1972 BELGIAN GRAND PRIX
Dave Walker, posing with my brother Luc.
David Walker b. June 10, 1941 in Sydney, Australia was a racing driver who drove for Lotus in the 1971 and 1972 Formula One Championships.
After initially struggling in his racing career during the 1960s, Walker finally broke through racing a Lotus in Formula 3 during 1971. He won 25 out of 32 races that year, including the F3 support races at the Monaco Grand Prix and the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. By the end of the year he had won both the Shell and Forward Trust UK F3 titles. Coming to the attention of Lotus founder Colin Chapman, Walker was handed his Formula One debut at the 1971 Dutch Grand Prix to drive the Lotus 56, powered by a Pratt & Whitney turbine engine. During the rain-affected race, Walker used the turbine car's advantages of four wheel drive and superior torque to rise from his starting position of 22nd to 10th place within five laps, but eventually spun off into retirement.
Walker was given a full time F1 seat to drive the Lotus 72 in the 1972 season, as number two driver to Emerson Fittipaldi. As the season went on, however, both Walker and the team became increasingly disenchanted. After Lotus discovered Walker had tested a Formula 2 car for another team, he was dropped from the team for the Italian GP and the Canadian GP, where he was replaced by Reine Wisell. Walker was back for the US GP, but retired.
In all, Fittipaldi won 5 races and scored 61 points, winning the championship, while Walker never finished a Grand Prix higher than 9th place ( in Spain). Lotus blamed Walker's allegedly inadequate driving technique, poor fitness and lack of mechanical sympathy; while Walker claimed Lotus gave him inferior equipment and gave far more attention to Fittipaldi's needs than his. He was not retained for the 1973 season, and was replaced by Ronnie Peterson. David Walker remains the only driver not to score a single F1 Championship point in the same season his team-mate won the F1 driver's title.
For 1973, Walker drifted into Formula 2 but was unfortunate to be badly injured in two road crashes that year. Eventually realising he was not the driver he was, Walker retired from motor racing at the end of 1975. He now lives in Queensland and runs a boat charter business.