It could be the decisive event for the title: Jackie Stewart is one step away from the goal. In practice, the Scotsman has already won his duel with Ferrari and the Maranello drivers, but Ickx, in theory, could still constitute an obstacle. The Belgian - but he doesn't believe it either, being an intelligent boy - should establish himself in the four remaining Grand Prix (Austria, Italy, Canada and the United States). If in these races Stewart failed to obtain even a second place or two fourth places, he would be replaced by Ickx in the prestigious role of first of the steering wheel overtaking drivers. The mathematical games of the World Championship scores still offer Ickx a card, but it is only a bluff, which Stewart could call precisely in Austria. More avenues are open to the Scotsman: a success for him, a second place for him, the success of another rider other than Ickx will automatically give him the world title. And for Jackie it would be an encore, given that he had already been World Champion in 1969 with Matra-Ford, always under the charitable wing of ex-timber merchant Ken Tyrrell. The Stewart-Tyrreli pairing is having a fabulous season, punctuated by a series of successes reminiscent of that of another famous British pairing, Clark-Chapman. Stewart could surpass one of Clark's records, that of the number of Grand Prix won in the same year. In 1963, the great Jim established himself with the Lotus-Climax 1500 in Belgium, France, England, Italy, Mexico, Holland and South Africa. Seven successes out of ten tests. Stewart, so far, has established himself in Spain, Monaco, France, Great Britain and Germany. He could do it, even if, almost always, the conquest of the title slows down the pace and commitment of the winner. Furthermore, a vigorous counteroffensive from Ferrari is expected. Ickx, Regazzoni and Andretli himself, who knows the American circuits very well, will be looking for some consolation victories, while increasingly insistent rumors want Peterson to move from March to the Maranello team. There is only one question: have the Firestone and Ferrari specialists solved the problem of tires and vibrations? Has harmony been found between the suspension of the 312-B2 and the tires? In recent days, engineer Mauro Forghleri, technical manager of the Italian team, has carried out long tests in Monza (also in view of the Italian Grand Prix) and others have been carried out in America and Austria.
It will be the Austrian test, with its very fast track, that will indicate what progress has been made in this delicate sector. If a substantial improvement is not recorded, the power increases expected for the 12-cylinder boxer (it is believed that a version with 500 HP at 13.000 RPM will debut in Monza; i.e. with 20 HP and 500 RPM more than the current one) will be useless . In any case, work is underway at Ferrari. Holidays are a precious asset reserved for others. Enzo Ferrari himself does not move from the factory, weaving - more or less secretly - the plots for the next season, which will also see the debut of one of his cars in the Indianapolis basin with Mario Andretti. SI works for the future, even if the present is in Austria. This midsummer Grand Prix will also develop other interesting themes: Hailwood's return to Formula 1, the debut of Marko (the Austrian winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans) and his compatriot Lauda, Gethin's move from MacLaren to B.R.M. , which lines up four machines (namely Gethin, Siffert, Ganley and Marko). There will be no Matra-Simca. The French manufacturer preferred to give up the race to avoid yet another bad impression. And then we complain about Ferrari. Last year, the Austrian Grand Prix was memorable for a number of things, it was the first Grand Prix to be held on the new Osterreichring, it was the first victory by Ferrari in a long time, it was the last race by Stewart with a March car before the announcement of the new Tyrrell car, Italian enthusiasm ran wild after the race, and altogether it was a Grand Prix to remember. There is an incredible atmosphere running across Austria even before the event begin, for Ferrari have come so close to victory at the previous Grand Prix and the writing is on the wall for an Italian victory. The sun is shining, Austria is in great form, everyone was delighted with the new circuit the Austrians have built and from the moment of crossing the frontier from Germany into Austria the whole affair had been a roaring success. This year it is all very different, the rain is pouring down. Everywhere there is a feeling that Stewart and the Tyrrell car is all set for another victory, which would be his fourth in a row and the sixth this season so that points scoring or no points scoring the Scot would be the undisputed World Champion driver for 1971.
Stewart’s last three victories have been achieved with so little apparent effort, with Cevert backing him up in second place with the number two Tyrrell car in two of the races, that the Elf Team Tyrrell has got everyone thoroughly depressed, and Matra withdraws from the Austrian race in a desperate hope to improve their cars in the lull this would give them. Although Ferrari has three entries and the three 1971 cars, only Ickx and Regazzoni arrive in the rain, Andretti still playing ducks and drakes with European racing and USAC racing. In weight of numbers B.R.M. are very strong, having four 1971 cars and a 1970 car with them, Siffert being joined by Ganley and Gethin on the new cars and the Austrian Dr. Marko joining the team with the 1970 car. Gethin has been released prematurely by the McLaren team for his contract is due to end after the Italian Grand Prix and B.R.M. are taking him on for the Canadian and American Grand Prix events anyway, so he joined them for the Austrian race by general agreement and this means that Oliver can take over Gethin’s 1971 McLaren, in support of Hulme. The STP-March team has undergone a shuffle both in drivers and machinery, for though Peterson still leads them with his usual 711 model, Galli’s car is still using an Alfa Romeo engine and the original Alfa Romeo-engined car is converted to a Cosworth power unit and this is hired out to Niki Lauda, a 22-year-old Austrian driver who is been showing promise in Formula Two racing. Beuttler is driving a March 711 as usual for the Clarke-Modaunt combine and Pescarolo is driving for Frank Williams. In the Surtees team the Stommelen supporters have been complaining that the young German’s usual car is no good, so John Surtees gives him his own car and takes the latest one for himself, hoping this would allay any suspicions that there are any differences between the two TS9 cars they have been racing all season. The Lotus team and Tauranac’s Brabham team are unchanged and, like the Tyrrell Team, all is amicable in their ranks. A last minute entry is Bonnier with his old McLaren. Altogether there are 26 drivers entered but this number is reduced to 22 with the absence of Andretti, Amon, Beltoise and de Adamich. The FIA rules permit 25 Formula One cars to compete on the 5.911 kilometre Osterreichring. The two Ferrari drivers make a big improvement on last year’s best time but they are nowhere near fast enough, and a gloom settles over the Maranello team.
Right at the end of practice, Stewart is well wound up and Fittipaldi sees the chance of nipping his Lotus 72 in behind the Tyrrell and he gets a very useful tow which gives him fourth fastest time of the day, ahead of Cevert who is supposed to have got in behind the master. While some people are having a good time and going fast, others are already in trouble, both the Brabhams wasting a lot of time in the pits having their drive-shafts attended to, while Galli’s Alfa-Romeo engine is in trouble, as is Peterson’s Cosworth engine. With the pace that Stewart is setting, it is clear that anyone who hopes to be in the running would have to improve on the existing lap record, preferably well below 1'39"0, while anyone who can not get below 1'40"0 is likely to find himself getting in the way of the motor-race. In the B.R.M. team Siffert is all on his own, his regular team-mate and the two new-boys being leave way behind, and Hulme is having a very lonely time, but going very well nevertheless. Friday turns out to be a scorching hot day, all the damp and moisture is gone from the plateau and it is really too hot for any serious practice, there being another three hours from 3:00 p.m. to 6 p.m. Oliver and Pescarolo are still waiting for their cars to arrive, Lauda is also without a car as his March 711 is in bits behind the pits awaiting the arrival of another engine, and Galli is also a non-runner as a replacement Alfa Romeo engine has been installed in his March and has made a nasty noise when it is started up. Stewart is not happy with the feel of the throttle slides on his Cosworth engine, so his mechanics strip the slide assembly in front of the pits and inspect the tiny balls and rollers on which the throttle slides move. Cevert is finding that the wide nose on his Tyrrell is scraping the ground on the downhill right-hand bends, but it is not too serious, and Regazzoni and Ickx both practice with the spare Ferrari; the Austrian time-keepers, unlike some countries we’ve been to this year, are fully aware of these changes and record them correctly. Quite early in the afternoon, Stommelen has an oil pipe come adrift on his Surtees and as he is doing more opening laps than he has been told to he, goes on until the engine seizes up and the track is well oiled. It is just as well there is plenty of practice time and everyone can sit back and wait for the oil to dry up. Hulme and Hill appear to be doing endurance testing on their Cosworth engines, for Hulme covers 50 laps and Hill does 55 laps during the afternoon practice for a race that is only ever 54 laps.
It seems that most people are waiting for the heat of the sun to disperse, and at 5.15 p.m. it looks as if there might be a rush of fast laps, but it does not work out that way. Ickx disappears on the far side of the circuit in a cloud of smoke as an oil pipe broke, and Stewart is not too happy with the way his Cosworth engine is opening up. The weather conditions are not as good as the previous day from the point of view of engine efficiency, but they are marvellous for spectators and for most drivers there is no improvement over the first day’s times. Once again Fittipaldi benefits from some crafty slip-streaming, this time from Hulme’s McLaren and his 1'38"41 proves to be the fastest of the day. Siffert uses the spare B.R.M. as well as the one allotted his race number, the newer car having the first of the short-stroke engines, while the spare car, which is the one he normally races, has an old type engine, but with the 1971 cylinder heads, and this proves to be the faster of the two. In less than half, the number of laps that his team-mate cover Schenken proves to be quite a lot faster and is a very worthy fifth fastest overall for the day, driving his 1970 Brabham. Saturday is another scorching hot day and this time practice is from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., making a total of nine hours altogether, for a race that is to last barely 1 1/2 hours. At last there is a full complement of cars for Pescarolo’s March 711 has arrived and the McLaren M19A/1 for Oliver, while engines have arrived for the March works cars so Lauda is back in the fray. Stewart’s Tyrrell has been running with an experimental longer wheelbase (described elsewhere) during the first two days, but is now back to its normal length. Siffert seems to be concentrating on the spare B.R.M. and Regazzoni is spending a lot of time in the spare Ferrari. Practice is rather slow in getting under way as nobody seems keen to go out in the heat, except those who are short on practice laps. Oliver only manages six laps before he crashes going into the downhill right-hand Bosch Curve at the end of the top straight. He blames it on a lack of brakes and when the bent McLaren is brought back to the paddock it is found that there is no outer brake pad in the left-rear caliper for the keeper plate has disappeared. Temperature conditions are not going to return to those of Thursday, so everyone has to get on with the job and towards the end of the afternoon, there is a sudden rush of activity.
Lauda goes by in a cloud of smoke as an oil pipe comes adrift and spews oil onto the exhaust system of his March 711, and Stewart’s Tyrrell has the gearbox apart and the internals are being inspected closely for any flaws as it has shown signs of playing up. One by one a select group of drivers are getting their lap times down into the 1'37"0 bracket, those being Fittipaldi, Cevert, Siffert and Regazzoni. As soon as his gearbox is reassembled, Stewart rushes out to join the last-minute thrash and is immediately in with the select group. However, it is not the Scot who is fastest overall, but Siffert with the spare B.R.M. running under number 14T and Regazzoni makes his best time with the spare Ferrari under number 6T. Siffert’s brave efforts are not only rewarded with the fastest lap of the day, but it is also the fastest lap of the whole three days and gets him pole position on the starting grid. Stewart is just pipped by his team-mate, but his Thursday time is still faster and assures him of a front row position on the grid. Top lap scorer on this occasion is Pescarolo, who does a total of 41 laps, trying to make up for the time lost of the previous two days, while Wisell does 40 laps, to make his fastest lap of 1'38"95. Altogether 13 drivers improve on the existing lap record and they are all faster than last year’s best practice time. Hulme does one brief lap with a Tyrrell-like wide nose cowling on the front of his McLaren, but it is gone almost before anyone noticed, although the Tyrrell mechanics smile broadly when they see it. Only five drivers fail to break the 1'40"0 barrier and one of these is Oliver, who does not have much chance, and the overall standard is very fast. The Austrian Grand Prix, like that of Monaco, can be defined as the Italian Grand Prix. Thousands came to this Osterreichring circuit, in the heart of wooded Styria, to witness the usual Tyrrell-Ferrarl duel, hoping, for once, to see the triumph of lckx or Regazzoni. But it is a fleeting hope, because Stewart, one step away from the world title, will increase his commitment in this race which can definitively award him the World Championship and because other drivers and other cars have come to the fore, first and foremost Siffert. The Swiss achieved the best time today with his new B.R.M., at the conclusion of the three long days of testing that preceded the race.
Siffert lapped in 1'37"44 at an average of 218.43 km/h, overtaking Stewart himself in the ranking of the fastest, who was unable to lower the excellent 1'37"65 achieved on Thursday. The Scotsman suffered gearbox problems. In any case, Stewart only needs a second place and the success of any racer other than Ickx to achieve his second triumph in Formula 1 after the one with the Matra-Ford in 1969. And it should be noted that his teammate Cevert scored the second fastest time of the day, his third overall. These Tyrrells, however, are going strong. Ferrari has not yet solved the tire problem, or rather it has found a makeshift solution and must be satisfied with what it achieves without being able to fully exploit the qualities of its 12-cylinder boxer and the anger of Ickx and Regazzoni. The solution is this: use the high profile tires adopted since the beginning of the season on the 312-B. With these tires Andettl established himself in the United States in the Questor Grand Prix on the Ontario track. The argument is simple. These tires prevent the terrible vibrations experienced in France, England and, to a lesser extent, Germany. Furthermore, they do not deteriorate over time, but retain their freshness. On the other hand, they do not allow the speed spikes of low profile tires (which Siffert, Stewart and Cevert can use). The difference, at least in Zeltweg, is around 0.5s per lap. Mauro Forghieri, Ferrari technical director, says:
"But we had no doubts about the choice. High profile tyres, because at least they give the guarantee of holding up to the end and not straining the riders".
The fact is that on Sunday, for the first time since the start of this World Championship, neither Ickx nor Regazzoni will start on the front row. The Swiss will be in the second and the Belgian in the third. Says Jacky Ickx:
"On the other hand, it was logical to prefer slower but safer tyres. At least, let's hope we get to the end of the race. At the beginning of the year I was sure that I had a good chance of winning the title. These tire and vibration problems prevented us from getting the affirmations Ferrari deserved. You can be sure that, once the Inconvenience is resolved, we will return to the light. The 312-B2 is always the car with the most chances and I continue to have faith in it".
Today Regazzoni improved his time slightly (on Friday the track, flooded with oil from the broken engine of Stommelen's Surtees-Ford, forced the drivers to drive with velvet feet) dropping from 1'38"27 to 1'37" 90, with the 312-B2 as a reserve, while Ickx with his 1'39"68, remained above the 1'38"27 of the first day of testing. The Englishman Oliver went off the track in his McLaren-Ford and remained unharmed. The Austrian Grand Prix therefore presents itself in a very different climate for Ferrari from last year, when the 312-B2 was emerging with momentum. Both Siffert and Regazzoni, elect to start the race with their practice cars, Siffert’s spare B.R.M. actually being the one he has raced all season, while the spare Ferrari is the one Andretti has raced on occasions. The start of the race is not due until 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, August 15, 1971, but another scorching hot morning brings the crowds to the circuit very early, a great number having camped overnight. The morning is taken up with a further 50 minutes of practice for the Grand Prix cars, this session being untimed and called Informationstraining. No Ferraris, no Lotus and no B.R.M.s appear, but the rest goes thrashing round and round, Hulme and Oliver doing a vast number of laps and even Stewart and Cevert put in quite a few laps, the leading Tyrrell still being in its normal wheelbase length. Oliver is making up for lost time, his car repairs all right, and Pescarolo makes the most of the extra time. Just before the 50 minutes is up Gethin puts in some laps as his B.R.M. would stop working on 12 cylinders when it gets hot. The rest of the time before the start is filled in with some National Saloon Car and Formula Vee races, bands, parachute jumping and a parade of 11 507 BMWs, the shapely V8 two-seaters of the mid-fifties. By the time 3:00 p.m. approaches the hills round the circuit are covered by solid masses of spectators, an estimated 130.000 turning up on this beautiful sunny day in the lovely Austrian countryside. More than 100.000 tickets have been sold before race day, and there is no doubt that the Osterreichring is popular with spectators for the viewing facilities are wonderful.
The 22 starters line up in pairs on the dummy grid, rather a long way back from the starting line, over which a Mobil banner is displayed. There are, in fact, only 21 cars on the grid, for Bonnier’s McLaren has sprung a leak in one of its fuel tanks while still in the paddock. At the 30 sec. signal the cars move forward and by the time they reach the starting line the 30 sec. have tickes by and the Austrian flag is dropped while everyone is still on the move so that it is quite a good rolling start for all except Beuttler whose engine would not start. While Siffert’s B.R.M. leads the pack away the red March 711 is wheeled into the pit road where it loses two laps before getting going. From the moment the 12-cylinder B.R.M. beats the blue Tyrrell off the line and up the steep hill after the start it is Siffert all the way, with Stewart desperately trying to hang on. In only four laps they have opened a gap between themselves and the rest of the runners, but it is already obvious that a gap is appearing between the B.R.M. and the Tyrrell. Behind them, Regazzoni’s Ferrari is in third place followed by Cevert’s Tyrrell, Ickx’s Ferrari, Schenken’s Brabham with its full-width nose cowling, and then Fittipaldi and Wisell in the Lotus 72s and Hill in the BT34 Brabham. On lap 5 Cevert gets by Regazzoni and takes third place, but only for a lap, and Ickx meanwhile is dropping rapidly down the field, his engine sounding very rough. On lap 8 Cevert is back in third place again and on the following lap Regazzoni’s Ferrari engine dies on him out in the country and that is the last of the Ferrari challenge for the day. By this time it is clear that Stewart is not going to catch Siffert, but more important is the fact that he is not keeping up with him. Hulme has already retired with a broken engine on lap 7 and Ganley has been in and out of the pit since the first lap, with an obscure ignition fault in the engine of his P160 B.R.M., thought to be somewhere deep down in the flywheel distributor pick-up mechanism. By 10 laps the race has settled down with Siffert in a commanding lead, follow by the two Tyrrells, but neither of them any danger to the Bourne car which is sounding competitive. Stewart is in slight trouble with his car understeering too much for he is using narrower Goodyear tyres on the front wheels than he normally uses and the decision to experiment is a wrong one. Behind the two, Tyrrell cars Schenken and Fittipaldi are engaged in a great battle, the Brabham being faster on the fast parts of the circuit and the Lotus being faster on the slower parts so that they finish each lap nose to tail with the turquoise Brabham always in front and in fourth place.
Then come Wisell and Hill, their cars in the same situation, so that they, too, are having a good race, and after that Pescarolo is leading all the March cars, and Ickx is back amongst them in 11th place and getting nowhere at all. Surtees disappears on lap 13 when his Cosworth engine brakes and by this time some hazy clouds are appearing and obscuring the sun so that the temperature drops considerably. There is nothing that Stewart can do about the Flying Swiss and as he fails to make any impression on the B.R.M. he starts to relax and Cevert closes on him, going by into second place on lap 23, but not gaining on the B.R.M., for Siffert has just set a new lap record. The two Brabham versus Lotus battles are still in progress, with Tauranac’s cars leading each pair, and Pescarolo is alone as the last of the serious runners, those behind him either being uninspiring or in some sort of trouble, like Gethin whose B.R.M. engine is sounding flat and Ickx in the slowest Ferrari we have ever seen. Marko and Oliver are bringing up the rear apart from Beuttler and Lauda, the former having lost so much time at the start and the latter having had a pit stop to change a front tyre. At half-distance Siffert is as firmly in the lead as ever and the B.R.M. engine sounds strong and healthy and the two Tyrrells look to be outclassed, but nevertheless are still in second and third places. Still the Brabhams are leading the Lotuses but on lap 29 Wisell gets by Hill as one of the Brabham’s Goodyear tyres is beginning to deflate, making the handling tricky. At the same time Fittipaldi is screwing his courage together to try and get past Schenken because he feels sure that once past he cab pull away, but the lanky Australian is not giving way easily and the rugged little Brazilian is going to have to find his own way by. This happens on lap 32, as they start the descent from the top straight, for Fittipaldi has been looking for an opening for a lap or two and Schenken is not so tidy on the Bosch-Curve as he should have been on that lap and that is all the Lotus driver wants. Once past he pulls steadily away from the Brabham, consolidating his newly-won fourth place. He has not been there for long when it becomes third place for on lap 36 the left-rear wheel on Stewart’s Tyrrell parts company with the car on the left-hand bends in the middle of the circuit. The short stub axle, which takes most of the loading on this circuit which has some very fast right-hand bends, has broken and Stewart ends his race in a cloud of dust.
Although another Tyrrell is in second place it is not very sure for Cevert is having trouble with his gearbox and Fittipaldi is closing on him. By 40 laps, the trouble is so bad that it is only a matter of time before Cevert drops out and this happens right in front of the pits on lap 43 when the engine blows up in a cloud of smoke, due to the gearbox jumping out of gear and letting the engine get overstressed. This puts Fittipaldi in second place, with Schenken a strong third, followed a long way back by Wisell and Hill, then comes a lonely Pescarolo, and an equally lonely Stommelen and the rest has been lapped by Siffert. These are Peterson, Oliver, Marko, Gethin and Galli, the last named struggling along to finish with a very sick-sounding Alfa Romeo engine. At about this time, Siffert is becoming aware that his B.R.M. is beginning to feel a bit odd on the fast right-hand bends and after a few more laps he is very conscious that his left-rear tyre is losing air, but he has sufficient lead over Fittipaldi to stay in front, providing the tyre does not go completely flat. In the closing 10 laps there are no changes in position apart from Gethin passing Marko, to move up to 10th place, but Fittipaldi is closing rapidly on the slowing B.R.M., though no one really knows why at the time, only Siffert knowing what is happening. For the last three laps, the B.R.M. situation is precarious as the Firestone tyre loses more and more air and the Swiss driver is having a really bad time on the right-hand bends, though everything is fine on the straights. Not until after it is all over does anyone know just how fraught Siffert’s last lap is, nor that the car is virtually uncontrollable on the slowing-down lap. Fittipaldi is a bare four seconds behind at the finish and has the race been 55 laps long he would have won. He may also have won had he passes Schenken earlier, but if don’t win races, you win them the way Siffert and B.R.M. do; fastest practice lap and lead the race from start to finish, no matter what happens once the chequered flag has fallen. It is a great victory for the B.R.M. team and the Mexican Bandit sitting up in Valhalla must have been proud of the Crazy Swiss and all the lads at Bourne.
Once the B.R.M. has crossed the line, the crowds go wild with excitement and Swiss flags appear from all quarters and the whole circuit is completely flooded by enthusiastic spectators, for Joseph Siffert is exceedingly popular with European crowds, and Austria and Switzerland have a much closer affinity than just being neighbouring countries. Long after darkness has fallen the beer tents behind the paddock are still lit and joyous community singing can be heard right across the valley until late in the evening. It has been a wonderful day and most of the 130.000 spectators must be looking forward to visiting the Osterreichring again in 1972. Jackie Stewart is World Champion. The Scotsman won his second title on the most difficult day of the season for Tyrrell. Jackie left the track due to the loss of a wheel after a race without his usual shine and his teammate Cevert retired due to the failure of his engine. But the Austrian Grand Prix was also negative for Ferrari. Regazzoni and Ickx are soon transformed into spectators. The Belgian was the only driver still capable of threatening Stewart. He would have had to win, however, otherwise the game would have ended, regardless of the result of his rival. Instead, Jo Siffert asserted himself and finally concretized the escalation of the B.R.M. 12 cylinders. The Swiss preceded Fittipaldi (Lotus) and Schenken (Brabham), Wisell (Lotus), Hill (Brabham) by four seconds. A bit of revenge for the excluded. The race had a very linear development. There are many interesting facts and considerations that can be drawn from them. First: Tyrrell is not invincible. It too can experience difficult days. His strength - reasoning less banal than it seems - is that he had fewer than others. Stewart says he slowed down almost immediately when he realized something was wrong. It seemed like he was presenting the episode. Never have we seen the Scotsman so nervous as he is these days. He was not happy with the car, which during testing had suffered problems with the fuel and gearbox. Perhaps being one step away from the title broke his calm imperturbability.
"I would have preferred to become champion by winning and not retiring".
Siffert was quick to seize the opportunity. It's been a few races since the Swiss and the B.R.M. they are doing well. The English single-seater, which had not established itself in a Grand Prix since last year's in Belgium, offered several times the sensation of being able to enter the Tyrrell-Ferrari duel.
Siffert, for example, was blocked in England and Germany by the detachment of the coil, which was placed on a support of the roll cage. The vibrations caused it to fail. At Zeltweg, the device had been moved and the inconvenience did not occur again. Siffert won. The Swiss used the same type of tires that Ferrari had had to discard. Low profile tires, therefore faster but less safe. On the B.R.M. the vibration problem is not as serious as on the 312-B2 from Maranello. It's also a question of suspensions. And it must be said that Fittipaldi's Lotus also had Firestones. Precisely the success of the underprivileged. Says Jo Siffer:
"I took a risk, but it was worth it. At first I was afraid. Then. when I saw that Stewart couldn't keep up with my pace, I gained confidence. But, with about sixteen laps to go, one tire began to collapse and the others began to perform less. I had to slow down".
The B.R.M. tested a new, shorter-stroke engine, capable of delivering 500 more RPM. It should be fielded in the race at Monza. Unfortunately, Ferrari was unable (or unable) to take advantage of the collapse of the Stewart-Tyrrell super duo. She stumbled upon a crazy day, like those in France and England, when Ickx and Regazzoni were forced to retire. For fear of the low profile tyres, the technicians had preferred to fall back on the solution of late 1070, early 1971 type tyres. This time the problems arose elsewhere, to the particular regret of Regazzoni, who claims to have had the Best car since the beginning of the year. It is a delicate moment for the Maranello team, which set off for this World Championship with many ambitions. The situation gradually deteriorated, with the well-known problems with the tires and the failure of some engines. The atmosphere is not the most serene. When Ickx arrived at the garage and it was discovered that the engine was running on eleven cylinders due to a wire that wasn't working, a hunt for the culprit among the mechanics began. But, probably, the loosening was due to vibrations and not to a lack of pre-race checks. When Ickx then returned to the garage, a piston was broken; the Belgian, after a significant look at Mauro Forghieri, the team's technical manager, took off his helmet and gloves, sighing:
"This is a bad year".
You can't blame Ickx, who - among other things - risks having second place in the championship taken away by Peterson or Fittipaldi or by Siffert himself. The season is coming to a melancholy close, just as the thousands of Italian fans who came to Zeltweg are melancholy on their way home.
"But why did it end like this?"
The fans ask themselves. Luckily, car fans aren't like football fans, who immediately call for the dismissal of the technical director when the team loses. The only sporting note for Italian car enthusiasts came from Nanni Galli's performance. The Tuscan is demonstrating remarkable temperament. He threw himself into the fight with confidence, he battled with Gethin, Oliver and Marko. From race to race he improves. In Austria he had to settle for twelfth and last place, but it was the fault of his March-Alfa. The brakes (a new type tested by March) progressively decreased their performance while the injection distributor went crazy. However, a positive experience. It seems that Csai is launching an aid plan for Italian Formula 1 drivers in view of 1972. We will remember Nanni, right?
"But why doesn't Ferrari buy a Ford Cosworth?"
That's Ken Tyrrell asking. The manager of the new World Champion, Jackie Stewart, amiably agrees to be at the center of an impromptu press conference in Zeltweg.
"We didn't think, Jackie and I, of winning the title. There was Ferrari. And instead…".
Ferrari says that assemblers like him or Lotus or Brabham have an advantage over those who have to build the chassis, gearbox and engine. What do you think?
"Very true. We had fewer problems than him also because we relied on companies specialized in these parts. In particular, building an engine represents a considerable technical commitment. Cosworth works for us, and well. A big help".
And here comes the joke about Ferrari-Cosworth. But would you manage Mannello's team?
"It would be an honor for me, but I fear that it is a difficult agreement to conclude, for many reasons. I work in England and Ferrarl in Italy. This would create significant practical obstacles. Then, I'm sure that Ferrari would never ask me to operate for him. Finally, now I have cars with my name, and I'm happy about it. Why should I look for others?"
Do you plan to start commercial activities after your success in the championship?
"No, I don't want to make series cars, not even in limited numbers. It's too challenging. We are a workshop with sixteen people. Few this is one of the secrets of our efficiency. Rather, the experience in Formula 1 encourages me to look for other sectors. Next year I'll make a car for the Canada-America Cup or the Indy 500. I haven't decided yet. This way I will find Ferrari again".
In Monza, in the next Italian Grand Prix, will there be any news?
"Yes, if we have time to complete it, I will bring a new version of the Tyrrell. We modified the rear end, chassis and suspension. It will be the fourth example built this year".
So far Stewart and Cevert had nine engines and three chassis at their disposal. It is said that Ferrari will soon arrive with its 12-cylinder with powers of 500 HP. Do you always have faith in the Cosworth?
"Stewart and I think the eight-cylinder will remain the most efficient powerplant. In 1972 Cosworth will present a more powerful version and we hope to have some examples. But this year has already gone well, right?"
It went well, indeed, Mister Tyrrell. Five Grand Prizes, a world title, enormous publicity. Ford, Elf and Goodyear, sponsors of Team Tyrrell and Stewart, will have to open their wallets wide open at the end of the year. Not to mention the fact that with the conquest of the second Formula 1 world title, Jackie Stewart confirms himself as one of the greatest drivers of all time. The Scotsman, who is 32 years old, married and the father of two children, has inherited the legacy of the great Jlm Clark. This is his story, from a mechanic with a passion for clay pigeon shooting to a Grands Prix champion. Jackie Stewart came to the automobile more by chance than by passion. Born in Milton, a town near Glasgow, on 11 June 1939, he left his studies at 15 to become an apprentice mechanic in his father's garage in Dunbarton. In short, he proves to be a good tuner, preparing cars for customers who intend to participate in competitions. He tests the cars himself and soon realizes that no one can match his pace on the narrow roads of Scotland. But running doesn't interest him. His grandfather, a gamekeeper, taught him to shoot and he prefers to go hunting or clay pigeon shooting.
Among other things, there had been a negative example in the family. Jackie's brother Jimmy had become a decent pilot, but in 1955, after some bad accidents, he retired from the activity. Solid shoulder, sure arm, sharp eye, exceptional reflexes: Stewart stands out as a formidable shooter. With each blow, a clay pigeon flies to pieces. In 1960 the Scotsman was included in the British representative for the Rome Olympics. Four years later he will also be selected for those in Tokyo, but he will never go to Japan with a rifle. The fate of this young man with slightly squinty eyes seems settled. But one day, in 1961, one of the customer-drivers of the Stewart garage noticed that Jackie was going fast in the car. He tells him:
"If you're up for it, I'll give you the car for the next races. We'll do it halfway".
The Scotsman accepts and with the car - a Marcos with a Ford engine - I begin to participate in club competitions held on the small Charter Hall circuit. Once, twice, it doesn't take much for the boy from Milton to vanquish every opponent. He takes to the track with a curious pseudonym: A. N. Other, or U. N. Altro, another because he is not the real owner of the car. A. N. Other will last two years, to hide from mother Stewart, who herself doesn't want to hear about another runner son, and she painfully resigns. Jackie finds time to get married. It's 1962. She joins a full-blooded Scotswoman, the beautiful Helen McGregor. They live on the same street, they have known each other since children, or almost. She is slim and blonde, the daughter of a baker, he is a young mechanic who is starting to travel the world. Three years like this, racing touring cars, especially Jaguar Es. Races for England, until in 1964, Ken Tyrrell sees Jackie Stewart in action. Tyrrell, a former timber merchant and now boss of a stable and discoverer of young talents, offers Jackie a single-seater. The car, a Formula 3 Cooper with a BMC engine, is new and doesn't look very competitive. But, Tyrrell thinks, it will allow the new signing to gain some experience. And instead, the Scotsman scores an incredible series of successes: he wins eleven races in a row and, out of 14 contested, triumphs in 12. Many notice this in Monte-Carlo, in the Formula 3 Grand Prix which precedes the Formula 1 one. Under the palm trees, among the luxury hotels, Stewart hurtles like a rocket, imitating the great Clark in safety and style. He is a bit like the master of Milton's apprentice and his influence is immediately noticeable: Jackie has the same driving approach, very relaxed and with arms outstretched, the same way of tackling curves, with ease, with an unspectacular style. yet so profitable.
In Formula 1 After Monte-Carlo, after the lightning-fast season with Tyrrell, Stewart made the transition to the queen of the sport of the steering wheel, to Formula 1. B.RM. hired him, and he made his debut on 1 January 1965, taking to the track in the South African Grand Prix. That same day another driver makes his debut: Jochen Rindt. The race is won by Clark, Stewart finishes sixth, concluding the year with a flattering result: first in Monza, second in Spa, Zandvoort and Clermont-Ferrand, third in Monte-Carlo, fifth in Silverstone. Jackie's climbing continued in 1966. He had the luxury of beating Clark in the Tasmanian Cup races. He also tries his hand at the Indy 500 and drives in the terrible basin with the skill of a consummate champion: in the initial stages of the race he is in the lead, then a breakdown forces him to retire. In Formula 2 he races for Matra. the French aerospace construction company that seeks a name thanks to competitions and that wants to extend the grandeur of Charles De Gaulle to the world of four wheels. Jackie wins with B.R.M. in Monte-Carlo, then travels to Spa for the Belgian Grand Prix. In this race the Scotsman comes close to dying. It's June 12th. A downpour hits the track immediately after the start, Stewart skids on the water, goes off the road at 240 km/h, knocks down a telegraph pole and rolls down an embankment with the car reduced to a tangle of twisted sheet metal. Stewart remains stuck in a bath of gasoline that flowed from the ruptured tanks. Graham Hill saves him, stopping, getting out of the car and organizing the rescue. After 35 long, terrible minutes, Jackie is pulled from the cockpit of his car and placed in an ambulance with injuries and fractures. Nothing compared to what could have happened. Stewart recovers, returns to racing, but the season ends without success. People say:
"Jackie isn't as fast as she used to be".
And you are wrong, even if 1967 is a black year. The Scotsman doesn't win a single Grand Prix. But the fault is not with him, but rather with the 16-cylinder engine that B.R.M. stubbornly tries to use. A huge mistake, a waste of technical and financial means that risks eliminating the English manufacturer from racing. It's time for a change. Stewart returns to Tyrrell, whose team operates in support of Matra. Ken entrusts Jackie with a car, the rebirth begins, nor is it interrupted by a second accident (April 1968, in a Formula 2 race in Spain) in which he fractures his right wrist. Stewart misses two Grands Prix, then, as a new Nuvolari, he runs with his limb in a cast, wins in Holland, Germany and the United States and places his candidacy for the world title. His rival is Graham Hill, who in the meantime moved to Lotus. Hill manages to precede his Scottish rival at the last minute, who had to retire due to a breakdown in the last test of the year, in Mexico. The conquest of the World Championship is only postponed for a year. 1969 is the monster year. With the Matra-Ford MS 80 the Scotsman came first in six out of eleven Grands Prix, becoming World Champion in September in Monza well ahead of schedule.
"I owe a lot to Tyrrell, because he always had faith in me. He is the most serious and prepared sports director I know".
At the end of the season, Matra asked Stewart to give up the 8-cylinder Ford-Cosworth engine. The managers wanted to race in 1970 with an all-French car and, for this reason, they created a 12-cylinder V. The Scotsman refused. He doesn't trust it. Tyrrell leaves Matra. he takes over the brand new Marches. And he's wrong. The single-seater is not up to the task. Stewart establishes himself in Spain, then every dream collapses. Jackie is unable to defend the title against him. To remedy the disastrous March experiment. Tyrrell turns into a builder. He reaches an agreement with the designer Gardner and the two, with Stewart as supervisor, prepare a new single-seater. The Tyrrell - whose designs date back to February 1970 - appears in September in the tests for the Italian Grand Prix (but does not participate). The debut in the championship was in Canada and Stewart managed to hinder the most competitive cars of the moment, the 312-B of Ickx and Regazzoni. The machine is of a conventional type, without cutting-edge solutions, but, precisely for this reason, it immediately proves competitive, the result of wisdom, practice and a lot of experience. Stewart gives up on reaching an agreement with Ferrari. The 1971 season begins with Stewart crashing in South Africa. Car destroyed and minor bruises for the Scotsman, who is carrying out preliminary tests for the Grand Prix. This sees the success of Andretti's Ferrari. Jackie and second. In the following race in Spain, Stewart adjusts Ickx and his 312-B2. A golden series, apart from the parenthesis caused by the betrayal of rain tires in Holland, which what happened in Austria certainly does not affect. A convincing triumph, the result of the happy combination of a great driver, impeccable organisation, a polished car with a super engine and good tyres. Stewart is at the top, and he can stay there for a long time.