1975 Austrian Grand Prix
- Sunday, August 17, 1975
- Grosser Preis von Osterreich und Europa
- F1 World Championship
After his brief flirtation with Team Lotus, John Watson was back with the Surtees team, in TS16/05-4, and Frank Williams had hired out a car to the Swiss amateur driver Joseph Vonlanthen, this car being a rebuilt version of FW/03, which Ashley crashed at the Nurburgring. The Williams team had “found’ another monocoque tub in the stores and used it as the basis of the rebuild. creating FW/03-2. Laffite as usual had FW/04. In the Hill team there was a shortage of cars as GH1/1 was a write-off after Brise had crashed at the Nurburgring, so he took over the latest car GH1/4. Rolf Stommelen was making his return to the team and took over GH1/3, so that Alan Jones’ temporary contract terminated as was agreed from the start. The Hesketh team hired out their spare car 308/3 to the American driver Brett Lunger and Hunt retained 308/2, while there was no sign of the new C-type Hesketh. The Parnelli team had their usual pair of cars for Andretti and Wilson Fittipaldi had his latest Copersucar sponsored car. Morris Nunn had two entries, with Chris Amon returning to Formula One in MN/04 and Wunderink having another try in MN/02. To complete the list there was Harald Ertl, the Austrian journalist living in Germany, with the gold coloured Hesketh 308/1 and Tony Trimmer having another go with the rather sad Japanese Maki.
For some people practice never did go right, in particular the Brabham and Parnelli teams seemed to be in continual trouble with one thing or another, while Team Lotus had their troubles in large doses. Before the end of the first practice session Reutemann had come walking back to the pits, abandoning BT44B/1 with a broken Hewland transmission and Andretti abandoned Parnelli VPJ4/003 with a blown-up Cosworth engine. Reutemann set off in the spare Brabham but only went half a lap before the oil filter centre sheered off and the Cosworth engine lost all its oil, and Brambilla’s practice was cut short when his Cosworth V8 engine lost all its oil pressure, the March mechanics getting stuck in immediately to install a new engine ready for the afternoon practice. Lotus trouble arrived violently when Peterson was about to drive through on the inside of a slower car on a right-hand bend when the “rabbit” moved across in front of the Lotus. Locking up everything Peterson avoided a collision but smashed the Lotus along the barriers and at first sight 72/R9 looked to be a write-off. However, the Lotus mechanics set to work and by next morning the car was running again, Peterson in the meantime taking 72/R8 from Henton for the afternoon practice.
Lauda, as usual, was getting on with the job, out to win his home Grand Prix, and set fastest practice lap in the morning session and went even faster in the afternoon session as the temperature dropped after a very hot mid-day. Fittipaldi, Regazzoni, Pace and Depailler were not far behind the flying Austrian, but no-one else was really in the running. Unfortunately the Austrian timekeepers seemed to lose interest and they only issued afternoon times for those drivers who improved on their morning times, or at least that was all the information that came from the fancy computer that published results. In the afternoon session there still seemed to be more trouble than success with some people and after keeping up with the Matra V12-powered Shadow the BRM broke its engine and put out an enormous smoke screen. The spare BRM was brought out of the paddock but Bob Evans never came back, being stuck on the far side of the circuit with the blown-up BRM. Andretti in the spare Parnelli car, still with inboard front brakes, had his second Cosworth V8 engine blow up and Regazzoni’s Ferrari broke its engine so the Swiss had a go in the spare car. The heat and high-speed of the Osterreichring were playing havoc. Pryce had to use the spare Shadow as his own car had a fuel leak, but Jarier was still happy with the Shadow-Matra V12. Near the end of practice the front suspension broke on Wilson Fittipaldi’s car and he crashed heavily into the catch fencing, injuring a hand rather badly. Peterson found the long-wheelbase, coil-sprung Lotus 72/R8 somewhat different from his own car but did not show any improvement in lap times. Hunt joined the fancied runners with a very good afternoon time that put him second overall, and the general pace was really hotting up. Scheckter seemed to be left behind, as did a number of other fancied runners.
Permanent road course
Jacky Ickx (Alfa Romeo T33TT/12), 1m35.81, 138.011 mph, Sports Cars, 1974
First Race1969 Austrian Grand Prix