Fittipaldi takes McLaren's first title
This was one of the closest championships for years, in which Fittipaldi and Regazzoni battled for top position. In a dramatic finale Fittipaldi claimed his second title - a first for McLaren.
At the year's end Denny Hulme retired. The winter of 1973-74 was one of the busiest in memory. The big news was that Fittipaldi quit Lotus to join McLaren, along with substantial new backing from Texaco and Marlboro. Hulme stayed on as his team-mate, while a third car - in Yardley colours - was entered for Hailwood.
Ickx left Ferrari to join Peterson at Lotus, while Tyrrell found himself needing two new drivers. He hired Scheckter from McLaren and French newcomer Patrick Depailler. Revson also left McLaren, joining French youngster Jean-Pierre Jarier at Shadow. Hill's team swapped from Shadow to Lola chassis, while Hesketh built its own car for Hunt. BRM had new French sponsors, and Beltoise led a squad of three French drivers. Amon's career took another dive as he tried to run his own team.
Regazzoni rejoined Ferrari after a year at BRM, and brought with him Lauda. From the start the revised Ferrari line-up was competitive. Hulme won the first race in Argentina, but Regazzoni qualified on the front row and Lauda took second in the race. In Brazil Peterson and Fittipaldi duelled for the lead until the Swede punctured, leaving Emerson to score McLaren's second. At last, Reutemann came good by winning in Kyalami - Brabham's first success for exactly four years. Sadly, in pre-race testing Revson was killed when he crashed the Shadow.
At Jarama Ferrari's promise produced results when Lauda won. Fittipaldi scored a second win in Nivelles, and then Peterson triumphed at Monaco. Two weeks later Tyrrell new boys Scheckter and Depailler scored a brilliant one-two in Sweden.
Lauda and Regazzoni scored a Ferrari one-two in the French Grand Prix at the new Dijon track, and then Scheckter took his second at Brands Hatch. At the Nurburgring Lauda threw it away on the first lap, leaving Regazzoni to save face for Ferrari. Reutemann won in Austria, and then Peterson was on top at Monza when the Ferraris failed.
Fittipaldi made his claim in the penultimate race at Mosport, winning ahead of Regazzoni. Incredibly, they went into the final race on equal points. In the end a fourth place was enough for Emmo, with neither of his rivals scoring. McLaren also beat Ferrari to the constructors' title. But the race was marred by the death of rookie Helmuth Koinigg.