Motor racing...and both Formula One World Champion Niki Lauda and his runner-up, Jody Scheckter, will?
Motor racing...and both Formula One World Champion Niki Lauda and his runner-up, Jody Scheckter, will start the 1978 Grand Prix season in 1977 cars. The Alfa-Brabham and Wolf-Ford models are currently being test-driven by former World Champion Jackie Stewart.
SYNOPSIS: Unfamiliar markings for Niki Lauda, who won his latest title driving for Ferrari. And an unfamiliar face to see at the wheel of an Alfa-Brabham...former champion Jackie Stewart.
Scotsman Stewart was associated with Elf-Tyrrell in his racing days but now the multi-millionaire is increasing his financial rewards by test-driving cars which will be used when the new Grand Prix season begins next month.
He took the Alfa-Brabham round the Paul Ricard circuit in Southern France. Although the team have already unveiled a new car, Lauda will begin the defence of his title in Sough America using last year's 45C model. Of course it is still a new car to the Austrian ace who won the championships driving for Ferrari. And he must do well if Brabham are to keep their contract with Alfa-Romeo, now thinking of building their own Formula One car.
The Wolf-Ford team - owned by Canadian oil tycoon Walter Wolf - will also introduce a new car in April. Until then Jody Scheckter will drive the WR2 which was tested by Stewart at a very wet Silverstone circuit in England.
The WR2 model gave Scheckter victory in the Canadian and Monaco races. Ferrari were so impressed with the Sough African's driving they wanted him to replace Lauda - but Scheckter stayed put.
Both the Alfa-Brabham and Wolf-Ford team managers are agreed that although new models are on the way they prefer to start a season with a car already used in race conditions. Stewart announced he was happy with both cars after his tests - so the stage is set for another classic encounter between champion Lauda and challenger Scheckter.