Slippery When Wet

Mosport, Lotus, Ronnie Peterson

We have always loved this dramatic photograph of Ronnie Peterson in the Lotus 72 on a damp track during practice for the Canadian Grand Prix at Mosport which took place on September 22, 1974. In 1974 the Lotus 72 was illustrative of that old racing saw, “Nothing is as old as last year’s race car,” which it definitely was. The year’s new car, the much maligned Lotus 76, was quickly put aside, then unsuccessfully modified and finally forgotten.

Peterson was really coming into his own in 1974, having won his first grand prix the year before with the then outstanding Lotus 72. He was almost always quicker than his more experienced teammate Jacky Ickx. To wide surprise he won at Monaco, Dijon and Monza which put him in the running for the Championship, to be denied primarily by the emphasis given at Lotus to the 76. Here in Canada he would finish third, only 1.5 seconds behind Gianclaudio Regazzoni’s Ferrari 312B/3.

Peterson had an even more challenging year in 1975, still relegated to the now truly uncompetitive Lotus 72, and then left for stints at March and Tyrrell,before returning to Lotus in 1978 for a successful but tragic year.

Photo by Bill Fox ©The Klemantaski Collection –

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