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Ian Ashley’s Williams FW03 Ford sits forlornly beside the Pflanzgarten Armco while Niki Lauda turns in, Ferrari 312T, Nurburgring, German GP practice 1 August 1975…

Ashley had his car, teammate Jacques Laffitte was quick in the evolved FW04 that year, in 20th grid position, when he had one of several huge career shunts, not of his own making. Ian takes up the story;

‘I had several things go wrong in practice, including a stuck throttle, which turned out to be a broken engine mount. There are four plates which used to hold the Cosworth onto the monocoque, and the top left plate had snapped. They didn’t check any of the others, and on the final qualifying run, and I was up to 9th or 12th by then – I hadn’t actually done a flying lap, only what they call a rolling lap, and my fastest lap was on my warming-up lap – I was ten seconds up on my flying lap when one of the bottom engine mounts snapped, and it just turned sharp left along the straight, and I went straight into the armco at 160mph. Nobody realised straight away what had happened, and I had chipped an ankle, so I missed one race of the F5000 series, but I managed to hang on to my lead’ (of the European F5000 Championship in which he ultimately finished 4th in Lola’s T330 and T400)

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Marshals gather the remains of Ian Ashley’s ‘lightened and modified’ Williams FW03 Ford, Nurburgring 1975. The dangers of frontal impacts in aluminium monocoques of the period 1962 to circa 1982 readily apparent and certainly greatly superior to the chassis of earlier times! He was lucky the result was not a good deal worse, the car, originally designed by John Clarke in 1973 stood up to the big impact pretty well. The dude holding the helmet, to state the obvious, is the pilot of the medical chase car not Ashley…(unattributed)

For an interesting interview/summary of Ian Ashley’s career, and the trials and tribulations of trying to get into F1 with underprepared cars and/or ‘shitboxes’, click on this link;

http://8w.forix.com/ashley.html

In the GP Lauda was 3rd, Carlos Reutemannhttp won in a Brabham BT44B Ford and Laffitte was a career-enhancing 2nd and off to the new Ligier Matra outfit at seasons end.

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Ian Ashley in Frank William’s FW03 before the engine mount failure, German GP practice 1975 (unattributed)

Credit…

Rainer Schlegelmilch, 8w.forix.com, motorsport.com

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Carlos Reutemann on his way to German GP, Nurburgring victory in August 1975. Brabham BT44B Ford (unattributed)

Tailpiece: Ian Ashley in recent times in an historic Elden Mk8 FF…

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