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1973 British Grand Prix

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1973 British Grand Prix
Silverstone 1952.jpg
Race details
Date 14 July 1973
Official name John Player Grand Prix[1]
Location Silverstone Circuit, Northamptonshire, Great Britain
Course Permanent racing facility
Course length 4.711 km (2.944 mi)
Distance 67 laps, 315.597 km (197.248 mi)
Weather Dry
Pole position
Driver Lotus-Ford
Time 1:16.3
Fastest lap
Driver United Kingdom James Hunt March-Ford
Time 1:18.6 on lap 50
First McLaren-Ford
Second Lotus-Ford
Third McLaren-Ford
Lap leaders

The 1973 British Grand Prix (formally the John Player Grand Prix) was a Formula One motor race held at Silverstone on 14 July 1973. It was race 9 of 15 in both the 1973 World Championship of Drivers and the 1973 International Cup for Formula One Manufacturers.

The race is known for the first lap pile-up which ultimately caused eleven cars to retire. The accident happened when Jody Scheckter, running fourth in his McLaren, spun across the track at Woodcote Corner at the end of the first lap, causing many other cars to collide and crash. The incident eliminated nine cars, including all three works Surtees cars, while Brabham driver Andrea de Adamich suffered a broken ankle that ended his F1 career. The race was stopped at the end of the second lap, before being restarted over the original 67-lap distance with 18 of the original 29 cars (David Purley and Graham McRae having also retired in separate incidents).

On the first start, a swift start by Jackie Stewart brought him from fourth to first in less than half a lap. At Becketts Corner, Stewart out-braked race leader Ronnie Peterson and took the lead. However, the massive pile-up at the end of the first lap caused the race to be restarted and Stewart had to start from fourth again. This time it was Niki Lauda who had an excellent start and moved up behind Peterson into second, with Stewart third. Stewart passed Lauda on lap 2, and charged after Peterson. On lap 6, Stewart again tried to pass Peterson for the lead, but the Swedish driver shut the door; Stewart lost control of his Tyrrell and spun off into the thick grass. Although he was able to continue, Stewart ended up finishing 10th, one lap down.

Another notable drive came from James Hunt in his Hesketh Racing March, who ran fourth for most of the race and was part of a four-way battle for the lead between himself, Peterson, Denny Hulme and Peter Revson. American driver Revson took his first Grand Prix victory by 2.8 seconds from Peterson.

The pile-up was to be a factor in this being the last World Championship F1 race held on the original Silverstone layout: a chicane would be added at Woodcote shortly before the next British Grand Prix at Silverstone two years later. MotoGP, which would come to Silverstone from the Isle of Man in 1977, would use the original layout until 1986.


Qualifying classification

Pos. Driver Constructor Time No
1 Ronnie Peterson Lotus-Ford 1:16.3 1
2 Denny Hulme McLaren-Ford 1:16.5 2
3 Peter Revson McLaren-Ford 1:16.5 3
4 Jackie Stewart Tyrrell-Ford 1:16.7 4
5 Emerson Fittipaldi Lotus-Ford 1:16.7 5
6 Jody Scheckter McLaren-Ford 1:16.9 6
7 François Cevert Tyrrell-Ford 1:17.3 7
8 Carlos Reutemann Brabham-Ford 1:17.4 8
9 Niki Lauda BRM 1:17.4 9
10 Clay Regazzoni BRM 1:17.5 10
11 James Hunt March-Ford 1:17.6 11
12 Mike Hailwood Surtees-Ford 1:18.0 12
13 Wilson Fittipaldi Brabham-Ford 1:18.1 13
14 Jochen Mass Surtees-Ford 1:18.3 14
15 Carlos Pace Surtees-Ford 1:18.3 15
16 David Purley March-Ford 1:18.4 16
17 Jean-Pierre Beltoise BRM 1:18.4 17
18 Howden Ganley Iso-Ford 1:18.6 18
19 Jacky Ickx Ferrari 1:18.9 19
20 Andrea de Adamich Brabham-Ford 1:19.1 20
21 Rikky von Opel Ensign-Ford 1:19.2 21
22 Roger Williamson March-Ford 1:19.5 22
23 John Watson Brabham-Ford 1:20.1 23
24 Mike Beuttler March-Ford 1:20.1 24
25 George Follmer Shadow-Ford 1:20.3 25
26 Jackie Oliver Shadow-Ford 1:20.3 26
27 Graham Hill Shadow-Ford 1:20.5 27
28 Graham McRae Iso-Ford 1:20.8 28
29 Chris Amon Tecno 1:21.0 29


First start and multi-car pileup

The race started at 2.00pm local time, it featured the most cars to start a grand prix as it featured 28 cars in rows of three by two. Ronnie Peterson led away but a very quick start by Jackie Stewart brought him from fourth to second but passed Peterson to take the lead at Beckets. Carlos Reutemann was in third with Denny Hulme and Jody Scheckter behind him. As the exited Woodcote corner to complete the first lap, Stewart led Peterson and Reutemann but carnage was happening behing them. Scheckter tried to pass Hulme on the outside Scheckter's car went wide and spun right across the track and it hit the retaining wall of the pits and bounced back into the middle of the track. Hulme escaped undamaged, Francois Cevert, James Hunt, Peter Revson and Clay Regazzoni also went by. The big one then happened as Scheckter's car ricocheted back from the pit wall, Revson struck Scheckter's rear wing and then all hell broke loose as the rest of the field crashed into the wrecks or dodged about to miss the wreckage. Nine cars were involved in the resulting carnage, Andrea de Adamich had crashed headlong into the barriers on the outside of the track and he was trapped in the cockpit of his Brabham with a broken ankle. Apart from minor bruises and shakings no-one else was hurt but the Surtees cars of Mike Hailwood, Carlos Pace and Jochen Mass were smashed up. The Shadow's were also involved, Jackie Oliver's car was wrecked, George Follmer's car was ripped open. The Embassy Hill entered Shadow of Graham Hill was struck in the rear and a wishbone broken but hill drove it round back to the pits under its own power. The BRM of Jean-Pierre Beltoise and the works March of Roger Williamson was wrecked, as was the McLaren of Scheckter. The race organisation acted instantly and the race was red flagged indicating without argument or discussion that the race was stopped and would be started again later. Meanwhile, those ahead of the accident were still racing, until they ended the lap, when they all came to a rapid stop at the scene of the crash. It took 30 minutes to release de Adamich from the wreckage of the Brabham plus an hour to clear away the wrecked cars and the debris. The cars that escaped were wheeled back to the starting grid and Hill’s Shadow was repaired in the pits, and Niki Lauda’s BRM that had been in the pits all the time had a new drive-shaft fitted. Hunt's March needed a new airbox as his original one was damaged in the wreck and borrowed Mike Beuttler's airbox from his car.[2][3][4]

Second start

Drivers were allowed to use spare cars but none were used. Lauda’s BRM and Hill’s Shadow having been repaired during the red flag period. Non starters included de Adamich who had been taken to hospital, Scheckter who was barred by McLaren as several team bosses including John Surtees wanted to knock him out for causing the crash, Graham McRae's Iso-Marlboro had a throttle issue and couldn't restart, David Purley's March spun off before the big one and didn't restart.

Other drivers who did not take the restart inculded Oliver, Follmer, Beltoise, Williamson, Purley, Pace, Hailwood, and Mass. It was 3.30 p.m. before the track was clear and there were nineteen starters ready for the restart over the original distance on 67 laps. At 3:35pm the depleted field moved up on to the starting grid. Everyone took up their original positions, leaving gaps for those who had been eliminated. This time it was Lauda who had an excellent start and moved up behind Peterson into second, with Stewart third. Stewart passed Lauda on lap 2 and charged after Peterson. On lap 6, Stewart again tried to pass Peterson for the lead, but the Swedish driver shut the door; Stewart lost control of his Tyrrell and spun off into the thick grass. Although he was able to continue, Stewart ended up finishing 10th, one lap down.


Pos No Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 8 United States Peter Revson McLaren-Ford 67 1:29:18.5 3 9
2 2 Sweden Ronnie Peterson Lotus-Ford 67 + 2.8 1 6
3 7 New Zealand Denny Hulme McLaren-Ford 67 + 3.0 2 4
4 27 United Kingdom James Hunt March-Ford 67 + 3.4 11 3
5 6 France François Cevert Tyrrell-Ford 67 + 36.6 7 2
6 10 Argentina Carlos Reutemann Brabham-Ford 67 + 44.7 8 1
7 19 Switzerland Clay Regazzoni BRM 67 + 1:11.7 10  
8 3 Belgium Jacky Ickx Ferrari 67 + 1:17.4 19  
9 25 New Zealand Howden Ganley Iso-Marlboro-Ford 66 + 1 Lap 18  
10 5 United Kingdom Jackie Stewart Tyrrell-Ford 66 + 1 Lap 4  
11 15 United Kingdom Mike Beuttler March-Ford 65 + 2 Laps 24  
12 21 Austria Niki Lauda BRM 63 + 4 Laps 9  
13 28 Liechtenstein Rikky von Opel Ensign-Ford 61 + 6 Laps 21  
Ret 11 Brazil Wilson Fittipaldi Brabham-Ford 44 Oil Leak 13  
Ret 1 Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi Lotus-Ford 36 Transmission 5  
Ret 29 United Kingdom John Watson Brabham-Ford 36 Fuel System 23  
Ret 12 United Kingdom Graham Hill Shadow-Ford 24 Chassis 27  
Ret 22 New Zealand Chris Amon Tecno 6 Fuel System 29  
Ret 30 South Africa Jody Scheckter McLaren-Ford 0 Collision 6  
Ret 23 United Kingdom Mike Hailwood Surtees-Ford 0 Collision 12  
Ret 31 West Germany Jochen Mass Surtees-Ford 0 Collision 14  
Ret 24 Brazil Carlos Pace Surtees-Ford 0 Collision 15  
Ret 20 France Jean-Pierre Beltoise BRM 0 Collision 17  
Ret 9 Italy Andrea de Adamich Brabham-Ford 0 Collision 20  
Ret 14 United Kingdom Roger Williamson March-Ford 0 Collision 22  
Ret 16 United States George Follmer Shadow-Ford 0 Collision 25  
Ret 17 United Kingdom Jackie Oliver Shadow-Ford 0 Collision 26  
Ret 26 New Zealand Graham McRae Iso-Marlboro-Ford 0 Throttle 28  
DNS 18 United Kingdom David Purley March-Ford 0 Spun Off 16  


  • Only race with 4 New Zealand drivers.

Championship standings after the race

  • Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings. Only the best 7 results from the first 8 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.


  1. ^ "1973 Formula 1 World Championship Programmes". The Programme Covers Project.
  2. ^ Magazine, Motosport (August 1973). "1973 British GP Race Report". Motorsport Magazine. Retrieved 2 February 2021.
  3. ^ Fearnley, Paul (27 June 2013). "1973 British GP - I attended". Motorsport Magazine. Retrieved 2 February 2021.
  4. ^ Henry, Alan (27 June 2013). "1973 British GP - A look back". McLaren. Retrieved 2 February 2021.
  5. ^ "1973 British Grand Prix". Archived from the original on 3 September 2014. Retrieved 22 December 2015.
  6. ^ a b "Britain 1973 - Championship • STATS F1". Retrieved 13 March 2019.

Previous race:
1973 French Grand Prix
FIA Formula One World Championship
1973 season
Next race:
1973 Dutch Grand Prix
Previous race:
1972 British Grand Prix
British Grand Prix Next race:
1974 British Grand Prix
This page was last edited on 18 February 2021, at 05:11
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