With the Formula One scene in a state of flux at the moment and the season reaching mid-way, technical progress is not surprisingly slowing down, though detail work is still very active and improved lap times in testing at Silverstone and Brands Hatch indicate a remarkable forward progress. Shortly before the French Grand Prix Ferrari announced his new Formula One car to replace the current T5. This was the 126C, a 11/2-litre V6 with exhaust turbo-charging quoted as developing 540.bhp. At the moment it is not known when it will replace the T5, but Villeneuve had been driving it on test at the Ferrari Fiorano track and all for giving it a run in the French GP but Ferrari engineers thought otherwise.
Ferrari: With the Ferrari “turbo” on test it was not surprising to find three unchanged T5 cars in the Paul Ricard paddock. They were 046 (Scheckter), 045 (Villeneuve) and 044 (T-car).
Williams: Jones had FW07B/7 as usual, with FW07B/6 as the spare, and Reutemann still had FW07B/5, repaired after its Spanish accident. Like Brabham and Lotus the Williams team were experimenting with 15″ front tyres.
Arrows: The usual three cars, A3/5 (Patrese), A3/4 (Mass) and A3/1 (spare). The spare car and A3/5 were fitted with the neat long tails over the gearbox, seen earlier in the season, while A3/4 had a short tail. Results were inconclusive.
Osella: The first car, FA1/1 was the race-car and FA1/2 was really only a complete set of travelling spares, not a usable car.
Tyrrell: The car that Daly destroyed at Monaco (010/3) was replaced by a new car (010/4) in Spain, though it carried the destroyed car’s identity for the time being. At Paul Ricard it took its place as the team lead-car, driven by Jarier, while Daly went back to 010/2 which he had had new for the South African GP. The original car of the 1980 series, 010/1, was the team spare.
Ensign: Another new driver for the team, this time Jan Lammers, though the transporter still carries the name of Regazzoni as the team driver. MN12 was in long wheel-base form and MN14 was in short wheelbase form, and also had a new design of sliding skirt.
Renault: No major changes in the team, Jabouille in RE23, Arnou’x in RE24 and the spare car RE22
set up for Jabouille, as regards. the driving position.
Shadow: The two white DN12 cars as in Spain, number 1 for Lees and number 2, for Kennedy.
Fittipaldi: Another team with no major changes, F7/1 (Fittipaldi), F7/2 (Rosberg) ·and F7/3 the spare, numbered for the team-leader but instantly usable if necessary by the number two driver.
Alfa Romeo: No third entry at this race, as Brambilla crashed one of the cars while testing and Depailler insisted on keeping the experimental car as a test-car. This is the one with the more compact engine mounted lower and was 179/03 for this meeting and showed such improvement that Depailler nominated it as his race-car, keeping 179/01 as the spare. Giacomelli had 179/02 as usual.
Ligier: The car crashed in Spain by Laffite needed a major rebuild so he took over JS11/15/02 while Pironi remained with JS11/15/04. Both cars had reprofiled body work, especially around the rear of the cockpit and over the engine and in their usual way they applied their wind-tunnel knowledge to the requirements of the circuit. The spare car was JS11/15/01 with the old-style bodywork with a pointed hump behind the cockpit, but both styles of body were interchangeable from one car to the other.
Brabham: A brand new car for Piguet (BT49/8) with some redesign of the monocoque to give improved torsional stiffness and BT49/6 for Zunino. The T-car was BT49/3 with a very high axle ratio in case the wind and the calculations from testing were not as expected. With so many crashed cars recently, two at Monaco and one in testing at Brands Hatch, and others at Long Beach and in South America, the “build programme” has become very haywire so that none of the cars at Paul Ricard carried their correct identity plates. Piguet was experimenting with the latest Goodyear 15″ diameter front tyres in practice, for which the Brabham “rising-rate”· front suspension layout was nicely adjustable to reset the geometry for the “taller” front-end.
McLaren: The usual M29C cars for the two drivers, Watson (2) and Prost (4) while the usual spare, which crashed in practice in Spain, was replaced by M29C/3, numbered and painted ready for Prost.
ATS: Their two 1980 cars for Marc Surer, making a return to the team after his accident at Kyalami. The second of the 1980 cars, D4/03 was the race-car, with D4/02 as the spare.
Lotus: Three type 81 cars as usual, with Andretti in 81/1, de Angelis in 81/3 and the spare numbered and painted for de Angelis, 81/2. They were trying 15″ diameter front tyres.