Ferrari was in desperate shape at the end of the 1973 season. Its answer was to sign a driver who had just two F1 points to his name. The gamble paid off. After only five GPs with the Scuderia, Niki Lauda was winning races; after just two seasons, the world title was his. As would Michael Schumacher 20 years later, Lauda brought speed and steel to Enzo’s team.

The new 3L engine spec which had been introduced in 1966 had not been kind to Ferrari. Henry Ford 2, the president of Ford, wanted to destroy Ferrari for not selling out to him. The new Ford engine was a world-better and almost every F1 team wanted it. By 1973 Ferrari were at rock-bottom. Changes had to be made.

The changes were dramatic. Luca di Montezemolo, the new team boss, brought back Mauro Forghieri as head of design. But the biggest change were the drivers. Clay Regazzoni was brought back, but the biggest change was a young driver named Niki Laudi.

For 1974 Ferrari heavily modified the existing car and named it the 312 B3-74.


The 312 B3-1974

The 312 B3-1974 would go on to win three races. Spain, Holland, and Germany. Regazzoni would finish the season in second, and Laudi fourth. Ferrari was back and the team eagerly waited for the 1975 season to start.

The 1975 F1 season was 14 races. The season would begin in Argentina in January and finish in the US in October.

1 Argentine Grand Prix Autódromo Oscar Alfredo Gálvez, Buenos Aires 12 January
2 Brazilian Grand Prix Autodromo de Interlagos, São Paulo 26 January
3 South African Grand Prix Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit, Midrand 1 March
4 Spanish Grand Prix Montjuïc circuit, Barcelona 27 April
5 Monaco Grand Prix Circuit de Monaco, Monte Carlo 11 May
6 Belgian Grand Prix Circuit Zolder, Heusden-Zolder 25 May
7 Swedish Grand Prix Scandinavian Raceway, Anderstorp 8 June
8 Dutch Grand Prix Circuit Zandvoort, Zandvoort 22 June
9 French Grand Prix Paul Ricard Circuit, Le Castellet 6 July
10 British Grand Prix Silverstone Circuit, Silverstone 19 July
11 German Grand Prix Nürburgring, Nürburg 3 August
12 Austrian Grand Prix Österreichring, Spielberg 17 August
13 Italian Grand Prix Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, Monza 7 September
14 United States Grand Prix Watkins Glen Grand Prix Course, New York 5 October

The points system remained the same. There were two regulation changes.

  • Fire-resistant race suits were made obligatory.
  • The concept of marshal posts, with service roads leading to and from them, was created and implemented at various circuits. Also, from now on, marshals had to practice rescuing drivers from their cars.


Race 1 – Argentina


The close season had been fairly quiet – Jochen Mass had replaced Denny Hulme at McLaren, John Watson had joined Surtees and Mike Wilds, Rolf Stommelen and Jacques Laffite were confirmed at BRM, Hill and Williams respectively.

March had announced their retirement, but then in a dramatic U-turn confirmed their entry for 1975 with Vittorio Brambilla and Lella Lombardi.

There were contractual wrangles with Ronnie Peterson, reportedly discontent at Lotus and it was uncertain up until the start of practice whether he would be driving for them or Shadow.

Jean-Pierre Jarier proved the Shadow’s effectiveness, putting in the fastest ever lap of the circuit, averaging 122 mph to gain his first pole from Carlos Pace and Carlos Reutemann.

However it was all in vain. On the warm-up lap, his crown-wheel-and-pinion stripped, leaving him a non-starter. Local hero Reutemann gratefully accepted the lead from Pace. James Hunt driving the newest Hesketh with new rubber suspension climbed from the 6th row up to third place, duelling with Niki Lauda. Jochen Mass and Jody Scheckter tangled. Meanwhile, John Watson was stranded with a loose fuel-pipe and was disqualified after attempting trackside repairs.

Wilson Fittipaldi crashed on lap 13, his car catching fire and requiring the fire engine to be deployed. By now, Hunt had passed Lauda and was catching the two Brabhams. Pace took the lead on lap 15, but spun on the very next lap. Reutemann having retaken the lead, was understeering badly and on lap 25 was passed by Hunt. There was a ferocious battle with Emerson Fittipaldi for the lead.

Race results

1 1 Emerson Fittipaldi McLarenFord G 53 1:39:26.29 5   9
2 24 James Hunt HeskethFord G 53 + 5.91 6   6
3 7 Carlos Reutemann BrabhamFord G 53 + 17.06 3   4
4 11 Clay Regazzoni Ferrari G 53 + 35.79 7   3
5 4 Patrick Depailler TyrrellFord G 53 + 54.25 8   2
6 12 Niki Lauda Ferrari G 53 + 1:19.65 4   1



Race 2 – Brazil

Jarier took pole position, after beating the 1973 pole record. He lined up ahead of local driver Emerson Fittipaldi. The race was delayed whilst the track was washed down to remove debris – punctures had played a critical part in the 1974 race and race organisers wanted to avoid a repeat of these problems.

This was the 176th and last championship race start of Graham Hill‘s Formula One career.[citation needed]

Brazilian drivers finished 1–2 in the race (for first time in the history of the category), with Carlos Pace taking the only win of his career and Emerson Fittipaldi finishing second.

Race results

1 8 Carlos Pace BrabhamFord 40 1:44:41.17 6 9
2 1 Emerson Fittipaldi McLarenFord 40 + 5.79 2 6
3 2 Jochen Mass McLarenFord 40 + 26.66 10 4
4 11 Clay Regazzoni Ferrari 40 + 43.28 5 3
5 12 Niki Lauda Ferrari 40 + 1:01.88 4 2
6 24 James Hunt HeskethFord 40 + 1:05.12 7 1


Drivers’ Championship standings

Pos Driver Points
1 Emerson Fittipaldi 15
2 Carlos Pace 9
3 James Hunt 7
4 Clay Regazzoni 6
5 Carlos Reutemann 4

Race 3 – South Africa

Ferrari had used the free month of February profitably, producing the new 312T model with a new transverse gearbox. There was also a new face in the persona of female Italian racer Lella Lombardi (the first woman to take part in a World Championship race since Maria Teresa de Filippis in the 1958 Italian Grand Prix).

In practice, Graham Hill‘s car spun on oil dropped from Ronnie Peterson‘s car and crashed, destroying his car. He opted to sit out the race. Once the debris had been cleared and holes in the catch fencing mended, there was a second accident as Niki Lauda spun on engine oil, hitting the wall at 120 mph. With further violent accidents to Jody Scheckter and Guy Tunmer, the drivers deemed the circuit not safe and refused to continue until fencing defects were remedied and the track improved, further helped by the support of mechanics who insisted no more practice be carried out.

When the racing got under way, Carlos Pace led from pole in a Brabham 1–2 but was soon passed by Jody Scheckter and Carlos Reutemann after experiencing braking problems, and Patrick Depailler soon climbed to third. James Hunt retired with a broken throttle linkage, Vittorio Brambilla with oil cooler problems and Ian Scheckter crashed. Emerson Fittipaldi was challenging Depailler for 4th place when he suffered a cracked plug lead. Jody Scheckter held on from Reutemann for his only home win.

Race results

1 3 Jody Scheckter TyrrellFord 78 1:43:16.90 3 9
2 7 Carlos Reutemann BrabhamFord 78 + 3.74 2 6
3 4 Patrick Depailler TyrrellFord 78 + 16.92 5 4
4 8 Carlos Pace BrabhamFord 78 + 17.31 1 3
5 12 Niki Lauda Ferrari 78 + 28.64 4 2
6 2 Jochen Mass McLarenFord 78 + 1:03.64 16 1

Championship Standing

1 Emerson Fittipaldi 15
2 Carlos Pace 12
3 Carlos Reutemann 10
4 Jody Scheckter 9
5 James Hunt 7


Race 4 – Spain


On the morning of the race, Fittipaldi announced he would not race, and went back home. During the morning, Ken Tyrrell went out onto the circuit with his spanner to make sure the barriers were how they should be. The race was due to start at 12:30pm but there was delays.

The two Ferraris of Niki Lauda (on pole) and Clay Regazzoni qualified on the front row, but their glory would not last long. At the start, Vittorio Brambilla‘s March tangled with Mario Andretti‘s Parnelli. Andretti’s car hit the back of Lauda’s, sending him into Regazzoni. Lauda was out immediately, while Regazzoni took his car to the garage, where repairs were made, and Regazzoni was sent back out. Patrick Depailler also retired on the first lap because of suspension damage, and Wilson Fittipaldi and Arturo Merzario withdrew in protest.

After the first-corner madness ceased, James Hunt was shown as the leader. Shockingly, Andretti had managed to keep going and was running in second. John Watson was in third, Rolf Stommelen was fourth, Brambilla fifth, and Carlos Pace sixth.

On lap four, the engine in Jody Scheckter‘s Tyrrell blew, and the oil dumping onto the circuit caused Alan Jones and Mark Donohue to crash. Three laps later, Hunt also slipped in the oil and crashed. The top three had become Andretti, Watson, and Stommelen. Watson’s car suffered from vibrations and dropped out. Andretti’s rear suspension lasted only seven more laps before it failed, causing him to crash out of the lead. Jean-Pierre Jarier and Brambilla stopped to change tyres, whilst Tom Pryce and Tony Brise tangled. Stommelen was now in the top spot, followed by Pace, Ronnie Peterson, Jochen Mass, and Ickx. On lap 24, Peterson was out after he tangled with François Migault while trying to lap the Frenchman.

Two laps later, tragedy struck. The rear wing on Stommelen’s Embassy Hill broke, sending him into the barrier, ironically at the point that his own mechanics had worked on. He bounced off it and back into the road, hitting the barrier across the way, and flying over it. While trying to avoid Stommelen as he crossed the track, Pace crashed. Four people were killed by Stommelen’s flying car: fireman Joaquín Benaches Morera, spectator Andrés Ruiz Villanova, and two photo-journalists, Mario de Roia and Antonio Font Bayarri.[3] Stommelen himself suffered a broken leg, a broken wrist, and two cracked ribs.

The race continued for another four laps, during which Mass passed Ickx for the lead. On lap 29, the race was halted with Mass the winner, Ickx second, and Jean-Pierre Jarier crossed the line in third position. Carlos Reutemann finished fourth ahead of Brambilla in fifth. Lella Lombardi finished in sixth and became the only woman in Formula One to score championship points. With the race being stopped before 60% of the scheduled race distance was reached,[4] only half points were awarded for the first time in the history of the championship. After the race, stewards found that Jarier had overtaken in a portion of the track covered by a yellow flag caution. Jarier was given a sixty-second penalty that relegated him to fourth position.[

1 2 Jochen Mass McLarenFord 29 42:53.7 11 4.5
2 6 Jacky Ickx LotusFord 29 + 1.1 16 3
3 7 Carlos Reutemann BrabhamFord 28 + 1 lap 15 2
4 17 Jean-Pierre Jarier ShadowFord 28 + 1 lap 10 1.5
5 9 Vittorio Brambilla MarchFord 28 + 1 lap 5 1
6 10 Lella Lombardi MarchFord 27 + 2 laps 24 0.5

Championship Standing

1 Emerson Fittipaldi 15
2 Carlos Pace 12
3 Carlos Reutemann 12
4 Jochen Mass 9.5
5 Jody Scheckter 9


Race 5 – Monaco

Lauda winning the 1975 Monaco GP

The race began under rain conditions, so everyone went for wet tyres. Lauda was fastest at the start, while Pryce had a slow start and was passed by Jarier and Peterson;[2] the Frenchman soon attempted to pass Lauda in an ill-advised overtaking manoeuvre, and hit the barriers at the Mirabeau; his car was damaged in the collision and handled badly, which caused him to hit the wall again at the Tabac corner[2] and then retire. Peterson went into the second place with Vittorio Brambilla third, until Pryce hit the Italian’s wheel. Regazzoni stopped to change a tyre and the nosecone of his car, and James Hunt stopped to change onto slick tyres, anticipating a drying of the track surface. However, his team’s slow pit work cost him a substantial amount of time.

Ronnie Peterson‘s victory chances were damaged at his pit stop when a wheel nut was lost under the car. Tom Pryce came in to replace a broken nosecone, and by that time Niki Lauda led by 15 seconds from Emerson Fittipaldi and Carlos Pace. Many accidents happened during the race: Jochen Mass and James Hunt tangled at Mirabeau, and Patrick Depailler got embroiled in their accident; Clay Regazzoni hit the chicane and suffered damage; John Watson spun and stalled the engine of his car; Pryce hit the barrier and had to retire; Mario Andretti entered the pits with his car on fire; Mark Donohue hit the barrier, whilst Alan Jones broke a wheel.

In the last laps Lauda’s oil pressure was fading and Fittipaldi was closing. With three laps left the gap was 2.75 seconds; however, the two-hour time limit was reached and the race was stopped, with Lauda winning. Ferrari had won their first Monaco Grand Prix in 20 years; the tragedy of the Spanish Grand Prix receded and the championship race was back on. Fittipaldi’s second position strengthened his narrow points lead over early season points leader Pace.

Race results

1 12 Niki Lauda Ferrari 75 2:01:21.31 1 9
2 1 Emerson Fittipaldi McLarenFord 75 + 2.78 9 6
3 8 Carlos Pace BrabhamFord 75 + 17.81 8 4
4 5 Ronnie Peterson LotusFord 75 + 38.45 4 3
5 4 Patrick Depailler TyrrellFord 75 + 40.86 12 2
6 2 Jochen Mass McLarenFord 75 + 42.07 15 1


Championship Standings

1 Emerson Fittipaldi 21
2 Carlos Pace 16
3 Niki Lauda 14
4 Carlos Reutemann 12
5 Jochen Mass 10.5


Race 6 – Belgium

Pace took the lead whilst Brambilla and Regazzoni duelled. Jochen Mass and John Watson collided – the German retired whilst Watson returned to the pits with a damaged nosecone. Alan Jones also had to retire after a collision with Jacques Laffite. Arturo Merzario was out with a burnt out clutch. Pace’s fiery start was now causing problems with brakes and cold tyres and he was having to drop back.

Brambilla took the lead until lap six when he was passed by Lauda. Tony Brise spun at the chicane and retired shortly after with piston failure. Jody Scheckter was storming through the field to be in second place by lap ninth. Brambilla’s brakes were fading and he dropped down the order. Jean-Pierre Jarier spun into the catch-fencing, James Hunt retired with a broken gear-linkage. Clay Regazzoni had risen to third, but then dived into the pits to change a blistered tyre. Lauda led Scheckter comfortably and the race settled down into a procession.

Carlos Pace had handling problems and dropped down the order when he lost third gear. By lap 49, Ronnie Peterson crashed into the catch fencing, whilst Brambilla surrendered third place to change a blistered tyre, resuming but retiring with brake problems.

Fittipaldi was also having brake problems, leaving him helpless against the assault of Regazzoni and Tom Pryce as he dropped from fifth to seventh in the last six laps.

Race results

1 12 Niki Lauda Ferrari 70 1:43:53.98 9
2 3 Jody Scheckter TyrrellFord 70 + 19.22   6
3 7 Carlos Reutemann BrabhamFord 70 + 41.82 4
4 4 Patrick Depailler TyrrellFord 70 + 1:00.08   3
5 11 Clay Regazzoni Ferrari 70 + 1:03.84   2
6 16 Tom Pryce ShadowFord 70 + 1:28.45   1

Drivers Standing

1 Niki Lauda 23
2 Emerson Fittipaldi 21
3 Carlos Pace 16
4 Carlos Reutemann 16
5 Jody Scheckter 15

Race 7 – Swedish GP

Ronnie Peterson and Mark Donohue


Qualifying resulted in pole position for Vittorio Brambilla in his March,[5] while Lauda qualified fifth fastest and his teammate Clay Regazzoni 11th. In the race Brambilla took the lead, but by lap 16 he was overtaken by Carlos Reutemann‘s Brabham and eventually had to retire with a blistered front tyre. Tom Pryce had to pit early due to throttle slides being clogged by sand, whilst Patrick Depailler suffered a brake line leak. Hunt retired on lap 22 with a brake-pipe leak, promoting Regazzoni and Mario Andretti. Poor Jean-Pierre Jarier lost second place to failing oil pressure on lap 38. Young Tony Brise was showing little respect for his elders, overtaking Mark Donohue and Ronnie Peterson and then challenging championship leader Emerson Fittipaldi. The battle which ensued slowed them up and John Watson in the Surtees had soon climbed up behind them. Meanwhile, Lauda was steadily progressing through the field and on lap 42 he was second. He put a series of fastest laps, benefiting from a harder tyre compound, closed on Reutemann and overtook him to win the Grand Prix by 6 seconds. Reutemann finished second with Regazzoni, in the other Ferrari 312T, third. Brise had his gearbox jammed in fourth and surrendered to Donohue, but on his third Grand Prix gained his first World Championship point and Graham Hill‘s first as a constructor. It would prove the only point of Brise’s promising but brief F1 career. Fittipaldi suffered braking problems and was passed by Jody Scheckter at the race end to finish in eighth.

Race Results

1 12 Niki Lauda Ferrari 80 1:59:18.319   9
2 7 Carlos Reutemann BrabhamFord 80 + 6.288   6
3 11 Clay Regazzoni Ferrari 80 + 29.095   4
4 27 Mario Andretti ParnelliFord 80 + 44.380 3
5 28 Mark Donohue PenskeFord 80 + 1:30.763   2
6 23 Tony Brise HillFord 79 + 1 Lap   1

Drivers Standing

1 Niki Lauda 32
2 Carlos Reutemann 22
3 Emerson Fittipaldi 21
4 Carlos Pace 16
5 Jody Scheckter 15


Race 8 – Holland

Hunt winning the 1975 Dutch GP

Niki Lauda dominated practice, with teammate Clay Regazzoni joining him on the front row. Jean-Pierre Jarier had a crash and the Maki team’s weekend ended abruptly in a cloud of smoke from engine problems. James Hunt had a storming practice to take third place on the grid. On Saturday afternoon, weather conditions meant practice times would not improve, so Hunt was sent out to get some extra testing – during which something in the metering unit broke. This was fortunate as the Dutch Grand Prix did not have Sunday morning practice, so had it not been for those extra laps, the mechanical problems would have occurred during the race itself.

The race was delayed by rainstorms as the teams persuaded the organizers to let them run on wet tyres. Lauda led from Jody Scheckter whilst Vittorio Brambilla and Patrick Depailler collided. Jochen Mass was having metering unit troubles and Jacky Ickx exploded his engine. Meanwhile, Hunt had changed onto dry tyres and was gaining time rapidly on the drying surface to take the lead from Jarier and Lauda by lap 15. The Austrian championship leader was finding overtaking a very difficult prospect indeed. Emerson Fittipaldi dropped out with engine problems whilst John Watson broke a wing support and Carlos Reutemann got past Tom Pryce who was suffering from brake problems.

On lap 43, Jarier spun when a tyre burst. Lauda now pursued Hunt desperately for over 20 laps, putting him under immense pressure. Hunt had cracked under similar pressure in Buenos Aires, but this time he resisted. The Ferrari managed to gain on the slow corners, but Hunt pulled ahead on the fast corners and down the straight. The TV directors were so confused that the captions showed three laps left to go when a massive roar from the grandstands signalled it was all over. Hunt became the first Englishman since Peter Gethin to win a Grand Prix.

Lauda’s second place reinforced his championship lead, which expanded to 13 points over Brabham driver Carlos Reutemann.

Race results

1 24 James Hunt HeskethFord 75 1:46:57.40   9
2 12 Niki Lauda Ferrari 75 + 1.06   6
3 11 Clay Regazzoni Ferrari 75 + 55.06   4
4 7 Carlos Reutemann BrabhamFord 74 + 1 Lap   3
5 8 Carlos Pace BrabhamFord 74 + 1 Lap   2
6 16 Tom Pryce ShadowFord 74 + 1 Lap   1

Dirvers Standings

1 Niki Lauda 38
2 Carlos Reutemann 25
3 Emerson Fittipaldi 21
4 Carlos Pace 18
5 James Hunt 16


Race 9 – France

Lauda winning the 1975 French GP


Despite suffering from flu, Niki Lauda still took pole position. Jean-Pierre Jarier brought a smile to French faces by setting Friday’s quickest time. Jody Scheckter driving the new lightweight Tyrrell 007 set a record through the speed trap of 190 mph.

On the start line, Tom Pryce was left without a clutch and retired shortly afterwards. Lauda led from Scheckter, James Hunt and Jochen Mass. Clay Regazzoni had moved up to second before his engine exploded, Scheckter taking over the position before Hunt passed him on lap eight. Lauda and Hunt maintained first and second whilst Scheckter, struggling with handling issues, had to concede to Mass and Emerson Fittipaldi.

Jarier made a superb pass on him and made a brave bid to catch Fittipaldi, but rev-limiter problems caused him to fall back with erratic power. Mario Andretti and Patrick Depailler were performing brilliantly, advancing from eleventh to fifth and 19th to sixth respectively.

Alan Jones was duelling with Ronnie Peterson and Carlos Reutemann when he spun into the catch fencing. Reutemann suffered from tyre problems and lost a lap, whilst John Watson suffered excess power and took to the escape road. Vittorio Brambilla retired with a damper problem, Wilson Fittipaldi blew his engine, and Jacky Ickx, Mark Donohue and Carlos Pace all broke their driveshafts. Mass was in rapid pursuit of Hunt and Lauda – by the last lap he was only 2.4 seconds behind them. However, a superb lapping manoeuvre gave Hunt the space he needed. On the last corner, Lauda slid offline, but held on to win by 1.6 seconds

Race results

1 12 Niki Lauda Ferrari 54 1:40:18.84   9
2 24 James Hunt HeskethFord 54 + 1.59   6
3 2 Jochen Mass McLarenFord 54 + 2.31 4
4 1 Emerson Fittipaldi McLarenFord 54 + 39.77   3
5 27 Mario Andretti ParnelliFord 54 + 1:02.08   2
6 4 Patrick Depailler TyrrellFord 54 + 1:07.40   1

Drivers standings

1 Niki Lauda 47
2 Carlos Reutemann 25
3 Emerson Fittipaldi 24
4 James Hunt 22
5 Carlos Pace 18


Race 10 – Great Britain

Brambilla in his March 751

A new chicane had been installed at Woodcote Corner, bringing complaints from the purists but also arguments that it was necessary in the interests of safety. Tom Pryce gained his only career pole position in his home race, whilst the Ferraris were on the second row, with James Hunt languishing on the fifth row.

Graham Hill, who had already announced his retirement as a driver after 17 seasons and 176 races after failing in his attempt to qualify in Monaco, made a farewell lap one hour before the start of the race (without overalls and helmet), and concentrated on the leadership of his Embassy Hill team.

From the start – in which a lights system was being used for the first time in any Grand Prix, replacing the traditional national flag – Carlos Pace led from Pryce.

Following the hail storm, only six cars were running at the end. The RAC declared the race finished officially on the lap after the lap when most cars were running – lap 56. Ferrari, with both of their cars stuck on lap 54 in the classification protested, but the RAC threw these protests out and three days later, the provisional results were confirmed.

The win was the 14th and final win of Fittipaldi’s career which had included two world championships. He would continue racing in Formula One until 1980. The win also vaulted Fittipaldi past Carlos Reutemann into second place in the championship, 14 points behind Lauda.

Race Results

1   Emerson Fittipaldi McLarenFord 56 1:22:05.0   9
2   Carlos Pace BrabhamFord 55 Accident   6
3   Jody Scheckter TyrrellFord 55 Accident   4
4   James Hunt HeskethFord 55 Accident 3
5   Mark Donohue MarchFord 55 Accident   2
6   Vittorio Brambilla MarchFord 55 + 1 Lap   1

Drivers standings

1 Niki Lauda 47
2 Emerson Fittipaldi 33
3 James Hunt 25
4 Carlos Reutemann 25
5 Carlos Pace 24

Race 11 – West Germany

Reutemann winning the 1975 Germany GP

At the start, Lauda took the lead from pole with Pace, Depailler, Mass, Regazzoni and Reutemann who made a lightning start from 10th. Depailler passed Pace at the Nordkurve left hander. At the end of the first lap, the order was Lauda, Depailler, Pace, Reutemann, and Regazzoni. Scheckter had a terrible start, he dropped to 20th and began to work his way through the field. It was a bad day for the McLaren team, as sixth-placed Fittipaldi had a puncture and retired on lap 4 with damaged suspension; and Mass had lost a wheel at the Fuchsröhre (Foxhole) and crashed heavily, he was unhurt. March’s day went rapidly south too: Stuck retired with engine failure on the fourth lap.

Regazzoni got past Reutemann on the third lap, and the order by the start of the fourth lap was Lauda, Depailler, Pace, Regazzoni, Reutemann, and Hunt. Lauda and Depailler battled and began to pull away from the other front-runners, and this battle raged on until the 7th lap, when Depailler had a puncture and went into the pits to repair his rear suspension; he went out again, but had lost a lap- which at the old Nürburgring, was more than 7 minutes of lost time. Pace went off with a puncture and damaged his suspension, he retired near the Karrusell on the 6th lap, and Scheckter- who had climbed to 6th, crashed out on the 8th lap.

Depailler and Pace’s misfortunes allowed Regazzoni to come up to 2nd and make it a Ferrari 1–2, but then Regazzoni’s engine failed and Reutemann took 2nd, with Hunt 3rd, Tom Pryce in the Shadow 4th and Jacques Laffite in the Williams in 5th (who started 17th and 15th respectively). But on the 10th lap, Lauda too suffered a puncture of his right front tire, and Reutemann was able to pass him at the Eiskurve and Hunt was able to get by as well later on. By the time Lauda had reached the pits, his car had sustained damage to the front spoiler, and the handling was made poor. The Ferrari team changed the damaged tire (pit stops in those days were extremely slow compared to today’s pit stops; races were usually run on one set of tires). By the time the Ferrari team had finished their work, Lauda stormed out of the pits; but Reutemann and Hunt were out of sight; Pryce and Laffite had passed him, too.

Lauda charged after the 4 runners ahead of him and he climbed to 4th after Hunt had a wheel-hub failure and retired on the 11th lap; and then he was able to inherit 3rd after he passed Pryce, who had fuel leaking into his cockpit and could not drive at race pace. Reutemann, who was almost 2 minutes ahead of Laffite, who was nearly a minute ahead of Lauda – held onto the lead to record his only victory of the year; and became the first (and so far last) Argentine driver since Juan Manuel Fangio to win the German Grand Prix. Laffite finished second, which equalled the struggling Williams team’s highest ever finish with Piers Courage in 1969; and Depailler, whom Lauda had been fighting for the lead with earlier and was a lap down in 9th place- caught up to and started to push Lauda and attempted unsuccessfully to unlap himself; he finished close behind Lauda’s ill-handling 3rd-placed Ferrari. Pryce finished an excellent 4th, followed by Australian future world champion Alan Jones in Graham Hill‘s Embassy-Hill car, with Dutch Le Mans winner Gijs Van Lennep in an Ensign rounding out the last points finishing slot in 6th place.

With his victory, Reutemann moved into 2nd place in the championship, 1 point ahead of Fittipaldi, but 17 points behind Lauda; and with only 3 races left in the championship, Lauda’s first championship looked to be virtually a lock.

Race Results

1 7 Carlos Reutemann BrabhamFord 14 1:41:14.1 10 9
2 21 Jacques Laffite WilliamsFord 14 + 1:37.7 15 6
3 12 Niki Lauda Ferrari 14 + 2:23.3 1 4
4 16 Tom Pryce ShadowFord 14 + 3:31.4 16 3
5 22 Alan Jones HillFord 14 + 3:50.3 21 2
6 19 Gijs van Lennep EnsignFord 14 + 5:05.5 24 1



Drivers Championship

1 Niki Lauda 51.5
2 Carlos Reutemann 34
3 Emerson Fittipaldi 33
4 James Hunt 28
5 Carlos Pace 2


Race 12 – Austria

Vittorio Brambilla winning the Austrian GP

As the grid formed up, there were reports of rain at the far side of the track. Thunderclouds were forming ominously and the cars were returned to the pits to change to wet tyres.

Argentine driver Carlos Reutemann (left) with Bernie Ecclestone

After 45 minutes, the grid reformed. Lauda led off the start from James Hunt and Patrick Depailler who had shot up from the fourth row. Mario Andretti spun off, whilst Bob Evans retired the BRM.

Vittorio Brambilla had shot through the spray to gain a third place, with Ronnie Peterson leaping from tenth to fourth.

By lap 12, it was obvious that Lauda’s car was not set up fully to cope with wet conditions and by lap 15 Hunt stormed by to lead for the fifth time this season. However, this was to be short-lived. The Hesketh’s engine was running on only seven cylinders and Brambilla was clambering all over the back of the car. Ahead of them Lunger was driving carefully in his first wet race and could not see the leaders approaching him. Brambilla seized the lead and it took a further two laps for Hunt to finally pass his teammate. Peterson had to pit to replace a faulty visor, whilst the Brabham drivers found they had been racing with one of their own rear tyres and one of their teammates’. Jochen Mass spun out of third place, and soon there was frantic activity between the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association and the race officials as to whether the race should continue – it was brought to a halt on lap 29.

As Brambilla took the flag, he crashed into the barriers and the March team celebrated a historic victory. However, behind the scenes, there was confusion. Some teams were preparing for a restart, but as the race had already been stopped with the chequered flag, it could not happen anymore. The race results would stand, but with only half points awarded. Brambilla, the oldest man in the field at 37, had won his first and only Grand Prix.

This was the first of only two races where Shadow used a Matra engine instead of the Cosworth DFV in Jean-Pierre Jarier‘s Shadow DN7.[7]

With neither Carlos Reutemann nor Emerson Fittipaldi featuring in the points, Niki Lauda‘s sixth position actually allowed him to expand his points lead to 17.5 points. If Lauda scored any points at all at the Italian Grand Prix the Austrian driver could claim the championship.

Race Results

1 9 Vittorio Brambilla MarchFord 29 0:57:56.69   4.5
2 24 James Hunt HeskethFord 29 + 27.03 3
3 16 Tom Pryce ShadowFord 29 + 34.85   2
4 2 Jochen Mass McLarenFord 29 + 1:12.66   1.5
5 5 Ronnie Peterson LotusFord 29 + 1:23.33   1
6 12 Niki Lauda Ferrari 29 + 1:30.28   0.5


Drivers standings

1 Niki Lauda 51.5
2 Carlos Reutemann 34
3 Emerson Fittipaldi 33
4 James Hunt 28
5 Carlos Pace 24

Race 13 – Italy

Clay winning Monza

Clay and Niki celebrate at Monza

The Italian supporters were gathered in expectation of Ferrari gaining their first championship in 11 years-on home ground, with many Austrians travelling over the border to support Niki Lauda and were delighted when Ferrari filled both spaces on the front row. Tony Brise delighted his boss Graham Hill by gaining a third-row spot.

Lauda only needed to finish better than 6th to be champion; The only other driver who was mathematically eligible for the championship, Argentine Carlos Reutemann needed to win this race as well as the United States Grand Prix with Lauda out of the points in both races.

On Sunday morning there was a cloudburst and for some time the future of the race was in jeopardy, but the rain dried up with about an hour to go before the start. Clay Regazzoni led from Lauda and Jody Scheckter.

Vittorio Brambilla‘s clutch burnt out on the first lap, whilst Bob Evans halted with a failed engine plug. There was a chaotic accident at the chicane-Scheckter had to take to the escape road as around him Jochen Mass hit the kerb, damaging his car’s suspension. Ronnie Peterson collided with another car, jamming his throttle open. Mario Andretti and Rolf Stommelen retired with accident damage and Brise spun across the chicane. Harald Ertl soared over the top of Hans-Joachim Stuck‘s car, damaging the uprights.

After six laps, Carlos Pace retired with a broken throttle link, soon joined by Hans-Joachim Stuck and Lella Lombardi. The Ferraris were circulating 1–2 with Clay Regazzoni leading majestically from Niki Lauda. On lap 14, Emerson Fittipaldi passed Carlos Reutemann for third place, and Reutemann’s involvement in the championship was effectively over; he finished 4th in the race. Despite the Ferraris being way ahead, Fittipaldi would not give up the chase, carving down a gap of over ten seconds. With just six laps left, he managed to pass Lauda.

Meanwhile, Patrick Depailler had taken James Hunt for fifth only to spin off down the escape road. Hunt, Tom Pryce and Reutemann were duelling, Pryce taking the place when Hunt spun off on lap 27—but ceding it to him after a further ten laps. Harald Ertl was a lap down, but drove so well that Pryce could not overtake him.

Regazzoni took the flag, Fittapaldi was second, Lauda was third and it was enough for Lauda to secure his first world championship. Lauda’s 16.5 point lead would be too much for Fittipaldi to bridge at the final round of the championship at the United States Grand Prix. With Regazzoni and Lauda scoring 13 points between them, Ferrari also secured the International Cup for Formula One Manufacturers, their first such win since 1964. Ferrari won the championship for the first time since 1961 in front of their home crowd.

Race Results

1 11 Clay Regazzoni Ferrari 52 1:22:42.6   9
2 1 Emerson Fittipaldi McLarenFord 52 + 16.6   6
3 12 Niki Lauda Ferrari 52 + 23.2   4
4 7 Carlos Reutemann BrabhamFord 52 + 55.1 3
5 24 James Hunt HeskethFord 52 + 57.1   2
6 16 Tom Pryce ShadowFord 52 + 1:15.9   1

Driver standings

1 Niki Lauda 55.5
2 Emerson Fittipaldi 39
3 Carlos Reutemann 37
4 James Hunt 30
5 Clay Regazzoni 25


Race 14 – USA

The 1975 F1 Champion


On race day, Watson’s Penske suffered electrical problems in the morning warmup. As he was being towed in, the crew retrieved the display car from the First National Citibank podium in the paddock and prepared it to enter the race. Lella Lombardi‘s Williams suffered an electrical failure, and her teammate Jacques Laffite was unable to race after mistaking visor cleaning fluid for his eyedrops.[4] Lombardi tried to use Laffite’s car, but she didn’t fit.

Tom Pryce in a Shadow DN5 during the race.

Lauda led the field away from the grid and through the new chicane for the first time, followed by Fittipaldi, Jarier, Brambilla, Reutemann and Andretti. Carlos Pace and Patrick Depailler collided on lap 2, both retiring from the race as a result.

The gap between Lauda’s Ferrari and Fittipaldi’s McLaren settled at about one second. Mass, who had moved up to sixth, suddenly lost three places to Andretti, James Hunt, and Ronnie Peterson when he accidentally switched off his engine. On the next lap, with Mass now immediately in front of him, Clay Regazzoni smashed his nose against the rear wheel of the McLaren and lost more than a lap as he pitted for a new one. On lap 10, Reutemann’s engine expired and Andretti’s front suspension collapsed. This left Lauda and Fittipaldi twelve seconds ahead of Jarier, who was five seconds clear of a group containing Hunt, Brambilla, Mass, Peterson and Scheckter.

Lauda’s teammate Regazzoni was caught by the leaders on lap 18, after his lengthy pit stop. He let Lauda by, but held up Fittipaldi for six laps, despite blue flags being waved to indicate that he should be let through. Eventually Regazzoni was black flagged and brought in for a warning on lap 24; Ferrari manager Luca di Montezemolo instructed Regazzoni to continue the race, but withdrew him from the race in protest just after four laps.[5]

Back on the track, Fittipaldi was now 15 seconds behind Lauda, Jarier had retired with a seized rear wheel bearing, Brambilla dropped back to seventh suffering from loose seat supports, and Hunt, Mass, Peterson and Scheckter were battling for third. Mass overtook Hunt on lap 33. With nine laps to go, Peterson also passed Hunt, who was struggling with his gear selection and brake balance. Three laps from the finish, Mass’s brakes began to fade, and Peterson closed, but locked up his left front tire under braking. The resulting flat spot slowed him enough for Hunt to retake fourth on the last lap. Lauda took the win by just under five seconds.

This was the final race for Tony Brise and Embassy Racing with Graham Hill. On the evening of 29 November 1975, double-world champion Graham Hill was piloting a Piper Aztec light aircraft from France to London. His passengers were team manager Ray Brimble, driver Tony Brise, designer Andy Smallman and mechanics Terry Richards and Tony Alcock. They were returning from Circuit Paul Ricard where they had been testing the GH2 car being prepared for 1976. They were due to land at Elstree airfield before onward travel to London to attend a party. Shortly before 10pm, the plane hit trees beside a golf course at Arkley in thick fog. In the ensuing crash and explosion, everyone on board was killed.[6][7] As the team now only consisted of the deputy team manager and two mechanics, it was impossible to continue, and so the team was closed down

Race Results

1 12 Niki Lauda Ferrari 59 1:42:58.175   9
2 1 Emerson Fittipaldi McLarenFord 59 + 4.943   6
3 2 Jochen Mass McLarenFord 59 + 47.637 4
4 24 James Hunt HeskethFord 59 + 49.475   3
5 5 Ronnie Peterson LotusFord 59 + 49.986 2
6 3 Jody Scheckter TyrrellFord 59 + 50.321   1


1975 Final Results

1 Niki Lauda 64.5
2 Emerson Fittipaldi 45
3 Carlos Reutemann 37
4 James Hunt 33
5 Clay Regazzoni 2

The 1975 season was the start of the rebirth of Ferrari as a dominant F1 team. With the exception of 1978 and the Lotus ground effects cars Ferrari was almost unbeatable. It would as mark Niki Lauda as one of the greatest F1 drivers of all time.

In two weeks a different story. Instead of a season it will be the history of teams that no longer are around. The first story will be on Osella.


By Ian Caldweel @CavallinoRampa2