After all the Mosley-Ecclestone stupidity of the past few weeks, it's nice to get a little historical prospective. Here is a more complete version of a clip that has been floating around YouTube for a while. In 1969 the race was won by Jackie Ickx over 14 laps of the Nordschleife. It was certainly not a small grid by modern standards but of the 21 F1 cars that took the green flag, 11 retired, mostly because of mechanical failures.
Failures have essentially been eradicated from modern F1, they still happen but nothing like back then when engines failures were only slightly more common than suspension failures. A suspension failure during qualifying killed Gerhard Mitter, the European Hillclimb champion who was driving a BMW F2. BMW retired all their cars from the race. John Surtees flat out refused to start the race saying his BRM P139 was unsafe.
Many crashed during the race, Andretti in the four wheel drive Lotus 63, Vic Elford, Piers Courage. Jo Siffert had his suspension collapse during the race and ended up crashing after the Karussel.
In the clip you see Jo Siffert and Johnny Savoz-Gavin hanging out next to their busted cars at the Karrusel, typical of the times, after getting out of their F1 cars the driver's first instinct was to find someone to give them a smoke!
(Race stats after the jump courtesy of Grand-Prix.com)
|1||6||Jacky Ickx||Brabham-Cosworth BT26A||14||1h49m55.400s||1|
|2||7||Jackie Stewart||Matra-Cosworth MS80||14||1h50m53.100s||2|
|3||10||Bruce McLaren||McLaren-Cosworth M7C||14||1h53m17.000s||8|
|4||1||Graham Hill||Lotus-Cosworth 49B||14||1h53m54.200s||9|
|5||26||Henri Pescarolo||*Matra-Cosworth MS7||14||1h58m06.400s (1st F2 Section)||17|
|6||29||Richard Attwood||*Brabham-Cosworth BT30||13||20|
|7||20||Kurt Ahrens Jr||*Brabham-Cosworth BT30||13||19|
|8||22||Rolf Stommelen||*Lotus-Cosworth 59B||13||21|
|9||31||Peter Westbury||*Brabham-Cosworth BT30||13||18|
|10||30||Xavier Perrot||*Brabham-Cosworth BT23C||13||22|
|11r||11||Jo Siffert||Lotus-Cosworth 49B||12||Suspension||4|
|12r||8||Jean-Pierre Beltoise||Matra-Cosworth MS80||12||Suspension||10|
|r||15||Jackie Oliver||BRM P138||11||Oil Sump||13|
|r||9||Denny Hulme||McLaren-Cosworth M7A||11||Transmission||5|
|r||2||Jochen Rindt||Lotus-Cosworth 49B||10||Ignition||3|
|r||28||Francois Cevert||*Tecno-Cosworth TOO||9||Transmission||16|
|r||27||Johnny Servoz-Gavin||*Matra-Cosworth MS7||6||Engine||15|
|r||16||Jo Bonnier||Lotus-Cosworth 49B||4||Fuel Tank||14|
|r||17||Piers Courage||Brabham-Cosworth BT26A||1||Accident||7|
|r||12||Vic Elford||McLaren-Cosworth M7A||0||Accident||6|
|r||3||Mario Andretti||Lotus-Cosworth 63||0||Accident||12|
|ns||14||John Surtees||BRM P139||Suspension||11|
|ns||23||Hubert Hahne||*BMW-BMW 269||Withdrew||23|
|ns||25||Dieter Quester||*BMW-BMW 269||Withdrew||24|
|ns||24||Gerhard Mitter||*BMW-BMW 269||Fatal Accident||25|
|ns||21||Hans Herrmann||*Lotus-Cosworth 59B||Withdrew||26|
German GP, Nurburgring, August 3, 1969, Round: 7, Race Number: 180