German GP 1978

German GP, 1978

There were a number of changes in the driver lineup between the British and German GPs with Teddy Yip's Theodore Racing having reappeared with old Wolf chassis to replace the troublesome Theodore design. Keke Rosberg was thus transferred back to the team leaving the second ATS drive open for Jean-Pierre Jarier. Ensign had failed to come to terms with Derek Daly and so he had departed and the team had taken on a Brazilian youngster called Nelson Piquet. The second Ensign was also rented out for the weekend, with Harald Ertl coming up with the cash. With Rene Arnoux also getting an entry in his Martini, there was the need for a pre-qualifying session. This resulted in Arnoux and Brett Lunger (BS Fabrications McLaren) going home early.

Qualifying resulted in Mario Andretti taking pole by just 0.09s from his Lotus team mate Ronnie Peterson. Niki Lauda was on the second row in his Brabham-Alfa Romeo with Jody Scheckter fourth for Wolf. Then came, John Watson in the second Brabham and Alan Jones in the Williams. The fourth row featured Jacques Laffite's Ligier and James Hunt in the McLaren with the top 10 being completed by Jean-Pierre Jabouille in the turbo Renault and Emerson Fittipaldi, showing well in his Fittipaldi F5A. Carlos Reutemann was a disappointing 12th in his Ferrari with his team mate Gilles Villeneuve 15th.

Scheckter was in fuel-feed problems and dropped right to the back of the field in the course of the first lap, during which the two Lotuses went away into the lead, Peterson leading Andretti. Lauda was third but was soon pushed back to fourth by Jones, while Watson's hopes disappeared early on when the Ulsterman began to suffer gearbox problems and dropped away, leaving Hunt in fifth place. This soon became fourth when Lauda went out with an engine failure. With the exception of Ertl this ended all Germanic interest in the race as Rolf Stommelen was running at the tail of the field after running into Patrick Depailler's Tyrrell at the start and Jochen Mass had suffered a suspension failure on his ATS and had taken out Hans Stuck's Shadow.

On the fifth lap Peterson moved over to allow Andretti to take the lead and then sat behind his team leader as the chasers fell by the wayside. First to go was Hunt, who pitted with a puncture after 20 laps. Ten laps later Jones disappeared with a fuel vaporization problem. This left Scheckter in third place with Laffite fourth, Didier Pironi (Tyrrell) fifth and Fittipaldi in sixth.

On lap 37, however, Team Lotus's dreams of another 1-2 ended when Peterson stopped with a gearbox failure. This moved Scheckter to second and Laffite to third, which is how they finished. In the closing laps Fittipaldi took fourth from Pironi (who was having brake trouble). The struggle for sixth place provided much entertainment in the closing laps with Villeneuve's suddenly beginning to stutter with fuel vaporization problems. The Ferrari was passed by Ertl's Ensign which promptly stopped with an engine failure. Villeneuve retook the place but was then overtaken by Hector Rebaque (private Lotus) and the recovering Watson. The Mexican took the point by just over a second.

Mario Andretti Lotus-Cosworth  45 1h28m00.900s  
20 Jody Scheckter Wolf-Cosworth  45 1h28m16.250s  
26 Jacques Laffite Ligier-Matra  45 1h28m28.910s  
14 Emerson Fittipaldi Copersucar-Cosworth  45 1h28m37.780s  10 
Didier Pironi Tyrrell-Cosworth  45 1h28m58.160s  16 
25 Hector Rebaque Lotus-Cosworth  45 1h29m38.760s  18 
John Watson Brabham-Alfa Romeo  45 1h29m40.430s  
12 Gilles Villeneuve Ferrari  45 1h29m57.770s  15 
35 Riccardo Patrese Arrows-Cosworth  44  14 
10 32 Keke Rosberg ATS-Cosworth  42  19 
dq 36 Rolf Stommelen Arrows-Cosworth  42 Incorrect Route Into Pits 17 
11r 23 Harald Ertl Ensign-Cosworth  41 Engine 23 
13 Ronnie Peterson Lotus-Cosworth  36 Gearbox 
dq James Hunt McLaren-Cosworth  34 Incorrect Route Into Pits 
27 Alan Jones Wlliams-Cosworth  31 Fuel Vaporisation 
22 Nelson Piquet Ensign-Cosworth  31 Engine 21 
19 Vittorio Brambilla Surtees-Cosworth  24 Fuel Vaporisation 20 
Patrick Tambay McLaren-Cosworth  16 Puncture/suspension/accident 11 
11 Carlos Reutemann Ferrari  14 Fuel Vaporisation 12 
Niki Lauda Brabham-Alfa Romeo  11 Engine 
15 Jean-Pierre Jabouille Renault  Accident 
16 Hans-Joachim Stuck Shadow-Cosworth  Accident 24 
Jochen Mass ATS-Cosworth  Accident/suspension 22 
Patrick Depailler Tyrrell-Cosworth  Accident 13 
nq 17 Clay Regazzoni Shadow-Cosworth    25 
nq 10 Jean-Pierre Jarier ATS-Cosworth    26 
nq 18 Rupert Keegan Surtees-Cosworth    27 
nq 37 Arturo Merzario Merzario-Cosworth    28 
npq 31 Rene Arnoux Martini-Cosworth    29 
npq 30 Brett Lunger McLaren-Cosworth    30