Austrian Grand Prix

“Blow up James! No be sensible and settle for a good second place.” These were the alternating thoughts going through the mind of Shadow DN8 driver Alan Jones for much of the 54-lap Austrian Grand Prix at the Osterreichring on August 14. The 30-year-old Australian driver, son of early post-war Australian ace Stan Jones (winner of the first New Zealand Grand Prix), had moved the Shadow into second place on lap 16 and sat just over 12 seconds behind Hunt’s McLaren M26 until it suffered a major engine failure with 10 laps left to go. Jones admitted that he could hardly believe the sight of Hunt (inset, left) walking away from his abandoned McLaren and confessed that he had to concentrate unduly hard once he took over the lead. “I had two huge slides on the lap after I saw James walking back and had to tell myself to ease up and be sensible” Jones said after the race. Worried about the prospect of being caught by Niki Lauda’s Ferrari 312T2, Jones kept a close eye on his pit signals, but the Austrian driver had virtually settled for second place by the finish and Jones brought the Shadow home to score his and the team’s first Championship Grand Epreuve victory by fractionally over 20 seconds from Lauda. Inset right, the Shadow pit crew celebrate their first big win by jubilantly leaping over the pit wall to welcome their driver. Bottom left, Lauda’s Ferrari leads Jochen Mass’ McLaren M26 and winner Jones into the Hella Lichtkurve chicane (an unpopular new addition to the splendid track) early in the race. Top centre, the two Brabham-Alfa Romeos of Hans Stuck and John Watson sweep through the Boschkurve in front of the huge spectator grandstand. Stuck has just lapped his off-form teammate and, while the German driver finished third, Watson set the fastest lap of the race on the very last lap as he spurted past Patrick Neve’s March to take eighth place. Right, a long shot of the start/finish straight with Patrick Tambay’s Ensign leading Stuck’s Brabham, Nilsson’s Lotus 78, Reutemann’s Ferrari, Mass’ McLaren, Peterson’s Tyrrell, Laffite’s Ligier, Depailler’s Tyrell and Jones’ Shadow at the end of the opening lap. Nilsson’s performance was a highlight of the race for, after changing from wet weather tyres after nine laps, he rocketed back from 13th to third place before his car’s engine failed on lap 37. Below, the tenacious Swede is seen between the two Tyrrells.