#257 1975 Swedish Grand Prix

2021-12-26 00:00

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#1975, Fulvio Conti, Translated by Nicola Carriero, Rebecca Asolari,

#257 1975 Swedish Grand Prix

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


A very complete field of drivers 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. From the start of practice Reutemann is obviously on form and you don’t need a stop-watch to see that he is really trying. Another driver who is quietly getting on with the job is Depailler, while Jarier is driving with all the flair one expects from him. It is accept that Lauda will be among the front-runners, for anyone using Cosworth V8 power is convince that the Ferrari is far superior on sheer speed, on pick-up from slow corners, on torque right through the range, on superior braking and road-holding and to listen to some people you wonder why anyone goes on using the Cosworth DFV. The question of Lauda’s driving ability never seems to come into it, but Lauda himself believes that he is putting quite a lot of effort into the overall performance of the Ferrari and while he doesn’t accept all the advantages claim for the Ferrari, he does admit that it is a very good car. However, in this first practice the combination of Lauda and the Ferrari isn’t quite good enough to beat Reutemann and his Brabham. The Argentinian is the fastest with 1'25"297, Lauda does 1'25"457, Depailler 1'25"602 and Jarier 1'25"894, so it is clear that a lap in the 1'25"0 bracket is going to be the standard for anyone who wants to be classes as an Ace. After the performance by Vittorio Brambilla in the works March at Zolder everyone is wondering if it is significant or merely a flash-in-the-pan and when he doesn’t appear in the Ace category at the end of the first practice, people say: Oh well, there you are, you see. Even the Ferrari team has got number 9 on one of the buttons on their electrical Heuer timing machine, but begin to think it is a waste of a good button. The acknowledged Ace drivers like Fittipaldi, Peterson, Scheckter, Hunt and Pace are all busy trying to tune their cars for the geometric corners but not making much headway, while others are quite simply having trouble.

Magee has hardly start off in the Williams before it die on him out on the circuit with the throttles stuck shut and he has to get help from his mechanics, and Ian Scheckter is wishing he has bring his Tyrrell with him from South Africa as the new Williams car isn’t consistent in its feel which don’t encourage him to go too near the limit. Alan Jones has the throttles stick open on the Hesketh 308/1 and go off the circuit through a catch fence, damaging the nose cowling and front suspension and the Hill team begins a long saga of engine trouble. Brise has the Cosworth V8 blow up in GH1/1 so he transfers to GH1/3 and Schuppan is relegate to the Lola HU3 which is being use as a spare car. The Parnelli team are in trouble with a front brake shaft breaking, just like a Lotus 72, apart from being on their own without a designer behind them as Maurice Phillipe has left the team. The team owner, Vel Miletich isn’t in Sweden, nor are the bosses of the B.R.M. team, the Surtees team, the Hesketh team, the Penske team or the Ferrari team, but then the Ferrari team have always had to get along without their leader, and never seem the worse for it. After the lunch interval Robin Herd and the March men begin to show their hand, which look suspiciously like a serious attempt at Gamesmanship to upset the opposition, and later turn out to be exactly that. First of all Brambilla goes out in Lella Lombardi’s car, which fixes a lot of people who see it ahead of them and assumed that they would soon catch up, but then found they can’t. Brambilla’s normal car is paints in the bright orange of the Beta tool company who sponsor him, whereas Lombardi’s car is white, so the sight of the white car going indecently fast must have unnerve some people. When Brambilla got back into his own car he really turns on the steam and is continually putting in laps in the 1'24"0 bracket which make the Ferrari timekeeper get excite and the other top teams got agitate.
It isn’t that the March has suddenly becomes a Super-Car, for its set-up isn’t necessarily any more nearer the ideal than anyone else’s, but the driver is making full use of what he has got and not worrying unduly about the fine details, as are drivers like Fittipaldi and Scheckter. In the Lotus camp there is little joy for Peterson coming in with the nose cowling knock off 72/R9 and having to continue practice in the spare car, which only adds to their confusion. Anderstorp's circuit, where on Sunday, 8th June, 1975, the Swedish Grand Prix will be held, tends to level out the values of drivers and cars. It is a plain, monotonous circuit, with slightly banked corners that the drivers consider all the same, where it is difficult to stand out. Only one of them did: Vittorio Brambilla, who in this first day of practice, rather disappointing for Ferrari, was the fastest with a performance that astonished the world of Formula 1. Brambilla's fastest lap is 1'24"63, at the average speed of 171.5 kmh, letting his March powered by Cosworth on the 4,018 metres of Anderstorp and put many stars behind him, all grouped within few tenths of second. It was since Lorenzo Bandini's times that a driver with an Italian name has not obtained a similar success in a Formula 1 Grand Prix practice. On Saturday, someone could do better than Brambillone, as the driver is endearingly nicknamed, but this performance will be memorable. Vittorio experienced this with anxiety, especially after obtaining it, because the race officials took time to confirm his time: at a first moment, they even record a time of 1'25"02, better than Depailler's lap, which last year was the fastest in practice, conquering the pole position in 1'24"758. Today's result represents for Brambilla a further step in a constant rise. The driver from Monza, this year, is showing an exemplar seriousness and maturity. He is a calm, modest man, unlike many other Italian colleagues, he never claimed that he was the best. He is 37, married and with three children, he has a garage together with his brother Tino and is not ashamed to say that he lives thanks to this job, as a wingman, not as a champion. 


"Last year not only didn't I gain, I even almost lost money". 


Now, anyway, Brambilla can start to hope. 


"I have a good car, and on Sunday I can win. I think I can improve today's performance: the car is not completely OK with the grip, but the work that is to be done is not hard. I'm happy". 

Vittorio, who debuted in Formula 1 in 1974, finishing ninth in South Africa, is a good test driver, who found a singular chemistry with March's Englishmen. Brambilla, whose dream is to race with a Ferrari (which cannot come true at least in the next season, since he signed one more year for March), took this time the role of Niki Lauda, who only starts fifth. The Austrian, more than Regazzoni, usually put his opponents in a bad position with his 312T: his car, in few laps, seemed tailor made for every circuit. At Anderstorp, instead, after the first hour and a half of practice, Lauda and Regazzoni constantly run respectively with the times of 1'25"457 and 1'26"360, and did not manage to improve in the following hour of practice. Since the drivers' performances are not be debated, it is clear that something in Lauda and Regazzoni's Ferrari is not working well on this circuit. Probably, there is a reason tied to the features of Anderstorp's circuit, which Maranello's cars never liked: in the banked corners, the cars flatten on the track, but the Italian ones do it more than the others. Engineer Mauro Forghieri explains:


"The 312T has a soft setup and is more affected by this phenomenon".


Ferrari's technicians and mechanics worked intensely around the suspensions of Lauda and Regazzoni's cars, operating in particular on dampers, bars and buffers. The surprising fact of the day is the absence of the reactions of the two cars to the changes made in the attempt of improving their behaviour. And, in fact, they faced a disappointing last hour of practice. Luca Montezemolo says:


"We started well, then we stopped. The others improved and we are stuck at the same point. It appears that Ferrari at Anderstorp is really unable to go fast like in other circuits. The important thing is, however, to bring home some points, thinking of the world championship title".


Forghieri adds: 


"The changes that we made today brought some improvements to the driving, but not to the times. Tomorrow, we will try new ways".


In view of the second day of practice, there are two questions on everyone's mouth and that particularly engage the Italian fans: will Ferrari improve their times and Brambilla keep the pole position? The mediocre performance of the Italian cars was rather surprising and the comments and suppositions of the experts in this regard are of different nature. Someone talks about technical details, someone believes that it the configuration of the circuit is to blame, someone says that the nerves played a key role. It has to be reminded that Lauda and Regazzoni's cars did well in the morning but did not manage to work as well in the afternoon, despite an accurate setup has been made in order to improve their performances. The rivals, instead, did better in the afternoon and relegated Ferrari to back positions. It is useless to do a trial to all that happened: maybe there is some truth in each of the different suppositions, the cars have to receive a further setup, the track with new corners level the performances and does not foster the Italian cars and, finally, the anxiety to do very well probably shocked the nerves of the Ferrari team. On Saturday, anyway, there will be further two and half hours of practice and Ferrari's performances might be improved: Lauda is definitely optimist in this regard. The other question to which the practice will give an answer is about Vittorio Brambilla, who, despite being 37, appears to have reached a turning point in his career. The good driver from Monza looked even moved by his wonderful lap and promised that he will do even better, since he finally managed to perfectly set up his March. In his favour, it is very unlikely that someone will be able to beat the times set on Friday. Brambilla says that he aims for victory: it is really to be wished for, since Ferrari officially states, in the words of the really talented Montezemolo, that the team is more than happy if Lauda will be able to collect some points, given the features of the circuit. The weather appears to still be good, even if for half an hour, during Friday afternoon, a storm was feared. The eventual rain may cause issues to the tyres and in such conditions everything can happen. The small town of Anderstorp, meanwhile, is invaded by at least 70.000 fans, who will certainly rise to 100.000 on Saturday and Sunday.


A large number of police forces check that the order is maintained, especially about the problems connected with the euphoria of drunk people. In a 100 km radius around Anderstorp, wine and alcohol cannot be sold; many people, though, brought some from home. Until now, there we no cases of excesses, but the critical moments still have to come. The area of the circuit was invaded day and night (it is almost never dark in this place) by hundreds of beautiful Scandinavian girls, hired for promoting all kinds of products. The Swedish papers write in this regard that women and fast cars are an inseparable duo. Among the journalists, the most upset are the South Americans, over one hundred, who demand the victory of Fittipaldi or Reutemann in the name of the Brazilian and Argentinian fans. Saturday is cool and overcast and the roundy-round of chasing Brambilla starts all over again. With the circuit now becoming well-use, not only by the Formula 1 cars but also by Formula Super-Vee, Formula 3 and a multitude of saloons, conditions aren’t so good as previously and times generally are slower, but even so it is still Brambilla and the March who are fastest, but Jarier, Lauda, Pace and Pryce isn’t far behind. Scheckter is good to watch, but not fast enough, the fire seems to have gone out of Peterson, and Fittipaldi is positively boring. Reutemann seems to be deteriorating and Regazzoni is showing that there must be something in Lauda’s driving, and it isn’t just the Ferrari that is so good. John Watson is beginning to get to grips with the Surtees, though its transition from understeer to oversteer is much too sudden and vicious. The Hill team has gone back to square one, with a new engine in GH1/1 for Brise, so that Schuppan caan start all over again with GH1/3, but practice has barely begin before the new engine has valve trouble and there is Brise being fit into GH1/3 while poor Schuppan is watching the old Lola being prepare for him once more, just like yesterday. Torsten Palm is going quite well in the Hesketh until he loses control on the corner by the pits and hit the retaining wall, so another Hesketh front-end had to be dug out of the spares box in the transporter. During the lunch hour there is an air of gloom and despondency in the McLaren pit as nothing they seem to satisfy Fittipaldi, the Tyrrell team are equally confuse about how to make Scheckter happier (and faster), Team Lotus are wondering where Peterson’s fire has gone and in the Ferrari pit there is an air of incredible disbelief and a reluctance to telephone Modena.


In the March pit the mechanics seem unable to believe that Father Christmas really does exist, Robin Herd is chuckling over the discomfiture of the other teams and Brambilla is awaiting further instructions from the boss. The Brabham team has a straight-forward problem in that Reutemann’s car has broken a tooth off the crown-wheel in the final drive, it being one of the teeth that is drill across its root to improve the oil flow in their attempts to improve on Hewland’s design. While this car is repaire, and prepare for the race Reutemann used the spare Brabham. There is now only one hour left for honor to be achieve and some semblance of order on the starting grid to be final, so away they all go on their Brambilla chase. The March driver content himself with a few averagely-fast laps, though to some people they will be heroic, and then return to the pits and left the car to join Robin Herd on one of the corners to watch the opposition in their attempts to first of all get below 1'25"0 and then to challenge his 1'24"63. Whether the sight of the orange-overall Italian standing watching give the others a morale boost in the hope that the March has broken, or add to their despair by the sheer confidence of March in not bothering to practise any more, is difficult to say. Depailler got into some rough stuff and a stone puncture an oil radiator and unknowingly he carried on until all his oil was gone and the engine seized. This caused a slight pause for cleaning and the retrieval of the Tyrrell and then it all starts up again for a final 15-minutes. Brambilla puts his helmet and gloves on and sits in his March, all buckle in and ready to go, while Robin Herd stan by the pit wall and kept a watch on the opposition. Drivers like Jarier, Pryce, Lauda, Scheckter, Watson and Andretti looks to be trying all they knows, the two Shadow drivers in particular being good spectator value, but no-one is approaching 1'25"0. Jarier is the fastest with 1'25"263 so Brambilla is content to sit quietly in his car until the checker flag comes out and Robin Herd indicates to him that it is all over. On Sunday, Brambilla is in front row, in pole position, that is in the prestige position that awards, besides the race results, the man and the car that emerged in practice. The driver from Monza smiles. When someone asks him how he went so fast, he opens his arms almost as if he apologized.


"I worked on this, and the circuit adapts well to March's features: I gain a lot on the banked corners, while on the straight I am as fast as the others. Everyone asks me what I will do tomorrow. Well, I don't know, ready, go: I'm going. Then we'll see. If the start is good, I'll try to stay in front. Winning would be awesome, but I would be okay with finishing the Grand Prix. In a race a lot of stupid problems can happen, you'll never know how it's going to end. At least here I don't fear the performance of brakes, as in Belgium. It's one less burden".

It was since Lorenzo Bandini's times that an Italian driver has not put all the other Formula 1 drivers behind him. And it is since 1966 (Monza, Italian Grand Prix, Ludovico Scarfiotti on Ferrari) that an Italian driver has not won a Formula 1 race. Now Brambilla has his magnificent chance. He is calm, self-confident, and his fans only hope that he will not be carried away by his desire to win and hit the track more driven by reason that by feelings. His March, at Anderstorp, is clearly better than the other single-seaters. Behind Brambilla and his orange March there are the usual names, among which the protagonists of the challenge for the world championship title. The values are pretty levelled out, as the concentration of seven drivers from four different teams in less than one second shows: Depailler (Tyrrell), Janer (Shadow), Reutemann (Brabham), Lauda (Ferrari), Pace (Brabham), Pryce (Shadow) and Jody Scheckter (Tyrrell). If it was not for Brambilla, so superior compared to the rivals, the final result of the Swedish Grand Prix would be rally uncertain. None of the drivers at the top of the championship managed to improve their performance in a relevant way and the situation is basically the same of the first day of practice. For Ferrari, in particular, it has been a rollercoaster of highs and lows with the addition of the usual tyres issue to the base problem, that is the low reliability of the 312T on the plain Swedish circuit. Lauda starts on third row and Regazzoni on sixth row, together with Emerson Fittipaldi, troubled by suspension issues; these results, especially for the Austrian driver, who in Spain, Monaco and Belgium obtained the pole position, it is a rather disappointing result. The explanations, though, are plain and simple. Engineer Mauro Forghieri says:


"We realized that we mounted inadequate front tyres on Friday. This morning, in agreement with Goodyear's specialists, we chose another type. The situation has immediately improved, even if it was because of the dirty track. Lauda and Regazzoni could not make particularly good results as the other drivers. Then we got another issue on the rear tyres this time. They deformed and also in different ways, making the car undriveable even on straights. So, we discarded these tyres, with the number 34, in favour of the type 31, less fast but more reliable". 


And Niki Lauda comments: 


"If on Friday I had the car with today's conditions, I'm sure that I could run with the pace of 1'25"0. I was just calmed down on the situation of my 312T and then came the surprise from the rear tyres. On straights I was losing 500 rpm of my engine and when I pushed on the accelerator, the rear end was breaking down and the car was swerving. We should have solved this inconvenience too, anyway. We're not the fastest but not the worst. It's clear that we mustn't aim too high tomorrow: I would be okay with finishing the Grand Prix and taking some points for the championship". 


Regazzoni's opinion is similar. Luca Montezemolo says in conclusion: 


"I think that we will do well anyway. It's logical that after Monte-Carlo and Zolder these results are not the best, but we knew that Anderstorp would have been tricky for Ferrari. Then, we'll have harder circuits and we will be advantaged again".


The small town of Anderstorp, a group of wooden houses lost in huge birch and fir woods, lives today its day of worldwide fame. In occasion of the seventh stage of the 1975 Formula 1 World Championship, no less than 100.000 people coming from all Scandinavia showed up. A group of Italians take their seats on the other side of the track, in front of Ferrari's box, and raise a big tricolour flag with the writing: 


"Long live Ferrari's team, the Italian brand". 

Next to them, a group of Swiss people raise a flag with the federal cross, obviously in order to cheer for Regazzoni. At 1:30 PM, when the race starts, it is very hot. Sunday morning sees an untime half-hour of practice for final adjustments, as if the previous two days haven’t been enough. For some teams, like Tyrrell, it is useful for Depailler to try out the new engine instals in his car and Ferrari are able to try Lauda’s car which has equipe with a new gearbox overnight, as these days they leave nothing to chance. Regazzoni has his new one the day before, as the engine is being change anyway, so the whole job is done in one go. They normally reckon to start the races with new gearbox/transmission units and 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. As there are five major right-hand bends on the circuit this is serious and first Reutemann got by and then Jarier, putting Brambilla back to third place. As this starts to happen Tom Pryce moves out of the way and relinquishes his position of being second on the road, even though he is in last place in fact. After 18 laps Brambilla heads for the pits and the March mechanics have a new front wheel and tyre on in an incredibly short space of time, but even so it drops Brambilla down to fifteenth position. The race now takes on some semblance of order according to the textbook, with Reutemann leading Jarier and pulling away, with Pace third, Lauda fourth, Hunt fifth, Regazzoni sixth, Andretti seventh and Watson eighth. In the also-rans race Scheckter is leading Peterson and Emerson Fittipaldi, but as Donohue in the Penske is keeping up with them they can’t be use all their available skill and brilliance. Right at the back of the field Torsten Palm is a bit overwhelm in his first Grand Prix start and got away in last position, but he then settle in and make a good showing. He picks-off the tail-enders in a very determine manner, passing Lombardi (before she retires), Wilson Fittipaldi, Evans, Schuppan and Ian Scheckter.

In the first race Hunt retires with a brake-fluid leak from a rear caliper, Pryce is still in amongst the leading group, though a lap behind, and Andretti is pressing hard on the heels of Regazzoni. Both Brambilla and Depailler are working their way up through the slower cars after their pit-stops and Jody Scheckter has drop back some places. Alan Jones spins his Hesketh and takes a long time restarting, which puts him to the back of the field and Mass retires at the pits with a damage water pipe under the car as a result of some kerb bashing. Just before half-distance Brambilla retires with a broken driveshaft universal joint and Jarier drops out when his oil pressure gauge zeroed. This leaves Reutemann with a healthy lead and looking extremely confident. Pace and Lauda are some way back and the suppose superiority of the Ferrari isn’t very obvious, while Regazzoni is having to work hard to stay ahead of Andretti and Watson. The other race is almost too depressing to watch with Mark Donohue the star among Fittipaldi, Peterson and Scheckter. Passing through this lot after a slow start is Tony Brise, his Graham Hill car having to be set-up for the race by sheer guesswork as a result of all the practice troubles. Once Brise has play himself in to the feel of the car, which he has only driven for a handful of laps in practice, he begins to work his way up to the fallen-stars and then go by them fairly easily, actually elbowing his way by the reigning World Champion as if he is a Formula Atlantic driver! Almost as the race is half-way through Carlos Pace got into a big slide as he joins the runway straight and slid over a landing light (did the GPDA inspector miss that?) crumpling the Brabham’s monocoque pretty badly and retiring in a cloud of dust and earth. This put Lauda in second place but he is discovering that his much-vaunted Ferrari is on way superior to the Brabham. However, by driving as hard as he knows how he can keeps the gap between the two cars at 10 seconds, at which it is for some time, with Pace’s Brabham in that gap. All this time Tom Pryce has keep his Shadow in this 10 second gap between Reutemann and Lauda, and as they lap the slower cars Pryce go with them so that he moves up to eleventh place from twenty-sixth as the race progress.All this while he is driving with an inoperative clutch and when he overdoes things a bit on lap 54 at the end of the straight, going into the chicane and takes the escape route he stalls the engine and can’t get going again.
Schuppan has retire the latest Hill car with a broken output shaft in the Hewland transmission and Ian Scheckter has a rear tyre go down suddenly on his Williams as he is rounding the long corner after the pits and this spin him off into the rough. It looks as though a stalemate has set in and Lauda can see no way in which he is going to win, unless something happens to Reutemann or Brabham. By driving as hard as he knows how he can just stay that 10 seconds behind the Brabham and he keeps that pressure on for lap after lap and by lap 55 his pit signal at last show a minute diminution in the gap. Knowing he has make no more effort, or gone any faster, because he can’t, he realizes that something must be happening to Reutemann and the Brabham so he keeps on driving on the limit. Sure enough, the Brabham’s rear tyres aren’t gripping so well as earlier, not so much because of wear, as the fact that the track surface is deteriorating with a coating of rubber and continual polishing. This is reducing the balance of the Brabham through the right-hand bends, whereas the Ferrari is unaffect as it is running on a different type of Goodyear tyre, a choice that Lauda has demanded of his team-manager and which is now paying off. The chink in the Brabham armour has only start as the merest fraction of a second, but it is sufficient, and soon the fractions become a second and the seconds mount up and Lauda has the Brabham in sight. Reutemann doesn’t give up, though the realization that the Ferrari now has a slight advantage must have weaken his determination. He keeps the red and white Ferrari at bay as long as he can, parrying Lauda’s attempts to sneak through on the inside of corners, with a healthy chopping maneuver, but finally Lauda gathers up enough add momentum out of the long semi-circle after the pits to pass the Brabham down the straight and then it is all over. This takes until lap 70 but then the last ten laps are all plain sailing and Lauda brings the Ferrari home first for the third Grand Prix in succession. It isn’t so much that he has win the Swedish Grand Prix as that Reutemann has lost it. There isn’t arguing the fact that Lauda has worked really hard for this victory. Regazzoni adds to the joy-day for Italy by coming home a worthy third, having been harasse by Andretti for nearly the whole race. In a good fifth position and on the same lap as the leaders is Donohue with the Penske car, very satisfy at finishing so well up and wondering how it is that Fittipaldi, Peterson and Scheckter aren’t in their usual position of lapping him.
Brise has actually been in fifth place after a very determined drive but drops back when the Hewland gearbox begins to break up internally and bits lock the mechanism in fourth gear. He struggles along valiantly to the finish, but drop back to sixth place. John Watson’s early promise has fade when his Surtees run low on fuel and he has to stop for a refill and later do the same things again. The fuel system is playing up and blowing out as much as the engine is using so that consumption is abnormal. On the last lap Torsten Palm has his Hesketh run low on fuel and not being uses to the vagaries of the Cosworth fuel-injection and Formula One fuel system he leaves the engine die on him and though it doesn’t not lose him a place it put him two laps behind the leader, whereas he is only one lap behind in reality. Magee finishes in his first Grand Prix, Bob Evans keeps the B.R.M. going non-stop once more and Wilson Fittipaldi is happy to finish another race with his own car, even though he loses a lot of time at the pits having the front wheels changed and looking for the source of a vibration. The race organizers have laid on a police escort to guide the racing team's transporters from Anderstorp to Gothenburg, where they are due to catch the 8:00 p.m. boat to England after the race, for these days there is little time to spare. In a very short space of time the transporters are load and one by one they form up outside the circuit for the dash for the boat. As the Frank Williams transporter leaves the paddock a bit late in a cloud of dust with its horn blowing, someone remarks that the real race of the day is about to begin. Apart from a few caravans all that is left in the paddock is the victorious Ferrari team, for they live on the European mainland and can drive home in their own time, and carries the good news back to Modena. Vittorio Brambilla's dream broke down instantly, while the one who did not even hope for the success, ended up winning. These are rather common stories in the races, bitter for some, happy for others. In this case, the Italian fans may be equally happy, because Niki Lauda and Ferrari won at Anderstorp in the Swedish Grand Prix. The third place obtained by Clay Regazzoni enhances the value of this win, obtained on a circuit that seemed hostile to Maranello's team. 


"There's not much to do, we only hope to get some points".


Murmured the mechanics of the Italian team on the eve of the race. Did a miracle happen at Anderstorp maybe? No, there are no miracles in the Formula 1 Grands Prix, every event, except few cases, can be linked to precise technical and human reasons. The miracle simply consisted in the right choice of tyres. The tyres mounted on Lauda and Regazzoni's 312T, harder and slower than the ones that the other teams mounted, but safer, endured until the end without causing particular problems to the two drivers. Carlos Reutemann, overtaken by Lauda in the exciting end of the race, reached the finish line on his wheels, and so did others, such as Emerson Fittipaldi. This miracle, which was obviously created by the experience of Maranello's technicians, and matured in an environment that was still quiet despite the many difficulties of the eve, has its roots in the strength of Ferrari parts: the tyres went well, it is true, but also engines, transmissions, suspensions and brakes did their job. Many cars, today, had to retire due to issues on the engine or on the braking system, or they were forced to slow down. Mauro Forghieri, great master of every technical secret, says:


"Maybe we were lucky, because we chose the right way. We had to decide: prudence or gamble? Niki and Clay understood the situation and gave up using faster tyres, of which we were not so sure anyway. I think that now we are happy". 


Lauda e Regazzoni are, of course, above all the Austrian. This is his third consecutive win with his 312 T; Jackie Stewart did the same with his Tyrrell in 1971, when he won the Grand Prix in France, Great Britain and Germany. At this moment, it is unnecessary to give other praises to the man and the car. Niki, put very simply, is a champion and the 312T is the most beautiful, strongest and most competitive single-seater in this Formula 1 season. Winning three times in a kind of race where the competition is merciless and it takes very little to alter a result, has a deep meaning. No cheating here, at no level. Lauda and Ferrari won because they are the most valid duo and they have a top-notch organization on their back, which, in their turn, uses unparalleled experience and technical and technological methods for the Seventies. Lauda, now, extended his advantage in the World Championship. Now he has 32 points, 10 more than Reutemann and 11 more than Fittipaldi, who once again ended with a disappointing result. And now, much more favourable circuits for Ferrari are ahead, such as Zandvoort, in the Netherlands, where last year Niki Lauda and Clay Regazzoni obtained an extraordinary one-two. The Austrian is running towards the title, as it should have already happened in 1974, but the driver curbs the enthusiasm and warns: 


"Please, let's not talk about the championship. It's too early, only eight races before the end are left. Of course, we are doing very well. Today I would have been happy with some points, but instead here's another win. I must say that it was a hard victory, maybe harder than in Monaco. In the Monegasque circuit you need to drive with extreme focus, but in Anderstorp I pushed to the limit and only in the last few laps I could cruise with less tension. My 312T behaved perfectly. It only had some understeer at the beginning, due to the hard tyres, but towards half the race this issue disappeared and I stepped up the pace. I started to hope on the victory when I realized that I was quickly getting close to Reutemann's Brabham. I tried to overtake Carlos two or three times, but he closed the way. In the end, I managed to do it, and then it was like a walk in the park".

Someone may claim that Lauda imitated Fittipaldi's style in getting this win, that is that he waited for the progressive elimination of those who were in front (Brambilla, Depailler, Reutemann, Jarier and Pace). Actually, Niki had to pull out an extraordinary performance in order to keep his place, and then he troubled Carlos Reutemann with an outstanding chase. Regazzoni, finally, smiles. The third place granted the Swiss four points in the championship standings, where he is placed sixth, with 12 points. 


"Well, considering all the problems that we had in practice, I would have never imagined that today would end like this. In the end, unfortunately, the engine lost power and I preferred to slow down. I was hearing some dangerous vibrations. It would have been a really bad joke if I had to retire in that moment".


As always, the final word on Ferrari's race is on Luca Montezemolo, who this time did not manage to hit the track after Lauda's last lap. 


"Ferrari has an excellent car and driver, which were able to behave in a splendid way, even in this circuit. It's a better success than the others, more suffered and less expected. The duo Lauda-312T is the best and has been and since the start of the season, except the inconvenience in Barcelona due to the crash caused by Andretti, it has always finished every race. Hoping on the world title is by now allowed, even if the competition is still very strong. We wish that Ferrari can still keep its great performance".


So, Ferrari is still on top. The opponents start to be shocked. The gap for winning is narrowing down and the British coalition starts feeling in trouble. In Sweden, a good performance was done by the American drivers Andretti and Donohue respectively on Parnelli and Penske, while the young Tony Brise, on Embassy, took away the sixth place from Scheckter and Fittipaldi. The World Champion by now does not even see the exhausts of the red cars from Maranello. Vittorio Brambilla, who was the fastest in the practice and conquered pole position with an exceptional time, had to pit on lap 18 while he was ahead, in order to change the front left tyre. Then, after rejoining the race, the definitive stop occurs on lap 38 due to the failure of an axle. 


"In the first ten laps I didn't have any issue. I started to hope, since troubles usually show up early. I was racing on my own pace, without pushing too hard, since nobody had tried yet to attack me. Then, the tyre started to vibrate. Good grief, I thought, even this time we are going home with bare hands. I stopped, I changed the tyre, I rejoined, and then the axle broke down. It's okay, races are like this, today it's me, tomorrow you, too bad it's always me. I'm sorry, it's clear to see, that it ended like this, but by now I'm used to it. Better luck next time, I'm trying again, I don't even give up".


Even Carlos Reutemann is gloomy. 


"My rear left tyre betrayed me. I ended my race on the rims. The car in the last few laps was almost undriveable. I was forced to slow down. I'm sure that Niki, otherwise, would have not reached me. Today I lost, it's not him who won".


It can be true, though, based on facts, that Reutemann had some issues, Lauda hadn't, and a win can be obtained only if everything works perfectly. Carlos can only blame it on his tyres. In conclusion, Emerson Fittipaldi. The Brazilian is devastated. For quite a while, each of his race ends badly and his McLaren looks always less competitive. 


"This race was a lottery. Lauda's number came out, good for him. I had grip, tyre and brake issues. I only had front brakes from lap 40 on. What a pain. It's not good, especially because Niki and Ferrari end up winning even when they should lose".


Luca Montezemolo, Scuderia Ferrari's sports director, had said:


"I would immediately sign eight times in order to have Lauda second and Regazzoni fifth or sixth. This circuit is not suitable for our cars. The most important thing for us is to defend ourselves and collect some points". 


An hour before the start of the race, Montezemolo gathered the Italian journalists and claimed once again: 


"It would be better if we don't win, or people would start saying that we are too strong and the others are too weak. This Swedish Grand Prix, definitely unfavourable to us for technical reasons, is very good for us as a transition challenge. The next few circuits are more suitable for Ferrari and we will keep collecting points".


Superstition or diplomacy? This is yet to be known. It turned out that Ferrari won and in a superb way. Of course, Luca Montezemolo was more than happy for the classification of the two cars. So, the Swedish Grand Prix weekend, which took place on the Anderstorp circuit, which started pretty poorly and with big problems due to the inadequate tyres, ended in the best possible way. Credit goes to the drivers, the cars and the organization. The Swedes, who in terms of organizational capability are pretty skilled, were even astonished by Scuderia Ferrari's performance. In the evening, in a comment on the race, it will be said on Stockholm's radio: 


"Ferrari is already strong basically, and the work in the pits is done in the perfect way. There are teams that maybe have more money to spend in promotional activities, who maybe have nicer buses, who maybe have more flamboyant jerseys. Ferrari bets especially on technique and organization. The mechanics work rationally, not an action more than necessary. No other pit is so well prepared, so clean, so tidy. The tool cabinets are textbook worthy. Every time a tool or every other thing is no more useful, it is immediately placed to its own place. Everything has its weight and ends up giving its results". 


On television, the Swedish commentator affirms:


"The win from Lauda and Ferrari are the result of an excellent driving technique, together with a great organizational effort. A worthy driver is paired with a superior a car, to which a routine directed by very talented people is added".


The Swedish motor experts are positively shocked as well: 


"These are victories gained thanks to the team, who works more than the others and better than the others".


Says Lennart Ojesten, a very famous Swedish journalist. A car magazine followed the Ferrari team during all the race and will certainly report in details also the enormous work done by the team leaders: Montezemolo, Ghedini, Forghieri and the head mechanics who were photographed and even captured on television, almost like cinema divas. Anderstorp's victory is therefore important in the international field, not only for the points gained in Formula 1, but also because it allowed the world, where organization reigns supreme, to see that Italians, if they want to, can organize themselves as much as or even better than everyone else. Besides this, Ferrari's win made the Italians who work in Sweden happy, especially the almost one hundred people from Brescia who, for the third consecutive year, came to Anderstorp waiting for the success of the Italian cars. So, Ferrari won in Anderstorp. The best thing is that they won despite even Luca di Montezemolo believed in that, the one in the whole team that always suffers the most.


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