International Calendar for 1975
AS THESE WORDS are appearing in print the first Grand Prix of 1975 is only 12 days away, in Buenos Aires, for the Grand Prix of Argentina. Shortly after the 1974 season finished a new Formula One car was announced from Brazil, this being a “standard kit car” design built by Wilson Fittipaldi, elder brother of the World Champion. Using a Cosworth DFV engine and Hewland gearbox the car follows standard practice in its chassis layout, but has an ambitious all-enclosed bodywork which runs to the rear of the gearbox. It certainly looks very nice but whether it can be raceworthy looking so pretty, only time will tell. Presumably it will make its debut in the Argentine, or may be saved for the Brazilian GP at the end of January. Emerson Fittipaldi will not be driving it, World Championship points being more important than family prestige, but he may join the team later. The South African GP has the name Lucky Strike in brackets after it in the FIA Calendar, this being the South African cigarette firm who have been supporting a racing team for some years, and now sponsor the race with financial backing. One would have expected the British GP to have the name John Player in brackets after it in the FIA list, but not so! The list merely says GP Great Britain, Silverstone, July 19th, and in readiness the pit area is being rebuilt in a big way. The existing pits and raised pit-road have been bulldozed away and a new area is being built, extending almost to Copse Corner, with increased paddock area as well. The pit exit will be after Copse Corner, the pit-road running across the open space on the inside of the corner. This major rebuild by the BRDC is most welcome, and long overdue, and it is to be hoped that an extra toilet block or two will be built at the same time! While another water tap wouldn’t go amiss.
At the time of publication the Belgians had not made up their mind where their Grand Prix is to be held, though the date is May 25th, nor had the French decided, for their date of July 6th. The Spanish GP is to return to the exciting Montjuich Park circuit in Barcelona, which everyone seems to enjoy, and a race where you can use the Metro or a bus to get from your hotel to the circuit! I did this in 1973, not to save petrol or anything like that, but to avoid the aggro of parking and traffic jams, which to me are never part of motoring. If anyone wants to visit a “foreign” Grand Prix with lots of atmosphere they should take in the Spanish GP on April 27th, and it’s all over in time to to go to the bull-fight, and see some more “dicing with death”.
At the end of the 1974 season the South African long-distance sports car race at Kyalami, which used to be for nine hours, but is now six hours, was given Championship status at long last. It is nice to sec it in the Calendar for 1975 as the final round in the Championship, sponsored by the Rand Daily Mail. Although the Brands Hatch 1,000 kms. race is inscribed for September 14th and attributed to British Airways, its future is a bit uncertain. Last year a mere 7,000 spectators attended, less than went to Silverstone for the saloon-car Tourist Trophy race, and while the weather did not help, a big reason must have been the lack of “star” drivers. A lot of people will go to see the likes of Peterson, Lauda, Ickx, Regazzoni, et al, no matter what they are driving, just to see and admire their expertise. but they do not want to see Grand Prix “also rans” in action. The support for the TT was another matter altogether; there were no “star” drivers and everyone knew it, but there was a lot of “make” interest.
Gone from the Calendar, in its known form, in the Can-Am series, the SCCA scrubbing the Championship for various reasons. One could say that Can-Am has “died on its feet”, but in my book Can-Am never “lived”. Those that made a lot of money out of it will be weeping, but no-one else, and certainly no;-one in Europe, except perhaps Porsche, Lola and McLaren who did some good business out of it.
Formula Two looks as strong as ever, on paper, though in reality I find it a bit shallow, but enthusiasts for this category will be pleased to see that there are two rounds in Great Britain, one at Thruxton by courtesy of the BARC, unless they panic and cancel it at the last moment, and one at Silverstone by the BRDC. Other interesting new features on the Calendar are a 2-litre sports-car race at Brands Hatch, BARC on June 22nd, and a round of the European Touring Car Championship at Oulton Park on April 27th.