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Niki Lauda, Ferrari 312B3
Autosport Plus
Formula 1 British GP
Special feature

The forgotten F1 folly that hampered Lauda in a British GP shambles

Random officials and meandering photographers in the pitlane? MAURICE HAMILTON reminds us it’s been seen before – with a shoddily parked Ford Cortina thrown into the mix…

Not for the first time, I found myself wishing Niki Lauda was on hand for a quick quote, just to put the latest Formula 1 nonsense in perspective. The thought occurred while watching the shambles in Baku as Esteban Ocon steamed into the pitlane on the reasonable assumption that it remained part of the field of play rather than resembling Paddy’s Market. After using typically salty language to address the FIA’s uninformed decision to begin erecting parc fermé barriers and open the pitlane to all and sundry, Lauda would surely have mentioned Ocon’s good fortune in at least being able to continue.

Niki would have recalled the 1974 British GP. Trying to emerge from a last-lap tyre change, he found the end of the Brands Hatch pitlane blocked by a mass of hangers-on – with an official car parked in their midst. It was crucial for many reasons, not least being that Lauda and Ferrari had been leading their respective title races going into this 10th round of the championship. They came out of it a chastened and angry second on both counts. The fact that Lauda would not have won anyway because of a puncture played little part in Ferrari team manager Luca Montezemolo’s impassioned and indignant tirade directed at bungling British officialdom.

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