FORMULA PROS AND CONS
With so many conflicting interests at stake, it is inevitable that a new Grand Prix Formula should meet with violent criticisms.
The formula for Grand Prix cars to be used for the period 1937-1939 was established at a meeting in Paris last month between the International Sporting Commission of the A.I.A.C.R. and the International Permanent Bureau of racing-car manufacturers. In effect, thelatter’ consists of representatives of the Mercedes-Benz, Auto-Union, Alfa-Romeo, Maserati, Bugatti and E.R.A. concerns. Raymond Mays, the !E.R.A. delegate, was not present at the meeting last month. He has, however, expressed his satisfaction with the meeting’s decision. The new formula provides for a sliding scale of weight-to-engine capacity ratios, both for super charged and unsupercharged cars. Thus the unblown cars ‘must have a minimum capacity of 1,000 c.c. and a corresponding weight of 400 kilos. Increase in engine size calls for a proportional increase in weight, up to a maximum of 4,500 c.c. and 850 kilos. Blown engines are considered to
develop one-third more ,power than ” unblowns,” and so the minimum engine capacity in their case is reduced to 769 c.c., with the same weight of 400 kilos., while the maximum allowed is 3,460 c.c. for a weight of 850 kilos. The weight, by the way, includes tyres and oil in the gear-box and back axle, but does not take into account water in the radiator, oil in The.’eng-ine,-,petrol, and spare ;Wheel. No restriction is ,placed. on the choice of fuel,
or on consumption. Bodies may be ‘either oneor two’seaters, providing they have a minimum width of 85 cm. at The driver’s seat. This formula was actually the_work of the Italians, and
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received the approval of the German manufacturers. The motive behind its terms is to induce other manufacturers to race, not necessarily at great expense and, at the same time, to avoid the scrapping of the present expensively-evolved G.P. cars. Finally, it has been kept as close to the new Americao formula as possible, in order to permit an interchange of teams in American and Continental events.
The British viewpoint is naturally weakened by our prolonged absence—until the birth of the E.R.A.from. Grand Prix racing. To the extent that the-neW formula permits the entry of cars other than the super-expensive modern G.P. type, it is bound to be well received in British circles. As for the E.R.A., the 1,500 c.c. model will need to be reduced in weight by one cwt., which should not be a prohibitive alteration. Whether unblown cars will stand a chance in a Grand Prix race is another matter, an depends on whether one considers the one-third increase in capacity allowed by the formula to be an adequate compensation for the lack of a blower. -w6 doubt it ; two-thirds is nearer the mark.
The French consider them-: selves to have a considerably heftier axe to grind, even though Bugatti, who has been their only Grand Prix representative in recen years, has expressed his satisfaction with the formula. Bugatti’s opinion is that the fact of having several different types in the same race will give manufacturers food for thought as to the best type to use. For ourselves, we do not think the con-: structors of the modern G.P. car will have great difficulty in deciding that their present cars, reduced in engine size to 3,460 c.c. and strengthened with an extra 100 kilos. of weight, are the ideal. machines for future Grand Prix races.
Miscellany, January 2004
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