Spanish Grand Prix - A Lotus Benefit

Madrid, Spain, November 12th.

The opening of the Jarama circuit near Madrid in July heralded a resurgence of interest in Spanish motor racing and with a World Championship event scheduled for May 15th next year the organisers decided to hold a " shake-down " F.1 race on November 12th to sort out any problems. Unfortunately November is not the time that Grand Prix teams are most prepared for an extra race and when the entry assembled there were only four Formula One cars present and so the rest of the field was made up mainly by F.2 cars weighted with lead to bring them up to the F.1 weight limit. The twisty 3.4-kilometre circuit is more suited to these cars, anyway, so perhaps some of the slower F.1 competitors shied away.

Since July corridors of power behind the circuit have seen some changes, for instead of the organisation being in the hands of the R.A.C.E., everything was being arranged by a group called Odacisa who now control the circuit. They were very keen and although their lack of experience showed in some ways everyone was fairly happy with the way things were run. The circuit has, as we remarked in our report of the July F.2 race, some of the best facilities in Europe, each of the twenty pits adjoining a large garage with light and power points and water laid on.

The young Autodelta driver, the bespectacled de Adamich, had been testing a Formula One Ferrari in Italy during October, while Amon and Williams were in the U.S.A., and the Ferrari team were at Madrid with him as the lone driver. They bought just one 36-valveengined car for him to drive. This is not the latest lightweight car driven by Amon but certainly the next best 1967 Ferrari. Team Lotus rushed their cars back from Mexico and so Clark and Hill had the two Lotus 49s they had driven in the Mexican G.P. as well as an F.2 Lotus 48 as a spare which a local driver at one stage almost bought and even practised with. The fourth F.1 car came out of the Tyrrell transporter but it was not his forthcoming Matra-Cosworth F.1 but a Brabham-Repco for Brabham, who was obviously doing this meeting like a private owner for only one mechanic came to look after the car and Brabham himself did quite a bit of work on it. Although the car bore the chassis plate BT24-3 it was in fact an older BT20 with four-stud front wheels hut fitted with the latest centre exhaust Repco engine. B.M.W. brought their two Lola T100 cars fitted with the 2-litre version of their F.2 engine as seen in the hill-climb car and at the German G.P. As usual Siffert and Hahne were driving and the cars proved to be quite competitive. Of the F.2 cars Matra were most popular with Stewart, Ickx, Beltoise, Servoz-Gavin, Pescarolo and Schlesser all driving them. Redman had his Lola, Rollinson his McLaren and the field was completed by the Brabhams of Rees, Lambert and Lamplough.

As expected the Lotuses were soon under the F.2 and outright lap record Of 1 min. 30.7 sec. set up by Clark at the inaugural meeting. It was Clark who was fastest at 1 min. 28,2 sec. followed by Hill and Stewart at 1 min. 29.7 sec. The race was a Lotus benefit from start to finish with Clark soon out in front and Hill second. There was no one who could get anywhere near Clark during the 60 laps but at one stage Siffiert closed right up on the second Lotus 49. Hill however answered the challenge and pulled away and the Lola-B.M.W. stopped out on the circuit with a small fire in the engine compartment on lap 46. Stewart and Brabham were having a tremendous scrap for fourth place and Stewart seemed to be getting the better of the Brabham until he spun. On lap 42 he slid off on some loose stones and the Matra dived into an Armco barrier and finished up wedged under it to the cockpit section, with Stewart's head only a foot from the barrier. Although trapped in the car by the barrier he was released unharmed thanks to his seat harness. This incident moved de Adamich who was driving a steady race up to fourth place but with only five laps to go he rushed into the pits with a flat Firestone. The mechanics had a struggle to change the wheel which lost him a lap and a half and five places, so the position went to Servoz-Gavin who put up another good show for Matra. Despite a cracked inlet manifold and a resultant roughsounding engine Schlesser in the Ford France Matra just beat Ickx into fifth place. Pescarolo was seventh, then came Redman after a stop to investigate bodywork damage, ninth was de Adamich and 10th was Beltoise who had been in the pits with shock-absorber trouble Apart from those already mentioned, retirements came from Hahne on lap 34 after burning away all his oil after probable piston ring breakage, Rollinson on lap 8 with a broken brake pedal and Lamplough on lap 2 with gearbox failure.

The biggest hazards during the race were the rubber Marker cones which lined the apexes of corners. These were constantly knocked into the road by drivers clipping them and were heavy enough to bend steering arms or damage tyres.

Having intended to say how promising the new Italian Tecno F.3 was in our report of the Rome F.2 meeting last month it was with horror that we noticed that when the story appeared the exact opposite was stated. Just to prove what we originally intended to say, the Swiss Tecno works driver Regazzoni was the complete master of the F.3 event run in two heats and a final. In the final he won by a large margin from Sweden's brightest hope; Wisell (Brabham BT18), and Beckwith in the much improved Chequered Flag DAF. - A.R M.

Jarama jingles-see page 1126.

 

Jarama Jingles—continued from page 1123

Andrea de Adamich has not yet signed a contract to drive for Ferrari next season but almost certainly will do so in the near future. If he does he will become the first bespectacled F.1 driver since Masten Gregory.

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The Spanish customs again proved difficult. Most of the British contingent arrived on the Swedish Lloyd car ferry from Southampton-Bilbao and were held up for over six hours. One F.3 driver who decided to arrive early was held at the French/Spanish border for eight days.

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Stewart remained at the circuit for tyre testing and has been asked by Odacisa to advise on improvements. No doubt he will have something to say about the safety barriers as well.

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The Tyrrell team stayed on for some tyre testing in conjunction with Dunlop. As their F.1 car is not yet ready they borrowed Brabham's machine and it would be interesting to hear Stewart's comments after driving it.