1973 Brazilian Grand Prix

THERE ARE Grands Prix that are tense and closely fought with the lead see-sawing between several teams and the verdict in question until the closing few laps and there are others where the result looks almost a foregone conclusion, even in practice. But, in these cases, the unexpected sometimes happens and the cars that made the running in practice may hit trouble in the race leaving victory to someone who can count himself lucky. One of the great joys of motor racing is its very unpredictability and the way in which the status quo can change so rapidly. The Argentine Grand Prix, for instance, was a classic race where the lead was in doubt until the last ten laps and three different teams had led at various stages of the race. Yet two weeks later, in neighbouring Brazil, one racing organisation, John Player Team Lotus, dominated practice and the race so utterly and completely that the others were almost left wondering whether it was worth carrying on. Yet, almost certainly, at the South African Grand Prix the pendulum will swing again in someone else’s favour. However, the two opening World Championship Grands Prix did have one thing in common and that was the winner—Emerson Fittipaldi and his John Player sponsored Lotus 72.

In Buenos Aires it was a hard-fought victory for the Brazilian, but at his home circuit of Interlagos he was never challenged having taken the lead at the moment the starter’s flag dropped. It was something of a special occasion for Fittipaldi for it was the first Grand Prix he had actually led throughout and, of course, it was the first World Championship race ever held in his home country, one of the reasons for the event being the amount of motor racing success and prestige that he has brought to Brazil. The race also marked Lotus drawing level with Ferrari on the number of victories since the World Championship started. Both now have 49.

The Interlagos track has been the home of racing in Brazil since 1940 but it is only in recent years that it has become known internationally thanks to the enthusiasm and hard work of one of Brazil’s television stations, TV Globo. They have been instrumental in promoting Formula Ford, Formula Three and Formula Two series at the track with considerable success and Fiitipaldi competing in each as he moved up through the ranks of European racing. Wanting a World Championship Grand Prix, the organisers arranged a Formula One race last Easter time and, although it only attracted 12 cars and gave Reutemann his only F1 win to date, it qualified them for a full World Championship race this year.

Race Results


Circuit - Interlagos




Sao Paulo


Permanent road course


4.946 (Miles)


Jacques Laffite (Ligier JS11-Ford), 2m28.76, 119.694 mph, F1, 1979

First Race

1971 Interlagos F2