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The 1977 Italian Grand Prix, otherwise known as the XLVIII Gran Premio d'Italia, was the fourteenth round of the 1977 FIA Formula One World Championship, staged at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza on the 11 September, 1977.[1] The race, which was the last of the season to be staged in Europe, would see Ferrari secure their third straight International Cup for Constructors' victory.[1]

James Hunt would start the weekend in the strongest position, claiming pole position from Ferrari racer Carlos Reutemann after a two day fight.[1] Jody Scheckter claimed third ahead of Mario Andretti, while Championship leader Niki Lauda, fresh from announcing his impending transfer to Brabham-Alfa Romeo, would start from fifth.[1]

At the start it would be seventh place qualifier Clay Regazzoni who made the best getaway, the Swiss racer weaving his way up into second behind Scheckter.[1] Unfortunately for the Swiss racer his Ensign was simply too slow after Curva Grande to keep Hunt and Andretti at bay, and so fell back behind them before the end of the opening tour.[1]

The early phase of the race would see Andretti cruise past Hunt with ease before sprinting off after Scheckter, the Lotus performing a lot better in race trim.[1] Behind, Regazzoni fell behind Reutemann, Lauda, Jochen Mass and Hans-Joachim Stuck, with the German duo fighting amongst themselves.[1]

It was on lap ten that the Italian crowd were finally given cause to cheer, with Andretti pulling a remarkable move around the outside of Scheckter to claim the lead.[1] The Italian-American racer duly disappeared into the distance to establish a healthy lead, while Scheckter's Wolf slowly drifted into the sights of Hunt.[1]

Ultimately there would be no serious fighting at the front of the field, for Scheckter and Hunt disappeared with mechanical failures, while Lauda blasted past Reutemann without any resistance.[1] Indeed, once ahead of his teammate, the Austrian decided to settle for second, reasoning that Andretti had to be cruising given his huge advantage.[1]

Andretti would indeed spend most of the afternoon cruising, knowing that his Lotus 78 was a particularly fragile beast.[1] Elsewhere, Reutemann got caught behind debutante Bruno Giacomelli when the Italian's engine failed right in the Argentine's face, forcing him into the barriers as he tried to avoid it, leaving Alan Jones, Mass and Reutemann to fight over the final podium spot.[1]

With that the race was run, with Andretti nursing his Lotus home to claim victory in front of his semi-home fans, although the tifosi were instead celebrating the efforts of Lauda.[1] Indeed, by finishing second the Austrian ensured that their beloved Ferrari won their third straight International Cup for Constructors' crown on home soil, the only thing spoiling the day being that neither of their cars topped the podium.[1]

Behind, Jones won the battle for third from Mass and Regazzoni, while Ronnie Peterson enjoyed a quiet Sunday drive to sixth.[1]

BackgroundEdit

F1 headed to an old favourite for its final European round of the 1977 season, setting up camp at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza for the fastest race of the year.[2] As ever, the Italian Grand Prix came with a barrage of rumours about its future, although the changes to the circuit made in 1976 were deemed sufficient for Monza to continue hosting the race.[2] Regardless, another healthy entry list containing 36 drivers was submitted, all set to fight for one of 24 grid slots.[2]

Naturally, given that the ever-loyal tifosi were heading to Monza in their droves, it was Ferrari which took centre stage at their home race, particularly as the team could collect their third straight International Cup for Constructors crown.[2] Yet, while speculation of a third entry quickly died, news that Championship leader and ex-Ferrari Champion Niki Lauda would be leaving at the end of the season sent shock waves all the way to Maranello.[3] The Austrian racer revealed that he was to drive for Brabham-Alfa Romeo in 1978, a betrayal that would leave Ferrari to look for another talisman to place alongside Carlos Reutemann.[2]

Regardless, Lauda would race for the Italian team at Monza, creating an interesting dichotomy for the tifosi who knew that the Austrian represented their best hopes of victory.[2] Furthermore, despite deciding against fielding a third driver, the Scuderia would arrive in full fighting condition, with the three newest 312T2Bs on offer for Lauda and Reutemann.[2] Of these, Lauda was given preference for the spare car, although it was up to Austrian as to whether or not he chose to use it.[2]

Elsewhere, Lauda's future employers Brabham were having their own internal battles, having signed a sponsorship deal with largely unknown Italian food company Parmalat, at the cost of losing current backers Martini.[3] Indeed, it had become a common sight in the paddocks of 1977 to see a Parmalat truck catering to the bosses of the major F1 teams, with Bernie Ecclestone ultimately the man to take their courting to the next level.[3] Their arrival, which was thought to have bankrolled the impending Lauda transfer, signalled the end of the team's deal with Martini, who subsequently engaged themselves with finding a team to sponsor in 1978.[3]

Regardless, that was a change for the future, with Brabham keeping themselves busy in the present by adding a third entry to their garage at the behest of engine suppliers Alfa Romeo.[2] Indeed, joining regular runners John Watson and Hans-Joachim Stuck would be Giorgio Francia, a local racer who had been racing for Alfa Romeo in other Championships.[2] The Italian rookie was handed the spare BT45B, although only until one of the regulars required it.[2]

Another team adding a third car to their ranks would be McLaren, although their decision to field Formula 2 "ace" Bruno Giacomelli came as a surprise given the impressive debut of Gilles Villeneuve earlier in the season.[2] Indeed, Giacomelli's addition caused the young Canadian to cancel his contract with the team, leaving them without a contracted reserve driver for the immediate future. Regardless, Giacomelli would race the same M23 that Villeneuve had used in Britain, while full race drivers James Hunt and Jochen Mass continued to use their M26s.[2]

Over at Lotus, meanwhile, it would be business as usual, with Italian-American racer Mario Andretti again partnered by Gunnar Nilsson in their 78s.[2] Likewise, there were no changes over at Wolf, whom had brought their two oldest WRs for sole driver Jody Scheckter, who needed a strong result to keep his title hopes alive.[2] Completing the "favourites" list would be Ronnie Peterson and Patrick Depailler with their Tyrrells, although recent form suggested that it would be another difficult weekend for Ken Tyrrell's six-wheelers.[2]

Elsewhere there was a change at Surtees, with Vittorio Brambilla set to be partnered by another Italian youth in the form of Lamberto Leoni, leaving Vern Schuppan without a seat.[2] Over at Ensign there were no changes, with the popular Clay Regazzoni continuing to use the factory car, while Patrick Tambay retained the Hong Kong backed effort.[2] The third lightly modified Ensign of Boro also made an appearance, with Brian Henton hoping to qualify it for the second race in succession.[2]

A similarly modified car, albeit one based off an ancient Williams FW03, appeared in the hands of Loris Kessel, causing quite a stir with its bright yellow bodywork.[2] Indeed, Kessel's Apollon Fly studio had done extensive work on the old FW03, with new bodywork, remounted radiators (in front of the rear axle), and a distinctive elongated nose.[2] Time would tell as to whether the Fly would make the cut, or indeed arrive having so far failed to appear at all in the four previous races in which it had entered.[2]

March arrived with a surprisingly unchanged line-up of Ian Scheckter and Alex Ribeiro, still using their mismatched cars.[2] Additional Marches were to be found in the hands of Patrick Nève, run by Frank Williams and Williams Grand Prix Engineering, as well as Arturo Merzario's self run effort.[2] Both of the customer cars were becoming increasingly alien compared to the factory pairing, with revised front wings on both.[2]

Elsewhere, Ligier-Matra had reverted their long-wheel base JS07 back to short-wheel base form, before handing that plus a spare to Jacques Laffite.[2] In contrast, the other French effort of Renault appeared with just a single car for Jean-Pierre Jabouille, knowing that their turbocharger was to be put to the ultimate test by Monza's flat out layout.[2] Completing the non-Cosworth contingent would be BRM, although their V12 powered creation was, as ever, expected to fall short in the hands of Teddy Pilette.[2]

Shadow were unchanged heading to Monza, with Riccardo Patrese and Alan Jones representing their interests once again.[2] Hesketh, meanwhile, had had a shuffle around, partnering Ian Ashley and Rupert Keegan together in the factory team, while Héctor Rebaque was tentatively listed in the semi-works car.[2] Fittipaldi had no such luxury and had just the single car for Emerson Fittipaldi, while the ATS-Penskes were again piloted by Jean-Pierre Jarier and Hans Binder.[2] Completing the entry list would be the two ex-factory McLarens entered for Brett Lunger and Emilio de Villota.[2]

Into the Championship and victory last time out in the Netherlands had ensured that Lauda was in near total command of the title hunt, his advantage having grown to 21 points over Jody Scheckter. The South African would need to win two races just to get back on terms with the Austrian before the end of the season, with those two the only pair with a realistic chance at the title. In contrast, Lauda would take the title if he claimed victory in Italy, with Scheckter failing to score.

In the International Cup for Constructors' the battle was almost won for Ferrari, for the Italian firm had a 33 point advantage with just 36 points left to fight for. They would win the title with just one podium visit between Italy and Japan, regardless of what the rest of the field could muster. Indeed, the only team that could deny them would be Lotus-Ford Cosworth, although it would require the Norfolk squad to have a miraculous u-turn in reliability to even consider challenge.

Entry listEdit

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

No. Driver Entreat Constructor Chassis Engine Model Tyre
1 United Kingdom James Hunt United Kingdom Marlboro Team McLaren McLaren M26 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
2 West Germany Jochen Mass United Kingdom Marlboro Team McLaren McLaren M26 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
3 Sweden Ronnie Peterson United Kingdom Elf Team Tyrrell Tyrrell P34B Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
4 France Patrick Depailler United Kingdom Elf Team Tyrrell Tyrrell P34B 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 BT45B Alfa Romeo 115-12 3.0 F12 G
8 West Germany Hans-Joachim Stuck United Kingdom Martini Racing Brabham BT45B 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 771 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
11 Austria Niki Lauda Italy Scuderia Ferrari SpA SEFAC Ferrari 312T2B Ferrari 015 3.0 F12 G
12 Argentina Carlos Reutemann Italy Scuderia Ferrari SpA SEFAC Ferrari 312T2B Ferrari 015 3.0 F12 G
14 Italy Bruno Giacomelli United Kingdom Marlboro Team McLaren McLaren M26 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
15 France Jean-Pierre Jabouille France Equipe Renault Elf Renault RS01 Renault EF1 1.5 V6t M
16 Italy Riccardo Patrese United Kingdom Shadow Racing Team Shadow DN8 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
17 Australia Alan Jones United Kingdom Shadow Racing Team Shadow DN8 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
18 Italy Lamberto Leoni United Kingdom 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
21 Italy Giorgio Francia United Kingdom Martini Racing Brabham BT45B Alfa Romeo 115-12 3.0 F12 G
22 Switzerland Clay Regazzoni United Kingdom Team Tissot Ensign with Castrol Ensign N177 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
23 France Patrick Tambay Hong Kong Theodore Racing Hong Kong Ensign N177 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
24 United Kingdom Rupert Keegan United Kingdom Penthouse Rizla Racing Hesketh 308E Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
25 United Kingdom Ian Ashley United Kingdom Hesketh Racing Hesketh 308E Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
26 France Jacques Laffite France Ligier Gitanes Ligier JS7 Matra MS76 3.0 V12 G
27 Belgium Patrick Nève United Kingdom Williams Grand Prix Engineering March 761 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
28 Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi Brazil Copersucar-Fittipaldi Fittipaldi F5 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
30 United States Brett Lunger United States Chesterfield Racing McLaren M23 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
33 Austria Hans Binder West Germany ATS Racing Team Penske PC4 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
34 France Jean-Pierre Jarier West Germany ATS Racing Team Penske PC4 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
35 Belgium Teddy Pilette United Kingdom Stanley BRM BRM P207 BRM P202 3.0 V12 G
36 Spain Emilio de Villota Spain Iberia Airlines McLaren M23 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
37 Italy Arturo Merzario Italy Team Merzario March 761B Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
38 United Kingdom Brian Henton Netherlands HB Bewaking Alarm Systems Boro 001 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
39 Mexico Héctor Rebaque United Kingdom Hesketh Racing Hesketh 308E Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
41 Switzerland Loris Kessel Switzerland Jolly Club Switzerland Apollon Fly Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
Source:[4]

Practice OverviewEdit

QualifyingEdit

Practice/qualifying were to be staged across Friday and Saturday, with no mention of a pre-qualifying session after Arturo Merzario's protest in Zandvoort.[2] Friday's running would be divided into two "timed" periods, while Saturday was, as usual, to be split into a morning "untimed" session, before a final "timed" session to complete the grid once and for all.[2] As for a target time it would be a case of beating the circuit record set in 1976, when Jacques Laffite had recorded a 1:41.35 to claim pole.[2]

Friday QualifyingEdit

Ferrari had arrived in Monza with a singular purpose ahead of practice, so there was little surprise that Niki Lauda dominated the timesheets from the start of Friday's running.[2] Indeed, the Austrian racer would spend most of the morning lapping under the 1:40.00 mark, ultimately settling for a 1:38.97 set just before the break.[2] His teammate Carlos Reutemann was a little less consistent but near enough on ultimate pace, the Argentine ending the morning second fastest on a 1:39.18.[2]

Indeed, it seemed as if a driver would require an Italian built engine to get to the top of the time sheets, for John Watson had a promising start to the weekend with his Brabham-Alfa Romeo.[2] The Ulsterman was third fastest with a 1:39.21, while teammate Hans-Joachim Stuck would also end the morning with a sub-1:40.00 time.[2] Indeed, the only other men to record "ace" times would be Mario Andretti and Jody Scheckter, although they were both using special Ford Cosworth V8s to do so.[2]

Elsewhere, Zandvoort protester Merzario decided to back up shop at the start of the day, his complaints regarding his garage, or rather lack of, ultimately falling on deaf ears.[2] Due to the rather bloated entry list, the Italian was among a number of owner/drivers who had to use a gazebo and a patch of grass to prepare their cars, with the F.O.C.A. teams getting priority in the pit complex.[2] While this issue certainly hampered the likes of Loris Kessel and Emilio de Villota, there was little surprise that they found themselves in the drop zone at the end of the first session.[2]

Into the afternoon session and the Ferraris opted not to show their hand, meaning it was Andretti who topped the session with a 1:39.54, securing himself in fourth on the provisional gird overnight.[2] Stuck also ran well in the afternoon to claim second fastest, a 1:39.61 the reward, while James Hunt also improved, although his 1:39.87 still left him shy of Scheckter's morning effort.[2] The Brit was still in a better position than regular teammate Jochen Mass, who was outpaced by youngster Bruno Giacomelli in an old McLaren M23, while Brabham's third driver Giorgio Francia was told the vacate their spare car after issues for Stuck early on.[2]

Indeed, young Francia's effective withdrawal ensured that he was already out of the fight to qualify, as was Kessel who was fighting a variety of issues in his customised Williams FW03.[2] Also in danger of missing out on a grid slot before the final session were Brian Henton in the Boro, Teddy Pilette's jaded BRM, and the two private McLarens of de Villota and Brett Lunger.[2] Elsewhere, Jean-Pierre Jabouille sat out the session after his Renault chewed up his engine, although he was relatively safe with a time in the 1:40.00s, while Alan Jones spent the day helping the marshals to break bits of his Shadow as he clipped kerbs and spun into the gravel several times.[2]

Saturday QualifyingEdit

The "untimed" session on Saturday was brought to a temporary halt after a huge accident for Patrick Tambay, whose Ensign ended up upside down in the middle of the Lesmo section.[2] The Frenchman had suffered a suspension failure while changing gear in the first Lesmo corner, which duly pitched the car into the barriers at and angle that caused it to roll.[2] Several drivers stopped to aid the Frenchman, fearing the worst, although Tambay would ultimately escape completely unmarked before the marshals got to him.[2]

Once the session restarted there was a lot of on-track action, although that was no excuse for Lauda as he threw his Ferrari into the barriers at the Parabolica while using some special Goodyear tyres.[2] The Austrian walked back to the pits to report some rear-suspension damage, prompting the Scuderia to quickly swap around the rear-end on his race car for that on Reutemann's.[2] That, somewhat unfairly, left Reutemann with the "muletta" for the final qualifying session, although with the express promise that his race car would be restored in time for the race.[2]

Into the final hour of qualifying itself and the scene quickly evolved into one akin to battlefield, with tyre and engine smoke signalling just how hard drivers were pushing to take pole.[2] Leading the charge were the two scarlet-white Ferraris, joined by Andretti, Hunt and Scheckter, who all managed to get under the 1:40.00 mark in the opening minutes.[2] They would all then proceed to smash past Lauda's Friday effort and on towards the 1:38.00 mark, although with ten minutes to go it seemed as if Reutemann had sealed pole with a 1:38.15.[2]

Indeed, the Ferrari team believed that Reutemann had taken pole with time to spare, for the Argentine was instructed to switch off his car and climb out.[2] As such, it came as a huge shock to the tifosi when Hunt charged across the line with seconds to spare to record a 1:38.08 claiming pole by just seven hundredths of a second.[2] Lauda was on course for revenge until a misfire on his warm-up lap ended his bid, leaving him on a suddenly vulnerable 1:38.54.[2]

The Austria's time was duly bettered by both Scheckter and Andretti, although they were mutually disappointed not to get onto the front row.[2] Behind, Riccardo Patrese caused some surprise by appearing in sixth once the final standings were released, appearing in a dead heat with Clay Regazzoni in the new Ensign.[2] Indeed, their times were officially revised to 1:38.683 and 1:38.684 respectively on the official timesheets, with just two and a half seconds covering the entire field.[2]

The sudden increase in pace during the final session ultimately cost several drivers a spot on the grid, with many improving but not by enough.[2] Out therefore went Alex Ribeiro and a miserable Emerson Fittipaldi, as well as the debuting Lamberto Leoni in his Surtees.[2] Henton, de Villota, Ian Ashley, Pilette and Binder joined them on the sidelines, while Kessel and Francia were no where to be found when the final times were published.[2]

Qualifying ResultsEdit

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

Pos. No. Driver Constructor Time Gap
Q1 Q2 Q3
1 1 United Kingdom James Hunt United Kingdom McLaren-Ford Cosworth 1:40.11 1:39.87T 1:38.08
2 12 Argentina Carlos Reutemann Italy Ferrari 1:39.18 1:40.28 1:38.15T +0.07s
3 20 South Africa Jody Scheckter Canada Wolf-Ford Cosworth 1:39.70 1:40.91 1:38.29 +0.21s
4 5 United States Mario Andretti United Kingdom Lotus-Ford Cosworth 1:39.62 1:39.54 1:38.37 +0.29s
5 11 Austria Niki Lauda Italy Ferrari 1:38.97 1:40.06 1:38.54 +0.46s
6 16 Italy Riccardo Patrese United Kingdom Shadow-Ford Cosworth 1:41.95 1:41.89 1:38.68 +0.60s
7 22 Switzerland Clay Regazzoni United Kingdom Ensign-Ford Cosworth 1:41.28 1:40.70 1:38.68 +0.60s
8 26 France Jacques Laffite France Ligier-Matra 1:40.14 1:40.34 1:38.77 +0.69s
9 2 West Germany Jochen Mass United Kingdom McLaren-Ford Cosworth 1:40.83 1:40.77 1:38.86 +0.78s
10 19 Italy Vittorio Brambilla United Kingdom Surtees-Ford Cosworth 1:40.22 1:41.91 1:38.92 +0.84s
11 8 West Germany Hans-Joachim Stuck United Kingdom Brabham-Alfa Romeo 1:39.96 1:39.61 1:39.05 +0.97s
12 3 Sweden Ronnie Peterson United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 1:40.50 1:40.70 1:39.17 +1.09s
13 4 France Patrick Depailler United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 1:42.00 1:40.12 1:39.18 +1.10s
14 7 United Kingdom John Watson United Kingdom Brabham-Alfa Romeo 1:39.21 1:40.10 1:39.81 +1.13s
15 14 Italy Bruno Giacomelli United Kingdom McLaren-Ford Cosworth 1:40.59 1:41.23 1:39.42 +1.34s
16 17 Australia Alan Jones United Kingdom Shadow-Ford Cosworth 1:40.63 1:41.50 1:39.50 +1.42s
17 10 South Africa Ian Scheckter United Kingdom March-Ford Cosworth 1:41.00 1:41.37 1:39.62 +1.54s
18 34 France Jean-Pierre Jarier West Germany Penske-Ford Cosworth 1:41.16 1:41.61 1:39.63 +1.55s
19 6 Sweden Gunnar Nilsson United Kingdom Lotus-Ford Cosworth 1:41.54 1:41.22 1:39.85 +1.77s
20 15 France Jean-Pierre Jabouille France Renault 1:40.06 1:40.03 +1.95s
21 23 France Patrick Tambay Hong Kong Ensign-Ford Cosworth 1:40.19 1:40.83 1:41.67T +2.11s
22 30 United States Brett Lunger United States McLaren-Ford Cosworth 1:44.19 1:43.26T 1:40.26 +2.18s
23 24 United Kingdom Rupert Keegan United Kingdom Hesketh-Ford Cosworth 1:42.72 1:42.99 1:40.28 +2.20s
24 27 Belgium Patrick Nève United Kingdom March-Ford Cosworth 1:42.92 1:42.73 1:40.51 +2.43s
DNQ 9 Brazil Alex Ribeiro United Kingdom March-Ford Cosworth 1:43.75 1:40.79 +2.71s
DNQ 28 Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi Brazil Fittipaldi-Ford Cosworth 1:42.67 1:43.15 1:40.97 +2.89s
DNQ 18 Italy Lamberto Leoni United Kingdom Surtees-Ford Cosworth 1:41.94 1:42.70 1:41.03 +2.95s
DNQ 38 United Kingdom Brian Henton Netherlands Boro-Ford Cosworth 1:42.80 2:05.30 1:41.13 +3.05s
DNQ 36 Spain Emilio de Villota Spain McLaren-Ford Cosworth 1:46.26 1:44.43 1:41.21 +3.13s
DNQ 25 United Kingdom Ian Ashley United Kingdom Hesketh-Ford Cosworth 1:43.32 1:42.85 1:41.22 +3.14s
DNQ 35 Belgium Teddy Pilette United Kingdom BRM 1:45.09 1:44.27 1:41.92 +3.84s
DNQ 33 Austria Hans Binder West Germany Penske-Ford Cosworth 1:43.21 1:43.80 1:43.10 +5.02s
DNQ 41 Switzerland Loris Kessel Switzerland Apollon-Ford Cosworth 1:46.68 1:49.95 +8.60s
DNQ 21 Italy Giorgio Francia United Kingdom Brabham-Alfa Romeo 1:49.67 +11.59s
WD 37 Italy Arturo Merzario Italy March-Ford Cosworth Withdrawn
WD 39 Mexico Héctor Rebaque United Kingdom Hesketh-Ford Cosworth Withdrawn
Source:[2][5]
  • Bold indicates a driver's best/qualifying time.
  • T Indicates a test/spare car.

GridEdit

Pos Pos
Driver Driver
______________
Row 1 1 ______________
James Hunt 2
______________ Carlos Reutemann
Row 2 3 ______________
Jody Scheckter 4
______________ Mario Andretti
Row 3 5 ______________
Niki Lauda 6
______________ Riccardo Patrese
Row 4 7 ______________
Clay Regazzoni 8
______________ Jacques Laffite
Row 5 9 ______________
Jochen Mass 10
______________ Vittorio Brambilla
Row 6 11 ______________
Hans-Joachim Stuck 12
______________ Ronnie Peterson
Row 7 13 ______________
Patrick Depailler 14
______________ John Watson
Row 8 15 ______________
Bruno Giacomelli 16
______________ Alan Jones
Row 9 17 ______________
Ian Scheckter 18
______________ Jean-Pierre Jarier
Row 10 19 ______________
Gunnar Nilsson 20
______________ Jean-Pierre Jabouille
Row 11 21 ______________
Patrick Tambay 22
______________ Brett Lunger
Row 12 23 ______________
Rupert Keegan 24
______________ Patrick Nève

RaceEdit

Unfortunately the pre-race build-up would be marred by an accident during an Alfa Sud race, with a spectator killed after an advertising hoarding collapsed under the weight of people perching themselves upon it.[2] That sad event overshadowed the events of the pre-race warm-up, where Vittorio Brambilla wrote off his Surtees, forcing the Italian to take over the now spare car of Lamberto Leoni for the race.[2] He would, however, manage to make it onto the grid for the start, with all 24 qualifiers awaiting the switch of the starter's lights from red to green.[2]

ReportEdit

The lights flashed to green right on the 3:30pm start time, with front row starters James Hunt and Carlos Reutemann making a seemingly good getaway.[2] That was, until Jody Scheckter and Niki Lauda formed a pincer movement around them, while Clay Regazzoni shot into the middle of the group.[2] They were joined by Mario Andretti on the brakes into the Rettifilo chicane, although it was Scheckter's Wolf that emerged with the lead, followed by Hunt, Regazzoni, Andretti, Reutemann and Lauda.[2]

The rest of the opening tour would be less dramatic, although Jean-Pierre Jabouille picked up some nose damage after rear-ending someone at the second chicane.[2] Jacques Laffite, meanwhile, had been left behind at the side of the grid after stalling, the Ligier-Matra having overheated while waiting for the lights.[2] He got underway a few seconds after the rest of the field dived through Curva Grande, before stopping in the pits at the end of the lap for a top-up of water.[2]

By the end of the opening tour Scheckter had established a comfortable two second advantage over Hunt, having gained time throughout the rest of the first lap.[2] Andretti was next having slithered inside Regazzoni through Parabolica, leaving the Ensign to defend from the two Ferraris.[2] Jochen Mass had made a strong start to run in seventh ahead of Vittorio Brambilla, while Jabouille was jousting with Gunnar Nilsson in the middle of the pack with his wounded Renault.[2]

The second lap would see Andretti shuffle past Hunt, although the Italian-American racer would have to push hard to catch Scheckter, who was setting an incredible pace outfront.[2] Hunt, meanwhile, was left to fend off the two scarlet Ferraris of Reutemann and Lauda, which had dealt with Regazzoni on the start/finish straight.[2] John Watson, meanwhile, would throw a desperate move on Regazzoni and Mass into the Rettifilo at the start of the second tour, only to misjudge his breaking point and smash into the kerbs, shattering an engine casting.[2]

It took Andretti a few laps to get up to Scheckter's speed, although by lap five it was clear that the Lotus was inching closer to the back of the Wolf.[2] By lap nine Andretti was in striking distance, and duly drove right around Scheckter through Parabolica towards the end of lap ten to grab the lead.[2] Scheckter tried to return the favour and duly glued himself to the back of the Lotus, although after a few laps of desperate tow-breaking weaving by Andretti, the Wolf slowly slipped away.[2]

With Andretti now running clear out front, and Scheckter an increasingly lonely second, all of the attention was focused on the fight for third, with the tifosi roaring on the efforts of Reutemann and Lauda against Hunt.[2] Indeed, the McLaren racer was putting up a ferocious defence against the scarlet threat, particularly given that his car was suffering from some major balance issues.[2] These issues could be traced back to McLaren's decision to use a harder compound on the front left tyre, after finding excessive wear on that corner during the morning warm-up.[2]

Regardless, Hunt seemed to have just enough of an edge to keep the Ferraris at bay, until he came across a slow moving Jean-Pierre Jarier at the start of lap twelve.[2] Reutemann, sensing an opportunity, pulled alongside the McLaren as they headed towards the Rettifilo, boxing Hunt in behind the Penske.[2] Hunt, however, decided to try and find his way past the Frenchman, only to lose control as he hit the brakes and go spinning across the chicane.[2] Reutemann and Lauda scrambled through in third and fourth, accompanied by a roar from the tifosi, while Hunt scrambled back into action behind Mass.[2]

Hunt's race was over from that point on, for a second spin at Ascari, having just passed Mass, signified a catastrophic brake issue.[2] The Brit came in and ordered a full examination of his car, although with no obvious issues to be seen Hunt rejoined several laps down.[2] He would go on to complete another lap accompanied by a third pirouette, before ultimately calling it a day on lap 26.[2]

As Hunt's series of spins went on there would be a major change at the front of the field, as Scheckter suffered an engine failure on lap 24, having just begun to re-close the gap to Andretti.[2] The smoking Wolf therefore ended any real chance of the Italian-American being beaten, for Reutemann and Lauda were more than a quarter of a minute back.[2] Indeed, the race seemed to be as much about attrition as it was about on-track action, with numerous drivers falling foul of engine failures.[2]

Just moments before Scheckter's failure, Jabouille's Renault had rolled to a stop with its own issues, although this failure was not caused by its turbo for a change.[2] He had joined a list that had started on lap five, when Brett Lunger's engine had been, literally, chopped apart by a connecting rod, a lap before Brambilla's race was effectively ended by overheating.[2] Patrick Tambay was another early faller with severe engine fatigue, while Hans-Joachim Stuck saw a healthy fourth place evaporate in his mirrors as his Alfa Romeo F12 failed.[2]

Alan Jones duly inherited Stuck's fourth place in his Shadow, with Mass and Regazzoni jousting with Ronnie Peterson.[2] Ahead, meanwhile, Reutemann's F12 Ferrari engine was beginning to struggle with the strain, meaning the Argentine had to wave teammate Lauda past to ensure one of them got onto the podium.[2] It proved to be a wise decision by the experienced Argentine, for his race would come to an end just a few laps later.[2]

Indeed, the scarlet duo had just come up to lap the debuting Bruno Giacomelli when the Italian rookie's Ford Cosworth expired on the start/finish straight, dumping oil all the way from Parabolica into the Rettifilo.[2] Lauda spotted the fluid and moved to one side, while Reutemann, unsighted by his teammate, carried on on the slick and duly spun at the chicane.[2] He joined Giacomelli in the dirt, the Italian having spun on his own oil, before Riccardo Patrese arrived into the fray, taking out a marshal as his Shadow came to a stop.[2]

Fortunately no one was seriously injured in the incident, although it did effectively end any hopes of action on circuit.[2] As such, all that was left was for Andretti to cruise through the thirteen remaining laps to claim a handsome victory for Lauda, whose second place ensured that Ferrari triumphed in the Constructors' Cup.[2] Jones came home a solid third ahead of Mass, Regazzoni and Peterson, while Patrick Nève, Laffite and Rupert Keegan were the only other finishers.[2]

ResultsEdit

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

Pos. No. Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 5 United States Mario Andretti United Kingdom Lotus-Ford Cosworth 52 1:27:50.30 4 9
2 11 Austria Niki Lauda Italy Ferrari 52 +16.96s 5 6
3 17 Australia Alan Jones United Kingdom Shadow-Ford Cosworth 52 +23.63s 16 4
4 2 West Germany Jochen Mass United Kingdom McLaren-Ford Cosworth 52 +28.48 9 3
5 22 Switzerland Clay Regazzoni United Kingdom Ensign-Ford Cosworth 52 +30.11s 7 2
6 3 Sweden Ronnie Peterson United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 52 +1:19.22 12 1
7 27 Belgium Patrick Nève United Kingdom March-Ford Cosworth 50 +2 Laps 24
8 26 France Jacques Laffite France Ligier-Matra 50 +2 Laps 8
9 24 United Kingdom Rupert Keegan United Kingdom Hesketh-Ford Cosworth 48 +4 Laps 23
Ret 10 South Africa Ian Scheckter United Kingdom March-Ford Cosworth 41 Transmission 17
Ret 12 Argentina Carlos Reutemann Italy Ferrari 39 Spin 2
Ret 16 Italy Riccardo Patrese United Kingdom Shadow-Ford Cosworth 39 Spin 6
Ret 14 Italy Bruno Giacomelli United Kingdom McLaren-Ford Cosworth 38 Engine 15
Ret 8 West Germany Hans-Joachim Stuck United Kingdom Brabham-Alfa Romeo 31 Engine 11
Ret 1 United Kingdom James Hunt United Kingdom McLaren-Ford Cosworth 26 Spin 1
Ret 4 France Patrick Depailler United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 24 Engine 13
Ret 20 South Africa Jody Scheckter Canada Wolf-Ford Cosworth 23 Engine 3
Ret 15 France Jean-Pierre Jabouille France Renault 23 Engine 20
Ret 34 France Jean-Pierre Jarier West Germany Penske-Ford Cosworth 19 Engine 18
Ret 23 France Patrick Tambay Hong Kong Ensign-Ford Cosworth 9 Engine 21
Ret 19 Italy Vittorio Brambilla United Kingdom Surtees-Ford Cosworth 5 Accident 10
Ret 6 Sweden Gunnar Nilsson United Kingdom Lotus-Ford Cosworth 4 Suspension 22
Ret 30 United States Brett Lunger United States McLaren-Ford Cosworth 4 Engine 19
Ret 7 United Kingdom John Watson United Kingdom Brabham-Alfa Romeo 3 Accident 14
DNQ 9 Brazil Alex Ribeiro United Kingdom March-Ford Cosworth
DNQ 28 Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi Brazil Fittipaldi-Ford Cosworth
DNQ 18 Italy Lamberto Leoni United Kingdom Surtees-Ford Cosworth
DNQ 38 United Kingdom Brian Henton Netherlands Boro-Ford Cosworth
DNQ 36 Spain Emilio de Villota Spain McLaren-Ford Cosworth
DNQ 25 United Kingdom Ian Ashley United Kingdom Hesketh-Ford Cosworth
DNQ 29 Belgium Teddy Pilette United Kingdom BRM
DNQ 33 Austria Hans Binder West Germany Penske-Ford Cosworth
DNQ 41 Switzerland Loris Kessel Switzerland Apollon-Ford Cosworth
DNQ 21 Italy Giorgio Francia United Kingdom Brabham-Alfa Romeo
WD 37 Italy Arturo Merzario Italy March-Ford Cosworth
WD 39 Mexico Héctor Rebaque United Kingdom Hesketh-Ford Cosworth
Source:[6]

MilestonesEdit

StandingsEdit

Yet another podium finish for Niki Lauda ensured that the Austrian racer was just a point away from his second World Championship, leaving Italy with a 27 point lead. Indeed, the only man who could mathematically deny the Austrian the crown would be Jody Scheckter, although that would only be if the South African could secure three wins in the final three races, with Lauda failing to score at all. Elsewhere, Mario Andretti won the battle but lost the war, a result of his fragile Lotus, while Jochen Mass pulled to within a point of teammate James Hunt after the Brit's miserable season.

It was all over in the International Cup for Constructors' hunt, with Ferrari leaving Italy with an unassailable 30 point lead over Team Lotus-Ford Cosworth. Indeed, like their lead driver Andretti, the Norfolk squad were left to rue their delicate Lotus 78, which was undoubtedly the quickest car in the field. In contrast, Ferrari had won the battle by virtue of their reliability and consistent development, meaning they could put all their efforts in securing the Drivers' crown for Lauda, in spite of his impending betrayal.

Drivers' World Championship
Pos. Driver Pts +/-
1 Austria Niki Lauda 69
2 South Africa Jody Scheckter 42
3 United States Mario Andretti 41 ▲1
4 Argentina Carlos Reutemann 35 ▼1
5 United Kingdom James Hunt 22
6 West Germany Jochen Mass 21 ▲1
7 Sweden Gunnar Nilsson 20 ▼1
8 France Jacques Laffite 16
9 Australia Alan Jones 16
10 West Germany Hans-Joachim Stuck 12
11 Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi 11
12 France Patrick Depailler 10
13 United Kingdom John Watson 9
14 Sweden Ronnie Peterson 7 ▲1
15 Brazil Carlos Pace 6 ▼1
16 Italy Vittorio Brambilla 5
17 Switzerland Clay Regazzoni 3 ▲1
18 France Patrick Tambay 3 ▼1
19 Italy Renzo Zorzi 1
20 France Jean-Pierre Jarier 1
International Cup for Constructors
Pos. Team Pts +/-
1 Italy Ferrari 86 (88)
2 United Kingdom Lotus-Ford Cosworth 56
3 Canada Wolf-Ford Cosworth 42
4 United Kingdom McLaren-Ford Cosworth 38
5 United Kingdom Brabham-Alfa Romeo 27
6 United Kingdom Shadow-Ford Cosworth 17 ▲2
7 United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 17
8 France Ligier-Matra 16 ▼2
9 Brazil Fittipaldi-Ford Cosworth 11
10 United Kingdom Ensign-Ford Cosworth 6 ▲1
11 United Kingdom Surtees-Ford Cosworth 5 ▼1
12 United States Penske-Ford Cosworth 1
Only point scoring drivers and constructors are shown.

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 'ITALIAN GP, 1977', grandprix.com, (Inside F1 Inc., 2015), http://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr294.html, (Accessed 18/03/2018)
  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 2.105 2.106 2.107 2.108 2.109 2.110 2.111 A.H., 'The Italian Grand Prix: An Anglo-Italian victory', motorsportmagazine.com, (Motor Sport, 01/10/1977), https://www.motorsportmagazine.com/archive/article/october-1977/23/italian-grand-prix, (Accessed 18/05/2018)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 D.S.J., 'Monza Reflections', motorsportmagazine.com, (Motor Sport, 01/10/1977), https://www.motorsportmagazine.com/archive/article/october-1977/26/monza-reflections, (Accessed 18/05/2018)
  4. 'Italy 1977: Entrants', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2015), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1977/italie/engages.aspx, (Accessed 18/05/2018)
  5. 'Italy 1977: Qualifications', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2015), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1977/italie/qualification.aspx, (Accessed 18/05/2018)
  6. 'Italy 1977: Result', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2015), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1977/italie/classement.aspx, (Accessed 19/05/2018)
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 '14. Italy 1977', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2015), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1977/italie.aspx, (Accessed 18/05/2018)
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 '1977 Italian GP', chicanef1.com, (Chicane F1, 2018), http://www.chicanef1.com/racetit.pl?year=1977&gp=Italian%20GP&r=1, (Accessed 18/05/2018)
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 Italy Italian Grand Prix
Circuits Monza (1950 - 1979, 1981 - Present), Imola (1980)
Monza2000
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