The greatest interest in the paddock at the Austrian Grand Prix centred around the re-appearance of the Scuderia Ferrari, after being missing from the Dutch Grand Prix and the German Grand Prix. During that time Jacky Ickx more or less severed his connections with the team, so that the appearance of a single car at Zeltweg, with Arturo Merzario in attendance showed exactly how the situation stood. Engineer Mauro Forghieri had been called back from his special projects department and he had taken the second of the 1973 Grand Prix cars, number 312B3/011 and gone to work on it utilizing much of the knowledge gained with the 1973 sports-prototype Ferrari, and especially the experimental one that appeared at a number of the recent European long-distance races. The front-mounted water radiator of the Grand Prix car had been abandoned and long thin radiators were mounted on each side of the cockpit, lying at a very shallow angle with air entering from underneath and being expelled out of the top of the side sponsons. To further assist cooling, the water from the engine to the top of each radiator passes along finned cooling tubes lying within the sponsons. The oil tank, which previously formed part of the rear aerofoil mounting, was now mounted on the right-hand side of the engine, as tried on one of the Sports cars, and the oil radiator was on the opposing side. This re-arranged layout immediately brought two constant weight masses closer to the centre of the car. The flat-12 engine air intakes were no longer fed from two ducts, one on each side surrounding the suspension radius rods, but were fed from an air intake above the roll-over bar behind the cockpit. This air intake took the air in horizontally, turned it down through a right-hand angle and then split it two ways horizontally, to feed the two banks of cylinders; this again had been tried successfully on the sports cars. The nose cowling was of a chisel shape with a single-piece full width aerofoil mounted above it. The rear aerofoil was remounted on a structure from the gearbox, and the suspension geometry was re-designed to suit the new weight distribution and the new aerodynamics.
Another car which had undergone some major changes was the Lord Hesketh March, which designer Harvey Postlethwaite had reworked with somr new aerodynamic thinking. A complete new nose cowling was fitted, it having a blunt, sharp profile with a very wide shallow opening feeding air to a very wide shallow radiator. A long lip protruded from under the nose cowling running very close to the ground, this lip being of aluminium, while the nose itself was fibreglass. Working in unison with this new nose the rear aerofoil had been brought well forward, almost over the rear wheel centre-line, and the geometry of the rear suspension had been altered to work in conjunction with the new aerodynamic layout. The sides of the monocoque forward of the cockpit had been cut away, encouraging the radiator air to flow away.
There was some new aerodynamic thinking in the Lotus team. The spare car, 72/R8, designated to Peterson, had a refashioned oil tank at the rear, which formed the mounting for the rear aerofoil and incorporated new oil radiators, giving a much cleaner air-flow over the aerofoil. The two cars used for the race, 72/R7 for Fittipaidi and 72/R6 for Peterson were to the same specification as raced in Germany, there still being no spare car for the Brazilian since he smashed up 72/R5 at Zandvoort during practice.
The Shadow team must be holding some sort of record for rebuilding crashed cars, for Follmer and Oliver have had more than their fair share of minor accidents this season. In the German GP it was Follmer’s turn to go off the road, so his normal car was still being straightened out and for the Austrian race he had the latest car, number DN1/6A, with the new rear suspension and now with a new Lotus-like air intake for the engine; Oliver was back in DN1/4A, which he crashed at Zandvoort. It most be pleasant to work for the Tyrrell team as their two drivers seem to be very capable at staying on the road, so that 005, 00P6 and 006/2 were all in good fettle, with the first of the trio in side-radiators form and with the pedals set up for Stewart, he and Cevert having their usual cars for the race.
The Brabham team had more cars than they really knew what to do with, for Reutemann and Wilson Fittipaldi had their usual cars, BT42/3 and BT42/2, respectively, and BT42/5 was there as a spare. A brand new car, BT42/6, has been built up using such parts as were salvageable from BT42/4, which de Adamich wrote off at Silverstone, and Rolf Stommelen was driving this car. There is something neat and compact about the McLaren team, with their healthy sweet-smelling sponsors Yardley, and Hulme and Revson had their usual cars, M23/1 and M23/2, respectively, with M23/4 numbered 35 and available for either driver. BRM had three cars, P160/09 for Regazzoni, P160/05 for Lauda and P160/07 for Beltoise and all three were fitted with the latest type of tall, narrow engine air-intake. Lauda soon found that he was not fit enough to drive, so his car acted as a spare for Regazzoni.
The Frank Williams learn had built up a new car for Ganley, to replace the one he crashed in practice at Nurburgring, using a new monocoque and bits from the crashed car, so that it was a resurrected IR/02 but became IR/03 in fact.The other Williams’ car, IR/01, was being driven by the Dutchman Gijs van Lennep.
The Martini-Tecno team arrived with both cars, from different directions, the Goral chassis car having been on test at Goodwood, and arriving on a trailer, the McCall chassis car arriving front Bologna in the transporter. Amon was not very enthusiastic about either of them as the flat-12 Pederzani engines were not getting any development work done on them, the designer Seemingly having lost interest. The works March team, no longer with STP backing, were running 731/2, their hire-car still painted dark blue, but with Jarier driving it instead of Purley. The yellow stockbroker March was driven as usual by Beuttler, and the Embassy backed Shadow was driven by Graham Hill, all the restrictions on tobacco companies being removed in Austria, even though the Austrian national tobacco company Memphis were sponsoring the organisers. Team Surtees were unchanged, with Hailwood in TS14A/04 and Pace in TS14A/05, while TS14A/01 was in the transporter but was not used Finally there was the green Ensign of Von Opel, with its rear suspension mounting redesigned and stiffened.