Boxes of tricks
Thank you for the marvellously evocative shot of three Ferrari 312PBs (April 2003). It is without doubt my favourite racing car. I witnessed three years of 312P power at the Nürburgring and Spa and they were an unforgettable sight and sound.
Unfortunately, the caption that comes with your photo is wrong. The picture wasn’t taken during practice for the Osterreichring 1000Km but in the old Monza paddock. The 1972 Monza 1000Km was held on Italy’s Liberation Day which meant the race would be run on Tuesday. Very unusual.
At the end of the first lap of practice each Ferrari driver came in with the same bemused question: what’s wrong with the gear ratios? It soon transpired that fourth gear was fitted where fifth should be and fifth where fourth should be. The cause, as Schenken described it, was “a misunderstanding”.
The picture shows three Ferrari drivers — Ronnie Peterson, Arturo Merzario and Clay Regazzoni — anxiously waiting for their practice to restart, with Merzario biting his nails. Team manager Peter Schetty has a lot of explaining to do, while the mechanics are working frantically to change gear ratios on all three cars.
Race day brought lots of rain, causing Peterson to spin off during warm-up. As there wasn’t really time to repair the car Schetty went to the organisers and simply told them to postpone the start of the race — which they did! Those were the days.
I am, yours etc,
Harm Kruithof, Oosterbeek, Netherlands