Notes on the cars at Zolder

With the Belgian Grand Prix taking place only two weeks after the Monaco race there was not much time for building new cars or doing anything experimental, so that the mechanical scene at Zolder was very similar to that in Monte Carlo. Graham Hill’s Embassy-sponsored team had worked four days and four nights non-stop and had built the third of the Hill cars, GH3, and finished it off in the paddock on the first morning of practice. The Shadow team replaced DN5/ 1A, which Jarier bounced along the guardrails on the harbour front at Monaco, with DN5/4A which was being completed anyway. Team Surtees brought along another of their 1974 cars rebuilt into 1975 specification, this being TS16/05-4 and Ferrari rebuilt 018 after Regazzoni’s rough treatment in Monaco, and it arrived late at Zolder in a separate lorry from the rest of the team and stood by as a spare. For the rest it was the mixture-as-before, with the exception of revised gear ratios, different suspension settings and a lot of extra cooling ducts to brakes as well as the largest discs and calipers that could be fitted, together with the largest possible brake fluid reservoirs. The reason for all this brake attention was the stop-go-stop characteristics of the Zolder circuit. In the McLaren team Fittipaldi had M23/9 and Mass had M23/8, as usual, with M23/6 as the team spare, and they had long and short nose cowlings and complete front suspension assemblies giving wide and narrow track variations. The Tyrrell lads were as usual, with Scheckter in 007/2, Depailler in 007/4 and 007/5 standing by in reserve, while Lotus had 72/R9 for Peterson and 72/R5 for Ickx, as is normal, with 72/R8 as the spare. The Brabham team sported four cars, B1, B2, B3 and B4, the last car really being on its way to Zandvoort for a tyre test programme, but as B3 gave trouble in practice the latest car had to be pressed into use as the spare for Reutemann and Pace.

March Engineering had 751/3 and 751/2 for Brambilla and Lella Lombardi, respectively, their budget not running to a spare car at race meetings, though they do have a test-car for experimental running. In the Ferrari camp Regazzoni had 022 and Lauda had 023, his Monaco winning car, and both engines had new exhaust systems aimed at improving low-speed pick-up. The normal layout is with the front three cylinders on each side to feed into their own single tail pipe and similarly the rear three cylinders on each side. The four tail pipes then run into individual megaphone ends. On the new system there was a balance pipe between each pair on each side, in the short section between the merging of the three pipes from the head and the beginning of the megaphones; there was no provision for balancing the left side to the right side.

BRM came with P201/05 as the car intended for the race and P201/02 as the spare, but as things turned out their roles were reversed. Pryce was driving his usual Shadow DN5/2A, Jarier having a new one as explained, and DN5/3A was the spare. Team Surtees had TS16/02-4 with them in case of emergencies, but it was never actually completed and similarly the Penske team had PC1/02 in its component parts as stand-by spares for PC1/01 which Donohue was driving. Frank Williams still had Laffite in his latest car, FW/04 and Merzario in the older FW/03, while Graham Hill had out-bid Williams for the services of young Tony Brise and had him installed in GH1, the first car his team had built, and they had Lola HU3 as a spare. The Hesketh team had Hunt in 308/2 with 308/3 as a spare, and Alan Jones was in 308/1 as usual. Completing the list was Wilson Fittipaldi with the lonely, Copersucar supported car of his own manufacture.

Missing from the entry list was Andretti with the Vel’s Pamelli team car, as they were involved in the Indianapolis 500. Another regular who was missing was Morris Nunn and his Ensign as his Dutch driver Roloef Wunderink had crashed a Formula 5000 car at Zandvoort and hurt himself. There had been mutterings of the Japanese Maki-Cosworth V8 making a re-appearance with David Walker driving it, but a delay on the delivery of new wheels had put their schedule back.

The remarkable thing about the entry was the number of spare cars that were not used during the meeting, McLaren, Tyrrell, Lotus, Ferrari, Surtees and Hill all having spare cars that were never needed.—D.S.J.