Emerson Fittipaldi in the Lotus 72D at the British Grand Prix in July 1972.  Copyright Richard Bunyan.  Used with permission.

1972 Formula 1 season

With the benefit of hindsight, it was a surprise that Jackie Stewart did not retain his title in 1972. The team was just as good, but there were problems with the new Tyrrell 005, notably with its inboard front brakes, and Stewart was knocked out of his rhythm by illness, and by the response to the Sunday Times serialisation of his book 'Faster!'. By the time the team had recovered its equilibrium, Emerson Fittipaldi and his Lotus 72D had won the championship.

The power battles in Formula 1 were slowly reshaping the sport, as the GPDA's campaign to improve safety slowly inched the sport away from Spa and the Nürburgring towards new custom-built facilities such as the Österreichring and Nivelles-Baulers. Older circuits had to adapt and modernise or be pushed aside, but the resistance to this was very strong. Also the Formula One Constructors Association was starting to flex its muscles, insisting on a greater share of the revenue for the teams, and improving the packaging of the sport, for example by ensuring that all teams were represented at every race. BRM, Matra and Ferrari were not easily coralled, but Lotus, McLaren, Tyrrell, March and Williams ran straightforward two-car operations in 1972 while Brabham and Surtees ran third cars where sponsorship allowed. Ferrari ran two or three, depending on who was available, but Louis Stanley got completely carried away with BRM's new sponsorship from Marlboro and ran five cars until mid-season when sense prevailed and they returned to a more manageable three.

The races

23 Jan 1972 > Argentinian Grand Prix at Buenos Aires

04 Mar 1972 > South African Grand Prix at Kyalami

19 Mar 1972 > Race of Champions at Brands Hatch

30 Mar 1972 > Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos

23 Apr 1972 > International Trophy at Silverstone

01 May 1972 > Spanish Grand Prix at Jarama

14 May 1972 > Monaco Grand Prix at Monte Carlo

29 May 1972 > Gold Cup at Oulton Park

04 Jun 1972 > Belgian Grand Prix at Nivelles-Baulers

18 Jun 1972 > Gran Premio della Republica Italiana at Vallelunga

02 Jul 1972 > French Grand Prix at Clermont-Ferrand

15 Jul 1972 > British Grand Prix at Brands Hatch

30 Jul 1972 > German Grand Prix at Nürburgring

13 Aug 1972 > Austrian Grand Prix at Österreichring

28 Aug 1972 > Rothmans 50,000 at Brands Hatch

10 Sep 1972 > Italian Grand Prix at Monza

24 Sep 1972 > Canadian Grand Prix at Mosport Park

08 Oct 1972 > United States Grand Prix at Watkins Glen

22 Oct 1972 > John Player Challenge Trophy at Brands Hatch

World Drivers' Championship events shown in bold

1972 World Drivers' Championship table

1Emerson FittipaldiLotus 72D - Cosworth DFV V861 pts5 wins
2Jackie StewartTyrrell 003 - Cosworth DFV V8
Tyrrell 004 - Cosworth DFV V8
Tyrrell 005 - Cosworth DFV V8
45 pts4 wins
3Denis HulmeMcLaren M19A - Cosworth DFV V8
McLaren M19C - Cosworth DFV V8
39 pts1 win
4Jacky IckxFerrari 312B2/72 - f1227 pts1 win
5Peter RevsonMcLaren M19A - Cosworth DFV V8
McLaren M19C - Cosworth DFV V8
23 pts 
6François CevertTyrrell 002 - Cosworth DFV V8
Tyrrell 006 - Cosworth DFV V8
15 pts 
7Clay RegazzoniFerrari 312B2/72 - f1215 pts 
8Mike HailwoodSurtees TS9B - Cosworth DFV V813 pts 
9Ronnie PetersonMarch 721 - Cosworth DFV V8
March 721X - Cosworth DFV V8
March 721G - Cosworth DFV V8
12 pts 
10Chris AmonMatra MS120C - MS71 V12
Matra MS120D - MS71 V12
12 pts 
11Jean-Pierre BeltoiseBRM P160B - P142 V12
BRM P160C - P142 V12
BRM P180 - P142 V12
9 pts1 win
12Mario AndrettiFerrari 312B2/72 - f124 pts 
13Howden GanleyBRM P160B - P142 V12
BRM P180 - P142 V12
BRM P160C - P142 V12
4 pts 
14Brian RedmanMcLaren M19A - Cosworth DFV V8
BRM P180 - P142 V12
4 pts 
15Graham HillBrabham BT33 - Cosworth DFV V8
Brabham BT37 - Cosworth DFV V8
4 pts 
16Carlos ReutemannBrabham BT34 - Cosworth DFV V8
Brabham BT37 - Cosworth DFV V8
3 pts 
17Andrea de AdamichSurtees TS9B - Cosworth DFV V83 pts 
18Carlos PaceMarch 711 - Cosworth DFV V83 pts 
19Tim SchenkenSurtees TS9B - Cosworth DFV V8
Surtees TS14 - Cosworth DFV V8
2 pts 
20Arturo MerzarioFerrari 312B2/72 - f121 pt 
21Peter GethinBRM P160B - P142 V12
BRM P180 - P142 V12
BRM P160C - P142 V12
1 pt 

Previous: the 1971 season

All cars are 3-litre Formula 1 cars unless otherwise noted.