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#219 1972 Canadian grand Prix

2022-01-30 23:00

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#1972,

#219 1972 Canadian grand Prix

Jackie Stewart and Elf-Team Tyrrell will remember 1972 as a year of mix fortunes. Stewart’s season started off well enough with a win in Argentina but

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Jackie Stewart and Elf-Team Tyrrell will remember 1972 as a year of mix fortunes. Stewart’s season started off well enough with a win in Argentina but after that things starts to go wrong. There was the ulcer that put him out of the Belgian Grand Prix and, prior to that, he had unaccountably spun at the Spanish GP which he now says is because his illness was affecting his concentration. He scored a win in the French GP after his lay off but then came another lean period. The publication of his new book Faster and various other magazine articles turnes many of his fans against him while, on the track, the new Tyrrell 005 has problems. His final race of the European section of the season finishes on a singularly unhappy note for he retired within the first 100 metres. At one stage many thought this would be Stewart’s last year of racing but he scotched those rumours. Meanwhile racing had found a new hero and World Champion-a 25 year old Brazilian, Emerson Fittipaldi. But, whatever else is said against Stewart, no one will deny his talent at the wheel of a racing car. On Sunday September 24th he reminds everyone in the strongest possible terms that none of that talent, dedication and skill is missing. In common terms Jackie Stewart and the Tyrrell 005 walkes the Canadian Grand Prix. That hard tryer Ronnie Peterson led that race for the first four laps, but after that, it isn’t a contest. At the finish Stewart has opens out over half a lap lead over second man Peter Revson in, what is a Grand Prix that almost don’t take place. Fog has delays the start but mercifully lift in time for the race still to be stage. There are 25 entries for the first of the two North American races which bring the World Championship to a close. This year it is schedule to be the turn of the beautifully situate and very different St. Jovite circuit to host the Canadian GP. However, before the start of the season, the lady owner has fallen out with Canada’s motor sporting authorities and, tragically, the track is shut down. Meanwhile, with financial assistance from a big brewery by the name of Labatts, the management of the Mosport Park track in Ontario agrees to hold the race, for a second year running. This track, which is within an hour’s drive of Toronto, is also most pleasantly situate in hilly woodland. Due to the vagaries of the harsh Canadian winters the track surface is extremely bumpy and the drivers hope it will be resurface before the race.

 

This isn’t done but additional armco and curbing are instal. The circuit is available for testing early in the week but official practice is on Friday and Saturday with two sessions on each day. However, as is the custom at Mosport, the first Friday morning session is untime but it does give teams a chance to set up everything for the Grand Prix and, for those unfamiliar with the circuit, to learn its dips, dives and tricky corners. The Formula One lap record is a rather dusty one as it rained heavily last year and the year before that the GP had been at St. Jovite. Thus it stands to Jacky Ickx who, in 1969, laps his Brabham BT26 in 1'18"1. More relevant is Stewart’s pole position time of last year at 1'15"3 while the pole position for this year’s Can-Am race is set by Mark Donohue’s Porsche at 1'14"2 and, in the race, Revson records the fastest lap at a second slower than that. In the untime morning session the various teams’ timing have no one approaching 1'15"0 but Hulme looks the fastest while Fittipaldi and Stewart are close behind. Everyone intend to take part in this session but both Hill and Pace miss it due to engine problems. Ganley uses the session to determine whether to use the P180 or the older P160C. Tony Southgate, the designer of both models, has already leave the team to start work on the new Shadow Formula One project so there isn’t one to guide Ganley. He decides on the older car which leaves the latest machine for local Canadian Bill Brack, although that deal isn’t finally sort out until the afternoon. With the knowledge that the official clocks are now clicking, practice hottes up in the afternoon. The Goodyear people have produce a very sticky compound tyre which is good for less than ten laps but during that time it give fantastic grip before starting to fall to pieces. Hulme is one of the first to got his hands on this qualifying rubber and set the pace. Practice is halt for a while as Ickx had flown off the road and damaged the Ferrari’s suspension slightly but once the car is back in the pits he takes out the spare. After that it is Stewart who is the man to catch and near the end of the session he records a 1'14"5, which is the fastest of the day. Hulme is a fifth of a second slower while his team mate, Revson, Emerson Fittipaldi and Ronnie Peterson all record 1'15"0. 

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Despite Ickx’s bump, Ferrari are in fairly good shape with Regazzoni on 1'15"3 and Ickx on 1'15"4 with the spare. More twelve cylinder engines complete the fastest ten the B.R.M.s of Gethin and Ganley on 1'15"7 and 1'16"1 respectively and then Chris Amon. Beltoise’s P180 has break a rear radius rod uniball joines on a fast section of the course and somehow spin to a halt without hitting anything. Pace and Hill are still in trouble, the Brazilian still having his engine change while the Londoner’s Brabham now has a fuel tank leak. The morning session on Saturday very definitely belong to the McLaren team. Because of their Can-Am experience both Revson and Hulme know Mosport extremely well and perhaps this add to having their cars on top form and the best qualifying tyres give them an advantage that sent some of the other teams into a state of depression. There is nothing more demoralizing than to see a team with both their drivers at the top of a list, and by quite a margin. That team has obviously got something you, and all the others, haven’t. Although the times hang out to both Revson and Hulme are practically identical at around 1'13"8, officially it is Revson the fastest at 1'13"6 and Hulme second at 1'13"9. If there is one driver and car that can have a challenge the McLarens it is Stewart’s Tyrrell 005 but that is out of contention. As 005 is ready for the session the big tooth drive belt on the front of the engine broke. It is quite a difficult job to replace and it takes the Tyrrell mechanics all the session and part of the next. Meanwhile Stewart drives the older 004 but is three seconds slower than Revson. Thus only Fittipaldi can got within a second of the McLarens, his black and gold John Player Lotus 72 recording 1'14"5. Tyrrell's honour is upheld to a degree by Cevert in the new 006, for the few fuel system problems which have cause trouble the previous day has been solve. Cevert is extremely happy with the new car and his best was 1'14"9 sec. lckx’s race car is obviously none the worse for the bump and lap in 1'14"7. Bell has been struggling with the Tecno which every so often looks as if it is starting to become competitive but then slips back again.

 

A broken rear cross member and rear roll bar curtail his practice while Graham Hill still has only a handful of laps to his credit as an engine blew up on him. So, with a final session remaining, the Yardley McLarens are first and second on the grid with Stewart third. Obviously, judging by the times, the McLarens look safe on the front-and they are. However, the team did suffer a minor set-back when a wheel come loose and then fall off Revson’s car sending him into the Armco barrier at turn two. Practice is stop and the car drags back in where it is to have the side of the monocoque section near the rear crimp in, the external water pipe flatten and some broken suspension. However this is repaire in time for the race. But the sensation of practice is Peterson who, although he is leaving the team, seems well please with his little March and is flinging it round in a spectacular manner. At Mosport the final corner is just before the pits and everyone in the pits can observe just how hard each driver is trying. Peterson takes all the prizes and, when his car is fitt with the qualifying tyre, he sets the fastest time of the session at 1'14"0 which knock Stewart off the front row. Both Stewart and Fittipaldi improve by a tenth of a second to 1'14"4 which ensure them of the second row of the grid. Cevert also lower his time to 1'14"5 and thus share row three with Regazzoni, (who did a similar time) and Ickx, whose morning time of 1'14"7 is also good enough for that row. One can’t help noting the consistency at which the Argentinian newcomer Carlos Reutemann qualifies well up Grand Prix grids in his first year of Formula One. His best of 1'14"9 with the Brabham put him up to row four along with Amon’s Matra. Wilson Fittipaldi, Gethin, Schenken, Ganley and de Adamich all lap within the 1'15"7-1'15"9 bracket to fill the next two rows. The grid shows the rest of the picture with both Williams cars lacking for the latest tyres or decent engines, Wisell being rather disappointing in his comeback for Lotus and Bell bringing up the rear with the enterprising but slow Tecno.

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Last year, it will be remembered, the Canadian Grand Prix was brought to a premature end because a heavy mist fell on the circuit. This year it happen the other way round because, after two bright practice days, Sunday morning in the Mosport area is extremely foggy. An untime shakedown practice is schedule for half an hour starting at 10:00 a.m. That come and go and two hours later everyone is still wandering around and peering into the murk, which have shown no sign of lifting. Meanwhile a very large crowd has gather, many having camp overnight, and the official figures, issue later, will suggest that it is the largest ever for a Canadian GP. Soon after it is announce that, if the fog lift, the GP will be starts and the various supporting races for saloons and Formula Ford will be cancel and run a week later. At the official starting time of 2:30 p.m. the fog has lift slightly but, by then, the organizers have ask the teams to bring the cars to the pits and then send them out individually for a couple of laps each, largely in an effort to keep the patient crowd happy. Stewart is the first out and report that conditions are impossible. But as Fittipaldi starts his laps the fog miraculously starts to lift. Perhaps the great gods of weather are paying a tribute to a new World Champion. Anyway, after his laps, Fittipaldi says he thinks it will soon be safe to race. A quarter of an hour warm-up period start during which the damp track dry out and Derek Bell flow off the road and bent the front suspension of the Tecno too badly for it to race. All the organize formalities are discarde and just over an hour late, the grid, now reduce to 24 cars with Bell’s demise, forme up and then roll forward. On the front row Hulme is flanks by Revson on pole position in a GP for the first time and Peterson who has never been on the front row in a World Championship event before. When the flag drop the start is a little confuse as Hulme almost jumps the start and then muff it, Revson don’t make a very good getaway either and Peterson rocket into the lead.

 

As the field lift off for the first corner a number of drivers find that all the dirt and dust that are flying around have block their throttle slides. Both McLarens are affect, particularly Hulme whose throttle is stuck wide open, and he has to resort to driving on the ignition for a couple of laps until it is freed. Both Lauda and Barber actually grind to a halt with the problem and both lost many laps before limping back to the pits. In fact Barber turns up at the pits when the race is half over, having earlier broken the throttle cable, while Lauda lost 15 laps. De Adamich has miss all this because he leves on the start line due to a gearbox problem. He finally got going but retire after three laps with the internals all chew up. The end of the first lap is a sight worth remembering, Peterson take the final corner in front of the pits in a huge opposite-lock slide, and with about three seconds in hand over Stewart. Then come Revson follows by Ickx, Fittipaldi, Regazzoni, Amon, Reutemann, Schenken, the three B.R.M.s of Gethin, Ganley and Beltoise, then Hulme, HilI, Pace, Wisell, Pescarolo, de Adamich and finally Cevert, who has recover from a big moment and, bringing up the rear, Brack’s B.R.M. Limping into the pits with his throttle slides bung up is Wilson Fittipaldi while Beuttler also arrives at the pits after flying off the road and into a catch fence. He has manage to got the car back on the road and limp it back to the pits, where a rear drive shaft and some suspension components are change. For all Peterson’s first lap exuberance he soon has Stewart closing up that first lap gap and, by lap three, the red STP March has the blue Tyrrell right on his tail. The following lap Peterson run very wide at the difficult two part turn 5 (known as Moss Corner) and Stewart nip through into a lead which is never challenge. Stewart immediately starts to open the gap and, by the tenth lap (with 70 more to go), Peterson has already drops six seconds behind. However the Swede has open out a similar gap over the rest of the field with an exciting six-car nose to tail battle contesting third place.

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The group is led by Ickx followed by Revson, Fittipadi, Regazzoni, Amon and Reutemann. Then there is quite a gap back to HuIme, who has clear his throttles and is making up ground at a tremendous pace. He has pass Schenken for ninth place and the Australian is left to lead another group with Ganley, Beltoise, Hill, WiseII and Pace in his wake. Cevert, after his early scare, is moving up quickly too and has join the back of this group. Gethin has already make a pit stop on lap five and then make a total of five more to have his badly misfiring engine bring back on song. During these stops the coil, spark plugs, and rev limiter all change and he finally got going again, many laps down. Much later he retires when the rear suspension collapse. By lap 20 there is little change although Stewart has now open out a margin of 15 seconds over Peterson, while the third place battle is more hectic than ever. Revson still leds the group but Fittipaldi find a way round lckx leaving him to run in company with team mate Regazzoni and creates a problem for both Amon and Reutemann who are trying to get by. Hulme has close up on this group but find Reutemann’s Brabham very wide and starts waving his fist at the Argentinian, who is right up Amon’s exhaust. It is more a chain reaction cause by the Ferraris and similar to those frustrating queues that form in the fast lane of British motorways. HuIme moves up one place soon after, he passed Amon who was dropping back. The Matra had lost a piece of a primary pipe from the exhaust system which make the car sound off-song as well as affect the performance, but Amon plug on. Meanwhile, Cevert is driving on top form and is closing on this group despite having difficulties with the rear brakes which are losing hydraulic fluid. Once Stewart has open the lead out to about 18 sec. he hold it there and, by half distance (40 laps) the race is developes into something of a stalemate.

 

Revson is still third and, though Fittipaldi is challenging hard, he seems unable to find a way round the McLaren. At half distance Ickx pulls into the pits for a front wheel to be change, because of a puncture, and also has the electrics attende to and this effectively puts him out of the running. So the half distance order is Stewart, leading by 18 secs., from Peterson who has a similar margin over Revson. Fittipaldi is close behind and then there is a gap to Regazzoni, Reutemann, Hulme and Amon. Hulme is, by this time, furious at Reutemann’s antics and on several occasions has drop back and taken a run at the Argentinian, all to no avail. In eighth place is Tim Schenken, despite some very nasty handling cause by the top left suspension rocker arm of his Surtees which has contrive to bend at the start. By this stage Schenken is lap and he has a little group with Wisell, Hill, Pace and Ganley in his mirrors. Cevert’s brakes have deteriorate badly and he makes a couple of stops to have them attend to, more fluid is add and a loose union tightened. He resumes but then a break gearbox puts him out for good. Brack is also missing off the lap charts having flown off the road into a catch fence damaging only the nose of the car. However he is unable to continue. Peterson’s progress is halt soon after half distance when he come up to lap the group led by Schenken. He find that Graham Hill hasn’t intention of letting him pass easily and the Swede spend four frustrating laps trying to get by and, meanwhile, Stewart opened the gap up to almost half a minute. In desparation Peterson tries to dive through on the inside at turn ten only to have Hill cut across his bows and the pair collide. Peterson stops at the far end of the pits with his steering bent while Hill continues unabashes. The March is push back up the pit road where some hasty repairs are make and Peterson rejoins. Soon afterwards he is black flag for the push up the pits in the reverse direction but not until he has give Hill some of his own treatment.

 

With the demise of Peterson, Peter Revson move into second place but has drop his constant shadow Emerson Fittipaldi, who is obviously in problems. On lap 57 Regazzoni moves into third place ahead of the Brazilian who then come into the pits. He has lost a front nose fin and there seems to be some confusion in the Lotus pit whether to replace the complete nose section or just the fin. He finally got away in twelfth place. However, while he is still there, team-mate Wisell also stops due to a sticking throttle. He returnes in the race only to have a high pressure fuel line split so he retired. Beltoise is another retirement, his engine having broken a valve spring or two. By three quarters distance Stewart is romping home to victory with Revson and Regazzoni in the next two places and the main interest in whether Hulme can forces a way by Reutemann, although he now seems resign to following him. But, with just seven laps to go, Reutemann suddenly appears in third place still with Hulme on his tail but now with Regazzoni following them at quite a distance. The unfortunate Regazzoni has executes a huge spin when he suddenly find Skip Barber in the way, the American March returning to the race almost 60 laps late. Stewart drive on to victory and a £25.000 first prize to give the Tyrrell 005 its first victory and the Cosworth DFV engine its fiftieth. Some 48 secs. later Revson take the flag for his highest ever grand prix finish and then, in third place, Hulme suddenly appeares. On the very last lap he has pass Reutemann but only because the Argentinian has start to run out of fuel and he still manage fourth place ahead of Regazzoni. Amon’s sick sounding Matra is sixth, having been lap, then come Schenken, Hill, Pace (who actually stop on the last lap-out of fuel), Ganley, pit stoppers Fittipaldi and lckx and finally Pescarolo who has also stops with handling trouble cause by a loose joint in the rear suspension. Lauda will be 15th but he is disqualified for receiving outside assistance on the course.

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Rebecca Asolari

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