Austrian GP 1975

Austrian GP, 1975

Niki Lauda arrived at his home race with a strong lead in the World Championship with a healthy lead in the World Championship and his chasers were struggling. McLaren had only two serviceable cars as Jochen Mass had written off two M23s at the Nurburgring. Team Lotus was in similar trouble but as Surtees had managed to rebuild a car for John Watson (the team having missed the German GP after the multi-car crash at Silverstone) Lotus had to rely on new boy Brian Henton. Alan Jones stood down from his drive with Hill to make way for Rolf Stommelen who was back in action after his crash in Barcelona while Chris Amon also returned at the wheel of an Ensign. Shadow appeared with one car fitted with a Matra V12 engine and this was driven by Jean-Pierre Jarier.

The Williams team rented out its second car to Swiss driver Jo Vonlanthen, while the second Hesketh was rented out to the American Brett Lunger.

Qualifying resulted in the usual pole position for Lauda with James Hunt a tenth slower in his Hesketh. Third fastest was Emerson Fittipaldi in his McLaren with Hans Stuck fourth for march. The third row featured Clay Regazzoni (Ferrari) and Carlos Pace (Brabham) while the top 10 was completed by Patrick Depailler (Tyrrell), Vittorio Brambilla (March), Jochen Mass (McLaren) and Jody Scheckter (Tyrrell). Jarier qualified the Shadow-Matra 14th. In the course of qualifying Wilson Fittipaldi crashed his Fittipaldi heavily and broke two bones in his hand but there was a far more serious accident in the race day warm-up when Mark Donohue went off at the Hella Licht Corner after a tire failure. The Penske March had cleared the barriers and collided with an advertising hoarding, hitting two marshals as well (one of whom later died). Donohue was conscious and talking but he then lapsed into unconsciousness and despite an operation to relieve the pressure in his brain he died in Graz on the Tuesday after the race.

As the time for the start approached the weather clouded over and it began to rain heavily. Lauda took the lead while Depailler made a good start to take third place behind Hunt. Then came Stuck, Fittipaldi, Brambilla and Scheckter. It was Brambilla who made the biggest impression in the early laps as he overtook Fittipaldi, Stuck and then Depailler.

On lap 15 Hunt and Brambilla caught and passed Lauda and began to pull away from the Ferrari. On lap 19 as Hunt came up to lap Lunger, Brambilla blasted past both cars in one move and began to build a lead. Conditions deteriorated to such an extent that eventually the organizers were petitioned to stop the race. The chequered flag was shown and Brambilla in his excitement lost control of his car and crashed. He was able to rejoin and completed his victory lap with the front end of the car in a state of considerable disrepair.

It had taken five years but the March factory team had finally won a race although as half points were awarded it was, in effect, half a victory.

Hunt was classified second with Tom Pryce third in his Shadow.

Vittorio Brambilla March-Cosworth 751 29 57m56.690s  
24 James Hunt Hesketh-Cosworth 308 29 58m23.720s  
16 Tom Pryce Shadow-Cosworth DN5 29 58m31.540s  15 
Jochen Mass McLaren-Cosworth M23 29 59m09.350s  
Ronnie Peterson Lotus-Cosworth 72E 29 59m20.020s  13 
12 Niki Lauda Ferrari 312T 29 59m26.970s  
11 Clay Regazzoni Ferrari 312T 29 59m35.760s  
Jody Scheckter Tyrrell-Cosworth 007 28  10 
Emerson Fittipaldi McLaren-Cosworth M23 28  
10 18 John Watson Surtees-Cosworth TS16 28  18 
11 Patrick Depailler Tyrrell-Cosworth 007 28  
12 31 Chris Amon Ensign-Cosworth N175 28  23 
13 25 Brett Lunger Hesketh-Cosworth 308 28  17 
14 Carlos Reutemann Brabham-Cosworth BT44B 28  11 
15 23 Tony Brise Hill-Cosworth GH1 28  16 
16 22 Rolf Stommelen Hill-Cosworth GH1 27  25 
17 29 Lella Lombardi March-Cosworth 751 26  21 
nc 33 Roelof Wunderink Ensign-Cosworth N174 25  27 
32 Harald Ertl Hesketh-Cosworth 308 23 Electrics 26 
21 Jacques Laffite Williams-Cosworth FW04 21 Handling 12 
Carlos Pace Brabham-Cosworth BT44B 17 Engine 
20 Jo Vonlanthen Williams-Cosworth FW 14 Engine 28 
10 Hans-Joachim Stuck March-Cosworth 751 10 Accident 
17 Jean-Pierre Jarier Shadow-Matra DN7 10 Fuel Injection 14 
14 Bob Evans BRM P201 Engine 24 
27 Mario Andretti Parnelli-Cosworth VPJ4 Spin 19 
ns 30 Wilson Fittipaldi Copersucar-Cosworth FD03  Accident/ Injury 29 
ns 28 Mark Donohue March-Cosworth 751  Tire/ Fatal Accident 20 
ns Brian Henton Lotus-Cosworth 72F  Accident 22 
nq 35 Tony Trimmer Maki-Cosworth F101C   30