South African GP 1976
MARCH 6, 1976
South African GP, 1976
There were no F1 races in the five week gap between the Brazilian and South African GPs but there were some changes in the lineup. Ronnie Peterson had decided to leave Lotus. As part of the deal March agreed to release its Formula 2 driver Gunnar Nilsson and he joined another new signing Bob Evans. With Peterson joining March there was no room for Lella Lombardi and she disappeared from F1. Surtees reappeared with the new TS19, the car being driven by Brett Lunger in the colors of Chesterfield cigarettes. Frank Williams signed up Michel Leclere to partner Jacky Ickx. Ensign was back with Chris Amon with sponsorship from John Day Model Cars while a revived Hesketh Racing (being run by Bubbles Horsley) ran Harald Ertl. The Stanley BRM team did not appear and there was only one local driver, Ian Scheckter in the Lexington Racing Tyrrell 007. The Shadow cars appeared in Lucky Strike colors for this race.
Practice was dominated by arguments over the legality of the plastic "skirts" being used by McLaren and Penske. These were the first hints of ground-effect aerodynamics.
Qualifying resulted in pole position for James Hunt but again Niki Lauda was right behind him and there was then a two-tenths gap back to John Watson (Penske). Then came Jochen Mass (McLaren), Vittorio Brambilla (March), Patrick Depailler (Tyrrell), Tom Pryce (Shadow), Jacques Laffite (Ligier), Clay Regazzoni (Ferrari) and Peterson.
At the start of the race Lauda beat Hunt away while Mass and Brambilla also overtook Hunt. Depailler was fifth with Peterson sixth. Behind them Ian Scheckter and Leclere collided. Only the Frenchman rejoined.
On the second lap Brambilla, Mass and Hunt all ended up side by side at they battled for second place and it was the brave Italian who emerged ahead. Mass then let Hunt pass and the Englishman attacked Brambilla. It was not until the fifth lap that Hunt found a way past and went after Lauda, who was by then 10 seconds ahead. Mass soon followed and Brambilla later fell behind Pryce as well (the Englishman having moved up when Peterson and Depailler collided). The order at the front remained unchanged as Hunt edged closer to the leader. On lap 44 Pryce had to pit and so Regazzoni moved into fourth place but he went out with engine failure nine laps later leaving J Scheckter fourth.
The order remained the same all the way to the flag although the final laps were exciting as Lauda had a slow puncture and Hunt closed fast. The Austrian finished just over a second ahead. Regazzoni was third, Scheckter fourth, John Watson (Penske) fifth and Mario Andretti (Parnelli) sixth.
|1||1||Niki Lauda||Ferrari 312T||78||1h42m18.400s||2|
|2||11||James Hunt||McLaren-Cosworth M23||78||1h42m19.700s||1|
|3||12||Jochen Mass||McLaren-Cosworth M23||78||1h43m04.300s||4|
|4||3||Jody Scheckter||Tyrrell-Cosworth 007||78||1h43m26.800s||12|
|5||28||John Watson||Penske-Cosworth PC3||77||3|
|6||27||Mario Andretti||Parnelli-Cosworth VPJ4B||77||13|
|7||16||Tom Pryce||Shadow-Cosworth DN5B||77||7|
|8||9||Vittorio Brambilla||March-Cosworth 761||77||5|
|9||4||Patrick Depailler||Tyrrell-Cosworth 007||77||6|
|10||5||Bob Evans||Lotus-Cosworth 77||77||23|
|11||18||Brett Lunger||Surtees-Cosworth TS19||77||20|
|12||34||Hans-Joachim Stuck||March-Cosworth 761||76||17|
|13||21||Michel Leclere||Wolf Williams-Cosworth FW05||76||22|
|14||22||Chris Amon||Ensign-Cosworth N174||76||18|
|15||24||Harald Ertl||Hesketh-Cosworth 308D||74||24|
|16||20||Jacky Ickx||Wolf Williams-Cosworth FW05||73||19|
|17r||30||Emerson Fittipaldi||Copersucar-Cosworth FD04||70||Engine||21|
|r||2||Clay Regazzoni||Ferrari 312T||52||Engine||9|
|r||26||Jacques Laffite||Ligier-Matra JS5||49||Engine||8|
|r||17||Jean-Pierre Jarier||Shadow-Cosworth DN5B||28||Radiator||15|
|r||8||Carlos Pace||Brabham-Alfa Romeo BT45||22||Engine||14|
|r||6||Gunnar Nilsson||Lotus-Cosworth 77||18||Clutch||25|
|r||7||Carlos Reutemann||Brabham-Alfa Romeo BT45||16||Engine||11|
|r||10||Ronnie Peterson||March-Cosworth 761||15||Accident||10|
|r||15||Ian Scheckter||Tyrrell-Cosworth 007||0||Accident||16|