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  The 1974 Belgian Grand Prix, otherwise officially advertised as the XXXII Bang & Olufsen Grote Prijs van Belgie, was the fifth meeting of the 1974 FIA Formula One World Championship, staged at the Circuit Nivelles-Baulers on the 12th May, 1974.[1] The race, which would be the last to use the relatively new Nivelles circuit, would be fondly remembered for an excellent duel between Emerson Fittipaldi and Niki Lauda.[1]

Qualifying saw Clay Regazzoni claim a rather controversial pole position for Ferrari, with many speculating that the Swiss racer had had an unfair, but otherwise unknown, advantage to beat the rest of the field by over a second.[1] This gap was made even more suspect by the fact that there were only three quarters of a second covering Jody Scheckter in second, and Denny Hulme down in twelfth.[1] A 31 car grid limit meant that Leo Kinnunen missed out on making his debut in a Grand Prix.[1]

The start of the race followed a similar pattern to qualifying, with Regazzoni jetting off to an early lead, leaving Scheckter to battle with the rest of the pack.[1] Come the end of the lap the Swiss racer was a second and a half clear, while Emerson Fittipaldi had elbowed the young South African out of the way for second.[1]

With Regazzoni out of reach, and Fittipaldi dropping Scheckter, the rest of the opening phase belonged to Niki Lauda, who barged past Ronnie Peterson and Scheckter early on.[1] The race then began to settle, with the top five pulling clear of the rest, although this would change when the quintet came to lap the back markers.[1]

In a small melee Lauda was baulked François Migault and lost out to Scheckter, with both losing time to Fittipaldi.[1] It took seven laps for the Austrian to retake the position, although when he did so it would be a move that effectively promoted him into second.[1] This was because his teammate, and race leader, Regazzoni had misjudged a gap, run onto the grass, and could only scramble back into the fray after both Fittipaldi and Lauda had scrambled past.[1]

The Swiss racer was denied a shot at making up for his mistake by a worsening fuel issue, which would ultimately relegate him behind Scheckter in the closing stages.[1] Behind them, the fight for the final points positions became a war of attrition, as Peterson, James Hunt, Patrick Depailler and Mike Hailwood all suffered mechanical woes when running in fifth place.[1]

When the chequered flag waved it would be Fittipaldi who claimed victory, ahead of an increasingly confident Lauda, those two also heading to the top of the Championship standings.[1] Scheckter claimed his first podium finish at the expense of Regazzoni, while Jean-Pierre Beltoise and Hulme inherited the final points, having survived long enough to claim them.[1]

BackgroundEdit

It was the turn of the Nivelles-Baulers circuit near Brussels to host the Belgian Grand Prix in 1974, which remained unchanged after its debut back in 1972.[2] A two day testing session was scheduled ahead of the race, which did clean the already famously dusty circuit to some degree, although a late shower before the weekend officially got underway undermined these efforts.[2] Furthermore, the Nivelles-Baulers owners were in financial strife after struggling to find backers, and needed a strong weekend in terms of gate receipts to keep their future hopes alive.[2]

As had been the case in Spain, the Belgian Grand Prix offered the chance to see some new faces and equipment.[2] The first of these would be the new Token effort, which had been penned by Ray Jessop on behalf of the "Token-Motul" team, which had formed from Ron Dennis' old Formula Two team.[2] A rather conventional, if financially restrained design, the RJ02 used elements of the McLaren M23 in its first guise, seen back at the BRDC International Trophy meeting in early April, although development had all but ceased after the withdrawal of backing from Motul.[1] Their pilot would be F2 star Tom Pryce, who would make his World Championship debut if the car qualified.[2]

Other new cars should have appeared in the form of the new Lyncar, although they, and driver John Nicholson, failed to appear.[2] Ensign, meanwhile, were back fielding Vern Schuppan in a now orange N174, the result of backing from Hong Kong based businessman Theodore Yip, although his money had not been enough to fund any further development.[2] The Amon of Chris Amon ran in a private test before the weekend, although the Kiwi withdrew his charger after concluding he needed an entirely new car, a stark contrast to Trojan who arrived with Tim Schenken at the wheel once again.[2]

Frank Williams had made a change to his driver line-up in their pair of Iso-Marlboros, with Arturo Merzario partnered by Gijs van Lennep for the weekend as Tom Belsø had Formula 5000 commitments.[2] Silvio Moser was still in hospital after his horrendous 1000km of Monza crash, although his Scuderia Finotto team did arrive with their pair of Brabham BT42s, meaning Gérard Larrousse could make his debut.[2] There would be an additional Surtees TS16 in the field too, entered by Finnish racer Leo Kinnunen, while one of the factory Brabham BT44s had been loaned out to Nivelles specialist Teddy Pilette.[2]

Pilette's teammates for the weekend would be Carlos Reutemann and Rikky von Opel, both hoping to bounced back after a dismal race in Spain.[2] They had an old car as a spare, while the privately entered brown BT42 of John Watson tagged onto their effort once again.[2] Their three pronged attack was matched by the usual BRM trio of Jean-Pierre Beltoise, François Migault and Henri Pescarolo, which still only had one of the new P201s on offer.[2]

Elsewhere, Tyrrell had been busy building a second 007, meaning Patrick Depailler and Jody Scheckter were equal for the first time all season.[2] Lotus arrived with three cars for their pair Ronnie Peterson and Jacky Ickx, as did Ferrari for Niki Lauda and Clay Regazzoni.[2] Championship leaders McLaren were also unchanged, with their three drivers Emerson Fittipaldi, Denny Hulme and Mike Hailwood all quietly confident as usual.[2]

Lola, being run by Embassy Racing, were down to two cars for the weekend, team leader Graham Hill having decided to let their newest car go back to the factory for updates, meaning he and teammate Guy Edwards would have to be extra careful.[2] March had rebuilt Vittorio Brambilla's orange 741, while lead driver Hans-Joachim Stuck would be praying for rain after his stunning display in Jarama.[2] The lone Hesketh of James Hunt arrived unchanged, the two Shadows of Brian Redman and Jean-Pierre Jarier were likewise untouched, while John Surtees had a new TS16 in reserve, meaning Carlos Pace and Jochen Mass had a spare apiece.[2]

Although he was still yet to win in 1974, it was Regazzoni who continued to hold the lead in the World Championship standings, the Swiss racer starting the European season with a one point advantage. Teammate Lauda had launched himself into second with his maiden win back at Jarama, leapfrogging Fittipaldi and Hulme in the process, who both scored in Spain. Reutemann slipped to fifth with Hailwood, while Scheckter had become the fourteenth driver to score after his fifth place finish.

A Ferrari one-two in Spain had had dramatic effects on the International Cup for Manufacturers' standings, with the Italian firm carving a huge chunk out of McLaren-Ford Cosworth's pre-Europe lead. The British effort was left with a five point advantage at the top of the standings, with those two looking set to duel for the crown on their own. Brabham-Ford Cosworth were next, twelve points behind, while Lotus-Ford Cosworth continued their downward plummet, leaving Spain in a miserable seventh place.

Entry listEdit

The full entry list for the 1974 Belgian Grand Prix is outlined below:

No. Driver Entrant Constructor Chassis Engine Model Tyre
1 Sweden Ronnie Peterson United Kingdom John Player Team Lotus Lotus 76 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
2 Belgium Jacky Ickx United Kingdom John Player Team Lotus Lotus 76 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
3 South Africa Jody Scheckter United Kingdom Elf Team Tyrrell Tyrrell 007 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
4 France Patrick Depailler United Kingdom Elf Team Tyrrell Tyrrell 007 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
5 Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi United Kingdom Marlboro Team Texaco McLaren M23 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
6 New Zealand Denny Hulme United Kingdom Marlboro Team Texaco McLaren M23 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
7 Argentina Carlos Reutemann United Kingdom Motor Racing Developments Ltd. Brabham BT44 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
8 Liechtenstein Rikky von Opel United Kingdom Motor Racing Developments Ltd. Brabham BT44 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
9 West Germany Hans-Joachim Stuck United Kingdom March Engineering March 741 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
10 Italy Vittorio Brambilla United Kingdom March Engineering March 741 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
11 Switzerland Clay Regazzoni Italy Scuderia Ferrari SpA SEFAC Ferrari 312B3-74 Ferrari 001/11 3.0 F12 G
12 Austria Niki Lauda Italy Scuderia Ferrari SpA SEFAC Ferrari 312B3-74 Ferrari 001/11 3.0 F12 G
14 France Jean-Pierre Beltoise United Kingdom Team Motul BRM BRM P201 BRM P142 3.0 V12 F
15 France Henri Pescarolo United Kingdom Team Motul BRM BRM P160E BRM P142 3.0 V12 F
16 United Kingdom Brian Redman United States UOP Shadow Racing Team Shadow DN3 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
17 France Jean-Pierre Jarier United States UOP Shadow Racing Team Shadow DN3 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
18 Brazil Carlos Pace United Kingdom Bang & Olufsen Team Surtees Surtees TS16 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 F
19 West Germany Jochen Mass United Kingdom Bang & Olufsen Team Surtees Surtees TS16 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 F
20 Italy Arutro Merzario United Kingdom Frank Williams Racing Cars Iso-Marlboro FW Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 F
21 Netherlands Gijs van Lennep United Kingdom Frank Williams Racing Cars Iso-Marlboro FW Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 F
22 Australia Vern Schuppan United Kingdom Team Ensign Ensign N174 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 F
24 United Kingdom James Hunt United Kingdom Hesketh Racing Hesketh 308 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
25* Switzerland Silvio Moser Italy Scuderia Finotto Brabham BT42 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 F
26 United Kingdom Graham Hill United Kingdom Embassy Racing with Graham Hill Lola T370 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 F
27 United Kingdom Guy Edwards United Kingdom Embassy Racing with Graham Hill Lola T370 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 F
28 United Kingdom John Watson United Kingdom John Goldie Racing with Hexagon Brabham BT42 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 F
29 New Zealand John Nicolson United Kingdom Pinch Plant Ltd. Lyncar 006 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
30 New Zealand Chris Amon New Zealand Chris Amon Racing Amon AF101 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 F
33 United Kingdom Mike Hailwood United Kingdom Yardley Team McLaren McLaren M23 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
34 Belgium Teddy Pilette United Kingdom Motor Racing Developments Ltd. Brabham BT42 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
37 France François Migault United Kingdom Team Motul BRM BRM P160E BRM P142 3.0 V12 F
41 Australia Tim Schenken United Kingdom Trojan-Tauranac Racing Trojan T103 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 F
42 United Kingdom Tom Pryce United Kingdom Token Racing Token RJ02 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 F
43 France Gérard Larrousse Italy Scuderia Finotto Brabham BT42 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 F
44 Finland Leo Kinnunen Finland AAW Racing Team Surtees TS16 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 F
Source:[3]
  • * Moser's entry was still maintained despite the fact that he remained in hospital.

Practice OverviewEdit

QualifyingEdit

Four sessions, spread across Friday and Saturday, would allow both teams and drivers plenty of time to practice/qualify for the Belgian Grand Prix, with at least one driver set to miss out.[2] These sessions would allow around six hours of total running ahead of the race, although heavy rain on Friday meant that there was less action than predicted.[2] As for target times, the quickest of the quick would be aiming for Emerson Fittipaldi's 1972 pole time of 1:11.43, although there would also be a minimum time to reach, with the slowest of the slow needing to record a time within 110% of the average lap set by the overall top three.[2]

ReportEdit

Friday's running was very badly hampered due to the weather, although the heavy rain stopped before the first session really got underway.[2] It would be record holder Fittipaldi who set the best time of the first run, a late lap from the Brazilian see him top the timesheet eight tenths clear of James Hunt.[2] There would also be some thrills and spills, Ronnie Peterson spinning himself into the wall, forcing him into his spare Lotus, while Carlos Reutemann wrote off his usual Brabham early on.[2]

The second Friday run saw the pace steadily ramp up, although there was still a fair amount of water to catch the drivers out.[2] Hans-Joachim Stuck, for example, would require a nose job on his March after kissing the wall, while Clay Regazzoni took over the spare Ferrari when he damaged the suspension in his regular charger.[2] Everyone would end the day with a minor mark or more on their cars, meaning it was a busy evening for the mechanics, who had a record 41 cars to service.[2]

The main cause for all of the Friday chaos was the fact that the teams had set their cars up for running in the dry, setups that had been perfected during the pre-race testing.[2] They were therefore a lot happier when Saturday dawned bright and sunny, although a whole new issue would arise that afternoon to keep the field on their toes.[2]

That issue would be dust, which had been swept back onto the circuit by Friday's heavy rain, having previously been cleared off the circuit during the test.[2] It therefore took a while before any drivers began to seriously push, although everyone seemed more concerned with completing long runs.[2] It was only in the final session of the weekend that anyone decided to challenge the then provisional pole, set by Arturo Merzario with a 1:11.57.[2]

In truth, Merzario's time had been edged out at the death of the previous session, as Ronnie Peterson finally persuaded his new Lotus to set a time on low fuel, a 1:11.21.[2] They had been joined in the 1:11.00s by Jody Scheckter, Fittipaldi, Regazzoni and Niki Lauda in those final moments, meaning there were arguably seven drivers in the fight for pole.[2] The late flurry had also begun an inevitable battle to be the first driver under 1:11.00, a fight which would rumble on throughout the final run.[2]

First man out to set an all out quali effort in the final session would be Merzario, although his improvement was not enough to beat Peterson's best time from the earlier run.[2] Peterson himself, meanwhile, would be unable to beat his earlier time, meaning he ultimately slipped behind Fittipaldi and Lauda, who were knocking fractions of a second off of each other as they inched closer to the 1:11.00 mark.[2] Then, unnoticed by many, Scheckter shot to the top of the times with a 1:10.86, only to be out done by a stunning, if confusing lap by Regazzoni.[2]

The Swiss racer had just come into the pits when the timekeepers revealed that he had recorded a 1:09.82, on a run that most had not even registered.[2] The inevitable murmurs about the time soon erupted, although before anyone could try and out the Swiss racer from the top of the timesheets, time was up and the circuit closed.[2] Ultimately, there would be no protest against Regazzoni's time, a full second quicker than second placed Scheckter, while Lauda put together a late lap to deny Fittipaldi the third grid slot.[2]

At the bottom of the field, meanwhile, Jacky Ickx and Carlos Reutemann were looking rather dejected, being in the bottom half of the field after a miserable two days.[2] Vittorio Brambilla, meanwhile, had missed the final scramble after an issue in the paddock, leaving him under threat of failing to qualify, although Finnish racer Leo Kinnunen ultimately missed the mark after he suffered a terminal problem in the pits.[2] Brambilla's next issue proved to be the 110% time, with his best effort of 1:23.81 below the combined average of 1:17.63, meaning he would have to wait until race morning before being told if he would start.[2]

Qualifying ResultsEdit

The full qualifying results for the 1974 Belgian Grand Prix are outlined below:

Pos. No. Driver Constructor Time Gap
P1 P2 P3 P4
1 11 Switzerland Clay Regazzoni Ferrari 1:23.53 1:19.85 1:11.97T 1:09.82T
2 3 South Africa Jody Scheckter Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 1:22.27 1:21.29 1:11.36 1:10.86 +1.04s
3 12 Austria Niki Lauda Ferrari 1:22.04 1:14.14 1:11.87 1:11.04 +1.22s
4 5 Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi McLaren-Ford Cosworth 1:20.19 1:17.07 1:11.83 1:11.07 +1.25s
5 1 Sweden Ronnie Peterson Lotus-Ford Cosworth 1:26.68T 1:21.18T 1:11.21 1:11.43 +1.39s
6 20 Italy Arturo Merzario Iso-Marlboro-Ford Cosworth 1:24.51 1:26.81 1:11.57 1:11.29 +1.47s
7 14 France Jean-Pierre Beltoise BRM 1:25.49 1:17.92 1:11.39 1:12.30 +1.57s
8 18 Brazil Carlos Pace Surtees-Ford Cosworth 1:32.07T 1:29.91 1:12.99 1:11.46 +1.64s
9 24 United Kingdom James Hunt Hesketh-Ford Cosworth 1:20.99 1:15.81 1:12.18 1:11.53 +1.71s
10 9 West Germany Hans-Joachim Stuck March-Ford Cosworth 1:27.21 1:12.72 1:11.57 +1.75s
11 4 France Patrick Depailler Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 1:24.25 1:19.76 1:12.41 1:11.60 +1.78s
12 6 New Zealand Denny Hulme McLaren-Ford Cosworth 1:26.53 1:23.00 1:12.29 1:11.61 +1.79s
13 33 United Kingdom Mike Hailwood McLaren-Ford Cosworth 1:26.54 1:22.60 1:12.13 1:11.98 +2.16s
14 22 Australia Vern Schuppan Ensign-Ford Cosworth 1:25.72 1:26.52 1:13.33 1:12.02 +2.20s
15 15 France Henri Pescarolo BRM 1:28.47 1:23.34 1:13.40 1:12.33 +2.51s
16 2 Belgium Jacky Ickx Lotus-Ford Cosworth 1:23.63 1:21.32 1:12.49 1:12.42 +2.60s
17 17 France Jean-Pierre Jarier Shadow-Ford Cosworth 1:23.33 1:16.38 1:13.13 1:12.53 +2.71s
18 16 United Kingdom Brian Redman Shadow-Ford Cosworth 1:31.30 1:16.58 1:12.94 1:12.73 +2.91s
19 28 United Kingdom John Watson Brabham-Ford Cosworth 1:29.53 1:21.64 1:13.23 1:12.76 +2.94s
20 42 United Kingdom Tom Pryce Token-Ford Cosworth 1:32.73 1:22.26 1:13.99 1:12.85 +3.03s
21 27 United Kingdom Guy Edwards Lola-Ford Cosworth 1:25.02 1:20.64 1:13.77 1:13.33 +3.51s
22 8 Liechtenstein Rikky von Opel Brabham-Ford Cosworth 1:22.87 1:19.92 1:13.61 1:13.34 +3.52s
23 41 Australia Tim Schenken Trojan-Ford Cosworth 1:30.07 1:20.96 1:14.08 1:13.36 +3.54s
24 7 Argentina Carlos Reutemann Brabham-Ford Cosworth 1:28.39 1:26.20T 1:17.11T 1:13.47T +3.65s
25 37 France François Migault BRM 1:33.01 1:13.49 +3.67s
26 19 West Germany Jochen Mass Surtees-Ford Cosworth 1:25.25 1:18.47 1:13.81 1:16.14T +3.99s
27 34 Belgium Teddy Pilette Brabham-Ford Cosworth 1:24.56 1:17.97 1:14.33 1:14.05 +4.23s
28 43 France Gérard Larrousse Brabham-Ford Cosworth 2:16.11T 1:30.45T 1:15.93 1:14.22 +4.40s
29 26 United Kingdom Graham Hill Lola-Ford Cosworth 1:26.36 1:20.22 1:14.30 1:14.73 +4.48s
30 21 Netherlands Gijs van Lennep Iso-Marlboro-Ford Cosworth 1:32.22 1:25.16 1:15.70 1:15.60 +5.78s
110% Time: 1:17.63*
31 10 Italy Vittorio Brambilla March-Ford Cosworth 1:23.81 1:35.20 +13.99s
DNQ 44 Finland Leo Kinnunen Surtees-Ford Cosworth 1:51.43 1:28.77 +18.95s
WD 25 Switzerland Silvio Moser Brabham-Ford Cosworth Injured
WD 29 New Zealand John Nicholson Lyncar-Ford Cosworth Withdrawn
WD 30 New Zealand Chris Amon Amon-Ford Cosworth Withdrawn
Source:[2][4]
  • T Indicates a driver used their test/spare car to set their best time in that session.
  • Bold indicates a driver's best/qualifying time.
  • * The 110% time was formed by the combined average of the top three times set during the session.[2]
  • Brambilla would be allowed to start despite failing to set a time within 110% by the stewards.

GridEdit

Pos Pos
Driver Driver
______________
Row 1 ______________ 1
2 Clay Regazzoni
Jody Scheckter ______________
Row 2 ______________ 3
4 Niki Lauda
Emerson Fittipaldi ______________
Row 3 ______________ 5
6 Ronnie Peterson
Arturo Merzario ______________
Row 4 ______________ 7
8 Jean-Pierre Beltoise
Carlos Pace ______________
Row 5 ______________ 9
10 James Hunt
Hans-Joachim Stuck ______________
Row 6 ______________ 11
12 Patrick Depailler
Denny Hulme ______________
Row 7 ______________ 13
14 Mike Hailwood
Vern Schuppan ______________
Row 8 ______________ 15
16 Henri Pescarolo
Jacky Ickx ______________
Row 9 ______________ 17
18 Jean-Pierre Jarier
Brian Redman ______________
Row 10 ______________ 19
20 John Watson
Tom Pryce ______________
Row 11 ______________ 21
22 Guy Edwards
Rikky von Opel ______________
Row 12 ______________ 23
24 Tim Schenken
Carlos Reutemann ______________
Row 13 ______________ 25
26 François Migault
Jochen Mass ______________
Row 14 ______________ 27
28 Teddy Pilette
Gérard Larrousse ______________
Row 15 ______________ 29
30 Graham Hill
Gijs van Lennep ______________
Row 16 ______________ 31
32 Vittorio Brambilla
______________

RaceEdit

Race day dawned bright and warm, although overnight rain had dragged more dust onto the circuit, much to the dismay of the teams.[2] The thirty minute warm-up session passed without incident, with Vittorio Brambilla allowed to start, despite failing to set a lap within 110% of a top three time.[2] He therefore joined a 31 car grid awaiting the start of the race, which would go to battle for 85 laps.[2]

ReportEdit

The start of the race was immaculate by recent Grand Prix standards, with pole sitter Clay Regazzoni jetting off to an instant lead.[2] Emerson Fittipaldi was the closest anyone came to the Ferrari, having used the "clean" side of the grid to his advantage, leaving Jody Scheckter to fend off the attentions of Niki Lauda.[2] The rest then came steaming into turn one in one huge bundle, although everyone seemed to be on their best behaviour and avoided any contact.[2]

The rest of the opening lap remained similarly tame, with the field quickly settling down into a long line.[2] Regazzoni had established a small lead over Fittipaldi, who was left to fend off Scheckter and Lauda, with Ronnie Peterson and James Hunt in close attendance.[2] Carlos Pace came next with Patrick Depailler, Jean-Pierre Beltoise and Mikie Hailwood, while Hans-Joachim Stuck rounded out the field after a terrible start.[2]

The following laps saw three groups form, each seemingly in their own race for the rest of afternoon.[2] The fight for the lead featured the entire top six, who were running around Nivelles-Baulers nose-to-tail behind Regazzoni.[2] The next group was headed by Pace, with his quintet of Depailler, Beltoise, Hailwood and Carlos Reutemann dropping away from sixth placed Hunt, but moving clear of Henri Pescarolo.[2] The Frenchman was providing a bottle neck for the rest of the field, allowing both Jacky Ickx and Stuck to quickly climb up the order.[2]

Unfortunately, the nature of the Nivelles-Baulers meant that overtaking was difficult at best, and when Stuck dropped out of the race with a clutch issue the entertainment was effectively cut in half.[2] Ickx had been left as the only source of excitement when the German dropped out, entering an intense duel with Arturo Merzario after both barged past Pescarolo.[2] The Frenchman was left to fend off the rest of the field, only to be elbowed into the barriers by Guy Edwards, while Carlos Pace suffered a puncture and hence fell to the back of the pack.[2]

Out front the top six remained glued together, unable to make a move on one another as they were all equally matched down the start/finish straight.[2] Fortunately, the tediousness of the lead fight was soon to be wiped out by a group of mobile chicanes, as the leaders finally came up to lap the backmarkers on lap 25.[2] This intervention was enough to spark some more interest back into the race, although the first few "chicanes" did little to affect the order.[2]

Then, the top six came to lap François Migault, who was limping along in the outdated BRM, a few seconds behind Tim Schenken in the new Trojan.[2] Regazzoni and Fittipaldi blasted past the Frenchman unhindered, before the group came into the braking zone for turn one.[2] Lauda was next in line to take the BRM, but a slight hesitation from the Austrian dropped him off the back of Fittipaldi.[2] Once clear of Migault it quickly became clear that Lauda lacked the pace to keep with the leading duo without a tow, and so he tactfully allowed Scheckter past and drag himself back into contention.[2]

Scheckter's strong pace did the trick, and its only took half a lap for the group to reform, aided by the fact that Regazzoni and Fittipaldi were about to dive into a slower group of cars just ahead.[2] This time, however, it would be Scheckter who got baulked, and by the time he and Lauda cleared the bunch, Regazzoni and Fittipaldi were four seconds clear.[2] Scheckter and Lauda were therefore left to fight over third, while Peterson and Hunt dropped back after their own issues trying to make their way through the pack.[2]

With the top six now split, it seemed as if the race would be a straight fight between Regazzoni and Fittipaldi for the rest of the afternoon, with the pair equally matched and without the distraction of Scheckter and co.[2] Yet, there was to be one more twist as the pair scythed through the traffic which ultimately destroyed hopes of a fight for the lead.[2] The victim would be Regazzoni, who misjudged a move on the recovering Pace and ran onto the grass, allowing Fittipaldi to charge through into the lead.[2]

The scrambling Ferrari ultimately rejoined behind teammate Lauda, who had pounced on Scheckter just a few corners earlier when the South African got baulked.[2] As all of this was going on, Peterson slipped into the pits to have his front tyres changed, while Hunt had caught up to the back of the shackled Tyrrell after Scheckter's hesitation.[2] Fittipaldi, meanwhile, was left with a one second lead over the two Ferraris, with Lauda unable to really attack the McLaren ahead.[2]

Elsewhere, various mechanical issues had left Depailler on his own, now running in a very lonely sixth, while Hailwood had escaped the pack to run in seventh, and was hunting down the Frenchman.[2] The Ickx/Merzario fight had ended when the latter retired, while the former's charge up the order ultimately came to an end when he had to stop for fresh tyres.[2] Hulme was making steady progress behind Beltoise, while John Watson and Jean-Pierre Jarier were running close together at the tail end of the top ten.[2]

Once again, a rather tedious stalemate settled over Nivelles-Baulers as half-distance blasted past, the only major change to the order coming when Hunt suffered a suspension failure, sending him spinning onto the grass.[2] Hailwood, meanwhile, caught and passed Depailler, although the Brit's race was ruined by a spin a lap later which dumped him back down the order.[2] The #33 McLaren therefore joined the "battle" between Beltoise, Hulme and Jarier, while Depailler soldiered on for a few more laps before his Tyrrell picked up its customary brake problem, forcing him into the pits.[2]

The two Loti, meanwhile, were out of the fight, Peterson and Ickx taking turns to sit in the pits with a variety of issues being attended to, ranging from oil leaks to brake bleeding.[2] Their miserable display was matched by Pace, whose race had come to an end with a vibration, while the sister car of Jochen Mass came to a stop with a suspension failure a few moments later.[2] Brabham's race was also turning into a disaster, with factory drivers Rikky von Opel and Carlos Reutemann out, leaving just local racer Teddy Pilette running at the back of the field, while debutante Tom Pryce in the Token had a premature end to the race when Scheckter smacked into his car.[2]

Into the closing stages and it seemed as if the only driver really trying to make a difference was Hailwood, who had been on top form before his pirouette at the chicane.[2] The Brit was throwing his car around every corner to try and move back past teammate Hulme, and on lap 65 an optimistic dive into turn one put him ahead.[2] Four laps later and the Brit pulled an stunning double move on two Jean-Pierres, Beltoise and Jarier, at the hairpin, before sprinting off to try and hunt down the now wounded Scheckter.[2]

Before any of that could be resolved, however, a wave of fuel feed problems shuffled the order behind the top two, with Regazzoni losing enough time to let a limping Scheckter through into third on the final lap.[2] The Swiss racer was one of a number of victims of a lack of pickup by the fuel pump, which meant that the car would splutter around certain corners as the final few litres of fuel sloshed around the tank.[2] Watson, Jarier, Schuppan and Pryce (prior to his removal by Scheckter) were also victims of this issue, which vastly distorted the picture of the race.[2]

That late twist did not affect that race winner, however, with Fittipaldi screaming past the line half a second clear of Lauda, before a huge wait for the arrival of Scheckter.[2] Regazzoni remained in fourth, running out of fuel as he crossed the line, while Hailwood's run had been brought to an end on the penultimate lap by a similar issue.[2] The Brit therefore finished a lap down in seventh, behind Beltoise and Hulme, while the wave of late race casualties had promoted Graham Hill and the lowly Lola into eighth, a stunning result for a new car, albeit one that had been artificially created in the closing stages.[2]

ResultsEdit

The full results for the 1974 Belgian Grand Prix are outlined below:

Pos. No. Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 5 Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi McLaren-Ford Cosworth 85 1:44:20.57 4 9
2 12 Austria Niki Lauda Ferrari 85 +0.35s 3 6
3 3 South Africa Jody Scheckter Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 85 +45.61s 2 4
4 11 Switzerland Clay Regazzoni Ferrari 85 +52.02s 1 3
5 14 France Jean-Pierre Beltoise BRM 85 +1:08.05 7 2
6 6 New Zealand Denny Hulme McLaren-Ford Cosworth 85 +1:10.54 12 1
7 33 United Kingdom Mike Hailwood McLaren-Ford Cosworth 84 +1 Lap 13
8 26 United Kingdom Graham Hill Lola-Ford Cosworth 83 +2 Laps 29
9 10 Italy Vittorio Brambilla March-Ford Cosworth 83 +2 Laps 31
10 41 Australia Tim Schenken Trojan-Ford Cosworth 83 +2 Laps 23
11 28 United Kingdom John Watson Brabham-Ford Cosworth 83 +2 Laps 19
12* 27 United Kingdom Guy Edwards Lola-Ford Cosworth 82 Fuel leak 21
13 17 France Jean-Pierre Jarier Shadow-Ford Cosworth 82 +3 Laps 17
14 21 Netherlands Gijs van Lennep Iso-Marlboro-Ford Cosworth 82 +3 Laps 30
15 22 Australia Vern Schuppan Ensign-Ford Cosworth 82 +3 Laps 14
16 37 France François Migault BRM 82 +3 Laps 25
17 34 Belgium Teddy Pilette Brabham-Ford Cosworth 81 +4 Laps 27
18* 16 United Kingdom Brian Redman Shadow-Ford Cosworth 80 Engine 18
Ret 2 Belgium Jacky Ickx Lotus-Ford Cosworth 72 Overheating 16
Ret 42 United Kingdom Tom Pryce Token-Ford Cosworth 66 Accident 20
Ret 7 Argentina Carlos Reutemann Brabham-Ford Cosworth 62 Fuel line 24
Ret 1 Sweden Ronnie Peterson Lotus-Ford Cosworth 56 Fuel leak 5
Ret 43 France Gérard Larrousse Brabham-Ford Cosworth 53 Tyre 28
Ret 19 West Germany Jochen Mass Surtees-Ford Cosworth 53 Suspension 26
Ret 4 France Patrick Depailler Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 53 Brakes 11
Ret 18 Brazil Carlos Pace Surtees-Ford Cosworth 50 Vibration 8
Ret 8 Liechtenstein Rikky von Opel Brabham-Ford Cosworth 49 Oil pressure 22
Ret 24 United Kingdom James Hunt Hesketh-Ford Cosworth 45 Suspension 9
Ret 20 Italy Arturo Merzario Iso-Marlboro-Ford Cosworth 29 Transmission 6
Ret 15 France Henri Pescarolo BRM 12 Accident 15
Ret 9 West Germany Hans-Joachim Stuck March-Ford Cosworth 6 Clutch 10
DNQ 44 Finland Leo Kinnunen Surtees-Ford Cosworth
WD 25 Switzerland Silvio Moser Brabham-Ford Cosworth
WD 29 New Zealand John Nicholson Lyncar-Ford Cosworth
WD 30 New Zealand Chris Amon Amon-Ford Cosworth
Source:[5]
  • * Edwards and Redman were both still classified despite failing to finish the final lap as they had completed 90% of the race distance.

MilestonesEdit

StandingsEdit

Victory launched 1972 FIA Formula One World Champion Emerson Fittipaldi to the top of the standings, the Brazilian becoming the first man to deny Clay Regazzoni the spot since the second race. Niki Lauda also overtook his Swiss teammate, settling into second, a point behind Fittipaldi, while Regazzoni himself was three points off the lead. Denny Hulme sat in fourth ahead of Jean-Pierre Beltoise, while Jody Scheckter was the only other man to make progress after his first podium finish.

Fittipaldi's victory allowed McLaren-Ford Cosworth to open out their lead in the International Cup for Manufacturers', although Ferrari remained within striking distance as the field headed to Monaco. The Belgian battle had done little to suggest either of them would be challenged, with BRM and Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth in third and fourth and both holding ten points. Brabham-Ford Cosworth slipped to fifth, while Lotus-Ford Cosworth had made no progress down in seventh, once again being denied solid points by poor reliability.

Drivers' World Championship
Pos. Driver Pts +/-
1 Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi 22 ▲2
2 Austria Niki Lauda 21
3 Switzerland Clay Regazzoni 19 ▼2
4 New Zealand Denny Hulme 11
5 France Jean-Pierre Beltoise 10 ▲2
6 Argentina Carlos Reutemann 9 ▼1
7 United Kingdom Mike Hailwood 9 ▼1
8 South Africa Jody Scheckter 6 ▲4
9 West Germany Hans-Joachim Stuck 5 ▼1
10 Belgium Jacky Ickx 4 ▼1
11 France Patrick Depailler 4 ▼1
12 Brazil Carlos Pace 3 ▼1
13 Sweden Ronnie Peterson 1
14 Italy Arturo Merzario 1
International Cup for Manufacturers
Pos. Team Pts +/-
1 United Kingdom McLaren-Ford Cosworth 35
2 Italy Ferrari 27
3 United Kingdom BRM 10 ▲1
4 United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 10 ▲1
5 United Kingdom Brabham-Ford Cosworth 9 ▼2
6 United Kingdom March-Ford Cosworth 5
7 United Kingdom Lotus-Ford Cosworth 4
8 United Kingdom Surtees-Ford Cosworth 3
9 United Kingdom Iso-Marlboro-Ford Cosworth 1

ReferencesEdit

Images and Videos:

References:
  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 'GRAND PRIX RESULTS: BELGIAN GP, 1974', grandprix.com, (Inside F1 Inc., 2016), http://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr240.html, (Accessed 24/03/2017)
  2. 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 2.83 2.84 2.85 2.86 2.87 2.88 2.89 2.90 2.91 2.92 2.93 2.94 2.95 2.96 2.97 2.98 D.S.J., 'The Grand Prix of Belgium: A nice little race', motorsportmagazine.com, (Motor Sport, 01/06/1974), http://www.motorsportmagazine.com/archive/article/june-1974/29/grand-prix-belgium, (Accessed 24/03/2017)
  3. 'Belgium 1974: Entrants', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1974/belgique/engages.aspx, (Accessed 24/03/2017)
  4. 'Belgium 1974: Qualifications', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1974/belgique/qualification.aspx, (Accessed 25/03/2017)
  5. 'Belgium 1974: Results', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1974/belgique/classement.aspx, (Accessed 25/03/2017)
Template:1974
Belgium Belgian Grand Prix
Circuits Spa-Francorchamps (1950 - 1970, 1983, 1985 - Present), Nivelles (1972, 1974), Zolder (1973, 1975 - 1982, 1984)
Track map of Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium
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