Jo Siffert is remembered today as a driver who always gave his utmost. He started racing on motor cycles in his native Switzerland and graduated to cars in 1960. In 1968 he scored a memorable GP victory at Brands Hatch with Rob Walkers privately entered Lotus 49B. He only won one other GP, in Austria in 1971. At the end of the 1971 season a race was organised at Brands Hatch to celebrate Jackie Stewart's World Championship. During the race Siffert's BRM crashed heavily and burst into flames. Inadequately equipped marshals were unable to release Siffert and he preished in the blazing car.
Stewart opened his 1971 account - and Tyrrell's Grand Prix score - in Spain, where he beat Ickx's Ferrari by just 3-4 seconds after a race-long struggle. His 97. 19mph win was his third Spanish victory in a row. He followed it up with a start to finish win in Monaco, but that day it was second man Peterson who caused the sensation by driving a brilliant race in the works March 71 to beat Ickx and Siffert - the latter now in a BRM.
Graham Hill had joined the Brabham team with Jack's retirement at the end of 1970, but he was out of luck at his beloved Monaco, writing off his BT34 on only the second lap. Stewart was off form at a very wet Zandvoort, but Ickx and Rodriguez put on a great display of their wet weather skills to finish first and second, in that order, Rodriguez giving the BRM team a needed lift. Regazzoni was third and Peterson fourth. Emerson Fittipaldi was out of commission following a road accident and Dave Walker, deputising, crashed both a 72 in practice and the debutante turbine Lotus in the race.
The French Grand Prix had yet another new home, at the Circuit Paul Ricard near Marseilles, a new purpose built circuit which met with mixed feelings from the purists. Stewart obviously liked the place though, disappearing into the distance with Cevert in pursuit to give the French-financed team a great day, in front of a partisan crowd. Emerson showed that his brief absence had taken away none of his fire, with a brilliant drive to third place less than six seconds behind Cevert.
Ferrari and the works March team could not boast a finisher between them. Stewart did not take long to overhaul the leading pair of Ferraris at Silverstone to score another comfortable victory, with Peters on recording another fine second place; Fittipaldi was third and again no Ferraris finished. From England, the circus moved to Germany, where the Tyrrell twins were first and second again, Stewart leading Cevert home by 30.1 seconds at 114.46 mph, although Cevert took fastest lap at 116.07 mph.
Regazzoni and Andretti in Ferrari 312 B2S filled the next two places and Peterson was fifth. When Stewart ignominiously crashed out of the Austrian Grand Prix he was consoled by the fact that Ickx's failure to score in the race had handed him his second championship on a plate. The race was won in style by Jo Siffert, for BRM, who needed a morale booster after the death of Rodriguez in a minor sports car race a week before the British race.
The rising stars had a good day with Fittipaldi second, Tim Schenken - in a Brabham - third, and Reine Wisell fourth. Not- so-new boy Graham Hill had a better day than of late with the 'lobster claw' Brabham, to finish fifth. A young Austrian in a rented March retired with handling trouble, his name was Niki Lauda and it was his first Grand Prix. The Ferraris both retired again and for once so did the Tyrrells. The traditional Monza slipstreamer was won after a momentous struggle by BRM's new signing, Peter Gethin. Gethin, Peterson, Cevert, Hailwood (in a Surtees TS9) and Howden Ganley (in a BRM) finished in that order and with just 0.61 seconds covering all five. Chris Amon was sixth and had looked like winning until his cruel luck struck again and he lost his visor a few laps from home.
The winning average was 150.76 mph and Pescarolo's fastest lap, for March, was 153.49 mph. The Canadian race ran only 64 of its scheduled 80 laps, due to bad weather conditions, and when the flag was hung out Stewart was first beneath it for the.sixth time of the season, with Peterson again following him home and Mark Donohue in a privately entered McLaren MI9A taking a popular third place. Cevert completed a happy ·season for Tyrrell by scoring his first win in the final round at Watkins Glen, the richest race on the calendar. Siffert was second and Peterson was third, to claim the runner-up spot in the championship. This was Siffert's last Grand Prix, the season ending as it had begun, with tragedy in a minor race, when 'Seppi' was killed at Brands Hatch in a race to celebrate Stewart's victory.
1971 saw a revival for BRM, with two mid-season victories for their P160, V12-engined cars. The only other winner was the Ferrari 312B2, whose ever improving flat-12 engine was now giving around 460 bhp. The car briefly featured troublesome inboard rear suspension. The Matra MS120B was very quick on occasion but driver Amon's luck was as bad as ever. Brabham's 'lobster claw' BT34, with split front radiators introduced an interesting new shape but had little success. Probably the most interesting cat which will be seen under the 3-liter formula was the Lotus 56B of 1971.
This was the world's first gas-turbine-powered Grand Prix car, a direct descendant of the Type 56 Indianopolis car, which came within an ace of winning the 500 in 1968. The 56B used a Pratt and Whitney STN6/76 turbine to a 3-liter equivalency, determined principally on intake area. Power was transmitted to the four-wheel-drive system through a 2-inch wide Morse chain and two pedal control was all that was required. The chassis was a complex monocoque wedge with brakes and suspension inboard all round. The car's main drawback was one of controllability, or lack of it. The 450 bhp turbine suffered a lag in throttle response, committing the driver to making all his judgements in advance. More important, it offered no engine braking, putting the onus on the car's massive ventilated disc brakes. With the Lotus 72 far from outclassed, the 56B was quietly shelved.