1971 British Grand Prix
- Saturday, July 17, 1971
- Woolmark British Grand Prix
- F1 World Championship
The Daily Express newspaper, who do more harm than good for motor racing with their gory crash and death photographs, have been backing the British Grand Prix for years, and this year they were joined by the International Wool Secretariat (a rather obscure him or they) and the British Grand Prix very nearly lost its identity, for my admission ticket said I was allowed into the Woolmark Grand Prix and there was an RAC badge on it, while some of the Press information given out officially also referred to the Woolmark Grand Prix.
Be that as it may, I went to see the 24th post-war British Grand Prix at sunny Silverstone, for during practice on Thursday and Friday it really was hot and perfect weather for the garden-party atmosphere you get at Silverstone. The party was somewhat marred, especially in the BRM camp, by the absence of Pedro Rodriguez, that tough little Mexican, who had been killed in a small race in Germany only the week before, and to many people the cold fact still seemed unreal. The death of a driver does not stop Grand Prix racing, so everyone else turned up for practice, which was held in four separate sessions, two on Thursday and two on Friday, each session lasting an all-too-short 60 minutes. Recently sonic races have overdone practice, with as much as seven hours, three of them continuous, for a two-hour sprint race, but the RAC (or BRDC, Daily Express, or Woolmark, or whoever was in charge) rather underdid it this year for 60-minute sessions were barely long enough to make any alterations and certainly not long enough if any troubles cropped up.
There were one or two changes in the normal combinations of cars and drivers, Team Lotus putting Wise!l in the turbine car, which allowed Charlton to take over the Swede's Lotus 72, while Fittipaldi remained with his usual Lotus 72. Following the fashion, the Cosworth engines in the Lotus cars had been fitted with air-collector boxes fed by a large snorkel above the driver's head, which confused the original theory behind the earlier Lotus air-boxes and made me wonder if anyone knows what they are doing.
Permanent road course
Ronnie Peterson (Lotus 72D-Ford), 1m17.5, 135.964 mph, F1, 1973
First Race1948 RAC Grand Prix