On The New Grand Prix Formula
Next month the new F.I.A. Formula One for Grand Prix racing comes into being, it having been announced just two years ago, in December 1963, that this would happen. It's pretty safe to say that no new cars will be ready on this date, though numerous projects will be well under way by then. Although the South African Grand Prix on January 1st is being run to the new Formula One rules, it is not a race of great importance, so no one is very worried about not being ready by then, and any European entries that take part will be using " interim " cars. In May 1966 the first races in Europe for the new Formula One are scheduled to take place, and those designers who are well advanced with their plans must obviously have the month of May as their target date.
The Formula that finishes this year, which has seen the development of the unsupercharged 1.5-litre engine, was announced in 1958, to take effect from 1961, and, with the exception of Ferrari, most of the constructors wasted a lot of time trying to get the rules altered to suit themselves. Between December 1963 and this month the same thing has been going on as regards the new Formula, and a number of people have been wasting their time and efforts, for right back through the history of motor racing the F.I.A. have made rules and invariably stuck to them, so I cannot see why Grand Prix car constructors waste so much time on talking once a new Formula has been announced. This time it was B.R.M. who did not join the protestations, but got on with the job, and if they reap a harvest during 1966, just as Ferrari did in 1961, then they deserve it. It seems that the F.I.A. can never please everyone, for in 1958 there were cries of " too small," when a limit of 1.5-litres was put on engine size, and in 1963 when it was announced that unsupercharged engines could be 3-litres, there were cries from two sides saying " too big " and ' not big enough." The B.R.M. designers said little, and got on with the business of investigating designs for a 3-litre engine.
The new Formula puts a limit of 3-litres on unsupercharged engines and 1.5-litres on supercharged engines, and the whole object of this new Formula was to produce a crop of " new thinking," before the present Formula got stale. It was not meant for people to go on racing obsolete designs, yet knowledgeable writers immediately suggested supercharging the present 1.5-litre engines, and others visualised cars using two of the existing unsupercharged 1.5-litres. It is worth looking back over the past few years at the development under the 1.5-litre Formula, and try to imagine a 1961 Cooper or Lotus with 4-cylinder Coventry-Climax engine on a starting grid at any of the 1965 Grand Prix races. It would have been pathetic to say the least, and yet in 1958 it was what a lot of people envisaged as a 1961-65 Grand Prix car. Once the designers and constructors got on with the job the technical progress in Formula One went ahead steadily during the years 1962-65. So assuming that they are now getting on with the job as regards the new Formula, then it is interesting to imagine the progress between 1965 and 1968. There is no reason to suppose that the rate of development is going to slow up during the next few years; in fact it might well speed up if the research and development resources enlarge, as well they might, so that a supercharged 1.5-litre or unsupercharged 3-litre engine in 1968 should provide interesting racing. The first year of the passing Formula was not over stimulating both as regards racing itself and technical interest, but no one will deny that the past two years have been first class. It seems pretty certain that 1966 is not going to be an exciting year of Grand Prix racing, but it could be an interesting year, so we must be patient and view the coming season purely as an overture to better things. Unfortunately, British race organisers have been either selfish, or short-sighted, or even panic-stricken, and with the exception of the B.R.D.C. they have dropped all interest in Formula One racing. The R.A.C. are running the British Grand Prix to the new Formula, for the simple reason that if they did not there would not be a British Grand Prix, but this is the only definite Formula One race on the British Calendar. The B.R.D.C. have a tentative race scheduled for their May meeting at Silverstone, but they have already made sounds of having a Formula Two race instead. This apparent lack of interest by organisers seems very short-sighted to me, for if they don't hold races, then how are our Grand Prix teams going to get their new designs tried and tested before the Grandes Epreuves are held in other countries? I cannot help feeling that in 1967 or 1968 when the new Grand Prix cars are really going, and providing interesting racing, then some of these organisers are going to be falling over each other to try and organise Formula One races. It would serve them right if the car constructors boycotted their meetings, or the R.A.C. refused to issue them permits. All this smacks of "band-wagon jumping" and "money-grabbing" coming before the interest of the Sport. There have been feeble excuses about no cars being ready, and not wanting to organise a race for a handful of unfinished designs, but think what would have happened if in the past all the organisers had taken this attitude. There have been slow periods before now, with as few as five cars on the starting grid, but organisers swallowed hard and hoped for a better future. We have recently been enjoying that better future, with over-subscribed starting grids and 100,000 crowds, so I feel that the Grand Prix teams deserve better encouragement than one Formula One race in Britain in 1966, with the possibility of one more.
The immediate future is also in the hands of the paying spectators, and they must realise that new cars and new engines cannot be made overnight, nor can new teams get themselves on their feet in a few meetings, so that patience is called for during 1966. If the racing is not as exciting or interesting as in 1965, then we must be tolerant and bear with the " actors " until 1967 or even 1968. I have no doubt that news writers will trot out short-sighted and unimaginative headlines after the first Formula One race, with such things as " New Formula a Flop," or " Why didn't we keep the old Formula ?" and what sickens me is that a lot of this sort of thing will come from within our own ranks, in papers and magazines that are supposed to have the interest of the Sport at heart. You don't need to be clairvoyant, or even an engineer, to know that the 1966 Monaco Grand Prix is not going to be as exciting as the 1965 race, but let us be thankful that there is a 1966 Monaco Grand Prix. If motor racing was to fold up overnight the journalists on the daily newspapers would not worry, for after a day or two of splash headlines, they would turn to something else to fill their pages, but papers and magazines that are specialising in motor racing would be in a sorry state and a lot of us that have motor racing at heart would be out of work. Yet, in spite of this, there are those amongst us who will decry something for the sake of a headline, without a thought for the future. During 1966 everyone, organisers, teams, press and spectators, have got to be tolerant and patient, and work for the future, not the present. It could be that I am being pessimistic, and that the coming season of Grand Prix racing will be full and exciting, but, knowing how long it takes to (a) get a project under way, (b) get the project completed, and (c) get the project actually working, I think I am being prepared.
As to what we can expect to see on the starting grids next season the picture is full of potential and time alone will tell what is to be successful. The first thing to realise is that very few people give up Grand Prix racing voluntarily once they are in it; they will struggle and fight to stay in the game as long as possible. Just because " so and so " has not got a car or an engine, is no reason to suppose that he is going to abandon Grand Prix racing. Always remember that Grand Prix racing is a fulltime job for all concerned, and that if anyone leaves the game they are going to have to look for other employment, and that is not always easy to find. At the moment it would seem that B.R.M. are the most advanced and in the surest position for the future, for they are building new engines and cars that should set the pace technically, if not in actual racing, although with Graham Hill and Jackie Stewart as team drivers it is difficult to see them anywhere but up at the front. B.R.M. have quite rightly always adhered to the Ferrari principle that the engine is the heart of any racing car, and they have designed a 16-cylinder engine with the cylinders disposed in H-form, but with the H lying on its side. In other words, the layout is like two flat-8-cylinders lying one on top of the other, each group of eight cylinders having its own crankshaft and they are geared together. This layout results in a very short engine, but also a very flat and wide one, and just how this power unit is fitted into the chassis depends on the chassis designer. By the time these words are in print the first of these new power units should be undergoing bench testing, so that it is safe to assume that B.R.M. will be on the starting grids in May 1966. As their racing department is well organised and fully working, there is no reason to suppose that they will be delayed, providing the basic design work was done correctly.
In a similar situation is the Ferrari team, for like B.R.M. the Italian firm has a self-contained racing department, but unlike B.R.M. they are not engaged solely on Grand Prix racing. It has long been a thorn in the side of Ferrari works drivers that the Maranello concern puts more effort into long-distance racing than Grand Prix racing during the first six months of any year, so that it is August before a Grand Prix Ferrari really becomes competitive. The reasons for this are that the F.I.A. Calendar arranges all the long-distance events in the first half of the year, and that from a business point of view winning at Sebring, Nurburgring or Le Mans is all-important to the Ferrari directors. If Enzo Ferrari had his own way he would probably only run a Grand Prix team, and drop sports cars, prototypes, GT cars and such like, but he has fellow directors who have an eye on production, sales and profits. The 1966 Calendar has the same layout as in the past, so we are fairly safe in assuming that the Ferrari racing department are even now hard at work on long-distance Prototypes, rather than Grand Prix cars. However, Enzo has said that he will be entering two cars for the Monaco Grand Prix on May 22nd, but as yet he has not said what they will be. A reasonable guess for an " interim " car, until there is time for new thinking, would be a single-seater version of his 1965 Prototype. The Le Mans cars were closely allied to Grand Prix cars as regards chassis design, and the 3.3-litre V12-cylinder engine with four overhead camshafts, was a pure racing engine, so that a 3-litre version would be simple to build. Just as the V6-cylinder Ferrari formed the team's mainstay in 1961, the idea having been born in 1958, it is reasonable to suppose that a four-cam V12-cylinder will form the beginnings of the new Formula car. In 1958, or even in 1961, nobody could envisage the flat-12-cylinder engine that reached finality in 1965, so what sort of a power unit the Ferrari engineers will design for 1968 is anyone's guess at the moment. One thing is certain, and that is that Ferrari will not be stuck for want of an engine. The Ferrari team suffered a severe blow when John Surtees crashed in his Lola sports car in Canada and put himself out of racing for some months, and it seems doubtful if he will be fit for the beginning of the 1966 season, in which case Lorenzo Bandini will have to lead the Ferrari team, with someone like Ludovico Scarfiotti as number two. Everyone hopes that Surtees will be fit by next May, but even so he is not going to return to top form immediately, especially against other drivers who have been racing all the winter, so that this will be a bit of a handicap to the Ferrari team at the opening of the season.
Like the B.R.M. and Ferrari teams, the Honda team are also self-contained, and have the advantage of being almost unapproachable, so that they can get on with the job undisturbed. That they are getting on with the job is obvious, for they did not enter Grand Prix racing on a short-term policy of two years, and just as they were choosy about where they raced in 1965 we can assume the same will hold good in 1966, so it is unlikely that they will appear at Monaco, but they could well be making the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa their aim. With Ginther's 1965 performances culminating in victory in Mexico his position as team leader should be assured, but whether Bucknum stays as number two remains to be seen; it could well be that they will run only one car to begin with, until it has proved itself. There are all sorts of rumours flying around as regards the number of cylinders the 3-litre Honda will have, though no one has started a rumour that they are thinking of a supercharged 1.5-litre, but what is certain is that there will be many cylinders. The development work in their racing motorcycle engine department must obviously give a lead to the lines of thought, and their latest 125-c.c. racing engine has five cylinders (yes, five cylinders for a 125-c.c. engine). Anything is possible it would seem.
Now we come to the " special builders " or teams that are not self-contained with their own design departments, foundries, machine shops and so on, and who have to depend on outside firms for the supply of major components. The most successful among these is undoubtedly Team Lotus, who have designed and assembled a Championship winning car with the aid of Coventry-Climax supplying engines, and ZF of Germany supplying gearboxes. When Coventry-Climax announced that they were ending their support of Grand Prix racing, in order to concentrate on more important things for themselves, there was a crisis in Team Lotus, for the best Lotus in the world is useless without an engine. As a stop-gap measure Colin Chapman has said he will buy engines from B.R.M., as their new 16-cylinder is to be made available to others than themselves, but this move is not satisfactory to Team Lotus as B.R.M. are one of their chief rivals. After much negotiation it has now been settled that Ford of Great Britain are to support Team Lotus, and what this amounts to is the supply of money, knowledge and facilities. The firm of Cosworth Engineering have long been associated with Lotus, doing engine development work on 4-cylinder projects, and the Formula Two Cosworth 1,000-c.c. engine has been highly successful. Chapman has felt for a long time that the man to design a Grand Prix engine for him was Keith Duckworth, the "worth" of Cosworth, while as a development man Mike Costin, the " Cos " of Cosworth, is not only an ex-Lotus employee, but an old friend. The Cosworth firm is not very large, and could not undertake to design and build a Grand Prix engine on their own, while the cost could not be borne by Lotus, even though they were prepared to put up a certain amount of money. The Ford Motor Company have agreed to finance research and development on racing engines to the tune of £100,000, and they have commissioned Cosworth to do this work, putting all the Ford facilities of engineering as well as Ford research departments at their disposal. The first move will be to continue Formula Two development and design during 1966, and if the association works smoothly, to progress to a Formula One engine for 1967. Cosworth have been doing development work on 4-cylinder Ford engines for many years, and the racing single overhead camshaft SCA Formula Two unit was designed around a Ford engine. Lotus and Team Lotus connections with Ford have many ramifications, and ultimately this new Ford-Cosworth tie-up will design and build Formula One engines for Team Lotus. At first the development programme on Formula Two engines will continue and these engines will be available to other constructors, but by 1967 the Formula One workings of this combine will be solely for Team Lotus. While an arrangement like this could well work out it can never be as satisfactory as a self-contained racing department such as B.R.M., Ferrari or Honda, though it can be as successful. What form the new Cosworth engine will take is not yet known, and whether it ever gets built will depend on the development work on Formula Two that is done during 1966, so that the future of Team Lotus is rather undecided, apart from a doubtful coming season with " stop-gap " cars, and good prospects for 1967, all of which is less encouraging than a team that is at this moment assembling their first 3-litre engine, or supercharged 1.5-litre engine. This Lotus-Cosworth-Ford tie-up is strictly Great Britain, and not to be confused with the Lotus-Ford Indianapolis projects which stem from Dearborn (U.S.A.). At one time we could refer to the British branch of Ford as Ford (Dagenham), but they are spreading to other parts of the country so fast that this no longer rings true, so perhaps the nearest would be Ford (Essex). The Lotus team will be led as usual by Jim Clark, the 1963 and 1965 World Champion driver, and he will have Mike Spence as his number two, although Peter Arundell may well rejoin the team if winter tests of driving show him to have regained his full form after his long recuperation from his accident at Reims in 1964.
The Cooper team have had a thin time during the past season or two, and have suffered from no direct control of engine development, using Coventry-Climax engines and having to get their engines from that firm as ordinary customers. Now Cooper have entered into a new arrangement that might well lead to success once more for the Surbiton firm. By various roundabout ways a close connection has been formed between Cooper and Maserati, the basic idea being that Cooper build the chassis and run the team, and Maserati supply the engines and do the engine development work, for it is one thing to have an engine and a very different thing to develop it. This tie-up has come about through Jonathan Sieff, who owns Chipstead Motors, who are Maserati Concessionaires in Great Britain. This firm recently bought up the Cooper team, purely on the financial side, John Cooper and the Surbiton works still carrying on as before, but the Maserati connections opened the door to the Modena firm, who need no encouragement where racing is concerned. Since the Maserati firm stopped racing, for financial reasons, they have kept abreast of all racing development and have even carried on engine development work, building and testing a 1.5-litre Via-cylinder engine for the past Formula, in the hope that one day they could go racing again. Realising that they must sell cars if the firm is to continue, they had to put aside racing activity and concentrate on production, but whenever there was a spare moment, or a customer was prepared to finance a racing project, they have been working on racing cars. Various sports cars, Le Mans cars and so on have appeared since the works team closed down, and there has never been any lack of enthusiasm in the Modena works. The tie-up with Cooper has great possibilities for Maserati know a lot about engines and can build and develop them, having all the necessary facilities, while Cooper are well versed in the operating and running of a modern Grand Prix team. As a starting point Maserati have dusted off a 3-litre 12-cylinder engine that they designed in 1957 and had just got working when they were forced to give up Grand Prix racing. It has been raced in the past in a sports car but never received the development programme envisaged. Basically it is a very compact and advanced 3-litre unit that might well prove successful for the first season or two, and if the association of Cooper and Maserati works well and is sound financially, we can be assured that Guilio Alfieri and his designers will soon start thinking about newer and better 3-litre engines, or supercharged 1.5-litre engines. The present Maserati power unit is a 60-degree vee unit, with two overhead camshafts to each bank of six cylinders, with the inlet ports down the centre of each head, between the camshafts. It has a bore and stroke of 70.4 x 64 mm and uses downdraught double-choke Weber carburetters, on which it has given 340 b.h.p. at 10,000 r.p.m., but already work is in progress on fuel-injection and improved ignition systems. Cooper are at work on a new chassis on monocoque principles having Tony Robinson, who was responsible for the B.R.P monocoque cars, working with them. Partnerships are always a little shaky but one thing is certain about the CooperMaserati team and that is that they should be ready for the opening of the season for Maserati are already well advanced on engine building. Apart from the works cars it seems likely that at least one of the Anglo-Italian " bastards " will appear under the Rob Walker team colours, and could well be an interesting project for other private teams, although at the moment the Parnell team are planning on a B.R.M./Lotus assemblage as their mainstay. The Cooper team are losing their number one driver, for Bruce McLaren is setting up his own Grand Prix team, as mentioned later, so for the moment the German driver Jochen Rindt will be leading the team, while Joseph Siffert, the Swiss driver, will be working for Rob Walker.
At the time of writing the Brabham team have made no definite statements about their future, except that they intend that there shall be a future, for Jack Brabham has too many financial interests in motor racing to give it all up. Like the Cooper team, Brabham is losing his number one driver, for Dan Gurney is also setting up his own racing team, so Dennis Hulme will take his place, but in what sort of cars is not yet certain. Of interest is the new V8 engine built by Repco in Australia, and designed by Phil Irving, who was responsible for the 1,000-c.c. Vincent motorcycle among other things, and as Jack Brabham has close connections with Repco this could well be where his future lies. Repco is a big Australian engineering concern that can design and make almost anything, given a lead, and Irving is a very competent designer with a lot of racing knowledge. This new V8-cylinder unit is a 2.5-litre of comparatively simple layout, designed expressly for the Tasman Formula and to fit in with existing cars and transmissions. For this reason it has a single overhead camshaft to each bank of cylinders, in order that the overall dimensions of the power unit are kept small and will fit into the Brabham, Cooper or Lotus chassis already in Australia and New Zealand. Some of these units are due to be raced in the forthcoming season of Tasman races, in January and February, and it would not be surprising if a 3-litre version, with twin-cam heads, is not already under way. The Brabham team's plans are as yet undecided officially, though, knowing the shrewd Australian, I feel certain that he knows what he is up to and when the time is ripe he will tell us.
Fortunately for Grand Prix racing there is never a lack of people who would like to get involved in it, though money is the usual drawback, but over the years as one team gives up a new one comes in, and next year we are lucky in having two new teams appearing. These are both formulated by active drivers, Bruce McLaren and Dan Gurney, and are the results of logical progress on both their parts as they progressed with the business of being professional racing drivers. Bruce McLaren's entry into Grand Prix racing as a manufacturer comes as no surprise, for he has been gathering a strong team of technicians and mechanics around him whilst running the McLaren sports cars. Their approach to sports-car racing was such that it was obvious a long while ago that they had bigger things in mind, and next year we shall see the appearance of McLaren Grand Prix cars. The Bruce McLaren Motor Racing Team will be running two cars, driven by Bruce himself and Chris Amon, and the team are being backed by the B.P. petrol and oil company and the Firestone Tyre Company, the products of these firms naturally being used by the works cars. Already they are testing with a prototype single-seater car, which is the basis of their new Grand Prix car, and undoubtedly they learnt much from the building and racing of the McLaren sports cars. The single-seaters will be of monocoque construction, rear engined, and using proprietary gearboxes, and by next month Bruce McLaren hopes to be sufficiently advanced with his test programme to tell us more details about the engine he is using. At present he is doing chassis testing with a 4.5litre Oldsmobile V8 sports-car unit installed, which gives the performance he hopes to get from a racing 3-litre engine, and he and his young second driver are learning a lot about single-seaters with high power/weight ratios already. One thing is certain about the McLaren team and that is that they are all young and progressive and have their feet on the ground, which is one of the first requisites of success. Anyone who has watched the works McLaren-Oldsmobile sports car being operated at a meeting could not fail to have been impressed with the purposeful approach to motor racing of the whole team, which is a mixture of men from New Zealand, Australia, Great Britain and America.
The other new team is "All American Racers Inc." projected by Dan Gurney, who showed signs of this move when he entered sports cars in American races under this title, and also an Indianapolis entry. Dan Gurney is one of those Americans who could not possibly be mistaken for any other nationality, and would not want to be. Above all else he wants to race, and naturally would like to race American cars; he was not happy with Ferrari, mainly because of the language and temperament differences, was quite happy with B.R.M., and again with Porsche, while his association with Jack Brabham has only been marred by engine disappointments that were out of the hands of the Brabham team. Gurney must be one of the easiest racing drivers for a designer or constructor to get along with, for all he is interested in is going fast, he doesn't really care what shape the seat is or where the pedals are, as long as the thing will go. If a car is competitive Dan Gurney will compete with the best there is, but if the car won't go he will tell you in no uncertain manner, and it is not often that you can accuse him of not trying when driving. There are people who think that this urge to "go" is something of an obsession, and the reason why Gurney so often has mechanical troubles and breakages, but that is a matter of opinion. What is certain is that he is a big strong man, and a big strong driver, and he will use all the power you can give him. He formed All American Racers Incorporated a short while ago, and was clearly setting himself up with a racing organisation of mechanics and staff with a view to building his own cars. He has formed this company with Carroll Shelby, who is probably as shrewd and crafty as Enzo Ferrari when it comes to racing know-how, and they have employed Len Terry to design the chassis for them on the strength of Terry's work with Lotus on the Indianapolis cars. As regards the engine, they are associating with Harry Weslake down in Sussex, who has produced for them the design of a V12-cylinder engine. The whole project is far from stabilised at the moment, but their hopes are to have at least one car for Gurney to race at Monaco in May 1966. The ultimate aim is to run two cars, with another American driver in the second one. The construction of the cars is based in California, but once under way the team will no doubt set up a headquarters in Europe, for both Gurney and Shelby have enough knowledge of European racing to know all the problems. This team is one of the biggest unknown problems for the future, for while Weslake has done a lot of consultant work on detail design, and on basic research, this is his first essay in a complete racing power unit to a given Formula, and Terry is tackling his first major project on his own. With Gurney and Shelby in control there won't be any time wasted, and there certainly wont be any time wasted on Board Meetings. At the moment news comes from England that the car will be called a Gurney-Weslake, and from America that it will be. called the Eagle.
Summing up, it would seem that B.R.M. are in the strongest position for the immediate future, with Ferrari a good second. Honda are as always an unknown quantity, but we can be assured that they are not motor racing for amusement. Lotus look like having a thin time of it in the first year of the new Formula, while Cooper might well be very competitive, but the Brabham team can hardly hope to provide very serious opposition. The two new teams, of McLaren and Gurney, will provide plenty of interest, and of the two McLaren is not only further advanced but would seem to have the best potential. Grand Prix racing has never been the happy hunting ground for the private-owner, and it was never meant to be, he only coming into the picture when the factory and professional teams fall by the wayside, and the new Formula racing would hardly seem to provide much opportunity for the private-owner, apart from the professional ones like Rob Walker and Tim Parnell. With the probability of sixteen factory entries for the major events the future looks promising, but we must not he surprised or disappointed if a lot of them take more than the first season to find their feet. If 1960 proves to be a doldrum in Grand Prix racing we must be patient, we have survived doldrums before and we can do it again.—D. S. J.