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1978 Swedish Grand Prix

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1978 Swedish Grand Prix
Race 8 of 16 in the 1978 Formula One season
Scandinavian Raceway 1978.svg
Race details
Date 17 June 1978
Official name IX Swedish Grand Prix
Location Scandinavian Raceway, Anderstorp, Sweden
Course Permanent racing facility
Course length 4.031[1] km (2.505 miles)
Distance 70 laps, 282.170 km (175.332 miles)
Weather Sunny and warm
Pole position
Driver Lotus-Ford
Time 1:22.058
Fastest lap
Driver Austria Niki Lauda Brabham-Alfa Romeo
Time 1:24.836 on lap 5[1]
First Brabham-Alfa Romeo
Second Arrows-Ford
Third Lotus-Ford
Lap leaders
The Brabham BT46B "fan car" at the 2001 Goodwood Festival of Speed.
The Brabham BT46B "fan car" at the 2001 Goodwood Festival of Speed.

The 1978 Swedish Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held on 17 June 1978 at the Scandinavian Raceway. It was the eighth race of the 1978 World Championship of F1 Drivers and the 1978 International Cup for F1 Constructors, and the last Formula One Swedish Grand Prix to date.

The 70-lap race was the only race to feature the Brabham BT46B "fan car", with which Niki Lauda took a commanding victory. Riccardo Patrese finished second in an Arrows, with Ronnie Peterson third in a Lotus.

Race summary

Responsible for the Brabham win was clever thinking by Brabham's Gordon Murray, who was trying to eclipse Colin Chapman's ground effect invention on the Lotus 79, the skirted car that had swept the front row since its debut at Zolder. Center of the new Brabham BT46B concept was a large fan which drew air through the engine water radiator which was mounted horizontally over the engine. The fan also took ground effect to a higher level (at least engineering-wise) by sucking air from under the car, creating a partial vacuum and creating an enormous amount of downforce. The car appeared to contravene a rule which stated that moving aerodynamic devices were not allowed, but Brabham argued that the rules had been worded to ban devices whose primary function was aerodynamic. As the fan also cooled the engine, Brabham claimed that this, not aerodynamics, was its primary function.

Its legality was soon protested, but it was allowed to race, John Watson and Niki Lauda qualifying 2nd and 3rd behind the Lotus 79 of Mario Andretti (the two drivers did this as to not draw attention to the remarkable advantage that the fan would provide, qualifying on full tanks and in the words of Lauda 'doing our best to avoid pole').[citation needed]

At the start Andretti retained the first place, while Lauda got ahead of Watson; on the second lap he was passed by a fast Riccardo Patrese in the Arrows, and on the third he was passed by the other Lotus of Ronnie Peterson too; the Swede also passed Patrese, but had later to back off due to a tyre puncture. The order then remained the same until lap 20, when Watson was forced to retire by a throttle problem.

At the front, Lauda and Andretti were battling for first place, until the American made an error and was forced to let the Austrian through, and eventually dropped out due to a broken valve on his engine. Once Jean-Pierre Jabouille dropped oil onto the track, the Brabham was in a race of its own, seemingly unaffected by the slippery surface. In Lauda's biography, To Hell And Back, he wrote that, whilst other cars had to reduce speed to drive carefully over the oil, the Brabhams could simply accelerate (as the fan was activated by the gearbox to get around regulations, this meant that higher speed produced much higher grip) through the affected parts of the track. Lauda went on to win by a huge 34.6 seconds despite according to Lauda 'trying not to show how dominant the car really was', followed by Patrese and Peterson in a close finish; the remaining points went to Patrick Tambay, Clay Regazzoni and Emerson Fittipaldi.

After the race, the stewards deemed the car legal. Later, the FIA investigated the car, and corroborated Brabham's claim that the fan's primary effect was to cool the car, meeting the letter, if not the spirit, of the rules. The car was judged to have been legal as raced and the Brabham victory stood, but the car never raced again. It is popularly thought that it was banned, but it was actually voluntarily withdrawn by Brabham. This was arguably done by team owner Bernie Ecclestone to avoid a conflict with the other privately owned teams, whose support he needed. 1978 was the year that Ecclestone became chief executive of the Formula One Constructors' Association and led it through the FISA–FOCA war that would lead to the downfall of FISA and give FOCA the right to negotiate television contracts for the Grands Prix, effectively giving Ecclestone commercial control of Formula One which continued for several decades.



Pos No Driver Constructor Time Gap Grid
1 5 United States Mario Andretti Lotus-Ford 1:22.058 1
2 2 United Kingdom John Watson Brabham-Alfa Romeo 1:22.737 +0.679 2
3 1 Austria Niki Lauda Brabham-Alfa Romeo 1:22.783 +0.725 3
4 6 Sweden Ronnie Peterson Lotus-Ford 1:23.120 +1.062 4
5 35 Italy Riccardo Patrese Arrows-Ford 1:23.369 +1.311 5
6 20 South Africa Jody Scheckter Wolf-Ford 1:23.621 +1.563 6
7 12 Canada Gilles Villeneuve Ferrari 1:23.730 +1.672 7
8 11 Argentina Carlos Reutemann Ferrari 1:23.737 +1.679 8
9 27 Australia Alan Jones Williams-Ford 1:23.951 +1.893 9
10 15 France Jean-Pierre Jabouille Renault 1:23.963 +1.905 10
11 26 France Jacques Laffite Ligier-Matra 1:24.030 +1.972 11
12 4 France Patrick Depailler Tyrrell-Ford 1:24.203 +2.145 12
13 14 Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi Fittipaldi-Ford 1:24.274 +2.216 13
14 7 United Kingdom James Hunt McLaren-Ford 1:24.761 +2.703 14
15 8 France Patrick Tambay McLaren-Ford 1:24.986 +2.928 15
16 17 Switzerland Clay Regazzoni Shadow-Ford 1:25.007 +2.949 16
17 3 France Didier Pironi Tyrrell-Ford 1:25.813 +3.755 17
18 19 Italy Vittorio Brambilla Surtees-Ford 1:26.618 +4.560 18
19 9 Germany Jochen Mass ATS-Ford 1:26.787 +4.729 19
20 16 Germany Hans-Joachim Stuck Shadow-Ford 1:27.011 +4.953 20
21 25 Mexico Héctor Rebaque Lotus-Ford 1:27.139 +5.081 21
22 37 Italy Arturo Merzario Merzario-Ford 1:27.479 +5.421 22
23 10 Finland Keke Rosberg ATS-Ford 1:27.560 +5.502 23
24 36 Germany Rolf Stommelen Arrows-Ford 1:27.812 +5.754 24
25 18 United Kingdom Rupert Keegan Surtees-Ford 1:28.282 +6.224 DNQ
26 30 United States Brett Lunger McLaren-Ford 1:28.388 +6.330 DNQ
27 22 Belgium Jacky Ickx Ensign-Ford 1:28.400 +6.342 DNQ

*Positions in red indicate entries that failed to qualify.[2]


Pos No Driver Constructor Tyre Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 1 Austria Niki Lauda Brabham-Alfa Romeo G 70 1:41:00.606 3 9
2 35 Italy Riccardo Patrese Arrows-Ford G 70 + 34.019 5 6
3 6 Sweden Ronnie Peterson Lotus-Ford G 70 + 34.105 4 4
4 8 France Patrick Tambay McLaren-Ford G 69 + 1 Lap 15 3
5 17 Switzerland Clay Regazzoni Shadow-Ford G 69 + 1 Lap 16 2
6 14 Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi Fittipaldi-Ford G 69 + 1 Lap 13 1
7 26 France Jacques Laffite Ligier-Matra G 69 + 1 Lap 11
8 7 United Kingdom James Hunt McLaren-Ford G 69 + 1 Lap 14
9 12 Canada Gilles Villeneuve Ferrari M 69 + 1 Lap 7
10 11 Argentina Carlos Reutemann Ferrari M 69 + 1 Lap 8
11 16 West Germany Hans-Joachim Stuck Shadow-Ford G 68 + 2 Laps 20
12 25 Mexico Héctor Rebaque Lotus-Ford G 68 + 2 Laps 21
13 9 West Germany Jochen Mass ATS-Ford G 68 + 2 Laps 19
14 36 West Germany Rolf Stommelen Arrows-Ford G 67 + 3 Laps 24
15 10 Finland Keke Rosberg ATS-Ford G 63 + 7 Laps 23
NC 37 Italy Arturo Merzario Merzario-Ford G 62 + 8 Laps 22
Ret 5 United States Mario Andretti Lotus-Ford G 46 Engine 1
Ret 27 Australia Alan Jones Williams-Ford G 46 Wheel 9
Ret 4 France Patrick Depailler Tyrrell-Ford G 42 Suspension 12
Ret 15 France Jean-Pierre Jabouille Renault M 28 Engine 10
Ret 2 United Kingdom John Watson Brabham-Alfa Romeo G 19 Spun Off/Throttle 2
Ret 20 South Africa Jody Scheckter Wolf-Ford G 16 Overheating 6
Ret 3 France Didier Pironi Tyrrell-Ford G 8 Accident 17
Ret 19 Italy Vittorio Brambilla Surtees-Ford G 7 Accident 18
DNQ 18 United Kingdom Rupert Keegan Surtees-Ford G
DNQ 30 United States Brett Lunger McLaren-Ford G
DNQ 22 Belgium Jacky Ickx Ensign-Ford G

Championship standings after the race

  • Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.


  1. ^ a b "The Swedish Grand Prix". Motor Sport. London. July 1978. pp. 935–936. Retrieved 19 March 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Sweden 1978 - Qualifications • STATS F1". Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  3. ^ "1978 Swedish Grand Prix". Archived from the original on 3 September 2014. Retrieved 23 December 2015.
  4. ^ "1978 Swedish Grand Prix - Race Results & History - GP Archive". Retrieved 5 November 2021.
  5. ^ a b "Sweden 1978 - Championship • STATS F1". Retrieved 2019-01-31.

Previous race:
1978 Spanish Grand Prix
FIA Formula One World Championship
1978 season
Next race:
1978 French Grand Prix
Previous race:
1977 Swedish Grand Prix
Swedish Grand Prix Next race:
This page was last edited on 14 March 2022, at 20:23
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