Notes on the cars at Monza

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Before the event it looked as though the Monza paddock was going to be full of interesting mechanical things but they did not materialise and instead it was full of interesting rumours and intrigues in shady corners. The new Ferrari 312B3 had been on test but was not considered to be ready for racing so it was never seen and the team used their well-proven B2 version’s of the flat-12 cylinder cars from Maranello. Three cars were entered, in the trim they were used in Austria, except that now the fuel systems were behaving themselves, the vapour-locking suffered in Austria never having been precisely pinpointed. The flat-12 Ferrari has a very complicated fuel system and discussing the subject with one of the McLaren team he volunteered the remark that he never did understand Ferraris ideas on fuel systems, and he didn’t think Ferraris understood them either! Three identical cars were being run for Ickx (car number 5), Regazzoni (car number 7) and Andretti. (car number 8), and a lot of people would have preferred to have seen Merzario in the third car. All three cars were using the narrow nose cowlings with fins, rather than the full-width nose cowlings. The new B3 Ferrari is designed around the existing engine/gearbox unit, with completely new chassis, suspension and bodywork, the construction conforming to the 1973 CSI specifications as regards width and fuel tank protection, while the bodywork incorporates some novel ideas on air-flow.

Another new car that was expected to appear was the Brabham powered by the Ford-Weslake V12 engine mentioned in last month’s Motor Sport. Designed by Ralph Bellamy this new Brabham follows the general principles of the existing Brabhams and like the B3 Ferrari it had been out on private test, but was not yet race-worthy, so the Ecclestone team relied on their usual three Brabhams for the Italian meeting, for their team of drivers. Hill (BT37/1), Reutemann (BT37/2) and W. Fittipaldi (BT34/1). It was anticipated that Team Tyrrell would produce their second 1972 car for Cevert, but they did not get it finished, so the Frenchman had to be content with 002, having the choice of the old type of small air intake, or a new enormous one like Stewart used in Austria, and there was also a curious extractor mechanism that fitted over the oil radiators at the rear and deflected the airflow into the exhaust stream. Stewart had 005, as raced in Austria, with outboard front brakes and large air intake for the engine, and he had .004 as a spare car.

The Politoys Special constructed by the Frank Williams team under the guidance of Len Bailey and demolished in the British Grand Prix under the guidance of Pescarolo, had been re-constructed under the guidance of Ron Tauranac. It got as far as pre-practice testing at Monza, only to run into trouble with its drive to the rear wheels, so it had to be put back into the van before practice began and the team relied on their two March cars, for Pescarolo (721/3), and Pace (711/3), the former car using a “unicorn” front aerofoil as used on the March cars last year.

Not all the hoped-for new cars failed to appear, for John Surtees had his latest model running, to be driven by himself, this being the TS14. The monocoque is entirely new in shape and construction and material, being made of a “sandwich” comprising an outer sheet of aluminium, a layer of compressed foam material and a layer of fibreglass, the three materials being compressed into a solid, but light single layer. This “sandwich” forms the outer skin of the main part of the monocoque and alongside the cockpit, on each side there is the “deformable structure” demanded by the CSI regulations for 1973, protecting the fuel tanks. The flexible bag fuel tanks are in the main monocoque, on each side of the cockpit, introduced in through small detachable panels in the bulkhead behind the cockpit, so that should a tank leak there is no way the petrol can seep into the driving compartment. The regulation deformable structure on each side brings the overall width almost out to the centre-lines of the wheels, and contain the water radiators, one on each side leaning steeply rear-wards. A long, deep duct on top of these side pieces feeds air to the radiators and it is expelled out the back. The rest of the side structures are foam-filled, and the structure itself is rigidly attached to the main monocoque, a full width square-tube frame forming the basis of the rear bulkhead to which the Cosworth V8 engine is attached. The oil tank is buried in the monocoque behind the driver’s seat, as is the petrol collector tank, the respective filler orifices being in the small deck behind the driver’s head. At the front a very smooth full-width nose cowling is used, completely devoid of openings and the air-flow over it is streamed over the front suspension and along each side of the windscreen and into the radiator ducts. At the moment the suspension and the layout of the back of the car around the gearbox and rear aerofoil follow the lines of the TS9B cars, but there are new ideas ready for next year, the present try-out being for the basic construction of the new car. The usual trio of Surtees drivers had their usual TS9B cars, de Adamich 004, Hailwood 005 and Schenken 006, content with proven products and letting the Boss do the experimental driving.

The BRM team re-introduced their 1972 car which never really got off the ground in the early part of the season. This was the P180, which made its debut at the Spanish Grand Prix, and in revised form it was “on test” at Brands Hatch during practice for the Rothman’s 50,000 in August. The revision has involved detail work on weight distribution and air-flow, principally to the rear aero-foil, and suspension geometry changes in conjunction with the other variants, the basic overall design being unchanged. Team leader Beltoise had this car (P180/02), while the other three members of the team had the usual cars raced this season, Gethin (P160/05), Ganley (P160/06) and Wisell (P160/03). The small Tecno firm, with its handful of workers, got two cars to the meeting, which was a very creditable effort, Bell driving T/002, which has been shared by him and Galli during the season, and Galli having a brand new one T/005, quite what happened to 003 and 004 was not clear! This new Tecno, with its flat12 engine was almost identical to the earlier car, but having been made from scratch rather than undergoing lots of modifications, it was tidier in detail on such things as suspension members and the layout of the auxiliaries. Although Ron Tauranac has been used as consultant on chassis design the firm could really do with a resident chassis engineer, so that the Pederzani brothers can concentrate on engine development.

Neither March nor McLaren produced anything exciting for the paddock prowlers; the Bicester team had three cars, 721G/3 for Peterson, 721G/4 for Lauda and 721G/2 as a spare, after it had been hired to Purley for the Rothman’s 50,000. However, Lauda’s car was fitted with the twin front radiators and full-width nose cowling, and Peterson was using the normal side radiator layout and narrow nose cowling. Beuttler was racing 721G/1 as usual. The McLaren team had M19C/1 and M19C/2 for Hulme and Revson, respectively, with M19A/1 as a spare for Hulme, content with these straight-forward good-handling cars, even though they have a bit more frontal area and drag than some of their competitors.

As usual Amon was alone with Matra, the latest car, number MS120D/07 having a super-powerful engine tuned to its highest limit for the high-speed Monza circuit, and the earlier car MS120C/04 was there as a spare. Team Lotus almost returned to their classic early days of Team Shambles, through no fault of their own, but such is their strength and morale this year that they over-rode all their obstacle’s with force. Italian law being rather complex and long-winded, there are still some problems hanging in the air dating back to the accident to Rindt in 1970, so it was deemed wise to make the official entry under the name of World Wide Racing, as was done last year, instead of Team Lotus or John Player, and to take the minimum of equipment into Italy. Consequently only one entry was made, for Fittipaldi, and only one car was sent, this being 72D/R7. In case of emergency 72D/R5 in a separate transporter was left in France, just before the Mont Blanc tunnel, so that if something irreparable happened in practice a quick swap could be made. Bowling along the Autostrada on the Tuesday before the meeting the transporter burst a front tyre, stewed off the road, struck a culvert which tipped it over, and skated to a rest on its side in a heap of wreckage. The mechanic who was driving was unhurt, but his passenger was injured, the transporter was badly smashed, 72D/R7 was damaged and all the tools, spares and equipment were in an unholy mess. While all this was being sorted out someone had to return to France and bring in 72D/R5 in its transporter, so that by the time official practice began it was remarkable that the team had recovered its composure. To add to their worries the news reached them that the Firestone Tyre Company were going to withdraw from racing in 1973.

Behind the garage doors a lot of people were looking for the Goodyear Tyre Company representative, while others were confident that the Firestone withdrawal story was a bit like Ferrari withdrawal stories. Among the cloak-and-dagger stuff that went on throughout the meeting was the news that Regazzoni was leaving Ferarri and joining BRM and Carlos Pace was leaving Frank Williams and joining Hailwood in the Surtees team for 1973, and Schenken was looking for work; before the event it had been announced that Peterson was leaving March and joining Fittipaldi in the Lotus Team, and suggestions over the weekend were that Amon might return to March and Beltoise might return to Matra and BRM were trying to “snitch” Hailwood away from Surtees. On the mechanical side Ferrari, Surtees and Brabham have revealed their 1973 cars, so the future looks bright, and the Lotus 72 is still the standard to aim for, especially when it is driven by Emerson Fittipaldi, though how it will react to the rather rough and ready driving technique of Peterson will be interesting to see. It could make him relax and develop smoothness like it did to Rindt. — D. S. J.