• United States Grand Prix

Lauda wins as Regazzoni is criticised

ESPNF1 Staff
October 5, 1975
Emerson Fittipaldi is blocked by Clay Regazzoni ... eventually Regazzoni was black flagged © Sutton Images

With both drivers' and constructors' titles resolved at Monza, there was little to play for at Watkins Glen, but Niki Lauda showed why he was the new champion by winning the US Grand Prix.

Practice was notable for a big accident involving Vittorio Brambilla. He wrecked his March but a remarkable rebuilding process, involving a local aircraft engineering company, enabled him to start the race and he eventually finished seventh. Jacques Laffite was less fortunate, being rushed to hospital shortly before the start after putting visor cleaning fluid into his eyes instead of drops.

The race itself - and the behavior of Clay Regazzoni - went down as one of the sport's most forgettable, and Emerson Fittipaldi was the victim of appalling sportsmanship. He chased Lauda throughout but was blocked by Regazzoni, who, after being lapped by his Ferrari team-mate, refused to give way for five laps. Fittipaldi sat on his tail, repeatedly shaking his fist in anger. Eventually, Regazzoni was ordered to the pits by stewards but he remained on track for a further two laps before complying.

As he entered the pits Ferrari manager Luca di Montezemolo instructed him to resume. A scuffle followed between Montezemolo and officials. Regazzoni continued for four more laps before a livid Montezemolo withdrew him in protest.

The damage had been done. By the time he moved over, Lauda's lead had extended from one second to twelve-and-a-half. The Times slammed Regazzoni for a "blatant example of unsportsmanlike driving" while the Daily Express called it "one of the most disgraceful displays of poor sportsmanship".

It was a bad day for the local contingent. Brett Lunger went off when lying tenth near the end, while Mario Andretti was forced to retire after nine laps.

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