An Easy Lotus Victory
Pau, FRANCE, April 3rd.
APART from being the twenty-first race to be held by the Automobile Club Basco-Bearnais and the first European Grand Prix of the season, the race at Pau also had the distinction of being the first Grand Prix to be held under the new Formula for 1961-64. The first practice session was on Saturday afternoon and there was plenty of activity, for drivers such as Bonnier, Clark and Taylor had to find their way round the tortuous street circuit and others, such as Brabham and Lewis, who know the circuit, had to find out how the low squat 1961 Coopers were going to adapt to the conditions. The Equipe National Beige were making their first appearance with the new Emeryson-Maserati cars and they were running two, with Gendebien and Lucien Bianchi as the drivers; the cars were painted yellow with a red nose cowling for the former driver and a black nose cowling for the latter. The cars were performing well enough but under heavy braking the underside of the front was grounding, there being insufficient static clearance. Later in the afternoon Bianchi’s car developed a small water leak so he did some more practice on his team-mate’s car. Of the new Coopers Lewis was finding out that you can’t just buy a new Cooper and go racing, you have to finish off a lot of the detail work, and Brabham was worried by a noise in his engine that his mechanic and Harry Spears, of Coventry-Climax, listened for intently but could not trace; it later transpired to be a blown exhaust gasket. Team Lotus were busy changing axle ratios and doing carburation, and Jimmy Clark was learning the circuit incredibly quickly and lapping fast into the bargain, while his team-mate Trevor Taylor was feeling his way along in this new phase in his racing career with commendable restraint, yet lapping quite fast.
The German driver Wolfgang Seidel had two white Lotus-Climax cars, the one he drove being a works car from 1960 and the other a new one, which he lent to Bonnier. They appeared to lack a mechanic and went in fits and starts; though Bonnier put in a quick lap or two while his was running properly. There were many newcomers in this race, the Scuderia Centro-Sud entering Lorenzo Bandini, an Italian Formula Junior driver, in their much-modified Cooper-Maserati with Colotti gearbox, and he was trying hard on his first time out in a Formula One car. The other Centro-Sud car was driven by the Portuguese driver Cabral and was a more standard Cooper-Maserati. These two cars were frequently referred to as Maseratis, presumably to break the monotony of hearing the name Cooper, and similarly the Cooper-Alfa Romeo driven by Munaron was referred to as a Conrero for the same reason. There were normal Cooper-Climax cars, all 1960, or earlier, F.2 cars now masquerading as F.1 cars with the addition of starter motors, driven by another newcomer to single-seater racing, the Englishman Graham Eden, a new Frenchman, Francois Sante, and the Swiss driver Andre Wicky, while Schlesser and Trintignant were driving the blue Coopers they had last season.
It was not until towards the end of practice that things began to get sorted out and it was Clark who set the pace, hotly pursued by Trintignant in his old Cooper, but once Brabham had stopped worrying about the odd noise he could hear he went out and beat them both. The order at the end of practice was Brabham 1 min. 34.4 sec., Clark 1 min. 35.0 sec., and Trintignant 1 min. 35.9 sec., which was a good start to the meeting as Brabham’s fastest practice lap last year had been 1 min. 34.0 sec. in the old F.2 Cooper-Climax and though the circuit had not been changed the downhill hairpin on the far side had developed ripples in the surface which made it a bit slower. This was Brabham’s first try with the heavier 1961 low Cooper, though he knew the circuit well, while Clark was driving at Pau for the first time and it was the first visit of a rear-engined Lotus. Trintignant, of course, has been driving at Pau for more years than one cares to remember, but nevertheless his fastest time was outstanding considering the old car he was driving and one wonders why he is not being used by a proper racing team instead of some of the ” fly-by-night ” drivers who have wheedled their way into teams. The rest of the field were many seconds behind these three, and some were in trouble, like Sante who had wrecked his engine. Of the 19 entries three did not arrive, these being the two Camoradi cars for Gregory and Burgess and Collomb, who had sold his Cooper.
Whereas Saturday had been very hot, Sunday proved to be cool and cloudy, but ideal for fast driving, and with a rush and a roar most of the cars went out on the circuit. Not many minutes had gone by before Munaron came to rest in a cloud of smoke, going up the hill from the station, when a connecting-rod broke in his highly stressed Conrero Giulietta engine, and Seidel came to rest at the same place with fuel starvation. Bonnier in the other German-owned Lotus was prevented from practising when his mechanic dropped a nut down a plug hole and a valve got bent! Camoradi had at last turned up with a Lotus-Climax for Burgess but had scratched Masten Gregory’s entry. Now that the fast boys had got ” tuned-in ” to the circuit things began to happen and Clark went round in 1 min. 33.6 sec., nearly a second faster than Brabham’s best, but the Australian was soon out and down to 1 min. 33.0 sec. Watching on the far side of the circuit on the downhill section it was easy to see when Brabham was trying for the Cooper lost all its tidiness and used all the road and just brushed the chamfered kerbstones, and sure enough the time was 1 min. 32.7 sec. Not long afterwards Clark reappeared and after a number of relaxed but fast laps the Lotus suddenly appeared using much more of the road and sliding very visibly. For Jimmy Clark it looked positively untidy but it was obvious that he was really trying, and the result was 1 min. 32.9 sec. At times over 1 min. 33.0 sec. both he and Brabham had looked smooth and sedate, but to get below this, things had to get a little ragged, but even so both drivers looked calm and unruffled physically. In complete contrast Gendebien was looking wild and harassed, especially when Clark caught and passed him, but in spite of this he was still slower than Bianchi. Meanwhile Trintignant was not being left behind, getting his tired old Cooper round in 1 min. 34.5 sec., but he now had young Lewis in the H. & L. Motors Cooper-Climax right on his tail with 1 min. 34.6 sec. Bandini was next fastest and was driving in a spirited fashion, obviously not worried by the street-racing circuit, having learnt on such courses in Italian Formula Junior.
When the times of the two days were sorted out the starting grid was drawn up as follows :
At 2 p.m. on Sunday, under bright blue skies and a hot sun, a crowd of some 30,000 people turned up and before the start there were 15 minutes of free practice for drivers to look at the circuit prior to lining up on the grid. During this time Trintignant discovered that his clutch would not free. Sante could not get his Cooper to start and Munaron was keeping his lingers crossed as his Giulietta engine had been bodged up with standard Alfa parts. With Trintignant having no clutch he could not take his place in the front row so he went to the back of the grid and the start was reshuffled as follows, and became rather chaotic :
In the reshuffling, under the guidance (or hindrance) of Raymond Roche, Bonnier craftily bettered his position by getting himself placed behind Brabham. It was now past 2.30 p.m., the scheduled time for starting, and Roche began to shout and scream. especially when he saw Clark’s Lotus on the front row sitting unattended, With not even a mechanic looking after it. The driver was busy looking for his gloves and goggles and things in the pits. By now most of the engines were running; except Trintignant’s, and as Clark came running to his car Roche prepared to give the start. Indicating 5 sec. with his left hand he immediately waved his flag in a vague manner and scuttled out of the way, for the race was on. Brabham’s eyes had never left fat Mr. Roche and he was first away, with Bonnier right behind, for the Swede had never taken his eyes off Brabham. As the cars started Clark was still pulling on his gloves and he let in his clutch and once he had got both hands free he out-accelerated Brabhani to the first corner, the Lotus being 50 kilogrammes lighter than the Cooper, making this a simple thing to do. At the back of the field Munaron stalled his engine and it refused to restart, and Trintignant hiccoughed away in 1st gear, driving the car on the starter motor until it fired; as it gathered speed he threw his cigarette away, pulled his goggles down and set about catching up the other runners. Munaron was wheeled to the pits and eventually got away only to expire after the first corner.
At the end of lap one, the order was Clark, Brabham, Bonnier, Bianchi, Bandini, Lewis, Cabral and the rest, with Burgess already a long way behind in the blue and white Lotus. On the next lap Clark had recorded fastest time and he, Brabham and Bonnier had already drawn away from the rest. Bianchi was on his own and then came a struggling mass comprising Banditti, Lewis, Schlesser, Cabral, Gendebien and Taylor, and on lap three Lewis got away from this bunch and went after Bianchi, closing with him on lap five and getting by on lap seven. Meanwhile Clark and Brabham had left Bonnier, but the Cooper was making no impression on the leading works Lotus. On lap seven Clark appeared way out on his own with no sign of Brabham, then Bonnier passed in second place, followed by Lewis, Bianchi and Cabral, who had got away from the mid-field bunch, and still no sign of Brabham. Trintignant was now up in mid-field and then the World Champion came coasting into the pits with a silent engine. After Some minutes he set off again to do one slow lap, popping and banging with low fuel level in the carburetters and then stopped again. The fuel pump spindle on the end of the camshaft had sheared so that was that and Brabham became a spectator.
On lap five Clark had set a new lap record of 1 min. 34.1 sec. but with Brabham out he could now relax and was lapping in 1 min. 36.0 sec., comfortably ahead of Bonnier. It was naturally a great disappointment that the race was virtually over before it had begun, as Bonnier had no hope of catching Clark and it seemed unlikely that the young Scot would do anything silly. By 10 laps he had a lead of 19 sec. over Bonnier, 35 sec. over Lewis and 42 sec. over Bianchi and had already lapped Eden, who had spun, and Seidel. There was still a heated battle going on in mid-field between Bandini, Taylor, Gendebien, Trintignant and Schlesser, with Monsieur Le Maire still doing all his gear-changing without a clutch, which says a lot for the Colotti gearbox. On the next lap Burgess stopped at his pit, having trouble with his gear selection, and two laps later Seidel was in having been black-flagged as he was losing oil. The sun was now very hot and as the engines got thoroughly warm both Clark and Bonnier suffered from misfiring, the popping and banging sounding awful but not slowing them up at all. Schlesser had a misfire due to a water leak wetting the ignition system and he dropped right to the back of the field after a pit stop. By 15 laps Trintignant had shaken off Taylor and Gendebien and was now forcing to get by Bandini, but the young Italian did not realise he was in the way of the Frenchman. For lap after lap he stayed in front, unconsciously going faster and faster, so that the two of them caught up Cabral and Trintignant was then being baulked by both Centro-Sud cars and this caused some dents to appear on the nose of the blue Cooper! Among the rest of the field little was happening and Clark was way out in front ticking off the laps with regularity. On lap 22 Trintignant got by the two Cooper-Maseratis and on the next lap had left them so far behind that their drivers must have realised they had been holding up the little Frenchman. He was now in fifth position and gaining a whole second a lap on Bianchi, who was still lying fourth with the yellow and black Emeryson.
With no opposition Clark was having a boring time and the race was over too laps and only 25 had been covered, so it had hardly begun. However, with 14 corners to a lap and slower cars continually to be overtaken he could not relax his concentration even though he was now over 30 sec. ahead of Bonnier. Burgess stopped once more, this time for good with a gearbox hill of neutral gears, and Schlesser was going again but still misfiring. Gendebien was still only just leading Trevor Taylor and Clark was now about to lap them both, which he did on lap 27, and two laps later he lapped the two Centro-Sud ears that were running fairly close. Whether Gendebien and Taylor were inspired by being lapped by Clark was not clear, but these two caught the Centro-Sud cars and after a lap or two both got by and then Taylor got past the Belgian Emeryson and at the same moment Trintignant’s engine gave trouble before he could catch Bianchi and he stopped at the pits, so the order became Clark, Bonnier, Lewis, Bianchi, Taylor, Gendebien, Cabral, and Banditti, while some way behind come Eden and a long way behind came Seidel and Schlesser. This was on lap 34 and on the next lap Lewis showed signs of slowing and Bianchi looked like getting the Emeryson into third place, but on lap 16 he overdid things in the narrow downhill section and clouted a wall, wrecking the rear of the chassis. While this was happening Gendebien re-passed Trevor Taylor so that an Emeryson was back in fourth place, but only for two laps for Gendebien got his foot mixed up in the pedals and he top hit a solid wall and retired, so now Taylor was fourth. Lewis was in dire trouble with petrol fumes in the cockpit coming from a split in the neck of his near-side tank, and was getting very dizzy and slowing visibly, so Clark soon lapped him and he made no attempt to hang on. There was now every possibility of Taylor catching Lewis. But on lap 42 the Lotus came to rest at the station with broken transmission so it was the two Centro-Sud cars that began to catch the Cooper with the ailing driver, and Bandini was leading the Portuguese.
By half distance, which was 50 laps, Clark had 51 sec. lead over Bonnier, and only these two were on the same lap, the leading Lotus circulating in 1 min. 36 sec. with the white one losing a little less than a second a lap. Lewis was now driving down the straight with one hand, trying to scoop fresh air into the cockpit with the other, and he was slowing so much that Bonnier lapped him and Bandini and Cabral sailed by on lap 59. Many laps behind Eden was running a lonely race and still further back Trintignant finally gave up and Schlesser was still going but suffering misfiring due to water getting in the wrong places.
With over a minute lead Clark experimented in changing over from his main tank to his reserve tank and for a time the Lotus popped and banged with fuel starvation and he was horrified to see petrol and bubbles of air going the wrong way along the plastic fuel lines in the cockpit. Eventually it sorted itself out and the engine ran crisply again. With 15 laps to go Clark was nearly a lap in front of Bonnier and his regular pace would have allowed him to lap the Swedish driver, but he in his turn was lapping the two Italian Coopers and seeing a lot of traffic ahead Clark eased back and decided not to lap Bonnier. He had also seen air bubbles going along the fuel lines from the reserve tank, indicating a low level, and realised he might run out before the end of the race if he used too much full throttle, so he was content to sit behind Bonnier and Bandini, though he did lap Cabral a further time. With Clark using sense and restraint the race ran its length with the Scotsman an unchallenged winner and Bonnier in an equally unchallenged second place, the Centro-Sud team being delighted at achieving third and fourth places in this long and hot race.
XXI GRAND PRIX DE PAU—Formula One— 100 Laps
276 Kilometres—Very Hot
1st : J. Clark (Lotus-Climax) . . 2hr. 42min. 00.3sec — 102.219 k.p.h.
2nd : J. Bonnier (Lotus-Climax) . . 2hr. 43min. 31.1sec.
3rd : L. Bandini (Cooper-Maserati) . . . . . . 2 laps behind
4th : M. Cabral (Cooper-Maserati) . . . . . . 3 laps behind
5th: J. Lewis (Cooper-Climax) . . . . . . 4 laps behind
6th: G. Eden (Cooper-Climax) . . . . . . 8 laps behind
7th: J. Schlesser (Cooper-Climax) . . . . . . 23 laps behind
Fastest lap : J. Clark (Lotus-Climax), on lap 5, in 1 min. 34.1 sec.—
105.589 k.p.h. (new record).
Retired : G. Munaron (Cooper-Alfa), lap 1 ; A. Wicky (Cooper-Climax), lap 4; J. Brabham (Cooper-Climax), lap 10; I. Burgess (Lotus-Climax), lap 26; L. Bianchi (Emeryson-Maserati), lap 36; O. Gendebien (Emeryson-Climax), lap 38; W. Seidel (Lotus-Climax). lap 41; T. Taylor (Lotus-Climax), lap 42; M. Trinignant (Cooper-Climax), lap 62.
16 started — 7 finished.
• • •
NOTES ON THE CARS AT PAU
World Champion Jack Brabham entered as a private-owner using a 1961 production Formula One Cooper-Climax, it being the first of the 1960 works replicas which are now for sale to customers. This car was the one he used in South Africa and, like that of Jack Lewis, was identical to last year’s 2 1/2-litre cars, but now fitted with a 1 1/2-litre Coventry-Climax engine of the type used in Formula Two last year. These two cars had the ultra-low chassis frame, independent suspension to all four wheels by double-wishbones and coil-springs, anti-roll bars back and front, the rear one passing through the upper rear chassis cross-tube. The rear-mounted Climax engine, carburetted by Weber 45DCOE instruments, was attached to the large but robust Cooper 5-speed gearbox. Being 1961 models these cars should have been fitted with the new short-stroke 4-cylinder Coventry-Climax engine; but delivery of these Mk. II engines is behind schedule and, in fact, all the Climax-engined cars were using last year’s power units.
Of the other Cooper’s taking part in the race Trintignant was using the ex-Walker car, with Colotti 5-speed gearbox, that he used last year, and Schlesser, Sante, Eden and Wicky were all using old F.2 Cooper-Climax models, the Swiss driver Wicky even having S.U. carburetters on his engine. Being a F.1 race all the cars had to have starter motors and on the climax engine this is easily accommodated by fitting the sports-car type of mating plate between engine and clutch housing, this having a flange on which to bolt a starter, a small 12-volt battery being carried alongside the engine. The Scuderia Centro-Sud entered their two Cooper-Maseratis from last year, both with 1 1/2-litre engines, of course, but one car had been extensively modified about the rear suspension, having double-wishbones and coil-springs very much like those used by Ferrari last year. This lowered the back end considerably, and the 1961 type 4-cylinder Maserati engine was fitted with a Colotti 5-speed gearbox. Their other car retained the old type Cooper suspension with double-wishbones and transverse leaf-spring and the Cooper 4-speed gearbox, but with internals made in Modena. The Maserati engine in this car was an earlier type, like the 2-litre sports engine, with the carburetters on the right and the exhaust on the left, the inverse of the latest 1 1/2-litre engines. There was another Cooper-based car from Italy, built by Virgilio Conrero, the Giulietta specialist in Turin, this being an old Cooper F.1 chassis with double-wishbones and transverse leaf-spring rear suspension to which had been fitted Borani wire wheels on the back, with splined hubs. Into this chassis Comoro had hued an Alfa Romeo Giulietta engine and Colotti 5-speed gearbox, the engine being enlarged to ‘-litres with a bore and stroke of 79 x 75 mm., giving 1,469 c.c. A new body had been built that was a cross between a Lotus and the experimental Porsche that appeared last year and a Conrero badge graced the front.
Colin Chapman entered two Team Lotus cars, these being last year’s works cars fitted with starters, batteries and crash bars to make them conform to the new F.1 regulations. Both cars were well used, being numbers 371 and 374, which were used all last season as works team cars, and they had Mk. I Coventry-Climax engines, like the Coopers, and Lotus 5-speed gearboxes. They had compact Varley 12-volt batteries of the dry-cell type lying on their sides on the cockpit floor under the driver’s knees. There were also three standard production rear-engined Lotus ears to the 1960 pattern.
Last but by no means least were the only truly new F.1 cars, the two Emerysons of the Equipe National Beige. Although the prototype car appeared towards the end of last season, these two were brand new cars making their first racing appearance. The chassis frame is a very light tubular structure built from small-diameter straight tubes, the front suspension is the new classic double-wishbone and coil-spring layout and the rear spension owes much to Lotus design, being fully independent with the drive shafts forming one of the suspension members, lower wishbones and long radius-arms controlling the wheel movement and coil-spring/shock-absorber units suspending the car. Into these chassis and mounted behind the driver the E.N.B. have had fitted the latest 4-cylinder 81 x 72 mm. Maserati engines of litres, and Colotti 5-speed gearboxes. The Maserati engine has two double-choke Weber carburetters mounted on the left in a semi-downdraught position and the four-branch exhaust system is tucked away down the right-hand side with the tail-pipe mounted low down. Ignition is by coil with a distributor on the rear of the inlet camshaft feeding the eight sparking plugs and a small dynamo is mounted on the left side of the engine, driven from the gear-train at the front; the engine running to 8,400 r.p.m. Fuel is carried in fibreglass tanks, one on each side of the cockpit, and the bodywork is also of fibreglass, having a very low and flat nose. Normally the nose cowling is long and tapered but for Pau, and Monaco, shorter and more squat nose cowlings are used.
To sum up the entry for this first Grand Prix under the new Formula One, it was not outstanding, there being nothing that was essentially new, there were no new Coventry-Climax engines, the Maserati engines were developments from 1960 and there were no new gearboxes or suspensions. It was perhaps significant that five of the cars were using Colotti 5-speed gearboxes, all the Lotus cars are 5-speed models and the two production 1961 Coopers have 5-speed gearboxes. With the latest Maserati engines running to 8,400 r.p.m., the new 4-cylinder Climax going over 8,000 r.p.m. when it arrives, and the 120° Ferrari V6 running to 9,500 r.p.m., the gearbox is going to be an even more vital part of a Grand Prix car than ever before and 5-speeds are going to be essential. With a weight limit of a minimum of 450 kilogrammes, or 990 lb., all the cars were weighed at the scrutineering and the results were most enlightening. The production Lotus-Climax cars weighed exactly 450 kilogrammes, the 1961 production Cooper-Climax of Jack Lewis weighed 517 kilogrammes and Brabham’s car weighed 500 kilogrammes. Last year’s Formula Two Cooper-Climax cars weighed 480 kilogrammes, one of the Emeryson-Maseratis weighed 40 kilogrammes and the other weighed 499 kilogrammes. The Conrero weighed 494 kilogrammes and the heaviest car was the Centro-Sud Cooper-Maserati of the old type which scaled 520 kilogrammes, their modified car weighing 485 kilogrammes. Seemingly unable, or unwilling, to conform to the simplest regulations, Colin Chapman presented his two works cars for weighing with some fuel in the tanks, so that they recorded false weights as the regulations insist on cars carrying all water, all oil, but no petrol. The Lotuses of Burgess and Bonnier were to regulations and weighed 450 kilogrammes exactly, so it is safe to assume that the Team Lotus cars were at least the same as they were identical plus having an additional fuel tank in the cockpit.
Bearing in mind that all these cars were nothing more or less than modified F.2 cars from last year, all with mediocre engines giving around 150 b.h.p., it is unlikely that a new F.1 car with a 200-b.h.p. engine will approach the 450 kilogramme limit and the F.I.A. original weight limit of 500 kilogrammes was not a bad estimation. To appease the ruffled English manufacturers this limit was reduced to 450 kilogrammes, but it seems to be only of interest to Lotus, to other manufacturers it is of purely academic interest.—D. S. J.