A very complete field of runners turn out for the Swedish Grand Prix and all twenty-six are guaranteed a start as the Anderstorp Raceway is large and spacious. As it is building on a flat piece of waste land there are no interesting contours for the circuit to follow and in consequence the corners and straights are all very geometric requiring a car to be carefully adjust to a well-balance condition of handling and there is little opportunity for the driver to re-adjust the balance of the car by his driving technique, always assuming he is capable of doing so. On most circuits you have to adjust the car to be as near right as possible on one or two corners and make do with it on others, so that you tune the suspension and handling for the corner you like best and on which you feel you can make up most time, but this means you then have to compromise on other corners and even be less than right on corners that aren’t important. At the Anderstorp Raceway, because of the similarity of all the corners, if you got the handling wrong on one you are liable to find it wrong on all of them. However, the reverse applies, though not many drivers seem capable of getting it right. This really is the overall problem that confronts everyone in practice and while some drivers are attempting to get scientific about their overall handling problems, others are getting on with their driving, accepting that the car doesn't feel very good anywhere on the circuit, except down the long run-way which forms the main straight. Summer in Sweden in a big way and a cloudless sky greets everyone on Friday morning when practice begins. Since last year the pit area is going to be completely rebuilt to an open-plan arrangement cover by a large concrete walk-way for spectators and each car has its own space, angled to the direction of the track. An access road started at the outside of the apex of the penultimate corner before the pits and this led into a lane behind the row of pits.
From there a driver turns right into his pit area and on leaving he continues on out the front and turns left into the exit road, re-joining the circuit on the outside of the bend after the pits. This is an excellent scheme which works well in practice, but prevents any possibility of a quick pit stop during the race, the tortuous passage in and out wasting more time than is reasonable. The morning is spending by most teams settling in and there are three newcomers on the scene in the driver line-up, while there is nothing new at all in the array of cars, apart from detail changes, all the regular drivers being mount on their usual machinery. The Frank Williams team are starting all over again with two new drivers as Merzario is at long last out of favor and has gone off on holiday, his place in FW/03 being taken by Damien Magee, while Laffite is away at a European Championship Formula 2 race, so his place in the 1975 Williams FW04 is taken by Ian Scheckter, the elder brother of the Tyrrell driver. In Graham Hill’s Embassy-sponsored team Migault is out of favor so his place is taken by Vern Schuppan in the latest Hill car, while Brise has the original one. The Hesketh team has all three of their cars out, with Torsten Palm in 308/3 with the car covers in Polar Bears, this being the advertising emblem of the Polar Caravan company of Sweden who are sponsoring the Grand Prix overall. In the Brabham team there is an air of expectancy as Carlos Reutemann has cut his hair quite drastically, so that his ears show in an old-fashioned way, and he is convince this will change his luck. More significant is the fact that he appeares for breakfast happy and smiling and saying: What a beautiful day. This indicates that he is in a good mood and there is every chance of him being really on form. He has a very deep and unpredictable nature and if he doesn’t feel right he drives in a mediocre fashion; if he feels good then he is one of the best. The trouble is that no-one can find out what makes him feel good or bad.
when you realize that Lauda has done 134 laps of practice it can be seen that the Ferrari team aren’t being over-cautious. Through the two days the Formula One cars have cover 2.854 timed laps, and this doesn't include the opening and slowing down laps which do not get timed. Add to this the efforts of all the supporting races and you get some idea of how much a racing circuit gets use at a Grand Prix. The 80-lap race is due to start at 1:30 p.m., by which time it is very hot, but the crowd isn’t as large as in previous years. For this time the whole event is being televise and the Swedish Government is encouraging people to stay at home and watch. They don’t like large gatherings of Swedes at the best of times, and got worry when the seemingly placid Swedish populace foregather in large numbers at a motor race. The Anderstorp Raceway is unique in having the main grandstands and start-line at one end of the circuit and the pits and the paddock at the other end. The first impression is that it will encourage chaos, but in fact It seems to work well. The cars line up in grid formation outside the pits, this time all eyes having to be on Brambilla in pole-position, and he then leads the field of 26 cars round the circuit to the starting-line; there they pause briefly and the flag drops and the race is on. The Italian makes no mistakes and is away into the lead, followed by Depailler, Jarier, Pace, Reutemann, Lauda, Hunt and Watson, the Hesketh driver making a really storming start from the middle of the grid.
Pryce has got off the mark well only to have a cloud of dust and grit go down the air intake and jam the throttle slides nearly shut. While everyone chases off after Brambilla the Welshman trickles slowly round the opening half lap to the pits, where the slides are freed up. During the opening lap Brambilla has gain quite a few lengths on Depailler, who has the rest quite close to his Tyrrell. As Pryce rejoins the race, a lap in arrears, he enters the circuit in the gap between Brambilla and Depailler, so that to anyone not paying careful attention it looks as though the Shadow is in second place! Pryce’s problem is whether to stay where he is or move out of the way, but he realizes that if he leaves Depailler he will have to let at least another sixteen cars pass, for they are all running nose-to-tail. As he can comfortably stay with Brambilla and Depailler isn’t gaining on them he decides to stay where he is. Apart from Reutemann taking third place from Jarier, the high-speed procession in the wake of Brambilla is content to sit one behind the other, in the order Depailler, Reutemann, Jarier, Pace, Lauda, Hunt, Watson, Regazzoni and Andretti, while the rest, which include a miscellaneous collection of Super Stars and newboys, are beginning to drop hack to form a second race. Nobody can really believe that Brambilla can stay in the lead, except perhaps Brambilla himself, and five laps go by with no change, and then 10 laps and still the orange March is out in front, though the pack are closing imperceptibly. Lella Lombardi drives into the pits to retire, her Cosworth engine sounding flat as something has gone wrong in the metering unit for the fuel injection and on lap 15 Depailler is heading up the pit road with a leak in a rear brake pipe. It isn’t so much that the pack are closing on the leading March, as that the March is slowing, for the left front tyre is taking a lot of punishment and getting overheated, causing the pressure to rise and lose adhesion.