From memory I cannot recall seeing so many Formula One cars in the paddock for a Grand Prix as were seen at Jarama for the Spanish race, though whether quantity took the place of quality is not for me to say. Every race seems to produce a new make of “kit-car” as well as brand new cars from the established teams. Spain saw the debut of the Trojan-Tauranac, a one-off car designed by Ron Tauranac and built by Peter Agg’s Trojan works at Croydon. Not startling, apart from having a wheel and a radiator at each corner, the T103 powered by Cosworth and driven by Hewland, is a neat and straight-forward design of conventional mechanical conception with coil springdamper units all round, outboard front brakes and inboard rears, with everything hung on an angular monocoque of riveted aluminium alloy. Al the front corners are water radiators and at the rear corners are oil radiators, the rear aerofoil being mounted on large Side plates attached to the rear radiator mounting structure. This new car, finished in red and white, carrying advertising for Peter Agg’s other financial interests, namely the importation of Suzuki motorcycles and Homelite chain saws, was for Australian Tim Schenken a return to Grand Prix racing.
Of the established Formula One makes most of them had spare cars and altogether there were 39 cars ready for practice, though this number was reduced by two when news arrived that Silvio Moser had had a had accident at Monza the day before the Grand Prix practice started, and would not be starting. His two 1973 Brabhams, BT42/5 and BT42/6, immaculately finished in blue and white, were loaded back in their transporter and returned to his Italian base. Even so, of the 37 remaining cars there were still four Brabhams, the two works cars of Reutemann and von Opel, BT44/1 and BT44/2, respectively, and the Hexagon of Highgate owned BT42/2, driven by John Watson. The second works car had been hired to von Opel for an unspecified sum of money, he replacing Richard Robarts, whose financial friend Bruce Giddy had changed his arrangements with Ecclestone, the owner of the Brabham team. In the works transporter was a complete spare car, BT44/3, though it was never unloaded, as the two drivers kept their cars “on the island”.
The Scuderia Ferrari arrived in confident form with a brand new car, 015, for Lauda, while Regazzoni had 014, both cars having all the latest mods, with rear upper radius rods almost parallel with the car’s centreline, and anchored to the outer extremities of the monocoque and no longer running through the engine inlet air-boxes, and they both had the very smooth cockpit surrounds blending into the air intake above the driver’s head. The flat 12-cylinder engines were set to run to 12,500 r.p.m. with good pulling power from 7,500 r.p.m. upwards, and both cars appeared to have been well set-up on the factory test-track and were completely trouble-free. The original car of the present series, 010, was there in reserve, and though it was unloaded from the transporter it was not used. Of the five cars that the team have for 1974, the first three are built around monocoques made in England by John Thompson, and the latest two, 014 and 015, were constructed completely at Maranello. The divided McLaren team had five cars between them, Hailwood using M23/7 on behalf of Yardley, with M23/1 as spare, though not used, and Fittipaldi had M23/5 and Hulme M23/6 on behalf of Texaco and Marlboro, with M23/4 as a common spare. After his slight practice accident Hulme used the spare car, and also raced it, even though his usual car was repaired quite quickly. With three lengths of wheelbase available, and a wide variety of rear suspension settings, the McLaren team could assemble a car for almost any circumstances, the wheelbase variations being done by the insertion of different cast alloy spacers between the Cosworth engine and Hewland gearbox, and different length radius rods could be fitted to a choice of three positions for the top ones and five for the bottom ones. As the whole business was still a bit experimental M23/7 and M23/5 had one layout, while M23/4 and M23/6 had another layout, and M23/1 was unmodified, though these ball joint mounting structures could be changed about.
The new Tyrrell 007/1 was making its first public appearance in the hands of Scheckter, and the other young Tyrrell pror4e, Patrick Depaillier had last year’s 005, while 006/2 was there as a spare for the lucky young men. 005 was very up-to-date with inboard front brakes and the 1974 slim and elliptical air intake, while 006/2 retained the old Trident shaped one. Other two-car teams with a spare one standing by were Surtees, Lola and Lotus, the multi-sponsored Surtees team having three 1974 cars, TS16/02 for Pace, TS16/04 for Mass, and TS16/03-2 as a spare. The three Lolas of Graham Hill’s Embassy team had a depressing lack of detail symmetry, indicating a totally unfinished design, and indeed the latest car to be completed, T370/HU3 was the least advanced of the three as regards detail work such as the design of suspension brackets, geometry, and mounting brackets for this and that. Hill was using HU2 and Edwards was using HU1, but during practice when the Cosworth engine broke in HU2, Hill could be seen using HU3. Team Lotus had their two 1974 cars, JPS/9 for Peterson and JPS/10 for Ickx, neither of them having the electrically operated clutch mechanism nor the double rear aerofoil, nor the totally enclosed engine cover. They were both using a new shape of rear aerofoil, not of the fashionable “banana” shape, but yet another variation from the book of “Hopeful aerodynamics for the budding designer”. The spare car was a trusty old Lotus 72, number R8, which has been used by Peterson in the past. Although it was all ready to be used, and Peterson actually got himself strapped into it at one point, it never actually went out on the track.
Lucky driver James Hunt had two 1974 cars from the Hesketh Motor Company, of Towcester, England, as it said on the brass plate in the cockpit. The prototype Hesketh number 308/1 and the brand new one number 308/2, both the same in essentials, but the newer one tidied up a bit in details, the earlier car having a rear aerofoil in unpainted aluminium and the newer one having the aerofoil painted the purest white, like the principles of the team owner.
Those who had to make do with what they had, and be careful to boot, for there was no spare car, were the works March team, the BRM team, Frank Williams’ lso-Marlboro team, and the UOP Shadow team. The rather dirty-green March 741/1, with its brave little Union Jack on its side, was driven by H. J. Stuck, and the orange Beta-tools-sponsored 741/2 was driven by the Italian firm’s man, Vittorio Brambilla. Behoise was driving the 1974 BRM P201/01, while Pescarolo had P160/10 and Migault had P160/9, all three having silver tops and Lincoln-green bottoms. Although the Bourne team did not have a spare car with them, they had a very comprehensive stock of bendable parts as was shown when Migault bent P160/09 in practice and had all new suspension, steering and transmission parts fitted, having already had an engine change.
The latest Williams car, IR/04, for Merzario was actually finished off in the paddock, and BeIso had IR/02, though for what it is worth the team’s “entrepreneur” has decided to renumber the cars FW/04 and FW/02. The Shadow team were not only breaking in a new car, but also a new driver, Brian Redman having his first go in DN3/3A in standard wheelbase form with the normal thin spacer between the Cosworth engine and the Hewland gearbox. Jarier’s car was DN3/2A in long wheelbase form, with the largest of the three connecting pieces available to the British special builders.
A lonely fellow with a lonely car was Chris Amon with his car designed by Gordon Powell and built by various helpful friends and workers, it looking very small and very neat in its pale-blue colour. It is certainly different from the average special-builder’s kit-car assembled around a Cosworth V8 and a Hewland transmission, having torsion bar suspension, using simple one-piece torsion bars, the fixed ends mounted on easily-adjustable arms, and having inboard brakes all round, with calipers made to their own design by Lockheed. This first Amon car is AF101 or AF1/1, whichever way you like to write it.
With a lot of the Formula One constructors still trotting out the old platitudes about rising costs, shortage of money, lack of sponsors and the need for more starting money, the total of 37 cars for 28 drivers did not encourage belief in this outlook, and with fourteen different makes aspiring for success it would look as though Formula One is a good proposition for anyone prepared to have a go, and there are three more makes yet to make their appearance in a Grand Prix.