The 1975 Dutch Grand Prix, officially named the XXII Grote Prijs van Nederland, was the eighth round of the 1975 FIA Formula One World Championship staged at the Circuit Park Zandvoort on the 22nd June, 1975. Having taken pole in qualifying, victory was expected to go to Niki Lauda, the star of 1975, although a wet start to the race allowed young pretender James Hunt to duel with the Austrian racer for an unlikely victory for Hesketh.
Qualifying had been dominated by Lauda across Friday and Saturday, the Austrian topping three of the four sessions en-route to pole position. Ferrari teammate Clay Regazzoni completed the front row, while Hunt claimed an impressive third ahead of Jody Scheckter.
A wet race morning meant the circuit was damp for the start, although that did little to affect Lauda's confidence as the Austrian shot into the lead. Teammate Regazzoni was not so lucky, losing out to a fast starting Scheckter, while Hunt was blocked by the slithering Swiss racer into the first corner.
A stalemate soon emerged at the front of the field, although with the circuit drying faster than anyone expected, the time to switch to slicks was coming ever closer. Hunt was the first to blink in fourth, a swift stop getting him out at the perfect time, with Jean-Pierre Jarier another to stop early, soon followed by the rest of the field.
After a hectic few laps in the pits the order on track stood with Hunt leading from Jarier, while Lauda was running in third. The Austrian steadily drew onto the back of the Shadow, snatching second place from the Frenchman moments before Jarier's rear left tyre failed and pitched him into the sand.
Lauda's charge carried him onto the back of Hunt with fifteen laps to go, although the Brit proved to be even more stubborn than Jarier. An excellent defensive drive from Hunt ultimately earned him a maiden victory for himself and Hesketh, leaving Lauda to be satisfied with second place.
Regazzoni completed the podium after a race long duel with Scheckter, until the South African racer retired after his engine failed. Carlos Reutemann, Carlos Pace and Tom Pryce completed the points.
Little had changed at the Circuit Park Zandvoort ahead of F1's annual trip to the seaside in 1975, with the dunes sweeping aside to reveal the Netherland's best known race circuit. This lack of change worried the majority of the field after the Ferrari domination the previous year, although tyre supplier Goodyear did not bring their "quali" tyres for anyone, meaning the playing field was more balanced than usual. The entry list, meanwhile, had had some revisions, with a couple of notable absentees and returnees among the usual runners.
The biggest changes came among the lower orders, as Alan Jones joined the Hill effort as his sponsors ended their deal to run one of the Heskeths. The Australian was slotted into the second of the Hills, partnering Tony Brise in place of Vern Schuppan, while his Hesketh sat in a garage somewhere in England. Indeed, Jones' switch meant there was only one Hesketh in action in Zandvoort, run for James Hunt, with the third car most recently used by Torsten Palm acting as Hesketh Racing's spare once again.
Elsewhere, the Williams shuffle of drivers had drawn Ian Scheckter and Jacques Laffite together for the weekend, the latter returning after another clash in Sweden with his Formula Two commitments. As he returned another driver disappeared, the Parnelli of Mario Andretti absent as the American effort had an important race in the U.S.A.C., although their rivals Penske were in attendance with regular runner Mark Donohue. Ensign returned to the paddock with Gijs van Lennep as their driver, although the car was not ready to run in Zandvoort. Maki, meanwhile, finally arrived at a race they had entered, fielding Japanese ace Hiroshi Fushida in a very European looking creation, the F101.
Into the more reliable section of the field, and Ferrari were unchanged after their recent run of triumphs, Niki Lauda and Clay Regazzoni expected to dominate once again. Nearest rivals Brabham were likewise unchanged, although both Carlos Reutemann and Carlos Pace were concerned that their Ford Cosworth engines would struggle against the Ferrari V12s. They did, at least, have their heads around their cars, unlike defending Champions McLaren and their disillusioned duo of Emerson Fittipaldi and Jochen Mass.
Tyrrell arrived in Zandvoort hoping for better race pace after a strong show in qualifying in Sweden, Jody Scheckter and Patrick Depailler using their usual chargers. Rising stars Shadow also arrived in a cloud of optimism, with Jean-Pierre Jarier and Tom Pryce hoping to challenge for the podium once again after some strong showings recently. Fallen giants Lotus likewise arrived with an optimistic outlook, although no one appeared to have told Ronnie Peterson and Jacky Ickx as their old 72Es were unloaded at the circuit.
Completing the field would be the usual assortment of single car entries, with Bob Evans and John Watson driving for BRM and Surtees respectively. Wilson Fittipaldi completed the field with his self-entered Fittipaldi team, although he would bring two cars to try around the dunes.
Victory for a third race in a row in Sweden had put Lauda in command of the Championship at the halfway point, the Austrian leaving with a ten point lead. Reutemann had moved into second after his podium finish, passing Fittipaldi, while Pace remained in fourth. Jody Scheckter retained fifth, while Regazzoni had climbed further up the order to sixth.
Ferrari had claimed the lead in the International Cup for Manufacturers after Lauda's Swedish victory, level on points with Brabham-Ford Cosworth until dropped scores were applied. That fact left the British squad two points behind the Italians, while McLaren-Ford Cosworth slipped to third, six and a half points further back. Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth had secured fourth ahead of Hesketh-Ford Cosworth, while Penske-Ford Cosworth, Parnelli-Ford Cosworth and Hill-Ford Cosworth were all on the board for the first time in their collective histories.
The full entry list for the 1975 Dutch Grand Prix is outlined below:
Four, one and a half hour long sessions were scheduled for practice/qualifying ahead of the Dutch Grand Prix, with Friday and Saturday given over to practice. Both days would be bathed in sunshine throughout, although a strong head-wind down the start/finish straight in all four sessions meant top speeds were down on previous years. As such, the circuit record of 1:18.31, set by Niki Lauda en-route to pole in 1974, looked set to remain.
Fears that the weekend would be dominated by the two scarlet Ferraris looked to have been proved during the first session, as Lauda and Clay Regazzoni quickly got down into the 1:20.00s. Regazzoni proved to be the quickest on Friday morning, a 1:20.57 ousting teammate Lauda by just a hundredth of a second, with almost half a second to the next car. Indeed, the only hopes of a challenge to the Ferraris seemed to be in the form of James Hunt, who was the only other driver to record a sub-1:21.00 lap with a 1:20.97.
For the rest of the field the first session was about finding a reliable setup, although the rapid pace of Ferrari caused more murmurs of discontent amongst the Ford Cosworth runners. Otherwise, the session lacked much interest, most of the field managing to record ten laps or more before the lunch break. The exception to this was new boy Hiroshi Fushida, whose only Cosworth engine in the Maki was destroyed after a couple of laps having dumped all its oil.
The afternoon session on Friday saw the head-wind down the start/finish straight drop slightly, allowing the Cosworth cars to close the gap to the scarlet duo out front. Indeed, with Regazzoni and Lauda focusing on their race setups, Hunt, Jody Scheckter and Carlos Reutemann were able to beat the slower of the pair, although they were still behind Regazzoni's morning pace. Lauda, meanwhile, would improve to a 1:20.34 to claim provisional pole overnight.
Elsewhere, the pace was generally improving as time wore on, with less than a second covering Emerson Fittipaldi in fifth to fourteenth placed Patrick Depailler at the end of Friday's running. Of these the standout performer was Tony Brise, who ended the day just behind defending World Champion Fittipaldi, and one-lap specialist Jean-Pierre Jarier. Reliability-wise Friday afternoon passed without issue, although the Maki team were already packing up as their sole Cosworth unit proved to be beyond repair.
Saturday proved to be a marginally warmer day than Friday, although the head-wind down the start/finish straight had strengthened, meaning it would be difficult to challenge Lauda's provisional pole time. That said, overnight perfections to setups did allow a couple more drivers to sneak into the 1:20.00s, with Fittipaldi and Brise joining the "aces" at the top of the field. Indeed, those two were the only drivers other than the Ferrari pilots to get into the 1:20.00s on Saturday morning, as the majority inched their way closer to the mark.
Surprisingly, most of the mechanical dramas on Saturday morning appeared to be in the Ferrari pits, with Lauda suffering from a break in his suspension while Regazzoni was running in a new engine. Indeed, the latter's session would come to a premature end after a collision with Scheckter, caused by miscommunication when the Swiss racer attempted to blast past the South African. Scheckter received near identical front-end damage from Regazzoni's swipe, although both were quick to move on from the incident as the final session loomed.
Ultimately, the afternoon session would be a glorified parade for Lauda, with the Austrian flying around Zandvoort to record a 1:20.29 to underline his dominance in the Netherlands. Regazzoni had to use his spare car but retained second on the grid, while Hunt, Scheckter and Reutemann focused on race pace that afternoon and so could not improve. Fortunately for them, Fittipaldi was the only man other than Lauda to record a sub-1:21.00 time that afternoon, but had failed to improve upon his morning pace.
The final session also saw the midfield pack to condense even further, with just half a second covering Jochen Mass in eighth, and Ronnie Peterson in sixteenth. Much of this closeness was due to Zandvoort's relatively simple layout, although the lack of favouritism by Goodyear and Cosworth had had an obvious impact. Behind Peterson there was a half-second gap back to seventeenth placed Alan Jones, with the back end of the field similarly spaced.
The full qualifying results for the 1975 Dutch Grand Prix are outlined below:
|3||24||James Hunt||Hesketh-Ford Cosworth||1:20.97||1:20.70||1:22.23||1:21.55||+0.41s|
|4||3||Jody Scheckter||Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth||1:21.18||1:20.74||1:21.19||1:21.04||+0.45s|
|5||7||Carlos Reutemann||Brabham-Ford Cosworth||1:23.20||1:20.87||1:21.74||1:22.35||+0.58s|
|6||1||Emerson Fittipaldi||McLaren-Ford Cosworth||1:21.61||1:21.04||1:20.91||1:20.95||+0.62s|
|7||23||Tony Brise||Hill-Ford Cosworth||1:22.88||1:21.24||1:20.94||1:21.16||+0.65s|
|8||2||Jochen Mass||McLaren-Ford Cosworth||1:21.28||1:21.48||1:21.01||1:22.36T||+0.72s|
|9||8||Carlos Pace||Brabham-Ford Cosworth||1:23.92||1:21.68||1:21.19||1:21.06||+0.77s|
|10||17||Jean-Pierre Jarier||Shadow-Ford Cosworth||1:21.44||1:21.15||1:21.10||1:21.39T||+0.81s|
|11||9||Vittorio Brambilla||March-Ford Cosworth||1:21.31||1:21.25||1:21.14||1:22.28||+0.85s|
|12||16||Tom Pryce||Shadow-Ford Cosworth||1:21.62||1:21.70||1:21.16||1:21.82||+0.87s|
|13||4||Patrick Depailler||Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth||1:24.75||1:21.79||1:21.31||1:21.20||+0.91s|
|14||18||John Watson||Surtees-Ford Cosworth||1:21.68||1:21.32||1:21.23||1:21.79||+0.94s|
|15||21||Jacques Laffite||Williams-Ford Cosworth||1:21.75||1:21.32||1:22.62||1:22.17||+1.03s|
|16||5||Ronnie Peterson||Lotus-Ford Cosworth||1:22.22||1:22.48||1:21.90||1:21.46||+1.17s|
|17||22||Alan Jones||Hill-Ford Cosworth||1:22.77||1:22.55||1:22.01||1:22.70||+1.72s|
|18||28||Mark Donohue||Penske-Ford Cosworth||1:23.83||1:22.74||1:22.33||1:24.06||+2.04s|
|19||20||Ian Scheckter||Williams-Ford Cosworth||1:23.93||1:24.39||1:22.82||1:22.92||+2.53s|
|21||6||Jacky Ickx||Lotus-Ford Cosworth||1:23.20||1:23.76||1:23.26||1:23.34||+2.91s|
|22||31||Gijs van Lennep||Ensign-Ford Cosworth||1:24.33||1:23.30||1:24.73||1:23.42||+3.01s|
|23||10||Lella Lombardi||March-Ford Cosworth||1:23.99||1:24.75||1:24.17||1:25.05||+3.70s|
|24||30||Wilson Fittipaldi||Fittipaldi-Ford Cosworth||1:24.48||1:24.62||1:24.68||1:24.15||+3.86s|
|25*||35||Hiroshi Fushida||Maki-Ford Cosworth||1:33.37||—||—||—||+13.08s|
- 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.
- * Fushida was unable to run after the first session and would not start the race.
|Gijs van Lennep||______________|
- * Fushida was unable to run after the first session and would not start the race.
Although Sunday had dawned bright and warm, continental showers soon gathered over the dunes, soaking the circuit shortly before the 2:15p.m. start time. The organisers were forced to cancel the morning warm-up at the peak of the downpour, although they did allow the drivers a ten minute session to tryout the conditions once the rain had stopped. Most drivers opted for dry tyres as a result, although a second downpour prompted a late switch to the wets as the field prepared to leave the grid for the parade lap.
With the circuit soaked there was little surprise when the two Ferraris on the front row spun up their rear wheels, allowing Jody Scheckter to get alongside them with two wheels skating along the grass. Momentum carried the South African racer past Clay Regazzoni, and would have taken him past Niki Lauda had the Austrian not suddenly found grip and shot away from the field. Regazzoni would find purchase too late and slipped to third, with the rest of the field enveloped in spray as they swept into Tarzan.
In the middle of the spray it seemed inevitable that someone would hit trouble, and so there was little surprise when two cars emerged out of the back of the cloud carrying damage. In the midst of the spray Patrick Depailler had misjudged turn in point and clobbered the left rear of Vittorio Brambilla, smashing the Italian's suspension and puncturing his own front right tyre. Brambilla was out on the spot, managing to reverse his ruined March backwards into the pits, while Depailler limped round to have his front tyre changed.
The rest of the field, meanwhile, would split into two during the opening tour, with Lauda leading an equally spaced top ten while Ronnie Peterson led the second pack from eleventh. The spray meant that most drivers were reluctant to run to close to the car ahead, although that did not stop the two Brabham boys from taking the out-of-form Emerson Fittipaldi towards the end of the lap. Another man rather ignoring the spray was Bob Evans, although that was because he was already fighting a rear-guard action in the BRM from Wilson Fittipaldi and Lella Lombardi at the back of the field.
The opening laps passed by far quicker than anyone expected, for the track was drying at an almost alarming rate. By lap five a distinct "dry-line" had emerged, prompting James Hunt to dive into the pits two laps later from fourth. A sub thirty-second stop from the Hesketh crew got the Brit back out on the drying circuit in nineteenth, with Jochen Mass the only man to follow him in on that tour.
It would take some time for Hunt and Mass' pace to be revealed on their slick tyres, although Carlos Reutemann would dive into the pits at the end of lap eight and ultimately emerge further behind both. This was the beginning of a trickle of drivers into the pits, with Emerson Fittipaldi, sweeping in at the end of the following lap. Jean-Pierre Jarier, John Watson and Wilson Fittipaldi were in next, as race leader Lauda began to drive off-line to keep his wet tyres cool.
At that time the wet and the dry tyres seemed to be evenly matched, for Emerson Fittipaldi had emerged just ahead of Hunt despite having trailed him by a few seconds before the Brit's stop. However, the Hesketh had now brought its tyres up to temperature, and with the circuit continuing to dry, the balance of pace soon tipped towards the slick shod minority. Hunt's move on Fittipaldi prompted a bigger flurry of activity in the pits at the end of lap eleven, leading to an unfortunate accident when the Ferrari team coordinator leapt into the path of Peterson's departing Lotus. The Ferrari man was pulled away from the scene and put into a medical tent with a broken leg, while Peterson's undamaged Lotus continued on after a brief check-up.
Lauda carried on until the thirteenth lap, leaving Regazzoni in the lead as one of the last stoppers. However, the damage had been done, for the Austrian would emerge behind Jarier's Shadow, which had moved ahead of Fittipaldi as attention focused Peterson's pitstop confusion. That meant that Hunt inherited the lead when Regazzoni dived into the pits, leaving Lauda without a rear-gunner as he attempted to regain the lead.
The race soon became a battle of the stopwatch, with Lauda slowly reeling in the two cars ahead as Hunt was gradually seeing Jarier grow closer in the mirrors. Intriguingly, Lauda's progress was not being made down the start/finish straight, where the V12 Ferrari engine was supposedly superior, but instead coming on the long sweeping run from Hondenvlak. The top three were by far the fastest trio on track, with a huge gap back to fourth placed Scheckter and the rest of the runners.
As the race out front steadily developed, the first reports of retirements were beginning to filter back to the pits. First out was Jacky Ickx, the Belgian just getting back to pits having lost his engine at the back of the circuit before the field had even begun to consider dry tyres. Evans was out with the BRM after a drive unit failure, while Mass was soon to drop with a jamming throttle in the second McLaren.
As the race thundered past half distance, Lauda could be seen on the back of Jarier's Shadow, and was attempting to use the most reliable overtaking manoeuvre at Zandvoort: A dive into Tarzan. Unfortunately for him, Jarier was a veteran F1 racer, and so knew exactly where to place his car when the Austrian tried to dive past him on the brakes into the tightening hairpin. Three failed attempts from Lauda resulted, before a better run through the final corner allowed him to elbow his way past the Shadow to start the 44th lap.
The Lauda/Jarier duel had briefly allowed Hunt to rebuild the eight second lead he had held after the final stops for slicks, although Lauda was soon carving his way into having cleared Jarier. Jarier himself had not allowed Lauda to simply disappear up the road, but the Shadow would only last another lap before a spectacular rear tyre failure pitched Jarier into a spin through Scheivlak. The Shadow was briefly stranded in the middle of the track before Jarier could drag it out of the firing line to retire.
The order was now Hunt leading from an charging Lauda, who quickly cut the gap in half, before a huge gap back to Scheckter and Regazzoni who were on the verge of duelling for third. Next came Reutemann, promoted after Fittipaldi retired with a ruined gearbox, although the Argentine was being pressed by an enthusiastic Peterson who was enjoying the less-than-perfect conditions. Tom Pryce was next in a lonely seventh, and worrying about his brakes, while Carlos Pace toured around without too much to shout about as the last man on the lead lap.All eyes were on Hunt and Lauda as the latter drew ever closer to the back of the former, and on lap 57 the Austrian seemed to be in a position to pounce. However, before the #12 Ferrari could pounce, Hunt dived up the inside of Pryce to lap the Shadow, which moved across in front of Lauda to temporarily halt his charge. The pair were back together again in a matter of moments, but an identical move by Hunt when lapping the limping Mass two laps later kept the Austrian a frustrated second.
The two former Formula 3 rivals were now running nose to tail, with the Hesketh stubbornly remaining ahead of the scarlet Ferrari in spite of the latter's superior pace. Hunt was putting together one of the best defensive drives in years, placing his car perfectly while using the backmarkers strategically to block any move by Lauda with frightening reliability. As the race entered its final throes, it seemed as if the Austrian would never get past.
Ultimately, it was Hunt who would win the Dutch Grand Prix of 1975, the white Hesketh charging out of the final corner to the delight of the Hesketh team. Lauda was a second behind in second, while Regazzoni had moved into third when Scheckter suffered an engine failure two laps from home. Peterson was another late retiree having just moved into fourth, leaving Reutemann, Pace and Pryce as the final scorers, all a lap down.
The full results for the 1975 Dutch Grand Prix are outlined below:
- * Peterson and Jody Scheckter were still classified despite retiring as they had completed 90% of the race distance.
- First entry for Hiroshi Fushida.
- This marks the first time a Japanese driver has entered a Formula One race weekend.
- Niki Lauda started his 50th Grand Prix.
- Brabham had a chassis entered for the 150th time.
- Thirteenth pole position for Lauda.
- Maiden victory for James Hunt.
- First and only victory by a Hesketh chassis.
- Engine supplier Ford Cosworth claimed an 83rd win.
Despite missing out on victory, Championship leader Niki Lauda was able to extend his lead in the title hunt, moving thirteen points clear of second placed Carlos Reutemann. The Argentine himself was now four points ahead of Emerson Fittipaldi, who was in a miserable run of form, with Carlos Pace closing the gap to the top three to just three points. Clay Regazzoni, meanwhile, had moved into the top five, level on points with race winner James Hunt.
Ferrari managed to draw their lead out to five points in the International Cup for Manufacturers standings in Zandvoort, with Brabham-Ford Cosworth remaining their closest challengers. McLaren-Ford Cosworth remained in third ahead of Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth, neither having scored, while Hesketh-Ford Cosworth closed the gap to the pair of them with Hunt's win. Lotus-Ford Cosworth slipped further behind their rivals after another non-score, while Shadow-Ford Cosworth moved back ahead of Parnelli-Ford Cosworth to be the best of the American constructors.
Images and Videos:
- Sporti, 'Hunt, Lauda and Pryce at 1975 Dutch Grand Prix', commons.wikimedia.org, (WikiMedia, 20/12/2012), https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hunt,_Lauda_and_Pryce_at_1975_Dutch_Grand_Prix.jpg, (Accessed 22/11/2017)
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 'GRAND PRIX RESULTS: DUTCH GP, 1975', grandprix.com, (Inside F1 Inc., 2015), http://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr258.html, (Accessed 22/11/2017)
- ↑ 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 2.21 2.22 2.23 2.24 2.25 2.26 2.27 2.28 2.29 2.30 2.31 2.32 2.33 2.34 2.35 2.36 2.37 2.38 2.39 2.40 2.41 2.42 2.43 2.44 2.45 2.46 2.47 2.48 2.49 2.50 2.51 2.52 2.53 2.54 2.55 2.56 2.57 2.58 2.59 2.60 2.61 2.62 2.63 2.64 2.65 2.66 2.67 2.68 2.69 2.70 2.71 2.72 2.73 2.74 2.75 2.76 2.77 2.78 2.79 2.80 2.81 2.82 2.83 2.84 2.85 2.86 2.87 2.88 2.89 2.90 2.91 2.92 2.93 D.S.J., 'The Dutch Grand Prix: An Englishman wins', motorsportmagazine.com, (Motor Sport, 01/08/1975), pp.866-8, http://www.motorsportmagazine.com/archive/article/august-1975/44/dutch-grand-prix#, (Accessed 22/11/2017)
- ↑ 'Netherlands 1975: Entrants', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2015), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1975/pays-bas/engages.aspx, (Accessed 19/10/2017)
- ↑ 'Netherlands 1975: Qualifications', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1975/pays-bas/qualification.aspx, (Accessed 22/11/2017)
- ↑ 'Netherlands 1975: Results', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1975/pays-bas/classement.aspx, (Accessed 25/04/2017)
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