The 1972 Belgian Grand Prix was the fifth race of the season, and was held at the new Nivelles-Baulers circuit. Emerson Fittipaldi led most of the way for his second victory of the season, with François Cevert in second and Denny Hulme in third. The race was notable for the absence of Jackie Stewart, who had suffered an attack of gastritis.
The Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps had been deemed unsafe for Formula 1, so the race was held at the brand new Nivelles-Baulers circuit, about 40km south of Brussels. The track was short, flat, technical, very safe and quite uninteresting for the spectators. There was 10m of runoff in all directions around the entire track, except for the pit wall, and even that was moved back from the track a bit. A long front straight led to a long series of gentle bends, eventually looping behind the front straight, then a pair of S-bends took the track around the paddock, and finally a 180 degree hairpin put the cars back on the front straight. The race attracted a healthy entry of 25 cars, including one car from the new-to-Formula-1 Tecno team.
- Brabham: Carlos Reutemann had taken part in the Formula 2 race at Oulton Park the previous weekend, and pronounced himself ready to return to Formula 1. Then he promptly shut a car door on his hand, and drove a brand new BT37 with some bandaged fingers in Belgium. Graham Hill had run the same Formula 2 race the previous weekend, and was involved in a start line accident. The result was some severe bruising to his legs, which had never quite healed from his bad accident almost three years earlier. So he was in pain all weekend.
- BRM: The team left the P180s at home pending development, and there were no changes to the remaining cars. Reine Wisell was on the injured list, having broken bones in his hand in an accident with Ronnie Peterson at the Oulton Park non-championship race. Vern Schuppan was do to make his F1 debut in Wisell's place, but Peter Gethin crashed his car early in Friday practice, and in the ensuing shuffle of cars, poor Schuppan was out of a drive without having turned a wheel.
- Ferrari: Once again Mario Andretti was at a USAC race. The cars were unchanged from Monaco, except for having the normal noses back.
- March: Ronnie Peterson's car was converted to a Hewland gearbox and drive, along with the rear suspension from an original 721.
- Matra: Matra was devoting enormous resources to the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but they may have gone overboard. The team showed up in Belgium with Chris Amon, three mechanics, one car and the minimum of spares and tools required in a rented transporter. That was all. Amon was not amused.
- McLaren: The only change was the return of Peter Revson.
- Tecno: Announced during the off season, the Tecno PA123/3 finally made its initial appearance. An attractive looking flat-12 engine was in the back of a thrown-together looking chassis. The team was nowhere close to being ready to race, and they only qualified due to no more than the maximum 25 entries arriving.
- Tyrrell: Jackie Stewart was not at the race. His grueling schedule of racing in Formula 1, Can-Am and European touring cars, plus promotional events for Elf and Ford, and a sideline of sports commentating on television in the US, led to what was originally diagnosed as an ulcer, but was later confirmed as gastritis. Under doctor's orders, he took about three weeks off from everything, canceled his involvement with the Can-Am series and US TV for the remainder of 1972, and was restricting his schedule of everything else. François Cevert had his usual 002 chassis with 004 as a spare, but several notable Tyrrell team members were not present.
The full entry list for the 1972 Belgian Grand Prix is shown below:
|10||36||Andrea de Adamich||Surtees-Ford||1:12.54||+1.11|
|DNQ||26||Vern Schuppan||BRM||No time|
|5||16||Carlos Pace||March-Ford||84||+1 Lap||11||2|
|6||5||Chris Amon||Matra||84||+1 Lap||13||1|
|7||10||Peter Revson||McLaren-Ford||83||+2 Laps||7|
|8||25||Howden Ganley||BRM||83||+2 Laps||15|
|9||11||Ronnie Peterson||March-Ford||83||+2 Laps||14|
|10||27||Helmut Marko||BRM||83||+2 Laps||23|
|11||6||Rolf Stommelen||March-Ford||83||+2 Laps||20|
|12||12||Niki Lauda||March-Ford||82||+3 Laps||25|
|13||19||Carlos Reutemann||March-Ford||81||+4 Laps||9|
|14||33||Dave Walker||Lotus-Ford||79||+6 Laps||12|
|NC||15||Henri Pescarolo||March-Ford||59||+26 Laps||19|
|Ret||36||Andrea de Adamich||Surtees-Ford||56||Engine||10|
|Ret||24||Peter Gethin||BRM||28||Fuel pump||17|
Standings after raceEdit
- Pritchard, Anthony (1973). The Motor Racing Year No4. W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.. pp. 74-81. ISBN 0-393-08677-1.
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