James Hunt's McLaren M26 at the lead of the 1978 Swedish GP. It was a disappointing race for Hunt, who managed only 8th place, not being able to make the M26 handle well at the Anderstorp circuit.
The Swedish Grand Prix
The 1978 Grand Prix
saw the first, and last, appearance of the Brabham Alfa Romeo BT 46 'sucker car' which Niki Lauda
drove to an easy win. The car raised a storm of controversy; the enormous rear-mounted fan, ostensibly to cool the re-positioned radiators, was thought by rival constructors to constitute an aerodynamic
device which contravened the FIA regulation that all such devices be 'firmly fixed while the car is in motion'. It was generally felt that the fan was meant to suck air from under the car, exerting a 'reverse hovercraft' effect of greater downforce.
Following objections the car was banned by the CSI with a promise to make the regulations less ambiguous, but the race result stood. The superior traction given the Brabham enabled it to overhaul Mario Andretti's
Lotus 79 which had looked unbeatable in its first two races. Lauda's win was the first victory for the Brabham-Alfa and briefly raised the prospect of a hard struggle between it and the Lotus to the end of the season. Andretti's retirement with engine trouble allowed Ricardo Patrese's Arrows second place, fractionally ahead of Ronnie Peterson in the second Lotus who drove a typical, storming race in the later stages.