The 1972 Austrian Grand Prix was the ninth race of the 1972 Formula One season, held on August 13 at the Österreichring. Championship leader Emerson Fittipaldi in a Lotus won a close race ahead of Denny Hulme in a McLaren, with teammate Peter Revson third in the other McLaren.
The weather in the Tyrolian Alps is almost as unpredictable as those in the Ardennes, where both Spa and Nürburgring are located. This year, instead of the humidity and frequent showers often seen in the past, the conditions were very hot and dry, putting a premium on tire wear and, strangely, fuel vaporization. Several teams were fighting fuel vaporization issues all weekend, and it accounted for several retirements on Sunday.
- Brabham: Graham Hill's car was fitted with the new Hewland FL gearbox, the first one in usage, and the reason the team had redesigned the rear suspension of the cars. It was designed specifically for use with inboard brakes.
- BRM: All three cars were now fitted with an engine airbox very similar to the anvil-shaped boxes used by Lotus. Reine Wisell had set up one of the cars to his liking in testing, then the team dropped him in favor of Peter Gethin for this race.
- Connew: The newest team in F1 was back for another try, having engaged in a small amount of testing in England before coming to Austria.
- Ferrari: Once again, Mario Andretti was at a USAC race. The team was concerned about fuel vaporization, and had mounted fuel-cooling radiators about the gearbox, but this was ineffective, as both cars later retired from that problem.
- Lotus: Dave Walker's car had been upgraded to the same rear wing and oil tank configuration as on Emerson Fittipaldi's car. Fittipaldi experimented with an aluminum engine cover. He also drove the spare car a fair amount in practice, and it was this car (bearing the number '31') that he used in the race. Due to the paint scheme of the cars, the team would not be able to alter a car's number at the event, so Lotus always had a separate car number for the spare car.
- March: As an experiment, the spare 721G had been fitted with twin front radiators ahead of the front wheels, like the Brabham BT34, but enclosed in a full-width nose that looked similar to the current Surtees TS9B. Ronnie Peterson drove it in practice, but never considered using it in the race.
- Rolf Stommelen entered the Eifelland March at this race under the name "Team Stommelen", hoping to attract a sponsor. This did not come to pass, so on the Monday after the race, the entire team was sold to Brabham owner Bernie Ecclestone. Ecclestone's main interest was the contract that Eifelland had with Cosworth, guaranteeing 12-series engines. Anything else of use was kept, and the remaining items (including the car, sans engines) were then sold off or discarded. The car itself reappeared at the John Player race at Brands Hatch in October. It had been bought by car dealers Hexagon of Highgate, who entered the 721 with 'normal' bodywork under the name of Hexagon Racing, for John Watson.
- Matra: During unofficial practice on Thursday, the team had borrowed Niki Lauda to drive the spare car for some feedback, as Lauda's engineering background was already giving him a good reputation for analysis of car performance. But the engine blew up after only two laps.
- McLaren: Peter Revson had a car that had been rebuilt from the ground up as one of the M19C's, but retained an M19A badge on the monocoque. The M19A that Brian Redman drove in Germany was kept as the spare.
- Surtees: The team had already announced their new TS14 model, designed for the 1973 regulations, but plans to run the car were postponed to Monza.
- Tecno: The team's pattern of alternating their drivers continued, with Nanni Galli taking over for Derek Bell.
- Tyrrell: Car 005 was back in the hands of Jackie Stewart, with the front disks moved outboard, in the hope of curing the sudden handling issues. Stewart's old car, 003, was along as the spare.
- Williams: Henri Pescarolo's car was rebuilt with yet another new monocoque. Pescarolo's accident streak (seven accidents in the last six races) was putting a severe strain on the team's finances, and if not for Carlos Pace it might have folded already.
The full entry list for the 1972 Austrian Grand Prix is outlined below:
|13||11||Andrea de Adamich||Surtees-Ford||1:38.08||+2.11|
|9||2||François Cevert||Tyrrell-Ford||53||+1 Lap||20|
|10||4||Niki Lauda||March-Ford||53||+1 Lap||22|
|11||24||Tim Schenken||Surtees-Ford||52||+2 Laps||8|
|12||5||Ronnie Peterson||March-Ford||52||+2 Laps||11|
|13||6||Peter Gethin||BRM||51||+3 Laps||16|
|14||11||Andrea de Adamich||Surtees-Ford||51||+3 Laps||13|
|NC||27||Rolf Stommelen||March-Ford||48||+6 Laps||17|
|NC||23||Carlos Pace||March-Ford||46||+8 Laps||18|
|NC||15||Nanni Galli||Tecno||45||+9 Laps||23|
|Ret||16||Graham Hill||Brabham-Ford||37||Fuel pressure||14|
|Ret||28||Wilson Fittipaldi||Brabham-Ford||32||Brake pipe||15|
|Ret||3||Mike Beuttler||March-Ford||25||Fuel pressure||24|
|Ret||18||Jacky Ickx||Ferrari||21||Fuel pressure||9|
|Ret||17||Carlos Reutemann||Brabham-Ford||15||Fuel injection||5|
|Ret||19||Clay Regazzoni||Ferrari||14||Fuel pressure||2|
Standings after race
- Pritchard, Anthony (1973). The Motor Racing Year No4. W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.. pp. 106-113. ISBN 0-393-08677-1.
|V T E||Austrian Grand Prix|
|Circuits||Zeltweg Airfield (1963–1964), Red Bull Ring (1970–1987, 1997-2003, 2014-present)|
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|Red Bull Ring was previously called Österreichring and A1-Ring.|
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