New Grand Prix Cars for 1974

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After all the “wheeling and dealing” was finalised and the paint shops put into action, new cars for 1974 began to appear, some being shown to the Press in metal and glass-fibre form, others in purely photographic form, but none-the-less the colourful Grand Prix scene looks like being as varied a hotch-potch of engineering, sport and big business as ever it was. While some teams are continuing with modified 1973 cars, modified mechanically that is, rather than merely changing the sponsor and his colours, others have produced entirely new models.

Bernie Ecclestone, who owns the Brabham organisation, introduced the BT44 to replace the 1973 BT42, and this new chassis follows the basic layout of the earlier design, continuing the knowledge and development of the past season. The major alteration is the front suspension which has variable rate characteristics and the layout of such that inboard front brakes could be used if deemed desirable. The basic monocoque is still of triangular section, giving a low centre of gravity for the fuel load and attention has been paid to avoiding the use of fuel lines in the cockpit, and likewise all tank access holes have been kept out of the cockpit area. The design of the BT44 is the work of Gordon Murray, who also designed the 1973 car, and a lot of thought has been given to airflow over the body, the cockpit surrounding continuing rearwards to form the air box over the Cosworth V8 engine, while the air intake for this box is angled forwards to keep it as far away from the rear aerofoil as possible, the latter .component being mounted at the the rear wheel centre line.

The specification of the BT44 is as follows:—

Wheelbase: 95 in. Front track: 57 in. Rear track: 57 in. or 60 in.

Engine: Cosworth DFV 3-litre V8.

Gearbox: Hewland FG400.

Monocoque: constructed of 16, 18 and 20 s.w.g. aluminium alloy sheet with fabricated sheet steel bulkheads. The engine forms the rear part of the chassis.

Front suspension: Independent by double-wishbones and semi-inboard coil spring/damper units, with antidive features.

Rear suspension: Independent by upper transverse link and twin lower parallel links, twin radius rods. Outboard coil spring/damper units.

Brakes: 10½ in. diameter Girling discs with 4-pot light alloy calipers. Outboard at front. Inboard at rear.

Shock-absorbers: Koni light alloy telescopic.

Radiators: Twin Serck water radiators at front.

Wheels: Cast magnesiuth 13 in. x 10 in. front. 13 in. x 17 in. rear.

From Northampton came news of the new UOP-Shadow for 1974, the Mark II DN-3, to replace the 1973 DN-1 series. As with the Brabham team the Shadow people have produced their new car as a development of the earlier model, rather than a radical new approach, the lessons learnt in their first season of Formula One racing being fed into the new design. It is much slimmer and sleeker than the 1973 cars and the oil radiator is now at the front in a very elongated nose cowling, although the water radiators are still side-mounted to the rear of the cockpit. Total enclosure of the engine and rear of the car has been abandoned and the air box for the Cosworth V8 has obviously been copied from the Harvey Postlethwaite March design. By using a special bell-housing casting between the Cosworth V8 engine and the Hewland gearbox a very long wheelbase has been achieved, and the driver sits 4 inches further forward than before, a larger seat fuel tank being fitted in the space gained. Suspension is straight-forward and unspectacular, following standard practice with double wishbones at the front and single top link, parallel lower links and twin radius rods at the rear, and coil spring/damper units all round. The suspension of the Shadow DN-3 is as follows:—

Wheelbase: 105 in. Front track: 58 in. Rear track 60 in.

Engine: Cosworth V8 DFV 3-litre

Gearbox: Hewland FL-200.

Monocoque: Aluminium panels, with fibreglass detachable panels; the engine forms the rear part of the chassis.

Front Suspension: Independent by double-wishbones and coil spring/ damper units.

Rear Suspension: Independent by upper transverse link and twin lower parallel links, twin radius rods. Coil spring/ damper units.

Brakes: Lockheed ventilated discs. Outboard at front. Inboard at rear.

Shock-absorbers: Aluminium double adjustable Armstrong telescopic units.

Radiators: Twin Marston Excelsior water radiators, side mounted.

Wheels: Magnesium 13 in. x 11 in. front, 13 in. x 17 in. rear. Alternative 12 in. x 10 in. fronts available.

From John Surtees comes the news that his team cars for 1974 will be the TS16 models, following the general lines of the 1973 cars which were TS14 models. Nothing very revolutionary is noted about them, the design and construction following his wellproven lines of thought, and the McLaren works cars are the 1973 M23 cars modified here and there in detail. Most important to these two firms were the alterations in sponsorship and colour schemes. The Surtees team successfully upgraded their relationship with Matchbox toys from Formula Two to the Formula One cars, and McLaren have split their team of M23 cars, two going to a combined operation operated by Marlboro cigarettes and Texaco petrol and oil, and the third one staying with Yardley cosmetics.

Among the other cars due to appear in Formula One this year are a pair of Lola cars from Eric Broadley, with sponsorship by Embassy cigarettes, and a brand new design from Gordon Fowell for Chris Amon. Like the Brabhams and Shadows all these use Cosworth V8 engines and Hewland gearboxes, with variations in brakes, wheels, tyres, radiators and shock-absorbers. —D.S.J.