The XXI Grote Prijs van Nederland, otherwise known as the 1974 Dutch Grand Prix, was the eighth bout of the 1974 FIA Formula One World Championship, staged on the 23rd June at the Circuit Park Zandvoort. The race, which marked the halfway point in the 1974 Championship season, proved to be a rather dull affair with almost all of the action coming in the first thirty laps.
It was an all Ferrari front row after qualifying, with Niki Lauda sweeping to pole ahead of Clay Regazzoni. Two McLarens shared the second row, Emerson Fittipaldi ahead of Mike Hailwood, while Jody Scheckter would start the race from fifth alongside James Hunt.
There would be a fairly exciting start to the race on Sunday, with Lauda immediately slithering into the lead, ahead of a fast starting Hailwood. Regazzoni slipped to third ahead of Patrick Depailler, up from eighth, while Hunt made a terrible start before collecting Tom Pryce in turn one, eliminating the pair of them.
The opening laps saw Regazzoni move back ahead of Hailwood, before joining teammate Lauda in sprinting away from the pack. The Brit was left to shuffle down the order, falling behind Depailler and Fittipaldi, the latter having had to retake Scheckter after a poor start.
Depailler began to struggle with overheating rear tyres as the race wore on, although it still took Fittipaldi over half the race to find a way past. Once the Brazilian overtook him, the Frenchman faded badly, falling behind both Hailwood and Scheckter a few laps later. The order of the top six was therefore settled for the the rest of the race, with Lauda establishing a lead over teammate Regazzoni, who was himself thirty seconds clear of Fittipaldi.
Lauda was therefore left to claim a second career win ahead of Regazzoni, while Fittipaldi did little to close the gap in third. Hailwood cruised to fourth ahead of Scheckter, while Depailler survived to claim sixth, despite a late charge from John Watson. Ronnie Peterson finished two laps down in eighth, after a late race charge to climb up the order, while Vern Schuppan was disqualified for the second race in a row, having finished down in thirteenth.
Two weeks after the battle of Sweden and the F1 circus rolled into the Circuit Park Zandvoort for the Dutch Grand Prix, in the midst of a dispute between the C.S.I., Formula One Constructors Association and the R.A.C. of the Netherlands. The argument surrounded the ever increasing number of entries that were being submitted for each race, with the organisers at Zandvoort hoping to strike those deemed unworthy, and were being backed by F.O.C.A., which had been growing increasingly powerful under the control of Bernie Ecclestone in recent seasons. Paddocks and pit complexes were becoming too cramped with the rise of the small "garagistas" in the early 1970s, and so to protect their own interests, and their expenses, F.O.C.A. and the race organisers came to an agreement to refuse the entries of small one car teams.
One of those excluded were Trojan, who had been fairly competitive since making their debut earlier in the season. They had tolerated being excluded from entering the races in Monte Carlo and Sweden, but when their entry for the Dutch Grand Prix was rejected, the team appealed the the R.A.C. of Great Britain to aid them. The British R.A.C. duly exerted their influence on the C.S.I., the group which the FIA effectively used to control Grand Prix racing in the 1970s, and a clarification was issued to both F.O.C.A. and the race organisers. The rule deemed that circuit length, not personal preference, should dictate entry sizes, meaning that anyone who wanted to try their hand in F1 could do so, even if it was only to qualify.
Trojan emerged victoriously from the dispute, arriving in Zandvoort with their single Ron Tauranac designed car for Tim Schenken to race. They joined the Ensign effort of Vern Schuppan in the paddock, which looked far healthier since the investment of Theodore Yip in the team, although Schuppan was not expected to make the grade in qualifying. The other single car effort in the field belonged to the wealthy Hesketh effort, run once again for James Hunt, which had made its first visit to the podium last time out.
Elsewhere, Lotus-Ford Cosworth had had a busy fortnight, having taken Ronnie Peterson and one of the 76s to Zandvoort straight after the Swedish Grand Prix. The test did not go to plan, however, with Peterson suffering a huge accident after a brake failure, which left the Swede in hospital for a day having been knocked unconscious. Fortunately there were no serious health concerns found in the aftermath, and the Swede was duly able to join teammate Jacky Ickx in the paddock at Zandvoort.
Another team with some wounds to heal were Surtees, who were down to just a single driver in the pair of factory cars. This was because lead driver Carlos Pace had fallen out with boss John Surtees after his dismal display in Sweden, and refused to get in the car when the team arrived in Holland. That left just Jochen Mass as their active driver, with the German getting the choice of two cars for the weekend.
Internal strife had also swept over to the BRM squad, where Jean-Pierre Beltoise was beginning to abuse his position as the team's number one. The team were back up to three entries in Zandvoort, with Henri Pescarolo and François Migault both getting new P201s for the weekend, until Beltoise demanded to try out the newest car. The team folded and gave the Frenchman two cars for the weekend, leaving Pescarolo, the now three time Le Mans winner, stuck with an outdated P160E once again.
There was a more harmonious atmosphere at Tyrrell, with Jody Scheckter and Patrick Depailler both using the 007s for the weekend. Ferrari were in a similarly strong position, with Niki Lauda and Clay Regazzoni getting a choice of four cars between them. Arch-rivals McLaren were in an equally strong position for their trio of Emerson Fittipaldi, Denny Hulme and Mike Hailwood, with a fifth car kept as a "demonstration" vehicle and sat outside the entry gate.
Elsewhere, Hans-Joachim Stuck was back in action for March, rejoining teammate Vittorio Brambilla for the weekend. Shadow signed up British Formula Three star Tom Pryce for the rest of the season, partnering him with Jean-Pierre Jarier while also bringing a new DN3 for them to try. Frank Williams had Arturo Merzario back at full fitness, and so rented the second car to local racer Gijs van Lennep, while the three Lolas of Graham Hill and Guy Edwards arrived in their usual immaculate state, fresh from their points finish at Anderstorp.
Victory for Scheckter in Anderstorp had propelled the South African racer right into the midst of the fight for the World Championship, leaving him level on points with third placed Lauda. They were now six points behind Championship leader Fittipaldi, with Regazzoni slipping five points behind the Brazilian in second. Elsewhere, Hulme and Peterson had lost ground in fifth and sixth, Depailler launched himself into the top seven, and Hunt and Hill had added their names to the board at the bottom of the order.
Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth cemented themselves in third in the International Cup for Manufacturers' standings after their one-two finish in Sweden, although few believed they could truly challenge McLaren-Ford Cosworth or Ferrari. Of those two it was McLaren who led the charge out of Sweden, the British firm holding a ten point lead over the Italians, who were themselves five ahead of Tyrrell. Outside the top three, Lotus-Ford Cosworth held station in fourth after another pointless race, Hesketh-Ford Cosworth broke into the top ten with their maiden podium, and Lola were on the board for the first time as a listed constructor since 1963.
The full entry list for the 1974 Dutch Grand Prix is outlined below:
As ever the organisers in Zandvoort were able to provide the F1 circus plenty of practice/qualifying time ahead of the Dutch Grand Prix, with both Friday and Saturday dominated by the Grand Prix cars. Both days would feature two sessions apiece, split by a break to allow marshals to collect stranded cars, with 27 drivers fighting for 25 grid slots for the race on Sunday. With no major revisions to the circuit since 1973 there would be a clear target for the top teams, with Ronnie Peterson's circuit record of 1:19.47 expected to fall at some point during the weekend.
It was a bright and warm day for the first two sessions of practice/qualifying, although the ever present North Sea breeze from the nearby coast would make it difficult for the drivers to push flat out on the run to Tunnel Oost. A lot of aerodynamic tinkering would therefore be going on in the pits, a factor not aided by the strong headwind down the start/finish straight, meaning the cars were more drag affected than usual. At some teams constant driver reshuffling caused headaches, BRM in particular deciding to swap their trio of cars between their trio of drivers, while Surtees further confused things by sending Jochen Mass out with a number seemingly plucked from thin air.
What instantly became clear on the first Friday run was the pace of the Ferraris, which were out of sight before most of the field had even turned a lap. Clay Regazzoni proved to be the quicker of the two, a strong run at the end of the session leaving him with a 1:19.51, while teammate Niki Lauda had to settle for being two tenths slower. The only man within touching distance seemed to be Ronnie Peterson, despite his personal failure to break the 1:20.00 barrier, with everyone else bar the two Team Texaco Marlboro McLarens recording a 1:21.00 or slower.
More fine tuning and fettling during the midday break saw the times come down across the board, with Jody Scheckter steeling the show to some extent by recording a 1:19.91, ending the day as the fastest Ford Cosworth powered driver. Unfortunately for him, and the rest of the field, the two Ferraris were not immune to improvement, with both remaining over half a second clear of the rest of the field by day's end. Indeed, a stunning lap time of 1:18.91 for Regazzoni was enough to give the Swiss racer provisional pole, with little threat of being bumped off the front row during Saturday's running.
In spite of a cloud ridden sky, Saturday's running followed the same pattern as Friday's: warm, dry and wind affected. For Ferrari consistency in the weather translated to consistency on the track, although a late from Lauda ultimately stole the show before the end of the first session. In a masterful display of car control, the Austrian racer threw his #12 Ferrari around the dunes to record a 1:18.31, snatching pole away from teammate Regazzoni whom had decided to focus on race pace instead.
Elsewhere, the Ford Cosworth "Aces" were steadily beginning to dip under the 1:20.00 mark, with Emerson Fittipaldi, James Hunt and, most impressively, Mike Hailwood joining Scheckter in the 1:19.00s before the break. At Lotus, however, Peterson had abandoned the march for pole, choosing instead to try his hand at some long running, while teammate Jacky Ickx suffered an engine failure, just a few metres away from the Lotus pit garage. As the Belgian once again returned to the developmental spare car, Surtees got back on track with Mass at the wheel, only for the German to bin the car at the relatively new chicane and write off the chassis.
With the front row settled, the Aces spent and other big names seemingly uninterested, Saturday's final session provided little entertainment for the small crowds sat among the dunes. The only thing of note was the fight to make the grid, with two BRMs, Rikky von Opel in the #8 Brabham, Tim Schenken's Ensign and Gijs van Lennep in the second Iso-Marlboro all fighting for survival. Ultimately it was the latter pair that failed to make the cut, despite the fact that François Migualt only completed a single lap in the final run.
|3||5||Emerson Fittipaldi||McLaren-Ford Cosworth||1:20.64||1:20.94||1:19.56||1:21.85||+1.25s|
|4||33||Mike Hailwood||McLaren-Ford Cosworth||1:21.52||1:21.05||1:19.68||1:20.75||+1.37s|
|5||3||Jody Scheckter||Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth||1:21.30||1:19.91||1:20.07||1:20.39||+1.60s|
|6||24||James Hunt||Hesketh-Ford Cosworth||1:21.99||1:21.25||1:19.95||1:20.72||+1.64s|
|7||17||Jean-Pierre Jarier||Shadow-Ford Cosworth||1:22.23||1:21.16||1:20.07||1:20.60||+1.76s|
|8||4||Patrick Depailler||Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth||1:22.29||1:20.39||1:22.12||1:20.14||+1.83s|
|9||6||Denny Hulme||McLaren-Ford Cosworth||1:20.77||1:20.40||1:20.15||1:21.75||+1.84s|
|10||1||Ronnie Peterson||Lotus-Ford Cosworth||1:20.22||1:20.23||1:21.55||1:20.24||+1.91s|
|11||16||Tom Pryce||Shadow-Ford Cosworth||1:23.51||1:21.57||1:21.51||1:20.44||+2.13s|
|12||7||Carlos Reutemann||Brabham-Ford Cosworth||1:21.81T||1:20.50T||1:22.16T||1:20.45T||+2.14s|
|13||28||John Watson||Brabham-Ford Cosworth||1:22.13||1:21.23||1:21.60||1:20.78||+2.47s|
|14||27||Guy Edwards||Lola-Ford Cosworth||1:22.55||1:21.00||1:21.77||1:22.86||+2.69s|
|15||10||Vittorio Brambilla||March-Ford Cosworth||1:23.38||1:21.67||1:24.09||1:21.01||+2.70s|
|17||22||Vern Schuppan||Ensign-Ford Cosworth||1:23.70||1:24.42||1:21.14||1:24.11||+2.83s|
|18||2||Jacky Ickx||Lotus-Ford Cosworth||1:23.47T||1:21.21||1:21.94T||1:23.52T||+2.90s|
|19||26||Graham Hill||Lola-Ford Cosworth||1:23.85||1:23.84||1:21.22||1:23.35||+2.91s|
|20||19||Jochen Mass||Surtees-Ford Cosworth||1:23.59T||1:21.27T||1:21.43||1:21.83T||+2.96s|
|21||20||Arturo Merzario||Iso-Marlboro-Ford Cosworth||1:24.07||1:21.67||1:21.52||1:21.78||+3.21s|
|22||9||Hans-Joachim Stuck||March-Ford Cosworth||1:21.53||1:21.90||1:21.53||1:21.82||+3.22s|
|23||8||Rikky von Opel||Brabham-Ford Cosworth||1:23.20||1:23.19||1:21.56||1:22.41||+3.25s|
|DNQ||23||Tim Schenken||Trojan-Ford Cosworth||1:23.88||1:23.10||1:22.65||1:22.74||+4.34s|
|DNQ||21||Gijs van Lennep||Iso-Marlboro-Ford Cosworth||1:23.80||1:23.23||1:22.86||1:22.68||+4.37s|
|WD||18||Carlos Pace||Surtees-Ford Cosworth||Fired|
- T Indicates a driver used their test/spare car to set their best time in that session.
- Bold indicates a driver's best/qualifying time.
|24||Rikky von Opel|
Race morning was a fine and dry affair, with no major incidents to unsettle the field during the pre-race warm-up session. Overnight changes saw Carlos Reutemann used the third Brabham, François Migault and Henri Pescarolo swap BRMs, the latter being too big to fit comfortably in the newer P201, while Jacky Ickx had a fresh engine installed in his Lotus 72. After a parade of the drivers and a formation lap the field were ready to race, with twenty five cars assembled on the grid awaiting the starters' flag.
When the flag dropped it would be pole sitter Niki Lauda who sprinted into the lead through Tarzan, leaving teammate Clay Regazzoni to fight with the two McLarens. Unfortunately for the tifosi, the Swiss racer would be mugged by a diving Mike Hailwood into Tarzan, while Emerson Fittipaldi tucked in behind to harry the back of the #11 car. There was to be some chaos behind, as a poor start for James Hunt dumped him down the order, only for the Brit to go for a gap, lock up his brakes and hit compatriot Tom Pryce, the Shadow out on the spot with smashed suspension.
Before the end of the opening lap there was to be another retirement, as Hans-Joachim Stuck managed to throw his March off the road all on his own. Hunt, meanwhile, had carried on with a bent left rear corner on his Hesketh, and was joining onto the back of the mod queued up behind second placed Hailwood. The Brit was unable to keep race leader Lauda in sight, the Austrian having already built a commanding lead during the opening half of the lap, leaving the #33 McLaren to fend off Regazzoni for the time being.
Ultimately, Hailwood's defence was not to last, with Regazzoni blasting past into Tarzan to form a Ferrari one-two, before pulling clear over the rest of the lap to deny a comeback. The fight for the lead was over from that point on, with the Swiss racer soon beginning a futile attempt to hunt down teammate Lauda, who had continued to build on his already sizeable lead. Hailwood was left to lead the Ford Cosworth counter charge, although that soon descended into an out and out fight to be best of the rest.
The following laps saw the third place scrap develop entertain the crowds, with Hailwood having to throw his McLaren at every corner just to keep the mob at bay. Patrick Depailler was the closest man to him, constantly threatening the Brit, although he was well within the sights of the #5 McLaren of Emerson Fittipaldi. Jody Scheckter had the second Tyrrell on the Brazilian's tail, while Reutemann watched on with Ronnie Peterson, Jean-Pierre Jarier, Denny Hulme and John Watson all tagged onto the back of the fight.
Elsewhere, Jochen Mass was out of the fight with a misfiring engine, caused by grease getting into the electrical master switch. His demise had handed Guy Edwards control of the field behind Watson, having briefly fought the wounded Hesketh of Hunt before the Brit disappeared from the race to have his suspension fixed. The Hesketh crew took their time to repair it, however, and after a fifteen lap struggle the team decided it was not worth sending the Brit back out.
Back with the third place fight and the action was beginning to fade, not aided by the demise of Jarier when he suffered a throttle failure. Depailler was the man on the move, diving past Hailwood in Tarzan on lap twelve, before drifting into third on the exit ahead of the Brit. Five laps later and Peterson pulled an identical move on Reutemann for seventh, while Hulme moved his McLaren into the middle of the road to block a similar attempt by Watson just a few moments later.
By this stage Hailwood had been shuffled back to fifth by teammate Fittipaldi, a move which effectively ended any hopes of the Brit from claiming a podium. He was left to fend off a largely intermittent challenge from Scheckter, who had to occasionally glance in the mirrors to keep track of Peterson, while Reutemann was holding station ahead of Hulme and Watson. Fittipaldi, meanwhile, was released to fight with Depailler, with both managing to pull clear of Hailwood over the following laps.
With that the race was done, with the only major changes coming to the order when drivers hit mechanical strife. Pescarolo led the BRM charge into the pits, an diagnosed handling issue causing him to lose hope, with Jean-Pierre Beltoise and Migault soon joining him on the sidelines with different gearbox failures. The two Lolas fell either side of the latter two BRM retirements, Graham Hill with a complete structural failure and Edwards out after an engine failure, while Arturo Merzario rolled to a stop moments before Migault when the Iso-Marlboro broke its gearbox.
Depailler's pace began to waiver as the race wore on, the Frenchman becoming the victim of high tyre wear and less stable handing as the fuel burnt away. He ultimately became easy pickings for Fittipaldi, Hailwood and Scheckter, but was spared the fate of dropping out of the points when Peterson made the first of numerous visits to the pits. The Swede, and teammate Ickx, were having numerous minor issues in their ageing 72Es, although it was a huge four wheel lockup by Peterson that forced him to stop moments before Depailler drifted into his sights.
Indeed, the only threat left to the #4 Tyrrell proved to be Watson as the race entered its closing stages, with the Brit putting together one of the best drives of his early career to try and keep with the Cosworth "Aces" ahead. His failure to get past Hulme early on had hampered his cause, but when the Kiwi disappeared with an ignition failure the Brit was clear to tag onto the back of Reutemann and Peterson. When they disappeared into the pits, the former requiring a fresh set of Goodyears, Watson was able to keep pace with the tumbling Depailler, until a partial failure of the rear wing ended his hopes of a points finish.
With that the race was well and truly over, with Lauda sweeping home to claim a dominant victory from pole. The Austrian was denied a Grand Chelem when Peterson set the fastest lap, although Lauda was more than happy to have dominated the race from the start. Regazzoni was a few seconds back in second to complete a Ferrari one-two, while Fittipaldi and Hailwood completed some formation flying as the Brazilian claimed third. Scheckter and Depailler cruised home to fifth and sixth, Watson claimed seventh after his late, and frustrating failure, while Peterson finished eighth, two laps down on the leaders.
The full results for the 1974 Dutch Grand Prix are outlined below:
- * Schuppan was disqualified for having a wheel changed outside of his pit box.
- Emerson Fittipaldi started his fiftieth Grand Prix.
- Ferrari claimed their 65th pole position through the efforts of Niki Lauda.
- Second career win for Lauda.
- 51st victory for Ferrari as both a constructor and engine supplier.
- Ronnie Peterson claimed Lotus's fiftieth fastest lap.
A second win for Niki Lauda was not enough for the Austrian to hit the top of the World Championship standings, meaning he would enter the second half of the season in second. Emerson Fittipaldi still led the way, albeit with only a single point in hand, while Clay Regazzoni remained a threat in third. Jody Scheckter remained in fourth, and arguably the dark horse for the title, while Mike Hailwood climbed into the top five.
The International Cup for Manufacturers' standings saw McLaren-Ford Cosworth head into the second part of the campaign in the lead, despite being the only team with a dropped score. Their advantage over Ferrari sat at three points, down from ten at the start of the weekend, with both pulling away from third placed Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth. Lotus-Ford Cosworth were still a distant fourth ahead of BRM and Brabham-Ford Cosworth, while Iso-Marlboro-Ford Cosworth and Lola-Ford Cosworth rounded out the table.
Images and Videos:
- 'GRAND PRIX RESULTS: DUTCH GP, 1974', grandprix.com, (Inside F1 Inc., 2016), http://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr243.html, (Accessed 01/04/2017)
- D.S.J., 'The Dutch Grand Prix: Ferrari all the way', motorsportmagazine.com, (Motor Sport, 01/04/1974), http://www.motorsportmagazine.com/archive/article/august-1974/50/dutch-grand-prix, (Accessed 01/04/2017)
- 'Netherlands 1974: Entrants', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1974/pays-bas/engages.aspx, (Accessed 01/04/2017)
- 'Netherlands 1974: Qualifications', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1974/pays-bas/qualification.aspx, (Accessed 24/04/2017)
- 'Netherlands 1974: Results', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1974/pays-bas/classement.aspx, (Accessed 25/04/2017)
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