the Austrian, it was the ninth consecutive podium, a record shared with a matching streak of podiums obtained by Jim Clark between the 1963 Belgian Grand Prix and the South African one of the same year. Jacques Laffite, James Hunt and Clay Regazzoni follow.

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With this triumph, the new model realized by Derek Gardner and Ken Tyrrell shows to be extremely fast, and above all to have reached in a very short time a high level of competitiveness. But it is necessary to consider that the Anderstorp circuit has always been favorable to the cars of the English team; curiously, also in 1974 Scheckter and Depailler obtained a similar winning double. Ken Tyrrell welcomes his men at the finish line with a hug and then declares:

 

"The cars are going very well and I am more than convinced that we have a very good chance for future races. We can say that we have solved all the problems, and that we look to the future with great optimism".

 

Scheckter and Depailler report not to have had the slightest problem and to have conducted the race at their leisure, not even having suffered attacks. Just the South African, after the race, will tell how the project was born, and what were his first impressions:

 

"I expected to win here. Of course I was amazed by Andretti's performance but then, since it was impossible to catch him, I stayed quietly in second position. My car didn't do badly, I just had some grip problems at a certain moment, which made me think about tire degeneration. Then everything was ok. The anti-Ferrari Tyrrell? Not right away, I think, but very soon. Let's say that at Brands Hatch we will give everyone a run for their money, because the car is there and it is also very competitive. It could have been done better if my car hadn't had some rear problems, which were wagging. Of course initially I couldn't get used to the six-wheel Formula 1. Then, slowly, using it convinced me that Gardner had an exceptional intuition. Today, in Formula 1, either we look for new engine alternatives, with Matra and Alfa Romeo, to beat Ferrari, or we look for new technical solutions. We've already guessed it. With the progress we make from race to race, we will soon be the only ones who can counter the Ferraris. I don't think Elf-Tyrrell designer Derek Gardner would have been very happy if he had known my reaction when I first piloted the revolutionary six-wheeler. It was like driving a touring car. I couldn't see the front wheels, I couldn't aim for the apex of the corner, I had to calculate it by moving forward piece by piece each lap until I reached the point-limit. Then I knew where it was. Really, it was simply like being back in a regular car with covered wheels. The other strange feeling I experienced driving it for the first time was that it felt like I was driving roller skates. I had the impression as if the second pair of front wheels were directly underneath me. Truly a strange sensation. Despite these two differences, it didn't take me long to feel the car properly and to work out a different technique to pilot it".

 

"Oddly enough, this technique is not radically different. I suppose the comparison most easily understood by the common motorist is that of changing from a left-hand drive car to a right-hand drive car. Before I became accustomed to the narrowness of the front end, I would enter turns, discovering on the way out that I had missed the apex. Then I moved to the apex on the next pass, realizing I could pull to the inside later and on the exit I had extra room. Simply put, the car was much more economical in terms of the amount of ground needed to make a turn".

 

"And that simply means that you have two advantages: first, you gain fractions of seconds in the corner and then, second, because of the clean, economical trajectory you reach top speed sooner. I'm sure Derek's rationale is much more complex than this theory of mine about the car's advantages".

 

"About eighteen months ago I first sniffed the fact that Ken and Derek had something very strange going on. Ken had a habit of saying things like this: how would you like a car that has twenty percent more front-end grip? And how do you feel about a front track that is twenty inches narrower? I knew something was going to happen but I didn't know in what way. Patrick and I tried to imagine what it might be. We imagined all kinds of things - some of them really disturbing - but the one thing we never considered was a six-wheeled car".

 

"The first time we actually heard about it was at Paul Ricard, during a practice session about a year ago. Derek pulled out the blueprints of the car, settling in comfortably and simply saying, what do you think? I think Patrick said something like damn, and I said Jeeze or something equally eloquent. There's not much really that can be said in a situation like this".

 

"One thing I was certain of was that it would work. Because I have a lot of regard for Derek and I know that he once worked something out in his mind, and one of those new designers around these days capable of producing a machine that is competitive from the moment it leaves the drawing board".

 

"In fact, we often joke with Derek that his biggest obstacle was the drivers. The 007 was more competitive in the first six races than it is now that the drivers have developed it. The other thing that's really interesting about the six-wheeler is the way people react to it. When it was first presented to the press at the Elf reception, you could hear giggles and people didn't know whether they should laugh or applaud. The reaction from the drivers and managers of the other teams was almost similar. They made a mockery of it and joked about it".

 

"Now that we've run it, the drivers just try to ignore it. And the team directors, every time it spins a wheel, run to the guardrail with a stopwatch in their hands like a bunch of frightened hares. But back to the car, Almost everyone wants to know what it feels like to have four wheels in front. Here's the answer: you don't realize you have four wheels in front. It's like driving with two. But what you do notice is that you direct where you point".

 

"Normally pointing the steering wheel is just an indication of where the car will head...eventually. At low speeds the car really acts like it's on the tracks. I can imagine the next, valid sixty-four dollar question: why do you need four wheels in the front? Well, the answer is that the tighter the car, the faster it goes on the straights. The problem, though, is that narrow-track cars do well in the corners".

 

"To say something stupid, you'd need a variable car that's very narrow on the straights and develops a wide track as you approach the corners. But you can't have that, so we have a narrow car with extra road holding built in for the turns. And this extra road holding comes from the four wheels in front. In other words, a rubber footprint on the road at the front end".

 

"We also have an advantage in terms of straight-line braking. For example, approaching a tight hairpin quickly, I think I can pull off later than most. But when I have to brake when the car is already in the hairpin, then I guess our car is equal to all the others".

 

"With all this rubber up front, I've noticed several times that when I've entered the corner fast, the car has a tendency to lift the inside rear wheel off the ground. Several times I looked in my mirror and saw that our rear wheel wasn't turning. This can happen with a four-wheel car, though, so it's not something that's characteristic of a six-wheeler".

 

"Ken is very astute as far as letting the world know what the benefits of the car are. I think he wants the other designers to find out for themselves. However, I am perfectly prepared to deal with one of the big disadvantages. Which is definitely those of pit stops to change tires, from wet to slick. One thing is for sure, and that is that this car is one of those that must be driven cleanly. What I mean by this is that this is a car that requires maximum concentration on the part of the driver and that will give the best performance when it is steered smoothly rather than jerkily. It will have to be driven very smoothly. With other cars you can compensate for certain flaws by moving them a little bit sideways. I've always been someone who had this sideways tendency, but as I'm getting older I'm more convinced that driving clean is the way to go. The whole team has great confidence in this car. We put all of our hope into it to get out of this negative phase. To be honest, it's not like we had consistently good results last year. I think a large part of it was due to the fact that there wasn't much we could do with the 007 four-wheeler. The old car suffered from the development work that was being done on the new one. It's certainly starting to give us some good results. To be honest I put a lot of faith and hope in it, in this car. But at the same time there is still a lot of development work to be done. But you can see why we are all passionate and why we believe in it. To have achieved these results with so little work with such a revolutionary car, must indicate that we can expect even more benefits. It could also be that we will present ourselves in the future with a car with different characteristics for long and fast circuits, who knows. We have become a team that can beat Ferrari, of this I am convinced. We have our problems, which are there with every new car. This is the most exciting project that has ever been developed in Formula 1, as far as I can remember. I'm delighted to be a part of it and I'm confident we'll do well".

 

And Depailler, second, comments:

 

"A not bad second place, maybe I could have been closer to Jody if I hadn't mounted some softer springs that made some unforeseen tricks at the distance, in fact at mid-race I had very little rear grip. My confidence in this six-wheel project seems justified, no?"

 

To a journalist, who asks him if the World Championship starts again from Anderstorp, Ken Tyrrell replies:

 

"I prefer not to comment".

 

But only a few minutes earlier he had said:

 

"We are very confident for the future. We will continue to win".

 

There is no doubt that the six-wheeled Tyrrells, first and second in the Swedish Grand Prix, are indeed the cars of the day. Beating and beating, they ended up crossing the finish line ahead of the Ferraris, proving that efforts and sacrifices are never really in vain. We must not forget, however, that the Tyrrell had won in the same way, and in Sweden two years before. And it is more than evident, by now, that the circuit of Anderstorp, with all its long radius curves, with the sudden changes of temperature and with the track more than dirty after a long series of races of various formulas that take place before the Formula 1, is not the most congenial for the Ferrari, while it is perfectly adapted to the characteristics of the British car. In this circumstance the Ferrari has probably found itself in the lowest point of its line of performance while, at the same time, the Tyrrell has reached the peak, and from the concomitance of the two situations the result of Anderstorp has come out. But in Ferrari the outcome of the Swedish Grand Prix is considered quite satisfactory, as Daniele Audetto admits:

 

"A third and a sixth place in Anderstorp are very good for us. The cars did not have any problems and this is what counts. The placings obtained in Anderstorp confirm the validity of our cars. This circuit is not congenial to us. We cannot create a victory just to come here. We will get back to winning, that's for sure. A Lauda and a Regazzoni like this can give us nothing but great satisfaction".

 

Lauda pointed out the poor grip of the tires, whose temperature was found at the end of the race to be twenty degrees lower than on Saturday, and recalled the problems of over- and understeer that were repeated in the race. The Austrian driver admits that nothing more could be done, and thinks that already in France Ferrari will return to victory.

 

"The car didn't have any grip, however, in a particularly difficult circuit for the Ferraris, I brought home four points that I think are important, not so much for the standings, but in particular because even on this circuit, where Ferrari should build a car on purpose, we didn't look bad. I checked the temperature of the tires after the arrival and they were twenty degrees colder than yesterday, which was already a cold day. So we found out the reason for the lack of grip that the Ferrari was complaining about. It was hard to drive because I had a lot of oversteer going into the corners and a crazy amount of understeer going out. But in the end it wasn't a surprise for us: we knew that Sweden was difficult for us".

 

The performance of Mario Andretti and the Lotus cannot be judged because of the false start made by the Italo-American: it must be said, however, that Colin Chapman's car is growing, and it would be time after such a long negative period.

 

"An exceptional car my Lotus. I left quickly. It is not true that I left early. At the starter it was me and Jody together, there was oil signaled by the flag at the start, my car skidded. I put the car in second gear and maybe this gave the impression that I started earlier. It's just rhetoric now. I certainly didn't scramble the car because I had a six second lead over Scheckter. Suddenly in front of the pits a valve spring gave way and it was impossible for me to win the second Grand Prix".

 

Strange but true, there were people willing to bet any amount of money on the complete disappearance of Lotus from the fight. Those who bet won, but not for the reasons they had in mind. The Lotus cars had to retire not because of mechanical failures, although everyone says that they are cars at the limit, and precisely for this reason very delicate, but because of the impetuosity of the drivers. Nilsson, the Swede, disappeared from the scene before he could even get into the heart of the race, and it's a pity because the experts predict a great future for him. Andretti got it all wrong, starting early, getting a penalty, and forcing himself to blow the engine. It remains the indisputable fact that a threat to Ferrari and Tyrrell cannot come from Lotus.

 

The public of Anderstorp liked then the two Italians Brambilla and Merzario. Vittorio attacked Regazzoni repeatedly, but he was not able to overcome him. Even for him the impetuosity proved to be a negative factor: having to brake hard and return after an impossible attempt to overtake him, he damaged the nose, thus having to end the race quietly. A real pity, since he had the possibility of a good placing. The Italian driver of the March, Vittorio Brambilla, finished tenth, declares:

 

"Until the problem with the nose, I had a good chance; then the car became very understeered and I had to slow down".

 

Merzario really did all he could. Seventeenth after the second lap, he passed one competitor after another, reaching the ninth position. Just as he was doing better, his engine broke down.

 

"I was having a decent race when suddenly everything went off. Having to stop with only one lap to go is just really bad luck".

 

The circuit of Anderstorp, in short, has highlighted the possibilities of the Tyrrell, which in fact are today the only cars that can put the Ferrari in difficulty. The House of Maranello certainly has the men and the technology necessary to solve the problem in the best way. Lauda, as reported in Sweden, played defensively, avoiding unnecessary risks. An intelligent tactic, which brought him four points and which the year before had even brought him victory. This time only two of the four cars ahead of the Ferrari stopped, Andretti's Lotus and Amon's Ensign, and the Austrian had to be satisfied with a third place that is not to be despised.

 

As in Monte-Carlo, we must underline Regazzoni's splendid performance that, starting from the sixth row, fought for a long time, until he overtook Ronnie Peterson and his March in the final. Of course, the Swiss driver did not fight for success, but for this reason his determination and his desire to race should be admired. The performance of Mario Andretti and the Lotus cannot be judged because of the false start made by the Italo-American: it must be said, however, that Colin Chapman's car is growing, and it would be time after such a long negative period.

 

"An exceptional car my Lotus. I left quickly. It is not true that I left early. At the starter it was me and Jody together, there was oil signaled by the flag at the start, my car skidded. I put the car in second gear and maybe this gave the impression that I started earlier. It's just rhetoric now. I certainly didn't scramble the car because I had a six second lead over Scheckter. Suddenly in front of the pits a valve spring gave way and it was impossible for me to win the second Grand Prix".

 

Strange but true, there were people willing to bet any amount of money on the complete disappearance of Lotus from the fight. Those who bet won, but not for the reasons they had in mind. The Lotus cars had to retire not because of mechanical failures, although everyone says that they are cars at the limit, and precisely for this reason very delicate, but because of the impetuosity of the drivers. Nilsson, the Swede, disappeared from the scene before he could even get into the heart of the race, and it's a pity because the experts predict a great future for him. Andretti got it all wrong, starting early, getting a penalty, and forcing himself to blow the engine. It remains the indisputable fact that a threat to Ferrari and Tyrrell cannot come from Lotus.

 

The public of Anderstorp liked then the two Italians Brambilla and Merzario. Vittorio attacked Regazzoni repeatedly, but he was not able to overcome him. Even for him the impetuosity proved to be a negative factor: having to brake hard and return after an impossible attempt to overtake him, he damaged the nose, thus having to end the race quietly. A real pity, since he had the possibility of a good placing. The Italian driver of the March, Vittorio Brambilla, finished tenth, declares:

 

"Until the problem with the nose, I had a good chance; then the car became very understeered and I had to slow down".

 

Merzario really did all he could. Seventeenth after the second lap, he passed one competitor after another, reaching the ninth position. Just as he was doing better, his engine broke down.

 

"I was having a decent race when suddenly everything went off. Having to stop with only one lap to go is just really bad luck".

 

The circuit of Anderstorp, in short, has highlighted the possibilities of the Tyrrell, which in fact are today the only cars that can put the Ferrari in difficulty. The House of Maranello certainly has the men and the technology necessary to solve the problem in the best way. Lauda, as reported in Sweden, played defensively, avoiding unnecessary risks. An intelligent tactic, which brought him four points and which the year before had even brought him victory.

 

This time only two of the four cars ahead of the Ferrari stopped, Andretti's Lotus and Amon's Ensign, and the Austrian had to be satisfied with a third place that is not to be despised. As in Monte-Carlo, we must underline Regazzoni's splendid performance that, starting from the sixth row, fought for a long time, until he overtook Ronnie Peterson and his March in the final. Of course, the Swiss driver did not fight for success, but for this reason his determination and his desire to race should be admired.

 

Anthony Quartey

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