The IV Hitachi Grand Prix of Sweden, otherwise known as the 1973 Swedish Grand Prix, was the seventh round of the 1973 FIA Formula One World Championship, staged at the Scandinavian Raceway on the 17th of June. The race, which was the first Swedish Grand Prix to be held as part of the World Championship, saw home hero Ronnie Peterson battle for victory throughout, only to be denied on the penultimate lap.
The Swede had had a perfect start to the weekend, dominating practice/qualifying to take pole, although François Cevert had come close to toppling him in the final session. Championship leader Emerson Fittipaldi would start from fourth, sharing the second row with rival Jackie Stewart, while local racer Reine Wisell qualified fourteenth in his loaned Matra, only to miss the start.
After a delay caused by the Grand Prix Drivers' Association, who had concerns over photographers in dangerous places, the race start saw Peterson sprint into the lead, joined by teammate Fittipaldi after a strong start for the Brazilian. Cevert and Stewart filed into third and fourth to make it a Lotus/Tyrrell top four, while Carlos Reutemann bested Denny Hulme off the line to claim fifth.
The two Loti began to pull away from the rest of the field, having bolted on softer tyres than everyone else, while Hulme vaulted past Reutemann to chase the two Tyrrells. Stewart then made a move on Cevert to claim third, before the Frenchman fell behind Hulme while struggling with tyre wear.
Into the closing stages and Hulme was now catching Stewart hand over fist, while the Lotus grip on victory was weakened as Fittipaldi suffered a gearbox failure. Moments later and Hulme was past Stewart, the Scot suffering from a rear brake problem, with Peterson slowly slipping into the Kiwi's sights with bad tyre wear.
With a lap to go the McLaren had picked off the Lotus with ease before cruising to the line denying Peterson a dream victory. The Swede claimed second ahead of Cevert and Reutemann, Stewart having slipped to fifth while nursing his brakes, while Jacky Ickx was a quiet sixth for Ferrari.
Two weeks after the battle of the narrow streets of Monte Carlo, the F1 circus arrived at the vast expanse of the Scandinavian Raceway, located at the Anderstorp airport in Sweden. The circuit itself had been created for the purpose of motorracing, simply incorporating the runway as a back straight, while pit buildings had been constructed away from the airport control centre, preventing any potential confusion. Unfortunately the layout of the circuit was not that ambitious, largely a combination of 90° and 180° bends on a completely flat section of Sweden.
The entry list, at one point, featured almost thirty cars, although the majority of those who actually travelled to Sweden were still carrying the scars of the scrap in Monaco. For Lotus and Tyrrell there were no changes, as title pretenders Emerson Fittipaldi and Jackie Stewart went to battle once again, supported by teammates Ronnie Peterson and François Cevert. The home fans would be throwing their weight behind Peterson, who had been a big factor in the Swedish Grand Prix becoming a World Championship round, with Team Lotus even managing to get a second spare car out to Sweden in time for Saturday's practice sessions.
McLaren had a third car as a spare to support Denny Hulme and Peter Revson, who no longer needed to focus on the Indianapolis 500, while Surtees had no concerns for Carlos Pace and Mike Hailwood. BRM had lost a car in Monaco, but were still able to field familiar trio Clay Regazzoni, Jean-Pierre Beltoise and Niki Lauda, while Shadow had their two factory cars fighting fit for George Follmer and Jackie Oliver. The American effort had also been busy rebuilding Graham Hill's car, meaning he would race with Embassy Racing again, while March had rebuilt Mike Beuttler's semi-works car to support Jean-Pierre Jarier as usual.
Elsewhere, Brabham were down to just the two factory cars of Carlos Reutemann and Wilson Fittipaldi Júnior, with Andrea de Adamich's car too badly damaged to make the trip. Also in a similar position were Ferrari, who had lost Arturo Merzario's car to an oil pressure problem in the Principality, leaving them with just a single car for Jacky Ickx. Others who failed to arrive were the privateer Marchs of David Purley and James Hunt with Hesketh Racing, although the former had loaned his car to local racer Reine Wisell, while Tecno could not afford to send Chris Amon out to Sweden with his new car.
Other changes to the grid would come at the Frank Williams Racing Cars run Iso-Marlboro effort, where Nanni Galli had announced his retirement immediately after the Monaco Grand Prix. Initially the team decided to run just Howden Ganley, who would use Galli's car as a spare, although when Tom Belsø approached the team Frank Williams decided to give the Dane a chance. It would be up to the organisers as to whether Belsø could start, with Williams hoping that they would getting starting money if he did so.
A record equalling victory for Stewart in Monte Carlo saw the Scot pull himself within four points of early Championship leader Fittipaldi at the top of the standings, with a huge gap back to third placed Cevert. Those two looked set to fight for the title between themselves, while Cevert was on track for third, ten points ahead of fourth placed Revson. Hulme was in fifth ahead Merzario, while a first points finish for Peterson had put the Swede into the top ten ahead of his home race.
Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth had snatched the lead of the International Cup for Manufacturers standings in Belgium, a lead which they extended to four points after Stewart's win. Arch rivals Lotus-Ford Cosworth remained a threat in second, however, with McLaren-Ford Cosworth too far behind to realistically join the fight, despite the fact that over half the season remained to be fought. Ferrari remained in single figures down in fourth ahead of Shadow-Ford Cosworth and BRM, while Brabham-Ford Cosworth and Tecno rounded out the scorers.
The full entry list for the 1973 Swedish Grand Prix is outlined below:
Plenty of starting money had been given to the teams ahead of practice/qualifying, meaning there would be four sessions across Friday and Saturday. Friday's run would be split between early morning and late afternoon, while Saturday's running would see two sessions held before lunch, for a combined total of six hours of running. As for target times there was no real guide for the Scandianvian Raceway, for the circuit had not hosted a high profile event before.
Early on Friday morning and the Anderstrop airfield was quickly filled with the noise of Grand Prix cars, with home hero Ronnie Peterson leading the charge onto the circuit. The Swede had arrived in top form ahead of the weekend, and was soon topping the timesheets, although he would not end the morning as fastest. Indeed, François Cevert was also putting together a flawless display, and a late lap by the Frenchman saw him snatch provisional pole before the break with a 1:24.740.
Elsewhere, however, the first session of Friday proved to be a particularly testing one, especially for those who had not had time to complete a full service since Monte Carlo. The first two issues came at Shadow, where Jackie Oliver suffered an early engine failure, before teammate George Follmer crashed at the first corner, writing off his repaired monocoque. Another in trouble would be Wilson Fittipaldi when his Brabham suffered an oil pump failure, while numerous others spent time in the pits having minor work carried out.
Friday afternoon was to be dominated by one man, for Peterson got into a groove soon after the start, soon dipping under the morning times. The Swede would settle for a 1:23.810 in his first car, before setting the second fastest time of the day in his spare, leaving everyone else, including teammate Emerson Fittipaldi rather red faced. Cevert provided the closest thing to a challenge for the Swede, although the Frenchman was still over half a second off, while Carlos Reutemann impressed by claiming the fourth best time for Brabham.
But, for those who struggled in the morning, the afternoon of Friday would once again prove to be a battle against attrition. Follmer, for example, had had his Shadow hastily repaired throughout the afternoon, only to throw it off the circuit again after a couple of laps, although this time only managing to fill the car with sand. Oliver and Wilson Fittipaldi had to spend the afternoon running in engines after their failures, while Jean-Pierre Jarier and Peter Revson both suffered gearbox failures.
Saturday's sessions effectively rolled into one, with only a brief break to retrieve abandoned cars, which had been left at the side of the circuit for a variety of reasons. Carlos Pace was the first, his Surtees losing a rear wheel which left him with the spare for the rest of the weekend, soon joined by Clay Regazzoni who had his BRM engine implode. Mike Beuttler was next after hitting the barrier on the start/finish straight, before the second session saw failures for Emerson Fittipaldi, Howden Ganley and Peterson, although the latter's issue was simply a lack of fuel.
As for the timesheets, the circuit proved rather polished and slippery after a full day of running on Friday, meaning it was difficult for drivers to improve. Cevert was one of the rare few to improve, almost managing to topple a flawless Peterson, although the Frenchman would fall shy of pole by just 0.089s. Elsewhere, Jackie Stewart improved before trying the modified Tyrrell, local racer Reine Wisell finished best of the Marchs, while Tom Belsø got a run in the spare Iso-Marlboro, although he would not be able to race when Howden's car proved too badly damaged to be repaired.
The full qualifying results for the 1973 Swedish Grand Prix are outlined below:
|1||2||Ronnie Peterson||Lotus-Ford Cosworth||1:24.813||1:23.810||NTG||NTG||—|
|2||6||François Cevert||Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth||1:24.740||1:24.370T||1:23.899||NTG||+0.089s|
|3||5||Jackie Stewart||Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth||1:25.296||1:25.145||1:23.912||1:25.411T||+0.102s|
|4||1||Emerson Fittipaldi||Lotus-Ford Cosworth||1:25.727||1:24.718||1:24.084||1:33.282T||+0.274s|
|5||10||Carlos Reutemann||Brabham-Ford Cosworth||1:25.086||1:24.489||NTG||NTG||+0.679s|
|6||7||Denny Hulme||McLaren-Ford Cosworth||1:25.464||1:24.625||1:24.707T||NTG||+0.815s|
|7||8||Peter Revson||McLaren-Ford Cosworth||1:25.723||1:24.937||NTG||NTG||+1.127s|
|10||23||Mike Hailwood||Surtees-Ford Cosworth||1:27.350||NTG||1:26.167||1:25.776||+1.966s|
|11||25||Howden Ganley||Iso-Marlboro-Ford Cosworth||1:25.800||NTG||NTG||NTG||+1.990s|
|13||11||Wilson Fittipaldi||Brabham-Ford Cosworth||—||1:27.490||1:26.836||1:25.127||+2.317s|
|14*||27||Reine Wisell||March-Ford Cosworth||1:28.312||1:26.817||NTG||NTG||+2.377s|
|16||24||Carlos Pace||Surtees-Ford Cosworth||1:28.389||1:24.420T||—||1:26.255||+2.445s|
|17||17||Jackie Oliver||Shadow-Ford Cosworth||—||1:26.408||1:26.305||NTG||+2.495s|
|18||12||Graham Hill||Shadow-Ford Cosworth||1:28.780||1:26.382||NTG||NTG||+2.572s|
|19||16||George Follmer||Shadow-Ford Cosworth||1:30.488||1:27.292||1:26.305||NTG||+2.822s|
|20||14||Jean-Pierre Jarier||March-Ford Cosworth||1:27.364||1:27.017||1:26.874||NTG||+3.064s|
|21||15||Mike Beuttler||March-Ford Cosworth||1:32.407||1:28.580||NTG||NTG||+4.770s|
|22†||26||Tom Belsø||Iso-Marlboro-Ford Cosworth||—||—||1:30.700||1:28.972||+5.162s|
|WD||9||Andrea de Adamich||Brabham-Ford Cosworth||Withdrawn|
|WD||18||Rikky von Opel||Ensign-Ford Cosworth||Withdrawn|
- NTG - No Time Given.
- T Indicates a driver used their test/spare car to set their best time in that session.
- * Wisell would be allocated a grid slot but could not start the race due to damage sustained on the warm-up lap.
- † Belsø was unable to start the race as Ganley used his car.
- * Wisell would be allocated a grid slot but could not start the race due to damage sustained on the warm-up lap.
Around 55,000 people travelled to the Scandinavian Raceway on race morning, with clear skies and relatively warm temperatures ensuring that there were near perfect conditions for the 80 lap battle. After a warm-up session at 9:00am, which had seen Howden Ganley crash his car and so subsequently took over the spare, the field was wheeled out onto the grid for the race start at 1:30pm. Unfortunately several drivers had noticed that there were photographers sitting in dangerous positions, leading the Grand Prix Drivers' Association to call a halt to proceedings. A twenty minute delay eventually saw the issue resolved, with the field released to complete a parade/warm-up lap at just before 2:00pm.
When the field returned to take the start there was a car missing, for fourteenth placed Reine Wisell had suffered a brake failure, leaving him to limp back to the paddock with heavily damaged suspension. The rest duly took the start, with Ronnie Peterson shooting into the lead from pole, much to the delight of the home fans. The rest of the field all filtered in behind him, with Emerson Fittipaldi slithering into second, while Graham Hill got a wheel on the dust at turn one and ran wide, leaving him at the back of the field with dirt in his throttle slides.
End of the opening tour and Peterson and Fittipaldi were clear of the rest, the black-gold Lotuss a second clear of the two blue-white Tyrrells of Jackie Stewart and François Cevert. Behind them came Carlos Reutemann and Denny Hulme in a duel for fifth, with the rest of the field settling in behind. Hill would appear some time after the rest, diving into the pits to have dirt cleared from his throttle slides, while Wisell was officially retired as March decided that there was too much damage to repair.
The second lap would see another driver make a mistake, this time being the elder Fittipaldi brother in the Brabham. Heading through the long second hairpin, Wilson Fittipaldi got into a slide, before running out of tarmac and running onto the grass, which spat his car the opposite way and into the barriers. The result was a badly bent front end, with Fittipaldi dragging the car away from the scene before pulling to a stop at a nearby marshals post.
The race settled down after this point, the only major change coming when Stewart released Cevert into third, hoping that the Frenchman would drag him onto the back of the leading Loti. That quartet were already clear of the fifth placed battle, now headed by Hulme after he had dispensed of Reutemann moments after Wilson Fittipaldi disappeared. Those two had an advantage over the rest of the field, being led by an outclassed Ferrari in the hands of Jacky Ickx, who had the all of the survivors stuck on his tail.
There were no changes to the order until Jean-Pierre Beltoise stopped to have an oil leak cured on lap sixteen, although a determined drive from Hulme carried him onto the back of the Lotus/Tyrrell quartet. Unfortunately the New Zealander was unable to attack them, and subsequent laps revealed that this was unlikely to change. Elsewhere the two Surteess were struggling with their Firestone tyres, Clay Regazzoni was chewing through rubber at an alarming rate, while George Follmer was struggling with a wayward Shadow, a legacy of his two practice accidents.
On lap 33 there was finally some action, for Stewart had decided that following Cevert was getting him no where, with the Scot duly slithering up the inside of the Frenchman as the pair dived into a cloud of backmarkers. Cevert was unable to respond due to the traffic, allowing Stewart to chase down the two Loti out front. As this was going on Hulme suffered an odd fault, the Kiwi's throttle jamming open causing him to shut off the ignition. After coasting round turn five Hulme then turned on the ignition, expecting the engine to fire at full throttle, to find that it came back to life as if nothing had happened. He therefore resumed where he had left off, although with a fifteen second gap to the leaders to make up.
Stewart's charge onto the back of the Loti took until lap 41, although he was halted almost instantly by Fittipaldi's defensive ways. The leading trio duly began to circulate nose-to-tail, while Cevert fell away in the wake of being taken by teammate Stewart. Hulme was rapidly hunting him down in the McLaren, while Reutemann fended off the combined attentions of Ickx and Revson, those three being the last of the field yet to be lapped.
After 55 laps Hulme was on the back of Cevert, as a wave of retirements thinned the bottom end of the pack. Hulme's chance to take the Tyrrell came when the pair caught the back of Revson, who had been lapped by an unchanged lead trio a few moments earlier. A small misjudgement from the Frenchman saw him get caught behind the American, allowing Hulme to come scything past the pair of them, with Cevert emerging from Revson too late to respond.
Pit visits continued to plague the bottom end of the field as the race crawled on towards its conclusion, although with eleven laps to go there was a seismic shift at the top of the field. Indeed, Fittipaldi was starting to struggle with brake fade, a legacy of an ongoing oil leak from his gearbox which was dumping fluid onto the rear brake discs. Then, on lap 69 the Brazilian lost a huge chunk of time, baulked Stewart and allowed Hulme to close right onto the back of them, before Stewart weaved his way past at the end of the lap. Hulme duly went by a lap later, with Fittipaldi's pace collapsing as he lost the entire use of his brakes, leaving him to battle his way out of the points using only his gearbox to try and slow the car.
Now released, Stewart and Hulme caught onto the back of Peterson with ease, who was really struggling with wear on his rear tyres, a result of using a softer compound than the rest of the field. Yet, the Swede was still able to keep his rivals at bay, and with five laps to Stewart's charge was cut short by a brake issue, allowing Hulme to breeze past. It was now down to a single black-gold Lotus and a white McLaren for victory, as Stewart's blue-white Tyrrell was taken by Cevert and Reutemann.
Onto the penultimate lap and Peterson was still holding the lead, although he was losing his battle with the rear tyres. With a lap and half to go the pressure finally told, and as the Swede stamped on the throttle at the start of the back straight the car snapped sideways, allowing Hulme to easily pull alongside into the final corner. Hulme was credited as leader at the start of the final lap, before sweeping home to claim victory by four seconds, leaving Peterson and the home fans a heart-broken second. Cevert cruised home to third ahead of Reutemann, Stewart nursed his car to fifth, Ickx falling just shy of the wounded Tyrrell, while Fittipaldi had retired three laps from the end.
The full results for the 1973 Swedish Grand Prix are outlined below:
- * Emerson Fittipaldi was still classified despite failing to complete the final lap.
- † Wisell was unable to start the race after a failure during the parade/warm-up lap.
- ‡ Belso could not start as his car was used by Ganley.
- Graham Hill made his 150th Grand Prix start.
- Ronnie Peterson claimed Lotus' 60th pole position.
- Seventh career win for Denny Hulme.
- Also the Kiwi's thirtieth podium.
- McLaren earned their sixth victory.
- Engine partner Ford Cosworth claimed their 58th victory.
- François Cevert earned a tenth podium finish.
Another retirement for Emerson Fittipaldi had allowed Jackie Stewart to close the gap even further, although the Scot's late race problem meant that the Brazilian still held a two point advantage. François Cevert had made ground on the pair of them with another podium finish, but was still fourteen points behind teammate Stewart, while Denny Hulme overtook his teammate Peter Revson after claiming victory. Ronnie Peterson was up to sixth, leapfrogging the two Ferraris.
The Lotus-Ford Cosworth/Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth battle at the top of the International Cup for Manufacturers' standings had seen the latter's lead cut to two points, both teams on just shy of the 50 point mark for the opening half of the season. McLaren-Ford Cosworth had secured themselves in third with Hulme's victory, while Ferrari were finally up to double figures in fourth. Brabham-Ford Cosworth, BRM, Shadow-Ford Cosworth and Tecno completed the scorers.
Images and Videos:
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 'GRAND PRIX RESULTS: SWEDISH GP, 1973', grandprix.com, (Inside F1 Inc., 2016), http://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr227.html, (Accessed 02/03/2017)
- ↑ 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 2.76 2.77 2.78 2.79 2.80 2.81 2.82 D.S.J., 'Swedish Grand Prix: A Nice Clean Race', motorsportmagazine.com, (Motor Sport, 01/07/1973), http://www.motorsportmagazine.com/archive/article/july-1973/29/sweidsh-grand-prix, (Accessed 02/03/2017)
- ↑ 'Sweden 1973: Entrants', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1973/suede/engages.aspx, (Accessed 02/03/2017)
- ↑ 'Sweden 1973: Qualifications', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1973/suede/qualification.aspx, (Accessed 03/03/2017)
- ↑ 'Sweden 1973: Result', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1973/suede/classement.aspx, (Accessed 03/03/2017)
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