The 1975 Swedish Grand Prix, otherwise known as the XI Svenska Grand Prix, was the seventh round of the 1975 FIA Formula One World Championship, staged at the Scandinavian Raceway on the 8th June 1975. The race ultimately proved to be one of attrition out front, with several drivers having to stop or retire with mechanical strife.
There had been a shock in qualifying ahead of the race, where Vittorio Brambilla had put the March-Ford Cosworth on pole, his first triumph. Indeed, it was a rather unusual grid, with Championship leader Niki Lauda down in fifth, Clay Regazzoni in eleventh, and World Champion Emerson Fittipaldi twelfth.
It was a tame start to the race, with Brambilla shooting into an early lead, while Carlos Pace jumped Lauda for fifth. After the first few corners the field settled down into a long line behind Brambilla, with no real movement in the early stages.
Indeed, the only change in the first fifteen laps came when Carlos Reutemann passed Jean-Pierre Jarier for third, although the race refused to fire up. However, the intrigue would pick up as second placed Patrick Depailler dropped out with a brake failure, while race leader Brambilla, who had pulled out a small lead, began to drop towards the pack with overheating tyres.
The latter's troubles allowed Reutemann to pounce for a second time, whose easy move prompted Brambilla to dive into the pits. Jarier and Pace moved up onto the podium as a result, while Regazzini and Mario Andretti climbed into the points as others around them hit trouble.
The race would once again become tepid once Brambilla disappeared, with no major changes to the order coming out on circuit. Another burst of action ultimately came on the 39th tour, Jarier smoking his way out the race with an engine failure to leave Pace in second. The Brazilian would make it a Brabham one-two for three laps before spinning himself out of the race, leaving Lauda in second, a fair way behind Reutemann.
However, the Argentine racer was struggling with his tyres allowing Lauda to chip away at his lead. With ten laps to go the Austrian racer swept past the slithering Brabham, although the pair had a huge advantage over third placed Regazzoni. They would hold station some six seconds apart when the chequered flag finally appeared at the end of lap 80.
Behind Lauda and Reutemann would be Regazzoni, whom had failed to make any gains on the Argentine racer despite the former's lack of grip. Andretti earned his first points of the season for Parnelli in fourth, as did countryman Mark Donohue in the Penske, the American duo having shared the eighth row on the grid. It was another maiden point scorer in sixth, as Tony Brise claimed his, and Hill's first point.
The flat expanse of the Anderstorp Raceway near the town of Anderstorp, Sweden beckoned the F1 circus for the seventh race of the season, with the simple layout attracting all of the major entrants in 1975. The circuit itself had not changed at all in the last twelve months, meaning teams had a fairly good benchmark to setup their cars for a circuit that required a perfect balance to the car. Off circuit the entire pit complex had been rebuilt, giving ample space to the teams, albeit without any real cover from the elements.
Brabham-Ford Cosworth led the charge into Sweden, fielding Carlos Reutemann and Carlos Pace once again, the former sporting a new haircut in hopes of rediscovering some form. Bernie Ecclestone's squad, more significantly, seemed to have an air of happiness about them, optimistic that the flat circuit would suit their BT44Bs. McLaren-Ford Cosworth followed them in, no changes made to their trio of M23s for Emerson Fittipaldi and Jochen Mass, although unlike rivals Brabham the group arrived with no real optimism.
At Ferrari there was the ever increasing confidence behind Niki Lauda, the young Austrian racer now emerging as the team leader in place of Clay Regazzoni. Their V12 engines were expected to have the advantage over the near universal Ford Cosworth V8s that populated the rest of the grid, with superior torque, speed and acceleration. The only other non-Cosworth effort was the BRM, although Bob Evans was not expected to challenge for points.
Elsewhere, Shadow-Ford Cosworth arrived after securing only their seconds points finish of the season in Belgium, despite both Tom Pryce and Jean-Pierre Jarier having strong qualifying records. Lotus-Ford Cosworth arrived with Swedish star Ronnie Peterson, attracting most of the attention despite a poor season, and Jacky Ickx, although neither driver entertained hopes of a strong result in the ageing 72E. Their arch-rivals Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth arrived in a better position, their 007s arriving unchanged for Jody Scheckter and Patrick Depailler.
There was a full strength effort at Hesketh, who had brought all three 308s to Sweden, all racing in different colours. James Hunt led the line in the team's main effort, the Brit using the newest of the three cars, while Alan Jones was handed the second car, painted in his sponsor's colours. The third effort was loaned out to race sponsors Polar Caravan, who plonked local racer Torsten Palm in the oldest of the 308s, which had been covered in polar bears for the weekend.
Other changes came at Williams, who had to field an entirely new driver line-up as Jacques Laffite was racing in Formula Two, while Arturo Merzario was "on holiday" after becoming disillusioned with the team. Frank Williams duly drafted in the elder Scheckter brother Ian, making a rare appearance outside of his native South Africa, while the sister car was put into the hands of Damien Magee. It was to be Magee's first ever F1 race, with the Brit joining an ever increasing list of Northern Irishmen on the F1 entry list.
Another fresh driver line-up came at Hill, with Graham Hill deciding to drop François Migault after the Frenchman had been outclassed by the relatively inexperienced Tony Brise. In his place came Australian racer Vern Schuppan, who had been without a drive since leaving Ensign. His place at Ensign had been filled by a variety of drivers before Gijs van Lennep was entered for the Swedish race, although neither the car nor driver would arrive.
March arrived with a quiet confidence after Vittorio Brambilla challenged for points in Zolder, while Lella Lombardi was doing all she could to keep with her countryman. Mario Andretti returned from the Indy 500 with Parnelli, while Mark Donohue kept the American tally up with the Penske. Completing the field would be the Fittipaldi, self entered as usual by Wilson Fittipaldi, although the Maki was officially entered for Dave Walker.
After a second victory in a row in Belgium, it was Lauda at the top of the World Championship standings, the Austrian taking a two point lead. A five point gap remained between Fittipaldi and third placed Pace, with the latter level on points with his teammate Reutemann. Scheckter had moved into the top five, while Pryce had finally mounted the board after a promising but pointless start to the season.
A two and a half point gap had opened up in the International Cup for Manufacturers standings, with Brabham-Ford Cosworth overtaking McLaren-Ford Cosworth once again. However, Lauda's double win meant both were under threat from the third placed Ferrari effort, with the Italian squad moving to within half a point of McLaren. Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth, meanwhile, had solidified their fourth place in the table, while Lotus-Ford Cosworth endured another pointless performance.
The full entry list for the 1975 Swedish Grand Prix is outlined below:
There would be four practice/qualifying sessions to sort the grid out in Sweden, with both Friday and Saturday hosting three hours of running. Furthermore, with Summer in full swing, there were no weather concerns across the two days, with wall-to-wall sunshine meaning there was plenty of opportunity to perfect a setup. As for a target time, the "Aces" of the F1 world would be aiming to beat the circuit record of 1:24.758, set by Patrick Depailler on his way to pole in 1974.
It was Depailler who got things underway on Friday, heading out with Jean-Pierre Jarier to set the early pace. As they threw their cars at the circuit the ever methodical Niki Lauda joined the fray for Ferrari, becoming the first to dip into the 1:25.000s. Jarier and Depailler soon joined him, although it was Carlos Reutemann who ended the first session fastest, recording a 1:25.297 just before the lunch break.
For the rest of the field Friday morning was spent chasing a suitable setup, with Emerson Fittipaldi in particular seeming to struggle to find the balance in the #1 McLaren. Elsewhere, debutante Damien Magee's weekend got off to a miserable start with his throttle jammed shut, while Alan Jones suffered a similar issue in the Hesketh as his throttle jammed open, throwing him into the catch-fencing. The Hill team, meanwhile, were going through engines at an alarming rate, while Parnelli were having to bodge a modification to their brake shafts as designer Maurice Phillipe had left the team.
After lunch on Friday it would be Vittorio Brambilla who stole the show, the Italian putting his revived March through its paces to record a stunning lap of 1:24.639, having confused everyone in the field by using teammate Lella Lombardi's car early on. Come the end of the day no one had managed to match Brambilla, nor join him in the 1:24.000s, with Depailler the closest to him with a 1:25.010. Others to impress were Jarier, who would run Depailler close, while Jody Scheckter and Tom Pryce joined their teammates in the 1:25.000s.
Brambilla's pace caused a stir at several big teams, with Ferrari in particular questioning why Lauda and Clay Regazzoni could not match the Italian despite using a superior engine and chassis combination. Lotus, meanwhile, were having another miserable day with the ageing 72E, Ronnie Peterson smashing his nose somewhere out on circuit, while Jacky Ickx was simply off the pace. Fittipaldi was another driver fighting without much impact, failing to improve on his morning times, although he was still in a better position than teammate Jochen Mass who was not happy with his handling.
A cooler day on Saturday, combined with a mix of tyre rubber left on the circuit by Formula One, other single seaters and saloons meant that the circuit was in a worse state on Saturday morning, with only an ultra-clean lap likely to oust Brambilla from provisional pole. Yet, although he could not match his Friday pace, it was Brambilla who ended the penultimate practice session fastest, with Jarier and Lauda the closest to him. Carlos Pace, meanwhile, would close the gap to the top drivers by moving into the 1:25.000s, as would Pryce in the second Shadow.
However, all was not well among the rest of the pack, with Peterson at a loss for pace while Fittipaldi improved but remained outside of the top ten. Regazzoni was another struggler, unable to match teammate Lauda's methodical style or pace, while Jody Scheckter was swinging his Tyrrell around spectacularly, but without much impact to the stop-watch. Local racer Torsten Palm, in contrast, had been looking positive in the third Hesketh, until he spun himself into the pitwall towards the end of the session.
The final session proved to be a damp squib all round, with no one managing to make significant progress at the top of the timesheets. That left Brambilla with a maiden pole position in the March, while Depailler retained second to get his first front-row start of the season. Team Lotus and McLaren continued to struggle without much success, although Peterson snuck into ninth before the end of the day, while John Watson quietly got on with things to claim tenth in the unfancied Surtees. Towards the end of the session Depailler managed to dump oil over the circuit after a stone punctured his radiator, bringing practice to a premature conclusion.
The full qualifying results for the 1975 Swedish Grand Prix are outlined below:
|1||9||Vittorio Brambilla||March-Ford Cosworth||1:26.181||1:24.630||1:25.210||1:26.446||—|
|2||4||Patrick Depailler||Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth||1:25.602||1:25.010||1:26.025||1:27.284||+0.380s|
|3||17||Jean-Pierre Jarier||Shadow-Ford Cosworth||1:25.894||1:25.060||1:25.622||1:25.263||+0.430s|
|4||7||Carlos Reutemann||Brabham-Ford Cosworth||1:25.297||1:25.180||1:26.742T||1:26.274T||+0.550s|
|6||8||Carlos Pace||Brabham-Ford Cosworth||1:26.612||1:26.140||1:25.802||1:26.289||+1.172s|
|7||16||Tom Pryce||Shadow-Ford Cosworth||1:27.137||1:25.880||1:25.866||1:26.882||+1.236s|
|8||3||Jody Scheckter||Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth||1:26.344||1:25.900||1:26.307T||1:26.860||+1.270s|
|9||5||Ronnie Peterson||Lotus-Ford Cosworth||1:26.410||1:26.012||1:26.254||1:27.106||+1.382s|
|10||18||John Watson||Surtees-Ford Cosworth||1:27.754||1:27.360||1:26.085||1:27.047||+1.455s|
|11||1||Emerson Fittipaldi||McLaren-Ford Cosworth||1:26.353||—||1:26.088||1:26.816||+1.458s|
|13||24||James Hunt||Hesketh-Ford Cosworth||1:27.115||1:26.500||1:26.662||1:26.738||+1.870s|
|14||2||Jochen Mass||McLaren-Ford Cosworth||1:27.384||1:27.130||1:27.335||1:26.773||+2.143s|
|15||27||Mario Andretti||Parnelli-Ford Cosworth||1:28.082T||1:27.253||1:26.821||1:27.140||+2.191s|
|16||28||Mark Donohue||Penske-Ford Cosworth||1:27.488||1:27.221||1:27.154||1:27.520||+2.524s|
|17||23||Tony Brise||Hill-Ford Cosworth||1:27.821||—||1:27.769T||1:27.318||+2.688s|
|18||6||Jacky Ickx||Lotus-Ford Cosworth||1:28.401||1:27.320||1:29.943||1:29.180||+2.690s|
|19||25||Alan Jones||Hesketh-Ford Cosworth||1:30.668||—||1:27.602||1:27.375||+2.745s|
|20||21||Ian Scheckter||Williams-Ford Cosworth||1:29.247||1:27.470||1:28.616||1:27.334||+2.840s|
|21||32||Torsten Palm||Hesketh-Ford Cosworth||4:22.726||1:27.880||1:27.642||1:28.570||+3.012s|
|22||20||Damien Magee||Williams-Ford Cosworth||1:30.345||—||1:27.676||1:28.821||+3.046s|
|24||10||Lella Lombardi||March-Ford Cosworth||1:31.121||1:29.970||1:28.687||1:30.827||+4.057s|
|25||30||Wilson Fittipaldi||Fittipaldi-Ford Cosworth||1:29.949||1:28.819||1:29.498||1:30.608||+4.180s|
|26||22||Vern Schuppan||Hill-Ford Cosworth||1:29.419||1:28.980T||1:31.037||1:29.032T||+4.402s|
|WD||31||Gijs van Lennep||Ensign-Ford Cosworth||Withdrawn|
|WD||35||Dave Walker||Maki-Ford Cosworth||Withdrawn|
- 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.
Race morning opened with a thirty minute warm-up session for the twenty-six car strong field, allowing most teams to test overnight repairs and changes. A relatively small crowd would gather over the course of the morning, the Swedish Government opting to have the race televised and so encouraged their citizens to stay at home to watch, with the start scheduled for 1:30p.m. With unusual efficency all of the pre-race parifinalia was cleared away in time for the scheduled start, with Vittorio Brambilla leading the slow crawl from the "dummy grid" to full grid at precisely 1:30p.m.
It would be a flawless start from maiden polesitter Brambilla, the Italian duly sprinting into an early lead from fellow front row starter Patrick Depailler, sporting a new engine. Everyone else disappeared away from the grid in a cloud of dust, an issue for Tom Pryce as the dust settled into his throttle sliders, jamming them closed. As the Welshman tumbled to the back of the field on a slow limp to the pits, the rest of the field charged after Brambilla in grid order.
Pryce's throttle was quickly cleared after his shortcut through the paddock, and so he emerged from the pits just as Brambilla blasted past to end the opening tour. As Pryce settled behind the Italian, Depailler led the rest of the field through, although it soon became clear that he was no threat to Brambilla, or the tailgating Pryce. Behind Depailler there had been some minor shuffling as Carlos Reutemann slithered past Jarier towards the end of the opening lap, while Mario Andretti had followed James Hunt up the order as both moved into the top ten in spite of their lowly grid slots.
As the opening laps passed away it became clear that Brambilla was in no mood to be beaten, the orange March pounding around serenly outfront and pulling steadily clear of second placed Depailler. The sister car of Lella Lombardi, meanwhile, had been sounding rough after the early laps, and duly dropped out with an engine issue after a handful of laps having been at the back of the Depailler train. Depailler himself would then suffer a braking issue, caused by a split pipe, releasing the pack to hunt down Brambilla's lonely March on lap fifteen.
Without the Depailler resistance, Reutemann was able to lead the lengthening train ever closer to Brambilla, although in truth it was not really due to the Argentine's efforts. Instead, Brambilla was pushing his March so hard that the front left tyre was beginning to struggle, overheating and hence wearing at an alarming rate, allowing the pack to close fairly rapidly after Depailler's fall. By lap eighteen the Italian had been shuffled from first to third, prompting him to dart into the pits for a fresh tyre, while Pryce, whom had been glued to the back of the race leader since the start of the second lap, finally allowed himself to be swallowed up by the pack.
Reutemann was now the established race leader, dragging himself and Jarier away from the chasing pack as Brambilla emerged down in fifteenth, but crucially still on the lead lap. Behind the leading duo it was Carlos Pace defending from Niki Lauda, while Hunt had made steady progress to move into the top five, most recently taking Clay Regazzoni. The Swiss racer himself ran in seventh ahead of Andretti, while John Watson, Jody Scheckter and Ronnie Peterson completed the top ten, just ahead of Emerson Fittipaldi and Mark Donohue with the entire train of third to twelfth still running together.
Elsewhere, Swedish racer Torsten Palm was getting to grips with his new surroundings, making up for a poor start by picking off some of the weaker regulars in the field, including both Williamss. Brambilla, meanwhile, was steadily closing on the third placed train, as was Depailler after his brake pipe was replaced in record time to leave him just on the lead lap. Others who had not been so lucky included Alan Jones, who had stalled after a spin, Hunt, out with a broken brake caliper, and Jochen Mass, in the pits with a broken water pipe after a poor decision to go kerb hopping.
The casualty list continued to grow as the race blasted past half distance, Brambilla's race ultimately run when his driveshaft disintegrated after he had just got in sight of the third placed train. Jarier went next, his Shadow losing its oil pressure completely to leave him with a ruined engine, to leave Reutemann with a huge lead. The spat of retirements meant that the field had begun to break up behind the Argentine, with individual fights for second, fourth and seventh.
The duel for second would end soon after Jarier's fall, as Pace slid wide and smashed into a landing light at the side of the runway, bending his monocoque quite severely. That promoted Regazzoni into the podium positions, if he could fend off the joint efforts of Andretti and Watson who were both enjoying their best races of the season. Next came the all-star brawl for sixth, with Donohue defending from Peterson, Fittipaldi and Scheckter, although they were all to be put in the shade as Tony Brise passed them all in a Hill that had barely run at all in practice.
As the race wore on, Reutemann's lead was maintained at a steady ten seconds, although he knew that this was coming at the cost of his rear tyres, which were beginning to strain as the race entered its final quarter. Pryce, meanwhile, had settled into the ten second gap between the Argentine and Lauda, still a lap down but making progress whenever the former lapped another driver, although his progress came to an end when his clutchless car stalled at the chicane. His retirement was part of another wave of breakages for the lower orders, with Vern Schuppan losing his transmission, while Ian Scheckter suffered a puncture as he passed the pits, pitching him off into the dirt.
Slowly, Reutemann's fading rear tyres began to work in Lauda's favour, allowing the Austrian racer to gradually close the Argentine's ten second lead. With fifteen laps to go the red-white Ferrari was on the Brabham's tail, although the resilient Reutemann refused to simply hand over the lead just because his rear-end was loose. Several aggressive manoeuvres kept the Austrian at bay, Reutemann slithering in to block every one of Lauda's dives, until a bluff from the Austrian allowed him to drive the #12 Ferrari right around the outside of Reutemann through turn one.
With that the race was all but done, with Lauda cruising for the last ten laps safe in the knowledge that Reutemann had very little rear-tyre grip left. He would duly win for the third race in a row, extending his Championship lead, while Reutemann had enough of an advantage over Regazzoni to claim a comfortable second. Regazzoni himself, meanwhile had had to work hard to fend off an excellent Andretti throughout the afternoon, while the latter's compatriot Donohue got the Penske into the top five for the first time.
The closing stages had been somewhat unsettling to the lower end of the points, a fuel flow issue for Watson having robbed him of a solid points finish as he had to stop twice. Donohue, meanwhile, had had to fight past Brise, aided by the former's battle against a faltering gearbox, although the Brit was still able to claim sixth ahead of Peterson, Fittipaldi and Scheckter. Elsewhere, Palm had been within sight of his first race finish when his Cosworth drained the last of its fuel, Damien Magee had a quiet afternoon for Williams as he cruised home, while Bob Evans managed to keep the lowly BRM going long enough to see the chequered flag.
- * Palm was still classified despite retiring as he had completed 90% of the race distance.
- Maiden pole position for Vittorio Brambilla.
- Also Brambilla's only pole start.
- March earned their fourth pole position.
- Niki Lauda claimed his fifth win.
- Ferrari triumphed for the 55th time as both a constructor and engine supplier.
- Clay Regazzoni also earned Ferrari's 200th podium finish.
- 70th podium finish for Brabham.
- American constructors Parnelli and Penske claimed their first points finishes.
- Tony Brise earned his first and only World Championship point.
- Maiden points finish for Hill as a constructor.
Victory for a third race in a row put Niki Lauda in command of the Championship at the halfway point, the Austrian leaving Sweden with a ten point lead. Carlos Reutemann moved into second after his podium finish, moving past Emerson Fittipaldi, while Carlos Pace remained in fourth. Jody Scheckter retained fifth, while Clay Regazzoni climbed further up the order to sixth.
Ferrari claimed the lead in the International Cup for Manufacturers after Lauda's win, 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 were secure in 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.
Images and Videos:
- 'GRAND PRIX RESULTS: SWEDISH GP, 1975', grandprix.com, (Inside F1 Inc., 2015), http://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr257.html, (Accessed 19/10/2017)
- D.S.J., 'The Swedish Grand Prix: Ferrari Again', motorsportmagazine.com, (Motor Sport, 01/07/1975), http://www.motorsportmagazine.com/archive/article/july-1975/21/swedish-grand-prix, (Accessed 19/10/2017)
- 'Sweden 1975: Entrants', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2015), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1975/suede/engages.aspx, (Accessed 19/10/2017)
- 'Sweden 1975: Qualifications', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2015), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1975/suede/qualification.aspx, (Accessed 19/10/2017)
- 'Sweden 1975: Result', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2015), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1975/suede/classement.aspx, (Accessed 22/11/2017)
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