Two new Formula One cars

At the Race of Champions two new Formula One designs appeared for the first time, apart from the revolutionary Lotus Turbine car described elsewhere, one winning the race and the other making fastest lap. These were the 1971 Ferrari and the 1971 Brabham, the Italian car being an updated version of the 1970 car and the Australian car being a new conception and use of tried components.

The Ferrari 312B/2 was taken to Kyalami and Regazzoni crashed it before it could be used in the South African GP, but it was described in detail in the April Motor Sport on page 309. One interesting detail that was omitted was that the rear aerofoil is in two halves, on each side of the central mounting, so that the angle of incidence for each side can be adjusted independently. However, the central mounting means that the ends of the aerofoil can droop at high speed and high air pressures, in contrast to an aerofoil mounted on two pillars, one at each end of the aerofoil. The theory of the two-part wing is that adjustments can be made to compromise for certain corners. This idea was tried by Nissan on a sports/prototype some years ago, and by Porsche in their first experiments with a hill-climb car. This new Ferrari, designated 312B/2-5 is the fifth flat-12 car to be built, and after the accident at Kyalami the front end was rebuilt and the car raced and won at Brands Hatch.

The new Brabham, known as the BT34, is a new design from Ron Tauranac, built around a Cosworth V8-Hewland gearbox power-pack. It has a monocoque chassis, conventional front suspension with outboard spring units and a rear end like last year’s BT33, the engine forming the rear half of the chassis. Whereas some designers have slavishly copied the Lotus 72 side-radiator mountings (and Lotus copied Alfa-Romeo and Alpine sports cars!), Tauranac has gone out of his way to be different as regards radiator, splitting it into two units mounted on outriggers off the front of the chassis and forming, in effect, the “canard” nose fins of previous Brabham cars (see photo in the Race of Champions report).

Between the radiators is an aerofoil so that this new Brabham has a very large down-thrust area across the front. The hot air from the radiators exits into the area of the front spring units, which the designer points out is disturbed air anyway. Having watched designers ducting cold air onto brakes and spring units, it seems odd that Tauranac should duct hot air onto his. Last year’s rocker-arm inboard suspension units would have seemed more reasonable with this new radiator layout. However, the car went well in its first race and recorded the fastest lap of the race at 1 min. 26.7 secs, not as fast as the record of 1 min. 25.8 secs. set up by a Brabham BT33 in 1970, nor as fast as the best practice lap of 1971 which was 1 min. 24.6 secs. set up by a 1970 Tyrrell-Cosworth.—D. S. J.