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Mike Hailwood in the works Surtees TS10 at Thruxton in 1972. Copyright Ted Walker 2013.  Used with permission.

Formula 2 1972

Formula 2 was still open to graded drivers who were ineligible for points, so the driver winning each race was not necessarily competing for the championship. Emerson Fittipaldi, with three wins from the five races he entered with his one-year-old works Moonraker Lotus 69, was the quickest driver present, which was no surprise as he was also on his way to the World Championship. Ronnie Peterson also made guest appearances in a works STP March 722, and won at Thruxton. Ignoring these two, the quickest drivers were Mike Hailwood and Jean-Pierre Jaussaud. Hailwood benefited from the well-financed and well-engineered Matchbox Surtees TS10, and took a well-deserved championship, but Jaussaud, at 36 hardly a budding F1 talent, did particularly well to win two races in a customer Brabham BT38 run by Adam Potocki's under-financed operation.

Also worth mentioning are the 22-year-old Austrian banker's son Niki Lauda who was let down by engine trouble in his works STP March; David Morgan who did remarkably well in a private Brabham; 21-year-old Jody Scheckter who impressed in the sole works McLaren and was tipped for stardom; Peter Gethin, still somehow ungraded despite his wins in F1 and F5000, who raced the new Chevron; and Brazilian Carlos Pace who combined his Williams March F1 ride with impressive F2 drives for Pygmée and later Surtees.

The races

12 Mar 1972 > Mallory Park

03 Apr 1972 > Jochen Rindt Memorial Trophy at Thruxton

16 Apr 1972 > Jim Clark Memorial Trophäe at Hockenheim

30 Apr 1972 > Eifelrennen at Nürburgring

07 May 1972 > Grand Prix de Pau

29 May 1972 > Greater London Trophy at Crystal Palace

11 Jun 1972 > Rhein-Pokalrennen at Hockenheim

25 Jun 1972 > Grand Prix de Rouen at Rouen-les-Essarts

29 Jun 1972 > Gran Premio della Lotteria at Monza

09 Jul 1972 > Jochen Rindt Memorial Trophy at Österreichring

23 Jul 1972 > Gran Premio Citta di Imola

06 Aug 1972 > Hitachi Grand Prix at Mantorp Park

20 Aug 1972 > Gran Premio del Mediterraneo at Enna-Pergusa

02 Sep 1972 > Salzburger Festspielpreis at Salzburgring

24 Sep 1972 > Grand Prix d'Albi

01 Oct 1972 > Preis von Baden-Wurttemberg at Hockenheim

European F2 Championship events shown in bold

1972 European F2 Championship table

1Mike HailwoodSurtees TS10 - Ford BDA Hart55 pts2 wins
2Jean-Pierre JaussaudBrabham BT38 - Ford BDA Hart37 pts2 wins
3Patrick DepaillerElf 2 (Alpine) A367 - Ford BDA Hart
March 722 - Ford BDA
March 722 - Cosworth BDF
27 pts 
4Carlos ReutemannBrabham BT38 - Cosworth BDF
Brabham BT38 - Ford BDA
26 pts 
5Niki LaudaMarch 722 - Ford BDA RES
March 722 - Cosworth BDF
24 pts 
6David MorganBrabham BT35 - Ford BDA Wood
Brabham BT38 - Ford BDA Wood
Tui BH2 - Ford BDA
23 pts1 win
7Bob WollekBrabham BT38 - Ford BDA Racing Services
Brabham BT38 - Cosworth BDE
21 pts 
8Jody ScheckterMcLaren M21 - Cosworth BDF
McLaren M21 - Ford BDA Racing Services
15 pts1 win
9=Mike BeuttlerMarch 722 - Ford BDA RES12 pts 
9=Peter GethinChevron B20 - Ford BDA Smith12 pts1 win
11Carlos RueschSurtees TS10 - Ford BDA Hart11 pts 
12Wilson FittipaldiMarch 712M - Cosworth BDE Novamotor
Brabham BT38 - Cosworth BDE Novamotor
Brabham BT38 - Ford BDA Novamotor
10 pts 
13Xavier PerrotMarch 722 - Cosworth BDE8 pts 
14Jean-Pierre JabouilleElf 2 (Alpine) A367 - Ford BDA Hart
March 722 - Ford BDA
7 pts 

John Player British Formula 2 Championship

John Player sponsored a series of races in Britain. The title was won by STP March works driver Niki Lauda.

The races

12 Mar 1972 > Mallory Park

31 Mar 1972 > Oulton Park

03 Apr 1972 > Jochen Rindt Memorial Trophy at Thruxton

29 May 1972 > Greater London Trophy at Crystal Palace

16 Sep 1972 > Oulton Park

1972 John Player British F2 Championship table

1Niki LaudaMarch 722 - Ford BDA RES
March 722 - Cosworth BDF
31 pts1 win
2Ronnie PetersonMarch 722 - Cosworth BDF
March 722 - Ford BDA Hart
27 pts2 wins
3David MorganBrabham BT35 - Ford BDA Wood
Brabham BT38 - Ford BDA Wood
14 pts1 win
4Jody ScheckterMcLaren M21 - Cosworth BDF12 pts1 win
5Gerry BirrellMarch 722 - Ford BDA Hart10 pts 
6=François CevertMarch 722 - Ford BDA Hart8 pts 
6=Mike HailwoodSurtees TS10 - Ford BDA RES
Surtees TS10 - Ford BDA Hart
8 pts 
6=James HuntMarch 712M - Ford BDA Hart8 pts 
6=Carlos ReutemannBrabham BT38 - Cosworth BDF8 pts 
10=Richard ScottBrabham BT36 - Ford BDA Richardson
Brabham BT38 - Ford BDA Richardson
6 pts 
11Tim SchenkenBrabham BT38 - Cosworth BDE
Brabham BT38 - Ford BDA RES
4 pts 
12=Patrick Dal BoPygmée MDB17 - Ford BDA Pygmée3 pts 
12=Vic ElfordChevron B20 - Ford BDA Smith3 pts 
14=John WingfieldBrabham BT36 - Ford BDA Felday2 pts 
14=Claudio FrancisciBrabham BT38 - Cosworth BDE Novamotor2 pts 
16=Jean-Pierre BeltoiseBrabham BT38 - Ford BDA RES1 pts 
16=Xavier PerrotMarch 722 - Cosworth BDE1 pts 

Points were awarded on the normal 9-6-4-3-2-1 basis, with the final round scoring double. Championship table from the John Player Motorsport Yearbook 1973 p302

F2 Torneio Brasiliero

The races

29 Oct 1972 > Interlagos

05 Nov 1972 > Interlagos

12 Nov 1972 > Interlagos

1972 F2 Torneio Brasiliero table

1Emerson Fittipaldi1993cc Lotus 69 - Cosworth BDF15 pts1 win
2Mike Hailwood1850cc Surtees TS10 - Ford BDA Hart13 pts1 win
3Tim Schenken1993cc Brabham BT38 - Cosworth BDF
1927cc Brabham BT38 - Ford BDF RES
12 pts 
4Carlos Pace1999cc Surtees TS15 - Ford BDA Hart alloy9 pts1 win
5Wilson Fittipaldi1840cc Brabham BT38 - Ford BDA Novamotor8 pts 
6James Hunt1850cc March 712M - Ford BDA Hart5 pts 
7Gianclaudio "Clay" Regazzoni1990cc March 722 - Ford BDA Armaroli4 pts 
8Andrea de Adamich1840cc Surtees TS10 - Ford BDA Novamotor3 pts 
9=Bob Wollek1927cc Brabham BT38 - Ford BDA Racing Services2 pts 
9=Jean-Pierre Jaussaud1850cc Brabham BT38 - Ford BDA Hart
1850cc Surtees TS10 - Ford BDA Hart
2 pts 
11=José Dolhem1900cc March 722 - Ford BDA Smith1 pts 
11=David Purley1927cc March 722 - Ford BDA RES1 pts 

Cars

Brabham's latest F2 design was the monocoque Brabham BT38, and this was the most successful car of the season in terms of wins and of points scored, but only narrowly. March's new side-radiator 722 was not as successful as the 712M but still sold in very large numbers. Surtees produced their first F2 design, the Surtees TS10, and this was immediately successful in the hands of 'Big John' and Hailwood. Derek Bennett at Chevron had another go at F2 and turned out the boxy Chevron B20 with its distinctive full-width nose. Gethin led every lap to win at Pau in this car and although reliability let it down elsewhere, customer orders were expected for 1973. With the John Coombs' ELF-backed team more focused on the March 722 than the spaceframe Alpine A367, France's only competitive runner was Pygmée, built by Patrick Dal Bo's operation in France but run from England by Mike Earle, formerly of Church Farm Racing. The car went well but the Pygmée-built engines did not work, and tensions between the French and English wings led to Carlos Pace's departure and the team's collapse. McLaren re-entered F2 with the new M21 but despite young Scheckter's exploits, orders for the Trojan-built 1973 version did not materialise. GRD, made up largely of ex-Lotus staff, sold a few F2 cars but their real successes came in F3. Allan McCall's well-engineered Tui did well but McCall did not have the resources for F2. Lotus's sole representative was Emerson Fittipaldi in his modified 1971 Lotus 69 with Cosworth BDF engine.

Engines

The engine formula changed to 2000cc in 1972 and, as usual, it was Cosworth's preparation of a Ford engine that worked best. Cosworth were able to stretch their BDA engine out to 1927cc but only built four of the expensive BDF engines, one each for Brabham, March, Lotus and McLaren. When they weren't breaking, those few units won six races in 1972. A smaller 1800cc Cosworth BDE was also available, with around 260 bhp instead of the BDF's 290 bhp, and a host of smaller engine tuners prepared BDA engine of various capacities, some reaching 1973cc by late in the season. The tuners that emerged with the greatest credit were: Brian Hart, who supplied his reliable 1850cc units to the ELF Coombs team and to Team Surtees; RES, whose 1927cc unit was the engine of choice in June and July; Racing Services who supplied engines to Rondel; David Wood, who turned out a few quick 1860cc engines and was the first to build a full 1994cc engine; and Alan Smith whose partnership with Chevron in 2-litre sportscar racing led to him producing some impressive 1900cc BDAs for Chevron's F2 team. Not everyone got it right. Felday's 1973cc engine was a huge disappointment. Rondel experimented with their own 1960cc unit but that wasn't seen often. Novamotor built 1800cc and 1840cc BDA and BDE engines for general sale but they were not a great success. Other 1800cc BDAs were produced by Broadspeed for Hiroshi Kazato, by Geoff Richardson for Richard Scott, and by Tony Steele for Tom Belso. The alloy block Ford BDA engine based on the Hart block was homologated on 1 October, so was too late for the European season, but RES and Hart had their alloy block mills ready for the F2 Torneio Brasiliero in October and November.