Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix, Monza September 10, 1978
Sunday, September 10, 1978, Fourteenth race of the 1978 Season. At the start of the Grand Prix took place the accident of Ronnie Peterson. I was a few tens of meters behind the finish line that at that time was also the starting line, on the right side of the track, no more than 300 meters from the point of impact. I remember a giant flame, an indescribable chaos and no information ... the restart was only given late in the afternoon.
The Monza Paddocks in 1978 were really uncomfortable: Some teams found place in the area behind the boxes, others, as the Shadow Team, were placed in the area of the old garage, some under the tents, others inside the garages, uncomfortable little dark and dirty. These are the few photos I could take on Saturday, September 9, 1978
Team Tyrrell, in the area behind the box. The Tyrrell 008/01 for Didier Pironi and 008/03 for Patrick Depailler. The two cars had different solutions of rear suspension, in particular Depailler used an experimental solution while Pironi fitted the standard ones. In the practice it was clear that the experimental solution did not work properly, Depailler complained of the handling of the car and on the starting grid there are two positions behind Pironi. At the start of the race both drivers were involved in the accident. Pironi will not start again because without a T-car while Depailler will only finish 11th using the reserve car, 008/5.
The Shadow DN9 driven by Clay Regazzoni, DN9/4A and Hans Joachim Stuck, DN9/1A at Monza had a decent set-up and the drivers were moderately satisfied with the tyres Goodyear and the engine. At the end of practice they were placed on the starting grid with Regazzoni at the fifteenth place and Stuck at the seventeenth. Stuck was involved in Peterson's incident and was probably hit by a flying wheel on his helmet. Only Regazzoni took the second start with the T-car chassis DN9/5A and ended fifteenth, not classified.
Brabham BT46 Alfa Romeo
Niki Lauda was at the end declared the winner of the Italian Grand Prix because Mario Andretti and Gilles Villeneuve, first and second got one minute penalty due to a jumped the start. At the end of the race Lauda did not even go to the podium. Second ended John Watson with the second Brabham.
The Team Arrows's Ford Cosworth DFV. Only the Riccardo Patrese's car took part in the Grand Prix. After the second start, he was forced to retire at lap 29 due to an engine failure. Rolf Stommelen did not pass the prequalification session. The prequalification took place on September 3, the Sunday before the Grand Prix, and were carried out as a "outline" to the Intereuropa Cup for GT cars and a Formula 3 Italian Championship race. Seven drivers took part to the prequalification session, but only the best three were admitted to official tests. Eventually the best were Hector Rebaque with Lotus 78, Nelson Piquet with the McLaren M23 and Brett Lunger with the McLaren M26.
Arturo Merzario qualified for the Grand Prix at the 22nd place. During the practice he broke a drive-shaft of his Merzario A1/02, but managed to qualify with the Merzario A1/01, the same car (and the same Goodyear tyres with compound 40 at the front and 41 at the rear) with which Alberto Colombo failed to pass the prequalification on the previous Sunday due to a series of mechanical troubles culminating in a gearbox failure. Merzario retired on the 15th lap, stopping along the track with the KO engine.
The 1978 Italian Grand Prix, saw at the start 5 McLaren. McLaren Team, housed in the old garages, in addition to the M26/5 for James Hunt and M26/3 for Patrick Tambay, had also entered Bruno Giacomelli with the M26/7. Nelson Piquet, with the M23/11 and Brett Lunger with the M26/6, ran for BS Fabrication Team. The cars did not stand out in qualifying. In the race, James Hunt was involved in the accident at the first start and was forced to retire after the second, due to an engine failure. Tambay who started from the boxes due to a gear selector problem, ended the race in the fifth place. Piquet and Giacomelli ended ninth and fourth respectively, while Lunger, damaged the car in the accident and did not restart due to the lack of a T-car.
Close-up the Ronnie Peterson's Lotus 79, which was damaged during warm-up due to an out of track at the Roggia's chicane. For this reason, Peterson was forced to start for the Grand Prix with the old Lotus 78 of the previous year on which the engine of the damaged 79 was fitted. During the formation laps, before the starting grid Peterson had come back to the boxes denouncing some injection breaks that were probably caused by some grains of sand left on the engine, that was changed in a hurry some hours before. Nothing could be done, no more time and Ronnie had to be on the grid. In the background the Andretti' Lotus 79 who won the race but got a penalty because he had a jump start.
Ligier JS9 Matra
The Ligier team, also this camp in the old garage area. The only car, Jacques Laffite's JS9, will end the Grand Prix in fourth place.
Emerson Fittipaldi, who is going to the old garages area where his Copersucar is barely able to see inside the narrow and dark garage.
The starting grid