On April 27 1975, Formula 1 history was made when Lella Lombardi, driving a March 751, became the first, and still the only, woman to score points in a world championship race when she came in sixth at the Spanish Grand Prix.

Her remarkable achievement was, however, largely unnoticed amid a weekend of chaos and ultimately carnage on the street circuit of Montjuich in Barcelona.

Arriving at the circuit, the drivers boycotted much of practice when they found that the circuit barriers were badly put together. The race itself was in jeopardy until the race organisers threatened to have every last piece of F1 equipment impounded by the police, whereupon a desultory practice session took place before, on race day, reigning world champion Emerson Fittipaldi refused to drive and his brother Wilson and Arturo Merzario both drove just one lap and promptly retired.

During that first lap, a multiple shunt on the first corner involved nine cars, but the real tragedy struck at the start of lap 26 when Ralf Stommelen suffered a catastrophic failure of the rear wing, which snapped off the car. The car flew out of control, smacked into one barrier, bounced back into the road, hit the barrier on the opposite side and flew over it, killing four people, including a spectator, two photographers and a fireman.

Incredibly the race continued for a further four laps before a halt was called at the end of lap 29, Jochen Mass the winner, Lella Lombardi in sixth position. Because the race ended before 60% of the scheduled distance was reached, only half points were awarded, Lombardi receiving half a point for her efforts.

You can read Pete Lyons’ comprehensive report of the race weekend, along with Autosport’s stern editorial on the debacle here.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our community and stay updated with the latest news, insights, and exclusive content delivered directly to your inbox. Simply enter your email address to subscribe to our newsletter.

You have Successfully Subscribed!