Notes on the cars at Monte Carlo

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Two notable things stood out in the line-up of cars at Monte Carlo, following the Zolder race two weeks previous, one was that Team Lotus were back to three cars after their brief moment of satisfaction with two cars for each of their drivers, and the Tyrrell team were mechanically all back to square one.

Other teams had been as hard, if not harder, at work but the effect was only noticeable in detail. At Zolder Peterson’s second crash on race day (he had three all told) was in Lotus 72/R8 and the front-end damage was pretty severe, so that he was back to one car for Monaco, this being Lotus 72/R6. His teammate and equal number one, Emerson Fittipaldi, had his usual two cars, 72/R5 and 72/R7, and there did not appear to be any “lending” going on, especially as both cars were being troublesome in practice.

The three Tyrrell cars were the usual trio, 005, 006 and 006/2, and this time 005 was the spare car for Stewart. It had been put back to original 1973 specification, with front-mounted water radiator and side oil radiators, and the shapely experimental wedge nose had been replaced by the normal full-width blunt nose. Stewart’s car with which he won at Zolder had reverted back to inboard brakes, and both this car 006/2 and Cevert’s car 006, had square holes on each side of the radiator opening ducting air to aluminium shrouds on the inboard brakes. The inboard rear brakes had air scoops made of glass-fibre that stood up like ship’s ventilators, peeping over the flat sides of the engine cover.

As with many of the teams in this year’s “brake problem flap”, there was much to-and-fro-ing between Lockheed brakes and Girling brakes, just as there used to be, and still is in some quarters, vacillation between Armstrong shock-absorbers and Koni shock-absorbers, and Champion sparking plugs and Motorcraft sparking plugs. One thing that does not seem to vary, if you have a Cosworth V8 engine in your Formula One car, is Lucas ignition and injection equipment (the best, or a monopoly?).

The two red Ferraris were the same as used at Zolder, with Ickx in 312 B3/010 and Merzario in 011, although the cars had swapped rear aerofoil mountings, which might have confused anyone not too observant. These mountings carry identification plates similar to those in the cockpit so that car 010 had 011 stamped on the aerofoil plate and vice versa. The McLaren team were in good clean form with Hulme in M23/1 and Revson in M23/2, with M23/3 as the spare for either driver, although it carried Hulme’s number in practice. In the first practice the T-car was actually M23/2, awaiting Revson’s arrival from America.

The BRM team were as at Zolder, with Regazzoni in P160/07, Beltoise in P160/03 and Lauda in P160/08, with P160/05 as the Training car, both Regazzoni and Lauda using it at times. Although the next Tecno was supposed to be ready for this race it did not appear as expected and the Zolder car was used again, this being the chassis designed by Alan McCall.

The Ecclestone Brabham team were unchanged, with Reutemann and Wilson Fittipaldi in the 1973 cars, BT42/3 and BT42/2, respectively, while de Adamich still had BT37/2. The Shadow team had a brand new car, DN1 /4A, to replace the original car that Oliver destroyed at Zolder, while Follmer still had /2A and Graham Hill /3A. Another team that had built a completely new car following Zolder, was Team Surtees, who had TS14A/05 for Pace, with Hailwood still in /04 and the rebuilt /03 as a spare for either driver, although it was not used. It came to the pits for the last practice session with a new design of air-box on the Cosworth engine, which was bigger and more tapered.

The two Iso-Marlboro Williams specials were as before, with Ganley in /02 and Galli in /01 and the works March for Jarier was still 721G/4, which can be called 731/4, depending on whether you view it as last year’s car rebuilt and rebodied, or an entirely new car. Similarly, Beuttler’s car can be 721G/2 or 731/2, whichever way it is looked at. There were two more March cars at Monaco, both virtually new, but constructed from 1972 parts, either used or unused depending on whether they originated from the workshop floor, under the bench or from the stores. These both followed the general design of the 1972 cars which were hastily built in mid-season to replace the abortive 721X, the car with the Alfa Romeo gearbox. These two new cars were 731/1, for James Hunt driving for Lord Hesketh, and 731/3 for David Purley. – D.S.J.

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