As drivers practised on Friday (7 October) for the Canadian Grand Prix, racing fans were disappointed by news that Austria's Niki Lauda had pulled out of Sunday's (9 October) race.
SV PAN Cars in pits at Mosport Park, Canada
Car in pit
SV James Hunt in car zooming off (2 shots)
SV Car in pit
SVs Cars coming out of pits onto race track
SV PAN Cars going round bend (2 shots)
SV PAN NO. 5 Jochen Maass of Germany down straight
GVs Cars down straight and round bend (2 shots)
GV PAN NO. 5 Mass round bend
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Background: As drivers practised on Friday (7 October) for the Canadian Grand Prix, racing fans were disappointed by news that Austria's Niki Lauda had pulled out of Sunday's (9 October) race. Lauda's relations with Ferrari have been strained since he announced that he would be racing for Brabham next season.
SYNOPSIS: With Lauda out of the race, the battle was on for second place in this year's world championship. Lauda made sure of the title in last Sunday's American Grand Prix, and now the main contenders for runner-up are Mario Andretti of the United States and South Africa's Joddy Scheckter. Britain's James Hunt, current title holder, won the U.S. Grand Prix, but has no hope of finishing in the top three in this year's standings.
Friday's practice at Mosport Park, Ontario, was marred by a crash when the British Hesketh car became airborne at high speed and somersaulted twice before landing upside down. Driver Ian Ashley was taken to hospital with his legs and wrists broken.
In the early stages it was Mario Andretti who set the best time of one minute 11.95 seconds, faster than Hunt's record qualifying time of one minute 12.38 last year. Starting positions for the big race were to be decided during Saturday's qualifying rounds.
Lauda's replacement in the Canadian Grand Prix will be Canadian Gilles Villeneuve, making his debut for the Ferrari team. The other Ferrari driver in Argentina's Carlos Reutemann.
The season ends later in October with the Japanese Grand Prix, 17th of this year's races.