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Lauda rounds it off - Watkins Glen, October 5th
Last year's United States Grand Prix proved to be a very significant race as it started with Clay Regazzoni, Emerson Fittipaldi and Jody Scheckter all retaining a mathematical chance of winning the World Championship title. In the event, Emerson Fittipaldi became World Champion for the second time by the consistent, rather than spectacular, expedient of finishing fourth, but the organisers at least had the promotional benefit of the Championship struggle continuing all the way to their final race. This year the situation was different. Both Drivers' and Constructors' Championships were settled at Monza in September, so the only real interest surrounding the United States Grand Prix was to see whether Niki Lauda had the ability to win at Watkins Glen when he didn't really have to.
Aggravating the rather lonely and isolated position of this race was the major disagreement between the Formula One Constructors' Association and the organisers of the Canadian Grand Prix at Mosport Park. Complicated and very acrimonious negotiations throughout the summer had eventually resulted in an ugly impasse at the time of the German Grand Prix, an impasse which couldn't be resolved even by the Mosport organisers flying to Ostereichring at the time of the Austrian Grand Prix in an attempt to unravel the difficulties. Thus the Watkins Glen organisers were left on their own to finance the transport of Formula One cars from Europe, and the final straw came when the Mosport Park promoters decided to form a company in New York State and obtain a court order against paying out 130,000 dollars of the United States Grand Prix prize fund to the Formula One Constructors. Faced with the prospect of a substantially reduced purse (at least in the short term), there were certain drivers who expressed a marked reluctance towards racing, but fortunately everyone stuck together and yet another potentially ugly scene was successfully "swept under the carpet".