Spanish GP 1976

MAY 2, 1976

Spanish GP, 1976

There were a package of new regulations which outlawed the in-vogue high airboxes and reduced the size of the rear wings. Ferrari arrived with the new 312T2 which featured air ducts around the side of the cockpit. Ensign also had a new car. The major talking point, however, was the six-wheeled Tyrrell P34 one of which had been entered for Patrick Depailler. Team Lotus had dropped Bob Evans and Mario Andretti appeared alongside Gunnar Nilsson following Parnelli's decision to withdraw from F1. The field was boosted by the appearance of the RAM Brabham team with drivers Loris Kessel and Emilio de Villota and a third Williams which was entered for local hero Emilio Zapico. There was also a car called the Boro, which was little more than an old Ensign with another name. It was driven by Australian Larry Perkins. With only 24 starters there would be six non-qualifiers, including both RAM Brabhams, Brett Lunger's Surtees, Zapico, Harald Ertl's Hesketh and Ingo Hoffmann in the second Fittipaldi.

Qualifying resulted in James Hunt (McLaren) just beating Niki Lauda (Ferrari). Then came Depailler's Tyrrell, Jochen Mass's McLaren and Clay Regazzoni in the second Ferrari which shared the third row with Vittorio Brambilla's March. The fourth row featured Nilsson and Jacques Laffite (Ligier) with the top 10 completed by Andretti and Chris Amon, going well in the Ensign.

Lauda once again beat Hunt to the first corner with the fast-starting Brambilla third ahead of Depailler and Mass. The Beta March driver could not hold on to the position and drifted behind both Depailler and Mass in the early laps and on the 12th lap also fell behind Laffite. Both men would disappear soon afterwards leaving Nilsson to move to fifth. This became fourth on the 26th lap when Depailler spun out with brake problems.

At the front Hunt closed in on Lauda and on lap 32 the Englishman took the lead. Two laps later Mass was also ahead of the Ferrari and McLaren looked to be on course for a 1-2 result until lap 66 when Mass retired with an engine failure. This promoted Nilsson to third with Carlos Reutemann fourth in his Brabham-Alfa, Chris Amon fifth in the Ensign and Carlos Pace sixth in the second Brabham-Alfa.

After the race there was controversy when Hunt's McLaren was found to be too wide. The McLaren team argued that this had been caused by the expansion of the tires during the race and appealed. It was not until July that Hunt was reinstated, although the team was fined $3000 by the FIA.

11 James Hunt McLaren-Cosworth M23 75 1h42m20.430s  
Niki Lauda Ferrari 312T2 75 1h42m51.400s  
Gunnar Nilsson Lotus-Cosworth 77 75 1h43m08.450s  
Carlos Reutemann Brabham-Alfa Romeo BT45 74  12 
22 Chris Amon Ensign-Cosworth N176 74  10 
Carlos Pace Brabham-Alfa Romeo BT45 74  11 
20 Jacky Ickx Wolf Williams-Cosworth FW05 74  21 
16 Tom Pryce Shadow-Cosworth DN5B 74  22 
19 Alan Jones Surtees-Cosworth TS19 74  20 
10 21 Michel Leclere Wolf Williams-Cosworth FW05 73  23 
11 Clay Regazzoni Ferrari 312T2 72  
12 26 Jacques Laffite Ligier-Matra JS5 72  
13 37 Larry Perkins Boro-Cosworth N175 72  24 
12 Jochen Mass McLaren-Cosworth M23 65 Engine 
17 Jean-Pierre Jarier Shadow-Cosworth DN5B 61 Electrics 15 
Jody Scheckter Tyrrell-Cosworth 007 53 Oil Pump 14 
28 John Watson Penske-Cosworth PC3 51 Engine 13 
35 Arturo Merzario March-Cosworth 761 36 Gear Linkage 18 
Mario Andretti Lotus-Cosworth 77 34 Gearbox 
Patrick Depailler Tyrrell-Cosworth P34 25 Brakes/ Accident 
Vittorio Brambilla March-Cosworth 761 21 Accident 
34 Hans-Joachim Stuck March-Cosworth 761 16 Gearbox 17 
10 Ronnie Peterson March-Cosworth 761 11 Transmission 16 
30 Emerson Fittipaldi Copersucar-Cosworth FD04 Gear Linkage 19 
nq 18 Brett Lunger Surtees-Cosworth TS19   25 
nq 32 Loris Kessel Brabham-Cosworth BT44B   26 
nq 25 Emilio Zapico Williams-Cosworth FW04   27 
nq 33 Emilio de Villota Brabham-Cosworth BT44B   28 
nq 24 Harald Ertl Hesketh-Cosworth 308D   29 
nq 31 Ingo Hoffman Copersucar-Cosworth FD04   30