Cooper Climax T43, the first real revolution

2021-04-11 00:00

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#Constructors' Champions,

Cooper Climax T43, the first real revolution

Formula 1 has always been an avant-garde sport, capable of transporting entire crowds not only for speed, danger and adrenaline, but for the ability t


Formula 1 has always been an avant-garde sport, capable of transporting entire crowds not only for speed, danger and adrenaline, but for the ability to create real futuristic prototypes that can only be observed inside the tracks and the Formula 1 World Championship.


Going live to a Formula 1 Grand Prix is ​​a way to reach a visual organism in a certain sense but also to estrange yourself from the world as we know it and enter a sort of bubble of perfection and attention to detail at maximum speed, all in continuous change and revolution. The Cooper Climax T43 is just that, a machine that has been able to revolutionize a system that was already a few decades ahead, pushing the sport itself to an even more extreme level, in this case above all from an engineering point of view.


The first rear-engined single-seater took to the track in 1957, in Monte Carlo; is a Formula 2 single-seater that, given the regulations in force, can also compete in Formula 1. The Cooper-Climax manages to establish itself as a potentially title car already in 1958, winning the first two races of the season in Argentina and Monaco, and then selling the I move on to the even more reliable Ferrari and Vanwall. Despite the momentary defeat, it is immediately clear that the advantage of having a rear engine lies in the fact that the drive shaft is shorter, allowing you to create a car that is shorter and therefore much lighter than the others.


The revolution


The 1959 is the year of consecration: the Cooper-Climax brings to the track a car with the T51 chassis, an evolution of the T43, designed by Colin Chapman who is one of the greatest geniuses in the history of Formula 1. The car is fitted with a Coventry Climax engine, increasingly reliable and powerful, with the usual Jack Brabham and a very young Bruce McLaren at the wheel. Black Jack manages to triumph in Monte Carlo and in Great Britain and gets three more podiums over the course of the season, becoming World Champion for the first time. Thanks also to the victory obtained in Sebring by McLaren, the Cooper manages to win the constructors' championship by subtracting it from the very favorite Ferrari and B.R.M. and consigning itself to history as one of the most revolutionary machines in this sport.


Cooper continues to improve the following year as well, bringing a new model, the T53, to the track, which also proves to be a winner. The 1960 is an absolute domination, Brabham conquers even five victories in a row while his mate McLaren wins the inaugural race in Argentina. Third-placed Stirling Moss scored less than half of Jack Brabham's points at the end of the year.


Obviously, the English team also won the constructors' championship for the second consecutive year. But then, the regulatory change introduced in 1960, with the disappearance of the 2.5-liter engines that had been used since 1954, and which are now replaced by the smaller 1.5-liters, takes away the great advantage enjoyed by the Cooper Climax. Initially all the clues suggest that the Cooper may have an advantage from this choice because they have always been supporters of the small and light, but in reality the rivals, especially Ferrari, have spent almost the entire previous year building these new engines to be able to win the world title, while Cooper, with limited means, had to concentrate on the current year to be able to repeat the constructors' title of 1959.


This gap will no longer be remedied and in the following years the team will never be able to be in the race for the title but will only be able to make some sporadic good positions.


Ludovico Nicoletti

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