Notes on the Cars in Sweden

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The March teams were the only ones who had to do any major rebuilding after the ravages of Monte Carlo, both 761/1, Brambilla’s car, and 761/4, Merzario’s car needing new “monocoque tubs” as well as numerous suspension parts. In fart, recently, the March rebuilding programme has been such that an order is placed with their “monocoque” fabrication shop first thing on Monday morning and in preparation for the Swedish Grand Prix an order was put in for “a white one and an orange one”. So far only Stuck’s car, 761/2, has not needed a major rebuild. Peterson’s car had a visit to the paint shop as the Penske sponsors, the American First National City Bank Travellers Cheques, agreed to put some money in the March kitty in exchange for Peterson’s car being painted in their colours and carrying their name. A strange quirk of the world of Formula One, for last year Roger Penske bought a March 751 when his own car seemed uncompetitive, and the paint-shop wizards coloured it red, white and blue to make it look more like a Penske than a March. This year the reverse happened, with March painting their car to make it look more like a Penske car. Confusing, isn’t it!

In addition to the two rebuilt cars, there were two brand new cars, the Penske PC4 making its public debut and a third Surtees TS19 being completed for Brett Lunger, to replace the car sold to Pescarolo and his Norev-toys sponsor. TS19/03 was virtually identical to Lunger’s original car TS19/01, the only difference being larger and more powerful brakes, like those on Alan Jones’ car, TS19/02. The Penske PC4/01 was a logical development of the PC3 series, not differing in any radical way, but full of detail changes and generally being a better car. In place of the full-width nose and the chisel nose with fins, tried at various times on the PC3 cars, the new one carried a Ferrari-like nose with a full-width aerofoil mounted ahead of the nose-cone. Another car to adopt the Ferrari-like front aerofoil was BT45/1, the spare Btabham-Alfa Romeo, the other two Ecclestone cars being to their usual pattern.

Ferrari themselves were not noticeably changed from their Monte Carlo guise, Lauda retaining 026, Regazzoni 027 with 025 as the spare. For experimentation purposes there were some rear aerofoils with bulbous aerodynamic end plates, instead of the normal flat aluminium ones. Tyrrell was very confident of his Project 34 six-wheelers and Scheckter and Depailler had their normal cars, but tucked away round the back were their two old 007 series cars just in case of emergency. Team Lotus had had a bit of a set-back during pre-race testing at Anderstorp with a new car, 77/R3, when something broke and deflected it into the barriers, virtually destroying it, so that R1 and R2 were being used for Andretti and Nilsson as usual. Team McLaren had their usual three cars, M23/8 for Hunt, M23/9 for Mass, and M23/6 as a spare and similarly the Shadow Team had their usual three cars, DN5/5B for Pryce, DN5/4A for Janet and DNS/3A as the team spare. With Ickx driving at Le Mans, Frank Williams had more cars than drivers, so while Leclere was driving the second Postlethwaite-Hesketh 308C, which is known as Williams FW05/2, the original car which Williams bought off the Hesketh team was available as a spare for the French driver. Emerson Fittipaldi was still driving the first of the 1976 cars, FD04/1, while Hoffmann’s car FD04/2 was there as a stand-by, the team still not feeling strong enough to enter two cars. The Ensign, the Ligier, the Boro-Ensign and Ertl’s Hesketh were unchanged, while the RAM Racing Brabhams were all present, Loris Kessel using BT44B/1 with BT44B/2 as a spare, and the Danish driver Jac Nellemann was in BT42/2.

During practice there were some changes made, either by choice or by force majeure. Hunt decided he preferred the McLaren M23/6 instead of M23/8, Reutemann crashed the Brabham BT45/2-2 so was forced to use BT45/1, Pryce crashed Shadow DN5/5B so had to use D5/3A, and Nellemann broke the RAM Brabham BT42/2 so took BT44B/2. Regazzoni used the spare Ferrari while his regular one was being repaired and Watson used the Penske PC3/02 while the new car was repaired and Leclerc tried the older of the Williams cars, but stuck to his normal one for the race. Neither of the 007 Tyrrells were used, nor was the spare Fittipaldi, while a collection of spares in the March teams was never assembled into a complete car.

After the race there were four more wrecks to return to England for repair, to add to the two in practice, making a total of six major wrecks. These were Brabham BT45/2-2 and Shadow DN5/5B, crashed in practice, and the new Penske PC4/01, the Ensign MN05, the Lotus 77/R2 and the Brabham BT44B/1 crashed during the race.—D.S.J.

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