The 1971 Dutch Grand Prix was the fourth race of the season, and was held on June 20. Because of the cancellation of the Belgian Grand Prix, there had been a four week gap after Monaco. The track was battered by heavy rain and gusty winds at different times over the weekend, and the race was dominated by 12-cylinder cars with Firestone rain tires. Jacky Ickx captured the pole, led most of the race and set the fastest lap on his way to victory.
BRM: There was a third P160 as a spare; Howden Ganley would be upgraded from the P153 when the next P160 chassis was completed. The three P160s were running the 'shovel' nose first seen in practice in Monaco, and Pedro Rodríguez briefly tested a 'sports car' like full-width nose.
Lotus: Emerson Fittipaldi had been injured in a road accident, and would miss the race. Dave Charlton took his place in the entry, and Dave Walker was entered in the 56B turbine car. The 56B was a possible non-starter, as the turbine was being rebuilt at the factory in Canada, after a fire in the unit at the non-championship race at Hockenheimring.
March: All three cars were running a revised rear suspension, first seen at Monaco. There was a spare 711 chassis with an Alfa Romeo engine for Ronnie Peterson at the track, but the team decided not to use it.
McLaren: At great effort, a second M19A had been completed, with Denny Hulme taking the new car, leaving older one for Peter Gethin. The team was being pulled in three directions, between the Indianapolis, Can-Am and F1 programs, and Gethin was starting to feel that the F1 effort was coming in third.
Surtees: John Surtees was running a new type of pressed magnesium wheels on his car. Gijs van Lennep's car was a TS7, with as many TS9 parts as could be used. This car was to be used as a "rent-a-drive" for the remainder of the season.
Tyrrell: The team had car 001 as a spare. Jackie Stewart briefly tried out a full width 'sports car' nose, similar to what BRM was experimenting with.
Before official practice started on Friday, there had been an unofficial session at the track on Wednesday. The only teams to take part were Ferrari, Lotus and March.
Even though Dave Charlton was listed in place of Emerson Fittipaldi on the entry sheet, it was Dave Walker who was in fact the higher placed driver in the team. This was made obvious on Friday morning when, concerned that the rebuilt turbine for the 56B might not arrive, Walker took out Charlton's 72C. Who soon spun the car, wrecking the rear suspension. As the team did not have enough spare parts, Charlton's weekend was over without turning a lap. Fastest in the morning was Clay Regazzoni with a 1:17.98, then an oil pipe came loose, and dropped oil over roughly half the circuit. After practice restarted, Regazzoni and Mario Andretti tried out new 17 inch rims for the rear tires. Both cars soon suffered rapid deflation of a rear tire. Firestone determined that the tires were centrifuging off of the rims. The team went back to the older rims, and because of damage to his B2, Andretti used one of the spare 312Bs for the rest of the weekend.
Friday afternoon's practice was alternately wet and dry, with setting good times requiring a bit of luck. Saturday morning featured heavy rain, but the turbine for Walker's Lotus had arrived, and the team worked all night to get it installed. Jackie Stewart suffered a blown engine in 003, which meant he was unable to try out wet track settings. After lunch, the track had dried out, but the cars were fighting a headwind down the main straight, so the grid was mostly based on Friday times except for a few cars at the back of the grid.