Notes on the cars at Hockenheimring
With four weeks between the British GP and the German GP, due to the latter event being moved from August 3rd to August 10th so that it did not clash with the Olympic games on television space, most of the teams spent the time consolidating their positions rather than embarking on any new projects. Due to the change in dates it meant that the German GP was now the week before the Austrian GP, so that there was no time for the teams to return to base between events as is normal. In consequence most of them arrived in Germany prepared for two races and either brought sufficient cars or sufficient parts to build new cars if necessary.
Ferrari: The 126C turbo-charged 11/2-litre is uppermost in the minds of she Ferrari team and most of their testing time on their private track at Fiorano is spent developing the new car and engine, though it is still not raceworthy. Three normal T models were in Germany, 046 for Scheckter, 048 for Villeneuve and 045 as the spare, which Villeneuve used on Saturday morning when his own car sprung a fuel leak in its central bag tank.
Tyrrell: Detail changes in the endless search for the illusive “down-force” which is supposed to be the secret of the speed of the front running cars, occupied the Tyrrell team. Jarier started practice with 010/4 but crashed it severely on Friday morning. The monocoque was crumpled in front of the cockpit so he transferred to 010/1, the spare car, and the salvageable bits off his wrecked car were used to build up 010/5 around a brand new monocoque. Daly used 010/2, as in the previous two races, but transferred to 010/5 on Sunday morning.
Brabham: A lot of detail changes to suspension and wheel movement geometry both front and rear to the usual 8T49 cars. Piquet in BT49/7, with Hewland gearbox, Rebaque still replacing Zunino, with BT49/6 using the Weismann gearbox and C-specification rear suspension with the spring units mounted behind the gearbox, and BT49/8 as the team spare to Hewland B-spec. This last car had an ingenious indicator on the instrument panel, worked by Bowden cables and rubber bands, which showed what the right-hand side-skirt was doing on the long right-hand sweep of the East Curve of the far end of the circuit. There were two arrow-heads, one for the front of the skirt and the other for the rear, and they indicated whether the skirt was rising or falling parallel as it followed the ground, or whether the front was higher than the rear or vice-versa. Piquet used both his own car and the spare during practice, while Rebaque stuck to the Weismann gearbox car, and finally Piquet raced the spare car.
McLaren: As at Brands Hatch the cars from Colnbrook had their Marlboro cigarette advertising blanked out. Frenchman Alain Prost had a brand new car number M29C/5, while Watson continued use M29C/2 and M29C/3 was the spare, all three cars being to the same specification.
ATS: The British-based German team of industrialist Gunther Schmid were persuaded to run two cars for their home event. Their latest car for their own driver Marc Surer, and the earlier car for the German sportsman Harald Ertl. With the Austrian GP due to follow a week later the team brought a spare monocoque with them and enough bits and pieces to build up a new car if a catastrophe overtook one of the existing ones. Surer had to take the older car for the race.
Lotus: Colin Chapman’s team brought sufficient material with them to make a fourth car, and this was assembled in the paddock by those mechanics not engaged with the active team cars. Two of the cars had a redesigned rear suspension layout, using a different system of transverse alloy mounting plates and different rocker arms. Both cars had the modified monocoques with the built-up cockpit sides for greater beam-strength and torsional rigidity. These were 81/2 (Andretti’s spare car) and 81/3 (de Angelis), but Andretti used 81/1 for the race, this being to the old specification and with unbraced cockpit sides. The new car being built was 81/B which used the basic monocoque, from 81/4 totally rebuilt and incorporated all the successful modifications made to the Type 81 over the past few months. This car was not used.
Ensign: Numerous detail modifications had been made to the two Ensign cars, notably a stiffening of the monocoque in the cockpit area by means of double-skinning and gusseting in the area between the back of the driver’s seat and the fuel tank. MN14 was used for qualifying and the race, MN12 was the spare car.
Renault: A new car, number RE25, was built to replace the badly damaged RE24 in Brands Hatch practice, and Arnoux took this one. Jabouille remained with RE23 but it was noticeable that the spare car RE22 was now set-up and numbered as spare for Arnoux. Strange that a team as big as Renault do not have two spare cars.
Fittipaldi: The Reading-based team completed their second F8, which was for Rosberg with Emerson Fittipaldi remaining with F8/1. In trying out the new car at Snetterton prior to leaving for Germany the Finn managed to have an accident in the pit lane! In reserve they had F7/1.
Alfa Romeo: The decision to compete in the German GP after the fatal accident to Patrick Depailler, was left to Bruno Giacomelli and he felt they should go on. 179/03 had the smaller and lower engine, which is the car that was raced. The spare was 179/01.
Ligier: The French team arrived with three complete cars, JS11/15/02 (Pironi), JS11/15,04 (Laffite) and JS11/15/03 (spare). They also bought along sufficient bits to build up a fourth car and this was done during practice and after the race, but it was not used. During practice they had a fair amount of engine trouble. For the race Laffite used the spare car JSI1/15/03.
Williams: A brand new car for Alan Jones, FW07B/9, to the normal specification and FW07B/8 as his spare car. Reutemann had FW07B/5 as usual and it was fitted with an experimental layout of double anti-roll bars for the rear suspension, two soft bars instead of one hard one. All three cars had the neater gear linkage that passes over the rear drive shaft instead of under it, as was first seen in public at Brands Hatch on FW07B/8. The test-car FW07/4 which Jones raced last year, was virtually destroyed at Donington Park in a high-speed accident, due to a tyre failure, no FW07B/7 which Jones has been racing this year has become the test-car.
Arrows: No changes. A3/5 for Patrese, A3/4 for Mass and A3/1 the spare.
Osella: The usual two cars, with FA1/1 being raced and FA1/2 the spare. — DSJ.