Spanish GP 1977

Spanish GP, 1977

With Montjuich Park banished from the World Championship after the disastrous event in 1975, the Spanish GP found a permanent home at Jarama. The first European race of the year resulted in a bumper entry of cars with a total of 31 appearing, compared to the 22 which had been in action in Long Beach five weeks earlier. Of the regulars, Ian Scheckter was back in the March team while Brian Henton had moved to a customer car. Hesketh reappeared with two new Frank Dernie-designed 308E chassis for Rupert Keegan and Harald Ertl. Frank Williams, who had started his own team (Williams Grand Prix Engineering) after falling out with Walter Wolf entered an old March in the colors of Belle-Vue beer and Saudia Airlines. David Purley appeared in his own Mike Pilbeam-designed Lec, which had been debuted at the Race of Champions. The Stanley BRM team was back in action but had Connie Andersson in place of Larry Perkins while Arturo Merzario had started his own team and bought a March 761 while Emilio de Villota had acquired an old McLaren M23.

Qualifying resulted in Mario Andretti taking pole comfortably in the Lotus 78 (the team beginning to master the delicate science of ground-effect aerodynamics with Jacques Laffite's Ligier second and Niki Lauda's Ferrari third, alongside Carlos Reutemann's similar car. The third row featured Jody Scheckter (Wolf) and John Watson (Brabham-Alfa Romeo) while James Hunt was seventh in his McLaren M26, just ahead of Clay Regazzoni's Ensign. Then came Jochen Mass in the second McLaren and the Tyrrell of Patrick Depailler. Jean-Pierre Jarier was a surprise non-qualifier in the ATS Penske after a combination of gearbox trouble and food poisoning.

On Sunday morning Lauda came in during the warm-up complaining of extreme pain and was taken off to hospital where it was found that one of his broken ribs from the Nurburgring accident has snapped when he went over a bump. He was out of action.

At the start Andretti took the lead and remained ahead for the rest of the afternoon to win a dominant victory for Team Lotus. In the early laps he was chased by Laffite but the Frenchman had to pit because a rear wheel was coming loose and so Reutemann moved to second and stayed there. Hunt dropped out early with a misfire and Watson ran third for a time before a spin dropped him back behind Scheckter and Mass. Watson later retired with fuel problems and so fifth place went to Gunnar Nilsson in the second Lotus and sixth to Stuck in the second Brabham.

Mario Andretti Lotus-Cosworth  75 1h42m52.220s  
12 Carlos Reutemann Ferrari  75 1h43m08.070s  
20 Jody Scheckter Wolf-Cosworth  75 1h43m16.730s  
Jochen Mass McLaren-Cosworth  75 1h43m17.090s  
Gunnar Nilsson Lotus-Cosworth  75 1h43m58.050s  12 
Hans-Joachim Stuck Brabham-Alfa Romeo  74  13 
26 Jacques Laffite Ligier-Matra  74  
Ronnie Peterson Tyrrell-Cosworth  74  15 
18 Hans Binder Surtees-Cosworth  73  20 
10 30 Brett Lunger March-Cosworth  72  25 
11 10 Ian Scheckter March-Cosworth  72  17 
12 27 Patrick Neve March-Cosworth  71  22 
13 36 Emilio de Villota McLaren-Cosworth  70  23 
14 28 Emerson Fittipaldi Copersucar-Cosworth  70  19 
John Watson Brabham-Alfa Romeo  64 Fuel Metering Unit 
17 Alan Jones Shadow-Cosworth  56 Accident 14 
24 Rupert Keegan Hesketh-Cosworth  32 Accident 16 
25 Harald Ertl Hesketh-Cosworth  29 Radiator 18 
16 Renzo Zorzi Shadow-Cosworth  25 Engine 24 
37 Arturo Merzario March-Cosworth  16 Suspension 21 
Patrick Depailler Tyrrell-Cosworth  12 Engine 10 
James Hunt McLaren-Cosworth  10 Engine 
22 Clay Regazzoni Ensign-Cosworth  Accident 
19 Vittorio Brambilla Surtees-Cosworth  Accident 11 
ns 11 Niki Lauda Ferrari   Accident/injury 
nq 34 Jean-Pierre Jarier Penske-Cosworth    26 
nq Alex-Dias Ribeiro March-Cosworth    27 
nq 33 Boy (Johan Gerard) Hayje March-Cosworth    28 
nq 38 Brian Henton March-Cosworth    29 
nq 31 David Purley Lec-Cosworth    30 
nq 35 Conny Andersson Stanley BRM-BRM    31