British GP 1976
JULY 18, 1976
British GP, 1976
Formula 1 returned to Brands Hatch where considerable changes had been made with the aim of improving safety. James Hunt had won the appeal against his disqualification in Spain and so had 26 points to Niki Lauda's 52 but beating the Austrian still looked unlikely. The British GP grid was slightly different to the entry in France with the addition of a couple of the locals: Divina Galica running in a Shellsport-sponsored Surtees entered for her by Nick Whiting and Mike Wilds in an old Shadow entered by Team P R Reilly. Chris Amon was back in the Ensign and RAM was running Bob Evans and Lella Lombardi for the weekend. Both Williams and Fittipaldi had reduced their efforts to one car.
In qualifying Lauda took pole position with Hunt alongside him. Then came Mario Andretti in the ever-improving Lotus 77 and Clay Regazzoni's Ferrari. Patrick Depailler was fifth in his Tyrrell and then came Amon, doing another good job in the underfunded Ensign. The top 10 was completed by the Marches of Ronnie Peterson, Arturo Merzario and Vittorio Brambilla with Jody Scheckter's Tyrrell in eighth spot between them. Galica, Lombardi, Wilds and Jacky Ickx failed to qualify, the last-named being dumped by Walter Wolf as a result.
The start of the race was to be a dramatic affair, with Lauda leading away but with Regazzoni blasting ahead of Hunt and challenging for the lead at Paddock Hill Bend. The two Ferraris touched and Regazzoni spun. Hunt tried to avoid the Ferrari but touched and his McLaren was launched into the air, narrowly avoiding rolling. It landed heavily, damaging its suspension. Jacques Laffite's Ligier hit Regazzoni and went into the barriers but most of the rest of the field got through without drama. The organizers decided that there was too much debris on the track and a red flag was shown. This led to arguments as to whether or not the three drivers could start in spare cars and while this debate was raging, the McLaren mechanics rebuilt Hunt's car. Ferrari and Ligier had spare cars but they were going to race them and face the consequences later.
At the restart Lauda took the lead again and this time all the front-runners got through although at the back Evans and Guy Edwards (Hesketh) collided. At Druids Depailler and Stuck came to grief. At the front Lauda began to pull away and the order remained unchanged with Hunt second, Regazzoni third and Scheckter fourth. Peterson was fifth early on but dropped behind Brambilla, who had previously overtaken Amon, the Ensign driving retiring quickly with a water leak.
On lap 15 Brambilla pitted for new tires and so fifth place went to Merzario with Gunnar Nilsson (Lotus) sixth. In the mid-race Regazzoni went out with an oil pressure problem and Merzario suffered a broken driveshaft and so Nilsson moved to fourth and Tom Pryce (Shadow) to fifth.
Lauda began to suffer from gear selection problems and dropped back towards Hunt and on lap 45 Hunt went into the lead. He won the race by nearly a minute with Lauda second, Scheckter third and John Watson (Penske) fourth after Nilsson retired with an engine failure. Pryce finished fifth with Alan Jones (Surtees) sixth. After the race, however, there were protests against Hunt having been allowed to take part. The protest was rejected but Ferrari appealed and the result of the race was not settled until September when Hunt was disqualified, leaving Lauda as the winner.
By then, however, much had changed...
|dq||11||James Hunt||McLaren-Cosworth M23||76||Used Spare Car In Restart||2|
|1||1||Niki Lauda||Ferrari 312T2||76||1h44m19.660s||1|
|2||3||Jody Scheckter||Tyrrell-Cosworth P34||76||1h44m35.840s||8|
|3||28||John Watson||Penske-Cosworth PC4||75||11|
|4||16||Tom Pryce||Shadow-Cosworth DN5B||75||20|
|5||19||Alan Jones||Surtees-Cosworth TS19||75||19|
|6||30||Emerson Fittipaldi||Copersucar-Cosworth FD04||74||21|
|7||14||Harald Ertl||Hesketh-Cosworth 308D||73||23|
|8||8||Carlos Pace||Brabham-Alfa Romeo BT45||73||16|
|9||17||Jean-Pierre Jarier||Shadow-Cosworth DN5B||70||24|
|r||6||Gunnar Nilsson||Lotus-Cosworth 77||67||Engine||14|
|r||10||Ronnie Peterson||March-Cosworth 761||60||Fuel Pressure||7|
|r||18||Brett Lunger||Surtees-Cosworth TS19||55||Gearbox||18|
|r||4||Patrick Depailler||Tyrrell-Cosworth P34||47||Engine||5|
|r||7||Carlos Reutemann||Brabham-Alfa Romeo BT45||46||Engine||15|
|r||35||Arturo Merzario||March-Cosworth 761||39||Engine||9|
|r/dq||2||Clay Regazzoni||Ferrari 312T2||36||Engine*||4|
|r/dq||26||Jacques Laffite||Ligier-Matra JS5||31||Suspension||13|
|r||32||Bob Evans||Brabham-Cosworth BT44B||24||Gearbox||22|
|r||9||Vittorio Brambilla||March-Cosworth 761||22||Suspension/ Accident||10|
|r||38||Henri Pescarolo||Surtees-Cosworth TS19||16||Fuel Pressure||26|
|r||22||Chris Amon||Ensign-Cosworth N176||8||Water Leak||6|
|r||5||Mario Andretti||Lotus-Cosworth 77||4||Engine||3|
|r||12||Jochen Mass||McLaren-Cosworth M23||1||Clutch||12|
|r||34||Hans-Joachim Stuck||March-Cosworth 761||0||Accident||17|
|r||25||Guy Edwards||Hesketh-Cosworth 308D||0||Accident||25|
|nq||20||Jacky Ickx||Wolf Williams-Cosworth FW05||27|
|nq||13||Divina Galica||Surtees-Cosworth TS16||28|
|nq||40||Mike Wilds||Shadow-Cosworth DN3||29|
|nq||33||Lella Lombardi||Brabham-Cosworth BT44B||30|