European Formula 3 1978

Once again a Swede came so close to the European Formula 3 title. After Conny Andersson had missed the title on a tie break in 1976, and Anders Olofsson finished second in 1977, Olofsson battled with Dutchman Jan Lammers for the 1978 title and again lost out on a tie break. Lammers won the first round of the series at Zandvoort, his home track where he was a driving instructor, but Olofsson won the next two races at the Nürburgring and the Österreichring to take the championship lead. He held that lead until Magny Cours in July, where he rented a new Martini MK21B instead of his old-year-old Ralt RT1/77, and finished well down the field as Lammers won in his Ralt RT1/78. Olofsson won again at Knutstorp and Kassel-Calden, but Lammers had the momentum now, with a run of nine races in which he finished first or second eight times. The two ended tied on points, and Lammers won thanks to five second places against four for Olofsson.

Three other drivers impressed in 1978: Parisian Patrick Gaillard had an excellent season in a Chevron B43 and was unlucky to be knocked out when leading the Monaco race; wealthy Italian Teo Fabi could invest in qualifying rubber for his March 783 during the tyre war in F3 between Goodyear and M&H; and Michael Bleekemolen who was backed by F&S Properties into one of the works Chevron B43s before becoming distracted by a chance to drive the ATS in F1. Alain Prost raised eyebrows when he won the Jarama race in a Martini MK21B, the Renault engine of which was inexplicably more powerful at this race than at any other. Autosport noted in its report that "there were no facilities to check the Renault's air restrictor for size of vacuum".

Ralt was the leading constructor in 1978, but only narrowly from Chevron who won the Italian series, and March. The French Martini had some success, even if the Jarama performance is discounted, and Jo Marquart's Argo JM1 showed potential. Lola's latest offering, the T670, was a flop.

The races

27 Mar 1978 > Easter Races at Zandvoort

02 Apr 1978 > Goodyear-ADAC-300-km-Rennen at Nürburgring

16 Apr 1978 > Preis von Knittelfeld at Österreichring

23 Apr 1978 > Grote Prijs van Zolder

06 May 1978 > Monaco Grand Prix Formula 3 Race at Monte Carlo

14 May 1978 > Trofeo Autosprint at Imola

28 May 1978 > Nürburgring F3

04 Jun 1978 > Trophée de Bourgogne at Dijon-Prenois

25 Jun 1978 > Gran Premio della Lotteria at Monza

02 Jul 1978 > Gran Premio di Pergusa at Enna-Pergusa

16 Jul 1978 > Grand Prix de la Ville de Nevers at Magny Cours

06 Aug 1978 > Kvällspostens Newsrace at Knutstorp

13 Aug 1978 > Kanonloppet Karlskoga

26 Aug 1978 > Donington Park

03 Sep 1978 > ADAC-Hessen-Preis at Kassel-Calden

17 Sep 1978 > Trofeo Villa de Madrid at Jarama

08 Oct 1978 > Gran Premio Campidoglio at Vallelunga

European Formula 3 Championship events shown in bold

1978 European Formula 3 Championship table

1Jan LammersRalt RT1/78 - Toyota 2T-G Novamotor71 pts 
2Anders OlofssonRalt RT1/77 - Toyota 2T-G Novamotor
Martini MK21B - Toyota 2T-G Novamotor
71 pts 
3Patrick GaillardChevron B43 - Toyota 2T-G Novamotor49 pts 
4Teo FabiMarch 783 - Toyota 2T-G Novamotor45 pts 
5Michael BleekemolenChevron B43 - Toyota 2T-G Novamotor30 pts 
6=David KennedyArgo JM1 - Toyota 2T-G Novamotor13 pts 
6=Derek WarwickRalt RT1/77 - Toyota 2T-G Novamotor13 pts 
8=Alain ProstMartini MK21B - Renault 20TS Dudot10 pts 
8=Guido PardiniRalt RT1/77 - Toyota 2T-G Novamotor10 pts 
10=Arie LuyendijkLola T670 - Toyota 2T-G Novamotor
Ralt RT1/78 - Toyota 2T-G Novamotor
9 pts 
10=Daniele AlbertinRalt RT1/77 - Toyota 2T-G Novamotor9 pts 
10=Roberto CampominosiRalt RT1/77 - Toyota 2T-G Novamotor9 pts 
13Tommy 'Slim' BorguddRalt RT1/76 - Toyota 2T-G Novamotor7 pts 
14Eddy BianchiMarch 783 - Toyota 2T-G Novamotor6 pts 
15Bobby RahalWolf-Dallara WD1 - Toyota 2T-G Novamotor5 pts 

Previous: the 1977 season

This series ran over 14 rounds and used a 9-6-4-3-2-1 points system. Points tables from Autocourse 1978/79 pp250-253.

Between the constructors, Ralt retained its lead. Rom Tauranac's RT1s won the most races, with nine wins out of 16, followed by March and Chevron on three each, and Martini on one. Ralts also had more than half of the podium finishes, with 26 out of 48, then Chevron on 10, two for Argo, and one each for Martini and Wolf-Dallara. Ralt also had the lion's share of the grid, now up to 44% of starters compared with 1977, followed by March down sharply on 18%, Chevron down slightly to 17%, Argo up a fraction to 6% and Martini on 4.5%. Maco were next most numerous, then Wolf-Dallara, Derichs and Lola. The Brabhams, GRDs and Moduses were almost all gone.