There are some people who think that Grand Prix racing should be made more uniform than it is and bemoan the fact that all circuits do not have aircraft landing strips and motels incorporated in their design. Fortunately, Europe is not uniform in everything and each country still possesses some variation, so that although the cast for a Grand Prix does not vary much from race to race, the surroundings still do. With Scandinavia now joining in the Grand Prix circus we have the extremes in contrast by going from the Grand Prix round the streets of Monte Carlo, uphill and downhill between the hotels, houses, shops and restaurants, to the flat, arid waste on which the Swedes have built the Scandinavian Raceway on the edge of the little country town of Anderstorp, though from the circuit there is not a house to be seen, just sandy scrub and distant pine trees. The circuit is absolutely flat, incorporating the Anderstorp airfield runway in the main straight, with the rest of the 4.018-kilometre circuit twisting and turning in a series of uniform right-angle corners and hairpins, with the start and finish and the timekeepers at one end of the wiggly bit and the pits and paddock at the other end. This comes about because the CSI inspected the circuit in 1968, when it was built, and would not sanction the start line being on the short straight where the pits were, demanding that it should be on the longer straight on the other side of the circuit. By this time the vast tarmac paddock has been laid and the pits built, so the race control center is set up remote from the nerve center and it seemed to work. The cast that journeys to Sweden by boat, plane and road is little changed from Monaco, except for some non-starters, these being Merzario in the second Ferrari, Andrea de Adamich with the third Brabham, Amon with the Tecno, Galli who withdraws from further active participation on the eve of the race, and Von Opel, there being no sign of the Ensign once again.
Of the regulars, Team Lotus are back to full strength with two cars each for Fittipaldi and Peterson, Ferrari have his two B3 cars for Ickx, Team Tyrrell their three cars 005, 006 and 006/2 with the first number in wedge-nose, side-radiator form, as tried briefly at Zolder, the McLaren team have their three M23 cars for Hulme and Revson, the Ecclestone Brabham team their two BT42 models for Reutemann and Wilson Fittipaldi, with a brand new BT42 in the transporter, though it is not used. The BRM team are reduced to three cars after Beltoise crashed his at Monaco, the line-up being Regazzoni P160/07, Beltoise P160/01 and Lauda P160/08. The UOP-Shadow team have built another new car, for Follmer this time, his Monaco car being reduced to scrap, and Team Surtees have the three cars they took to Monaco, the spare car being for Pace. With the loss of Nanni Galli the Williams team have a spare car for Ganley, and both cars have been converted to a single front radiator layout instead of the two radiators, one on each side just behind the front wheels, as originally built. The March force comprises Jarier with the works car, Beuttler with the stock-broker’s car, with a new oil radiator layout at the back, and Reine WiseII with the car Purley has used at Monaco, it being rebuilt with new body panels and painted bright yellow like the Beuttler car. Graham Hill completes the list with his Shadow, rebuilt and strengthened since Monaco. In total, there are four practice sessions and, presumably, the constructors are being paid sufficient money, for there are no boycotts or complaints of practice, and the practice takes place over Friday and Saturday before race day. It is held in early morning and late afternoon on the first day and early morning and lunch-time on the second day, with breaks during each session if any cars become derelict round the circuit and needed collecting, and there are quite a number of them. Considering it is all supposed to be practice time, the troubles are rather more abundant than was reasonable.
The UOP-Shadow team start the ball rolling on Friday morning when Oliver’s Cosworth engine, just back from an expensive Cosworth rebuild, blows up before he even leaves the pit lane, and Follmer crashes his brand new car into the catch fence at the end of the pit straight and crinkles the monocoque, this being DN1/5A. Wilson Fittipaldi barely completes a lap before the engine in his Brabham sheers its oil-pump drive, which ruins the bearings and puts him out for the rest of the morning. However, not everyone is in trouble, and Cevert is in flying form, sliding round the constant-radius hairpins very prettily and making fastest time, hotly pursued by Peterson, who is naturally the star and hero of his own Grand Prix event, the first to be held in Sweden. For the second practice, Cevert takes over the modified Tyrrell and appears to like it as much as the standard one, and improved on his morning time with it, but Peterson is getting into the groove and makes fastest time in 72/R6 and second fastest time in his spare car, 72/R8, so that one can say in all truth that he dominates practice, everyone else trying to keep up. Among those who are keeping up well is Reutemann, his Brabham being in fourth place, just behind Cevert’s Tyrrell. Once again FoIlmer keeps the ball rolling, setting off in his Shadow which has been straightened out as best as can be done in the paddock, and promptly going off into the sand again, this time without further damage. Oliver and Wilson Fittipaldi join in now, both with new engines in their cars, and Jarier drops out of the running when the crown-wheel and pinion breaks in the Hewland gearbox on his March, while Revson’s McLaren wrecks its gearbox. On Saturday very few people make much improvement as the circuit seems to be getting polished and slippery, and it has never had such high speeds or hard use before. Trouble and crashes continue unabated, however, Pace bending his Surtees when the left-rear wheel breaks off, leaving only the bolted centre on the hub, and Regazzoni walks back to the pits when his B.R.M. engine blows up.
Beuttler gets all crossed up coming into the pit straight, and bends the front of his March on the barriers, and Fittipaldi has a rear hub carrier break on his spare Lotus. Frank Williams lets the Danish F5000 driver Tom Belso have a go in GaIli’s Iso-Marlboro, and Cevert and Stewart improve their times in the standard Tyrrell cars. Ickx is making steady progress with the lone Ferrari, the spare car not being used, but somehow the small Ferrari effort looks a bit lost and lonely. In the final session, Stewart decides to try the modified Tyrrell, in view of the speed Cevert has done with it. So, the pedals are all altered so that the little Scot can drive it. After a mere handful of laps, he returns to his normal car and the experimental one is put away, there not being time to reset everything back for the long-legged Cevert, so the Frenchman continues in his standard Tyrrell. In the Lotus team there are some minor panics when first Fittipaldi stops out on the straight in his spare car, the temporarily repaired rear end having given way again, and then Peterson is reported to be in trouble in his spare car, but it proves to be merely a shortage of petrol. As practice draws to a close, Ganley spins off into the sand and gets everything clogged up, necessitating an engine change and general dismantling to get rid of all the sand. Belso has another brief try in the spare Williams car and fewer people still make any improvement to their times, even though they are all flogging round to the bitter end. The timekeepers are using a clever computer to produce results and it is programmed merely to remember and record each cars best lap and to discard any slower ones, so that it throws away all the times that show no improvement on the remembered time, which leaves us with only the cumulative best time for each driver, along with the cumulative number of laps each driver has completed. Stewart being top of the list with a total of 74 laps in 006/2 Tyrrell, whilst Wisell runs him close with a total of 71 laps. The race distance is to be 80 laps, and most drivers manage to complete over half a race during the two days, while Peterson does 32 laps in Lotus R6 and 42 laps in Lotus R8.