The Ferrari 156 ‘Sharknose’ interrupted the British Formula 1 revolution led by Lotus and Cooper-BRM in the first year of the 1.5-litre engine regulations in 1961 and gave Maranello a potent, if brief, performance edge that my father Phil Hill, Wolfgang von Trips, Richie Ginther, Giancarlo Baghetti and others took full advantage of in that season 60 years ago.
While the British teams gnashed their teeth over the regulation change, Ferrari made hay with Carlo Chiti’s V6 that had evolved out of Formula 2 since 1957. Its spaceframe chassis was conventional, but that striking twin-nostril nose, the neat mid-engine layout and Enzo Ferrari’s unfortunate insistence that all 156s should be broken up once they became obsolete has guaranteed the Sharknose a special place in the illustrious halls of Ferrari F1 history. That my father became America’s first F1 world champion in the car gives me a unique and personal connection to it.
In September 2019, I had a chance to drive Jason Wright’s wonderful replica at Reims and Zandvoort for a documentary I have been making about my father since 2009, a year after his death.