1974 F1 World Championship
- F1 World Championship
Jackie Stewart’s retirement from the sport heralded a major reshuffling of drivers among the teams. Tyrrell hired the relatively inexperienced partnership of Jody Scheckter and Patrick Depailler, while Emerson Fittipaldi moved to the McLaren team, which was sponsored by Marlboro for the first time. Fittipaldi’s replacement at Lotus was Jacky Ickx. Meanwhile, Ferrari re-signed Clay Regazzoni and added the promising Niki Lauda from BRM.
It was a great season for the World Championship, culminating in a three-way title showdown in America. With two wins, Scheckter had only an outside chance of becoming champion at that final round, whereas Fittipaldi and Regazzoni entered the race equal on points. With the Ferrari delayed by faulty shock absorbers, Fittipaldi’s conservative race to fourth position was enough to give him a second World Championship.
Niki Lauda was the fastest driver of the year but he was forced to retire several times while leading. Although Lauda ended the season with two wins, his lack of reliability cost him a chance at the championship. Regazzoni also led a Ferrari 1-2 at the Nurburgring.
Young Argentinean Carlos Reutemann won the first three GPs of his career in the Gordon Murray-designed Brabham BT44. However, Reutemann failed to win his home race throughout his career, despite his own best efforts and those of a partisan and patriotic crowd. In 1974, Reutemann ran out of fuel two laps from victory, handing McLaren’s Denny Hulme a final win at the start of his retirement year. Brabham ended the year with Reutemann leading Carlos Pace in a 1-2 for the team at Watkins Glen.
Lotus introduced the disappointing 76 but Ronnie Peterson was spectacular when the team wheeled out the aging Lotus 72, scoring three wins. Hesketh built its first Harvey Postlethwaite-designed car and James Hunt finished on the podium on three occasions.