FIA Graded Drivers

With the arrival of the official FIA Yellow Book for 1979, containing all the rules and regulations for International events of all categories (see page 150), we have the list of drivers who have made the top grade. This year’s elite is a bit of a mish-mash containing Grand Prix drivers, the winner of the Indianapolis 500 and those who have been successful in the rather emaciated world of Long Distance racing.

In the GP section we have the World Champions for the past five years, those who have finished at least twice in one year among the first six in World Championship events for the past two years, the F2 European Champion and anyone who has finished in the first six of a GP once, and in the first three at least once of a Group 5 Long Distance race. Amongst these is grouped the winner of last year’s Indianapolis 500, so this gives us:

M. Andretti (USA)
R. Patrese (Italy)
V. Brambilla (Italy)
D. Pironi (France)
P. Depailler (France)
G. Regazzoni (Switzerland)
E. Fittipaldi (Brazil)
C. Reutemann (Argentina)
B. Giacomelli (Italy)
J. Scheckter (S. Africa)
J. Hunt (GB)
H.-J. Stuck (Germany)
J.-P. Jarier (France)
P. Tambay (France)
A. Jones (AUS)
R. Unser (USA)
J. Laffite (France)
G. Villeneuve (Canada)
N. Lauda (Austria)
J. Watson (GB)
J. Mass (Germany)

This gives us five Frenchmen, three Italians, two Americans, Germans and Brits, and one each from Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, South Africa and Switzerland. On the Long Distance scene the qualification is to finish at least twice in the first three, in one year, taking into consideration the last two seasons, providing not more than two drivers drove any particular car. This group reads as follows:

V. Brambilla (Italy)
A. Merzario (Italy)
E. Cheever (USA)
H. Pescarolo (France)
S. Dini (Italy)
D. Quester (Germany)
J. Fitzpatrick (GB)
M. Schurti (Liechtenstein)
G. Francia (Italy)
R. Stommelen (Germany)
J. Ickx (Belgium)
M. Surer (Switzerland)
J.-P. Jarier (France)
R. Wollek (France)
J. Mass (Germany)

This gives us four Italians, three French and three German, and one each from Belgium, Great Britain, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and the USA. It will be noted that Brambilla, Jarier and Mass have qualified under both categories.

All these drivers can complete in all full International events, but cannot compete in F3 events, nor can they compete in restricted International events, unless it is in their own country.

The list of International non-graded drivers covers just about anyone who is worth anything at all on an International scale, from A. J. Foyt and J. P. Jabouille, through Derek Bell and Brian Redman, to Sigrido Stohr and Osca Pedersoli. In this category are a lot of drivers who were in Formula One last year, and may still be in this year: Rene Arnoux, Michael Bleekomolen, Alberto Colombo, Derek Daly, Harald Ertl, Beppe Gabiani, Rupert Keegan, Lamberto Leoni, Brett Lunger, Danny Ongais, Nelson Piquet, Bobby Rahal, Hector Rebaque and Keijo Rosberg. Among this year’s newcomers or possibles to Formula One are Jan Lammers, Elio de Angelis, Eje Elgh, Patrick Gaillard, Piercarlo Ghinzani, Geoff Lees and Anders Olofsson. – D. S. J.