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motorsport rewind – 1971 Rome GP F2 from Vallelunga

F2 began to lose its way a bit towards the second half of the 1970s perhaps, but in 1971 it was still thriving, and you could still find a crop of Grand Prix drivers turning out and plenty of dicing all down the grid. It was still possible to turn up at Brabham, March, Lotus, Tecno or wherever with a bag of cash and buy a competitive car if you had the funds and you too could be part of the fun.

Thanks to Roy Pagliacci, here’s some home made cine film of the 1971 Rome GP, a qualifying round of the European championship, and marvel at how close the racing was. Here you have two future World Champions, 1 current GP winner, 6 future GP and 3 future Le Mans winners amongst the entry.

Look down the list of drivers below and see just how cosmopolitan it all was. There are drivers from many parts of Europe, plus North and South America and Australia taking part. This was still in the 1600cc powered era with the Cosworth FVA as the power unit of choice for most, although the BMW unit was still a competitive option as evidenced by Questor’s second place.

Note also the race time of 1 hour 26 minutes for winner Ronnie Peterson, just 10  minutes less that Lewis Hamilton took to win in China last week in F1. These people earned their money, even if they did do it over two heats sometimes.

Along the way in Roy’s film you’ll also see the F850 cars (Italy’s answer to Formula Ford) racing. The winner of that race? One Lella Lombardi, the only lady grand prix driver to finish in the points so far, and sadly no longer with us.

Lella’s half point for the shortened 1975 Spanish GP is sometimes regarded as a bit of a fluke, but the lady could drive; she was only tiny, but managed 7th in the German GP at the Nurburgring, no mean feat, handled F5000 with aplomb and later qualified 29th (of 43) for the NASCAR Firecracker 400 at Daytona in 1977, being classified 31st after retiring with transmission problems.

Here are the results of the 70 lap 1971 F2 Rome GP race:

Pos No Driver Entrant Car – Engine Race Time
1 1 Ronnie Peterson Smog – March Engineering March 712M – Cosworth FVA 1:25’57.2″
2 5 Dieter Quester Eifelland Caravans March 712M – BMW M11 1:26’07.8″
3 2 Carlos Reutemann AC Argentina – YPF Brabham BT36 – Cosworth FVA 1:26’38.9″
4 33 Mike Beuttler Clarke Mordaunt March 712M – Cosworth FVA 1:26’51.2″
5 10 Gerry Birrell J. & J. Stanton Lotus 69 – Cosworth FVA 1:27’07.7″
6 13 John Watson John Watson Brabham BT30 – Cosworth FVA 1:27’10.0″
7 8 Niki Lauda Bosch Racing Team March 712M – Cosworth FVA 1:27’15.3″
8 12 John Cannon John Cannon March 712M – Cosworth FVA 1:27’40.5″
9 25 Carlos Ruesch AC Argentina – YPF Brabham BT36 – Cosworth FVA 1:27’44.9″
10 29 Claudio Francisci Racing Team IRIS Ceramiche Tecno TF71 – Cosworth FVA 69 laps
11 28 Giovanni Salvati Scuderia Ala d’Oro March 712M – Cosworth FVA 69
12 22 Freddy Link Jolly Club Switzerland March 712M – Cosworth FVA 68
13 26 Carlos Pace Frank Williams Motul March 712M – Cosworth FVA 68
14 14 Silvio Moser Silvio Moser Brabham BT30/36 – Cosworth FVA 67
15 11 Peter Westbury F.I.R.S.T. Brabham BT36 – Cosworth FVA 66
NC 7 Jean-Pierre Jaussaud Shell – Meubles Arnold Team March 712M – Cosworth FVA 63
NC 38 Henri Pescarolo Frank Williams Motul March 712M – Cosworth FVA 61
NC 36 Emerson Fittipaldi Team Bardahl Lotus 69 – Cosworth FVA 37
NC 6 Wilson Fittipaldi Team Bardahl March 712M – Cosworth FVA 11
NC 4 Francois Cevert Equipe Tecno Elf Tecno TF71 – Ford BDA 6
NC 3 Tim Schenken Rondel Racing Brabham BT36 – Cosworth FVA 6
NC 39 Derek Bell Frank Williams Motul March 712M – Cosworth FVA 3

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