1974 Belgian Grand Prix

The 1974 Belgian Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held at Nivelles on 12 May 1974. It was race 5 of 15 in both the 1974 World Championship of Drivers and the 1974 International Cup for Formula One Manufacturers. The 85-lap race was won by Brazilian driver Emerson Fittipaldi, driving a McLaren-Ford, with Austrian Niki Lauda a close second in a Ferrari and South African Jody Scheckter third in a Tyrrell-Ford. This race also marked the debut of Tom Pryce, making his first start for the newly formed Token team.

1974 Belgian Grand Prix
Circuit Nivelles-Baulers
Circuit Nivelles-Baulers
Race details
Date 12 May 1974
Location Nivelles-Baulers, Brussels, Belgium
Course Permanent racing facility
Course length 3.72 km (2.314 miles)
Pole position
Driver Ferrari
Time 1:09.82[1]
Fastest lap
Driver New Zealand Denny Hulme McLaren-Ford
Time 1:11.31[2] on lap 37
First McLaren-Ford
Second Ferrari
Third Tyrrell-Ford
Lap leaders

This was the second and last Belgian Grand Prix to be held at Nivelles. For most of the next decade, the race would be held at Zolder.


Qualifying classificationEdit

Pos. Driver Constructor Time No
1 Clay Regazzoni Ferrari 1:09.82 1
2 Jody Scheckter Tyrrell-Ford 1:10.86 2
3 Niki Lauda Ferrari 1:11.04 3
4 Emerson Fittipaldi McLaren-Ford 1:11.07 4
5 Ronnie Peterson Lotus-Ford 1:11.21 5
6 Arturo Merzario Iso-Ford 1:11.29 6
7 Jean-Pierre Beltoise B.R.M. 1:11.39 7
8 Carlos Pace Surtees-Ford 1:11.46 8
9 James Hunt Hesketh-Ford 1:11.53 9
10 Hans-Joachim Stuck March-Ford 1:11.57 10
11 Patrick Depailler Tyrrell-Ford 1:11.60 11
12 Denny Hulme McLaren-Ford 1:11.61 12
13 Mike Hailwood McLaren-Ford 1:11.98 13
14 Vern Schuppan Ensign-Ford 1:12.02 14
15 Henri Pescarolo B.R.M. 1:12.33 15
16 Jacky Ickx Lotus-Ford 1:12.42 16
17 Jean-Pierre Jarier Shadow-Ford 1:12.53 17
18 Brian Redman Shadow-Ford 1:12.73 18
19 John Watson Brabham-Ford 1:12.76 19
20 Tom Pryce Token-Ford 1:12.85 20
21 Guy Edwards Lola-Ford 1:13.33 21
22 Rikky von Opel Brabham-Ford 1:13.34 22
23 Tim Schenken Trojan-Ford 1:13.36 22
24 Carlos Reutemann Brabham-Ford 1:13.47 24
25 François Migault B.R.M. 1:13.49 25
26 Jochen Mass Surtees-Ford 1:13.81 26
27 Teddy Pilette Brabham-Ford 1:14.05 27
28 Gérard Larrousse Brabham-Ford 1:14.22 28
29 Graham Hill Lola-Ford 1:14.30 29
30 Gijs van Lennep Iso-Ford 1:15.60 30
31 Vittorio Brambilla March-Ford 1:23.81 31
DNQ Leo Kinnunen Surtees-Ford 1:28.77


Clay Regazzoni got off to an instant lead from pole position. Emerson Fittipaldi was the closest anyone came to Regazzoni, having used the "clean" side of the grid to his advantage,[clarification needed] leaving Jody Scheckter to fend off Niki Lauda for third. The rest came into turn 1 together.

The rest of the opening lap was uneventful, with the field quickly settling down. Regazzoni had established a small lead over Fittipaldi, who was left to fend off Scheckter and Lauda, with Ronnie Peterson and James Hunt close behind. Carlos Pace came next with Patrick Depailler, Jean-Pierre Beltoise and Mike Hailwood, while Hans-Joachim Stuck rounded out the field after a terrible start.

The following laps saw three groups form, each seemingly in their own race for the rest of afternoon. The fight for the lead featured the entire top six, who were running around Nivelles-Baulers nose-to-tail behind Regazzoni. The next group was headed by Pace, with his quintet of Depailler, Beltoise, Hailwood and Carlos Reutemann dropping away from sixth placed Hunt, but moving clear of Henri Pescarolo. Pescarolo was providing a bottle neck for the rest of the field, allowing both Jacky Ickx and Stuck to quickly climb up the order.

Unfortunately, the nature of the Nivelles-Baulers meant that overtaking was difficult,[citation needed] and Stuck dropped out of the race with a clutch issue. Ickx entered an intense duel with Arturo Merzario after both barged past Pescarolo. Pescarolo was left to fend off the rest of the field, only to be elbowed into the barriers by Guy Edwards, while Pace suffered a puncture and hence fell to the back of the pack.

Out front the top six remained glued together, unable to make a move on one another as they were all equally matched down the start/finish straight. The leaders came up to lap the backmarkers on lap 25.

Then, the top six came to lap François Migault, who was limping along in the outdated BRM, a few seconds behind Tim Schenken in the new Trojan. Regazzoni and Fittipaldi blasted past the Migault unhindered, before the group came into the braking zone for turn one. Lauda was next in line to take the BRM, but a slight hesitation from Lauda dropped him off the back of Fittipaldi. Once clear of Migault it quickly became clear that Lauda lacked the pace to keep with the leading duo without a tow, and so he tactfully allowed Scheckter past to claim his tow and drag himself back into contention.

Scheckter's strong pace did the trick, and its only took half a lap for the group to reform, aided by the fact that Regazzoni and Fittipaldi were about to lap a slower group of cars just ahead. This time, however, it would be Scheckter who got baulked, and by the time he and Lauda cleared the bunch, Regazzoni and Fittipaldi were four seconds clear. Scheckter and Lauda were therefore left to fight over third, while Peterson and Hunt dropped back after their own issues trying to make their way through the pack.

With the top six now split, it seemed as if the race would be a straight fight between Regazzoni and Fittipaldi for the rest of the afternoon, with the pair equally matched and without the distraction of Scheckter and co. Yet, there was to be one more twist as the pair scythed through the traffic which ultimately destroyed hopes of a fight for the lead. The victim would be Regazzoni, who misjudged a move on the recovering Pace and ran onto the grass, allowing Fittipaldi to charge through into the lead.

The Regazzoni ultimately rejoined behind teammate Lauda, who had pounced on Scheckter just a few corners earlier when the latter got baulked. As all of this was going on, Peterson slipped into the pits to have his front tyres changed, while Hunt had caught up to the back of the shackled Tyrrell after Scheckter's hesitation. Fittipaldi, meanwhile, was left with a one-second lead over Lauda and Regazzoni, with Lauda unable to really attack Fittipaldi.

Elsewhere, various mechanical issues had left Depailler on his own, now running in sixth, while Hailwood had escaped the pack to run in seventh, and was hunting down the Depailler. The Ickx/Merzario fight had ended when the latter retired, while the former's charge up the order ultimately came to an end when he had to stop for fresh tyres. Denny Hulme was making steady progress behind Beltoise, while John Watson and Jean-Pierre Jarier were running close together at the tail end of the top ten.

Hunt suffered a suspension failure, sending him spinning onto the grass. Hailwood, meanwhile, caught and passed Depailler, although the Hunt's race was ruined by a spin a lap later which dumped him back down the order. Hailwood therefore joined the "battle" between Beltoise, Hulme and Jarier, while Depailler soldiered on for a few more laps before his Tyrrell picked up its customary brake problem, forcing him into the pits.

The two Lotus cars, meanwhile, were out of the fight, Peterson and Ickx taking turns to sit in the pits with a variety of issues being attended to, ranging from oil leaks to brake bleeding. Their miserable display was matched by Pace, whose race had come to an end with a vibration, while the sister car of Jochen Mass came to a stop with a suspension failure a few moments later. Jack Brabham's race was also turning into a disaster, with factory drivers Rikky von Opel and Reutemann out, leaving just local racer Teddy Pilette running at the back of the field, while debutante Tom Pryce in the Token had a premature end to the race when Scheckter crashed into his car.

Into the closing stages and it seemed as if the only driver really trying to make a difference was Hailwood, who had been on top form before his pirouette at the chicane. Hailwood was throwing his car around every corner to try and move back past teammate Hulme, and on lap 65 made an optimistic dive into turn one put him ahead. Four laps later and Hailwood pulled a double move on Beltoise and Jarier, at the hairpin, before sprinting off to try and hunt down the now wounded Scheckter.

Before any of that could be resolved, however, a wave of fuel feed problems shuffled the order behind the top two, with Regazzoni losing enough time to let a limping Scheckter through into third on the final lap. Ragazzonu was one of a number of victims of a lack of pickup by the fuel pump, which meant that the car would splutter around certain corners as the final few litres of fuel sloshed around the tank. Watson, Jarier, Vern Schuppan and Pryce (prior to his removal by Scheckter) were also victims of this issue, which vastly distorted the picture of the race.

That late twist did not affect that race winner, however, with Fittipaldi winning half a second clear of Lauda, before a large gap to Scheckter. Regazzoni remained in fourth, running out of fuel as he crossed the line, while Hailwood's run had been brought to an end on the penultimate lap by a similar issue. Hailwood therefore finished a lap down in seventh, behind Beltoise and Hulme, while the wave of late race casualties had promoted Graham Hill and the lowly Lola into eighth, a stunning result for a new car, albeit one that had been artificially created in the closing stages

Race classificationEdit

Pos No Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 5   Emerson Fittipaldi McLaren-Ford 85 1:44:20.57 4 9
2 12   Niki Lauda Ferrari 85 + 0.35 3 6
3 3   Jody Scheckter Tyrrell-Ford 85 + 45.61 2 4
4 11   Clay Regazzoni Ferrari 85 + 52.02 1 3
5 14   Jean-Pierre Beltoise BRM 85 + 1:08.05 7 2
6 6   Denny Hulme McLaren-Ford 85 + 1:10.54 12 1
7 33   Mike Hailwood McLaren-Ford 84 + 1 Lap 13  
8 26   Graham Hill Lola-Ford 83 + 2 Laps 29  
9 10   Vittorio Brambilla March-Ford 83 + 2 Laps 31  
10 41   Tim Schenken Trojan-Ford 83 + 2 Laps 23  
11 28   John Watson Brabham-Ford 83 + 2 Laps 19  
12 27   Guy Edwards Lola-Ford 82 + 3 Laps 21  
13 17   Jean-Pierre Jarier Shadow-Ford 82 + 3 Laps 17  
14 21   Gijs van Lennep Iso-Marlboro-Ford 82 + 3 Laps 30  
15 22   Vern Schuppan Ensign-Ford 82 + 3 Laps 14  
16 37   François Migault BRM 82 + 3 Laps 25  
17 34   Teddy Pilette Brabham-Ford 81 + 4 Laps 27  
18 16   Brian Redman Shadow-Ford 80 Engine 18  
Ret 2   Jacky Ickx Lotus-Ford 72 Overheating 16  
Ret 42   Tom Pryce Token-Ford 66 Collision 20  
Ret 7   Carlos Reutemann Brabham-Ford 62 Engine 24  
Ret 1   Ronnie Peterson Lotus-Ford 56 Fuel Leak 5  
Ret 4   Patrick Depailler Tyrrell-Ford 53 Brakes 11  
Ret 19   Jochen Mass Surtees-Ford 53 Suspension 26  
Ret 43   Gérard Larrousse Brabham-Ford 53 Tyre 28  
Ret 18   Carlos Pace Surtees-Ford 50 Handling 8  
Ret 8   Rikky von Opel Brabham-Ford 49 Engine 22  
Ret 24   James Hunt Hesketh-Ford 45 Accident 9  
Ret 20   Arturo Merzario Iso-Marlboro-Ford 29 Transmission 6  
Ret 15   Henri Pescarolo BRM 12 Collision 15  
Ret 9   Hans-Joachim Stuck March-Ford 6 Clutch 10  
DNQ 44   Leo Kinnunen Surtees-Ford        

Championship standings after the raceEdit

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


  1. ^ Lang, Mike (1983). Grand Prix! Vol 3. Haynes Publishing Group. p. 28. ISBN 0-85429-380-9.
  2. ^ Lang, Mike (1983). Grand Prix! Vol 3. Haynes Publishing Group. p. 30. ISBN 0-85429-380-9.
  3. ^ "1974 Belgian Grand Prix". formula1.com. Archived from the original on 18 January 2015. Retrieved 22 December 2015.
  4. ^ a b "Belgium 1974 - Championship • STATS F1". www.statsf1.com. Retrieved 12 March 2019.

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