Of particular interest was the first appearance outside of Great Britain of the Formula 1 Aston Martins, the two cars which had made their debut at Silverstone being again driven by Salvadori and Shelby. As would be expected, much knowledge gained with the DBR1/300 sports cars went into the building of these two DBR4/250 single-seaters, for the sports/racing cars have been quasi-Grand Prix cars for some time now. The six-cylinder twin-cam engine, derived directly from the sports car, is mounted in a light tubular space frame and set at an angle so that the propeller-shaft runs diagonally across the floor of the cockpit to the left-hand rear corner. Here it enters a gear-train case, which serves to change rear-axle ratios, and this transfers the drive to the centre of the car, where it enters the David Brown five-speed gearbox and differential housing. The driver sits to one side of the propeller-shaft with his left leg over it, the clutch pedal being on one side of the shaft and the brake and accelerator on the other. The gear-lever is mounted in an open gate on the right of the cockpit and quite low down. The rear suspension is directly derived from the sports car, being de Dion with the cross-tube running behind the gearbox and short radius-arms running forward from each end, while a link couples each hub carrier to longitudinal torsion-bars running forward into the cockpit. At the front is an entirely new suspension, though no doubt it is as a result of experiments done on sports cars, for it is of unequal-length double wishbones with interspersed coil-springs, and steering is by rack and pinion, Braking is by Girling discs, all four being hub mounted, and wire wheels are used with knock-off hub caps. Oil and water radiators are carried on an outrigger at the front of the chassis and fuel and oil in aluminium tanks at the rear, the whole mechanism being covered by an aluminium shell of a smooth but singularly nondescript shape, and on the near side of the bonnet is a large tubular duct collecting air for the three Weber double-choke carburetters, while the exhaust pipes protrude from the off side and flow into two long tail-pipes reminiscent of a 250F Maserati. By present-day standards of Grand Prix cars the Aston Martin looks large, but the workmanship and general design are of a high standard, indicative of a car built to last for more than one Grand Prix.
The Scuderia Ferrari were out in force, with three Formula 1 Dino 246 cars and the Formula 2 car fitted with an experimental engine; since Monte Carlo the cars had been converted back to their long tapering nose cowlings, but mechanically remained unchanged, the engines using Weber 42DCN carburetters, whereas the experimental engine in the Formula 2 chassis was using 50DCN carburetters, and in consequence of this a special large Perspex cowling was needed to cover them. Whereas the Formula 1 cars were using 16-in. wheels, the Formula 2 chassis, which is considerably lighter and very slightly shorter, was using 15-in, wheels, and all cars were on Dunlop tyres and disc brakes.
The B.R.M. team fielded only two cars, though they had a third car with them as a spare and for training, and they were not changed from their last appearance, while Cooper had their two regular Formula 1 cars, with 2½-litre Coventry-Climax engines, and a third car which was brand new, though of identical design, apart from provision having been made for alternative positions of suspension wishbones, effected by welding plates on the chassis frame with a series of holes for the pivot bolts, Since some trouble had been experienced in the past with gearboxes running out of oil, due to overheating and too much breathing, a temporary cure was effected by mounting a small oil tank above the gearbox with a pipe feeding the oil by gravity into the gearbox. A tap was fitted into this pipe and a Bowden cable ran from the tap to the cockpit, so that after a predetermined distance the driver would pull the cable and let the extra oil drain into the gearbox. The real cause for the overheating of the oil was due to the gearbox capacity not being large enough, and this oil-drip arrangement was to solve the problem until time could be found to redesign the gearbox casing.
From the Lotus factory came two 1959 cars, both using 2½-litre Coventry-Climax engines and fitted-with Weber 50DC03 carburetters, and not 58DC03 as was stated in the Monte Carlo report. On one car some metal shields were fitted over the air intakes of the carburetters to try and keep some of the sand out, for with the car being so small and low the bell-mouths are rather close to the left front wheel. To complete the entry of Formula 1 cars the Walker team had two Coopers, the much modified one with wire wheels and the old car that Moss used at Monte Carlo, though it was now fitted with double-wishbone rear suspension as used on the works Coopers, in place of the radius-rod bracing for the rear hub carriers, the transverse leaf-spring being retained, and both cars were fitted with Coventry-Climax engines and Colotti five-speed gearboxes. Local rules limited the entry to 14 cars but de Beaufort was allowed to enter with his RSK Porsche running as a Formula 2 car. — D.S.J.