#243 1974 Dutch Grand Prix

2022-08-24 00:00

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#1974, Fulvio Conti,

#243 1974 Dutch Grand Prix

On Tuesday, June 11, 1974, a terrifying accident involving Ronnie Peterson occurred. The Swedish driver, along with other pilots, was engaged in a ser


On Tuesday, June 11, 1974, a terrifying accident involving Ronnie Peterson occurred. The Swedish driver, along with other pilots, was engaged in a series of private tests on the Zandvoort track, where the Dutch Grand Prix was scheduled to take place on Sunday, June 23. Peterson went off the track at high speed and was hospitalized with a mild concussion. The incident happened around noon. Peterson's Lotus was seen going straight at the end of a straight stretch, breaking through three safety fences and crashing into a guardrail. Unconscious, Peterson had to wait for an ambulance for a full ten minutes. The reasons for the off-track incident are not clear. However, traces of a strong braking were found on the asphalt. According to other drivers present at Zandvoort, it's possible that the front wheels locked up or that the rear brakes failed to respond. Peterson was driving the 1974 model of the Lotus, which had so far shown poor performance. Despite winning the Monaco Grand Prix at the end of May, Peterson had to retire on Sunday in Anderstorp, Sweden, due to a broken half-shaft. Several drivers from Colin Chapman's team have had accidents. In the practice sessions, Niki Lauda with Ferrari is the fastest. The Austrian completes a lap in 1'20.5, precisely one second ahead of Depailler's Tyrrell. Scheckter, the winner in Sweden, and Jarier, with the Shadow, record the same time: 1'22.4. Peterson, before the accident, had set the best time at 1'23.1. On the Zandvoort circuit, where the tragedy of Roger Williamson unfolded last year, the Dutch Grand Prix is ​​held. It is the eighth race of the Formula 1 World Championship, and the title chase for Stewart has not yet identified the strongest contender. The candidates are many, from Emerson Fittipaldi, with 27 points, to the Ferrari duo (Regazzoni with 22 and Lauda with 21), from Scheckter, also with 21 points, to the veteran Hulme (11), or the indomitable Peterson (10). Race after race, the expectation grows that the balance will tip, and the winning combination of man and machine will emerge. Could it be Lauda or Regazzoni and a Ferrari? The answer can be confidently given as yes, based on the performance of the Maranello single-seaters so far and the results of the tests. The negative outcome of the race in Anderstorp, Sweden, did not erase the high level of competitiveness of the Ferraris, which still remain at the top. 


Zandvoort, June 23rd: The Grand Prix scene moves from the flat Anderstorp circuit in Sweden to the undulating Zandvoort circuit in Holland in a period of two weeks, and between times quite a lot happens. Team Lotus called in at Zandvoort on their way back from Sweden and Peterson tests the Lotus 76-JPS/9 and promptly has an accident when some experimental brake pads give trouble. The Lotus is quite badly damaged and the Swede is knocked a bit unconscious, but otherwise escapes injury, and is all fit and ready to go again when everyone gather for the Dutch Grand Prix. During the intervening period there is a bit of a shin-dig at high levels involving the Csi, the Formula One Constructors Association and the Dutch organisers, over who should be invited to qualify and who should not. On the practical side of things, such as paddock and pit space, circuit length, practice time available and so on, there are beginning to be too many aspiring Formula One contestants for the situation, but this indicates that the racing scene is outgrowing the circuit scene, so that the circuits should be enlarged, not the entries reduced, and certainly not reduced by closed shop union methods such as the Formula One Constructors are trying to do. The Csi, pressured strongly by the RAC, comes out on the side of freedom and liberty and said that anyone and everyone should be given the chance to qualify for the starting grid of a Grand Prix, the number of starters being dependent on the length of the circuit, as always, and that any organiser who refuses to do this would not be granted World Championship status next year. If the pits or paddock are not big enough for the current scene then they should be enlarged. This little argy-bargy clears the air a bit and puts certain entrepreneurs, who think they ought to be running the scene, in their right and proper place. The number of cars permitted to run on the Zandvoort circuit is 25, and a total of 28 drivers are milling around the pits ready to start practice, with some 38 cars between them, but when practice gets under way at mid-day on Friday June 21st there are only 27 drivers active. John Surtees and Carlos Pace are in the throes of a personality conflict, not surprising after Paces childish showing in Sweden, with the result that the Brazilian is standing about idly while his car, Surtees TS16/03, never leaves the paddock. In the B.R.M. pit Pescarolo goes all temperamental because Beltoise wants to try both of the new P201 cars, which leave the three-times Le Mans winner with an old P160 B.R.M., so he wanders off in a gloom. 


Everyone else is either happy, like the Ferrari team, confident like the Tyrrell team, optimistic like the Hesketh team or hopeful like the Graham Hill Lola team. There are no revolutionary breakthroughs on the mechanical scene, but lots of detail they do before the event, and there are some personnel changes. Lotus was relying on their two usual 72 models for Peterson and Ickx, the cars scintillating like never before in new coats of black and gold John Player paint, while Lotus 76-JPS/10 is ready for Ickx to experiment with, having its water radiators mounted much further forward, just behind the front wheels, with new side ducting. The Tyrrell pair, Scheckter and Depailler, has their usual cars, with the Donington Collections Tyrrell 006/2 in the paddock for emergency use, and among the detail experiments they are trying there are some extended shrouds over the side-mounted water radiators on Depaillers car. Fittipaldi and Hulme has the Texaco-Marlboro supported works McLarens with their usual variety of instant adjustments to wheelbase, rear end geometry and aerofoil position, while Fittipaldis car, M23/5 has new inlet trumpets to its Cosworth engine, bringing them closer together towards the centre of the car to allow a new slimmer and smoother air-collector box. The spare car is marked down to Fittipaldi, while the show-car is lying in the sand in the entrance road to the circuit, with Dutch enthusiasts climbing all over it. The Brabham team have their usual trio of BT44 cars for Reutemann and von Opel, with Pace sniffing round to see if he can fit into a Brabham. In conjunction with Goodyear Reutemann is trying some new tyres on 10 inch diameter rims. Stuck and Brambilla are in the works March cars and Regazzoni and Lauda has Ferrari 014 and 015, respectively, with 011 standing by as a spare, with Regazzonis number on it, but it isn't used. The rear aerofoils on the Ferraris has a new trailing edge shape, which is of vee formation, but the engineers do not seem to be letting on as to why. B.R.M. are still trying to run three cars, with their two P201 models, and P160/10, for Beltoise, Pescarolo and Migault, and the Shadow team has three cars but are content to run only two drivers, Jarier joined by the Welshman Torn Pryce take Redmans place. Team Surtees is making a big effort to get rid of the Shambles Trophy, and has a brand new car ready to go. 


A sizeable amount of weight is being transfered to the rear, by moving the battery to a mounting behind the gearbox, and making new water radiators that lay across the rear of the car, just under the rear aerofoil. This allows a much smoother and longer nose cowling, devoid of openings, and the flat extensions on the cockpit sides has been done away with. In addition the front suspension geometry is being revised and all in all it hopes that this new car, TS16/05 for Jochen Mass, would not suffer the same dreaded understeer of which the drivers are complaining. An indication of the situation in the team is that John Surtees enters himself as driver in the spare car, TS16/04, but he never shows signs of taking up the option. Frank Williams is happy to have the effervescent Merzario back in the cockpit, even though his damaged hand is still not fully mended, and in the second Williams car, Gijs van Lennep is having a go at qualifying for his own Grand Prix, all part of the Williams fluid-team, sponsored by Marlboro. Teddy Yip is happily putting some Eastern hieroglyphics on Maurice Nunns Ensign MN02, which spells out Theodore Racing, and Schuppan drives as usual, and next to them Ron Tauranac had the Trojan for Tim Schenken, with a new full-width front aerofoil above the nose, like a Ferrari, among other mods in the search of raceworthiness of a new design. Lord Hesketh is back to strength with his two Hesketh cars for Hunt, but the prototype 308/1 is strictly an emergency spare and not a time-wasting alternative to 308/2. Hill and Edwards have their usual three immaculate Lolas, sponsored by Embassy, and the lonesome Hailwood with his Yardley McLaren is alongside the other works McLarens in spirit if not colour. There is more than sufficient time for practice, and most people put in a phenomenal number of laps in getting ready for the 75-lap race. Most of Friday and Saturday gives over to practice, with a break halfway through to collect up any derelict cars, and for a general gathering of the breath. A strong wind along the main straight makes the drivers keep their heads down, and aerofoil experts are fiddling with their fins and wings and things, trying to cut down drag along the straight without losing out on down-force round the corners. However, the main thing that everyone is doing is to try and see which way the two Ferraris are going, for Regazzoni and Lauda power off into the distance from the word go, leaving all the Cosworth runners breathless, while the B.R.M. team hardly seems to be breathing at all. 


Poor old Surtees is still in trouble for just when Mass is getting all enthusiastic about the new car the Cosworth engine arise an oil leak and the stocky German has to revert to the practice car, and as the team juggles with the stick on numbers, the time-keepers and few others have much idea of what Surtees car is doing what. B.R.M. are also confusing the time-keepers by changing numbers about on their three cars, using 14, 14T, 15, 37 and 37T between their three drivers, not that it has any effect on the overall scene. As expected it is never-say-die Peterson who is hard on the heels of the two Ferraris in the first half of practice, with 1'20"22, but it is a fair distance from the red cars, which are doing 1'19"51 and 1'19"71, respectively, for Regazzoni and Lauda. The Swiss driver is indeed the fastest on the Zandvoort circuit, located along the seaside, amidst high sand dunes, with Lauda setting the second-best time. The rivals are far behind, as a clear second separates Regazzoni from Scheckter with the Tyrrell. It's a significant difference that underscores, on one hand, the consistency of performance and adaptability of the Maranello cars to every circuit and, on the other hand, the high level of preparation achieved through meticulous work. Above all, the ease with which Regazzoni and Lauda repeatedly delivered their performances has been impressive—not just isolated exploits with special tires but an exceptional standard. This was contributed to by the adoption of a new rear wing, resembling somewhat the tail of a swallow. Ferrari stands out among the opposing teams, which are, of course, the usual suspects. In addition to the Tyrrell with Scheckter, the list of the fastest includes Lotus with Peterson (the Swede has recovered from the mild concussion), McLaren with Hulme and Fittipaldi, and Brabham with Reutemann. The Italian drivers were somewhat disappointing. Vittorio Brambilla, with the March, and Arturo Merzario, with the Iso, only clock the seventeenth time (1'21.67). However, the former had a rather weak engine, and the latter still suffers from pain in the hand injured in the Imola incident. On Sunday, he will simply aim to finish the race. There is a great mobilization of rescue vehicles, recalling the fire involving Williamson. The firefighters even carry out a demonstrative exercise, intervening on the wreckage of a car that had been set on fire. 


Later, they have to operate seriously in the Tyrrell box, where a fuel container catches fire. Much scare, but nothing serious occurs. On Saturday the wind is still blowing, but it is still fine and dry, if somewhat grey, and practice starts at mid-morning, with everyone pretty firing up with some objective in mind, either to keep the Ferraris in sight, to justify their positions, not get left behind, or not to be odd men out at the back, it is clear now that Pace will not be driving his Surtees, but Pescarolo joins in, somewhat disgruntling, so the slowest two drivers are going to be nonstarters. The Cosworth brigade are getting to grips with the under 1.20 target, Fittipaldi, Hunt and Hailwood joining Scheckter in the elite group, but Lauda rewrites the standard once more with a lap in 1'18"31, a huge improvement on the fastest practice lap of 1973 which was Petersons 1'19"47. The Swede makes his bid for the front row on the previous day, spending the Saturday practice running in race-trim, with full tanks and race tyres, rather than short-life practice tyres. In full view of his pit Ickx has the Cosworth engine in his Lotus 72 blowing up and coasting to a stop in a cloud of oil smoke and nasty noises, having to continue practice back in the Lotus 76. Team Surtees repairs the new car for Jochen Mass and he gets along fine with it when he goes off the road at the new ess-bend on the back of the circuit and does more damage to the monocoque than could be repaired in the paddock, so he goes back to his older car. The speed of the two Ferraris gets all the top runners in a bit of a twitch, not to say something of a panic, and Scheckter tries out a different top gear ratio only to go slower and have to have it changed back to what is been calculated to be correct. With Lauda and Regazzoni firmly establishing on the front row of the grid the Scuderia Ferrari is able to free-wheel through the last part of practice and when it is all over they are the only two in the 1'18"0. bracket, with Fittipaldi, Hailwood, Scheckter and Hunt in the 1'19"0 bracket. Then comes a whole bunch in the 1'20"0 bracket, comprising Jarier, Depailler, Hulme, Peterson, Pryce, Reutemann and Watson. Of these Pryce is particularly praiseworthy, it being his first time out in a UOP-Shadow, and Watson equally so as his Brabham is privately run by the Hexagon-of-Highgate team and is a 1973 model. At the back of the field it is Schenken and van Lennep who get left behind, a mere three-hundredths of a second separating them, and a mere three-tenths from Migault putting them out of the race. 


Ron Tauranac takes his Trojan away not convinced it is that bad, but equally not wanting to say his driver was not fast enough, while van Lennep wonders if he ought to stick to long-distance racing. Among the back half of the field Edwards is going very well in the Lola, his knowledge of driving on the circuit a short time before in a Formula 5000 race standing him in good stead, and this effort spurs Graham Hill on to better things. Disappointing is Stuck in the works March, who was way down the back, his talents justifying something better in the way of machinery and expertise. Colin Chapman, with a black cap and a checkered jacket, spent some time around the Ferraris today. The Lotus wizard seemed to be wondering:


"But what do these formidable machines have that sets them apart?"


Clay Regazzoni was the fastest, clocking in at 1'18"91, and Niki Lauda set the second-best time (1'19"48). The Austrian achieved a fantastic feat, reaching 1'18"31 and surpassing the Swiss driver, whom, however, no one else managed to overtake. Result: two Ferraris on the front row for the start of the eighth Formula 1 Grand Prix. It's a noteworthy result that Ferrari had already achieved at the Monaco Grand Prix, and within the Maranello clan, recalling the unfortunate outcome of the Monaco race, everyone is cautiously optimistic. It serves as the best confirmation of the capabilities of the Maranello cars, which, after the unfortunate Swedish episode, have returned to the top of this highly competitive Formula 1, and they have done so forcefully. Just look at the times of the drivers and cars behind Lauda and Regazzoni: Emerson Fittipaldi with McLaren clocked 1'19"56, Hailwood, also with McLaren, in 1'19"68, and Scheckter with Tyrrell in 1'19"91. Peterson, with Lotus, only managed the tenth time (1'20"22). Lauda has over a second advantage over Fittipaldi and 1.6s over Scheckter. A huge difference in Formula 1, where the game is now played in hundredths of a second, and the gap is very close from one car to another. Fittipaldi, complaining about the inadequate grip of his McLaren, had no doubts about the race prognosis.


"A Ferrari wins, they go like rockets. They are faster on the straight, and in the mixed sections, we are on par".


Ferrari really needs to win. Lauda and Regazzoni need to secure some points, catching up, and if possible, surpassing Fittipaldi in the championship standings. The Maranello team's intention continues to be stated:


"We must not waste this opportunity".


Indeed, on the Zandvoort circuit, challenging and selective for both drivers and single-seaters, the Austrian and the Swiss with their 312-B3s fear no one. The day's events recorded two frightening yet harmless off-track incidents involving Jochen Mass with Surtees due to brake failure (the other Surtees driver, Carlos Pace, opted not to race at Zandvoort and left the small British team to join Brabham), and Watson with the Exagon-Brabham. French driver Henry Pescarolo parted ways with B.R.M., and as for disputes, the most notable were the clashes between Lotus technicians and those of Goodyear over tire supplies. In the straight, Ickx's Lotus engine exploded, and he skillfully managed to stop without damage. And then, for everyone, there were numerous small and big problems. Only Ferrari had none, and this is always the best secret to win. On Sunday, June 23, 1974, he usual half-hour non-timed session is not permitted. Local bye-laws prohibit racing-car-type noises before 11:00 a.m. on Sundays, and with the race due to start at 1:15 p.m. a test-session later than 11:00 a.m. is impractical. All Is fine and dry as the cars assemble in front of the pits to make ready for the race, everyone seeming to be in good order with Reutemann in the third of the BT44 Brabhams, Beltoise in the second of the P201 B.R.M. cars, Ickx in 72/R5 with a new engine installed, Mass in the older Surtees TS16, Pescarolo the P160 B.R.M. and Migault in the first of the P201 B.R.M.s, only because Pescarolo could not fit into it.


Lauda makes an absolutely great start and get to the first corner well in the lead, thus avoiding any nonsense like he suffered at Monte-Carlo when Regazzoni held him up. Hailwood get the jump on Regazzoni and is in behind Lauda, while Hunt is slow off the mark, being passed by quite a few cars before he really get under way. He then charges for a gap in the traffic to make up for his slow start, the gap closed and he hit Pryces Shadow, sending the black car helplessly off course with a broken right rear suspension, while the Hesketh carries on with a bent left rear suspension. Stuck has an accident two corners further on and ends up in the catch fence where he stays while the rest gets on with the race. From the opening lap race is not the operative word, for Lauda simply running away from everyone, putting on a demonstration that is inspiring for Ferrari enthusiasts, but soul-destroying for anyone else. For one glorious lap Hailwood stays in front of Regazzonis Ferrari, but then the second red car passes on braking for the Tarzan hairpin and it is all over. The demonstration race by the two Ferraris is simple and uncomplicated, Lauda goes further and further into the lead, while Regazzoni keeps on the pressure and rather than holding back the Cosworth hordes, he is making them pant for breath to keep him in sight, at the same time racing amongst themselves. This is fine, except that it means that Lauda cannot really ease up at all, for if he does his fiery team-mate begin to get too close for comfort. The Ferraris run strongly, so there are no problems and round and round goes Lauda, never putting a wheel wrong and leading from starting flag to finishing flag, an undisputed winner. Behind Regazzoni the Cosworth race is quite good, though it is of no great significance in the overall picture. Hailwood in the Yardley-backed McLaren led Depailler, Fittipaldi and Scheckter, while Reutemann, Peterson, Jarier, Hulme and Watson are tagging along behind. Edwards is leading the rest after Mass stops with his engine misfiring, due to grease getting in the electrical master switch! As the grease comes from a split rubber gaiter over a drive-shaft universal joint, he does not leave the pits again. Jariers run does not last long as the throttle control cross-shaft in the vee of the Cosworth engine breaks. After a long time in the pits having it replaced he gets going again, only to stop later with clutch slip. Another car in the pits for a long time is the Hesketh, for after a lap Hunt realised he has damaged his suspension. 


The damaged links are being replaced, but fifteen laps go by so Lord Hesketh decides it is pointless going on. The moments of excitement in the Cosworth race for third place overall are few and far between, though Depailler livenes things up by driving through on the inside of Hailwood on the twelfth lap as they break for the Tarzan hairpin, and powering round it in a spirited fashion. On the seventeenth lap Peterson does the same thing to Reutemann and Watson would have liked to be brave enough to do the same thing to Hulme, but the wily old bear make sure he is on the inside of the corner as he breaks. Hailwood slips down into fifth place, behind Fittipaldi and it then seems to be over, apart from cars falling apart or blowing up. Beltoise retires his B.R.M. with the gearbox showing signs of seizing up, Hill retires his Lola with the back end falling apart, Edwards has to give up with an engine that refuses to run properly, Merzario coasts to a stop with a broken gearbox and Migault does likewise, on the same part of the circuit when a small Allen socket-screw falls out of the gear linkage of his B.R.M. With the end almost in sight Hulmes Cosworth engine just goes dead on him, the ignition unit fails, and for the rest who do not have trouble it is a case of hoping not to be lapped by the flying Lauda. Depaillers courageous efforts in third place disappears as the fuel load goes a down and his tyres wear down, for the handling of the Tyrrell changed drastically. Although he alters his cornering technique to allow for it, Depailler can not hope to stay ahead of healthy rivals like Fitripaldi and Hailwood, nor even his team-mate Scheckter, but he manages to salvage sixth place. Watsons determined drive, keeping up with the establishment is negated slightly towards the end of the race when the thin aluminium spoiler-strip across the rear aerofoil becomes detached at one end and stuck out the back like a radio aerial. Although it is hardly noticeable both Team Lotus cars are still running at the end of the race, though both have been in and out of the pits for a variety of reasons. The most serious is wheel nuts coming loose, due to a fault In the inspection department (assuming Lotus have one), adding to which Peterson locks up his front brakes at one point and put flats on his tyres, stopping to change them. Anyone who cannot not stay in the forefront of the Cosworth race seem to have some sort of tyre-trouble, even though most of them are on Goodyear tyres, as were the two Ferraris, which have no trouble at all. 


Reutemann get confused by this rubber-herring, though Schuppan has a visible trouble right in front of the pits, when a tyre burns on the Ensign. He comes to a stop just beyond the pits and his mechanics fit another one on the spot, but it entailes exclusion under the no work outside the pit area rule. On the long straight of Zandvoort, with the crowd densely packed on the surrounding dunes, a red speck appeared first, then another, and finally, after quite some time for a Formula 1 race, specks of other colors. They were the Ferraris of Niki Lauda and Clay Regazzoni, speeding onto the track towards an exhilarating victory, leaving everyone else behind. The Dutch Grand Prix brought Ferrari a one-two finish even more beautiful than the one achieved in Spain, again by Lauda and Regazzoni: in Madrid, there was a sense of Maranello's escalation, and success was expected; here, the lingering aftermath of the Swedish Grand Prix still cast a shadow, there was a thread of fear. Could Ferrari be on a downward spiral, with Tyrrell poised to take the top spot in Formula 1? The Dutch Grand Prix swept away all doubts, unequivocally demonstrating that Ferrari is consistently strong, perhaps the strongest. It had been a long time since a team had demonstrated such superiority in a Grand Prix. The gaps are usually minimal, the margins between victors and defeated are slight. Here, however, an abyss separated Lauda and Regazzoni's 312-B3s from their rivals, to the extent that the race was terribly monotonous. At the front, those two red lightning bolts, behind them, the others, all reduced to mere extras. The double success naturally brought valuable points to Lauda and Regazzoni, who still have Emerson Fittipaldi ahead of them. The Brazilian, with McLaren, finished third: four points gained, a total of 31. The Austrian now has 30 points, and Regazzoni has 28 points. The situation becomes more challenging for Emerson, especially considering the performance difference between his car and Lauda and Regazzoni's 312-B3s.


"If they continue like this, the championship is already decided".


However, it's not a time for excessive enthusiasm, just as it wasn't a time for dejection after Ferrari's double retirement in Sweden. Each race is a story in itself, and unfortunate events can always happen. Today, it can be argued that under normal conditions, the Maranello cars are extremely competitive, capable of securing the world championship title for either Lauda or Regazzoni. That's no small feat. At the end of the race, the Austrian says:


"A truly problem-free Grand Prix. I had a good start, and then I just walked away. I'm happy because Ferrari has shown that it's always competitive, and because I'm in the running for the world title. It was essential to gain some points. I'm convinced that the one who stops less will win the championship. Look at Fittipaldi: he hasn't won a race since Belgium, but, race after race, he's still ahead of me and Regazzoni".


This is the second Grand Prix that Niki has won: is he happier in Zandvoort or was he more satisfied in Spain?


"Here, both because of the situation in the World Championship and because this was a more challenging, demanding race, more valuable".


Did he experience a moment of fear?


"I was worried when I saw Clay behind me. I hoped - I said to myself - that I wouldn't have to duel with him. Today he was my most dangerous rival, indeed the only one. Then the situation cleared up, and we both calmly completed our race".


On his part, Clay Regazzoni adds:


"I lost the Grand Prix at the start: the wheels spun, and I stayed there. After that, I tried to push the pace a bit, but I noticed that the car became rather understeering, and the tire performance worsened. I settled for second place. I'm still happy because I got six points. The title is always within reach".


It's an even peculiar situation for Ferrari, which has two drivers vying for the World Championship victory and evenly distributes its efforts for both. Better too much than nothing. Finally, a judgment from the technicians. Giacomo Caliri and Mauro Forghieri say:


"After Sweden, we had a moment of fear. This race, however, shows that Ferrari was only weaker on the specific Anderstorp circuit but hadn't lost its qualities. Certainly, it's a championship where you can't have breaks, and you have to strive to progress from race to race, perhaps with some new solutions, like the V-wing we mounted in Zandvoort for the first time. Lauda and Regazzoni's superiority in the tests allowed us to fine-tune the cars in detail, and indeed, everything went well".


Among the opponents, Emerson Fittipaldi's opinion is this:


"The Ferraris were invincible today. I could have done more only if Lauda or Regazzoni had stopped for some reason".


However, Ferrari's victory in the Netherlands is overshadowed in Italian newspapers by the 2-1 defeat against Poland of the Italian national football team in the World Cup. In Italy, Enzo Ferrari not only follows the events of the car, the factory, and his single-seaters but also every morning, in his office in Maranello, he carefully reads a bundle of newspapers and magazines. He is also interested in football, and indeed, he claims to have been a manager of Modena even before 1930. And he says:


"Ferrari had a bad day to win".


And he implies that on another Sunday, without Italy being disastrously crushed by the football World Cup, those in charge of the sports columns in the newspapers might have perhaps highlighted the triumph in Zandvoort more effectively. Ferrari, what did you feel watching the Poland-Italy match and the Dutch Grand Prix on TV?


"In the first case, a feeling of discouragement, only mitigated by the predictability of the result. I had observed Italy in the match against Haiti and in the subsequent one with Argentina. I had no illusions: the 3-1 had been challenging, the draw with the South Americans fortunate. What do we have in hand? I wondered. As for the Zandvoort race, it's logical that I remained happy. But I was confident in a positive outcome. I expected a demonstration of the value of our drivers and our cars on a challenging track, which requires a total examination".


What do you think of the National Team?


"That I admired, for example, the professional honesty of a player like Mazzola. He was an Italian playing for Italy. As for victories and defeats, they are the alternating events of sports, part of the sine curve that concerns every activity related to human values. In 1973, for example, Ferrari was a mere cameo, not a leading actor. I also had a team that wasn't performing. So, I changed the coach and players".


Do sports results have a value beyond their immediate events?


"The value that certain results can have abroad, I have never personally observed, because I haven't left Maranello for many years. Still, if I have to look at the telegrams and letters I receive in lean and successful periods, I can say that many people follow us and love us".


Can football learn something from motor racing?


"I would say that, unfortunately, in recent years, motor racing has copied from football... I find that in Italian football, there aren't many real athletes, but often idols created for reasons that escape the control of true fans. Reasons of all kinds, economic, sports policy, and so on. In the National Team, I have not yet seen a team of athletes and teamwork, at most personal initiatives".


Is it possible to compare the professional seriousness of a Lauda, a Regazzoni, a Fittipaldi, a Stewart with that of footballers?


"In this case, a parallel could also be drawn between Lauda and his companions and other elements that run and are not true professionals. In football, then, there are real professionals and others who are probably true amateurs, like the East Germans and the Poles. However, they set an example of what the spirit of patriotism and athletic ability can offer by putting themselves at the service of a sporting ideal".


And certain reactions from fans, such as the bottles thrown at Monza three years ago against the Ferrari truck and the stones on Sunday against the bus of the Azzurri?


"They are exaggerated reactions that constitute the expression of a state of mind of betrayed lovers".


What do you think of Ferrari in this exciting season?


"That we still have to work to improve. I add that at the base of every success, there are human abilities that include all those involved and harmony, that harmony that we found".


If you were to give advice to those responsible for Italian football, what would you suggest?


"To forget about having had a great team and to start over, as I did after a year of humiliation".


Enzo Ferrari doesn't give technical advice, and it's obvious. His is a lesson in courage, human generosity, and sportsmanship. Ferrari is 76 years old. Will the younger football executives be able to emulate him? Probably not, there's only one Ferrari.


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