Italian GP 1976

Italian GP, 1976

There had been changes to the Monza circuit with new chicanes before the Curva Grande and before the Lesmo Corners but the big news was the return to the cockpit of the scarred Niki Lauda, just six weeks after his terrible accident at the Nurburgring. This made life complicated because Ferrari had hired Carlos Reutemann as a replacement, the Argentine buying himself out his Brabham contract because he was unhappy with the Alfa Romeo engines. Ferrari thus had to run three cars.

Lauda was still ahead in the World Championship although during his absence Hunt had closed up to within 14 points.

Brabham had taken on Rolf Stommelen to replace Reutemann, while Guy Edwards returned to Hesketh. The other unusual entry was Otto Stuppacher's Tyrrell, the Austrian having managed to get clearance to compete.

Qualifying on Friday was spoiled by rain and on Saturday Jacques Laffite took pole position in his Ligier, just ahead of Jody Scheckter's Tyrrell (the South African having just announced that he was moving to the Wolf team in 1977), On the second row Carlos Pace did well in the Brabham-Alfa Romeo with Patrick Depailler alongside in his Tyrrell. Lauda was fifth with Hans Stuck (March) sixth and Carlos Reutemann (Ferrari) seventh. John Watson (Penske) was eighth, Hunt ninth and his McLaren team mate Jochen Mass 10th but after qualifying fuel samples from McLaren and Penske proved to over the 101-octane limit and Hunt, Watson and Mass were deprived of their Saturday qualifying times. Because of the bad weather on Friday, however, this meant that they had not qualified. However, Williams and Stuppacher had already departed having failed to qualify and Guy Edwards agreed to stand down so that the three men could race.

At the start Scheckter pushed his way ahead of Laffite at the chicane with Pace following but the Brazilian was soon overtaken by Depailler, Peterson and Reutemann. Lauda was down to 12th while Mass, Hunt and Watson were charging through the backmarkers. On the second lap, however, Mass was hit by a misfire and had to pit.

At the front Scheckter stayed ahead but Laffite was pushed back to fourth on the third lap as Depailler and Peterson went past him and a lap later Peterson had got ahead of Depailler. Regazzoni was in hot pursuit and had overtaken Reutemann and on lap 11 passed Laffite as well to take sixth place. On that lap Peterson moved ahead of Scheckter to take the lead and the Tyrrell began to drop back, being passed by Depailler on lap 14 and Regazzoni on lap 23. Scheckter then fought for fifth with Laffite while Lauda followed them, intent on a finish. Hunt's charge had ended on lap 12 when he spun off.

Laffite managed to get ahead of Scheckter at three-quarter distance and the Tyrrell driver then dropped behind Lauda as well while ahead of them Depailler hit engine trouble on lap 46 and dropped back to sixth, leaving Regazzoni to finish second to Peterson with Laffite third and Lauda an incredible fourth.

10 Ronnie Peterson March-Cosworth 761 52 1h30m35.600s  
Clay Regazzoni Ferrari 312T2 52 1h30m37.900s  
26 Jacques Laffite Ligier-Matra JS5 52 1h30m38.600s  
Niki Lauda Ferrari 312T2 52 1h30m55.000s  
Jody Scheckter Tyrrell-Cosworth P34 52 1h30m55.100s  
Patrick Depailler Tyrrell-Cosworth P34 52 1h31m11.300s  
Vittorio Brambilla March-Cosworth 761 52 1h31m19.500s  16 
16 Tom Pryce Shadow-Cosworth DN8 52 1h31m28.500s  15 
35 Carlos Reutemann Ferrari 312T2 52 1h31m33.100s  
10 22 Jacky Ickx Ensign-Cosworth N176 52 1h31m48.000s  10 
11 28 John Watson Penske-Cosworth PC4 52 1h32m17.800s  27 
12 19 Alan Jones Surtees-Cosworth TS19 51  18 
13 Gunnar Nilsson Lotus-Cosworth 77 51  12 
14 18 Brett Lunger Surtees-Cosworth TS19 50  24 
15 30 Emerson Fittipaldi Copersucar-Cosworth FD04 50  20 
16r 24 Harald Ertl Hesketh-Cosworth 308D 49 Drive Shaft 19 
17 38 Henri Pescarolo Surtees-Cosworth TS19 49  22 
18 37 Alessandro Pesenti-Rossi Tyrrell-Cosworth 007 49  21 
19 17 Jean-Pierre Jarier Shadow-Cosworth DN5B 47  17 
Rolf Stommelen Brabham-Alfa Romeo BT45 41 Fuel System 11 
34 Hans-Joachim Stuck March-Cosworth 761 23 Accident 
Mario Andretti Lotus-Cosworth 77 23 Accident 14 
11 James Hunt McLaren-Cosworth M23 11 Spin 25 
40 Larry Perkins Boro-Cosworth N175 Engine 13 
Carlos Pace Brabham-Alfa Romeo BT45 Engine 
12 Jochen Mass McLaren-Cosworth M23 Ignition 26 
ns 25 Guy Edwards Hesketh-Cosworth 308D  Withdrew To Let Watson Race 23 
ns 20 Arturo Merzario Wolf Williams-Cosworth FW05  Withdrew 28 
ns 39 Otto Stuppacher Tyrrell-Cosworth 007  Departed Before Disqualifications 29