- June 4 down the years
F1's most successful engine makes its debutWhat happened on this day in Formula One history?
The most successful engine in Formula One racing won on its debut in the back of Jim Clark's Lotus 49 at the Dutch Grand Prix. The V8 Cosworth DFV pioneered four valve per cylinder technology and continued to be used in some shape or form right up until the 1985 season. It powered 12 drivers' championship victories and 10 constructors' as well as taking two Le Mans 24 Hours victories and 10 Indy 500 wins. On its debut at an overcast Zandvoort, Clark started the grid from the third row after problems in qualifying. However, when his team-mate Graham Hill retired from the race, Clark swept through the field and won comfortably by 25 seconds from Jack Brabham. It was a fantastic result for Cosworth and the start of a new era in Formula One.
With the safety of Spa Francorchamps being called into question over previous years, the Belgian Grand Prix rocked up at a new circuit just outside Brussels called Nivelles. While it was undoubtedly safer, the straight-forward layout failed to inspire drivers and spectators in the same way the public roads in the Ardennes Mountains had. The race itself did little to change the mood, with Emerson Fittipaldi taking the win after easily dispatching the fast starting Clay Regazzoni on lap 31. He ended up winning by over 20 seconds as Regazzoni continued to fall down the order and eventually crashed when he came across Giovanni Galli's slow moving Tecno. Nivelles hosted just one more grand prix in 1974, with Zolder taking over the mantle until the mid 1980s when F1 returned to a shortened Spa Francorchamps.
Mario Andretti won the Spanish Grand Prix ahead of his Lotus team-mate Ronnie Peterson. James Hunt slipped ahead of Andretti at the start but it wasn't long before he was swamped by the dominant Lotus 78, and the positions were reversed. But Peterson was the man to watch as he fought back through the field to second, after a terrible start had dropped him to ninth.
Nino Farina won the Swiss Grand Prix ahead of Luigi Fagioli, in a repeat of Alfa Romeo's dominance at the first round of the championship a week earlier. And again, as at the British Grand Prix, Juan Manual Fangio's Alfa failed to last the distance. The only real competition to the Alfas was expected to come from the Ferraris of Alberto Ascari, Gigi Villoresi and Raymond Sommer but all were forced to retire. Fangio took an early lead but was passed by Farina on lap seven as the Alfas slotted into 1-2-3 formation at the front. Fagioli was unable to keep up and as the Ferraris wilted, Prince Bira moved into fourth. Philippe Etancelin in a Talbot Lago overtook him during a pit stop. On the 19th lap factory Talbot Lago driver Eugene Martin crashed heavily and was seriously hurt. Etancelin retired with gearbox trouble on the 25th lap, and Fangio followed seven laps from the end, leaving Talbot Lago factory driver Louis Rosier to take third ahead of four Maseratis.
Alain Prost won the US Grand Prix in Pheonix after his main competitors Ayrton Senna and Nigel Mansell retired. Alex Caffi was on for a podium finish and a career best result in the BMS Scuderia Italia, but was taken out of the race by his lapped team-mate Andrea de Cessaris. In the end Prost crossed the line 40 seconds ahead of Riccardo Patrese and American Eddie Cheever.
David Coulthard took his first career win at Monaco, after Michael Schumacher was forced to retire with a cracked exhaust. Coulthard was third for most of the race after qualifying behind Schumacher and Jarno Trulli. He moved up to second when Trulli succumbed to gearbox gremlins but was still losing ground to Schumacher and, before the Ferrari retired, the gap was up to 40 seconds. Coulthard, however, was delighted with the result. "I have always said that there are a few Grands Prix, which are very special to me, and Monaco is definitely one of them. The track is probably the most technically challenging and I'm very happy both for the team and myself. I have felt confident all weekend and the car was very good throughout the race."