Notes on the cars at Nurburgring

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The Ferrari that was damaged in the Regazzoni/Lauda mix-up at Brands Hatch, number 312T2/027, needed quite a lot of straightening out so was dropped from the team for the German GP and Regazzoni returned to his earlier car, 312T2/025. Lauda still had the latest car, 312T2/028, and his earlier car number 312T2/026 was standing by as a spare, but was not used. The specification of all three cars was unchanged. Similarly, the Tyrrell team were as in the previous race, with Scheckter its the Project 34/3 and Depailler in 34/2, the only change within the team being that they had sold Depailler’s 4-wheeler number 007/4. This had gone to the Scuderia Rondini, an Italian group who entered Alessandro Pesenti-Rossi in the car, his first dabble in Formula One after experience in lesser single-seater Formulae. Team Tyrrell had Scheckter’s 4-wheeler 007/6-4 as a stand-by but so trouble-free are the six-wheelers that it was not needed.

In Team Lotus there were some changes, notably to R3 (JPS 14) in the Lotus 77 series. It was the spare car at Brands Hatch in a rather uncompleted state, but now became Andretti’s car, and 77/R1 became the spare. The latest car had the oil radiator in the nose, as used at Brands Hatch, but it also had the cockpit adjustable rear anti-roll bar, as seen but not used at Brands Hatch. On the left of the cockpit is a small lever that slides backwards and forwards along a notched guide. An aircraft-type flexible Exactor control transmits the motion to a linkage on the rear of the car that stiffened or softened the rear anti-roll bar depending on which way the lever was moved from the central position. This car was also fitted with a compressed-air starter motor replacing the heavy electrical one and at the back of the car was an air-line bayonet fitting for receiving the nozzle from an airbottle. The “on board” supply of compressed air was sufficient for two starts. Doing away with the electric starter meant that a small motor-cycle-type battery could be used for the electrics and this was on a bracket within the rear aero-foil mounting. The only modification to Nilsson’s car, 77/R2 was the new nose cowling with the oil radiator in it.

Another team who had taken a leaf from McLaren’s design book and made a compressed air starter-motor was the Ecclestone Brabham team. This was fitted to the latest car, BT45/4 driven by Carlos Pace, while Reutemann’s car BT45/3 still used electric starting. The spare car was BT45/1 and this was fitted with some experimental brakes using thinner and lighter discs with Carbon Fibre inserts, similar to those experimented with by John Surtees on his car last winter. The spare Brabham also had some new front wheels with external turbo-finning expelling the hot air from the brake discs. All three cars had lighter and simpler mountings for the rear aero-foils, with diagonal bracing wires from the outer edges of the wing down to the bottom of the central mounting.

For a change the two March teams had not had to do any major rebuilds around new “monocoques” after Brands Hatch, merely tidy up the damage done. Consequently they had time to finish off another car that they have been carrying about as a kit of parts. This car, numbered 761/7, was painted blue and yellow for Peterson, although the Swede was using his usual Car, back in Citibank Travellers Cheque colours. Brambilla’s car was its usual orange, but Stuck’s car was now orange with advertising by the German Jagerrneister health drink. Merzario had elected to join the Williams team to try and prove something, so his usual March was standing by as a spare, the new March being finished off ready for some testing at Zandvoort rather than to act as a spare car.

As Jacky Ickx had indicated that he was disenchanted with the new Postlethwaite/Williams car and could not see much hope of qualifying with it at the Nurburgring, he was released from the team and Merzario took his place. He used FW05/3, the latest car, with FW05/2 as a spare, and soon did away with the full-width Ferrari-like nose aerofoil in order to change the handling characteristics. The usual three Surtees cars were in attendance, a new type of nose cowling being available for Jones to try on TS19/02. Because of the ban on cigarette advertising by the German Government, Lunger’s car, TS 19/03, had Changed its colours and advertising from Chesterfield cigarettes to Campari aperitifs. Pesearolo had the original TS19, hoping it would go a bit better than in previous events. Other teams affected by the ban on cigarette advertising were McLaren, who had to cover up all mention of Marlboro on the usual three car’s, the new M26 not being ready to race yet, and Ligier who had to cover up the Gitanes signs on their two Matra-powered cars, JS5/01 and J55/02. The Shadow team took advantage of a loop-hole in the German Government rules about cigarette advertising, for cigar advertising was not banned and they tied up a deal with a cigar manufacturer, the usual Shadow cars having an orange and blue colour scheme on their upper works. The RAM Racing team had all sorts of deals going, as evidenced by the advertising on their two Brabham BT44B cars, driven by Rolf Stommelen and Leila Lombardi, but the whole affair turned sour half-way through practice, as described in the race report of the German GP. Emerson Fittipaldi was restricting his brother’s team to one entry until the cars performed better and he had ex-Lotus, ex-Parnelli designer Maurice Phillipe in attendance. John Watson had the benefit of having Roger Penske himself with the PC4/01, and Ertl and Edwards formed a sort of combined Hesketh team, while Amon and the Nunn family were getting on quietly with the Ensign MN05.—D.S.J.