1975 Belgian Grand Prix
- Sunday, May 25, 1975
- Grand Prix de Belgique
- F1 World Championship
Two years ago the Belgian Grand Prix was held on the little Zolder circuit before it was really ready to accept the full onslaught of the Grand Prix “circus” and the result was a shambles, to say the least. Most of the teams and drivers stamped off saying they wouldn’t come back, while one or two people said “You know, apart from the surface breaking up, it wasn’t such a bad little race”. Time is a great healer and in 1975 the “circus” returned in force and this time the Zolder circuit was ready for them and everything went smoothly. Time is such a great healer that the President of the GPDA is even suggesting that the Belgian Grand Prix might one day return to the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in the Ardennes, always assuming the circuit owners want them back.
The Zolder circuit is a strange little place, quite friendly and attractively set in pine woods on a sandy soil with the self-contained paddock area in the middle, the two straight sections of the circuit running up and down on each side of the paddock area. The twisty bits at each end are not very challenging and don’t call for any great driving skills or screwing-up of courage on the part of the drivers and while they are interesting to spectators they are not exactly exciting to watch. Whereas previously there was a fast ess-bend leading on to the pits straight there had now been built a tight ess-bend calling for heavy braking and a scrabble round the left/right corners and acceleration up a slight incline. Although the lap speed is quite high (over 110 m.p.h.) it is very much a “scratcher’s circuit” in the idiom of the Brands Hatch Club circuit and anyone prepared to throw caution to winds and scrabble round in a pretty untidy fashion can make a respectable lap time; neat and tidy driving was not an essential ingredient for a good lap time. During the weekend some of the “scratchers” embarrassed some of the established stars, as they would at Mallory Park or Lydden Hill. While the event had the makings of an amusing Formula One race it was hard to view it as the Grand Prix of Belgium and certainly not a Grande Epreuve, unless we are prepared to lower our standards.
It would appear that some of the drivers could not really sum it up as a circuit, for writing in Motor, Lauda said “. . . Zolder is a circuit where overtaking isn’t too difficult”, while Hunt said “. . . although passing is very difficult at Zolder . . .” At least they knew their own minds.