The 1972 Argentine Grand Prix was the first race of the 1972 season. It was won by defending World Champion Jackie Stewart in a Tyrrell, ahead of Denny Hulme in a McLaren and Jacky Ickx in a Ferrari. Local favorite Carlos Reutemann took the pole in a Brabham, but tire problems caused him to fall to seventh by the finish.
After last season's non-championship race (won by Chris Amon), the Argentinian race was approved for a return to the calendar after an interval of 12 years. The race would be using the #9 circuit, which was just over two miles in length, or about 0.4 miles shorter than the old #2 circuit. The track shortcut the loop just before the pit straight, and made the left hand bend onto the straight tighter.
- Brabham: Since Watkins Glen the team had gone through a number of changes. The new owner was a London used car dealer named Bernie Ecclestone, and the old owner, Ron Tauranac was nowhere to be seen. Most notably, the cars were painted completely white, with very little sponsorship showing. Tim Schenken had moved to Surtees. Graham Hill had pulled rank, and no longer wished to have anything to do with the BT34, which was then given to the rookie, Carlos Reutemann. Hill used Schenken's BT33, which had had the chassis stiffened, and been fitted with new brakes, shock absorbers and front bodywork. The BT34 had new bodywork around the cockpit, intended to lower drag.
- BRM: The P160s had received a number of detail changes, and were now called P160Bs, even though some of the features described were introduced during 1971. Louis Stanley had announced that the team would have Marlboro sponsorship, and would field five cars. Three cars at each race would be the "regular" drivers, and two would be rental drivers. The regular drivers would normally be new driver Jean-Pierre Beltoise, Howden Ganley and Peter Gethin, but Beltoise could not enter Argentina without risking imprisonment and further legal problems, so Reine Wisell took over his spot. But for some inexplicable reason, Wisell was given one of the 1970 vintage P153s, and the normal P160B was given to Alex Soler-Roig, one of the rental drivers, being sponsored by España Marlboro. The other rental driver was Helmut Marko, in another P153.
- Ferrari: The drivers had the same cars as in 1971, but with many revisions. The rear suspension was now a wishbone and link type with a wider track. The front was the same design, but with revised geometry and a corresponding widening of the track. And a great deal of development was carried out on the engine, with a claimed improvement in engine reliability, as engine problems were the team's major shortfall in 1971.
- Lotus: A new driver, paint job and a lot of detail work went into the same cars as last season, which were now called 72Ds. The cars are now emblazoned as John Player Specials, painted jet black with sharp gold trim, anvil shaped high air boxes behind the roll bar, and rear wings mounted further astern with larger side plates. Suspension geometry had been tinkered with, and the team also claimed to have done a great deal of work on reliability. Reine Wisell had been dumped in favor of F3 champion Dave Walker from Australia.
- March: Autodelta had ended their Formula One efforts again, so March was going to focus on just two factory cars, plus the usual gaggle of privateers. Andrea de Adamich was gone to Surtees, and Nanni Galli had signed with the new Tecno team, so Niki Lauda was hired as #2 to Ronnie Peterson. The new model 721 was a development of the 711, but the team tried in practice a "normal" looking nose in place of the 'tea tray'.
- Matra: Jean-Pierre Beltoise had left the team for BRM, and Matra made no effort to replace him. Chris Amon had the latest chassis with some revised bodywork, revised front suspension, and the latest engine, which obviously had more power than in 1971.
- McLaren: The difference between the end of 1971 and start of 1972 was like night and day. The team was back to a two car entry, with new Yardley sponsorship and a larger contingent of mechanics. The second driver was now Indianapolis pole winner Peter Revson. The cars had lighter bodywork and revised rear suspension (aiming to add to the improvements made at the end of last season), and the entire effort was much more energetic and professional. Virtually the only thing that was unchanged was 1967 World Champion Denny Hulme, and even he seemed to be more confident and focused.
- Surtees: John Surtees had decided to retire from driving, and focus on managing the team. This would consist of Tim Schenken and Mike Hailwood, with Andrea de Adamich driving a 'rental' car with Ceramica Pagnossin sponsorship. All of the cars now carried a TS9B designation, with full width noses and side radiators. Hailwood was not present in Argentina, but off competing in the Tasman Series.
- Tyrrell: Even though the cars had been entirely rebuilt over the winter, the cars were unchanged from the end of 1971. The original chassis, 001, was now a show car for the sponsors. A new chassis, 004, had already been sent on to Kyalami for extended testing, so the team was without a spare car in Argentina.
The full entry list for the 1972 Argentine Grand Prix is shown below:
|14||20||Andrea de Adamich||Surtees-Ford||1:14.34||+1.88|
|2||17||Denny Hulme||McLaren-Ford||95||+ 25.96||4||6|
|3||8||Jacky Ickx||Ferrari||95||+ 59.39||8||4|
|4||9||Clay Regazzoni||Ferrari||95||+ 1:06.72||6||3|
|5||19||Tim Schenken||Surtees-Ford||95||+ 1:09.11||11||2|
|6||14||Ronnie Peterson||March-Ford||94||+ 1 lap||10||1|
|7||2||Carlos Reutemann||Brabham-Ford||93||+ 2 laps||1|
|8||23||Henri Pescarolo||March-Ford||93||+ 2 laps||15|
|9||3||Howden Ganley||BRM||93||+ 2 laps||13|
|10||7||Helmut Marko||BRM||93||+ 2 laps||19|
|11||15||Niki Lauda||March-Ford||93||+ 2 laps||22|
|Ret||4||Reine Wisell||BRM||59||Water leak||17|
|Ret||20||Andrea de Adamich||Surtees-Ford||11||Fuel system||14|
|Ret||1||Graham Hill||Brabham-Ford||11||Fuel pump||16|
|DSQ||12||Dave Walker||Lotus-Ford||8||Received outside assistance||20|
|Ret||5||Peter Gethin||BRM||1||Oil leak||18|
|DNS||16||Chris Amon||Matra||0||Gearbox on warm-up lap||12|
- Carlos Reutemann scored pole position on his debut on home soil.
- Last points for Tim Schenken.
Only point scoring drivers are shown.
Only point scoring constructors are shown.
- Pritchard, Anthony (1973). The Motor Racing Year No4. W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.. pp. 42-50. ISBN 0-393-08677-1.
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