32 JUNE 2017
ario Andretti and Enzo Ferrari
admired and wanted each other, yet
never fully got it together.
After the former’s win for Lotus in the
1977 Italian Grand Prix at his beloved
Monza, Mario met Enzo at Maranello and
talked numbers. Big numbers. It’s just that
they weren’t big enough to tempt him to
cash in his investment with Colin Chapman
and Co. Wind tunnel numbers meant more
to him at this crucial career crossroads.
In truth, this Italo-American dream
team had already missed its moment.
Ferrari ended 1970 as F1’s benchmark,
with Jacky Ickx and new boy Clay
Regazzoni sharing four wins from the last
five grands prix. By common consent, its
creamy flat- 12 had got the better of the
raucous Ford-Cosworth DFV V8.
As such, Ferrari was able to tempt
FERRARI 1971-’ 72
On paper, Andretti and Ferrari was a match made in heaven. But how
did reality stack up when they first joined forces for F1 in 1971-’ 72?
Jo Siffert, as well as Tyrrell’s Jackie Stewart.
Then the unexpected happened. Denny
Hulme’s McLaren-Ford hunted down
Regazzoni, as did the Surtees-Ford of
John Surtees, both ex-world champions
reviving old form. Surtees began to fade
because of a fractured oil pipe that would
eventually cause his gearbox to seize,
but Hulme appeared to have everything
under control in his orange M19A –
despite Andretti’s best efforts.
The American set the race’s fastest lap
on his 73rd tour (of 79), despite a track
slicked with oil, but no-nonsense Hulme
increased his pace in response – only for
a rear suspension bolt to break two laps
later. Andretti swept by, and held
sufficient advantage to slow and give a
commiseratory wave to the limping Hulme,
before lapping him on his way to a 20sec
Andretti on this occasion – but not so
completely that he’d give it priority over
a concurrent USAC Indy car program
with Andy Granatelli’s STP concern.
That Enzo let this slide was not only
indicative of the esteem in which he held
Andretti, but also of his wicked love for
stirring the pot. In Ickx, Regazzoni and
Andretti, he had three number ones...
All went swimmingly to begin with – bar
Regazzoni’s crashing of the new 312B2
design in pre-season testing at Kyalami.
A 1970-spec 312B was, however, the
better car – Andretti reveled in its superb
handling – and all three qualified strongly
for the season-opening South African GP.
Reggazoni’s 312B led the early laps;
Ickx’s suffered a front puncture; and
Andretti’s was embroiled in a dice with
the V12 BRMs of Pedro Rodriguez and
Mario Andretti only
Formula 1 World
with Ferrari in 1971,
but he scored a win
first time out with
the 312B in the
South African GP
(ABOVE). The B2
he raced in ’ 72
(RIGHT) proved less