The Formula II Ferrari

On April 23rd the two works Ferrari drivers, Collins and Hawthorn, presented themselves at Modena to drive the new FII Ferrari for the first time. The third member of the G.P. team, Musso, should also have been present, but a slight illness kept him at home. Needless to say the two English drivers were more than delighted with this new toy schemed up for them by Enzo Ferrari and his engineers, led by Bellantani, and the engineers themselves were quite pleased with the way it went on its first outing. So much so, in fact, that it was taken to Naples the next day and for two days of practice and in the Naples Grand Prix itself it was driven mercilessly by Luigi Musso and came through with flying colours. During the first practice there was some slight hesitation in the pick-up but adjustments to carburation soon put this right and not a single fault in the design showed up throughout the whole of the running. That it did not hang about can be shown by the difference of only 1.7 sec. between Musso’s best lap round the hilly, twisty, circuit and Hawthorn’s astounding lap record. Apart from lower accelerative powers up the hills, this little car could easily hold its own with the F1 machinery on this low-speed twisty circuit. The car was taken back to Modena having proved itself a worthy contender for Fll honours, as and when this class of racing really gets under way.

From stem to stern the whole car is brand new, no F1 parts or proprietary components being used, all pieces having been designed and manufactured in the Ferrari factory at Maranello. Without doubt, much of the knowledge gained from the Formula 1 Lancia/Ferrari V8 cars has been used to design the new 1,500 c.c. car, and the situation is an exact parallel of that classic occasion in 1939 when Daimler-Benz produced a 1,500 c.c. supercharged V8 Mercedes-Benz racing car that was a scaled down replica of the 1939 V12 Grand Prix 3-litre Mercedes-Benz. This new Formula II Ferrari V6 is a scaled down replica of the Formula 1 Lancia/Ferrari V8.

The engine has a bore and stroke of 70 by 64.5 mm. giving a capacity of 1,490 c.c. and has two blocks of three cylinders arranged in vee formation on a single-piece crankcase, the right hand block behind slightly staggered rearwards. Each block has a cylinder head with two overhead camshafts and between the heads is a single casting carrying three double-choke Weber carburetters, each choke feeding to one cylinder. There are two plugs per cylinder and these are fired by two six-cylinder magnetos, one mounted on the front of each inlet camshaft. From this front camshaft drive all the ancillaries are also driven, being mounted below the magnetos. The engine is very wide, but extremely short and rigid and is mounted in the chassis at an angle so that the propeller-shaft runs diagonally across the floor of the cockpit and alongside the left-side of the driving seat. At the back it drives to a pair of bevel gears, as on the Formula 1 car, and the cross-shaft enters the gearbox/differential unit transversely, the gearbox shafts also being in this plane, with the final drive stepped up to hub height by straight tooth pinions. There are four speeds and a reverse in the gearbox and control is effected by a right-hand lever with no gate in the cockpit. Running on 9.5 : 1 compression ratio and using straight petrol the engine is said too give 190 b.h.p. at 9,200 r.p.m., and even allowing for this being optimistic it is hardly likely to be more than 25 b.h.p. out, so that it will by appreciated that this 1,500-c.c. unsupercharged Ferrari engine is certainly turning out some useful power. When it is realised that its starting line weight, with driver, fuel, oil, etc., is 14½ cwt. it can be seen that it must have a fair power output to be able to go as well as it does.

In design the chassis is rather a retrograde step, for whereas the Formula 1 car has a true space frame, built from small-diameter tubing, this new chassis has two large tubes forming a main frame and smaller diameter ones forming a strengthening superstructure, not unlike the last version in 1955, of the Super Squalo. At the front the suspension is by double wishbones, of unequal length, and coils springs and an anti-roll bar. Once again the design is a cross, between Lancia and Ferrari, for whereas the D50 Lancia/Ferrari uses ball-joints on the ends of the wishbones instead of the conventional king-pin, and the last pure-Ferrari Formula 1 car used a long king-pin, this new car has two very short king-pins, one on the top wishbone and the other on the bottom one, the stub-axle forging being shaped to take the place of the king-pin and having bearing surfaces about 1 in. deep top and bottom. It is interesting in passing to note that this system has been used on the 1½- and 2-litre sports Maseratis for two years now, and that Ballentani and Massimino both moved from Maserati to Ferrari last year; truly all design stems from Modena! At the rear a de Dion layout is used that is almost identical to that used on the Formula 1 car, but with all the components naturally scaled down in size, the only major difference being in the centre location of the de Dion tube. On the Lancia/Ferrari a fork extending below the de Dion tube slides up and down a ball that is fixed to a projection from the bottom of the differential housing, thus giving a low roll-centre but a variable one. On the FII Ferrari the roll-centre is at hub level, for a ball on the centre of the tube runs in a guide fixed to the chassis. Suspension medium at the rear is by a transverse leaf-spring mounted above the whole rear axle assembly. A large fuel tank and the oil tank are mounted at the rear of the chassis frame, shaped as on the Formula 1 car, and an extra fuel tank fills the left-hand side of the cockpit, the driving seat being slightly set over to the right. In keeping with the rest of the scaling down from Formula 1, this new car uses knock-off centre-lock wire wheels shod with 5.50 in, front tyres and 6.50 in. rear. Brakes are orthodox large diameter two-shoe drum type, with very fine finning. The bodywork is very similar in general shape to the Formula 1 car as used by Collins at Syracuse this year and has a large air scoop on the top of the bonnet, while a single exhaust pipe protrudes from each side of the car and ends in a megaphone. So closely coupled with the Formula 1 car is the design of this 1.500-c.c. Ferrari that the same portable starter and shaft are used, this being introduced into the near-side of the tail of the car and turning the engine by a dog on the end of the propeller-shaft, exactly as is done on the Lancia/Ferrari.

This new Ferrari is the first serious demonstration that Italy is interested in Formula II, and it is clear that the Italian designers visualise a car for this type of racing to be a scaled-down Formula 1 car, as distinct from the British manufacturers who support the idea of a scaled-up Formula III car. As with all racing design the best answer is a compromise of all the possible variables and it will be interesting to see the eventual outcome of Formula II. We have started with very small, light cars with low horsepower and a fairly heavy one with quite a high power output; whether they both resolve into a medium-weight car with medium power remains to be seen, but undoubtedly Ferrari has given Formula II on the Continent a decided fillip with the introduction of his 1½-litre car. — D.S.J.