What was Project 34?

What was Project 34?

Ken Tyrrell’s Tyrrell Racing was auto racing team competed in the highest level of open-wheel racing, the Formula One for 28 years and in this two decades, Tyrrell got many achievements to its name like winning the drivers championship thrice and two times constructors champions.
But above all the achievements which was a very unique and innovative one “Project 34”. Project 34 was a Formula One car originally named Tyrrell P34.
Traces of origin:
Tyrrell F1’s teams chief designer was Derek Gardner and he came up with the idea of using 6 Wheels in a F1 car, when he was the chief designer of a team before Tyrrell and but FIA were reluctant for the design, Gardner’s next job was to be technical officer of Tyrell F1 team and as soon as he joined to Tyrell, Gardener came up with the concept of bringing a 6 Wheel car in Formula One rather than the normal 4 Wheel car and Tyrell’s team owner Ken Tyrrell agreed to the concept of making a special car for the upcoming 1976 Formula One season and named the car Tyrell P34.
First time on track and reaction:
Tyrrell introduced the P34 to the world in 22nd September 1975 on a press conference and instantly it became a media sensation as next day photos of the new P34 were all over world in newspapers/magazines and the car was first tested in UK’s Silverstone circuit and within first 10 laps Derek Gardner and his technical team found problems in T34 like the four 10 inches tires spun 1.6 times more than the 16 inch rear tires which caused bruised the front four.
First Race:
After hours of track and garage testing the P34 was finally ready to compete in its first season of 1976. Tyrrell’s Patrick Depailler was the first driver to test the car in season’s fourth race of Spanish Grand Prix but Depailler retired after few laps and in the next race of Belgian Grand Prix both drivers started with P34, again Depailler had to retire but this time the P34 scored its first ever championship points through Jody Scheckter’s strong P4 finish in SPA.
First Podium and Win:
P34’s first podium was actually a double podium because Tyrrell’s both drivers finished in podium with Scheckter at second and Depailler at third and Niki Lauda taking the win on Circuit de Monaco.
After a fantastic finish in Monaco, Tyrrell got season’s best result in following race of Sweden where Scheckter got his first win and Depailler’s second consecutive podium and this was all possible because of an unfortunate moment where initially Mario Andretti was the leader of Swedish Grand Prix and led 90% of the race with Scheckter and Depailler behind and in the dying moments of the race leader Andretti, got an engine failure and the American had to forcefully retire after which P2 and P3 easily took the place of P1 and P2 and this way Tyrrell P34 got its first Formula One victory in Scandinavian Raceway, Anderstorp.
End of a successful season oof 1976:
Tyrrell ended 1976 season with 10 podiums and 1 win and Tyrrell finished third in manufactures championship and a third (Jody Scheckter) and fourth (Patrick Depailler) in Driver Championship.
Renovation in Tyrrell P34 before 1977 season:
The Tyrrell P34 went through many changes in the fall of 76 where the team increased the weight and did many changes which turned out to be a disaster for Tyrrell because this changes made the car unreliable and in 1977 Formula 1 season Tyrrell got their one of the worst performance where the P34 got multiple retirements due to some technical problems which continued throughout the season and were pushed three places back to sixth in Manufacturers Championship compared to their previous performance of 1976 (P3).
End of icon:
With the end of 1977 led to the end of Tyrrell P34 because the team had taken too many loses from one year (1977) so, Ken Tyrrell discontinued P34 from 1977 and returned to the standard four wheel Tyrrell 008 for 1978 Formula 1 season.


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October 31, 2020 - By Dhruv Trivedi

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