Credit for the above image: Emerson Fitzgerald by Leola, Markka – Finnish Heritage Agency, Finland – CC BY.

Formula Dull pretty much sums up the state of the current race series. It revs up very soon and sadly there isn’t a round in Sweden, although obviously there’s one in Saudi Arabia and another in Azerbaijan for some reason. The truth is that but there is no room or circuit in a cool Northern European country that qualifies.

We are indebted to the Finnish Heritage Agency who have provided contemporary photographs for no fee, taken by Markka Leola provided we accompany the image with the necessary reference. As you can read above there is a charming mistake which was probably lost in translation. What we are witnessing is a couple of motor racing legends, Colin Chapman and Emerson Fittipaldi communicating using only their giant minds.

What a time to be alive and racing for a living. Take a look at the wonderful photographs which will be reproduced in Issue 129 of Free Car Mag to celebrate the arrival of another tedious racing season. 1973 was a simpler era and a much more dangerous one of course. In the photographs are just two who died young and before they reached their potential, Francois Cevert and Ronnie Peterson.

It is a bright day in June, but the Scandinavian Raceway setting is quite sparse. It looks like a busy club racing event, except there are state of the art Formula One cars, drivers. 50,000 spectators and even grid girls. Yet the photographs show how chaste, pretty and happy Virpi Miettinen and Irene Karvola are. Apparently representing Marlboro, they are generations away from the ones that prudish, virtue signalling FIA banned in 2018.

Interestingly there were concerns about safety in 1973 and the start of the race was delayed as the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association was concerned about photographers encroaching at dangerous parts of the circuit.

Run over 80 laps Fittipaldi in his Lotus started strongly just behind team mate Peterson with the Tyrrell of Cevert third and his teammate Jackie Stewart. Behind him was Carlos Reutemann in a Brabham, then New Zealander Denny Hulme in a Malboro McLaren. Hulme managed to get ahead in lap six and that’s the way it stayed until Stewart passed Cevert and closed in on the JPS Lotuses.

Cevert’s tyres were wearing down and he was overtaken by Hulme on lap 62 who then chased after Stewart. Until lap 70 it seemed as though the local hero would win and it would be a one-two for Lotus. Suddenly Fittipaldi retired with gearbox failure and with just three laps to go, Hulme overtook Stewart, when he had rear brake failure. Meanwhile, Hulme closed the gap on Peterson who was struggling with badly worn tyres. Then on lap 79 Hulme, running on harder compound tyres, took the lead leaving Peterson behind.

A Swede winning his home Grand Prix would never happen, and rather sweetly Hulme expressed his sadness to “have taken that away from Ronnie” before celebrating hard for many days, probably.

1973 was an interesting year, full of charismatic and talented drivers with some exceptional engineering at their disposal including the Lotus 72, Tyrrell 006, McLaren M23, Brabham BT42 and Ferrari 312B3 meant that the Championship was wide open. It was far from dull. Jackie Stewart won his third and final title and retired unscathed.
If you want to read in astounding detail about the event spend some time at this exceptional web