Jenks on...

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Parallel formulae, 1961

In addition to the Grand Prix Formula, there’s another new class of single-seater racing: the Inter-Continental Formula. This allows cars with engines up to 3 litres, and the FIA thought this one up on two rather vague accounts.

Firstly, it was to quieten noisy groups of English who didn’t want the new F1 (they’ve got it anyway in spite of their yelling and shouting), and secondly, it’s yet another vain hope of combining European racing with American professional track racing.

The idea of this 3-litre racing was to encourage racing on high-speed tracks, the Italians wanting to use their Monza banking and threatening to build a new banked track at Turin. The English saw this formula as a way of going racing with last year’s successful cars on the same circuits — so between the two factions there is some muddled thinking. The professional American racing world is so self-contained and successful that it has shown little or no interest in the Inter-Continental Formula, while in Britain it has received a setback due to Coventry-Climax dropping all interest in its 2.5-litre engines already in existence and quite justifiably refusing to enlarge engines up to 3 litres, or taking any responsibility for Climax engines in Inter-Continental Formula racing. The only person to do anything about this Formula is Mr Vandervell, who has enlarged one of his Vanwall engines to 2.86-litres and fitted it in the Lotus chassis he tried out at Snetterton last year. So it looks as though Inter-Continental Formula will be a British affair, although Ferrari has threatened to take part with last year’s Dino fitted with 3-litre V12s.

The situation is rather like that in 1952 and ’53 when the existing F1 was dropped by the Europeans in favour of 2-litre F2 but England went on racing the old Formula.

Yours, DSJ

Denis Jenkinson was our famous Continental Correspondent for more than 40 years.