The 1975 Brazilian Grand Prix, otherwise known as the IV Grande Premio do Brasil, was the second round of the 1975 FIA Formula One World Championship, staged on the 26th January at the Autódromo do Interlagos. The race would see two Brazilian drivers battle for victory, but only after the pole sitting Frenchman disappeared after a dominant display.
That Frenchman was Jean-Pierre Jarier, who had claimed his second pole in as many races in his Shadow, in spite of speculation he would be swapping seats with Team Lotus' Ronnie Peterson. Second on the grid would be Brazil's defending Champion Emerson Fittipaldi, while Carlos Pace started from fifth. Peterson, meanwhile, would start from a miserable sixteenth.
Both Jarier and Fittipaldi would make poor starts from the front row of the grid on raceday, allowing third placed Carlos Reutemann to sprint into the lead. Pace followed the Swiss racer through, only denied second by Jarier, while Clay Regazzoni, Niki Lauda and Jody Scheckter all took Fittipaldi.
Having messed up the start Jarier put together a determined drive to retake the lead, duly moving past Reutemann on the fifth tour. The Frenchman duly sprinted clear of the Argentine as the Brabham began to struggle with tyre trouble, dropping Reutemann into the sights of teammate Pace.
It was a short, sharp, battle between the pair, with Pace taking second on lap fourteen. Reutemann's influence on the race was over from that moment on, as tyre troubles saw him tumble down the order over the rest of the race. Pace was left to track down Jarier, although it soon became clear that the Frenchman was not to be beaten.
That was, until the race entered its final phases, for the Shadow's Ford Cosworth engine expired just six laps from the finish. Pace was left with a significant advantage for the rest of the afternoon, while Fittipaldi sent the home fans even higher into orbit when he took second from Regazzoni.
A few minutes later and it was over, with Pace claiming a famous maiden win in front of an adoring crowd, five seconds clear of Fittipaldi. Third went to Mass after a last minute move on a struggling Regazzoni, the Swiss racer suffering from tyre wear. Lauda and James Hunt completed the scorers with Mario Andretti ending the race in seventh in the Parnelli.
There were only two short weeks between the end of the Argentine and the start of the Brazilian weekend, causing a lot of stress for team owners and mechanics to get their equipment up to Brazil on time. When they did arrive they were greeted by the ever humid Autódromo do Interlagos, which remained unchanged bar a resurfaced front straight in the twelve months since F1's last visit. The entry list was also unchanged since the opening round in Argentina, despite the best efforts of some.
Most of the intrigue surrounded Ronnie Peterson and Lotus, with the Swede remaining unimpressed by the team's form as they continued to fight with the now five year old 72E. The rise of Shadow had tempted the Swede away from the Norfolk squad, and after the chastening race in Argentina, Colin Chapman reopened negotiations with the Anglo-American effort for a swap deal between Peterson and Jean-Pierre Jarier. Regardless of his future, Peterson remained a Team Lotus driver in Brazil, despite a seat fitting for Shadow in São Paulo and would partner Jacky Ickx in a pair of 72Es sporting updated rear suspension. The two cars were also fitted with larger front brake discs (one of which was distorted but fitted to Peterson's car as they had no other options) and fresh engines, although the team only had one healthy spare.
Shadow, meanwhile, were relatively happy whether they held onto the in-form Jarier or the world class, but expensive, Peterson, as the new DN5 had been spectacular debut. Jarier himself had recovered from the disappointment of not being able to start from pole in Buenos Aires, and was ready to prove that he was the next big thing in F1 team. Welsh teammate Tom Pryce was his usual quiet, confident self too, knowing that he would get a new DN5 soon enough.
At McLaren things were far more settled, with Emerson Fittipaldi hoping to make it two from two in front of his home fans. Teammate Jochen Mass seemed to have settled in at the team fairly well, although many thought that Fittipaldi would be the clear number one for the season. Emerson's brother Wilson also made the trip to Brazil, sporting a brand new Fittipaldi with re-positioned radiators, a cutaway engine cover and reinforced suspension.
Ferrari had been busy in the fortnight since the Argentine race, building up a new car around an old monocoque after a severe failure was spotted on Niki Lauda's 312B3-74 after the opening round. Teammate Clay Regazzoni continued to use the same car, although concerns over his personal ability to chew through a set of tyres persisted. The only other non-Ford Cosworth team of BRM arrived without any major issues, although Mike Wilds lacked a spare engine meaning he was out of action if his current unit broke.
The Brabham arrived in Interlagos with much to be happy about, minor modifications to their pair of BT44Bs for Carlos Reutemann and Carlos Pace thought to have cured their tyre wear problems a fortnight earlier. Lola arrived with the same pair of Cosworth engined T370s for Graham Hill and Rolf Stommelen, as did the Frank Williams Racing Cars effort with Arturo Merzario and Jacques Laffite at the wheel. March had their single car effort for Vittorio Brambilla, while the American built Penske of Mark Donohue was similarly unchanged.
At Surtees investment had finally given the team a chance to focus their development, and so sole driver John Watson was sent out with a redesigned set of bodywork. James Hunt would run two different specifications of Hesketh, a suspension experiment designed to adapt the car better to the sweeping Interlagos circuit the aim. Finally, there were the Parnelli team running Mario Andretti, who decided to change their tyre suppliers from Firestone to Goodyear, meaning the latter had a monopoly over the current F1 field despite its announcement it was to quit the series just twelve months earlier.
It was as perfect an opening to a title defence that Emerson Fittipaldi could have hoped for, the Brazilian having scored maximum points at the opening round. Hunt started a promising campaign in second, while Reutemann was third having been denied a home victory once again. 1974 runner up Regazzoni was next in fourth, with Depailler and Lauda completing the early score board.
McLaren-Ford Cosworth had an early lead in the International Cup for Manufacturers' standings, opening their account with maximum points. Hesketh-Ford Cosworth were up in a best ever position of second, albeit after just one race, while Brabham-Ford Cosworth ended the opening weekend in third having dominated in qualifying. Ferrari and Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth were the only other scorers.
The full entry list for the 1975 Brazilian Grand Prix is outlined below:
Both Friday and Saturday were given over to qualifying for the Grand Prix, with two sessions held each day to give teams plenty of time to run their cars. The heat, meanwhile, ensured that there was a constant threat of rain, or much more likely a storm, although there were no downpours when the Grand Prix cars were on circuit. As for a target time the top teams would be lining up Ronnie Peterson's circuit record of 2:30.20, set as the Swede claimed pole back in 1973.
The opening minutes of the first session revealed that there was little hope of Peterson's record lasting the weekend, for Jean-Pierre Jarier hit the circuit hard and fast. Very fast, with the Frenchman recording a 2:31.52 after only a handful of laps, a mark that saw him remain fastest for the rest of the opening session. With an early effort on the board Jarier set about refining his setup as others, led by Carlos Reutemann tried to get close to the Frenchman's early mark.
Speculation over the source of the Shadow's pace, and particularly its relationship with Northampton based neighbours Cosworth, would grow after Jarier's early running, although there was little the rest of the field could do. Most settled for simply trying to catch the DN5, yet there seemed to be little hope when Reutemann fell shy by over half a second. For those who couldn't hope to catch the Shadow the first session was a case of getting up to speed, although Rolf Stommelen only completed a handful of laps before he hit trouble.
Another demoralising display by Jarier opened the second session half an hour after the end of the first, the Frenchman immediately matching his earlier effort. Indeed, it was not long before the Shadow was consistently recording sub-1:31.00s, with Jarier ultimately ending the day with a 1:30.34, enough for provisional pole. Reutemann briefly entertained hopes of catching the Frenchman when he recorded a 1:31.00, an effort almost matched by Emerson Fittipaldi, although both were set before Jarier's conquering time.
Given that Peterson held the circuit record, set in a car near-enough identical to the one he was racing currently, many were stunned by the Swede's lack of pace. Indeed, the #5 Lotus would spend most of the second session in the pits with simultaneous brake and engine issues, meaning he was denied any serious track time. When Peterson was on circuit the Lotus was suffering with some horrendous understeer, although that was an issue shared by almost everyone bar the all-conquering Jarier. Mike Wilds was proof of this issue, the Brit getting a badly bruised wrist when his BRM smacked into the barriers rather than go around the first corner.
A busy nights work on Friday saw an en-masse assault to try and counter the understeering issues of Friday, and come sessions end it seemed as if most had made some progress. The exception, of course, was Jarier, whose perfectly handling Shadow slowly closed in on the 2:30.00 barrier as the session wore on. Then, with only a few minutes left before the break the Frenchman smashed through the mark, recording an unchallenged 2:29.88.
Despite widespread improvements, however, the main challengers to Jarier, Reutemann and Fittipaldi, both seemed to have taken a step backwards, neither managing to record an improvement. Ferrari, in contrast, had made ground to allow both Clay Regazzoni and Niki Lauda to break into the 1:31.00s, meaning it could be a four way fight for second for the rest of the afternoon. Elsewhere, Peterson was still failing to impress, remaining a second slower than teammate Jacky Ickx, Wilds tested out his wrist but was still slow, while Mario Andretti burned through his second engine of the weekend.
The final session of the weekend would be a damp squib, however, with only one of the pretenders from the fight for second managing to improve. The man to improve was significant, however, for it was home hero Fittipaldi who set the best time of the session, a 2:30.68 getting him within a second of Jarier for the first time all weekend and, more importantly, seeing him oust Reutemann to claim second on the grid. Reutemann still held on in third ahead of Lauda and Regazzoni, while Pace got himself a top six spot to be the second best Brazilian.
As for the pole sitter, Jarier's excellent form came to a smokey end when his Shadow blew up its engine and ended his pre-race practice. For Peterson the final session finally yielded some pace, albeit not enough to get him on a par with Ickx, as John Watson got the disliked Surtees between them. Wilson Fittipaldi, meanwhile was delighted to have beaten Wilds and Stommelen in established cars, while a late rally by Andretti got him further up the grid.
The full qualifying results for the 1975 Brazilian Grand Prix are outlined below:
|1||17||Jean-Pierre Jarier||Shadow-Ford Cosworth||2:31.52||2:30.34||2:29.88||2:34.04||—|
|2||1||Emerson Fittipaldi||McLaren-Ford Cosworth||2:32.40||2:31.01||2:32.28||2:30.68||+0.80s|
|3||7||Carlos Reutemann||Brabham-Ford Cosworth||2:32.17||2:31.00||2:31.81||2:32.82||+1.12s|
|6||8||Carlos Pace||Brabham-Ford Cosworth||2:32.25||2:31.59||2:31.58||2:32.85||+1.70s|
|7||24||James Hunt||Hesketh-Ford Cosworth||2:31.70||2:32.21||2:32.60||2:33.25||+1.82s|
|8||3||Jody Scheckter||Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth||2:34.81||2:32.47||2:33.49||2:31.74||+1.86s|
|9||4||Patrick Depailler||Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth||2:36.69||2:34.42||2:32.94||2:33.04||+3.06s|
|10||2||Jochen Mass||McLaren-Ford Cosworth||2:35.35||2:34.09||2:33.68||2:33.06||+3.18s|
|11||20||Arturo Merzario||Williams-Ford Cosworth||2:35.94||2:36.35||2:33.16||2:34.39||+3.28s|
|12||6||Jacky Ickx||Lotus-Ford Cosworth||2:35.50||2:33.20||2:35.58||2:35.51||+3.32s|
|13||18||John Watson||Surtees-Ford Cosworth||2:36.08||2:34.55||2:34.70||2:33.23||+3.35s|
|14||16||Tom Pryce||Shadow-Ford Cosworth||2:33.24||2:36.35||2:34.27||2:34.39||+3.36s|
|15||28||Mark Donohue||Penske-Ford Cosworth||2:35.54||2:33.33||2:33.68||2:34.01||+3.45s|
|16||5||Ronnie Peterson||Lotus-Ford Cosworth||2:37.81||3:09.93||2:34.25||2:33.90||+4.02s|
|17||9||Vittorio Brambilla||March-Ford Cosworth||2:39.75||2:36.53||2:36.53||2:34.44||+4.56s|
|18||27||Mario Andretti||Parnelli-Ford Cosworth||2:36.89||2:34.56||2:36.56||2:35.76||+4.68s|
|19||21||Jacques Laffite||Williams-Ford Cosworth||2:38.75||2:35.94||2:34.76||2:25.22||+4.88s|
|20||22||Graham Hill||Lola-Ford Cosworth||2:38.45||2:35.49||2:36.80||2:38.53||+5.61s|
|21||30||Wilson Fittipaldi||Fittipaldi-Ford Cosworth||2:37.85||2:36.64||2:36.80||2:36.47||+6.59s|
|23||23||Rolf Stommelen||Lola-Ford Cosworth||3:04.67||2:42.86||2:51.85||2:38.05T||+8.17s|
|WD||29||Nestor Garcia-Veiga||Berta-Ford Cosworth|
- 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.
Raceday dawned hot and humid, although those two facts did not deter a capacity crowd from filling the stands long before the Grand Prix cars went out for their warm-up session. The only major pre-race incident would see Ferrari rush about changing Niki Lauda's engine after a failure, with the start rather generously delayed to allow the Austrian to join the grid. Otherwise, with a soaking wet crowd after they were sprayed by a water tanker to keep them cool, the field assembled for 40 laps of heat based torture.
Everyone bar Ronnie Peterson would streak away from the grid at the start, the Swede left on the dummy grid after his Lotus refused to fire up. The rest thundered into the first corner behind Carlos Reutemann, who surged past pole sitter Jean-Pierre Jarier and home hero Emerson Fittipaldi. Indeed, the latter, despite the huge roars of the crowd urging him on made a dreadful start, slipped out of the top six before the first corner. His position as best Brazilian was taken from a fast starting Carlos Pace, who followed teammate Reutemann's charge through the order to claim third.
The order remained unchanged throughout the rest of the opening tour, meaning it was Reutemann leading from Jarier and Pace, all running nose to tail. Then came a brief pause before Clay Regazzoni, Lauda, Jody Scheckter and Fittipaldi, with Patrick Depailler, Jacky Ickx and John Watson looking on. Arturo Merzario led the rest of the field through a few moments later, with Peterson almost half a lap behind after finally persuading his Lotus to run.
The fight for the lead would be well mannered during the opening laps, with Jarier keeping a calm head despite Reutemann's overly defensive driving. In truth the Argentine was having to battle with a car with one harder tyre, mounted on the front fight corner, and three softs, which meant the Brabham was having some unusual handling characteristics. The issue would get worse as the race wore on, and so when Jarier finally pressed the issue on lap five there was little Reutemann could do.
Given Reutemann's balance problems there were no surprises when Jarier established a small lead before the end of the lap. Reutemann was duly left to fend off the rest of the top seven, with teammate Pace next in the queue to take a shot at passing the Argentine. A lack of resistance made the pass a simple one, although Jarier had long since escaped by the time the Brazilian moved clear.
The fight behind Pace would grow more intense over the following laps, with Regazzoni trying every thing he knew to get the Ferrari past. Reutemann's now increasingly stubborn defence allowed the rest to bunch up even closer, with Fittipaldi throwing several moves at Scheckter before the Tyrrell dived into the pits with tyre trouble. That put Fittipaldi into sixth and on the tail of Lauda, while Scheckter rejoined well down the order, only to retire a few moments later with a split oil tank.
Reutemann's pace continued to decline as the race sped on to half distance, allowing Regazzoni to finally push his way past. Fittipaldi, meanwhile, had managed to barge past Lauda as the Austrian waited for Regazzoni to make a move, and so it was the Brazilian who followed the Swiss racer through a lap later. Lauda needed a couple more laps to relegate the Argentine to sixth, and it was not long before Reutemann came under attack again.
Elsewhere, Peterson was making little to no progress at the tail end of the field, becoming one of the first drivers to be lapped by the flying Shadow of Jarier. Mark Donohue, meanwhile, was out when the wing on his Penske failed, while Mike Wilds' race came to a predictable end when his BRM damaged a flywheel. They joined Vittorio Brambilla on the sidelines, the Italian out as early as the second lap after an engine failure, while Watson barely avoided becoming a retirement when he suffered a high speed puncture.
Back with the leader and Jarier's pace seemed to be in decline, for the Frenchman's Shadow was no longer increasing its advantage. Far from it, in fact, for Pace was beginning to take larger and larger chunks out of the Frenchman's lead after lap 25. That said Pace could only take a few tenths a lap out of Jarier, and with a thirty second advantage to overcome it seemed as if Pace would run out of time.
That would change on lap 32, when Jarier's Sahdow suddenly went quiet, gliding to a stop on the uphill run back to the start/finish straight. The subsequent eruption from the crowd would shake the stands, for the demise of Jarier put Pace into the lead, while Fittipaldi was promoted to third. Jarier, meanwhile, was left to climb out of a fuel starved Shadow, a seized control arm the cause of his retirement.
The fans now collectively focused on Fittipaldi, who duly made it a Brazilian one-two when he barged past Regazzoni moments after Jarier dropped out. This fight overshadowed the mutual departures of Depailler and Tom Pryce, with both understeering off the circuit and into the barriers on the same lap, albeit at different points. Depailler went first, capping a miserable day for Tyrrell as he was spat off the circuit with a suspension failure, while Pryce simply ran out of tarmac as he hurtled onto the start/finish straight.
The was to be one last change to the order in the closing stages, with Jochen Mass making a late race charge through the field as he sought a podium. Having dispatched with James Hunt and Lauda to get into the points, the German was soon sweeping in on the tail of Regazzoni, taking away the final podium spot with a couple of laps to go. Out front, meanwhile, Pace was keeping a small gap over Fittipaldi, although the latter was pushing hard to get onto the back of the Brabham.
Yet, time would run out before the #1 McLaren could get onto the tail of the #8 Brabham, meaning Pace claimed his first F1 victory in front of a jubilant home crowd. Fittipaldi was nonetheless happy with second as it extended his Championship lead, while Mass' late charge left him delighted with third. Regazzoni was a lonely fourth ahead of Lauda and Hunt, the latter launching a late, and ultimately unsuccessful, attack on the final lap, while Mario Andretti relegated Reutemann to eighth before the chequered flag.
The full results for the 1975 Brazilian Grand Prix are outlined below:
- 175th and final World Championship start for Graham Hill.
- McLaren entered as a constructor for the 100th time.
- Carlos Pace earned his maiden (and only) victory.
- Seventeenth win for a Brabham chassis.
- Ford Cosworth powered a car to victory for the 80th time.
- Jochen Mass earned his first podium finish.
- Maiden fastest lap set by Jean-Pierre Jarier.
- Also the first fastest lap recorded using a Shadow chassis.
His first World Championship victory was enough to see Carlos Pace leap into second place in the Drivers' standings. The man denying him the lead would be defending Champion Emerson Fittipaldi, whose advantage was already up to six points after a win and a second place finish after the opening two rounds. James Hunt dropped to third ahead of Clay Regazzoni, while Jochen Mass was up to sixth after his first podium.
McLaren-Ford Cosworth led the way in the International Cup for Manufacturer's standings after the visits to South America, leading the charge with fifteen points. Brabham-Ford Cosworth were technically closer than before, closing the gap to two points, while Hesketh-Ford Cosworth slipped to third. Ferrari and Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth remained the only other scoring manufacturers.
Images and Videos:
- ↑ 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 'GRAND PRIX RESULTS: BRAZILIAN GP, 1975', grandprix.com, (Inside F1 Inc., 2016), http://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr252.html, (Accessed 29/05/2017)
- ↑ 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 2.83 2.84 2.85 2.86 2.87 2.88 2.89 2.90 2.91 A.H., 'The Brazilian Grand Prix: Pace scores from Fittipaldi at home', motorsportmagazine.com, (Motor Sport, 01/03/1975), http://www.motorsportmagazine.com/archive/article/march-1975/39/brazilian-grand-prix, (Accessed 29/05/2017)
- ↑ 'Brazil 1975: Entrants', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1975/bresil/engages.aspx, (Accessed 29/05/2017)
- ↑ 'Brazil 1975: Qualifications', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1975/bresil/qualification.aspx, (Accessed 29/05/2017)
- ↑ 'Brazil 1975: Result', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2015), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1975/bresil/classement.aspx, (Accessed 31/05/2017)
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