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Germany  1976 German Grand Prix
Race details
Race 10 of 16 in the 1976 Formula One season
Nurburgring 1967.jpg
Date 1 August 1976
Official name XXXVIII Großer Preis von Deutschland
Location Nürburgring, Nürburg, Germany
Course Permanent racing facility
22.835 km (14.19 mi)
Distance 14 laps, 319.690 km (198.65 mi)
Weather Rain at start, later drying
Pole position
Driver United Kingdom James Hunt McLaren-Ford
Time 7:06.5[1]
Fastest lap
Driver South Africa Jody Scheckter Tyrrell-Ford
Time 7:10.8[2] on lap 13
Podium
First United Kingdom James Hunt McLaren-Ford
Second South Africa Jody Scheckter Tyrrell-Ford
Third Germany Jochen Mass McLaren-Ford

The 1976 German Grand Prix was a Formula One race held at the Nürburgring on 1 August 1976. It was also the last Formula One race to be held on the Nordschleife section of the track.

Contents

Race report

The race weekend began with some changes to the drivers' lineup: Jacky Ickx was fired from the Walter Wolf Racing team and was replaced by Arturo Merzario, and there was a new team present, Scuderia Rondini, which bought an old Tyrrell 007 for Alessandro Pesenti-Rossi. RAM was going to run Rolf Stommelen in one of its ex-works Brabham BT44s, but in the middle of the practice session the local police impounded the cars (because of a legal action by former driver Loris Kessel), and as a result Stommelen transferred to the works Brabham team to drive a spare Alfa-Romeo-powered BT45.

Niki Lauda in practice
Clay Regazzoni in the #2 312T2 during practise

In 1975, Lauda had been the first and only driver to break the 7-Minute-mark. Fans were looking forward whether he or others could repeat this after the technical rules had been changed, with the disappearance of the high air boxes been the most visible difference. Due to wet conditions on Saturday, the grid was already determined in Friday qualifying, with 7:06-plus lap times similar to those of 1972. James Hunt took the pole with Niki Lauda second, while Patrick Depailler lined up third in the six-wheeled Tyrrell P34. Hans-Joachim Stuck was fourth in his March ahead of Clay Regazzoni, Jacques Laffite, Carlos Pace, Jody Scheckter, Jochen Mass and Carlos Reutemann.

The weather turned to wet before the race and so most drivers started the race on wet tyres, except Jochen Mass, who, having lots of experience at the Nürburgring and expecting a change for better weather, decided to use dry weather tyres. At the start Regazzoni took the lead while both Hunt and Lauda fell back. Hunt took second, third was a fast-starting Mass, fourth was Laffite who took advantage from the fact that Stuck's car had been pushed off the grid with a clutch problem (although the German started at the back of the field). In the course of the first lap Regazzoni spun and dropped to fourth. At the end of the lap, the weather changed back to dry and most pilots pitted for dry tyres, leaving Mass with the second place behind Peterson, who decided to go on wet tyres for another lap. At the end of lap 2 Mass was in front, with Gunnar Nilsson (who had not stopped) in second place and Hunt third. To the dismay of the German fans, the race was soon red flagged.

Niki Lauda had also changed his tyres after lap 1 and was trying hard to make up for the lost time. Just after the fast left kink before the Bergwerk right hand curve, his Ferrari 312T2 snapped to the right and spun through the fencing into an earth bank. The car bounced back onto the circuit and on the track, enveloped in flames. Guy Edwards managed to avoid the Ferrari but Harald Ertl and Brett Lunger both hit it. All three drivers stopped and tried to get Lauda out of the flames and they were joined by Merzario who stopped his Wolf Williams after seeing the wreck. Lauda had suffered serious burns and was rushed by helicopter to the Bundeswehr hospital in Koblenz; from there he was flown to the Trauma Clinic in Ludwigshafen, home to Germany's most advanced burn ward at the time, where he fought for his life for the next few days.

Most cars had assembled at the crash site, being unable to pass by on the narrow track. The race had been stopped after the accident and at the restart there were only 20 cars (4 cars less than the first start), but Chris Amon decided not to start the race again. The rain had gone and Hunt took the lead from Regazzoni, Scheckter, Depailler and Pace. At the Flugplatz Peterson lost control of his March and crashed heavily while Regazzoni had another spin and Depailler went off avoiding the Ferrari. Pace overtook Scheckter and so ended the first lap in second place. On the second lap Scheckter passed Pace and the Brazilian fell behind Regazzoni on the third lap, during which sixth placed Vittorio Brambilla crashed at Adenau Bridge because of a brake failure on his March. Mass took advantage of it and overtook Gunnar Nilsson on the fifth lap and Pace on lap 10. On the 12th lap Regazzoni spun again and Mass moved to third with Pace fourth, Nilsson fifth and Stommelen sixth.

Chris Amon decided to end his career immediately after the Lauda accident.

Classification

Jody Scheckter Tyrrell P34-Ford in Südkehre
Hans-Joachim Stuck. Note the high roll bar, compared to Brambilla's
Vittorio Brambilla, March 761-Ford
Pos No Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 11 United Kingdom James Hunt McLaren-Ford 14 1:41:42.7 1 9
2 3 South Africa Jody Scheckter Tyrrell-Ford 14 + 27.7 8 6
3 12 Germany Jochen Mass McLaren-Ford 14 + 52.4 9 4
4 8 Brazil Carlos Pace Brabham-Alfa Romeo 14 + 54.2 7 3
5 6 Sweden Gunnar Nilsson Lotus-Ford 14 + 1:57.3 16 2
6 77 Germany Rolf Stommelen Brabham-Alfa Romeo 14 + 2:30.3 15 1
7 28 United Kingdom John Watson Penske-Ford 14 + 2:33.9 19
8 16 United Kingdom Tom Pryce Shadow-Ford 14 + 2:48.2 18
9 2 Switzerland Clay Regazzoni Ferrari 14 + 3:46.0 5
10 19 Australia Alan Jones Surtees-Ford 14 + 3:47.3[2] 14
11 17 France Jean-Pierre Jarier Shadow-Ford 14 + 4:51.7 23
12 5 United States Mario Andretti Lotus-Ford 14 + 4:58.1 12
13 30 Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi Fittipaldi-Ford 14 + 5:25.2 20
14 40 Italy Alessandro Pesenti-Rossi Tyrrell-Ford 13 + 1 lap 26
15 25 United Kingdom Guy Edwards Hesketh-Ford 13 + 1 lap 25
Ret 20 Italy Arturo Merzario Wolf-Williams-Ford 3 Brakes 21
Ret 9 Italy Vittorio Brambilla March-Ford 1 Accident 13
Ret 4 France Patrick Depailler Tyrrell-Ford 0 Accident 3
Ret 7 Argentina Carlos Reutemann Brabham-Alfa Romeo 0 Fuel System 10
Ret 10 Sweden Ronnie Peterson March-Ford 0 Accident 11
Ret 34 Germany Hans Joachim Stuck March-Ford 0 Clutch 4
Ret 26 France Jacques Laffite Ligier-Matra 0 Gearbox 6
Ret 22 New Zealand Chris Amon Ensign-Ford (1) Withdrew after first race 17
Ret 1 Austria Niki Lauda Ferrari (1) Accident in first race 2
Ret 18 United States Brett Lunger Surtees-Ford (1) Accident in first race 24
Ret 24 Germany Harald Ertl Hesketh-Ford (1) Accident in first race 22
DNQ 33 Italy Lella Lombardi Brabham-Ford Car seized by Police
DNQ 38 France Henri Pescarolo Surtees-Ford

Notes

  • Starting grid mainly determined on Friday, due to wet weather on Saturday: Hunt 7:06.5 Lauda 7:07.4[3]

References

  1. ^ Lang, Mike (1983). Grand Prix! Vol 3. Haynes Publishing Group. p. 135. ISBN 0-85429-380-9.  
  2. ^ a b Lang (1983), p. 138.
  3. ^ Effenberger, Günther; Handke, Peter (1978). Niki Lauda, ein Leben für die Formel 1. Munich: Heyne Nr. 5427. ISBN 978-3-453-00826-7

Unless otherwise indicated, all race results are taken from "The Official Formula 1 website". http://www.formula1.com/results/season/1976/451/. Retrieved 2007-06-16.  

Previous race:
1976 British Grand Prix
FIA Formula One World Championship
1976 season
Next race:
1976 Austrian Grand Prix
Previous race:
1975 German Grand Prix
German Grand Prix Next race:
1977 German Grand Prix
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