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The 1976 British Grand Prix, otherwise officially known as the XXIX John Player British Grand Prix, was the ninth round of the 1976 FIA Formula One World Championship, held at Brands Hatch on the 18 July 1976.[1] The race proved to be among the most controversial in Formula One's history, as initial race winner James Hunt was disqualified two months after the event.[1]

In contrast, the rather tame qualifying sessions had seen Niki Lauda claim pole from the aforementioned Hunt, while Mario Andretti put his "John Player" Lotus into third.[1] Elsewhere, Chris Amon put the unfancied Ensign into sixth, while Lella Lombardi and Divina Galcia failed to qualify.[1]

It would be a chaotic start to the race, as Clay Regazzoni shot into second off the grid, only to bounce off the side of teammate Lauda as the pair came through Paddock Hill Bend.[1] The Swiss racer was sent into a spin, and despite Hunt's best efforts, the Ferrari clipped the side of the McLaren, almost causing Hunt to roll over.[1] Jacques Laffite then collected the Ferrari and wrote off both his and Regazzoni's cars as they slammed into the barriers.[1]

There was so much debris left across the circuit that the R.A.C., organisers of the British Grand Prix, opted to throw the red flag, meaning the race was stopped.[1] This resulted in some protests in the pits, for Ferrari and Ligier rolled out their spare cars, while Hunt drove around the "Indy Circuit" to get back into the paddock, where the McLaren mechanics rebuilt his car.[1] All three would join the grid for the restart, with the former duo ultimately resigned to getting excluded after the race.[1]

The restart was some what less dramatic, with Lauda blasting clear, while the majority of the field made it through Paddock Hill Bend without issue.[1] At the very back, however, Guy Edwards and Bob Evans hit each other, before Patrick Depailler and Hans-Joachim Stuck knocked one another off at Druids.[1]

The early stages of the race were rather tame, with Lauda pulling clear of Hunt, while Regazzoni and Jody Scheckter ran together for third.[1] Ronnie Peterson slipped down the order after a strong start, while Amon's impressive weekend came to an end early with a water leak.[1]

Indeed, bar some retirements in the lower order of the top ten the race proved rather tame, the only major changes coming when Regazzoni dropped out with a severe lack of oil.[1] Arturo Merzario also dropped out while in the top five, before Lauda's Ferrari began to suffer from gearbox issues just after half distance.[1]

Lauda's troubles allowed Hunt to sweep into the lead, before pulling almost a minute clear en-route to victory.[1] Lauda cruised home a nervous second ahead of Scheckter, while John Watson claimed fourth for Penske ahead of Tom Pryce and Alan Jones.[1] However, as the podium celebrations got underway, Ferrari led a protest against the result, claiming that Hunt should not have taken the restart.[1]

Their appeal to the race officials was rejected after three hours, prompting Ferrari to appeal to the R.A.C. the next day.[1] That protest was also rejected, meaning the Ferrari squad went to the FIA to appeal the result.[1] The tribunal was held on the 25 September, and ultimately decided to disqualify Hunt from the result of the British Grand Prix.[1]

BackgroundEdit

Tradition dictated that the British Grand Prix swap venue once again in 1976, returning to one of the most loved circuits in the world, Brands Hatch in Kent, UK.[2] Recent British Grand Prix had been infamous for post-race disqualifications, with no fewer than three of the past six races having results modified after the race, giving the R.A.C., organisers of Britain's biggest race, a reputation for incompetence.[1] Regardless, the R.A.C. once again arranged the bi-annual visit to the untainted Brands Hatch circuit, having renewed a sponsorship deal with the Imperial Tabacco Group and their John Player brand.[2]

Given that the John Player logo was to be splashed across the British Grand Prix once again, it was imperative that the team they backed, Lotus, put in a good result after several poor seasons.[2] Fortunately for all involved, including drivers Mario Andretti and Gunnar Nilsson, the Lotus 77 was steadily improving throughout 1976, although Colin Chapman was reluctant to promise anything more than a top ten finish.[1] Yet, with the entire weekend shifted so that the race took place on Sunday, the Lotus squad had an extra day to practice at the circuit, having arrived a week early to continue testing the 77.[2]

Away from the "home" team and Ferrari arrived with their increasingly imperious presence, with Niki Lauda and Clay Regazzoni using their usual chargers.[2] The Italian effort also brought along the usual spare, this time sporting some minor bodywork changes, with another trailer filled with spare engines after their succession of failures over in Paul Ricard.[2] However, with cooler temperatures and Brands Hatch's less engine heavy nature, there was less likelihood of anyone, let alone Ferrari, needing to swap out a fresh engine.[2]

McLaren, meanwhile, arrived for their home race in a rather more bouyant mood than they had recently, fresh from both a physical and political victory in France last time out.[2] Indeed, James Hunt had not only been reinstated as the winner of the Spanish Grand Prix but had, just 24 hours earlier, claimed victory in the French Grand Prix, reignigting both his, and McLaren's, title ambitions.[1] Yet, whether he and teammate Jochen Mass could truly challenge the all conquering Ferrari of Lauda remained to be seen, although the imminent introduction of the McLaren M26 had the potential to readdress the imbalance.[2]

The Tyrrell team were quietly going about things with their six-wheeled programme, with their trio of P34s receiving minor suspension upgrades ahead of the weekend.[2] Their drivers Patrick Depailler and Jody Scheckter were quietly confident once again, with the latter getting a fresh engine having miraculously finished in France in spite of a double valve failure.[2] Ken Tyrrell also brought along the team's old pair of 007s once again, with all five cars getting retrofitted with larger mirrors, mounted to their windscreens.[2]

Elsewhere, Brabham-Alfa Romeo arrived after a promising run out in France, with Carlos Pace and Carlos Reutemann both getting to try a lightened BT45, although it was officially entered for the former.[2] Reutemann was duly handed Pace's old car, while the first of the BT45s was to be retained as a spare, for the second chasis had been destroyed earlier in the season.[2] Two of the team's 1975 cars would also be in attendance, entered by British privateers RAM Racing for Bob Evans and Lella Lombardi.[2]

Intriguingly, the returning Lombardi would not be the only woman in the field, for a small British squad, registered as Shellsport Whiting, decided to enter a former Olympic skier.[2] Her name was Divina Galcia, whom had turned to racing after three visits to the Winter Olympics, twice captaining the British ski team at the Olympiads of 1968 and 1972. Her rise to Formula One had been rapid, only a handful of races in a Formula Two car alongside a half season in the "Shellsport" Championship, although whether her raw talent would be enough to get the team's old Surtees TS16 into the race remained to be seen.[2]

There would also be alot of interest in the factory Surtees squad, whose recent sponsorship deal with Durex caused several potential live television screenings of the race to be cancelled, including the BBC's coverage of their own home race.[2] Yet, in spite of several requests by the R.A.C. to remove his sponsor's name, as Team Lotus had briefly done, John Surtees entered two unchanged TS19s with Durex plastered to the sidepods, hoping that their improved form over recent races would continue at the team's home race.[2] Most of this recent performance had been due to lead driver Alan Jones, who was finally beginning to fulfil promise he had shown several years ago, while Brett Lunger remained a mystery.[2]

Over at March it was business as usual, with their unchanged quartet of Ronnie Peterson, Vittorio Brambilla, Hans-Joachim Stuck and Arturo Merzario all in action with unchanged equipment.[2] Wolf-Williams were likewise unchanged, fielding Jacky Ickx and Michel Leclère, as were the Shadow crew of Tom Pryce and Jean-Pierre Jarier.[2] Hesketh partnered Harald Ertl and Guy Edwards once again, the latter's "Penthouse Rizla" sponsorship not an issue compared to the fiasco over Surtees' Durex support.[2]

Fittipaldi were the last of the teams sporting a two car entry, although two time Champion Emerson Fittipaldi would get the use of teammate Ingo Hoffmann's car if the team's spare failed.[2] Penske arrived fresh from having their maiden podium finish struck from the record in France, although McLaren's recent appeal success gave them hope that John Watson would be reinstated in September.[2] The Ulsterman himself would drive for them at Brands Hatch, while Chris Amon, still overcoming his injuries from Sweden was back with the Ensign.[2]

A busy couple of weeks after the French Grand Prix saw Ligier-Matra arrive with an updated car for Jacques Laffite, meaning their first F1 car could be partially retired to the team's spare.[2] Another Frenchman could be found in the form of Henri Pescarolo, back with a British entered Surtees, while Mike Wilds was back with a year old Shadow, the last of the DN3s.[2] His entry was the thirtieth and final one on the entry list, in a field which would see the #13 revived as a race number for the first time since 1963.[2]

Despite failing to score for the first time in 1976, Lauda had continued to lead the Championship hunt after the French Grand Prix, although the Austrian would have had to drop his score in France if he had finished on the podium regardless. Hunt, meanwhile, had moved into second, level on points with Depailler once the Brit's victory in Spain was reinstated, but ahead by virtue of his two wins. Elsewhere, Scheckter dropped to fourth ahead of Regazzoni, while Watson would have to wait and see where he sat in the Championship if and when his exclusion in France was revoked.

Ferrari failed to score for the first time since 1975, but still held their commanding lead in the International Cup for Manufacturers. Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth did chip into their lead, reducing the Italian firm's advantage to eighteen points, although McLaren-Ford Cosworth closed to within six of the Tyrrell team. Ligier-Matra continued on in fourth, while four teams were level on six points, with Penske-Ford Cosworth heading that pack.

Entry ListEdit

The full entry list for the 1976 British Grand Prix is outlined below:

No. Driver Entreat Constructor Chassis Engine Model Tyre
1 Austria Niki Lauda Italy Scuderia Ferrari SpA SEFAC Ferrari 312T2 Ferrari 015 F12 3.0 G
2 Switzerland Clay Regazzoni Italy Scuderia Ferrari SpA SEFAC Ferrari 312T2 Ferrari 015 F12 3.0 G
3 South Africa Jody Scheckter United Kingdom Tyrrell Racing Organisation Tyrrell P34 Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 G
4 France Patrick Depailler United Kingdom Tyrrell Racing Organisation Tyrrell P34 Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 G
5 United States Mario Andretti United Kingdom John Player Team Lotus Lotus 77 Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 G
6 Sweden Gunnar Nilsson United Kingdom John Player Team Lotus Lotus 77 Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 G
7 Argentina Carlos Reutemann United Kingdom Martini Racing Brabham BT45 Alfa Romeo 115-12 F12 3.0 G
8 Brazil Carlos Pace United Kingdom Martini Racing Brabham BT45 Alfa Romeo 115-12 F12 3.0 G
9 Italy Vittorio Brambilla United Kingdom Beta Team March March 761 Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 G
10 Sweden Ronnie Peterson United Kingdom March Engineering March 761 Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 G
11 United Kingdom James Hunt United Kingdom Marlboro Team McLaren McLaren M23 Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 G
12 West Germany Jochen Mass United Kingdom Marlboro Team McLaren McLaren M23 Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 G
13 United Kingdom Divina Galica United Kingdom Shellsport Whiting Surtees TS16 Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 G
16 United Kingdom Tom Pryce United Kingdom Shadow Racing Team Shadow DN5B Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 G
17 France Jean-Pierre Jarier United Kingdom Shadow Racing Team Shadow DN5B Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 G
18 United States Brett Lunger United Kingdom Team Surtees Surtees TS19 Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 G
19 Australia Alan Jones United Kingdom Team Surtees Surtees TS19 Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 G
20 Belgium Jacky Ickx Canada Walter Wolf Racing Wolf-Williams FW05 Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 G
21 France Michel Leclère Canada Walter Wolf Racing Wolf-Williams FW05 Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 G
22 New Zealand Chris Amon United Kingdom Team Ensign Ensign N176 Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 G
24 Austria Harald Ertl United Kingdom Hesketh Racing Hesketh 308D Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 G
25 United Kingdom Guy Edwards United Kingdom Penthouse Rizla Racing Hesketh 308D Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 G
26 France Jacques Laffite France Ligier Gitanes Ligier JS5 Matra MS73 V12 3.0 G
28 United Kingdom John Watson United States Citibank Team Penske Penske PC4 Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 G
30 Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi Brazil Copersucar-Fittipaldi Fittipaldi FD04 Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 G
31 Brazil Ingo Hoffmann Brazil Copersucar-Fittipaldi Fittipaldi FD04 Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 G
32 United Kingdom Bob Evans United Kingdom RAM Racing Brabham BT44B Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 G
33 Italy Lella Lombardi United Kingdom RAM Racing Brabham BT44B Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 G
34 West Germany Hans-Joachim Stuck United Kingdom March Engineering March 761 Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 G
35 Italy Arturo Merzario United Kingdom Ovoro Team March March 761 Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 G
38 France Henri Pescarolo United Kingdom Team Norev/BS Fabrications Surtees TS19 Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 G
40 United Kingdom Mike Wilds United Kingdom Team PR Reilly Shadow DN3 Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 G
41 Australia Brian McGuire Australia Privateer Williams FW04 Ford Cosworth DFV V8 3.0 G
Source:[3]

Practice OverviewEdit

QualifyingEdit

Practice/qualifying were rolled into one as usual at Brands Hatch, with three "timed" sessions supported by a fourth "untimed" session across Friday and Saturday.[2] Friday would see two of the "timed" sessions, split by a lunch break, while Saturday would host the "untimed" session in the morning, before the final fight to qualify in the afternoon.[2] The target time would be a 1:20.42, a time set by Jody Scheckter en-route to pole in the Race of Champions held earlier in the season.[2]

ReportEdit

The first "timed" session on Friday rather set the tone for the entire weekend, for it reflected what had been the standard look to the grid so far in 1976.[2] Topping the charts after the first hour and a half of running would be James Hunt, a 1:22.10 his best effort as McLaren finally got on top of their gearbox troubles.[2] Jody Scheckter was next up, just 0.05s behind, while Niki Lauda looked to have a relaxed morning, setting the fifth fastest time, just a fraction slower than teammate Clay Regazzoni.[2]

After a tame opening session the second hour of running on Friday proved to be far more incident packed, the most notable of which saw Jody Scheckter lose control at Dingle Dell.[2] The result of the South African's meeting with the barriers was a badly bent Tyrrell P34, with Scheckter forced to use his old 007 for the rest of the day.[2] Elsewhere, Jacques Laffite was largely wayward while learning the flowing Brands Hatch layout, while Vittorio Brambilla spent most of the afternoon sat on the pitwall as his March suffered successive electrical issues.[2]

Away from the strugglers and Hunt was again the man to set the pace, a 1:20.39 leaving the Brit on provisional pole, news which was likely to add to the ticket sales on Saturday and Sunday.[2] The Brit's rival Lauda also made a huge improvement to move up to second on the provisional grid, while Ronnie Peterson was a surprise third overnight having become the third of three drivers to set a time in the 1:20.00s.[2] Other highlights saw Mario Andretti in the top five with a 1:21.09, just ahead of the second of the March legion, piloted by Arturo Merzario.[2]

A quiet "untimed" run on Saturday saw most of the field get some solid running in, meaning that the afternoon session, which was by far the warmest of the four, was set up perfectly for a brawl for pole.[2] Ultimately it was Lauda who claimed the honours, a new circuit record of 1:19.35 just enough to beat home hero Hunt, whose late effort of 1:29.41 proved too little, too late.[2] Andretti was a surprise third with an even later effort, causing both a scare before settling for a 1:19.76, while Patrick Depailler claimed fourth with a 1:19.88.[2]

Elsewhere, Laffite's running was hampered when the Frenchman suffered a suspension failure on the newer Ligier-Matra early on, while Andretti was set to steal pole position in the final moments of the day only to suffer a puncture.[2] Andretti's teammate Gunnar Nilsson, meanwhile, suffered an engine failure but was surprisingly strong in the spare Lotus, yet still found himself a second off his teammate.[2] In contrast there was little surprise among those who failed to qualify, with Jacky Ickx, Davina Glacia, Lella Lombardi and Mike Wilds all failing to make the grade.[2]

Post QualifyingEdit

Unfortunately the excitement of qualifying ahead of the race would be marred by a confused series of statements released by the FIA and R.A.C., although this would ultimately have no effect on the final starting order.[2] First to suffer a change would be Hans-Joachim Stuck, who had his best effort struck from the record according to "Article 19(D)", only for his 1:21.20 to be reinstated before news of his supposed infringement reached the major media.[2] The next issue came in the first provisional release of the grid, which had been hand written but showed pole sitter Lauda on the wrong side of the grid, the Austrian having opted to start from the left hand side of the grid.[2]

The printed version of the grid corrected this issue, swapping Lauda and Hunt around, but left the rest of the grid as it had been on the handwritten version.[2] This caused uproar in the pits on race morning, and was only corrected as the cars were being sent out onto the grid, although Tyrrell had issues all of their own.[2] This was because Depailler's 1:19.88 had been omitted on the printed version of the grid, with the Frenchman relegated to fifth with a 1:20.15.[2] Tyrrell tried to get Depailler's original effort reinstated, but the revised grid and qualifying results ultimately placed the Frenchman in fifth.[2]

Qualifying ResultsEdit

The qualifying results for the 1976 British Grand Prix are outlined below:

Pos. No. Driver Constructor Time Gap
Q1 Q2 Q3
1 1 Austria Niki Lauda Ferrari 1:22.67 1:20.50 1:19.35
2 11 United Kingdom James Hunt McLaren-Ford Cosworth 1:22.10 1:20.39 1:19.41 +0.06s
3 5 United States Mario Andretti Lotus-Ford Cosworth 1:22.91 1:21.09 1:19.76 +0.41s
4 2 Switzerland Clay Regazzoni Ferrari 1:22.40 1:21.46 1:20.05 +0.70s
5 4 France Patrick Depailler Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 1:23.27 1:21.55 1:20.15 +0.80s
6 22 New Zealand Chris Amon Ensign-Ford Cosworth 1:23.59 1:21.99 1:20.27 +0.92s
7 10 Sweden Ronnie Peterson March-Ford Cosworth 1:22.72 1:20.64 1:20.29 +0.94s
8 3 South Africa Jody Scheckter Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 1:22.15 1:24.54 1:20.31 +0.96s
9 35 Italy Arturo Merzario March-Ford Cosworth 1:25.63 1:21.39 1:20.32 +0.97s
10 9 Italy Vittorio Brambilla March-Ford Cosworth 1:23.63 1:23.35 1:20.36 +1.01s
11 28 United Kingdom John Watson Penske-Ford Cosworth 1:23.94 1:21.68 1:20.41 +1.06s
12 12 West Germany Jochen Mass McLaren-Ford Cosworth 1:23.46 1:21.47 1:20.61 +1.26s
13 26 France Jacques Laffite Ligier-Matra 1:23.75 1:22.30 1:20.67 +1.32s
14 6 Sweden Gunnar Nilsson Lotus-Ford Cosworth 1:24.29 1:22.54 1:20.67T +1.32s
15 7 Argentina Carlos Reutemann Brabham-Alfa Romeo 1:25.00 1:22.39 1:20.99 +1.64s
16 8 Brazil Carlos Pace Brabham-Alfa Romeo 1:24.39 1:22.45 1:21.03 +1.68s
17 34 West Germany Hans-Joachim Stuck March-Ford Cosworth 1:24.06 1:22.48 1:21.20 +1.85s
18 18 United States Brett Lunger Surtees-Ford Cosworth 1:24.69 1:23.77 1:21.30 +1.95s
19 19 Australia Alan Jones Surtees-Ford Cosworth 1:24.90 1:22.88 1:21.42 +2.07s
20 16 United Kingdom Tom Pryce Shadow-Ford Cosworth 1:24.06 1:23.22 1:21.84 +2.49s
21 30 Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi Fittipaldi-Ford Cosworth 1:26.08 1:23.27 1:22.06 +2.71s
22 32 United Kingdom Bob Evans Brabham-Ford Cosworth 1:25.29 1:24.29 1:22.47 +3.12s
23 17 France Jean-Pierre Jarier Shadow-Ford Cosworth 1:26.46 1:24.08 1:22.72 +3.37s
24 24 Austria Harald Ertl Hesketh-Ford Cosworth 1:26.34 1:24.02 1:22.75 +3.40s
25 25 United Kingdom Guy Edwards Hesketh-Ford Cosworth 1:25.43 1:24.24 1:22.76 +3.41s
26 38 France Henri Pescarolo Surtees-Ford Cosworth 1:28.05 1:26.80 1:22.76 +3.41s
DNQ 20 Belgium Jacky Ickx Wolf-Williams-Ford Cosworth 1:25.76 1:24.85 1:23.32 +3.97s
DNQ 13 United Kingdom Divina Galica Surtees-Ford Cosworth 1:28.95 1:28.25 1:25.24 +5.89s
DNQ 40 United Kingdom Mike Wilds Surtees-Ford Cosworth N/A 1:26.57 1:25.66 +6.31s
DNQ 33 Italy Lella Lombardi Brabham-Ford Cosworth 1:27.08 1:27.25 1:27.69 +7.73s
WD 21 France Michel Leclère Wolf-Williams-Ford Cosworth Withdrew
WD 31 Brazil Ingo Hoffmann Fittipaldi-Ford Cosworth No car
WD 41 Australia Brian McGuire Williams-Ford Cosworth Withdrew
Source:[2][4]
  • Bold indicates a driver's best/qualifying time.
  • T Indicates a test/spare car.

GridEdit

Pos Pos
Driver Driver
______________
Row 1 1 ______________
Niki Lauda 2
______________ James Hunt
Row 2 3 ______________
Mario Andretti 4
______________ Clay Regazzoni
Row 3 5 ______________
Patrick Depailler 6
______________ Chris Amon
Row 4 7 ______________
Ronnie Peterson 8
______________ Jody Scheckter
Row 5 9 ______________
Arturo Merzario 10
______________ Vittorio Brambilla
Row 6 11 ______________
John Watson 12
______________ Jochen Mass
Row 7 13 ______________
Jacques Laffite 14
______________ Gunnar Nilsson
Row 8 15 ______________
Carlos Reutemann 16
______________ Carlos Pace
Row 9 17 ______________
Hans-Joachim Stuck 18
______________ Brett Lunger
Row 10 19 ______________
Alan Jones 20
______________ Tom Pryce
Row 11 21 ______________
Emerson Fittipaldi 22
______________ Bob Evans
Row 12 23 ______________
Jean-Pierre Jarier 24
______________ Harald Ertl
Row 13 25 ______________
Guy Edwards 26
______________ Henri Pescarolo

RaceEdit

Before the grid could be fully sorted out race morning played host to the now familiar warm-up session, resulting in a new clutch for James Hunt after he burnt his original one out on a practice start.[2] Fortunately the McLaren team were quick to replace it and get the Brit onto the grid for his home race, with 77,000 people gathered around the circuit ahead of the start.[2] There were numerous other issues across the field, a series of electrical failures at Tyrrell, March and Lotus, but they were all solved well before the start of the race.[2]

ReportEdit

With the grid sorted and the parade lap complete the race was ready to start, and with a flash of green starting lights it was pole sitter Niki Lauda who shot into the lead.[2] Hunt was only fractions behind in terms of reaction time, but that was still enough to allow Clay Regazzoni to shoot up into second in the #2 Ferrari into Paddock Hill Bend, leaving Hunt to slot into second.[2] Yet, before the two Ferraris could jet off to an inevitable one-two there was to be a rare mistake between the two, beginning one of the most controversial race stoppages in Formula One history.[2]

Incredibly the two scarlet cars made contact, the left rear of Lauda's car chewing through the side of Regazzoni's sidepod, destroying the fibreglass bodywork and the cooling system underneath.[2] Regazzoni then spun on his own coolant right in front of Hunt, who was powerless to prevent his McLaren clipping the right rear of the scarlet car, an impact that launched the Brit into the air, and pitched the #11 car into a potential barrell roll.[2] Fortunately Hunt came crashing down before that could happen, smashing his front suspension as he did so, while the rest of the field charged past without issue.[2] That was, until Jacques Laffite came across the scene in the middle of the melee to miss the accident, clipping Regazzoni en-route to a heavy impact with the barriers.[2]

As the rest of the field roared onto the Grand Prix loop, Regazzoni and Hunt began to limp back to the pits, while Laffite was climbing out of his destroyed Ligier-Matra.[2] Yet, with fluid dumped across the circuit, and fibreglass littered over a fair amount of Kent, the R.A.C. opted to throw the red flag, meaning the race would have to be restarted.[2] Hunt saw this and stopped at the back gate of the paddock, while Lauda led the field around to start the second lap, only to be halted as they came through Druids.[2]

With that began one of Formula One's most controversial half hours ever, with the R.A.C. flicking through the rulebook to find out how the restart should proceed.[2] According to Article 23 of the FIA Yellow Yearbook, the R.A.C. decided to restart the race as if the original start had not taken place, meaning the field were put back into grid order.[2] It was also ruled that no-one would be allowed to use their spare or "training" car, effectively eliminating Regazzoni, Laffite and Hunt from the grid.[2] It was this decision that would ultimately cause uproar for months after the race, although more immediate issues were the initial catalyst.[2]

Upon hearing that Hunt would not be allowed to start the home fans cried out in fury, a range of comments and vulgar language being chanted at the officials from the 77,000 strong crowd.[2] Such was the pressure from the crowd that Ferrari and Ligier opted to shout at the officals themselves, putting their spare cars on the grid, while McLaren rebuilt Hunt's car in the garage.[2] The McLaren team completed their work just as the arguments came to an end, although the R.A.C.'s thirty minute window had long since passed.[2]

RestartEdit

The arguments had died down largely because the Ferrari, Ligier and McLaren were all on the grid, and with the restart already delayed the R.A.C. thought it would be easier to just get things underway again.[2] The second start proved to be rather more tame through Paddock Hill Bend, with Lauda leaping clear of Hunt, while Regazzoni could not match his heroics from earlier in the day.[2] Indeed, it seemed as if everyone would make it through this time, until Guy Edwards found himself bouncing off the barriers after contact at the back of the field.[2]

The rest of the field made it as far as Druids before the next accident occured, with Patrick Depailler sent spinning while Hans-Joachim Stuck found himself stuck in the barriers after trying to avoid the spinning Tyrrell.[2] Depailler would ultimately rejoin as Edwards and Stuck climbed out of their cockpits, with their cars left abandoned at the side of the circuit, for the R.A.C. were not willing to go through the restart of the race again.[2]

Fortunately the rest of the opening tour proved rather tame, with Lauda leading from Hunt, Regazzoni, Jody Scheckter and Ronnie Peterson, with Vittorio Brambilla in sixth.[2] Mario Andretti and Chris Amon had been knocked down the order at the start, both caught out in the Depailler/Stuck incidents, although Andretti's woes were to be worsened by ignition troubles which had hampered his second start.[2] Jochen Mass was another early stuggler, fighting with a faulty clutch, while Depailler came into the pits well after the field had charged past to have his safety harness buckled back up.[2]

The opening stages of the race would see more drivers join the list of casualties, Amon out with a dramatic engine failure, following Andretti onto the side lines as his ignition system failed completely.[2] Lauda, meanwhile, was beginning to inch clear of Hunt out front, with both streaking clear of Regazzoni and co. before the tenth lap.[2] The Swiss racer was therefore left to fend of Scheckter and the Marches of Peterson and Brambilla, although they were fighting amongst themselves in a race which was fast becoming a procession.[2]

Because of the rather tepid nature of the race there was little to prevent some of the major team managers meeting together to protest against the nature of the restart.[2] Leading this protest would be the Tyrrell and Lotus squads, who would have both benefitted from the effective removal of Regazzoni and Hunt from the running, with March supporting their concerns.[2] Against them were the Ferrari, who were prepared to fight only if Lauda missed out on victory, and Ligier, although the Frenchman was really out of sorts driving the car he reject in practice.[2]

However, before anything official could be arranged by the British teams in the pits there would be drama out on the circuit as Lauda lost the lead.[2] With a quarter of the race gone the Austrian began to lose his battle with a troublesome gearbox, allowing Hunt, whom had been slowly slipping away with a badly bruised hand, to gradually catch back up.[2] It was not too long before the #11 McLaren squeezed past the #1 Ferrari as the pair came through a group of back markers just after half distance, the second of two dives up the inside of Lauda into Druids ultimately doing the business for Hunt.[2]

Hunt was quickly able to establish a lead over Lauda, for the Ferrari's gearbox was getting worse prompting the Austrian to cruise once Hunt pounced.[2] His teammate Regazzoni, meanwhile, had retired unseen after losing oil pressure, following the Ligier into the pits when Laffite suffered a suspension failure.[2] Their retirements proved rather fortuitous for the R.A.C., as it meant that they could disqualify them from the race for using their "training" cars without having to worry about a protest by their teams.[2]

With that the race rather tailed off in terms of action, the only real fight on circuit coming in the form of a duel between Nilsson and Pryce over fifth place, until the Swede's engine failed twelve laps from the chequered flag.[2] Indeed, it would be retirements that truly shook up the order for the rest of the afternoon, with Arturo Merzario dropping out of contention, while teammates Peterson and Brambilla both dropped out of contention with tyre issues.[2] They would later join the retirements list, Brambilla with damage after smacking into Peterson, while the Swede himself went out towards the end of the race with electrical trouble.[2]

The last action of the race would be a charge by Watson, the Ulsterman catching and passing the Pryce/Nilsson fight just as the Lotus suffered its terminal engine issue.[2] With that the chequered flag was thrown, Hunt cruising home to record his third victory of the season from Lauda, while Scheckter was a lonely third as the last man on the lead lap.[2] Watson, Pryce and Alan Jones completed the point scorers, while Emerson Fittipaldi was a further lap behind in the Fittipaldi.[2]

Post-raceEdit

After the podium celebrations the Ferrari team, supported by Tyrrell and Fittipaldi-Copersucar, submitted a protest to the R.A.C. regarding decision to allow Hunt to take the restart.[2] After a long discussion the R.A.C. officials deemed that Hunt was "still proceeding in a forward direction when the race was stopped", meaning that the result stood.[2] Unsatisfied, the Ferrari team took the issue on to the R.A.C. the next day, altering their protest to state that the Brit had not completed the first lap, but this too was rejected.[1]

With the R.A.C. refusing to listen, the Scuderia moved onto the FIA, who duly accepted their protest fee and arranged a tribunal to be held on the 25 September 1976.[2] This tribunal would ultimately decide to disqualify Hunt on the basis that the Brit had received outside assistance, having been pushed through the paddock before the red flag was thrown.[2] That decision handed Lauda victory and would rewrite the Championship table, putting Hunt nineteen points behind with just twenty-seven left to play for when the FIA's verdict was finally published.[1]

ResultsEdit

The results for the 1976 British Grand Prix are outlined below:

Pos. No. Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 1 Austria Niki Lauda Ferrari 76 1:44:19.66 1 9
2 3 South Africa Jody Scheckter Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 76 +16.18s 8 6
3 28 United Kingdom John Watson Penske-Ford Cosworth 75 +1 lap 11 4
4 16 United Kingdom Tom Pryce Shadow-Ford Cosworth 75 +1 lap 20 3
5 19 Australia Alan Jones Surtees-Ford Cosworth 75 +1 lap 19 2
6 30 Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi Fittipaldi-Ford Cosworth 74 +2 laps 21 1
7 24 Austria Harald Ertl Hesketh-Ford Cosworth 73 +3 laps 24
8 8 Brazil Carlos Pace Brabham-Alfa Romeo 73 +3 laps 16
9 17 France Jean-Pierre Jarier Shadow-Ford Cosworth 70 +6 laps 23
DSQ* 11 United Kingdom James Hunt McLaren-Ford Cosworth 76 Disqualified 2
Ret 6 Sweden Gunnar Nilsson Lotus-Ford Cosworth 67 Engine 14
Ret 10 Sweden Ronnie Peterson March-Ford Cosworth 60 Fuel pressure 7
Ret 18 United States Brett Lunger Surtees-Ford Cosworth 55 Gearbox 18
Ret 4 France Patrick Depailler Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 47 Engine 5
Ret 7 Argentina Carlos Reutemann Brabham-Alfa Romeo 46 Oil pressure 15
Ret 35 Italy Arturo Merzario March-Ford Cosworth 39 Engine 9
DSQ 2T Switzerland Clay Regazzoni Ferrari 36 Disqualified 4
DSQ 26T France Jacques Laffite Ligier-Matra 31 Disqualified 13
Ret 32 United Kingdom Bob Evans Brabham-Ford Cosworth 24 Gearbox 22
Ret 9 Italy Vittorio Brambilla March-Ford Cosworth 22 Suspension 10
Ret 38 France Henri Pescarolo Surtees-Ford Cosworth 16 Fuel pressure 26
Ret 22 New Zealand Chris Amon Ensign-Ford Cosworth 8 Engine 6
Ret 5 United States Mario Andretti Lotus-Ford Cosworth 4 Ignition 3
Ret 12 West Germany Jochen Mass McLaren-Ford Cosworth 1 Clutch 12
Ret 34 West Germany Hans-Joachim Stuck March-Ford Cosworth 0 Spin 17
Ret 25 United Kingdom Guy Edwards Hesketh-Ford Cosworth 0 Collision 25
DNQ 20 Belgium Jacky Ickx Wolf-Williams-Ford Cosworth
DNQ 13 United Kingdom Divina Galica Surtees-Ford Cosworth
DNQ 40 United Kingdom Mike Wilds Surtees-Ford Cosworth
DNQ 33 Italy Lella Lombardi Brabham-Ford Cosworth
WD 21 France Michel Leclère Wolf-Williams-Ford Cosworth
WD 31 Brazil Ingo Hoffmann Fittipaldi-Ford Cosworth
WD 41 Australia Brian McGuire Williams-Ford Cosworth
Source:[5]
  • T Indicates a test/spare car.
  • * Hunt was disqualified for receiving outside assistance.
  • Regazzoni and Laffite were disqualified for using their test/spare cars.

MilestonesEdit

  • Shadow started their fiftieth Grand Prix.
  • Divina Galica entered a Grand Prix for the first time
    • Her entry was also the first since 1963 to use #13 as her race number.
  • Twelfth victory taken by Niki Lauda.
  • Ferrari claimed their 64th win as both a constructor and engine supplier.

StandingsEdit

James Hunt's post-race disqualification meant that Niki Lauda moved over thirty points clear of second placed Jody Scheckter, with more than double the South African's points. Hunt, meanwhile, slipped to third, remaining level on points with Patrick Depailler, having briefly moved to within twenty three points of Lauda. Clay Regazzoni remained in fifth after another non-score, while John Watson moved into sixth, level on points with Jochen Mass and Jacques Laffite.

With Hunt and McLaren-Ford Cosworth disqualified, Ferrari were able to move twenty one points ahead of their pursuers, leaving Brands Hatch with 64 points to their name. Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth were sat in second, while McLaren remained in third, the only team to have dropped points due to the rules surrounding dropped scores in 1976. Penske-Ford Cosworth moved into the top five, level on points with Ligier-Matra, while Shadow-Ford Cosworth climbed to sixth.

Drivers' World Championship*
Pos. Driver Pts +/-
1 Austria Niki Lauda 61
2 South Africa Jody Scheckter 30 ▲2
3 United Kingdom James Hunt 26 ▼1
4 France Patrick Depailler 26 ▼1
5 Switzerland Clay Regazzoni 16
6 United Kingdom John Watson 10 ▲2
7 France Jacques Laffite 10 ▼1
8 West Germany Jochen Mass 10 ▼1
9 United Kingdom Tom Pryce 7 ▲1
10 West Germany Hans-Joachim Stuck 6 ▼1
11 Sweden Gunnar Nilsson 4
12 Brazil Carlos Pace 4
13 Australia Alan Jones 4 ▲3
14 Argentina Carlos Reutemann 3 ▼1
15 United States Mario Andretti 3 ▼1
16 Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi 3 ▲1
17 New Zealand Chris Amon 2 ▼2
International Cup for Manufacturers*
Pos. Team Pts +/-
1 Italy Ferrari 64
2 United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 43
3 United Kingdom McLaren-Ford Cosworth 31 (32)
4 France Ligier-Matra 10
5 United States Penske-Ford Cosworth 10
6 United Kingdom Shadow-Ford Cosworth 7 ▲3
7 United Kingdom Lotus-Ford Cosworth 6 ▼1
8 United Kingdom March-Ford Cosworth 6 ▼1
9 United Kingdom Brabham-Alfa Romeo 6 ▼1
10 United Kingdom Surtees-Ford Cosworth 4 ▲1
11 Brazil Fittipaldi-Ford Cosworth 3 ▲1
12 United Kingdom Ensign-Ford Cosworth 2 ▼2
13 United States Parnelli-Ford Cosworth 1
  • * Corrected to show points after Hunt's disqualification, confirmed on the 25 September.

ReferencesEdit

Images and Videos:

References:

  1. 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 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 1.23 1.24 1.25 1.26 'GRAND PRIX RESULTS: BRITISH GP, 1976', grandprix.com, (Inside F1 Inc., 2016), http://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr273.html, (Accessed 25/02/2018)
  2. 2.000 2.001 2.002 2.003 2.004 2.005 2.006 2.007 2.008 2.009 2.010 2.011 2.012 2.013 2.014 2.015 2.016 2.017 2.018 2.019 2.020 2.021 2.022 2.023 2.024 2.025 2.026 2.027 2.028 2.029 2.030 2.031 2.032 2.033 2.034 2.035 2.036 2.037 2.038 2.039 2.040 2.041 2.042 2.043 2.044 2.045 2.046 2.047 2.048 2.049 2.050 2.051 2.052 2.053 2.054 2.055 2.056 2.057 2.058 2.059 2.060 2.061 2.062 2.063 2.064 2.065 2.066 2.067 2.068 2.069 2.070 2.071 2.072 2.073 2.074 2.075 2.076 2.077 2.078 2.079 2.080 2.081 2.082 2.083 2.084 2.085 2.086 2.087 2.088 2.089 2.090 2.091 2.092 2.093 2.094 2.095 2.096 2.097 2.098 2.099 2.100 2.101 2.102 2.103 2.104 D.S.J., 'The British Grand Prix: Well up to standard', motorsportmagazine.com, (Motor Sport, 01/08/1976), https://www.motorsportmagazine.com/archive/article/august-1976/25/british-grand-prix, (Accessed 25/02/2018)
  3. 'Britain 1976: Entrants', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1976/grande-bretagne/engages.aspx, (Accessed 25/02/2018)
  4. 'Britain 1976: Qualifications', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1976/grande-bretagne/qualification.aspx, (Accessed 25/02/2018)
  5. 'Britain 1976: Results', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1976/grande-bretagne/classement.aspx, (Accessed 25/02/2017)
V T E 1976 Formula One Season
Constructors Boro • Brabham • BRM • Ensign • Ferrari • Fittipaldi • Hesketh • Kojima • Lotus • Maki • March • McLaren • Parnelli • Penske • Shadow • Surtees • Tyrrell • Wolf-Williams
Engines Alfa Romeo • BRM • Ferrari • Ford Cosworth
Drivers by number Lauda • 2 Regazzoni • 35 Reutemann • 3 J. Scheckter • 4 Depailler • 5 Peterson • 5 Evans • 5/6 Andretti • 6 Nilsson • 7 Reutemann • 7/77 Stommelen • 7 Perkins • 8 Pace • 9 Brambilla • 10 Lombardi • 10 Peterson • 34 Stuck • 35 Merzario • 11 Hunt • 12 Mass • 13 Galica • 14 Ashley • 15 I. Scheckter • 16 Pryce • 17 Jarier • 18 Lunger • 18 Andersson • 18 Takahara • 19 Jones • 20 Ickx • 20 Merzario • 21 Zorzi • 21 Leclère • 21 Amon • 21 Brown • 21 Binder • 21 Kuwashima • 22 Amon • 22 Nève • 22 Binder • 22 Ickx • 24 Ertl • 25 Edwards • 25 Stommelen • 25 Ribeiro • 25 Zapico • 26 Laffite • 27 Andretti • 28 Watson • 30 Fittipaldi • 31 Hoffmann • 32 Kessel • 32 Evans • 33 De Villota • 33 Nève • 33 Nellemann • 33 Magee • 33 Lombardi • 37/40 Perkins • 37/39/40 Pesenti-Rossi • 38 Pescarolo • 39 Hayje • 39 Stuppacher • 40 Wilds • 51 Hasemi • 52 Hoshino • 54 Trimmer
Drivers alphabetically Amon • Andersson • Andretti • Ashley • Binder • Brambilla • Brown • Depailler • Edwards • Ertl • Evans • Fittipaldi • Galica • Hasemi • Hayje • Hoffmann • Hoshino • Hunt • Ickx • Jarier • Jones • Kessel • Kuwashima • Laffite • Lauda • Leclère • Lombardi • Lunger • Magee • Mass • Merzario • Nellemann • Nève • Nilsson • Pace • Perkins • Pescarolo • Pesenti-Rossi • Peterson • Pryce • Regazzoni • Reutemann • Ribeiro • I. Scheckter • J. Scheckter • Stommelen • Stuck • Stuppacher • Takahara • Trimmer • De Villota • Watson • Wilds • Zapico • Zorzi
Cars Boro N175 • Brabham BT44B • Brabham BT45 • BRM P201B • Ensign N174 • Ensign N176 • Ferrari 312T • Ferrari 312T2 • Fittipaldi FD03 • Fittipaldi FD04 • Hesketh 308D • Kojima KE007 • Ligier JS5 • Lotus 77 • Maki F102A • March 761 • McLaren M23 • McLaren M26 • Parnelli VPJ4B • Penske PC3 • Penske PC4 • Shadow DN3 • Shadow DN5B • Shadow DN8 • Surtees TS16 • Surtees TS19 • Tyrrell 007 • Tyrrell P34 • Williams FW04 • Williams FW05
Tyres Goodyear • Dunlop • Bridgestone
Races Brazil • South Africa • U.S. West • Spain • Belgium • Monaco • Sweden • France • Britain • Germany • Austria • Netherlands • Italy • Canada • United States • Japan
Non-championship Races Race of Champions • International Trophy
See also 1975 Formula One Season • 1977 Formula One Season • Category
V T E United Kingdom British Grand Prix
Circuits Brooklands (1926 - 1927), Silverstone (1948 - Present), Aintree (1955 - 1962), Brands Hatch (1963 - 1986)
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Races 1950 • 1951 • 1952 • 1953 • 1954 • 1955 • 1956 • 1957 • 1958 • 1959 • 1960 • 1961 • 1962 • 1963 • 1964 • 1965 • 1966 • 1967 • 1968 • 1969 • 1970 • 1971 • 1972 • 1973 • 1974 • 1975 • 1976 • 1977 • 1978 • 1979 • 1980 • 1981 • 1982 • 1983 • 1984 • 1985 • 1986 • 1987 • 1988 • 1989 • 1990 • 1991 • 1992 • 1993 • 1994 • 1995 • 1996 • 1997 • 1998 • 1999 • 2000 • 2001 • 2002 • 2003 • 2004 • 2005 • 2006 • 2007 • 2008 • 2009 • 2010 • 2011 • 2012 • 2013 • 2014 • 2015 • 2016 • 2017 • 2018 • 2019
Non-Championship Races 1926 • 1927 • 1948 • 1949
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