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The greatest Grand Prix drivers' greatest mistakes?

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#151 Michael Ferner

Michael Ferner
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Posted 04 February 2014 - 18:07

Tim, you're right about it having been a good race - people always moan about Zolder, but that circuit almost always produced very entertaining races! But I can't agree with AH's account of the incident. Admittedly, we can't see what had been going on previous to the corner, but Scheckter left more than enough room for Clay at the apex, and there was no need for Clay to lock the brakes and tap the Ferrari (if that's what happened - you can't see it clearly on the video). Jody was well ahead already and left the inside free, so that was clearly Clay's mistake. As for Villeneuve being "unable to avoid" the Williams, well that's bollocks pure and simple. I do recall that Clay complained after the race to the Swiss press about being taken out by "a Formula Atlantic driver", and that's a view I tend to agree with.


#152 Spaceframe

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 14:11

I based my original assertion that Villeneuve was not as fast as Reutemann on their respective qualifying performances that season, twelve -four to Reutemann IIRC, and surely the best indicator of a drivers pure speed.  I'm as big a Villeneuve fan as the next man and consider myself fortunate that I saw him race on a number of occasions, but I wasn't convinced at the time that he was any quicker than Reutemann,  and nothing that I have seen or read in the intervening 36 years has changed my mind!


As for Reutemann never managing to take the fight to Chapman's wing cars, you conveniently overlooked Watkins Glenn, where Reutemann caught and passed Andretti on the third lap and went on to win!

Fair point about the qualifying, but it doesn't change the fact that Reutemann never took the fight to the Lotus 79.


Yes, he did overtake Andretti at the Glen on lap 3, but so did Villeneuve - quote from Automobile Year 26 !978/79:


"In the race Andretti shot into the lead at the start but in three laps the Lotus started to drop back through lack of brakes. Ferrari driver Reutemann, on his last-but-one appearance for the Italian equipe, took the lead he never relinquished. The Argentinian was followed by his team-mate, French-Canadian Gilles Villeneuve but his car blev its engine on lap 23."


So, nothing conviniently forgotten  ;)

#153 chr1s

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Posted 11 February 2014 - 22:53

At 18:35: http://www.youtube.c...h?v=I2eircfD2EM


I hadn't seen this at the time as non-championship races weren't broadcast in Italy; makes one think to see the 79 hardly keeping up with the T3 at that point, both being previous year's cars. The 79 was quick but with reliability issues during 1978, if Ferrari didn't have the dip of form they had during the summer [tyre problems IIRC] it would have been interesting; Lotus would still have made it in the end, but it would have gone down to the wire.

The thing thats always interested me about the T3 and the 79's relative performance, is that  Reutemann once said that the T3 was never as fast as the T2 was (on Michelins) at Fiorano. Of Ferrari's five wins that season, Carlos driving the T2 at Rio was the most convincing, which has always made me wonder how different 1978 could have been if Forghieri had just concentrated on developing the T2 for another season. (Sorry for going off topic again!)

#154 Spaceframe

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Posted 19 February 2014 - 09:33

I wondered about the Zolder '79 incident, it's not what I recalled. And now I've found a youtube video, showing what really happened:

Around 7 minutes into the video, you can see Scheckter making a clean pass of Regazzoni around the outside, leaving more than enough room for the Swiss who hits a kerb nonetheless. Then Villeneuve comes along, and rams Regazzoni from behind. Spaceframe rewriting history? Yes, definitely!

I stand corrected. Thanks :up:


It appears the incident involving Schecker, Regazzoni and Villeneuve was indeed a racing incident. And the drivers making mistakes that day at Zolder happened to be the two Ligier drivers, battling away at the front, until Depailler crashed and Lafitte had ruined his tires...