When Ferrari had it all




A nice article on Clay Regazzoni. I remember Niki Lauda and Clay walking very comfortably to their cars, side by side, all smiles and chatting, before the 1975 Belgian GP commenced. The outcome: an assured win for Lauda, Regazzoni coming back from behind, after a tyre stop early in the race, towards fifth, taking two points.

After the race we saw Lauda, sweating and drinking from a litre-bottle of water, walking towards the podium. Two weeks after he had delivered the Scuderia its first win with the brand new 312T Ferrari in Monaco, everybody now knew this wonderboy from Austria was aiming for the World Championship.

Cars by Mauro Forghieri, the leadership of Luca di Montezemolo for the commendatore Enzo Ferrari, two good drivers; Ferrari had it all.

In fact racing fans desperately wanted this newcomer Lauda to take what he deserved. After all, the year before Ferrari returned beautifully from the disaster of 1973, and a man named Clay Regazzoni only lost the title by a few points to Emerson Fittipaldi. And, of course, Lauda should have taken the ’74 title, since he was fastest by a huge margin.

Regazzoni, too, could have been winner of the 1974 title if he had let Lauda pass him in Monaco and settled for second place. After all, Lauda later retired and it would have brought Clay first place.

Sadly `Regga’ made an error while being pushed to the limit by Lauda, and he had to fight back to finish fourth, while Peterson took the aged Lotus 72 to a win.

In Lauda’s words, “The only thing that matters is winning the World Championship; it doesn’t matter how you get there.”

But I feel glad `Regga’ lived life to the full, not thinking about the championship at all.

And I am also glad I witnessed this epoch of motor racing. It was brilliant.

Gert van Gelder, Antwerp, Belgium