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The 1974 United States Grand Prix, otherwise officially known as the XVII Grand Prix of the United States, was the final round of the 1974 FIA Formula One World Championship, staged at Watkins Glen on the 6th October 1974.[1] The race, which was also the 250th Grand Prix to be staged as a Formula One World Championship round, would see the 1974 Champion crowned, as Emerson Fittipaldi, Clay Regazzoni and Jody Scheckter fought for the title, although it was day also marred by death.[1]

The best of the title pretenders after qualifying would be the one in the weakest position, with Scheckter claiming sixth on the grid, while Championship leader Fittipaldi in eighth ahead of ninth placed Regazzoni.[1] Pole, meanwhile, had gone to Carlos Reutemann of the Brabham crew, while Mario Andretti set home hearts soaring by claiming third in the American built Parnelli, only denied a front row spot by James Hunt's Hesketh.[1]

Unfortunately for the home fans, Andretti needed a push start to get his electrically hampered Parnelli into action, prompting an automatic disqualification after he rejoined at the back of the field.[1] An otherwise undramatic start saw Reutemann and Hunt duel for the lead into turn one, while the rest of the field filtered past Andretti behind Carlos Pace.[1] Scheckter was promoted to fifth, while Fittipaldi and Regazzoni moved past John Watson off the line to queue up behind the title pretending Tyrrell.[1]

It soon became clear that there was something wrong with the #11 Ferrari, as Regazzoni fell off the back of Fittipaldi as the early laps ticked away.[1] Once he fell behind Watson and Arturo Merzario the Swiss racer's title challenge was over, with Regazzoni making a stop for fresh tyres that failed to cure the issue.[1]

On lap ten attention snapped away from the title fight, for Helmuth Koinigg suffered a suspension failure at turn seven, and duly smashed into the barriers.[1] Despite the relatively low speed of the impact, the Austrian's Surtees imparted enough force on the Armco to lift it off its support posts, allowing the Surtees to punch through.[1] Momentum carried the rest of the car under the top rail, and Koinigg received a near-decapitating blow to the head, killing him instantly.[1]

The race continued on in spite of the rather gruesome accident, however, with Reutemann still leading Hunt and Pace.[1] Niki Lauda ran along in fourth until suspension trouble ended his race prematurely, meaning he dropped behind Scheckter and Fittipaldi, the Brazilian simply stalking his title rival.[1] As news of Koinigg's fate reached the pits, John Surtees though it best to withdraw the sister car of José Dolhem, although the Frenchman was running well down the order.[1]

Into the closing stages and Hunt's pace was wavering, allowing Pace to close right onto the back of the Hesketh.[1] A brief engagement resulted before Pace pulled ahead, the Brazilian ensuring it was a Brabham one-two, with Reutemann well up the road.[1]

In the midst of their battle, the Championship was ultimately came to its conclusion, for Scheckter's Tyrrell developed a fuel leak, sending the South African into the pits.[1] With Regazzoni well down the order, Fittipaldi could relax and begin a gentle cruise to the flag as the rest of the field fought on around him.[1]

With that, the race was run, with Reutemann leading teammate Pace home ahead of an increasingly distant Hunt, whose Hesketh was crabbing come the end of the race.[1] Fittipaldi was proclaimed Champion for the second time after finishing fourth, while Watson blasted past Merzario for fifth.[1] The Italian himself had retired with a fire extinguisher failure just before Scheckter disappeared, and so Patrick Depailler inherited the final points paying position.[1]

BackgroundEdit

Watkins Glen hosted the season finale for Formula One for the third year in a row in 1974, although it was the first time that the circuit would host a true season ending title fight.[2] If that was not enough, the organisers had managed to harness a $300,000 prize pool for the weekend, with $50,000 alone for the race winner.[2] As such, most of the major World Championship teams headed to "the Glen" immediately after the Canadian Grand Prix, getting in almost two full weeks of practice.[2]

Leading the charge in the States, and somehow among the favourites after a dismal season, were Lotus, who brought a three car compliment down from Canada.[2] Ronnie Peterson headed the team with his 72E, while Jacky Ickx partnered him in the oldest surviving 72E that had not been sold to South Africa.[2] The third car was the team's developmental 76, which was slapped with #31 on the nose and given to Tim Schenken, who was told not to crash it in case Peterson needed to use it.[2]

The other favourites were title pretending McLaren, who had their usual three driver compliment split between two teams and four cars.[2] Championship leader Emerson Fittipaldi needed to finish ahead of Ferrari lead driver Clay Regazzoni to win the title, while McLaren themselves had to at least claim a point to win the International Cup for Manufacturers.[2] His Team Texaco Marlboro teammate would be Denny Hulme once again, the veteran Kiwi set to announce his retirement from F1 at the end of the weekend, while the Yardley car was in the hands of Jochen Mass.[2]

Rivals Ferrari ideally needed to win in the States, although their 312B3-74s were not suited to the circuit, as proved by the previous weekend at Mosport Park.[2] Regazzoni needed to finish in the points, and ahead of Fittipaldi, to take the crown, while teammate Niki Lauda was looking to claim a tenth pole of the season.[2] Unfortunately for them their chances had taken a huge hit when the Swiss racer wrote off one of the their cars during the private tests in "the Glen", bruising his legs.[2] The ruined car was flown back to Maranello to be repaired, while a replacement, restored, chassis was flown out a few hours later.[2]

The third title pretender, in terms of the World Championship, was Jody Scheckter at Tyrrell, although the South African arrived as very much the dark horse of the Championship.[2] He would need to win the race outright and see both Fittipaldi and Reutemann finish sixth or lower to take the crown, with the team flying out a rebuilt 007 for the South African which was armed with larger fuel tanks.[2] That flight also carried along a brand new 007 for Patrick Depailler, meaning that his regular car would serve as the team's spare.[2]

Brabham threw their full weight at bringing all three BT44s to the Glen, Bernie Ecclestone targeting the $50,000 prize as an end-of-season bonus.[2] The two factory run cars of Carlos Reutemann and Carlos Pace were serviced, while John Watson's full factory backed, but privately sponsored, car was rebuilt after his suspension failure in Canada.[2] A fourth Brabham, Watson's old BT42 was also dragged down from Mosport Park with Ian Ashley at the wheel.[2]

Away from those looking for the top prizes and a lot of interest was fixed on the two American entries, with Penske and Parnelli set to make their home debuts after successful run-outs in Canada.[2] Both cars had been stripped, rebuilt, and tested in the week prior to the season finale, with Mark Donohue and Mario Andretti both confident ahead of their home race.[2] If either effort got into the points it would be seen as an excellent result, although both teams had their sights set on a full campaign in 1975.[2]

March had a busy build-up, rebuilding Vittorio Brambilla's car around a whole new monocoque, while Hans-Joachim Stuck spent his time flying too and from Europe to take part in an Formula Two race.[2] Shadow were still officially licensed in the States, meaning Jean-Pierre Jarier and Tom Pryce were under more pressure than usual, although their natural pace meant that there were no major concerns.[2] BRM were in a more than dismal position than usual, although Chris Amon had been tempted to partner Jean-Pierre Beltoise for a second time having previously stated the car to be undriveable in Canada.[2]

There was some more shuffling at Surtees, who had decided to replace Derek Bell in favour of José Dolhem, who had more sponsorship behind him, meaning he got to partner the equally wealth backed Helmuth Koinigg.[2] Arturo Merzario and Jacques Laffite partnered one another at Frank Williams' Iso-Marlboro effort as usual, while the two Lolas looked their usual smart selves for Graham Hill and Rolf Stommelen.[2] Hesketh had two cars for James Hunt, who had impressed at Mosport Park, while Mike Wilds had the job of piloting the Ensign.[2]

Victory for Fittipaldi in Canada had ensured that the Brazilian racer headed into the United States at the top of the Championship standings, and was the master of his own fate. Victory, or simply beating second placed Regazzoni would be enough for the Brazilian to claim a second World title, with the Swiss racer needing to score one point more than his rival. Scheckter was still in the fight, but would need to win with neither Regazzoni or Fittipaldi finishing in the top five to stand any chance at all. Lauda was out of the fight, slipping fourteen points behind despite claiming nine pole positions, and was now only three points ahead of fifth placed Peterson.

McLaren-Ford Cosworth, like lead driver Fittipaldi, would be masters of their own fate in Watkins Glen, taking a five point lead to the season finale over Ferrari. The British effort simply had to get one of their three cars onto the podium to take their maiden Championship crown, while the Italians needed to finish first or second with McLaren ideally failing to score. Elsewhere, Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth had effectively secured third, Lotus-Ford Cosworth were confirmed in fourth ahead of Brabham-Ford Cosworth, while Hesketh-Ford Cosworth overtook fallen giants BRM for sixth.

Entry listEdit

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

No. Driver Entreat Constructor Car Engine Model Tire
1 Sweden Ronnie Peterson United Kingdom John Player Team Lotus Lotus 72E Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
2 Belgium Jacky Ickx United Kingdom John Player Team Lotus Lotus 72E 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 Brabham BT44 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
8 Brazil Carlos Pace United Kingdom Motor Racing Developments Brabham BT44 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
9 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 P200 3.0 V12 F
15 New Zealand Chris Amon United Kingdom Team Motul BRM BRM P201 BRM P200 3.0 V12 F
16 United Kingdom Tom Pryce 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 France José Dolhem United Kingdom Team Surtees Surtees TS16 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 F
19 Austria Helmuth Koinigg United Kingdom Team Surtees Surtees TS16 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 F
20 Italy Arturo Merzario United Kingdom Frank Williams Racing Cars Iso-Marlboro FW Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 F
21 France Jacques Laffite United Kingdom Frank Williams Racing Cars Iso-Marlboro FW Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 F
22 United Kingdom Mike Wilds 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
26 United Kingdom Graham Hill United Kingdom Embassy Racing with Graham Hill Lola T370 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 F
27 West Germany Rolf Stommelen 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 BT44 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 F
31 Australia Tim Schenken United Kingdom John Player Team Lotus Lotus 76 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
33 West Germany Jochen Mass United Kingdom Yardley Team McLaren McLaren M23 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
42 United Kingdom Ian Ashley United Kingdom The Chequered Flag Brabham BT42 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
55 United States Mario Andretti United States Vel's Parnelli Jones Racing Parnelli VPJ4 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 F
66 United States Mark Donohue United States Penske Cars Penske PC1 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
Source:[3]

Practice OverviewEdit

QualifyingEdit

A cold snap hit the Autumnal Glen by the time practice got underway on Friday, although both Friday and Saturday remained dry.[2] There would be four sessions across the two afternoons, allowing a total of six hours of running for teams to get up to speed, despite the week of "unofficial" practice prior to the race meeting.[2] The target time for the top drivers would be a 1:39.657, as set by Ronnie Peterson as the Swede swept to pole in 1973.[2]

ReportEdit

Practice had barely started on Friday afternoon when Jean-Pierre Beltoise went flying off the circuit in the #14 BRM.[2] A mix of cold tyres and dusty circuit proved the cause for Beltoise's trip to the medical facilities near the circuit, the Frenchman simply pushing too hard too soon on his first timed lap.[2] A broken ankle was the rest of the accident, although the mangled front end on the #14 car ended any chance of Tim Parnell putting in a replacement.[2]

Away from the miserable BRM crew and Carlos Reutemann looked the man to beat, the Argentine ending the first session with a 1:39.268 set in the final moments.[2] Indeed, the Argentine's pace seemed to be coming from the Brabham he was piloting, for both teammate Carlos Pace, and the sister car of John Watson were also in the 1:39.000s, and the only three drivers to break the 1:40.000 barrier.[2] Title pretender Clay Regazzoni was the closest man to the mark in the Ferrari, a little over a tenth away, while Mario Andretti caused a stir by being fifth quickest, and only a tenth behind the #11 Ferrari.[2]

The second session on Friday saw more drivers break into the 1:39.000s, with Andretti stealing the show by recording a 1:39.209, enough to claim provisional pole overnight in the new Parnelli.[2] It was a stunning lap for the Italian-American, with Reutemann unable to beat his earlier effort to claim second on the grid.[2] Pace managed to drag himself level with his teammate in the 1:39.200s, while Emerson Fittipaldi also claimed a time in the 1:39.000s.[2] Regazzoni also broke through the barrier, as did teammate Niki Lauda and the Hesketh of James Hunt.[2]

Away from the "Aces" of Friday and Lotus were having a terrible afternoon, although they did at least get times in for Ronnie Peterson and Jacky Ickx.[2] The Lotus 76 of Tim Schenken was in even more dire trouble, the Australian racer struggling to break the 1:45.000 barrier in the notoriously tricky car.[2] Elsewhere, Fittipaldi hit brake trouble while pushing, Mark Donohue sat in the pits with the Penske crew scratching their heads over a mystery misfire, while Graham Hill did not record a lap at all after an engine failure in his Lola.[2]

Saturday's action was preceded by a demonstration by Shadow, who had three of their CanAm cars battle each other for several laps, much to everyone's confusion.[2] Once they were cleared away practice could get underway with the penultimate session of the weekend, although there was not much action of note.[2] It seemed as though those who could break into the 1:39.000s already had, while those who could not were ultimately going to fall shy.[2]

The quickest time of the session went to Watson, who improved to a 1:39.527 and so leapt ahead of Fittipaldi on the grid.[2] Lauda, meanwhile, had to swap to the spare Ferrari for the earlier run after an engine failure, although it seemed as if the oldest 312B3-74 was at least competitive.[2] The same could not be said of Team Lotus, who continued to look a shadow of themselves and under threat of failing to qualify.[2]

Given the general lack of serious improvement earlier on Saturday, some would be forgiven for thinking that the entire day was a write off.[2] However, the final session of the weekend saw a serious fight for pole emerge, with two drivers dipping into the 1:38.000s in order to stake their claim for pole.[2] Hunt broke the barrier first, settling for a 1:38.995, only to see Reutemann sweep past the line a few moments later to claim a 1:38.978 for Brabham and pole.[2]

Andretti, meanwhile, failed to improve but his time from Friday was enough to secure third, ahead of an equally stalled Pace.[2] Scheckter was beaten to fifth by Lauda, and hence started the best of the title pretenders, while Fittipaldi and Regazzoni found themselves behind seventh placed Watson.[2] Other highlights saw Chris Amon somehow get his lone BRM into a respectable twelfth, Ickx out-qualify Peterson to claim fifteenth, while José Dolhem and Schenken were listed as the first and second reserves as the first of those not to qualify.[2] The others on the sidelines were an exhausted Hans-Joachim Stuck, the injured Beltoise, and Ian Ashley in his dated Brabham.[2]

Qualifying ResultsEdit

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

Pos. No. Driver Constructor Time Gap
P1 P2 P3 P4
1 7 Argentina Carlos Reutemann Brabham-Ford Cosworth 1:39.268 1:39.293 1:39.639 1:38.978
2 24 United Kingdom James Hunt Hesketh-Ford Cosworth 1:40.561 1:39.910 1:39.992 1:38.995 +0.017s
3 55 United States Mario Andretti Parnelli-Ford Cosworth 1:40.218 1:39.209 1:39.919 1:44.231 +0.231s
4 8 Brazil Carlos Pace Brabham-Ford Cosworth 1:39.880 1:39.284 1:40.538 1:39.871 +0.306s
5 12 Austria Niki Lauda Ferrari 1:40.706 1:39.327 1:39.989T 1:40.800 +0.349s
6 3 South Africa Jody Scheckter Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 1:39.755 1:39.478T 1:39.920 1:39.553 +0.500s
7 28 United Kingdom John Watson Brabham-Ford Cosworth 1:39.731 1:40.171 1:39.527 1:39.977 +0.549s
8 5 Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi McLaren-Ford Cosworth 1:40.526 1:39.856 1:39.538 1:39.565 +0.560s
9 11 Switzerland Clay Regazzoni Ferrari 1:40.131 1:39.733 1:40.326 1:39.600 +0.622s
10 17 France Jean-Pierre Jarier Shadow-Ford Cosworth 1:40.317 1:40.550 1:40.918 1:40.998 +1.339s
11 21 France Jacques Laffite Iso-Marlboro-Ford Cosworth 1:42.905 1:42.045 1:40.597 1:41.300 +1.619s
12 15 New Zealand Chris Amon BRM 1:41.845 1:41.724 1:41.058 1:40.700 +1.722s
13 4 France Patrick Depailler Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 1:42.151 1:41.087 1:41.993 1:40.700 +1.722s
14 66 United States Mark Donohue Penske-Ford Cosworth 1:44.878 1:43.967 1:41.323 1:40.834 +1.856s
15 20 Italy Arturo Merzario Iso-Marlboro-Ford Cosworth 1:41.538 1:40.854 1:40.977 1:41.754 +1.876s
16 2 Belgium Jacky Ickx Lotus-Ford Cosworth 1:41.716 1:40.876 1:43.439 1:41.439 +1.898s
17 6 New Zealand Denny Hulme McLaren-Ford Cosworth 1:43.930 1:42.600 1:41.822 1:41.027 +2.049s
18 16 United Kingdom Tom Pryce Shadow-Ford Cosworth 1:45.588 1:41.353 1:42.015 1:41.188 +2.210s
19 1 Sweden Ronnie Peterson Lotus-Ford Cosworth 1:41.990 1:41.353 1:41.919 1:41.195 +2.217s
20 33 West Germany Jochen Mass McLaren-Ford Cosworth 1:42.497 1:41.866 1:41.897 1:41.300 +2.322s
21 27 West Germany Rolf Stommelen Lola-Ford Cosworth 1:43.026 1:43.310 1:41.370 1:41.897 +2.392s
22 22 United Kingdom Mike Wilds Ensign-Ford Cosworth 1:44.002 1:42.043 1:42.013 1:41.500 +2.522s
23 19 Austria Helmuth Koinigg Surtees-Ford Cosworth 1:43.189 1:41.763 1:42.433 1:42.425 +2.785s
24 26 United Kingdom Graham Hill Lola-Ford Cosworth 1:46.914 1:41.901 +2.923s
25 10 Italy Vittorio Brambilla March-Ford Cosworth 1:42.810 1:42.927 1:42.870 1:42.031 +3.053s
26* 18 France José Dolhem Surtees-Ford Cosworth 1:45.848 1:44.375 1:43.246 1:42.914 +3.936s
27 31 Australia Tim Schenken Lotus-Ford Cosworth 1:44.510 1:43.429 1:43.249 1:44.029 +4.265s
DNQ 9 West Germany Hans-Joachim Stuck March-Ford Cosworth 1:45.131 1:44.495 1:43.606 1:44.021 +4.628s
DNQ 42 United Kingdom Ian Ashley Brabham-Ford Cosworth 1:47.261 1:44.249 1:43.801 1:43.823 +4.823s
DNQ 14 France Jean-Pierre Beltoise BRM N/A
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.
  • * Dolhem was allowed to join the back of the grid, despite failing to qualify in the top 25 as "first reserve"
  • Likewise, Schenken did not officially qualify for the race but was allowed to join the back of the grid as "second reserve".

GridEdit

Pos Pos
Driver Driver
______________
Row 1 ______________ 1
2 Carlos Reutemann
James Hunt ______________
Row 2 ______________ 3
4 Mario Andretti
Carlos Pace ______________
Row 3 ______________ 5
6 Niki Lauda
Jody Scheckter ______________
Row 4 ______________ 7
8 John Watson
Emerson Fittipaldi ______________
Row 5 ______________ 9
10 Clay Regazzoni
Jean-Pierre Jarier ______________
Row 6 ______________ 11
12 Jacques Laffite
Chris Amon ______________
Row 7 ______________ 13
14 Patrick Depailler
Mark Donohue ______________
Row 8 ______________ 15
16 Arturo Merzario
Jacky Ickx ______________
Row 9 ______________ 17
18 Denny Hulme
Tom Pryce ______________
Row 10 ______________ 19
20 Ronnie Peterson
Jochen Mass ______________
Row 11 ______________ 21
22 Rolf Stommelen
Mike Wilds ______________
Row 12 ______________ 23
24 Helmuth Koinigg
Graham Hill ______________
Row 13 ______________ 25
26 Vittorio Brambilla
José Dolhem* ______________
Row 14 ______________ 27
28 Tim Schenken
______________
  • * Dolhem was allowed to join the back of the grid, despite failing to qualify in the top 25 as "first reserve"
  • Likewise, Schenken did not officially qualify for the race but was allowed to join the back of the grid as "second reserve".

RaceEdit

It would be warmer come race morning, meaning teams needed to adjust some settings on their cars during the half-hour warm-up session to aid cooling.[2] For some this session would throw their entire day in jeopardy, with James Hunt suffering a fuel pressure issue, Jacques Laffite a broken wheel stud, and Mario Andretti picking up a misfire.[2] Fortunately for them time was on their side, and so they were all able to join the 25 car grid, with José Dolhem and Tim Schenken taking position behind them.[2]

ReportEdit

A lavender suited Tex Hopkins was his usual emphatic self as he waved the field away from the grid, although the huge crowd were focused on the stranded Parnelli of Andretti, which refused to start.[2] With the rest of the field surging away towards turn one, Dolhem was duly waved into action to take Andretti's spot who was desperately trying to get his engine fired.[2] Schenken, meanwhile decided that he had also been signalled to join the race, although he was correctly disqualified after completing five laps.[2]

As for those who left the grid, it was pole sitter Carlos Reutemann who led into the first corner, fending off Hunt by out-braking the Brit into the first corner.[2] Behind them came Carlos Pace and Niki Lauda, the Brazilian copying his teammate's move to retain third from the Austrian, with the rest of the field surging out of the first corner in a huge bunch.[2] Dolhem was dead last officially, just ahead of Schenken, while Andretti finally got away from the grid after a push into the pits to have his engine fired, assistance that would get the Italian-American racer disqualified.[2]

Come the end of the first tour it was Reutemann and Hunt leading nose-to-tail, with a small gap back to Pace, Lauda, Jody Scheckter and Emerson Fittipaldi, meaning it was advantage Fittipaldi in terms of the Championship.[2] Behind them came Clay Regazzoni, who seemed to be struggling in the early stages with his heavy car, and so had John Watson, Patrick Depailler, Laffite, Jean-Pierre Jarier and Arturo Merzario glued to the back of his car.[2] The rest of the field then flashed through in a steady procession, although Andretti was working furiously behind the wheel to catch up having slipped half a lap behind.[2]

A clear pattern would develop over the following laps, with Reutemann and Hunt pulling clear of Pace, while the Brazilian pulled himself away from Lauda with minimal effort.[2] It seemed that Lauda, like Ferrari teammate Regazzoni, was struggling in the opening stages of the race, a fact proved by the constant pressure being applied by Scheckter and Fittipaldi behind.[2] Regazzoni himself was able to fight a more than capable rearguard action in seventh, pulling away down the straights before being caught in the corners, but that was not enough for him to win a maiden World Championship.[2]

Ultimately, it was Regazzoni's lack of pace in the corners that decided his fate, for Watson and Merzario were able to elbow their way past the Swiss racer and duel for seventh between themselves, leaving Regazzoni in a desperate position in terms of the World Championship.[2] Despite the mutual Watson/Merzario escape, Regazzoni's queue grew to nine cars before the end of the fifth lap, although Jarier in the ever threatening Shadow soon disappeared with tyre issues.[2] This status quo behind Regazzoni remained for a few laps after Jarier's demise, although it was not long before attention was turned elsewhere.[2]

Helmuth Koinigg was the man to attract attention, with the Swiss racer battling well in the middle of the Regazzoni queue, despite being armed with the very uncompetitive Surtees.[2] Then, on lap ten, the Austrian's car was seen buried in the Armcos at the difficult turn seven hairpin, having flown off the circuit at high speed and punched straight through the lower section of the barrier.[2] Sadly, the top section had remained intact, and with no head protection bar his helmet, Koinigg duly slammed into the top tier of the Armco, suffering severe head trauma and partial decapatation.[2] The shattered Surtees was left buried in the wall with Koinigg still inside for the remainder of the race, a white sheet simply laid over the top as news of the accident filtered back to the pits.[2]

Away from the tragic events unfolding at turn seven, it was still Reutemann half-heartedly fending off Hunt for the lead, with Pace stalking the pair of them in third.[2] Lauda and Scheckter were next, the South African trying everything he could to exploit Lauda's lacklustre Ferrari which appeared to have tyre problems.[2] Fittipaldi was only a few yards behind them knowing he had the World Championship crown in his grasp as things stood, while all three were being caught by Watson and Merzario.[2]

Back with Regazzoni and his title challenge was over, the Swiss racer ultimately stopping in the pits for fresh tyres on lap fifteen after Ronnie Peterson and Jochen Mass became the latest drivers to barge their way past.[2] He lost a lap as the change was made, although it soon became clear that his issue remained as the Swiss racer swept back into the pits a few laps later.[2] The second stop also did little to change the balance of the understeering Ferrari, although Regazzoni was determined to at least finish the race.[2]

On circuit attention focused on the Watson-Merzario battle, which had reignited once it became clear that neither were able to catch the fight for fourth.[2] Merzario was very aggressive in the Iso-Marlboro, weaving around in the mirrors to try and force a mistake from Watson, only to misjudge his braking at the final corner on lap 22 and pitched the Brit into a spin.[2] Watson ended up pointing in the wrong direction as Merzario disappeared up the road, although the Brit quickly piroutted his car around to rejoin, getting some appreciative cheering from the American fans for his impromptu display.[2]

Mass' presence in the race came to an end a few laps later, the German getting badly baulked by Regazzoni after the Swiss racer rejoined after his second visit to the pits.[2] Elsewhere, Dolhem's debut was cut short once John Surtees was told of Koinigg's fatal accident, while Andretti had long since been disqualified after his "push" start.[2] Home hopes therefore rested on Mark Donohue, although the American racer's Penske was suffering a brake problem, and would ultimately be retired after a rear suspension failure.[2]

Out front, meanwhile, and the race was slowly swinging in favour of Brabham, for Reutemann was pulling away from Hunt while Pace was carving his way through the Brit's advantage.[2] Hunt's race was being hampered by a fuel pick-up problem, a continuation of his warm-up strife, and on lap 45 the Hesketh seemed to be on the verge of stopping altogether.[2] Seeing that Hunt was struggling the Brabham crew immediately signalled to Pace that he should push on, with the Brazilian responding beautifully by setting a series of fastest laps.[2]

As Pace swooped in on Hunt for second, the World Championship fight came to a disappointing conclusion, as Scheckter pulled off the circuit with a fuel feed issue, six laps after Lauda had disappared with an engine failure.[2] Fittipaldi, who had stalked the South African throughout the race was duly promoted to fourth, and with Regazzoni several laps behind all the Brazilian had to do was keep his McLaren running.[2] Indeed, if he kept his pace up and remained on track Fittipaldi could have finished on the podium, for Hunt's fuel starved Ford Cosworth was sounding rougher and rougher with every lap.[2]

Indeed, the final laps were all about Hunt's demise, the Brit having been unable to resist the charging Pace for more than a lap before the #8 Brabham charged past for second on lap 54.[2] Over the next four tours of Watkins Glen the Brit would lose more ten seconds a lap to Fittipaldi, and as the pair started the final lap the Brazilian could see the Hesketh entering the first corner as he exited the last.[2] It was not to be, however, for Fittipaldi had long since decided against pushing after seeing Scheckter pull off the circuit, meaning Hunt could limp home to third.[2]

With that the race was run, Reutemann and Pace sweeping home, ten seconds apart, to record a first one-two for Brabham since Bernie Ecclestone took over the team.[2] Hunt was an unhappy third ahead of a satisfied Fittipaldi, who became a double World Champion as his two title rivals faltered.[2] Hopes of seeing Watson repay the compliment to Merzario were ended when the Italian retired sixteen laps from the end, leaving the Brit with a clear run to fifth, while Depailler had a quiet run to sixth, benefiting from Mass' misfortune late on.[2] Elsewhere, Graham Hill finished eighth ahead of Chris Amon in the BRM, who had fended off Jarier in the closing stages, Regazzoni finished four laps down in eleventh, while a miserable season for Team Lotus came to an end with Schenken disqualified, Jacky Ickx in the barriers, and Peterson at the side of the road with a monumental fuel leak.[2]

ResultsEdit

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

Pos. No. Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 7 Argentina Carlos Reutemann Brabham-Ford Cosworth 59 1:40:21.439 1 9
2 8 Brazil Carlos Pace Brabham-Ford Cosworth 59 +10.735s 4 6
3 24 United Kingdom James Hunt Hesketh-Ford Cosworth 59 +1:10.384 2 4
4 5 Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi McLaren-Ford Cosworth 59 +1:17.753 8 3
5 28 United Kingdom John Watson Brabham-Ford Cosworth 59 +1:25.804 7 2
6 4 France Patrick Depailler Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 59 +1:27.506 13 1
7 33 West Germany Jochen Mass McLaren-Ford Cosworth 59 +1:30.012 20
8 26 United Kingdom Graham Hill Lola-Ford Cosworth 58 +1 Lap 24
9 15 New Zealand Chris Amon BRM 57 +2 Laps 12
10 17 France Jean-Pierre Jarier Shadow-Ford Cosworth 57 +2 Laps 10
11 11 Switzerland Clay Regazzoni Ferrari 55 +4 Laps 9
12 27 West Germany Rolf Stommelen Lola-Ford Cosworth 54 +5 Laps 21
Ret 1 Sweden Ronnie Peterson Lotus-Ford Cosworth 52 Fuel line 19
NC* 22 United Kingdom Mike Wilds Ensign-Ford Cosworth 50 +9 Laps 22
NC* 16 United Kingdom Tom Pryce Shadow-Ford Cosworth 47 +12 Laps 18
Ret 3 South Africa Jody Scheckter Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 44 Oil line 6
Ret 20 Italy Arturo Merzario Iso-Marlboro-Ford Cosworth 43 Extinguisher 15
Ret 12 Austria Niki Lauda Ferrari 38 Suspension 5
Ret 21 France Jacques Laffite Iso-Marlboro-Ford Cosworth 31 Wheel bearing 11
Ret 66 United States Mark Donohue Penske-Ford Cosworth 27 Suspension 14
Ret 18 France José Dolhem Surtees-Ford Cosworth 25 Withdrawn 26
Ret 10 Italy Vittorio Brambilla March-Ford Cosworth 21 Fuel injection 25
Ret 19 Austria Helmuth Koinigg Surtees-Ford Cosworth 9 Fatal accident 23
Ret 2 Belgium Jacky Ickx Lotus-Ford Cosworth 7 Suspension 16
DSQ 31 Australia Tim Schenken Lotus-Ford Cosworth 6 Disqualified 27
Ret 6 New Zealand Denny Hulme McLaren-Ford Cosworth 4 Engine 17
DSQ 55 United States Mario Andretti Parnelli-Ford Cosworth 4 Disqualified 3
DNQ 9 West Germany Hans-Joachim Stuck March-Ford Cosworth
DNQ 42 United Kingdom Ian Ashley Brabham-Ford Cosworth
DNQ 14 France Jean-Pierre Beltoise BRM
Source:[5]
  • * Wilds and Pryce could not be classified as they failed to complete 90% of the race distance.
  • Schenken disqualified for illegally starting the race.
  • Andretti disqualified for a push start.

MilestonesEdit

StandingsEdit

It was the retirements of Clay Regazzoni and Jody Scheckter, rather than the three points for finishing fourth that earned Emerson Fittipaldi the World Championship title for the second time, the Brazilian's final tally coming to 55 points. Regazzoni was three points back in second, while Scheckter was ten points away in third, having come into the weekend seven behind. Niki Lauda should have done better than fourth given his qualifying record throughout 1974, while Ronnie Peterson salvaged a semi-decent season by claiming fifth.

The 1974 International Cup for Manufacturers' would be awarded to McLaren-Ford Cosworth at Watkins Glen, the British squad ending the season with 73 points (75 before dropped scores). Season long rivals Ferrari ended the afternoon with 65 points in total, just eight shy of claiming their first title in a decade. Third went the way of Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth, ten ahead of their arch-rivals Lotus-Ford Cosworth, while Brabham-Ford Cosworth were a resurgent fifth after a strong end to the season.

Drivers' World Championship
Pos. Driver Pts +/-
1 Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi 55
2 Switzerland Clay Regazzoni 52
3 South Africa Jody Scheckter 45
4 Austria Niki Lauda 38
5 Sweden Ronnie Peterson 35
6 Argentina Carlos Reutemann 32
7 New Zealand Denny Hulme 20
8 United Kingdom James Hunt 15 ▲3
9 France Patrick Depailler 14 ▼1
10 Belgium Jacky Ickx 12 ▼1
11 United Kingdom Mike Hailwood 12 ▼1
12 Brazil Carlos Pace 11 ▲3
13 France Jean-Pierre Beltoise 10 ▼1
14 France Jean-Pierre Jarier 6 ▼1
15 United Kingdom John Watson 6 ▲1
16 West Germany Hans-Joachim Stuck 5 ▼2
17 Italy Arturo Merzario 4
18 United Kingdom Graham Hill 1
19 United Kingdom Tom Pryce 1
20 Italy Vittorio Brambilla 1
International Cup for Manufacturers
Pos. Team Pts +/-
1 United Kingdom McLaren-Ford Cosworth 73 (75)
2 Italy Ferrari 65
3 United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 52
4 United Kingdom Lotus-Ford Cosworth 42
5 United Kingdom Brabham-Ford Cosworth 35
6 United Kingdom Hesketh-Ford Cosworth 15
7 United Kingdom BRM 10
8 United States Shadow-Ford Cosworth 7
9 United Kingdom March-Ford Cosworth 6
10 United Kingdom Iso-Marlboro-Ford Cosworth 4
11 United Kingdom Surtees-Ford Cosworth 3
12 United Kingdom Lola-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 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 'GRAND PRIX RESULTS: UNITED STATES GP, 1974', grandprix.com, (Inside F1 Inc., 2015), http://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr250.html, (Accessed 17/05/2017)
  2. 2.000 2.001 2.002 2.003 2.004 2.005 2.006 2.007 2.008 2.009 2.010 2.011 2.012 2.013 2.014 2.015 2.016 2.017 2.018 2.019 2.020 2.021 2.022 2.023 2.024 2.025 2.026 2.027 2.028 2.029 2.030 2.031 2.032 2.033 2.034 2.035 2.036 2.037 2.038 2.039 2.040 2.041 2.042 2.043 2.044 2.045 2.046 2.047 2.048 2.049 2.050 2.051 2.052 2.053 2.054 2.055 2.056 2.057 2.058 2.059 2.060 2.061 2.062 2.063 2.064 2.065 2.066 2.067 2.068 2.069 2.070 2.071 2.072 2.073 2.074 2.075 2.076 2.077 2.078 2.079 2.080 2.081 2.082 2.083 2.084 2.085 2.086 2.087 2.088 2.089 2.090 2.091 2.092 2.093 2.094 2.095 2.096 2.097 2.098 2.099 2.100 2.101 2.102 2.103 2.104 A.H., 'United States Grand Prix: Reutemann the Winner, but Fittipaldi the Champion', motosportmagazine.com, (Motor Sport, 01/11/1974), http://www.motorsportmagazine.com/archive/article/november-1974/21/united-states-grand-prix, (Accessed 17/05/2017)
  3. 'United States 1974: Entrants', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1974/etats-unis/engages.aspx, (Accessed 17/05/2017)
  4. 'USA 1974: Qualifications', statsf1.com, (Inside F1 Inc., 2015), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1974/etats-unis/qualification.aspx, (Accessed 17/05/2017)
  5. 'USA 1974: Result', Statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1974/etats-unis/classement.aspx, (Accessed 18/05/2017)
V T E 1974 Formula One Season
Constructors Amon • Brabham • BRM • Ensign • Ferrari • Hesketh • Iso-Marlboro • Lola • Lotus • Lyncar • Maki • March • McLaren • Parnelli • Penske • Shadow • Surtees • Token • Trojan • Tyrrell
Engines BRM • Ferrari • Ford Cosworth
Drivers Amon • Andretti • Ashley • Bell • Belsø • Beltoise • Brambilla • Charlton • Depailler • Dolhem • Donohue • Driver • Edwards • Facetti • E. Fittipaldi • Ganley • Gethin • Hailwood • Hill • Hobbs • Hulme • Hunt • Ickx • Jabouille • Jarier • Keizan • Kinnunen • Koinigg • Laffite • Larrousse • Lauda • van Lennep • Lombardi • Mass • Merzario • Migault • Nicholson • von Opel • Pace • Perkins • Pescarolo • Peterson • Pillette • Purley • Pryce • Quester • Redman • Regazzoni • Reutemann • Revson • Robarts • Roos • I. Scheckter • J. Scheckter • Schenken • Schuppan • Stommelen • Stuck • Watson • Wietzes • Wilds • Wisell
Cars Amon AF101 • Brabham BT42 • Brabham BT44 • BRM P160 • BRM P201 • Ensign N174 • Ferrari 312B • Hesketh 308 • Lola T370 • Lotus 72 • Lotus 76 • Lyncar 006 • Maki F101 • March 731 • March 741 • McLaren M23 • Parnelli VPJ4 • Penske PC1 • Shadow DN1 • Shadow DN3 • Surtees TS16 • Token RJ02 • Trojan T103 • Tyrrell 004 • Tyrrell 005 • Tyrrell 006 • Tyrrell 007 • Williams FW03
Tyres Firestone • Goodyear
Races Argentina • Brazil • South Africa • Spain • Belgium • Monaco • Sweden • Netherlands • France • Britain • Germany • Austria • Italy • Canada • United States
See also 1973 Formula One Season • 1975 Formula One Season • Category
V T E United States United States Grand Prix
Circuits Sebring (1959), Riverside (1960), Watkins Glen (1961–1980), Phoenix (1989–1991), Indianapolis (2000–2007), Austin (2012–present)
CircuitoftheAmericas2012
Formula One Races 1959 • 1960 • 1961 • 1962 • 1963 • 1964 • 1965 • 1966 • 1967 • 1968 • 1969 • 1970 • 1971 • 1972 • 1973 • 1974 • 1975 • 1976 • 1977 • 1978 • 1979 • 1980 • 1981–1988 • 1989 • 1990 • 1991 • 1992–1999 • 2000 • 2001 • 2002 • 2003 • 2004 • 2005 • 2006 • 2007 • 2008–2011 • 2012 • 2013 • 2014 • 2015 • 2016 • 2017
Non-F1 races 1908 • 1909 • 1910 • 1911 • 1912 • 1913 • 1914 • 1915 • 1916 • 1917–1957 • 1958
See also United States Grand Prix West • Indianapolis 500 • Detroit Grand Prix • Caesars Palace Grand Prix • Dallas Grand Prix • Questor Grand Prix
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