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The complete 1978 Swedish Grand Prix with German commentary.
The John Player Special Lotus 79, driven by Mario Andretti, appeared to be the dominant car for 1978. At the mid-season
point, Niki Lauda had not had a win, but managed a couple podium finishes along with his teammate John Watson. When the
cars were unloaded in Anderstorp, Sweden, everyone gathered around the Brabham cars and stared in amazement. There
sat two Brabham BT46’s, each having a huge fan attached to the rear of the car. Since active ground effects devices
were not allowed, the team explained that the fan was for cooling the engine. It soon became clear that the primary aim of
the fans was to suck air from beneath the cars and improve grip. Rival teams argued that the fans were, therefore, illegal.
The cars also had a habit of hurling stones at cars which were running behind them. As a side note, only three cars were on
Michelin tires, the Ferrari Team of Gilles Villeneuve and Carlos Reutemann, and the Renault of Jean-Pierre Jabouille.
The rest of the field ran Goodyears.
Mario Andretti was on pole, followed closely by John Watson and Niki Lauda, both in the fan car Brabhams, then it was
Ronnie Peterson in the second Lotus (the Brabhams were protested before the race began, but the protest was
rejected). Mario Andretti took the lead with Niki Lauda getting ahead of his teammate John Watson, who was under
pressure from a fast-starting Riccardo Patrese. On lap 20, John Watson would retire from the race with a throttle
problem. Meanwhile, up front, Andretti and Lauda battled for the lead, with Patrese far behind. On lap 38 Niki Lauda
would take over the lead from Mario Andretti, and then it appeared to be all over, as the Brabham fan continued to throw
rocks and debris, while Niki seemed stuck to the track. On lap 47, Andretti’s Lotus had an engine failure, which put
Riccardo Patrese up to second, and popular hometown hero Ronnie Peterson to third.
With this win by Niki Lauda and the controversial Brabham BT46, the “fan car” was deemed illegal, and the Brabhams were
returned to a conventional layout for the next race in France.
This race has German commentary, and is not as clear as the other races we have, but we have it available for true F1 fans
because while the Brabham “fan car” is a just a footnote in F1 history, this race is significant in that this car appeared in
just this one race, won the event, was driven by the legendary Niki Lauda, and the car was immediately banned.