GRAND PRIX OF BRUXELLES
BRUXELLES, April 1st
THE third Grand Prix of 13ruxelles on the 4.552 kilometre circuit of Heysel, north of the Belgian capital and near the Atomium, opened the European season of Formula One racing, Siracuse having been cancelled. The circuit itself was unchanged from last year but the start and finish, pits, grandstand and timekeepers were all moved to the top of the hill on the fast downhill straight that used to form the back leg of the circuit, so that now cars went by the pits on full song and stayed on it until they were out of sight. As in previous years the event was run in Heats, there being three, each of 22 laps, the finishing order in Heat r deciding the starting order in Heat a and so on; final results being by adding the places gained in each heat, the lowest total providing the winner.
A good entry was received, zr cars being accepted, of which 12 were invited with definite entries and of the remaining nine the fastest seven in practice would qualify for the start, the grid being limited to 19 cars. The entry was as table below.
The invited drivers were Moss, Ireland, Surtees, Salvadori, Clark, Taylor, Hill, Marsh, Bonnier and the three Belgians, Pitette, Bianchi and Mairesse. Moss had to use the old Lotus from last year as his new one had not yet returned from Australia, Lola were still awaiting their first VS Coventry-Climax engine, so Surtees had to use the prototype Lola with 4-cylinder Climax engine, and Salvadori the experimental 1961 Cooper with Junior chassis. Team Lotus had only one V8 Coventry-Climax, installed in a brand new chassis, which Clark drove. This new car is surely the sleekest and neatest Lotus yet built, the only clue to the V8 packed tightly in behind the driver being the head-fairing covering the four double-choke Weber 38 IDF carburetters and the two tail pipes sticking out of the end of the car. Although basically of the same layout as the 1961 team cars, this new one has undergone a complete redesign, nothing being inter-changeable. The front suspension still has the coil-spring units inboard, but new and stronger king-posts are used, with large diameter tubular stub axles, and the foreward mounted track rod has been raised and mounted on stronger steering arms. The rear suspension is still by lower wishbone and radius rods, and upper transverse arm and radius rod, while the drive shafts have rubber inboard universal joints, the gearbox being as last year. The wheelbase has been increased by one inch, to 7 ft. 6 in. Taylor drove the second Team Lotus entry, which was a V8 type chassis frame, with 4-cylinder Coventry-Climax engine and Colotti gearbox, but with 1961 suspension all round. This special car has been built for the Swiss driver Siffert, who was due to take delivery after the race!
The lone Ferrari entry was a 1962 car, with 65-degree V6 engine and 6-speed gearbox. This is basically the same layout as in 1961 but the rear double-wishbone suspension has a transverse articulated strut midway between each pair of wishbones, to prevent wishbone flexing causing rearwheel steering. A new oil tank is fitted in the nose of the car, it having air cooling tubes passing through it like a Bugatti sump, while an 18-volt battery is mounted just behind it. Rear brakes are still mounted inboard and have Perspex airscoops on the tail, and shorter exhaust pipes are used this year. The engine is 67 x 70 mm. bore and stroke, and 190 b.h.p. is claimed at 9,500 r.p.m. B.R.M. had intended to enter two cars, for Hill and Ginther,
but the little American was still in hospital after a fire during some testing of the new V8 car, so the second entry was given to Marsh with his privately-owned V8 I3.R.M. The works car was one of the long slim ones that appeared briefly at Monza last year, a lot of development work having gone into the engine and 194 b.h.p. is spoken of. Lucas low-pressure port-type fuel-injection is still used, with sliding plate throttles, and short stub exhausts are fitted to each cylinder; these curve sharply upwards from the cylinder heads and end in small megaphones. With the bonnet off the new B.R.M. is one mass of upward facing holes, eight for the injection and eight more for the exhausts. The Marsh car is a 1961 chassis that has been MR behind the driving seat and a complete 1962 rear end welded on to take the V8 engine. It uses Weber double-choke 35 IDM carburetters and similar exhaust pipes to the works car with the exception of the megaphones. On the Marsh car the engine is mounted in Silentbloc bushes, while the factory car has the engine mounted solidly to the frame. The works car uses magnesium alloy wheels, which are lighter than the duralamin ones used last year. Both V8 B.R.M. engines and both V8 Coventry-Climax engines were using Lucas transistor ignition with gap and timing on the flywheel, which does away with makeand-break mechanisms ; all use one plug per cylinder, as against the Ferrari which continues to use two sparking plugs per cylinder.
Of the other entries Bonnier was on loan from the works Porsche team as there were no official cars from Stuttgart, the Scuderia SSS Repubblica di Venezia having bought a Porsche. This team is the same as the Scuderia Serenissima of last year, it still being owned by Count Volpi and run by Nello Ugolini. With Team Lotus using his new Formula One car the Swiss driver Siffert was loaned a special i,5oo-c.c. Ford engine by Chapman to put in his Junior chassis. This engine uses ro5E Junior type bore, with a Classic crankshaft and was Cosworth tuned, with two double-choke Weber carburetters.
Practice began a bit later than scheduled on Friday afternoon in pouring rain, and continued in pouring rain for nearly two hours. Conditions were so terrible that no fast times were possible, nor could much be done in the way of preparation of the cars as regards carburation and gear ratios. As the cars went by the pits in a cloud of spray one pitied the poor professional drivers whose team managers expected them to go out in such weather, whereas the private owner could please himself. Moss was his usual happy self in the wet, as was Tony Marsh, and they were easily fastest, Marsh doing a great number of laps in his new B.R.M. V8. The Gilby-Climax had hardly started before water got in the electrics and stranded Keith Greene out on the circuit, while Clark’s V8 Climax in the new Lotus refused to start and never left the garage, something having gone amiss in the ignition department. Mairesse was out in the works Ferrari, finding conditions very slippery and spinning merrily on the glass-like surface, while Graham Hill spent a lot of time sideways on as the power of the B.R.M. V13 came on with a bang. On Saturday the weather showed signs of improving and remained fine until the official car finished its road-closing lap, and then down came the rain again. In the hope of getting in a quick lap on dry roads nearly everyone was at the gate of the pits waiting to go, but the weather beat them by about i minute. Barely half an hour after splashing along in the rain the Frenchman Collomb spun off the road in his Cooper, escaping with slight
injuries, but the car caught fire and burnt out. This held practice up for a tim.t, but nobody was worried in view of the awful conditions. Towards the end of the afternoon the rain stopped and a high wind dried the roads quickly so that the tempo increased rapidly and activity became more furious as the afternoon drew to a close. Bonnier was going quickly in the Venezia Porsche, it looking unusual in a coat of red paint, and Clark was going very fast in the sleek V8 Lotus-Climax, but was having trouble with the gear-change. With engines now peaking at close on to,000 r.p.m. drivers were having to get accustomed to keeping the revs well above a figure that used to be maximum on the old 4-cylinder engines; in addition there was the hazard of a missed gear-change sending the revs to unbelievable heights, both B.R.M. V8 engines had been to around 12,000 r.p.m. in moments of stress, and Mairesse came in at one point with the indicator needle on the Ferrari rev-counter looking as though it had not started to go round the dial, whereas it had actually gone all the way round, and the markings finished at 12,000 r.p.m. The Ferrari mechanic’s face was a study when he saw it, and he quickly covered it over with a piece of rag! The gear-change trouble on the Lotus caused Clark to miss a gear and his V8 also went well up into double figures, but in spite of this he managed to record fastest practice lap but the track was still damp in places so he could not approach the old lap record of 2 min. 02.6 sec. set up by Surtees last year. Moss and Hill were only fractionally slower, the old Walker Lotus not being the best of cars on handling, but the V8 engine was going splendidly and Moss was making full use of it. Graham Hill was still wearing a steel corset after straining his back on the way to Sebring, and was still learning how to drive the new B.R.M., not having done any pre-race testing. The little Lotus-Junior with 14-litre Ford pushrod engine was going absurdly fast and Suffers was thoroughly enjoying himself, keeping up with Coopers and passing Porsches, and getting 8,20o r.p.m. in top gear, which caused Chapman to hurriedly look around for some large wheels to put on the back, as 7,000 r.p.m. was the top limit put on the engine by Cosworth.
Everyone’s best practice lap is given in the accompanying starting grid for the first Heat.
Sunday was fine, but with a high crosswind that was bitter and penetrating, and just before 3 p.m. everyone set off on a lap of inspection before lining up on the grid. All, that is, except poor Vaccarella who was slowest of the non-invited drivers, even though he was faster than Pilette and Bianchi.
Although the weather was fine the track was not completely dry, there still being wet patches, but conditions were improving, and the start was good, with the first two rows full of new cars and engines, the V8s and Ferrari V6 all making such splendid noises that the 4-cylinders were completely overshadowed. Down the hill they all rushed, under the Autoroute and back up the short straight to the left-hander leading through a group of houses. Moss was in the lead and as he braked the front wheels locked-on and he slid straight on up the escape road. The rest of the field streamed round the corner with many a driver having a happy smile on his face at the sight of Moss struggling to turn round and rejoin the race. The smile went off Clark’s face for his V8 Coven
try-Climax engine started making ” phutting ” noises in his car and he pulled into the pits at the end of the opening lap with something amiss in the valve gear department. All this excitement left the two B.R.M.s of Hill and Marsh comfortably in the lead, followed by Gregory, Mairesse and Surtecs. Gregory was soon elbowed back out of the way and Surtees was the only one who could keep pace with the two B.R.M.s and the Ferrari. On lap four Mairesse displaced Marsh from second place, but could make no impression on Graham Hill who was out in front. However, the important thing was the progress of Moss, who had come by in. last place on lap one, and was now going as only Moss can when put in a difficult situation. To be racing as best you can and yet to have Moss go by as though you are not trying must be depressing. In fourteen of the twenty-two laps of Heat s there were a lot of depressed drivers, for Moss went through the field as if everyone had given up. On lap 15 he was in 2nd place, but the B.R.M. pit was keeping Hill advised of the situation and though the V8 Lotus got within 4 seconds of the B.R.M. that was the best it could manage, and Hill speeded up and kept Moss at bay. To the casual eye there was no one else in the race, but in fact Surtees was doing a terrific job with the prototype Lola-Climax 4-cylinder, hanging on to Marsh in his V8 B.R.M., while further back the two U.1).T.-Laystall cars of Ireland and Gregory were having a grand scrap with Bonnier in the red Porsche. Ireland led this group and. then Gregory went by and on lap 17 the two light green cars were nose-to-tail, but then Gregory subsided on the side of the road with a broken front wishbone and Bonnier got back in front of Ireland. Further back Campbell-Jones was going well in his Emeryson-Climax, but Greene in the Gilby-Climax was pressing him all the time, and right at the back of the field Siffert was making. Seidel and Schiller wish they had not spent so much money on ex-works Porsches, the cheeky little Cosworth-Ford Lotus still’ going fast in spite of enormous Formula One back wheels.
Graham Hill was flagged home the winner of Heat 1, the B.R.M. going splendidly and needing no attention in the 20-minute interval before Heat 2. Moss was worried as his engine had been losing power towards the end of the first Heat, being reluctant to go over 7,000 r.p.m., whereas it had started off at well over 8,000 r.p.m. His mechanics rapidly raised the final drive ratio in the hope of saving the engine. Ireland’s car was in trouble with its gear-change, as was Trevor Taylor, the latter having made a long. pit stop in Heat s which had put him to last place, and Surtees had broken bottom gear on the Colotti box of his Lola. At 4.18 p.m. the cars were on the grid once more, lined up in. the order of finishing the first Heat, so that the front row was. Hill (B.R.M.), Moss (Lotus) and Mairesse (Ferrari). As the 2minute signal was given and engines were started Marsh was looking worried and raised his arm to indicate that his engine would. not start. Then to everyone’s dismay Graham Hill raised his arm to show that his B.R.M. engine would not start either. There
was nothing to do except wait helplessly with silent engines amid the roar of everyOne else’s exhaust, for since last year all engines must be started on the self-starter, no pushing being allowed. Down went the flag and the back rows of the grid dodged round the two stationary B.R.M.s and mechanics ran to Hill and Marsh and push-Started them. By the F.I.A. regs. of last year this is forbidden and the black hag was out for them when they came round next time, and both cars were disqualified. This was very hard on the two drivers, but as an F.I.A. official said, ” it is a race for cars not for men, and the cars failed.” An immediate postmortem revealed that both Lucas starter motors had suffered an electrical breakdown of an identical nature during the course of the first Heat. Out on the circuit Moss was having it all his Own way, having taken the lead on the third lap, Mairesse and Surtees having beaten him away from the start. The Belgian driver tried gamely to hang on to the tail of the VS Lotus, but Moss is Moss and Mairesse is Mairesse, and on lap six the Ferrari spun wildly and finished up on the grass. Undismayed Mairesse shot back onto the track and clobbered the Lotus of Trevor Taylor who was passing, the right rear wheel ofthe Lotus breaking off just under the rim, so that rim and tyre parted company with the car, the Ferrari being unscathed and carrying on. Moss was now all on his own, for Surtees had motored quietly into the pits and retired with a blown-up engine, and this left Bonnier. Ireland and Salvadori, who were in a three-cornered dice, racing for second place, Mairesse being back in fifth place. On lap seven the engine in the Moss Lotus began to sound rough and On lap ii he came into the pits to retire, the VS Coventry-Climax snaking a ” phutphut-phut ” noise on one bank of cylinders, indicative of derangements in the valve gear or valve timing. This left Salvadori in the lead, fir he was holding off Bonnier and Ireland in a Most spirited fashion, but his glory did not last long, for Bonnier got back into the lead and then on lap 14 the second BowmakerYeoman engine blew-up. Mairesse had now caught and passed Ireland and it was just a matter of time before he caught Bonnier, which he did on lap 16 and then went on to win this second Heat. Before blowing up Moss had put in a new lap record at 2 min. 00.0 sec. — 136.560 k.p.h., which gives a good indication of the potential of the VS Climax engine when it. gets more reliability. Once again Silica sorted out the two private Porsches with his Ford-engined Lotus. The nine finishers of Heat two lined up for Heat three after another zo-minute break and were joined at the back by Trevor Taylor, whose Lotus had been fitted with another wheel and brought back to the pits. This 22-lap Heat was a mere formality and Bonnier led off, only to be passed by Mairesse on the second lap anti from then on no-one passed anyone and the laps were ticked off while everyone stood around and neatly froze to death in the icy wind. Making no mistakes this time Mairesse drove a good steady race to win the Heat and the event overall, showing that strength and reliability in a car are all important for .a success,
ful final outcome. With all the stars dropping out it was nice to see some of the private owners, who spend most of their time atthe back of the field, having a share of the spoils. Keith Greene drove a faultless race throughout, his car never missing a beat, and finished fourth overall, while Campbell-Jones was fifth with the Etneryson„ his only trouble being a refusal to start on the line in the third Heat, his mechanics wheeled the car back to the pits and made it work and he joined in the race many laps late, but by reason of a good fourth place in Heat two, he still kept his overall place.—D. S. J.
BRU XELLES BURBLES
Missing from the entry list were Brabham, with no suitable car to challenge the new V8 cars, McLaren and Maggs with no new works Coopers ready yet, and Gurney, Phil Hill, Baghetti and Band i
If the race had been a proper full-length Grand Prix the B.R.M. might well have won, for the starters had worked perfectly at the first start.
U.D.T.-Laystall can be well pleased with Ireland gaining third place overall for them in a car that they had tried to sell a short while ago, expecting their new Lotus V8s to be ready. Luckily no one wanted to buy the old 4-cylinder car.