New Developments

By increasing the power of the four-cylinder Ford-based FVA engine to around the 435 b.h.p. mark, Cosworth Engineering has put Britain firmly back on top in the Formula Two world. The works Ferrari Dinos which showed such devastating form in the Argentine during the 1968 Temporada have failed utterly to reproduce this promise in Europe, and a number of reasons for their dismal failure have been offered by Maranello. Engineer Marelli blames some new camshafts which have been made for the six-cylinder engine with its Fiat cylinder block, and he reports that the strain on the camshaft housings has been enough to cause some disastrous engine blow-ups. Last month, for instance, Regazzoni had to have four new engines in order to start in two races, only one of which he finished.

The Ferrari Formula Two cars have not been seen at all in June (these words were written before Monza on June 22nd), so the factory has been busy testing something new. Pictures of a Dino engine with a new cylinder-head layout have caused a great deal of interest because there is a dual exhaust system for the four-valve cylinder-head configuration, which now appears to be staggered. One thing never changes in motor racing, and that is the sometimes chaotic situation at Ferrari, for the Formula One is having much the same sort of problems at the moment.

The B.M.W. team is not without its difficulties either, although the new Dornier-built car as raced at both Zolder and Hockenheim. Hahne was given a new car, altered in detail only from the first, for Hockenheim, but in fact it never practiced. Having qualified in his new team-mate Quester’s car, Hahne insisted that the old car be brought all the way from Munich, fitted with one of the few engines which survived Zolder and brought out for him to race. Happily for B.M.W., he came second, although this position might have been improved on had the impetuous German used rather more forethought in his race tactics, for the B.M.W. engine is a fair match for the Cosworth.

Production of the latest Brabham BT30 was very slow getting under way, but three cars were delivered in the space of a fortnight at the beginning of June and all were racing immediately. According to the drivers, however, the older Brabham BT23C is still a very competitive chassis, especially with Firestone tyres. This was proved by Ickx’s fine showing at Zolder and Hart’s crafty win at Hockenheim. What is not so sure is the suitability of the latest Lotus for sheer speed-type circuits (with the curious exception of Reims) and their two young stand-ins have no yardstick by which to judge. The tubby Lotus undoubtedly looks as though it has more frontal area than the opposition, especially the sleek Brabham BT30.

Wings disappeared from Formula Two cars without any of the fuss which attended the move to force sports and Formula One cars to remove their aerodynamic aids. At Zolder nearly everyone tried special engine covers with built-in negative lift, but they were all removed in time for Hockenheim. As in Formula One, there are expected to be some interesting experiments in body shapes before very long.—M. G. D.