OW that the Grand Prix season has begun it is worth casting a look at who is driving what, so that the alarums and excursions of the winter can be ignored. Taking Ferrari first, as they won the first RI race, we see that the Grand I rix team will be Phil Hill, Giancarlo Baghetti and Lorenzo Bandini, and they will use two versions of the II-litre V6 Ferrari car. The first is a development of last year’s 65-degree car and is described in the Bruxelles race report, this being in the nature of a second-string. The second is the 1962 version of the tzo-degree-engined Car that went so well last year. This new engine now has four valves per cylinder, presumably in a pent-roof head, and the 6–speed gearbox is now between the engine and the final-drive unit, instead of out the back; although the flywheel, starter ring and clutch assembly is still behind the final drive. The chassis and suspension have been improved as on the 65-degree car, and the general body shape remains unaltered. In addition to the three drivers mentioned, Willy Mairesse is in the team as chief test driver, spare Grand Prix driver and sports-car and G.T. driver, so he can be assured of a busy year, while Olivier Gendebien, Ricardo Rodriguez and Michael Parkes are lined up for long-distance races needing reserve drivers. The B.R.M. team consists of Graham Hill and Ritchie Ginther and they have the 1962 B.R.M. V8 cars for Grand l’rix racing, these also being described elsewhere in this issue. No doubt Clincher will do a lot of the test-driving of the B.R.M.s, though his first such outing ended in disaster for the car caught fire and Was badly damaged, he Suffering from severe burns. These two official works B.R.M. runners will be aided by Jack Lewis and Tony Marsh with private V8 B.R.M.s, these being 196c cars brought up to date. Among the many people who have V8 B.R.M. engines on order are R. R. C. Walker, for Moss to use, and U.D:T.-Laystall to put in new Lotus chassis frames. The Lola cars sponsored by Bowmaker-Yeoman will also have V8 engines, probably Coventry-Climax, and Surtees should be able to make good use of this promising newcomer. The 1962 works Lotus appeared at Bruxelles and looked almost
too smooth to be true, but like all the British small manufacturers “. the eventual outcome will depend on the enginebuilding firms. In spite of much ballyhoo about light weight, good torque and so on, I think the true race-winning answer still lies in sheer b.h.p. and reliable power at that, so that British racing is really going to be done. by Coventry-Climax and B.R.M., with Cooper, Lotus, Lola and Brabham tagging along.
In Germany the flat-8 Porsche Grand Prix car has at last been out on test, and it looks remarkably small and compact, so that we can reckon on seeing it at Zandvoort, with Bonnier and Gurney making good use of it. The fact that the Porsche factory have disposed of some of their old 4-cylinder cars rather indicates that the flat-8 is approaching raceworthiness.
Italian racing circles are as busy as ever, with the Colotti firm ot G.S.D. churning out gearboxes for the English as fast as they can, and what was the Scuderia Serenissima now being the Scuderia SSS Republica di Venezia, still run by Nello Ugolini for Count Volpi. In Bologna a new organisation has started, called A.T.S. Serenissima, which is designing and building a Grand I’rix car and a G.’1′. car, and while it is nothing to do with the Scuderia Venezia at present, when the job is done, ready for next year, it will combine with Volpi’s Scuderia to form one company. Chief engineer and designer of the A.T.S. Serenissima is 111g. Chiti, who left Ferrari last winter, and with him is Romolo Tavoni, who also left Maranello. A number of rich gentlemen, including VOlpi, are financing this project, of which nothing can be expected until the end of the year. Other long-term projects which may appear this year. next year, sometime, or never, are the transverse straight-8 .air-cooled Ferrari/( ilera engine which is being schemed Up by those two firms, and the VS 1-londa car from Japan. That the Honda company has staggered the motorcycle world is now history, but it took them three concentrated years, so, assuming Honda enter Grand Prix racing in 1963, we shall not feel the full force of their impact until 1966, unless the 4-wheeled European opposition is less strong than the 2-wheeled. With the 1I-litre Formula only one year old things are already getting very interesting in the engine world, with B.R.M., CM:entry-Climax, Ferrari and Porsche on this year’s starting grids, and it already seems as though the Formula will be having
a prolongation of a further two years on top of the allotted threeyear span. Just think what the Grand Prix engines will be like at the end of 1965, which is not so far ahead. The year r958 saw the end of the front-cngined Grand Prix car era, and that is already more than three years ago.
At Bruxelles there was a mild furore over the disqualification of the two B.R.M. cars that were push-started. Early last year this was permissible, hut by mid-season there had been a nasty accident at Monza due to someone pushing his car on the circuit, and the F.I.A. passed a new rule almost immediately that Made any form of pushing on the circuits strictly forbidden. This applied to starting engines on the grid, starting on the start line, restarting out on the circuit, or pushing a disabled car to the finish. The only permissible pushing was in order to remove a disabled car from the path of others, or starting in the paddock: The trouble at Bruxelles was that the organisers printed an English version of last year’s regulations and a French version of this year’s regulations, and even now, in 1962, there are people who can’t or won’t read French. Since racing began International rules have been written in French and no translation is valid, the F.I.A. invariably writing large that the French version of any rules shall be final. Any team manager who takes serious notice of an English translation of regulations does not deserve to keep his job. The French text in the Bruxellesregulations has this statement, ” Dc toute facon le moteur devra toujoura etre mis en marche par les moyens de bord,” and nothing can be clearer than that.
The B.R.M. fault, and it applies to most English teams, is that they are reluctant to use the starter motor at all times, such as in the garage, paddock or pits in practice. The battery and electric starter are still regarded with suspicion, and rightly so in some cases, and used merely to comply with the regulations. While the English cars are push-started from the pits in practice, the Ferraris are invariably started on the button, as they were long befor,, starters were made compulsory.
Before starters had to be carried on the Car the Italians, and Germans. had portable starters and battery trolleys and these were used continually throughout practice it being obvious that a means of starting the engine without Pushing bad been designed into the car from the stmt.. At one time this took the form of a shaft stuck through the radiator on to a dog on the crankshaft, this being turned by a portable starter,. and later this was stuck up the rear end Of the Verraris,on to an extension of the prop.-shaft, where the drive entered the bevel drive to the gearbox. During 1955-59 there were occasions when local rules insisted that engines be started by mechanical means on the starting grid. ‘this was simple for the Italians. but the English teams were always in trouble, none of the cars having been designed for attaching a portable starter, and many Of the engines were had starters anyway so that the Whole affair wait ttaught with anguish. This mistrust of self-starting seems to be still with us, which is Silly, for only by continual use can such it system be made lOolproof. ‘I he search for light weight has been overdone at rinses, with sizes of battery and electric motor being Skimped to save a few pounds weight, oddly enough at very great cost of pounds sterling. Ferrari is not faultless in this question, for last year Phil Hill threw away the French Grand Prix because he could not restart his engine at Thillois after he had spun, presumably because the battery could not turn the hot engine last enough. Ile restarted by pushing the car, in violation of the F.I.A. roles, but luckily he was not placed so no protest was put in.
Personally I think this business of .starter motors is stupid and it is a rule I would like to see thrown out, but il it is with 1,M theta we OlOilhl 110t CiOdge the Issue but face up to the fact and use the starter at all times. It is high time .somepne designed another means of self-starting an engine, without the met! for starter motors anal batteries.
The I.e Mans 24-Hour Itace being. the longest and requiring the most Preparation, the A.C. de l’Ouest provide a testing weekend, this having taken place on April 7th/Silt. It allowed competitors a chance of trying out new cars, drivers to learn the circuit, and for the organisation to have a practice run. This year’s test weekend was wet and windy and provided little useful information, except perhaps that the new VS Ferrari sports car needs waterproofing in its ignition system. This blood-and-thunder rear-engined 21-litre sports car is pure Formula One as regards chassis and final-drive, and the 5.8 engine is remarkably compact, having single oh. camshafts on each bank of cylinders. This is Ferrari’s lirst attempt at building a VS engine, if one discounts the Lancia ‘engines he developed in the Lancia-Ferraris. When Sting on all eight cylinders it sounded terrific and should liven up the 24-hnur race, that waS going to be for G.T. Cars Only. • • •
Finally, in this issue of May, it is worth recommending a trip to flolland tor the Dutch G.P. On May 2oth, for it looks like .being a terrific race. Another weekend trip for those who cannot travel far from England’s Green and Pleasant I.and, will be to [(Mien on July 5th for the French Cl’., Where high-speed driving at its best can be seen from the public enclosures better than anyvvhere else.—D. S. I.