The 1969 Dutch Grand Prix, otherwise known as the XVII Grote Prijs van Nederland, was the fourth round of the 1969 FIA Formula One World Championship, staged at the Circuit Park Zandvoort on the 21st of June, 1969. The race would be remembered for a race long battle for third, after the battle for first disintegrated through retirements.
Qualifying had seen Jochen Rindt, returning from a badly broken nose, take pole for Lotus-Ford Cosworth, sharing the front row with Jackie Stewart and teammate Graham Hill. Practice had also seen the top teams test out some four-wheel-drive cars, although all of the drivers would race with more conventional rear-wheel-drive efforts.
Hill would take the lead when the flag fell on raceday, with Rindt following him through into Tarzan. Stewart,second row starter Chris Amon and Denny Hulme would also fall into place, with the top five soon pulling away from the rest of the field.
Rindt soon squeezed past Hill for the lead, while Jo Siffert escaped from the slower group to get amongst the leaders, jumping up to third in the early stages. Stewart would also get past Hill after a few laps, before joining Rindt in sprinting away from the Englishman just before Siffert moved onto the final podium spot.
Ultimately, Rindt would retire with a mechanical issue, leaving Stewart with a sizeable lead. Hill would stop to cure a handling issue, leaving Hulme, Amon, Jacky Ickx and Jack Brabham to fight for third behind Siffert, with Amon ultimately securing the position a few laps from the end. For Stewart, it was a third win of the season and left him with a twelve point lead in the Championship.
The cancellation of the Belgian Grand Prix due to the safety standards of Spa-Francorchamps had been controversial for fans and spectators, having created a five week gap in the calendar ahead of the round in Zandvoort. A fast, flowing blast on tarmac usually coated with sand, Zandvoort's safety standards were fairly high, tactically placed Armco barriers located around the more dangerous parts of the circuit, while the organisers had installed a new electronic timing system that could record to the nearest hundredth. Yet, the field would eagerly head to the Netherlands after the battle in Monte Carlo, with some drivers looking to exploit the new solution to latest wing ban: Four Wheel Drive.
Two teams had brought race ready 4WD machinery to the dunes, with Matra-Ford Cosworth and Lotus-Ford Cosworth both bringing elegant designs. The new Matra MS84 would be entered by Ken Tyrrell and Matra International, who also provided two MS10s for regular runners Jackie Stewart and Jean-Pierre Beltoise. The Scot and the Frenchman were expected to use the older cars for the race, although both were also scheduled to run in the experimental car.
Team Lotus had the Lotus 63 ready in Zandvoort, a design inspired by their running in the Indianapolis 500 over the previous few seasons. The American influence would be further enhanced by the chosen pilot, Mario Andretti pencilled in as the driver, although any running for the car would be dependant on the Italian-American's arrival. That left Graham Hill and Jochen Rindt with two of the older 49Bs, but when it became clear that Andretti would not be arriving due to his U.S.C.A. commitments both would try the new 63 in practice. Jo Siffert was also being supported by Lotus having the newest 49B entered by the Rob Walker Racing Team.
McLaren-Ford Cosworth were among those to forfeit the latest solution, instead bringing two cars for Bruce McLaren and Denny Hulme that fell within the new aero-guidelines. The new rule stated that any aerodynamic parts must be integral to the bodywork, and so their two race ready machines, a M7A for Hulme and a M7C for McLaren, were built exactly to the rules, although with scope to be modified during the weekend. The British based squad had also brought a third car, which included a large wing mounted above the engine.
Elsewhere, there was little change at Brabham-Ford Cosworth, who had some minor modifications to the front bodywork of their two cars entered for Jack Brabham and Jacky Ickx. Ferrari also had to rely on minor detailing to improve the performance of Chris Amon, who would have been supported in the Netherlands had the organisers decided to accept the second Ferrari entry of Pedro Rodríguez. BRM completed the factory entries, having built a brand new car for John Surtees, while Jackie Oliver was given the choice of his usual car or Surtees' old one assuming the former Champion used the new car.
Into the privateer field and Frank Williams was back with his Brabham BT26A, entered for Piers Courage once again. A fourth BT26A could be found with Silvio Moser and his team, with both teams competing for the upgrades applied to the factory cars in Monte Carlo. Completing the field would be Antique Automobiles and their driver Vic Elford, who had replaced his Cooper T86 with a almost new McLaren M7A
Stewart had left Monaco with his Championship lead intact, although Hill had managed to cut the Scot's advantage down the three points. McLaren and Hulme were next, both proving to be consistent point scorers, while Siffert completed the top five. There had been five other scorers in the opening three rounds, with Ickx down in tenth with a single point.
Like their driver, Matra-Ford Cosworth still sat at the top of the Intercontinental Cup for Manufacturers, although their lead had been cut to three points be Lotus-Ford Cosworth's lead driver. McLaren-Ford Cosworth sat in third, a further three points back, while Brabham-Ford Cosworth were in fourth, largely thanks to privateer Courage. BRM were also on the board, a contrast to Ferrari who were still yet to score.
The full entry list for the 1969 Dutch Grand Prix is outlined below:
Qualifying and practice would be staged across two days in the Netherlands, with an afternoon session on Thursday followed by two blasts on Friday. The weather would be fairly consistent across the weekend bar a brief shower of rain on Friday, although the amount of sand on the circuit would vary as the wind changed direction, a familiar sensation at Zandvoort. The target for the top drivers would be a 1:23.54, a time that had earned Chris Amon pole position in 1968.
The session on Thursday allowed all of the field to complete at least one run in their race cars, with Matra and Lotus-Ford Cosworth also taking time to test their four wheel drive machines. Championship leader Jackie Stewart ultimately emerged on top from the opening bout of the weekend, taking provisional pole with a 1:21.50, set before the wind direction changed to drag more sand onto the circuit. Graham Hill ended the day second fastest after an early run, before both he and Stewart spent the rest of the session completing bedding in runs in the Lotus 63 and Matra MS84 respectively.
There was little else of note on Thursday, with everyone bar Hill over two seconds behind Stewart in terms of pure pace. A lot of revision work was therefore required overnight, with Team Lotus taking apart their second 63 to give Jochen Rindt a new engine, and Hill some new bodywork for his 4WD option. Elsewhere, most teams were readjusting suspension settings, moving aeropieces around or, at McLaren and BRM, getting stopped while attempting to fit bodywork which the organisers decided went against the FIA's new rules.
Friday morning saw more on track action, with the majority of the field getting in their best times of the weekend ahead of a small shower that ended the session prematurely. Rindt was among those to improve, the Austrian putting together a stunning lap to record a 1:20.85, finding over three seconds overnight thanks to his pitcrew. Elsewhere, Hill spent the entire session in his 4WD car, while there would be controversy over the time recorded by Stewart due to the unique methods used by the timekeepers at Zandvoort.
The electronic timing system installed at the circuit had a habit of breaking, so had often been supported by a group of observers who recorded times manually, alongside each teams' own independent record keepers. Attempts to cure this issue had been made by installing a new system, although the organisers still decided to keep their observers as a means of verifying times. Stewart's issue with this bank of times came at the end of the second session, when the Scot came in after being signalled by boss Ken Tyrrell to have recorded a 1:20.9, good enough to at least match Rindt after the Austrian had had his time confirmed earlier in the session. Yet, when the timekeepers released their lap chart for Stewart, the Scot was awarded a 1:20.41 much to the disbelief of himself and Tyrrell. There would be a twist, however, when the timekeepers decided to delete that time from the Scot's record over lunch, replacing it with a 1:21.14 to demote Stewart down to second.
The debacle over Stewart's morning time left very little confidence in the timekeepers and their scoring system, so it would be fortunate for them that the lunch break was filled with rain. The small shower left the circuit too damp for anyone to seriously challenge for pole, although Stewart was out to prove a point in the MS84, claiming a 1:23.88 to go a few tenths shy of Amon's old record. The fastest time of the afternoon would be set by Jacky Ickx in his Brabham-Ford Cosworth, while BRM finally got their new car up and running for John Surtees, although the former Champion failed to complete a competitive time in the new P139.
The full qualifying results for the 1969 Dutch Grand Prix are outlined below:
|1||2||Jochen Rindt||Lotus-Ford Cosworth||1:24.21||1:20.85||1:23.96||—|
|2||4||Jackie Stewart||Matra-Ford Cosworth||1:21.50||1:21.14||1:23.88T||+0.29s|
|3||1||Graham Hill||Lotus-Ford Cosworth||1:22.01||1:25.75T||1:25.13||+1.16s|
|5||12||Jacky Ickx||Brabham-Ford Cosworth||1:23.87||1:24.00||1:22.85||+2.00s|
|6||6||Bruce McLaren||McLaren-Ford Cosworth||1:23.71||1:24.07||1:22.87||+2.02s|
|7||7||Denny Hulme||McLaren-Ford Cosworth||1:23.38||1:23.07||1:26.82||+2.22s|
|8||11||Jack Brabham||Brabham-Ford Cosworth||1:24.34||1:24.58||1:23.10||+2.25s|
|9||16||Piers Courage||Brabham-Ford Cosworth||1:24.07||1:23.36||No Time||+2.51s|
|10||10||Jo Siffert||Lotus-Ford Cosworth||1:26.22||1:23.94||1:24.17||+3.09s|
|11||5||Jean-Pierre Beltoise||Matra-Ford Cosworth||1:24.70||1:24.44||1:24.49||+3.59s|
|14||17||Silvio Moser||Brabham-Ford Cosworth||1:26.50||No Time||No Time||+5.65s|
|15||18||Vic Elford||McLaren-Ford Cosworth||1:35.17||1:28.80||1:28.47||+7.62s|
|WD||3||Mario Andretti||Lotus-Ford Cosworth||Withdrawn|
|WD*||9||Pedro Rodríguez||Ferrari||Not registered|
- T Indicates a driver set their best time from that session in a test/spare car.
- * Rodriguez was not registered in time for the weekend so could not take part in practice.
The race was held on Saturday afternoon, a change to the usual schedule as the race organisers in an attempt to increase the attendance figures, which had been in decline over previous seasons. Yet, the usual fanfare ahead of the race would remain, starting with the arrival of Prince Bernhard of Holland in his sand-blasting helicopter. The teams, meanwhile, would make their final preparations to the cars as the field gathered on the grid, with all fifteen qualifiers ready to run when the flag fell.
There would be no stopping the red/white Lotus-Ford Cosworths at the start of the race, as Graham Hill and Jochen Rindt shot straight into the lead of the race, the former getting a huge amount of traction to sweep into Tarzan ahead. Splitting them on the grid had been Jackie Stewart, but the Scot had simply been outclassed by the two Loti, despite getting a strong start himself. Rindt himself would tuck neatly into Hill's wake, while the rest of the field piled into the first corner in grid order.
The race should have been settled from that point, for the two Loti were running together at the end of the first lap giving them the perfect opportunity to work together to pull away from Stewart and the rest. Yet, Rindt was out to win, and so proceeded to attack Hill for the lead at every opportunity, leaving Stewart in prime position to take advantage. Indeed, the red/white machines were in a full blooded fight, exchanging several wheel to wheel blows as Hill just held onto his lead.
The battle for the lead would ultimately be settled on lap three, when Rindt managed to elbow his way up the inside of Hill at Hugenholtz in a cloud of sand and dust. The Austrian then proceeded to sprint away over the rest of the lap, gaping his teammate by just over a second by the end of the lap. Unable to retaliate, or latch onto the back of his rival, Hill was left to secure second place, although with Stewart in close attendance there was little chance of that.
Hill's pace, or confidence, seemed to have disappeared after Rindt's barge, leaving Stewart to take the Englishman at his leisure. The Scot would do so on lap five, although Rindt was already out of sight, entering the first corner as Stewart exited the final turn, a ten second advantage according to the timekeepers. Hill, for his part, was still lacking pace, and would soon become the cork in the bottle as a fair number of cars quickly caught the back of the limping Lotus.
That group soon contained Denny Hulme, Chris Amon, Bruce McLaren, Jack Brabham and Jo Siffert, all of whom would cross the line over the following laps in a bunch just a few yards behind the back of the Englishman. But, the stalemate would only last so long, with Siffert providing one of the best performances of his life to dance through the group, right onto the back of the sister car of Hill. Indeed, the privateer was putting the rest of the group to shame, and a decisive move into Tarzan on lap fourteen saw him move into third, before sprinting up the road as Hill continued to defend.
Yet, it would not be long before Hill was back on the podium, as teammate Rindt paid for his earlier forcefulness with a halfshaft failure, ending his race in the pits. Stewart therefore took the Austrian's huge lead, with Siffert already secured in second having pulled out a ten second gap to Hill in just a couple of laps. That left Hill once again defending for the final spot on the podium, as Hulme, Amon, Brabham and McLaren were joined by Jacky Ickx in the bottleneck.
Indeed, the Belgian had been stuck behind an off-pace Jean-Pierre Beltoise for most of the opening laps, and it was only a mistake by the Frenchman that let the second Brabham-Ford Cosworth into clean air. Once free, Ickx proceeded to catch the back of the third place scrap at a rate of knots, latching onto the back of teammate Brabham within three laps of moving past Beltoise. Yet, the Belgian could make little progress once he caught them, only managing to move past "the gaffer" when McLaren suddenly lost pace prior to retiring.
Hill's resistance finally faltered on lap 27, although his sudden plummet down the order was caused by a visit to the pits, the Englishman reporting some wayward handling. Nothing could be found, however, and Hill was let back into the race, still struggling for pace but somehow still on the lead lap. Hill would emerge just ahead of Beltoise, soon to be put a further position back by the Frenchman, while Hulme, Amon, Ickx and Brabham were left in a four way fight for third.
The scrap would be fairly even for the rest of its existence, despite the two Brabhams doing the opposite of the two Loti and working together to harass their rivals. Yet, Hulme and Amon were hardly out of the fight, and when Ickx hit trouble with his fuel pressure the Belgian had to work even harder to keep up the pace. Ultimately, the fight would have to breakup, with Hulme and Amon able to escape up the road and leave Brabham and Ickx a few seconds behind.
As this was going on, Stewart and Siffert were carving through the field, lapping their rivals left, right and centre, although the latter was unable to dent the former's thirty second advantage. The Scot was in total control and cruising, while Siffert had decided to settle for second, keeping a ten second gap to the third place fight once the traffic had disappeared. Ickx's car, meanwhile, seemed to have overcome it's pressure problem, and on lap 69 the Belgian was finally able to get ahead of teammate Brabham and catch the back of Hulme and Amon.
Those three remained nose to tail into the closing stages, a stalemate emerging as all three escaped the clutches of Brabham, whose pace was beginning to falter. Hulme, however, was not in the best of places, and when his engine began to lose oil pressure just eight laps from home, Amon had his best chance to move past. A lap later and Amon was onto the final step of the podium, suddenly taking a second a lap out of Siffert who was still trying to cruise to the flag.
That would be the final change to the order, with Ickx's fuel pressure problem returning to deny him a clear shot at taking Hulme. They finished in fourth and fifth, a few seconds ahead of Brabham, while Amon ran out of time to catch Siffert for second. Yet, outclassing them all out front was Stewart, who had lapped everyone bar the point scorers to build his lead in the Championship. Elsewhere, Hill limped to seventh two laps down, with Beltoise, John Surtees and Vic Elford also taking the flag.
The full results for the 1969 Dutch Grand Prix are outlined below:
|1||4||Jackie Stewart||Matra-Ford Cosworth||90||2:06:42.08||2||9|
|2||10||Jo Siffert||Lotus-Ford Cosworth||90||+24.52s||10||6|
|4||7||Denny Hulme||McLaren-Ford Cosworth||90||+37.16s||7||3|
|5||12||Jacky Ickx||Brabham-Ford Cosworth||90||+37.67s||5||2|
|6||11||Jack Brabham||Brabham-Ford Cosworth||90||+1:10.81||8||1|
|7||1||Graham Hill||Lotus-Ford Cosworth||88||+2 laps||3|
|8||5||Jean-Pierre Beltoise||Matra-Ford Cosworth||87||+3 laps||11|
|9||14||John Surtees||BRM||87||+3 laps||12|
|10||18||Vic Elford||McLaren-Ford Cosworth||84||+6 laps||15|
|Ret||17||Silvio Moser||Brabham-Ford Cosworth||54||Steering||14|
|Ret||6||Bruce McLaren||McLaren-Ford Cosworth||24||Suspension||6|
|Ret||2||Jochen Rindt||Lotus-Ford Cosworth||16||Halfshaft||1|
|Ret||16||Piers Courage||Brabham-Ford Cosworth||12||Clutch||9|
|WD||3||Mario Andretti||Lotus-Ford Cosworth|
- Eighth victory for Jackie Stewart.
- Matra earned their sixth victory as a constructor.
- Also the French manufacturer's tenth podium.
A third victory in four races saw Jackie Stewart construct a twelve point lead at the top of the Championship, the Scot proving so dominant that it seemed inevitable that he would be World Champion at the end of the season. Graham Hill remained in second after another non-score, but was only two points ahead of privateer Jo Siffert in third. The Swiss racer was impressing despite the lack of factory support, beating Bruce McLaren and Denny Hulme, who were only four points ahead of the second privateer Piers Courage.
Matra-Ford Cosworth had Stewart to thank for their six point lead in the Intercontinental Cup for Manufacturers', although Lotus-Ford Cosworth kept consistently scoring through both privateers and factory runners. McLaren-Ford Cosworth were a further six points behind, relying on their superiority in terms of technology to keep in the fight. Behind them were Brabham-Ford Cosworth, another six point gap between third and fourth, while Ferrari were finally on the board, having failed to score in the opening three rounds.
Images and Videos:
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 'GRAND PRIX RESULTS: DUTCH GP, 1969', grandprix.com, (Inside F1 Inc., 2016), http://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr177.html, (Accessed 22/12/2016)
- ↑ 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 2.21 2.22 2.23 2.24 2.25 2.26 2.27 2.28 2.29 2.30 2.31 2.32 2.33 2.34 2.35 2.36 2.37 2.38 2.39 2.40 2.41 2.42 2.43 2.44 2.45 2.46 2.47 2.48 2.49 2.50 2.51 2.52 2.53 2.54 2.55 2.56 2.57 2.58 2.59 2.60 2.61 2.62 2.63 2.64 2.65 2.66 2.67 2.68 2.69 2.70 2.71 2.72 2.73 2.74 2.75 'D.S.J., 'Dutch Grand Prix: Stewart Wins Again', motorsportmagazine.com, (Motor Sport, 01/08/1969), http://www.motorsportmagazine.com/archive/article/august-1969/47/dutch-grand-prix, (Accessed 30/12/2016)
- ↑ 'Netherlands 1969: Entrants', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1969/pays-bas/engages.aspx, (Accessed 22/12/2016)
- ↑ 'Netherlands 1969: Qualifications', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1969/pays-bas/qualification.aspx, (Accessed 30/12/2016)
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 'Netherlands 1969', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1969/pays-bas/tour-par-tour.aspx, (Accessed 04/01/2017)
- ↑ 'Netherlands 1969: Result', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1969/pays-bas/classement.aspx, (Accessed 04/01/2017)
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