An Easy Lotus Victory
Pau, FRANCE, April 3rd.
APART from being the twenty-first race to be held by the Automobile Club Basco-Bearnais and the first European Grand Prix of the season, the race at Pau also had the distinction of being the first Grand Prix to be held under the new Formula for 1961-64. The first practice session was on Saturday afternoon and there was plenty of activity, for drivers such as Bonnier, Clark and Taylor had to find their way round the tortuous street circuit and others, such as Brabham and Lewis, who know the circuit, had to find out how the low squat 1961 Coopers were going to adapt to the conditions. The Equipe National Beige were making their first appearance with the new Emeryson-Maserati cars and they were running two, with Gendebien and Lucien Bianchi as the drivers; the cars were painted yellow with a red nose cowling for the former driver and a black nose cowling for the latter. The cars were performing well enough but under heavy braking the underside of the front was grounding, there being insufficient static clearance. Later in the afternoon Bianchi's car developed a small water leak so he did some more practice on his team-mate's car. Of the new Coopers Lewis was finding out that you can't just buy a new Cooper and go racing, you have to finish off a lot of the detail work, and Brabham was worried by a noise in his engine that his mechanic and Harry Spears, of Coventry-Climax, listened for intently but could not trace; it later transpired to be a blown exhaust gasket. Team Lotus were busy changing axle ratios and doing carburation, and Jimmy Clark was learning the circuit incredibly quickly and lapping fast into the bargain, while his team-mate Trevor Taylor was feeling his way along in this new phase in his racing career with commendable restraint, yet lapping quite fast.