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The 1977 Argentine Grand Prix, otherwise known as the XIII Gran Premio de la Republica Argentina, was the opening round of the 1977 FIA Formula One World Championship, staged at the Autódromo Municipal Ciudad de Buenos Aires on the 9 January 1977.[1] Staged after a winter of much discontent between the FIA, represented by the new World Championship Racing group, and F.O.C.A., the race would be remembered for a shock result for a "new" team.[2]

There were some major changes over the winter at several teams, the most notable changes seeing Carlos Reutemann join Ferrari, Jody Scheckter head to Wolf, and Clay Regazzoni move to Ensign.[1] Defending World Champion James Hunt, meanwhile, would stick with an unchanged McLaren team, while Bernie Ecclestone gained control of the television rights to the series for F.O.C.A., in spite of the WCR's position as the de jure organiser/promoter of Formula One.[2]

Qualifying for the opening race would ultimately quieten down the legal fighting, with Hunt sweeping to pole ahead of new Brabham-Alfa Romeo racer John Watson.[1] Patrick Depailler put his updated six-wheeled Tyrrell into third ahead of Niki Lauda, while Jochen Mass and Carlos Pace completed the top six.[1]

It was Watson who made the best start to the opening race of the season, darting past Hunt into the first corner to take an early lead.[1] Lauda also started strongly to claim third, while Mario Andretti, using Lotus teammate Gunnar Nilsson's car, shot into fourth from eighth on the grid.[1]

The opening laps passed without major revision, the order only changing when Hunt took Watson, while Andretti moved ahead of Lauda.[1] For Lauda it was the beginning of the end, the Austrian's Ferrari falling down the order before retiring with a fuel issue.[1] Hunt, meanwhile, would sprint clear of Watson to establish a comfortable lead.[1]

Behind, Mass briefly moved ahead of Andretti for third, only to spin a few laps later and stall his engine.[1] Things would then get worse for McLaren when Hunt went flying off the circuit after a suspension failure, meaning the defending World Champion would start his title defence pointless.[1] Watson was now promoted into the lead ahead of new teammate Pace.[1]

Watson, however, was also struggling with a suspension issue, and would duly hand the lead to Pace before retiring twelve laps from the end.[1] That fact allowed Scheckter to move into second in the brand new Wolf, and would slowly catch Pace as the Brazilian fought with heat exhaustion.[1]

Scheckter would catch and pass Pace just five laps from the end of the race, before cruising home to claim a first win for the Canadian Wolf team on their "debut".[1] Pace limped home second, just ahead of Reutemann, while Emerson Fittipaldi claimed fourth in the Fittipaldi.[1] Andretti retired two laps from the end with a bearing failure but was classified in fifth, ahead of Regazzoni on his Ensign debut.[1]

BackgroundEdit

After getting cancelled in 1976 due to political concerns in the ever volatile capital of Buenos Aires, the Argentine Grand Prix returned in 1977 in the midst of an unrelated political scrap.[3] That scrap was between the new World Championship Racing body, representing the FIA as the organisers/promoters of Formula One, and the Formula One Constructors' Association, led by Bernie Ecclestone and Max Mosley.[3] Both parties had threatened to boycott or cancel the race as a result of this fallout, although the Argentine Grand Prix of 1977 would ultimately go ahead, using the unchanged "Number 15" layout.[3]

The main issue between WCR and F.O.C.A. was essentially over the promotion of Formula One with both venues and broadcasters, Mr. Ecclestone having gained near total control of broadcasting rights to F1 at the end of 1976.[3] F.O.C.A. had also secured eight races, including the Argentine Grand Prix, for the Championship, while WCR and the C.S.I. had signed up a further eight venues for the season.[3] That fact, combined with the Belgian Grand Prix, which had signed contracts with both, ensured that there was a record seventeen race calendar, with all potential races in question.[3]

With promotion came money, and the issues over both attendance fees and prize pots were at the fore of the argument.[3] For Ecclestone, whose F.O.C.A. band consisted overwhelmingly of the British "garagistas", the temptation to boycott the race came after a meeting between the CSI and WCR with the series major sponsors prior to the race, which would have tipped the balance of the dispute in their favour.[4] Ultimately an agreement regarding the attendance fee was reached before the event, although the fighting would continue between Ecclestone and Mosley against WCR president Patrick Duffeler well into the season.[4]

Away from the political issues there had been a lot of change among the grid itself, the most sizeable change coming at the "new" Wolf team.[3] Spawned from the Wolf-Williams effort, Canadian owner Walter Wolf had removed former owner Frank Williams from the team, prompting the Brit to take a number of key personnel with him, including talented young engineer Patrick Head.[3] Their departure allowed Wolf to restructure the team, bringing in Peter Warr as team boss, and designer Harvey Postlethwaite as lead designer.[3]

The new Wolf team also hired a new driver for the 1977 season, bringing in the highly rated Jody Scheckter after the South African was dropped from Tyrrell.[3] He would run as their only driver in Argentina, piloting the new WR1, an evolution of Postlethwaite's earlier designs for March and Hesketh.[3] As such, the new WR1 looked like a much streamlined version of the old Williams FW05, and continued to use the Ford Cosworth engine as a power source.[3]

Scheckter's former team Tyrrell, meanwhile, had opted to replace the South African with Swedish star Ronnie Peterson, partnered alongside Patrick Depailler.[3] Both Peterson and Depailler would test the updated P34 ahead of the new season, sporting a new, low-drag body, formed from a single piece of fibre-glass.[3] The front aerofoil had been smoothed out, radiators moved to the sides of the cockpit, and small deflectors had been mounted in front of the rear wheels.[3]

Elsewhere, Peterson's previous employers March, under the control of Mr. Mosley, had been forced to find two new drivers, as both Hans-Joachim Stuck and Vittorio Brambilla left the team.[3] In their place came Alex Ribeiro, with backing from a group of American industries, and Ian Scheckter, older brother of Jody, sponsored by Rothmans International.[3] They inherited the two 761s used by Peterson and Brambilla, although they had both been stripped down and rebuilt with updated brakes and anti-roll bars, before being re-badged as "761Bs".[3]

While Stuck had yet to find a drive, Brambilla and his private sponsors Beta had secured a seat at Surtees, who partnered the Italian with Austrian racer Hans Binder.[3] Their arrival forced Brett Lunger and Alan Jones out of the team, with John Surtees needing to find more money to finance his effort.[3] To save costs the team continued to use their 1976 TS19s, albeit with revised brakes and minor bodywork tweaks.[3]

In a completely separate cycle of moves, Carlos Reutemann officially became Ferraris second driver, partnered by 1976 runner up Niki Lauda.[3] The Argentine had been signed up before the Italian Grand Prix in 1976, and raced once in a third car, but had to wait until the end of the season to officially join the Scuderia.[3] Reutemann would get a brand new 312T2 for his troubles which, like Lauda's, started the new season with minor revisions to the suspension and bodywork.[3]

Clay Regazzoni was the man to make way for Reutemann at Ferrari, with the Swiss racer offered several drivers, most notably with Ecclestone's Brabham effort.[3] Ultimately, however, Regazzoni would join the minuscule Ensign team, which had consistently punched above its weight in 1976, despite losing two strong drivers in the form of Chris Amon and Jacky Ickx.[3] Regardless, team boss Morris Nunn secured enough funding to build a new car, the N177, which was an evolution of the 1976 machine.[3]

Despite missing out on Regazzoni, and having lost Reutemann, Mr. Ecclestone's Brabham-Alfa Romeo team would still secure a highly rated driver to partner Carlos Pace for the new season.[3] That man would be John Watson, who made the return to his old haunt after Roger Penske decided to sell of his Formula One business after growing tired of the ridiculous political fighting.[3] Watson was therefore free to rejoin the Brabham squad, which received some revised Alfa F12 engines for the upcoming season, promising increased power and reduced weight.[3]

Watson's arrival at Brabham had forced out Larry Perkins from the team, although the Australian had managed to secure a drive with the revived BRM squad.[3] Continuing on under the ownership of the Stanley family, BRM hoped to make their return to F1 with their self-developed V12, although neither Perkins nor the BRM appeared in Buenos Aires.[3] Time would tell as to whether the team would ever return to F1, although there were rumours of a major sponsorship deal with the Rotary Watches Ltd. group.

Shadow would also start the season with a revised driver line-up, Jean-Pierre Jarier having left the squad after a disappointing 1976.[3] The now British based squad duly signed Italian pay-driver Renzo Zorzi up to partner Tom Pryce, with the team sticking with their mismatched pair of cars from the previous season.[3] Pryce therefore continued to use the newer DN8, which had been narrowed at the rear to compensate for some inherent understeer, while Zorzi took over Pryce's old DN5B.[3]

Elsewhere, Fittipaldi were back up to two entries for the season opener, Ingo Hoffmann rejoining Emerson Fittipaldi in a pair of matched FD04s.[3] The cars themselves had been heavily revised for the new season, with a longer and wider wheelbase, new oil system and redesigned rear hub carriers.[3] The result were two smartly prepared cars from the Brazilian team, still with backing from Coperscuar.[3]

That left just three teams which had unchanged driver line-ups from the end of the 1976 season, although only one of them would start the new season as they had finish the last.[3] That team was McLaren, who once again partnered defending World Champion James Hunt, who had spent most of the winter drinking to his success in Japan, with reliable German racer Jochen Mass.[3] They were sent to Argentina with their equally faithful trio of M23s, which had been completely stripped down and rebuilt ahead of the season opener.[3]

Over at Lotus Colin Chapman and his team of engineers had completed work on their new "ground effect" 78, a complete redesign from their 1976 challenger.[3] Full width radiators had been fitted just behind the front wheels, with air ducts allowing air to flow from the radiators either to the engine, or back to the top surface of the sidepod.[3] The underside of the sidepods, meanwhile, had been fitted with plastic skirts and brushes to create an air seal at the sides of the car, meaning the air pressure underneath the car would be lower than that forced over the top of the car.[3] The result was a pair of rather unconventional cars for Mario Andretti and Gunnar Nilsson, who had spent a lot of time testing the new 78s prior to and during the winter.[3]

That left the lone Ligier-Matra of Jacques Laffite to complete the field, the all French squad arriving in Argentina with a brand new car, the JS7.[3] The new JS7 featured a new monocoque design, Ferrari-esque front aerofoil and revised bodywork, while the Matra V12 in the back had been mounted further down to improve stability.[3] The result was another refined racing car, in a field that was lacking several minor efforts from 1976, including Hesketh and numerous privateers.[3]

Entry ListEdit

The full entry list for the 1977 Argentine Grand Prix is outlined below:

No. Driver Entreat Constructor Chassis Engine Model Tyre
1 United Kingdom James Hunt United Kingdom Marlboro Team McLaren McLaren M23 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
2 West Germany Jochen Mass United Kingdom Marlboro Team McLaren McLaren M23 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
3 Sweden Ronnie Peterson United Kingdom Elf Team Tyrrell Tyrrell P34 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
4 France Patrick Depailler United Kingdom Elf Team Tyrrell Tyrrell P34 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
5 United States Mario Andretti United Kingdom John Player Team Lotus Lotus 78 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
6 Sweden Gunnar Nilsson United Kingdom John Player Team Lotus Lotus 78 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
7 United Kingdom John Watson United Kingdom Martini Racing Brabham BT45 Alfa Romeo 115-12 3.0 F12 G
8 Brazil Carlos Pace United Kingdom Martini Racing Brabham BT45 Alfa Romeo 115-12 3.0 F12 G
9 Brazil Alex Ribeiro United Kingdom Hollywood March Racing March 761B Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
10 South Africa Ian Scheckter United Kingdom Team Rothmans International March 761B Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
11 Austria Niki Lauda Italy Scuderia Ferrari SpA SEFAC Ferrari 312T2 Ferrari 015 3.0 F12 G
12 Argentina Carlos Reutemann Italy Scuderia Ferrari SpA SEFAC Ferrari 312T2 Ferrari 015 3.0 F12 G
14 Australia Larry Perkins United Kingdom Stanley BRM BRM P207 BRM P202 3.0 V12 G
16 United Kingdom Tom Pryce United Kingdom Shadow Racing Team Shadow DN8 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
17 Italy Renzo Zorzi United Kingdom Shadow Racing Team Shadow DN5B Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
18 Austria Hans Binder United Kingdom Durex Team Surtees Surtees TS19 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
19 Italy Vittorio Brambilla United Kingdom Beta Team Surtees Surtees TS19 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
20 South Africa Jody Scheckter Canada Walter Wolf Racing Wolf WR1 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
22 Switzerland Clay Regazzoni United Kingdom Team Tissot Ensign with Castrol Ensign N177 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
26 France Jacques Laffite France Ligier Gitanes Ligier JS7 Matra MS73 3.0 V12 G
28 Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi Brazil Copersucar-Fittipaldi Fittipaldi FD04 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
29 Brazil Ingo Hoffmann Brazil Copersucar-Fittipaldi Fittipaldi FD04 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
Source:[5]

Practice OverviewEdit

QualifyingEdit

Practice/qualifying would have a revamped schedule ahead of the Argentine Grand Prix, a result of the fallout between WCR and F.O.C.A.[4] Out went the 1976 pattern of three "timed" sessions supported by an "untimed" session, as had been pushed for by Max Mosley and Bernie Ecclestone, and replaced by the pre-1976 format of four "qualifying" sessions.[3] These were shared across Friday and Saturday, with drivers aiming to best the circuit record, a 1:49.21 set by Jean-Pierre Jarier back in 1975.

ReportEdit

It was Patrick Depailler who stole the show during the opening session of the season, the Frenchman's streamlined Tyrrell flying around the circuit to record a 1:49.63, four tenths faster than James Hunt in second.[3] They were largely on their own at the head of the field, the next best driver in the field being John Watson, making his debut with the Brabham-Alfa Romeo.[3] Indeed, Watson's pace was rather upsetting the atmosphere within the Brabham pit, with teammate Carlos Pace over a third of a second slower before breaking a water pipe.[3]

Elsewhere, the positivity at Lotus was quickly draining away, Gunnar Nilsson having to run in a fresh engine after blowing his up in a pre-race test, while Mario Andretti fought an incurable misfire.[3] Ronnie Peterson, meanwhile, found his running hampered by a bout with influenza, before his Tyrrell suffered two identical failure on his front stub-axles.[3] The second failure would end his running for the day before the end of the first session, while Jody Scheckter almost stopped on track several times as the new Wolf had issues with fuel pick-up while taking right-hand bends.[3]

Hunt would hit the top of the timesheets during Friday's afternoon session, the Brit heading out early to record a 1:48.68 to claim a dominant provisional pole.[3] Only the aforementioned Depailler could get close to the defending World Champion, although the Frenchman failed to break into the 1:48.00s before day's end.[3] Others to impress were Watson, who found more pace in the Brabham-Alfa, Jochen Mass and a quiet Niki Lauda.[3]

There were more troubles for Team Lotus during the second session, despite the fact that they had cured Andretti's misfire over lunch.[3] The American duly set about setting some strong runs, although moments after recording a session best of 1:50.13, the front of his Lotus 78 burst apart, throwing hot oil all over Andretti.[3] The cause of the spectacular failure proved to be an exploding on-board extinguisher, which detonated with enough force to rip apart the entire front end of the Lotus.[3] Andretti was left with little control, oil coating his visor while the pedals were ripped from their mounts at the bottom of the cockpit, although the American racer was able to climb out of his ruined car without injury.[3]

Away from Andretti's dramatic exit from Fridays running there were minor dramas up and down the field.[3] Peterson, for example, would fail to appear at all in the #3 Tyrrell as the team ran out of spares, while Pace's running was non-existant when he crashed during an exploration lap in the spare Brabham.[3] Elsewhere, Emerson Fittipaldi was forced to fight with a myriad of issues in his family run car, while Alex Ribeiro failed to set a representative time at all on Friday.[3]

Saturday morning's session saw almost no improvements across the field, only those who had struggled on Friday really making an impact.[3] Only Depailler, who topped the timesheet for the session, managed to get into the 1:49.00s, with Hunt choosing to focus on race pace out front.[3] Indeed, only Depailler's new teammate Peterson, Ribeiro and Nilsson would set their best efforts ahead of the race.[3]

Nilsson's day itself proved to be rather short, for the Swede was quickly taken out of his car after his strong early running to allow Andretti to make the race.[3] As such, the Swede would qualify for the in tenth come the end of qualifying, but would have no car for Andretti's chassis had been condemned.[3] Elsewhere, Pace had a new, and even more troublesome, engine fitted in his Brabham, this time hampered by terrible misfires, while Renzo Zorzi suffered a catastrophic failure in his Shadow early on.[3]

Into the final session and it seemed as if there would be no change to the order at the front of the field, even Hunt proving unable to beat his Friday best.[3] That allowed the Brit to claim pole position, although there would be a change for second as Watson moved ahead of Depailler overall.[3] Fourth went to a frustrated Lauda in the Ferrari, running so much rear-wing angle that the car was among the slowest on the straights, while Mass and Pace completed the top six.[3]

Indeed, Pace's session had been completed in about four laps, the Brazilian taking over teammate Watson's car half-way through the session before delivering a personal best of 1:49.97, motivated by pure frustration.[3] As he harnessed his darkside there were more dramas happening in the paddock, Jacques Laffite missing out on any running after his Ligier-Matra blew its engine.[3] Yet, he at least had a car to use in the race, for Larry Perkins had arrived at the circuit, only to be told that his BRM was not in Buenos Aires due to the fact that the container it had been loaded into had been too large for the Boeing 707 the team had hired for shipping.[3]

Qualifying ResultsEdit

The full qualifying results for the 1977 Argentine Grand Prix are outlined below:

Pos. No. Driver Constructor Time Gap
Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4
1 1 United Kingdom James Hunt United Kingdom McLaren-Ford Cosworth 1:50.04 1:48.68 1:51.35 1:48.81
2 7 United Kingdom John Watson United Kingdom Brabham-Alfa Romeo 1:50.28 1:49.22 1:51.21 1:48.96 +0.28s
3 4 France Patrick Depailler United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 1:49.63 1:49.13 1:49.38 1:49.61 +0.45s
4 11 Austria Niki Lauda Italy Ferrari 1:51.62 1:49.97 1:51.03 1:49.73 +1.05s
5 2 West Germany Jochen Mass United Kingdom McLaren-Ford Cosworth 1:50.62 1:49.81 1:51.22 1:50.07 +1.13s
6 8 Brazil Carlos Pace United Kingdom Brabham-Alfa Romeo 1:50.60 2:14.31 1:49.97T +1.29s
7 12 Argentina Carlos Reutemann Italy Ferrari 1:51.97 1:50.66 1:51.39 1:50.02 +1.34s
8 5 United States Mario Andretti United Kingdom Lotus-Ford Cosworth 1:51.64 1:50.13 1:51.62T 1:50.27T +1.45s
9 16 United Kingdom Tom Pryce United Kingdom Shadow-Ford Cosworth 1:50.65 1:51.40 1:52.85 1:50.65 +1.97s
10* 6 Sweden Gunnar Nilsson United Kingdom Lotus-Ford Cosworth 1:52.25 1:51.20 1:50.66 +1.98s
11 20 South Africa Jody Scheckter Canada Wolf-Ford Cosworth 1:54.74 1:51.32 1:52.33 1:50.76 +2.08s
12 22 Switzerland Clay Regazzoni United Kingdom Ensign-Ford Cosworth 1:53.52 1:53.35 1:52.82 1:50.97 +2.29s
13 19 Italy Vittorio Brambilla United Kingdom Surtees-Ford Cosworth 1:52.92 1:51.50 1:51.62 1:51.03 +2.35s
14 3 Sweden Ronnie Peterson United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 1:52.35 1:51.34 1:51.44 +2.66s
15 26 France Jacques Laffite France Ligier-Matra 1:51.52 1:55.90 1:54.34 +2.84s
16 28 Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi Brazil Fittipaldi-Ford Cosworth 1:53.21 1:51.53 1:52.58 1:52.07 +2.85s
17 10 South Africa Ian Scheckter United Kingdom March-Ford Cosworth 1:55.07 1:52.40 1:53.09 1:52.78 +3.72s
18 18 Austria Hans Binder United Kingdom Surtees-Ford Cosworth 1:55.99 1:53.11T 1:54.93 1:54.04 +4.43s
19 29 Brazil Ingo Hoffmann Brazil Fittipaldi-Ford Cosworth 1:57.84 1:54.29 1:55.44 1:53.28 +4.60s
20 9 Brazil Alex Ribeiro United Kingdom March-Ford Cosworth 1:53.54 1:53.89 +4.86s
21 17 Italy Renzo Zorzi United Kingdom Shadow-Ford Cosworth 1:56.55 1:55.45 2:26.80 1:54.19T +5.51s
WD 14 Australia Larry Perkins United Kingdom BRM Withdrawn
Source:[3][6]
  • Bold indicates a driver's best/qualifying time.
  • T Indicates a test/spare car.
  • * Nilsson was unable to start as Andretti used his car.

GridEdit

Pos Pos
Driver Driver
______________
Row 1 ______________ 1
2 James Hunt
John Watson ______________
Row 2 ______________ 3
4 Patrick Depailler
Niki Lauda ______________
Row 3 ______________ 5
6 Jochen Mass
Carlos Pace ______________
Row 4 ______________ 7
8 Carlos Reutemann
Mario Andretti ______________
Row 5 ______________ 9
10 Tom Pryce
Gunnar Nilsson* ______________
Row 6 ______________ 11
12 Jody Scheckter
Clay Regazzoni ______________
Row 7 ______________ 13
14 Vittorio Brambilla
Ronnie Peterson ______________
Row 8 ______________ 15
16 Jacques Laffite
Emerson Fittipaldi ______________
Row 9 ______________ 17
18 Ian Scheckter
Hans Binder ______________
Row 10 ______________ 19
20 Ingo Hoffmann
Alex Ribeiro ______________
Row 11 ______________ 21
22 Renzo Zorzi
______________
  • * Nilsson was unable to start as Andretti used his car.

RaceEdit

Buenos Aires had been on the hotter side of comfortable during the two practice days, although that was not enough to prepare the teams for the temperatures on raceday.[3] Indeed, even though the start time was moved to 4:00pm the temperatures were still over 43°C (110°F) as the field was sent out onto the parade lap.[3] The extreme heat meant that cooling issues would be a huge influence to the final results, although that was pushed to the back of everyone's thoughts as Juan Manuel Fangio activated the starter's lights.[3]

ReportEdit

It was John Watson who reacted quickest to the five-time Champion's countdown, sprinting ahead of James Hunt as the pair shot into the first corner.[3] Patrick Depailler, meanwhile, would make a poor getaway from third, causing several cars to bunch up behind him as the field swept through the first corner.[3] This proved particularly damaging for Jacques Laffite as the Frenchman took to the grass to avoid a clump of cars, picking up a significant amount of debris in his radiators.[3]

Come the end of the opening tour Watson had established a fair lead over Hunt, who was having to fend off a potential dive from arch-rival Niki Lauda.[3] They led a queue featuring Mario Andretti, Jochen Mass, Carlos Reutemann, Tom Pryce, Jody Scheckter and Carlos Pace, with Depailler trying to get back among them.[3] Ronnie Peterson should have been next but accidentally switched off the ignition in his new Tyrrell, only realising as he coasted down the pitlane, meaning it was Vittorio Brambilla who led the rest of the field.[3]

The early stages of the race saw a stalemate emerge out front, with Watson keeping a two and a half second advantage over Hunt, who was himself able to keep ahead of Lauda without issue.[3] The Austrian himself was in a less comfortable position, under near constant pressure from Andretti behind, while Pace was elbowing his way through the leading pack to keep the American on his toes.[3] Renzo Zorzi, meanwhile, had quietly disappeared in the Shadow with engine and gearbox issues, while Laffite came in to have his engine looked at, having picked up a misfire immediately after running wide at the start.[3]

The intense heat of the Argentine summer was beginning to bite as the early laps passed, with Watson finding his un-ventilated cockpit particularly uncomfortable.[3] That fact cause him to slow just a fraction, allowing Hunt to draw right onto the back of the Brabham-Alfa Romeo before sweeping past unhindered on the twelfth lap.[3] The McLaren quickly disappeared up the road, leaving Watson, who also had to fight an uncomfortable seat, to resist Andretti once the American elbowed his way past Lauda.[3]

Indeed, Andretti's move past the scarlet Ferrari signalled the beginning of the end for Lauda, who would slip down behind Pace as his engine sounded sicker and sicker.[3] The Austrian ultimately decided to stop in the pits for a cure at the end of the twentieth tour, only to be told by his mechanics that a fuel metering problem was the cause.[3] With no quick cure Lauda was forced to climb out of his cockpit, joining a growing list of casualties that would soon feature Peterson's Tyrrell.[3]

Elsewhere, Andretti had caught onto the back of Watson, although as the pair came to lap Alex Ribeiro into the hairpin their developing fight was all but ended.[3] Watson would slip past the March without issue, with Andretti immediately copying the Brit's move up the inside.[3] Ribeiro, however, had not seen the Lotus, and duly swept back onto the racing line, just in time to run across the edge of Andretti's front wing.[3] The furious Andretti was left throwing his arms and gesturing at the Brazilian, for even minor damage to the new Lotus 78's front wing was enough to hamper its pace severely.[3]

As such, Andretti soon fell off the back of Watson, and proved no resistance to either Mass or Pace as they scrambled past.[3] Mass himself was seriously pushing in his attempt to catch teammate Hunt, and would duly spin himself out of the race just a few laps after passing the wounded Lotus.[3] The German would stop his spin completely on the edge of the circuit without picking up damage, although a brief glance at the temperature gauge revealed that there was little point in continuing.[3]

Mass' demise caused concern among the McLaren crew, who had no idea how Hunt's engine was coping in the intense heat.[3] Yet, the Brit was still pulling out a lead out front, and looked supremely confident as he started his 32nd lap.[3] It therefore came as a shock when the defending World Champion failed to appear at the end of the lap, promoting Watson and Pace into a Brabham one-two.[3]

It was not an engine issue that ended Hunt's race, the Brit having had more clear air than anyone else for most of the race.[3] Instead a rear suspension failure had caused the #1 McLaren to fly off the road on the exit of the Esses, with Hunt bouncing through several layers of catch fencing.[3] The Brit escaped without injury, with post-race investigations revealing that a bolt had failed in the right-rear suspension unit.[3]

With Hunt out and Andretti falling back towards Scheckter, the two Brabham-Alfa Romeos were left on their own at the front of the field, formation flying with Watson a few yards ahead of Pace.[3] Yet, the timesheets soon marred the serene scene for Bernie Ecclestone out front, for Scheckter in the new Wolf was catching all three leading cars, taking chunks out of Andretti and slightly smaller bites out of the leaders.[3] Time was also on the South African's side, and as two-thirds distance approached Scheckter was only a few seconds away.[3]

Further aiding the South African's progress was the fact that Watson's Brabham had developed a serious handling issue, requiring even more effort on the Ulsterman's part just to keep his car on track.[3] Unsurprisingly Watson did not put up much resistance when Pace finally launched a challenge on lap 35, although Pace as not able to build a gap over his ailing teammate.[3] Scheckter, meanwhile, would vault past Andretti three laps after the Brabham switch, a move which signalled the start of the South African's final assault for victory.[3]

Watson would fall to the Wolf without any resistance on lap 42, the Ulsterman pulling off the circuit after a structural failure of his gearbox.[3] Pace was therefore left without a rear-gunner and with severe heat exhaustion, meaning there was little hope of the Brazilian denying Scheckter the win.[3] Ultimately, the dark blue-gold Wolf would pounce with six laps to go, prompting Pace to ease off to try and make it to the end of the race.[3]

With that the race was run, with Scheckter pulling over forty seconds clear as Pace's pace faltered drastically on the final tour.[3] The Brazilian would, however, manage to cross the line in second, just ahead of Carlos Reutemann in the second Ferrari, the Argentine having made a stop during the race after melting a set of tyres.[3] Fourth went to Emerson Fittipaldi, one of a number to benefit from the long list of retirements, while Andretti was classified in fifth after a wheel bearing failure left him stranded at the hairpin with two laps to go.[3] Clay Regazzoni was unable to beat the American on distance covered, but was delighted, if drained, to have brought the wounded Ensign home in sixth.[3]

ResultsEdit

The full results for the 1977 Argentine Grand Prix are outlined below:

Pos. No. Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 20 South Africa Jody Scheckter Canada Wolf-Ford Cosworth 53 1:40:11.19 11 9
2 8 Brazil Carlos Pace United Kingdom Brabham-Alfa Romeo 53 +43.24s 6 6
3 12 Argentina Carlos Reutemann Italy Ferrari 53 +46.02s 7 4
4 28 Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi Brazil Fittipaldi-Ford Cosworth 53 +55.48s 16 3
5* 5 United States Mario Andretti United Kingdom Lotus-Ford Cosworth 51 Wheel bearing 8 2
6 22 Switzerland Clay Regazzoni United Kingdom Ensign-Ford Cosworth 51 +2 Laps 12 1
7* 19 Italy Vittorio Brambilla United Kingdom Surtees-Ford Cosworth 48 Out of fuel 13
Ret 10 South Africa Ian Scheckter United Kingdom March-Ford Cosworth 45 Electrical 17
NC 16 United Kingdom Tom Pryce United Kingdom Shadow-Ford Cosworth 45 +8 Laps 9
Ret 7 United Kingdom John Watson United Kingdom Brabham-Alfa Romeo 41 Suspension 2
Ret 9 Brazil Alex Ribeiro United Kingdom March-Ford Cosworth 39 Transmission 20
NC 26 France Jacques Laffite France Ligier-Matra 37 +16 Laps 15
Ret 4 France Patrick Depailler United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 32 Overheating 3
Ret 1 United Kingdom James Hunt United Kingdom McLaren-Ford Cosworth 31 Suspension 1
Ret 2 West Germany Jochen Mass United Kingdom McLaren-Ford Cosworth 28 Spin 5
Ret 3 Sweden Ronnie Peterson United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 28 Spin 14
Ret 29 Brazil Ingo Hoffmann Brazil Fittipaldi-Ford Cosworth 22 Engine 19
Ret 11 Austria Niki Lauda Italy Ferrari 20 Fuel system 4
Ret 18 Austria Hans Binder United Kingdom Surtees-Ford Cosworth 18 Accident 18
Ret 17 Italy Renzo Zorzi United Kingdom Shadow-Ford Cosworth 2 Gearbox 21
DNS 6 Sweden Gunnar Nilsson United Kingdom Lotus-Ford Cosworth
WD 14 Australia Larry Perkins United Kingdom BRM
Source:[7]
  • * Andretti and Brambilla were both classified despite retiring as they had completed 90% of the race distance.
  • In contrast, Pryce and Laffite could not be classified as they failed to complete 90% of the race distance.

MilestonesEdit

  • First entry for Wolf as a constructor.
  • Fifth career win for Jody Scheckter.
  • Maiden victory for Wolf as a constructor.
    • Also Wolf's first visit to the podium.
    • Engine supplier Ford Cosworth claimed their 97th win.
  • Sixth and final podium finish for Carlos Pace.

StandingsEdit

Victory for Jody Scheckter ensured that he, unsurprisingly, led the World Championship hunt after the opening round, three points ahead of Carlos Pace. Carlos Reutemann was a content third having secured his first points for Ferrari, with Emerson Fittipaldi equally happy with fourth for his home-made effort. Mario Andretti and Clay Regazzoni completed the early scorers list.

A maiden victory on their "debut" meant that it was Wolf-Ford Cosworth who led the International Cup for Constructors charge after the opening round, three ahead of Brabham-Alfa Romeo. Ferrari opened their title defence in third, while Fittipaldi-Ford Cosworth were a record fourth after the opening round. Lotus-Ford Cosworth found themselves in fifth ahead of Ensign-Ford Cosworth, both hoping that this result was a sign of things to come.

Drivers' World Championship
Pos. Driver Pts +/-
1 South Africa Jody Scheckter 9
2 Brazil Carlos Pace 6
3 Argentina Carlos Reutemann 4
4 Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi 3
5 United States Mario Andretti 2
6 Switzerland Clay Regazzoni 1
International Cup for Constructors
Pos. Team Pts +/-
1 Canada Wolf-Ford Cosworth 9
2 United Kingdom Brabham-Alfa Romeo 6
3 Italy Ferrari 4
4 Brazil Fittipaldi-Ford Cosworth 3
5 United Kingdom Lotus-Ford Cosworth 2
6 United Kingdom Ensign-Ford Cosworth 1

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 'GRAND PRIX RESULTS: ARGENTINE GP, 1975', grandprix.com, (Inside F1 Inc., 2015), http://www.grandprix.com/races/argentine-gp-1977.html, (Accessed 27/03/2018)
  2. 2.0 2.1 (trans.), '1: Argentina 1977', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2015), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1977/argentine.aspx, (Accessed 27/03/2018)
  3. 3.000 3.001 3.002 3.003 3.004 3.005 3.006 3.007 3.008 3.009 3.010 3.011 3.012 3.013 3.014 3.015 3.016 3.017 3.018 3.019 3.020 3.021 3.022 3.023 3.024 3.025 3.026 3.027 3.028 3.029 3.030 3.031 3.032 3.033 3.034 3.035 3.036 3.037 3.038 3.039 3.040 3.041 3.042 3.043 3.044 3.045 3.046 3.047 3.048 3.049 3.050 3.051 3.052 3.053 3.054 3.055 3.056 3.057 3.058 3.059 3.060 3.061 3.062 3.063 3.064 3.065 3.066 3.067 3.068 3.069 3.070 3.071 3.072 3.073 3.074 3.075 3.076 3.077 3.078 3.079 3.080 3.081 3.082 3.083 3.084 3.085 3.086 3.087 3.088 3.089 3.090 3.091 3.092 3.093 3.094 3.095 3.096 3.097 3.098 3.099 3.100 3.101 3.102 3.103 3.104 3.105 3.106 3.107 3.108 3.109 3.110 3.111 3.112 3.113 3.114 3.115 3.116 3.117 3.118 3.119 3.120 3.121 3.122 A.H., 'Argentine Grand Prix', motorsportmagazine.com, (Motor Sport, 01/02/1977), https://www.motorsportmagazine.com/archive/article/february-1977/25/argentine-grand-prix, (Accessed 27/03/2018)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Max Mosley, Formula One and Beyond: The Autobiography, (Simon and Schuster, 2015), pp.
  5. 'Argentina 1977: Entrants', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1977/argentine/engages.aspx, (Accessed 27/03/2018)
  6. 'Argentina 1977: Qualifications', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2015), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1977/argentine/qualification.aspx, (Accessed 28/03/2018)
  7. 'Argentina 1977: Result', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2015), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1977/argentine/classement.aspx, (Accessed 29/03/2018)
V T E 1977 Formula One Season
Teams Apollon • Brabham • Boro • BRM • Ensign • Ferrari • Fittipaldi • Hesketh • Kojima • LEC • Ligier • Lotus • March • McGuire • McLaren • Penske • Renault • Shadow • Surtees • Tyrrell • Wolf
Engines Alfa Romeo • BRM • Ferrari • Ford Cosworth • Matra • Renault
Drivers Andersson • Andretti • Ashley • Binder • Bleekemolen • Brambilla • Depailler • de Dryver • Edwards • Ertl • Fittipaldi • Francia • Giacomelli • Hayje • Henton • Heyer • Hoffman • Hoshino • Hunt • Ickx • Jabouille • Jarier • Jones • Keegan • Kessel • Kozarowitzky • Laffite • Lauda • Leoni • Lunger • Mass • McGuire • Merzario • Neve • Nilsson • Oliver • Ongais • Pace • Patrese • Perkins • Peterson • Pilette • Purley • Pryce • Rebaque • Regazzoni • Reutemann • Ribeiro • I. Scheckter • J. Scheckter • Schuppan • Stuck • Sutcliffe • Takahashi • Takahara • Tambay • Trimmer • Villeneuve • de Villota • Watson • Zorzi
Cars Apollon Fly • Brabham BT45 • Boro 001 • BRM P201 • BRM P207 • Ensign N177 • Ferrari 312T • Fittipaldi FD04 • Fittipaldi F5 • Hesketh 308 • Kojima KE009 • LEC CRP1 • Ligier JS7 • Lotus 78 • March 761 • March 771 • McGuire BM1 • McLaren M23 • McLaren M26 • Penske PC4 • Renault RS01 • Shadow DN5 • Shadow DN8 • Surtees TS19 • Tyrrell 007 • Tyrrell P34 • Wolf WR1 • Wolf WR2 • Wolf WR3
Tyres Bridgestone • Dunlop • Goodyear • Michelin
Races Argentina • Brazil • South Africa • United States West • Spain • Monaco • Belgium • Sweden • France • Britain • Germany • Austria • Netherlands • Italy • United States • Canada • Japan
Non-championship Races Race of Champions
See also 1976 Formula One Season • 1978 Formula One Season • Category
V T E Argentina Argentine Grand Prix
Circuits Buenos Aires (1953 - 1958, 1960, 1971 - 1975, 1977 - 1981, 1995 - 1998)
Buenos Aires
Races 1953 • 1954 • 1955 • 1956 • 1957 • 1958 • 1959 • 1960 • 1961–1970 • 1972 • 1973 • 1974 • 1975 • 1977 • 1978 • 1979 • 1980 • 1981 • 1982–1994 • 1995 • 1996 • 1997 • 1998
Non-Championship Race 1971
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