ON THE NEW FORMULA TWO
WHEN 1IJE FIA ANNOUNCED THAT FORMULA JUNIOR
would finish at the end of 1963 and be replaced by two formulae, one above and one below in technical standards to the existing Formula Junior, it seemed like a sound move. It meant that there would be two reasonable stepping stones up the ladder of single-seater racing to the pinnacle of Formula One.
However, the detailed rules when announced seemed to leave something to be desired, for while Formula Three was all right, with its limit of 1,000cc of push-rod or production engine with one carburettor, thereby restricting costs and development within reasonable bounds, the Formula Two details were not so good as an intermediate step between the bottom and the top of single-seater racing.
Special racing engines with overhead camshafts were permitted and a free hand was given on chassis design and carburation, but the same capacity limit of 1000 cc as Formula Three was given. Now 1000cc is the capacity of a decent motorcycle, so as a limit for a racing car that was supposed to represent a step towards Flit did not seem enough. It would probably have not been so bad had not the FIA allowed graded Grand Prix drivers of the calibre of Clark, Hill, Surtees, Gurney and so on to take part in Formula Two races, but having done so it not only ruled out any hope of up-and-coming drivers to enjoy the fruits of race winning, but seemed a rather futile occupation for Grand Prix drivers to participate in when they could be driving Grand Prix cars. Nevertheless, Formula Two was launched, with a limit of four cylinders, 1,000cc, a minimum weight of 420 kilogrammes and no restriction on engine or gearbox design except for the use of normal petrol and the banning of superchargers. At first there did not seem to be much enthusiasm forthcoming for this new category, because in the main constructors did not know what to do about an engine. The only racing teams in Formula 0,pe who can design and build racing engines are Ferrari and BRM, and both firms made it clear that they were not interested in Formula Two. From the Continent came news that the mighty French Renault concern were willing to provide engines for French constructors, and from Italy Abarth showed interest and de Tomas° was prepared to have a go at anything; in England there was a dull pause, and though Lotus, Cooper and Brabham were prepared to build cars they had no engines. Fortunately the Cosworth Engineering concern of Mike dostin and Keith
Duckworth were hard at work on an F2 engine, and when they pronounced it ready and for sale the British manufacturers were able to press forward. While the Formula One teams of Lotus and Cooper were not to take an active part in Formula Two racing, they each had private concerns running Formula Junior teams with the parent factory’s assistance, Ron Harris operating for Team Lotus and Ken Tyrrell for Cooper, and both these chaps agreed to take over the Formula Two activities. There was only one drawback and that was that the Cosworth ohc engine was based on a Ford 120E cylinder block, which was all right for Lotus but did not suit Cooper, who were closely tied to the British Motor Corporation. This difficulty was overcome when BMC agreed to design and build twin ohc engines for Cooper, so now the air was clearing rapidly, and with two French firms well on the way with their cars and others from Italy it seemed that Formula Two could become interesting, except for the fact that it looked like being dominated by Grand Prix drivers, instead of up-and-coming Formula Junior drivers as seemed to be the original intention The first race for Formula Two cars was due to be at the International Snetterton meeting, there being a sub-division in the Formula One race for these new little cars. Such a good entry of Fl cars was received that the F2 class was dropped, which was just as well for none of them was ready, and when a similar category was formed at Goodwood for the Easter Monday meeting this had to be scrubbed because of lack of entries. It was not until the Pau race on April 5th that this new formula got under way. It is still early days to draw any definite conclusions, but at the moment it would seem to be a waste of effort having Jim Clark in a Formula
Two car when he could so well be occupied in a Formula One car, or even better in a 4.2-litre Indianapolis car. It would seem to be equally fruitless barring Graham Hill, Jack Brabham, or, as would have happened if the BMC engine had been ready, John Surtees, in these little 1,000cc ‘kiddy-cars’.
Forgetting this aspect for a moment, it is worth looking at F2 technically and as a class for the better F3 drivers to progress towards becoming Grand Prix drivers, which is presumably their aim in life. Of the can that took part in the first race in Pau, without doubt the Cosworth engine has the legs of the Renault. As Cosworth claim 116bhp and Renault 110bhp, this would seem to agree, but Abarth is daiming 119bhp, the truth of which only time will tell. With engine capacity limited to one litre, bhp/litre is a simple figure to compare, and Cosworth’s figure of 116 does not compare with the average Formula One engine’s 130 bhp/litre, but the little ones are limited to four cylinders, whereas the Grand Prix engines can use 8, 12, 16 or any number of cylinders.
Just as the Cosworth-Ford push-rod engine was very successful in Formula Junior days, with occasional interference from Ford-Holbay and BMC push-rod engines, it would seem that Cosworth have already got a good start with their Type SCA unit, though the twin-cam BMC engine should prove interesting as long as it does not follow in the footsteps of the BMC twin-cam MG engine.
The Renault engines used in French cars are direct descendants from the engines used in Alpine and Rene Bonnet GT cars at Le Mans and elsewhere. Starting life as Renault Dauphine units, these four cylinder engines were developed by Amedee Gordini for Renault He designed a twin-ohc cylinder head very reminiscent of the engines in his Gordini cars of some years ago. The only other serious engine contender in this `kiddy-car’ racing is Abarth who is using a version of his twin ohc four cylinder engine as highly developed in his GT cars, so it is possible that these will give a good account of themselves, though much depends on the chassis design. The future of F2 for 1964, at any rate, seems assured, and with professional teams such as Ken Tyrrell, Team Lotus and Brabham taking part against Alpine, Rene Bonnet and Abarth, it could well turn out to be interesting, unless it is dominated by one concern employing Grand Prix drivers. Equally, if all the teams employ GP drivers then it will make all the efforts seem rather pointless. DV