Jacky ickx is not a fan of boycots
To celebrate his birthday, here's a short story about Jacky Ickx and the 1975 Spanish Grand Prix.
Jacky and Jackie; the two never really liked each other. At least, not as colleagues. Jacky Ickx, as a driver, wasn't much impressed with battling the low standards in Formula One safety. Not that drivers, such as Niki Lauda, Jackie Stewart and Emerson Fittipaldi were necessarily opposed to the risks involved in racing, but they were very active in improving safety regulations, sometimes at the cost of viewer amusement. Ickx wasn't. If winning races meant that a few lives could be lost along the way, well, than that's what it took. Looking at the polarization of the debate about cockpit canopies, you can't really blame Ickx for having a different opinion. At the 1975 Spanish Grand Prix at the Montjuic circuit, Ickx had enough of Fittipaldi's and Lauda's lobby for better safety. The GPDA was on strike after they had discovered that the guardrails encircling the track in the Spanish hillsides were ill-prepared and even falling ofver after Fittipaldi kicked them. The drivers refused to enter their cars. Not a single engine sounded on Friday afternoon. Instead, marshals and team mechanics walked across the track to fix the guardrails. After a while though, the sound of a single Cosworth V8 could be heard around the Barcelona hills. It was Ickx. He wanted to drive his laps, setting up the car for qualification. He refused to strike because he wanted everyone to stop moaning and get on with it.
Jacky Ickx, Spain, 1975. Courtesy of F1-History @DeviantArt, copyright: Hoch Zwei.
The sound of Ickx going about his business had a distinct Pavlov-effect, and soon after every other driver strapped themselves in their car and started their practice runs as well. They had to answer to the threat of the Spanish police confiscating their cars and taking on legal actions against the organisation, so they had to drive. Fittipaldi qualified last, deliberately, and didn't enter the Grand Prix. Jochen Mass won the Grand Prix, Ickx finished second.