In Picture: 1970 British Grand Prix Race Start

Usually mid-week we like to take a look at a classic motorsport video and apply some context to it, but this week we are being a little different and just talking about a picture. It was sent to us as part of a press release about Jacky Ickx and the London Classic Car Show, but we found that we kept coming back to it.

It shows the front-row of the 1970 British Grand Prix at Brands Hatch. On pole is the sleek Lotus 72 of champion-to-be Jochen Rindt, with Jack Brabham’s BT33 alongside and looking like it belonged to an earlier generation of race cars. This was Rindt’s fourth Grand Prix outing in the 72, he had raced it in Spain in April but failed to finish, then reverted to the Lotus 49 for Monaco and Spa before giving the new car it’s first win at Zandvoort and arriving at Brands Hatch with another win in the French GP at Clermont-Ferrand to his tally.

In contrast with the Brabham and the Ferrari, Rindt’s Lotus is in full sponsor livery, the Gold Leaf colours that had appeared on the Lotus 49s. It may have been Lotus who introduced sponsorship to Formula One but others team were also taking up the idea, and on the second row Jackie Oliver’s BRM P153 is resplendent in Yardley colours – and it would not be long before most of the grid were identifiable by sponsor rather than national colour.

They started three-wide in those days, and Jacky Ickx in third is already smoking the rears of his 312B as he applies the V12’s power, the Ferrari taking the lead only to retire on lap six with transmission problems. Rindt moved ahead and held sway at the front until lap 68 when Brabham went by – only to run out of fuel on the last lap and allow the Austrian past to take the 72’s third Grand Prix win in a row, Brabham still claiming second.

Take some time to enjoy the picture and how things have changed. Who gets to stand just yards away from a Grand Prix start these days? The South Bank covered in cars – perfect family viewing territory. The still relatively simple front and rear wings – looking at the angle of the nose wings on the Brabham, either they did not generate much downforce or that was a car with a lot of understeer! And personally, I always loved the wonderful Compagnolo-made wheels on the Ferraris of the era.

One of the vagaries of the internet is that we have to change the aspect ratio of a picture depending on the device you are viewing it on – so on a phone (for example) you will see a more cropped version of this picture than on a lap top. For that reason the full uncropped image is on our FaceBook page – we hope you enjoy it as much as we have!

Race Result:

1 Jochen Rindt (Lotus 72-Ford) 80 Laps in 1h57m02.0s (108.687mph)
2 Jack Brabham (Brabham BT33-Ford) 80 Laps in 1h57m34.9s
3 Denny Hulme (McLaren M14D-Ford ) 80 Laps in 1h57m56.4s
4 Clay Regazzoni (Ferrari 312B) 80 Laps in 1h57m56.8s
5 Chris Amon (March 701-Ford) 79 Laps
6 Graham Hill (Lotus 49C-Ford) 79 Laps

Fastest Lap: Brabham, 1m25.9s

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