Jackie Stewart’s Tyrrell at speed
Jackie Stewart’s Tyrrell at speed

1973 Canadian Grand Prix – Race Profile

1973 Canadian Grand Prix – A Study in Firsts and Lasts

Report and photos by Al Wolford

The Canadian Grand Prix for 1973, held at the Mosport circuit on September 23, involved a number of firsts and last involving the Grand Prix circus and my photojournalism career.

I’ll start by saying that the event was my first Formula One race and my first attempt — albeit with a used, off-brand 35mm camera — at photographing a road race. The quality of the attached photos will attest to my rookie status and the quality of the camera. I’m hopeful that the significance of the subjects will make up for my shortcomings.

A co-worker and I left Cincinnati after work at 5 PM on Friday and arrived in the wee hours of the morning and parked in the circuit infield. Our plans to put our sleeping bags to use were foiled by waves of mosquitos only slightly smaller and less noisy the WWII fighter planes.

We awoke in the car to fog so thick that we couldn’t see the racing surface 50 feet away. The morning practice, after a significant delay, involved the cars being sent out one at a time and working their way through the fog in a clearly lower gear at about 50 MPH. Viewing consisted of seeing a barely visible racer appearing through the fog, within eyesight for about 100 feet and then disappearing into the fog again.

The weather cleared for the afternoon practice, interrupted only by a brief thunderstorm and a Jackie Stewart spin with light Armco contact at the exit of Moss Corner on the back of the circuit. Ronnie Peterson sat on the pole for Lotus 72 with Peter Revson’s McLaren M23 alongside.

1973 Canadian Grand Prix – Saturday Practice Photo Gallery

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  1. I remember that race. Jackie Stewart was first out. I mentioned the fog to him years later, and he was surprised someone would remember that .

  2. My recollection was that it was a Hesketh; but everywhere I looked while researching to refresh my memory from that long ago it was shown as a March 731-Ford entered by Hesketh.

    Al Wolford

    1. It was a Hesketh entered March (chassis 731/2-2); Hesketh did not run their own cars (i.e. ‘Heskeths’) until the following season.

  3. What I most distinctly recall, other than the shambles at the end of the race, was the drive of a certain Mr. Lauda in the BRM handily leading the pack in wet conditions at the start and for the first 20 or so laps. A few of us turned to one another and remarked that the lad had promise……

  4. James Hunt did, in fact, drive a March 73-Ford Cosworth at the 1973 Grand Prix of Canada. When Lord Hesketh capriciously jumped into F1 he bought the March, hired Harvey Postlethwaite away from the March factory to modify it so Hunt could drive it the remainder of the 1973 season. Meanwhile Harvey was beavering away on the design of the first Hesketh F1 car.

    Al, I enjoyed your photos and would like you to contact me at jeff.allison@comcast.net.

  5. I marshalled that event. I remember one year – not sure if it was ’73 – waking up in the infield with a piper playing Amazing Grace just after dawn. It took on an additional aura in the fog!