How not to clean your helmet visor

2y ago


''Was it the tension, the nerves? Or was he in a hurry?''


The flamboyant French driver (see picture: taking a lift on Jean-Pierre Jarrier's Shadow in 1975) was driving for Williams when the F1 circus reached Watkins Glen for the 1975 U.S. Grand Prix. Officially, Williams was still named Frank Williams Racing, but we are talking about the same team anyway. The U.S. Grand Prix was the season's final race and saw Niki Lauda winning the race as well as his first world title. McLaren drivers Fittipaldi and Mass came in second and third. Jacques Laffite was not having such a great day. Laffite qualified 21st in the Cosworth powered Williams FW04, with his female colleague Lella Lombardi -the only female driver to get a top ten finish (Spain, 1975) - qualifying 24th, not really to Frank Williams' liking. Things went from bad to worse when Laffite was preparing himself on the start grid. Laffite wore contact lenses, and watered his eyes with some lens fluid before putting on his helmet. Together with using lens fluid, Laffite also prepared himself by thoroughly cleaning his helmet visor with an aggressive cleaning fluid. Was it the tension, the nerves? Or was he in a hurry? Whatever it was, a wee bit of slapstick occurred when Laffite mistook the cleaning product meant for his visor, and dropped it in his eyes. Laffite couldn’t believe what he was seeing, mostly because he couldn’t see at all and was therefore forced to withdraw from the Grand Prix. Slightly comforting was the fact that Lella Lombardi also had to withdraw from the race, as the transmission in her car was malfunctioning in the warm-up. For Frank Williams a weekend to quickly forget.

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