Notes On The Cars At Monte Carlo



Being the first European Classic Grand Prix for this year the Monte Carlo race saw the factory teams well prepared as regards cars, engines, experiments and so on. The Scuderia Ferrari had six cars altogether, four as the team and two practice cars. The first four cars were outwardly of the type that was victorious at Syracuse recently, which is to say that they had the narrow type of bodywork with the exhaust pipes exposed, and for ease of identification we can call this type the Syracuse 1957, as distinct from the Syracuse 1956 type, which was the full-width-body car. Two of the team cars had the modified Lancia front suspension, with unequal length wishbones and coil springs, while the other two had Super Squalo Ferrari front suspensions, as used by Hawthorn at Naples recently; in fact, one of the pair was the actual Naples experimental car. All four had normal Lancia/Ferrari de Dion rear ends, the supposedly successful swing-axle car tried out at Naples having been discarded. On the two Lancia front suspended cars the megaphones on the ends of the eight exhaust pipes were as used previously, while the other two cars had reversed cones on the ends of the megaphones, a trick discovered by the motor-cycle world to prevent “megaphonitis” or bad pick up low down in the rev-range. The first pair of cars had the latest 1957 Ferrari-designed chassis frames and the other two the Ferrari-modified Lancia chassis frames. The other pair of Scuderia Ferrari cars were a 1956 Lancia/Ferrari, with full-width body and old-type chassis frame, and the 1957 Formula II car that ran so well at Naples. All cars were available to be driven by the four team drivers Collins, Hawthorn, von Trips and Trintignant, the spare Formula 1 car being a stand-by and the Formula II car being driven by every one to get comparative figures for the future. This little car of the future was exactly as run at Naples, there having been no time since that event to make any alterations to it; not that it appeared to need any. Musso should have joined the team for this race, but his constantly recurring illness put him out, even though he was feeling quite well a few days before.

The Scuderia Maserati seemed much decided in their design problems and brought along three of their 1957 lightweight-chassis cars, all fitted with six-cylinder engines. These three were for Fangio, Menditeguy and Schell, the first two making their 1957 debut in Europe while Schell replaced Behra who was still suffering from his Mille Miglia practice accident. There were two more cars from Modena, one the much-used 1956 car with ducted radiator, fitted with a new six-cylinder engine and the other was the 12-cylinder-engined car that appeared at Syracuse, this being a 1956 chassis frame with modified steering arrangements in order to make room for the 12-cylinder engine, which was unchanged from the Sicilian outing, though the exhaust systems were new. Each bank of six-cylinders fed into a pair of exhaust pipes which terminated in short megaphone ends just in front of the rear wheels, the ends of the pipes being curved to exhaust outwards. In order to utilise the high revs of this engine a new five-speed gearbox had been designed, which permits the use of all five gears, unlike the normal Grand Prix box in which first gear is only for starting away from rest. This new gearbox fits into the normal Grand Prix chassis, being similar in layout to the old ones, with the gear shafts lying transversely across the car and to the right of the differential assembly. The fourth six-cylinder car was to be shared by Scarlatti and Herrmann, while the 12-cylinder was still looked upon as experimental.

Although the two Italian teams came well prepared, they were not alone, for Vanwall had three cars for Moss and Brooks to choose from, Connaught had three for the use of Lewis-Evans and Bueb, B.R.M. had two cars for Salvadori and Flockhart and there were two Cooper-Climax Formula II cars, one with an enlarged twin-cam Climax engine and the other with a 1,500-c.c. unit.

After the pushing episode last year when Trintignant’s car had its nose folded up, the Vanwalls were not to be caught again and they were fitted with short blunt nose cowlings with a reinforcing bar across the front. In addition the wrap-round cockpit screens had been cut down to mere aero-screens, but more important was the fact that at last someone in a responsible position had taken a look at a modern aircraft. The fuel-injection pipes were now of reinforced flexible material and a length of this was also used as a control rod between the throttles and the injection pump, so that there was no reason for any more of the pettifogging troubles that had been going on so long. The Connaught team were also conscious of the necessity of some bumping and boring in the opening laps of the Monaco race and their three cars were fitted with short blunt noses built around a very rigid tubular framework extending forward from the main chassis frame. Two holes on the nose fed air into pipes which ran on each side of the engine and blew cold air on the driver’s feet. Two of the cars were the normal Syracuse-type and the third was the new high-tail car that won at Goodwood, while all three were using Weber carburetters. The two B.R.M.s had the high wrap-round cockpit sides and were trying out various combinations of roll-bars and the team were trying to persuade Colin Chapman into advising on chassis problems, but he was not showing much interest. R. R. C. Walker’s Formula II Cooper was fitted with a special twin-cam Climax engine that had been enlarged to close on 2 litres (it was driven by Brabham), while Leston was to drive the works Formula II Cooper with normal 1,500-c.c. twin-cam Climax engine.

The rest of the entry list was made up of private owners, for there were no works Gordinis running, they being the only factory team not represented. The Scuderia Centro-Sud had one car entered, for Masten Gregory; Gould, Simon and Piotti had their private Maseratis and the last-named had Gerini as reserve driver.