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1975 Austrian Grand Prix

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Date  August 17, 1975
Course length  5.911 km (3.673 mi)
Location  Spielberg, Austria
1975 Austrian Grand Prix
Official name  VIII Großer Preis von Österreich
Course  Permanent racing facility
Distance  29 laps, 171.427 km (106.520 mi)

The 1975 Austrian Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held at Österreichring on 17 August 1975. It was the eighth Austrian Grand Prix and the sixth to be held at the Österreichring. It was held over 29 of the scheduled 54 laps of the six kilometre circuit for a race distance of 171 kilometres. The race was shortened by heavy rain, meaning that only half points were awarded.


Mastering the wet weather, the race was won by Italian driver Vittorio Brambilla driving a March 751. It was Brambilla's only Formula One win in his seven-year Grand Prix career. He took a 27-second win over British driver James Hunt in his Hesketh 308. Eight seconds further back was the Shadow DN5 of British driver Tom Pryce in the first of just two podiums in his abbreviated career.

With neither Carlos Reutemann nor Emerson Fittipaldi featuring in the points, Niki Lauda's sixth position actually allowed him to expand his points lead to 17.5 points. If Lauda scored any points at all at the Italian Grand Prix the Austrian driver could claim the championship.

Race summary

Niki Lauda delighted his home crowd by claiming his seventh pole position of the year. Rolf Stommelen returned after his crash in Spain, Chris Amon had returned for Ensign and Brett Lunger qualified well in his début for Hesketh.

Practice was marred by a series of accidents, Brian Henton crashing his Lotus when he hit an oil patch and Wilson Fittipaldi breaking two bones in his hand. During the final practice session, Mark Donohue crashed at Vost-Hugel, the flat-out right hander after the pits. The catch fencing balled up under the car, catapulting it into an advertising hoarding. Both Donohue, who had suffered a brain hemorrhage, and a track marshal who had been hit by debris died two days later.

As the grid formed up, there were reports of rain at the far side of the track. Thunderclouds were forming ominously and the cars were returned to the pits to change to wet tyres.

After 45 minutes, the grid reformed. Lauda led off the start from James Hunt and Patrick Depailler who had shot up from the fourth row. Mario Andretti spun off, whilst Bob Evans retired the BRM.

Vittorio Brambilla had shot through the spray to gain a magnificent third place, with Ronnie Peterson leaping from tenth to fourth.

By lap 12, it was obvious that Lauda's car was not set up fully to cope with wet conditions and by lap 15 Hunt stormed by to lead for the fifth time this season. However, this was to be short-lived. The Hesketh's engine was running on only seven cylinders and Brambilla was clambering all over the back of the car. Ahead of them Lunger was driving carefully in his first wet race and could not see the leaders approaching him. Brambilla seized the lead and it took a further two laps for Hunt to finally pass his team-mate. Peterson had to pit to replace a faulty visor, whilst the Brabham drivers found they had been racing with one of their own rear tyres and one of their team-mates'. Jochen Mass spun out of third place, and soon there was frantic activity between the Grand Prix Drivers' Association and the race officials as to whether the race should continue-it was brought to a halt on lap 29.

As Brambilla took the flag, he crashed into the barriers and the March team celebrated a historic victory. However, behind the scenes, there was confusion. Some teams were preparing for a restart, but as the race had been stopped with a chequered flag only, this could not happen. The race results would stand, but with only half points awarded. Brambilla, the oldest man in the field at 37, had won his first Grand Prix.

This was the first of only two races where Shadow used a Matra engine instead of the Cosworth DFV in Jean-Pierre Jarier's Shadow DN7.

Championship standings after the race

  • Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings. Only the best 6 results from the first 7 races and the best 6 results from the last 7 races counted towards the Championship. Numbers without parentheses are Championship points; numbers in parentheses are total points scored.
  • References

    1975 Austrian Grand Prix Wikipedia

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