#194 1970 Italian Grand Prix

2021-10-24 00:00

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#1970, Fulvio Conti, Translated by Monica Bessi,

#194 1970 Italian Grand Prix

Sunday, August 30, 1970 Jacky Ickx, the Belgian driver who races for Ferrari in Formula 1, dominates in the Formula 2 Salzburg Grand Prix, at the whee


On Sunday, August 30, 1970 Jacky Ickx, the Belgian driver who races for Ferrari in Formula 1, dominates in the Formula 2 Salzburg Grand Prix, at the wheel of a BMW, imposing himself in the first round and getting second place in the second one, behind the local hero Jochen Rindt. Out of all the 50 laps of the two races, Ickx gets a total time of one hour 3'24"03, ahead of the Italian Vittorio Brambilla who avenges the bad luck of his brother, Tino, delayed by a mechanical failure, with a great race and second place overall. Vittorio Brambilla finishes the two rounds with a delay of a minute and 0.077 seconds from Ickx, significantly preceding the Austrian Dieter Quester whose time is one hour 3'30"28. After winning the first race, Ickx limits himself to control the pace in the second one, allowing Jochen Rindt to push, given that he had not finished the previous race due to bad luck. The Austrian sets the lap record in 1'13"8 at the average speed of 206.71 km/h. In the final classification, in fourth place there is the Brazilian Fittipaldi, at the wheel of the Lotus, with a total time of an hour 3'40"83, while the Englishman Graham Hill conquers fifth place overall with a regular race in both rounds and with a total time of an hour and 4'17"07. In the meantime, Sunday, August 30, 1970 during a test with the turbine-powered Lotus on the Hethel track, John Miles is the victim of an accident due to the brakes. The driver is unharmed, but the car is too damaged to be sent to Monza. That same day Jochen wins the second race in Formula 2.


"Suddenly, the car goes left. I drop the brake, I also stop pushing the throttle and let the car skid. Then I slowly come back to the pits".


Jochen calls Bernie Ecclestone in England:


"Miles was lucky, the brake shaft broke, but he was able to control the car".


Bernie asks, irritated, what is happening.


"According to Chapman, there’s no need to worry, because the brake shaft broke from the inside out".


According to Chapman the perpendicular break shows a material defect. But:


"A break in the inner surface of the hollow brake shaft is very unusual, because the most stressed is the outer surface".


In his opinion, the defect would have escaped x-ray examinations. The following vacation days in Altmunster on Traunsee of Jochen Rindt with Nina, Sally Courage and the children finish when the Austrian driver finds out that a baron is selling a house on the hill. Thus, he decides to go with Nina and Graham Hill to the end of the road, where they are carried on a caterpillar.


"It is a crazy place".


Says Nina, but Jochen is already designing some tennis courts, until Nina argues:


"You can’t even sit for five minutes at Gotfrid’s place (Kochert, who is also a driver), how do you think you could be living up here?"


Graham Hill suggests Nina to drop it, sure that in a couple of days Jochen would forget about it. Back on Lake Geneva, Jochen Rindt dedicates himself to tennis and table tennis tournaments with Stewart, and when he goes playing golf he always uses Jackie’s clubs with the name of the Scottish driver. Wednesday, September 2, 1970 first the journalists and then Bernie Ecclestone arrive. 


There is talk of business and it is decided that for 1971 they will enter the world of big business, after a Rindt-Stewart project for a resort on Lake Geneva failed, and on Thursday, September 3, 1970 a textile entrepreneur shows up. Meanwhile, the attention is on the Italian Grand Prix, held in Monza, that returns to take on Italian accents and colours. This particular feature is underlined during the press conference held on Tuesday, September 1, 1970 in Milan. Last year, no Italian driver took part in the very important race in Monaco. Sunday, September 6, 1970, on the road track of the Monza circuit (which will have to be run sixty-eight times, for a total of 391 kilometres) the Italian drivers will be even three: Ignazio Giunti, Andrea de Adamich and Nanni Galli. All three make their debut in the Monza race, where they will certainly not participate with excessive ambitions, but it is already important that they go on track, driving respectively one of the three Ferrari 312 Bs and of two McLaren-Alfa Romeos. The audience, following the race of Giunti, de Adamich and Galli, will have one more reason to be excited. This year the race promises to beat all the records of success for the return in strength of the red Ferrari, with Giunti and especially with his most illustrious teammates Jacky Ickx and Clay Regazzoni. The Automobile Club of Milan, the organiser of the forty-first Italian Grand Prix, has already sold over 50.000 tickets and continues to receive numerous ticket requests. In order to fulfil all of them, the organising body increases the number of seats, making a total of 7.000 available within the parabolic curve, 500 on the finish line, and 1500 in front of the junior variant. The event will also be attended by about 500 journalists from newspapers and magazines around the world, as well as reporters from sixteen television companies. The great favourite for the final victory is, of course, the Ferrari driver Ickx, who with the Maranello car has established himself so beautifully at Zeltweg. There is therefore an air of celebration at the Monza circuit, where the Ferrari 312 Bs are expected with which Jackie Ickx, Clay Regazzoni and Ignazio Giunti will try to defeat the fierce race of competitors at the forty-first Italian Grand Prix on Sunday. The red cars that the Maranello team has scrupulously prepared these days, for the fast Monza circuit, have given enthusiasm to the many thousands of motorsport enthusiasts and are warmly expected to the race. 


At Zeltweg, Ickx and Regazzoni, finishing the race in the first two places of the Austrian Grand Prix, showed that the car set up by Ferrari with the collaboration of Fiat, can aim to the role of undisputed domination of Formula 1 racing. Cosworth, B.R.M. and Matra also tried to recover, elevating in some cases even up to 12.000 RPM the maximum speed of rotation of the respective engines and thus trying to put the drivers in a position to defend with their teeth the positions acquired in the World Championship standings. The forty-first Italian Grand Prix is the tenth round of the 1970 World Championship and will not be able to provoke revolutionary movements in the relative classification, since the Austrian Jochen Rindt has been able to climb up to an almost unreachable amount (45 points) thanks to the victories at the Monaco Grand Prix, the Dutch Grand Prix, the French Grand Prix, the British Grand Prix, and the German Grand Prix, when the Ferrari technicians were too busy developing the 5-litre sport cars to devote themselves with the necessary application to Formula 1. However, this Grand Prix will have to confirm that Zeltweg’s indications were true and could also allow Ickx, who currently has 19 points, to make a further step forward in the standings, to the detriment of Brabham, Hulme and Stewart, who have 25, 20 and 19 points respectively. The battle of Ickx, Regazzoni and Giunti against the B.R.M. P153s of Oliver and Rodriguez, the March-Ford of Stewart, the Lotus Ford of Rindt, the McLaren Ford of Hulme and Gethin, the Matra Simca of Beltoise and Pescarolo, the Brabham BT 33 of Brabham and the March of Amon and Fersift, the most dangerous among the 27 entered drivers, will be followed by at least 90.000 people. Friday, September 4, 1970, with the start of qualifying that will reduce the number of competitors from 27 to 20, the sale of tickets will undergo a further acceleration and everything suggests that it will end quickly with a sold out. Sunday, after the Italian Grand Prix in Monza, Formula 1 will leave Europe to move to America. The remaining three races will take place in Canada, the United States and Mexico. It is an ending in style for the charm of the track, the number of drivers entered, the enthusiasm of the public, the certainty of an electrifying race, on the edge of 300 km/h, and the hope of another Ferrari success in the challenge with Lotus. 


The tickets (2.000 lire for the general admission, 10.000 lire for the grandstands) are practically sold out, during the pre-race tests the crowd has invaded the track: numbers and facts that show how much passion the public has towards this sector at the top of the sport of the steering wheel. This sector is less directly linked to series production than others, however it represents the pinnacle of the finest automotive technology and is above all a source of a colourful show. Ferrari has not won the Italian Grand Prix since 1966, when it won thanks to Ludovico Scarfiotti. The fact that Rindt (and Lotus) are now unreachable at the top of the World Championship standings, has a relative importance. Success is what counts, together with the demonstration of a superiority that has appeared late, but that seems indisputable. Everyone noticed this, first of all the rivals, who tried to recover. Stewart brings to Monza the new car prepared by his manager Tyrrell, Matra-Simca awaits new engines, Cosworth - whose engines have suffered in recent races a worrying series of breakdowns - has attempted a further upgrade of its engines. Stewart himself, disappointed with the March and perhaps not yet convinced of the Tyrrell, clearly said that he would like to have a Ferrari for 1971. Anyway, the practice sessions will give the first indications on the possibilities of the various teams on the Monza circuit. There will also be the problem of qualifying: out of 27 drivers, 7 will have to observe the race from the grandstands. But they will be the seven with the worst lap times: in Monza, fortunately, the much-deprecated Geneva pact does not apply. Jochen Rindt is in a very good mood, happy and satisfied, when Friday, September 4, 1970 at 8:00 a.m. he gets in the Bmw with Nina and Bernie Ecclestone and goes to Monza. A victory in the Italian Grand Prix, in case Brabham does not get more than the fifth place, would mathematically guarantee him the victory of the world title with three races in advance. There are many who are surprised that Jack Brabham, who has never won in the fifteen Grand Prix held in Monza, interrupts the tests on the Ontario Speedway in California to leave for Monza. Brabham renounces a 10.000 dollars contract and a possible 50.000 dollars reward in the event of a win, and in this way, as his mechanics claim, he proves that money is not everything to him.


 "I only participate for the world title".


After the sweeping victory in Austria the whole of Italy is behind Ferrari for the Italian Grand Prix, to be held over 68 laps of the Monza road circuit, and even on the day before official practice begins there are enough spectators, to watch the testing that was going on, to keep a lot of race organizers happy. Ferrari had done all their pre-race testing the previous week, during which Giunti had had a nasty moment when a tyre deflated at full speed through the Ascari curve on the back of the circuit. Although the car was damaged it was mended in time for the official practice on the Friday before the race, so that the vast crowd that turned out to watch on the Thursday before race day has to be content with the B.R.M. team, the new Tyrrell car, the Matra team and the BelIasi, with Stewart having to go in a Matra-Simca V12. There are 28 entries on the official list and as the Italians are not party to the Geneva Agreement which guarantees 10 entries for named drivers, their accepted 20 cars for the Monza grid to be the fastest 20 irrespective of name or stature; if you are fast enough you are in, if not you are out, World Champion or no World Champion. The Tyrrell Racing Organisation has entered Stewart in a March, entry number 18, and the new Tyrrell car, entry number 16, so that there were in fact 27 entries vying for the 20 places, and with the grid being a two-by-two affair, instead of the more usual three-two-three arrangement, battles for both ends of the grid could be expected to enliven practice. After the Austrian race the general feeling was that the Ferrari team would set the pace and everyone else would try to hang on to the tow provided by their slipstream. Matra even announces that they are prepared to let Beltoise and Pescarolo go 500 RPM over the limit in order to benefit from any slipstreaming, though they did not say to keep up with the Ferraris. There is an additional feeling that Enzo Ferrari would run four cars and a certain amount of relief when it was known that Andretti was tied up in America with USAC racing and Nanni Galli was having a second McLaren-Alfa Romeo to support de Adamich. As practice got under way on Friday afternoon, due to run from 3:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., with a one-hour break in the middle, one of the largest concentrations of first-time Grand Prix cars was assembled in the paddock. 


Ferrari has his four cars, two for Ickx and the others for Regazzoni and Giunti, these being 001, 003, 004 and 002, respectively, while the Yardley-B.R.M. team also has four cars for their three drivers, two for Rodriguez and the others for Oliver and Eaton, being 153/06 with the new V12 engine with improved cylinder heads, and 153/05 for the team leader and 153/04 and 153/03, respectively, for the others. Surtees has two of his own cars to experiment with, TS7/001, the successful Gold Cup winner, and TS7/002, a brand new car, differing only in details such as shock absorbers, rear suspension geometry and material specifications. Stewart has the choice of the new Tyrrell car or his usual March 701/4 and Cevert had March 701/7 as usual, and Gold Leaf Team Lotus has three Lotus 72 models, all to the latest specification, Rindt and Miles in their usual cars, and Fittipaldi in R5, a brand new one. Supporting the works trio of Lotus 72 cars is Hill with R4, the Brooke Bond Oxo Lotus 72 that made its debut at Oulton Park in August. The McLaren team has arrived with just about everything they possessed, the two Cosworth-powered cars M14A/2 and M14A/1 for Hulme and Gethin, the Alfa Romeo-powered M14D/1 for de Adamich and the old M7D/1 resurrected with another Alfa Romeo engine for Galli. The Matra team, the March team and the Brabham team are unchanged from the Austrian race, the pairs of drivers and pairs of cars being the same as then. To complete the entry there are Schenken with the works De Tomaso, Peterson with Crabbe’s March, Moser with his Bellasi and Bonnier with the ex-Surtees McLaren Cosworth M7C/1, though the last entry missed the first day of practice. Around 2:00 p.m., an hour before the start of practice session, Jochen Rindt, Nina and Bernie Ecclestone get off the Bmw in the paddock, almost simultaneously to the arrival of the Lotus. Mechanics’ faces are pale and tired.


"We haven’t slept since Monday because we had to assemble a third 72. And then, at the border, they stopped us because a document was missing".


The technicians unload the cars quickly, the caravan turns around. 


"Winning the World Championship is a damn complicated matter".


Declares John Miles, while Emerson Fittipaldi, who has never raced in Monza yet, says that the third Lotus 72 should be the spare car for Rindt, but in reality it is more than that.


"We’ve built a new car for Jochen in Monza. The third Lotus 72 has more robust tanks, some changes to the fuel supply and to the front brake system, which means that the front brakes are fitted in a way in which they don’t need the cooling fans".


Reveals Colin Chapman when he arrives with Dick Scammel some minutes before the start of practice sessions. The idea is that Fittipaldi tries on track this car made for the Monza circuit, but then it will be Jochen to do some laps to decide which car to use in the race. On the chassis chosen by Jochen the new engine with more horsepower - which also Stewart, Brabham and Hulme have - will then be mounted. Jochen does not seem to have any preferences and will only decide on Saturday. Chapman would prefer for Jochen to drive the car with the modifications. On the car with which Jochen won at Zandvoort, Clermont-Ferrand, Brands Hatch and Hockenheim the brake shafts according to Chapman remained the same for 31 hours of race and practice. The mechanic Eddy, however, recalls that between Hockenheim and Zeltweg the left front brake shaft was replaced, as the groove no longer fitted, after being taken several times for testing. The first thing Jochen Rindt and Colin Chapman notice in Monza is that Stewart and Hulme run without a rear wing. Hulme’s wingless victory at Monza in 1968 was a tactical result, and in 1969 Stewart came to the same conclusion as Rindt: without wing, the car is faster. Jackie Stewart drives both the March and the new Tyrrell, secretly developed since the beginning of the year, but officially launched after Zeltweg.


"I can drive the March to the limit, sending it in countersteering to the Curva Grande, while with the Tyrrell I cannot do it for now".


The next series of laps with the Tyrrell will end as a endurance race from the Parabolica to the pits. There is talk of a power problem; in fact Stewart suffered the breakage of the right front cylindrical axle in the braking area of the Parabolica, where the speed is reduced from 300 km/h to 120-130 km/h.


"But we also have a fuel supply problem".


Declares the design engineer Derek Gardner. Jackie’s teammate, François Cévert, goes off the track at 300 km/h at Curva Grande, without crashing against anything.


"I didn’t get scared, I soon forgot about it."


Declares Cévert, arrogantly; but the night after, thinking about the escaped accident, he will not sleep. The first practice session sees Rindt only in P22 with a time of 1'29"97, more than five seconds behind the fastest, Jacky Ickx. The evaluations made three weeks before at Zeltweg showed that Ferrari had a top speed 15 km/h faster than the Lotus 72. The fuel supply problems are what prevent Jochen from getting good lap times in the first practice session. The spark plugs change eliminates this concern at the beginning of the second practice session on Friday. Jochen Rindt and Colin Chapman decide also to copy the idea of Stewart and Hulme, a thing that other drivers have done in the meantime. The wing is disassembled and now the Lotus 72 looks strangely naked. But the attempt is successful.


"It’s incredible".


Exclaims Chapman, repeating Rindt’s words.


"Without the wing the car on the straight is almost 800 rpm faster and the rpm limit is reached almost everywhere on track".


This makes it necessary to lengthen the gear ratios but it will be possible to provide it only for the Saturday practice sessions.


"Without the wing I can easily go under 1'26"0, and I don’t even need the slipstream to get that time".


This leads Chapman to do the same on Miles’ car. The latter goes on track without wings, but comes back into the pits after a lap and asks the mechanics to mount them back.


"The car is too unstable".


Chapman jumps off the pit wall and exclaims:


"For God’s sake, John, why did you do only one lap? Try to get used to it. Who’s in charge of these cars, damn it, you or me?"


While Miles complains about this nervous behaviour of his car, Jochen Rindt does not have these kinds of problems. 


Bernie Ecclestone asks:


"Is everything good without wings?"


Rindt answers:


"Yes, no problem".


 The new Lotus, that Fittipaldi has to try, is ready at the end of Friday’s practice sessions. The fantastic aerodynamics of the Lotus 72, that compared to the 49 allows for a speed increase of 15 km/h, causes Fittipaldi, for the first time at the wheel, to make a mistake, causing a bad accident at the Parabolica.


"I’m behind the Ferrari of Giunti and in the mirror I see Surtees approaching. I go to the side, to make him pass; when I look forward, I suddenly see the huge rear of the Ferrari in front of me. Joints braked, but I didn’t. When I brake, the tyres lock up. I end up on a Ferrari rear tyre, I fly over the sand, I turn around and I’m catapulted against the trees. It was my mistake".


Chapman speaks agitated words to his South American driver: for the Lotus mechanics there is another night’s work. Meanwhile, Jochen Rindt confesses:


"I don’t have a good engine yet, but the one from Oulton Park. Tonight, however, they will fit the new engine, which should be better. Unfortunately we always have power problems and the gear ratios are too short. But I am very confident for tomorrow. With a good slipstream I think I can get to 1'23"2 or 1'23"3".


Speaking of his car, Jochen Rindt underlines the better aerodynamics of the car and then adds:


"I had a second fire extinguisher placed on board. Now the Lotus is finally safe".


During the post-race checks at Brands Hatch, the marshals believed the fire extinguisher was empty, but Chapman denies.


"The suspicion was there only because a bolt was missing. However, we do not change the complete system, but only the support and the cartridge".


On Saturday morning Jochen would like to work on a book that he is writing because:


"I can’t do it on Saturday night, I have to talk to Chapman about my contract for next year".


Rindt observes the work of his mechanics Herbie and Eddy who regulate the gearbox. The Hewland-DG-300 gearbox speed diagram records a top speed of 328 km/h for the highest gear. The Austrian driver has already driven faster, although not with the Lotus 72, which for testing at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit was set up at 320 km/h. There is no risk of driving fast on the straight, but Lotus has never had to brake at this speed. 


Friday is the first day of testing for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza and immediate confirmation of the happy moment of Ferrari. Jacky Ickx was the fastest, running in the record time of 1'24"14 at an average of 246.018 km/h; behind him there is the Swiss Clay Regazzoni (1'24"39), then Stewart, on March-Ford (1'24"75), just 0.04 seconds ahead of the third driver of the Maranello team, Ignazio Giunti. The Italian, in this purely indicative classification, is ahead of Rodriguez (B.R.M.), Rindt (Lotus), and Andrea de Adamich (McLaren-Alfa), whose 1'25"91 is very important. The third Italian driver, in this tenth episode of the Formula 1 World Championship, had little luck: Nanni Galli made only two laps, so he had to stop at the box for a failure of his 8-cylinder Alfa.


"Too bad that Ickx and Regazzoni have not already obtained in Germany the winning pair of Zeltweg. The title fight could have taken on a new face".


Says Enzo Ferrari, who carefully follows the practice sessions of his drivers and his cars. In fact, even today the Ferrari 312 Bs with the powerful 12-cylinder Boxer engine dominated the scene. Ickx, in two and a half hours of practice, has progressively improved its performance, without having to get a slipstream.


“There’s still room to improve”.


Says the young Belgian driver under the proud gaze of his lovely wife Catherine. And Jacky is not really in the best shape: he has a severe toothache and is quite nervous. Giunti, whose progress in the difficult art of controlling the 460 CV of his single-seater can be seen from race to race, is unhappy with the exploit of Stewart, who gets the third time at the last minute. But the Roman driver should not be disappointed: Stewart is still the World Champion. Regazzoni offered the usual demonstration of confidence. The 312 Bs, slightly modified in aerodynamics, went very well; there were only slight problems at the fuel system of the car of Giunti, but they will be repaired during the evening, changing the fuel pumps. The rivals of the Maranello team were not of course watching this time: the progressive improvement of the Italian single-seaters, culminating with the success in Austria, has shaken both the brands that use the almost exhausted Ford-Cosworth’s 8-cylinder, both the B.R.M. and the Matra-Simca, which use Ferrari’s own 12-cylinder engines. Cosworth has prepared a special version of its engine for Monza, leaving the power unchanged (430 rpm at 10,000 rpm), but trying to increase its grip at a distance through various improvements. Specimens of this Super-Cosworth were entrusted to Stewart, Rindt and Brabham and the first two today made good use of it. More or less identical operations have tried the Matra and the B.R.M.: the French company has modified the design of the connecting rods, the English one the heads and other internal organs. For now, especially in Matra-Simca, the results are not comforting. The same goes for Brabham and McLaren. Stewart also used the new Tyrrell, brought to Monza to have a choice with the March, but he made a few laps with it: the gas pump broke and the Scotsman had to walk back to the box. As pointed out by Enzo Ferrari, who is in the pits in Monza to attend practice sessions, before returning to Modena:


"Moreover, developing a car, an engine, is neither easy nor quick as it may seem from the outside. It is hard work that only now is starting to give results".


The Swedish driver Bonnier did not go on track because the truck that was carrying his McLaren broke down on its way. Despite this, the warm excitement of the crowd: the “Go Ferrari, go!” signs are everywhere, there is a glowing atmosphere like in a football derby. Many have tried in every way to get into the pits, and some have succeeded, even hindering the work of the mechanics. At one point, Enzo Ferrari himself felt the need to ask for some room for his men. But he was not unhappy at all. The cheering is beautiful. During the evening Jochen Rindt returns to the Hotel de la Ville, while the Lotus caravan is stormed by fans who want stickers and race suits. 


Bernie Ecclestone observes:


"They speak English too well to be Italian, they must be Austrians".


Shortly after, Rindt, Stewart and Agostini, the motorcycling champion, are invited to an award ceremony; each of them will receive a trophy. Stewart apologizes because he has to attend a business meeting, but Rindt is there for half an hour with Bernie Ecclestone, with whom he talks about the starting position.


"The Ferrari team is already celebrating".


Leave them to it, suggests Ecclestone; then we will see who celebrates after the official qualifying.


"For Lotus, getting pole position won’t be a problem. I think I can be one second faster than the Ferraris".


But Rindt knows perfectly well that in Monza the starting grid is often decided only in the last half hour, when the track cools down.


“At the beginning I just have to check that the car works well with the new gears; I have to break in the new engine and also the tires".


Jochen Rindt and Bernie Ecclestone return to the hotel before midnight. Saturday, September 5, 1970 the Austrian driver goes down to have breakfast around 10:00 a.m. Nina washes the dust of Monza from her hair and only goes down after noon. John Miles eats with Jochen Rindt and talks about the failure in Zeltweg.


"I’m worried about the brake shafts".


The Austrian driver, interested, asks:


"How did you keep the car on track in Zeltweg? Usually, when something like this happens you fly off the track".


Miles answers:


"Because when the semi-shaft broke, it was not reducing the speed from 180 km/h to 80 km/h, but only from 120 km/h to 100 km/h".


Notes taken, Rindt explains to Miles how he intends to test the car in qualifying. Not far away, a couple of English drivers, sitting at the next table, hear Miles ask Rindt in a frightened tone:


"How can you brake sharply at Parabolica, knowing that you could break something?"


The Austrian driver answers:


"The car immediately goes sideways and thus loses a lot of speed".


Later, around 1:00 p.m. Jochen Rindt and Nina have lunch together with Jackie Oliver and his wife. At 2:15 p.m. the Austrian driver shows up in the paddock and heads straight for the Lotus area, while Nina decides to escape the heat in the Goodyear pavilion, only to go to the pits for practice at 3:00 p.m. Meanwhile, Bernie Ecclestone and Jochen Rindt agree on the strategy to be adopted in qualifying:


"At first you don’t have to try to be fast. Everyone will try to take time. You have to start pushing only at the very last moment. Just qualify in the top six. You can start sixth and take the lead after the first round, or vice versa. Actually, the last thing you need to want in Monza is to start in the lead because nobody wants to drag the others".


Martin Hulme, Denny’s son, covers his ears at the sound of his father’s engine heating. Clay Regazzoni receives greetings for his birthday. Practice sessions - however - are postponed, because at the entrance to the pits a car hits a photographer. When Jochen Rindt reaches the pits on foot, a roar of applause explodes. The audience praises his name, as it always happens in Monza. Jochen smiles and waves his hand. Jochen signs autographs, the last for a 14-year-old girl, the daughter of the director of the radio sports magazine Edi Finger. The roar of the Ford engine and that of Ferrari, Matra and B.R.M. are the background to Jochen Rindt, who records, in front of the pit wall, the introduction for his television broadcast Motorama. The Austrian driver explains the strategy of the slipstream race in Monza, talks about his hopes and the changes introduced by the organizers to the qualification rules, for which only the best placed driver in each race can score points for the constructors’ championship. The noise is always louder.


"Hear the recording, if it doesn’t work we’ll do it again when I get back".


Says Rindt to the director Lucky Schmidtleitner, walking towards Pete Kerr in the March box.


"You have your title at last".


Rindt answers superstitiously:


"You know you can never be completely sure. I must go".


As always, Jochen Rindt climbs aboard the Lotus with his left foot. After the first lap, 1'40"78, Jochen crosses the finish line in the slipstream of Hulme. In the second round he runs in 1'27"59, in the third 1'27"24, in the fourth 1'26"75. After the second curve of Lesmo, Jochen overtakes the McLaren, takes the slight bend to the left of the Serraglio Curve, then faces the Vialone Curve and comes out into the braking area of the Parabolica. Everyone waits for the fifth lap. One minute, two minutes, but the Austrian does not arrive. Denny Hulme travels almost as fast as Rindt and watches the incident. It is 3:35 p.m.


"Something must have happened, because Jochen’s car, after a few skids, left and crashed directly into the guardrail. I think Jochen’s fine... I hope he’s okay".


He says moments later to Colin Chapman and Bernie Ecclestone. Hulme does not reach the McLaren pits, but he has stopped right next to the Lotus and this creates concern. There is immediately the feeling of a tragedy. On the pit straight there are no more cars, lckx and Regazzoni, who are about to return to the track after a short stop, are stopped by the marshals. Bernie Ecclestone starts running. He runs so fast, he reaches the Parabolica before the mechanic Eddy. 


He wants to help his driver, and also believes that it is the best time to examine the car. Meanwhile, Rindt has already been removed from the cockpit. Bernie picks up the white helmet, a shoe and, on the right side of the track in the direction of travel, a wheel with pieces of the suspension that he delivers to Eddy behind a marshal to put it near the car. The Lotus is on the sand, five metres from the guardrail and five metres from the track. Chapman sends Miles to the track to take a look. When Miles returns to the pits and gets out of the car, silence falls on the circuit. Lynn Oliver is the first to join Nina, then Jackie Stewart arrives with Helen and Bette Hill. The Scottish driver has a bruised face. Nina is seated in an armchair behind the box. Jackie Stewart says something to reassure her:


"Jochen is fine, Nina, he just broke his foot".


But Nina says:


"But Jackie, you’re shaking".


It is due to the practice session, Stewart replies. But Nina sees Louis Stanley and Don Sergio Mantovani.


"In Monza there are priests everywhere".


Assures the Scottish driver. But Don Sergio Mantovani gets off the ambulance, puts his arm around Nina and says:


"You have to be brave, Mrs. Rindt".


When Don Sergio Mantovani gets off the ambulance, he murmurs in a broken voice:


"I gave him the last rites, there is nothing left to do".


Meanwhile, Bernie Ecclestone instinctively searches for Jochen Rindt in the infirmary of the circuit, he does not see his friend and gets into the police car with Nina, Jackie and Helen Stewart, to reach the Niguarda hospital in Milan. Stepping out into the hallway, Bernie addresses a few words to Chapman.


"Oh my God, not another one".


Then, Ecclestone tells Chapman to go with Nina to Geneva, and very quickly asks to withdraw the Lotus cars and to make sure that Graham Hill does not run either. Rob Walker does not remember what position the brake shafts were in when the car was retired from practice sessions , but Chapman admits that one of them is bent. During the next half hour Jackie Stewart is the one who has the most news among the drivers, having gone with Jochen Rindt in the ambulance and having been with Nina at the hospital; the Scottish driver is informed by the doctor that Jochen Rindt stopped breathing. Half an hour after the accident, the Scottish driver, together with Graham Hill’s wife, finds a police car for Nina and Helen and informs Ken Tyrrell of his doubts and his mixed emotions regarding his participation in the race.


"Ken knows how I feel about Jochen, and only now do I understand the truth. Only now do emotions overwhelm me. I don’t know what to do, I don’t know where to go; I don’t want to talk, but everybody asks me about Jochen. Ken says I should put my helmet back on and get in the car. But when I put on my helmet, I feel like crying. I go back to the pits to regain control, so I get near the car. When the mechanics fasten my seatbelts, I cry again, but no one notices because the engine starts, I have the helmet, the dark visor lowered and the balaclava. But when I leave, I keep only one memory: the salt in the eyes. Inside of me there is nothing. And then I want to drive as fast as I can, but not to destroy the car, or my fears or my feelings, but because I know that I won’t last long and the faster I go, the sooner I can get out of the car. When I get the best time on practice session, I feel a strange satisfaction. But when I go down, my eyes are wet again".


The same thing will happen to him in the race.


"I don’t feel like racing, but I don’t want to give it up either".


Jackie Stewart cries before and after the race. He feels completely empty, exhausted and worn out, as if the pressure of two days has vanished. On Saturday, Sally Courage is in Essex, visiting Piers Courage’s family. Her brother tells her the news. Sally flies straight to Geneva to be close to Nina. She is already waiting for her on her doorstep when Nina arrives.


"Everything happened at once".


Colin Chapman stays a few days with his parents in Torquay.


"When I lost Jimmy (Clark), I thought nothing worse could happen to me, but it happened a second time, with Jochen, who was starting to become my friend, it’s more than I can handle".


Saturday, September 5, 1970 another champion of the steering wheel passes away. Jochen Rindt, 28 years old, Austrian, almost sure winner of the World Champion title, passes away during the second day of practice of the Italian Grand Prix. Almost at the beginning of the parabolic curve his Lotus-Ford skids and crashes against the guardrail that flanks the track. It follows a series of bumps, spin, pieces that fly in the air. Rindt is picked up, taken to the resuscitation centre located inside the circuit and then carried by ambulance to the Niguarda hospital in Milan, where he arrives already dead. The medical report is terrible: fractured chest, torn trachea, fractured left foot. A sunny afternoon, the grandstands crowded with people, an air of celebration, so much enthusiasm for everyone, the Ferrari drivers and their strongest rivals, Stewart and Rindt. The sound of an ambulance breaks the sudden silence of the circuit. Dr Piero Carassai, of the resuscitation centre of the University of Milan, specifies the nature of the injuries sustained by the driver.


"When Rindt came here his heart had already stopped and his lungs were full of blood. We drained it and performed the cardiac massage. There was a positive reaction and then we decided to bring the driver to Milan for a possible attempt at the last moment. His chest was smashed, his trachea was torn, his legs were broken. But never give up".


The helicopter is not there and at first it seems a serious problem, but any other faster transport would probably not be useful. Rindt passes away along the way while his wife, Chapman and some friends follow the ambulance in a police van. An useless run through traffic chaos. The doctor on duty, Dr Massaro, submits him to surgery in the hope of being able to resuscitate him but unfortunately there is nothing to do.


"His chest was completely smashed and his heart was crushed by his ribs. I did an ECG to see if he still had any heart activity but there was no contraction".


About this, the version of Dr Massaro differs from that released by the doctor who gave first aid in Monza.


"In my opinion the Austrian driver must have died instantly: they did the right thing anyway, to try to do something immediately and then carried him to Niguarda because our resuscitation centre is one of the best equipped centres in Italy".


Rindt’s body is then composed in the mortuary of the great hospital. His wife Nina vigils it,  showing great fortitude. In the evening, while the mortuary becomes the destination of a long pilgrimage by other drivers, authorities and sportsmen, Stewart manages to convince Nina Rindt to go to the hotel, before returning to Switzerland. Meanwhile, the body is transported to the morgue. The paperwork for the transfer of the body in Switzerland is already underway: only the permission from the judiciary is missing; in the meantime, the judiciary opens an investigation on the accident, and closes the car of Rindt in the box #5 of the circuit, whose entrance is closed with a padlock and sealed. Jochen Rindt flew off the track at about 240 km/h. Denny Hulme, who followed with his McLaren the Austrian’s Lotus, said shortly after:


"Jochen passed me in the straight ahead of the parabolic. We were going at 240 km/h. I saw the Lotus swaying, suddenly skidding to the left, bending to the right and turning to the left, crashing into the guardrail. I don’t know what happened to him".


Later on, Hulme will add:


"The Lotus, after skidding, broke a suspension. Before the car touched any obstacle a wheel came loose and at that point the spins started".


Other witnesses report that the Austrian’s car has flanked the barrier for a while, then hit it several times.


"The front wheels flew in the air, pieces of bodywork, the front of the car crashed, the pedals were missing and you could see the driver’s legs".


Specifies a nurse, on duty at the curve. A policeman, Angelo Rozzo, was hit in the right leg by a fragment of the Lotus and suffered a slight wound. Rindt’s red-gold Lotus stopped after a hundred metres in a dust cloud. The driver’s body, tightened by seatbelts, was in the remains of the cockpit. The belts failed to protect him: it was the steering column that caused him serious injuries. The bloody helmet will be taken to the box, Lotus withdraws from the Italian Grand Prix but the race will take place anyway. How did the accident happen? It is difficult to say for now; various hypotheses are made. The remains of the car are seized and locked in a garage at the circuit, then sealed. It seems impossible to think of a driver error. Some people talk of a brake failure, some of a suspension failure. Last year, Rindt himself, injured in Barcelona during the Spanish Grand Prix, had openly accused Chapman of wanting to build cars that were too fragile to save weight. There was a controversy between the two, then the Austrian had agreed to continue racing for the English team. With the title of World Champion almost won, Jochen Rindt follows the fate of the other great Lotus ace: Jim Clark. A tragic fate for Lotus drivers.


"I have too much luck this year. I’m starting to worry".


These were the words of Jochen Rindt after the British Grand Prix. He imposed himself thanks to a gas problem that had blocked Jack Brabham in the last lap. Even Brabham, who made a mistake in a turn in Monte Carlo, had given the Austrian another success. In Holland, France and Germany, however, Rindt had established himself with the class and determination of a true champion. He was born on April 18, 1942 in Mainz, Germany. When he was one year old, his parents died in an air raid and he was raised by his maternal grandparents in Austria. For this reason he has always been considered Austrian by everyone and, moreover, the Austrians have always been his best fans. He approached motorsport when he was very young, because of a broken leg while skiing. His grandfather bought a car, giving it to a friend of Jochen, who was only 16, with the aim of accompanying him to school. But, despite the broken leg, the young man learned to drive, without thinking about the fact that he should have had a driving licence first.


"And because I have a competitive spirit, I decided to start racing".


Jochen Rindt began to participate in rallies and races for touring cars with a Giulietta until 1962, when he decided to buy a single-seater of that formula for young people that was then the junior category. He should have studied economics at the University of Vienna, but the competitions will gradually take all his time. Picky, hard-worker, sometimes too impetuous (his drifting has always thrilled the audience but made the technicians turn up their nose), it did not take long for him to become the best driver in Formula 2. The climb to the top of the steering wheel sport became inevitable. He made his Formula One World Championship debut in 1965 in South Africa with a Cooper. He did not achieve significant results, but, teaming with Masten Gregory, consoled himself by winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans at the wheel of an old Ferrari.


"I’m impatient, but in Formula 1, before imposing myself, I had to wait really long".


Said the Austrian almost angrily. In fact, Stewart, also a rookie in Africa in 1965, was getting many successes. Rindt even had to wait for last year’s United States Grand Prix to win. But now he was the best, and he had shown it on several occasions. This season, with a competitive car like the Lotus 72, he had finally taken the right path. Maybe an indefinite feeling, this year Rindt, together with the inseparable Stewart, had advocated a campaign for the safety of the circuits. Courage’s death in the fire of Zandvoort, Holland, gave Jochen the opportunity to argue with many organisers of races. He did not want to run in August in Nürburgring, Germany. He had said:


"I don’t want to die against a tree or into a ravine".


He wanted more firefighters and fire installations along the tracks. In England he drew on a piece of paper how he would have liked the curves and the safety hay bales.


"Monza is a relatively safe autodrome".


He had admitted reluctantly, after the protest to the Italian track had not been successful. Now, of course, every time a champion of the steering wheel passes away - unfortunately it is an endless series: poor Rindt is the twenty-third victim of this year - the controversy inevitably takes over from human pity between those who support the need for racing as an incentive for technical progress and those who judge at least excessive the bloodbath that is paid to this progress, with the consideration of how much is blurred the relationship between the competition cars and the production cars today. 


These things have been discussed since we have been racing in cars, since the car was born. And this is precisely the most obvious argument of those who justify the usefulness of racing: if they were not needed, it is said, they would have ended long ago. And since, thanks to them, the car has reached the current technical level of perfection, since no goal is reached without risks and without sacrifices of human lives, in the century of technology, of speed, of the conquest of space, we would not enjoy the benefits that civilization give us if courageous men didn’t keep putting their lives at the disposal of progress. The opposite opinion is that the function of the sport technique, even if once undoubted (when the motor vehicle was looking for its final appearance and the factories had not yet reached the current productive dimensions), today is quite limited, given that experimental confirmation of the results of the laboratory studies is not absolutely indispensable. The controversy between the two opposing arguments is irreconcilable. But one would like there to be at least convergence of feelings on the human aspect of the problem. Racing car drivers are not different human beings from others, even if they have qualities of courage, determination, skill unknown to the common man; at risk they seek compensation in just material satisfaction, even in ephemeral sporting glory, in popularity. The awareness of danger makes them serious, cold, orderly professionals. But to claim rhetorically that they are martyrs of progress is to avoid the fundamental problem. It is certainly not the tragic death of Jochen Rindt to stop motorsport, but one would at least like to try to limit the danger through less senseless race formulas (the current Formula 1 single-seaters, for their power, low weight and above all the construction are the perfect antithesis of safety) and circuits where the margin of risk is reduced to reasonable limits. Rindt’s death naturally causes consternation throughout the racing scene. Constructors, managers, technicians and drivers express words of regret and esteem towards the Austrian. Manuel Fangio, the not forgotten World Champion, who is in Italy after recovering from a heart attack at the beginning of the year in Argentina, declares:


"Rindt was a true champion. The world title would have been, and probably will remain, his. Racing, it seems to me, is a real bullfight. On the other hand, the audience has always loved the thrill and blood. It is a sad truth. Today they have been satisfied".


A bitter statement of someone who has always lived in the racing world, but to be respected. Practice sessions take a short break due to the Rindt incident, then, while the news bounces from one box to another, the harsh law of the sport prevails, and Stewart himself reappears in the pits, refusing however categorically to comment on the tragedy of his friend. However, it is generally accepted that the cause was a mechanical failure. Otherwise, Team Lotus, composed of Oliver and Fittipaldi, will not race the Italian Grand Prix. As a sign of mourning, the fourth Lotus, lined up by Rob Walker for Graham Hill, also withdraws from the race. In the confusion of the moment Colin Chapman, manager of the English team, makes a brief statement to the journalists to announce the withdrawal, but does not say it to the organisers of A.C. Milano. Some rumours spread in the circuit report that Rindt’s car would be powered by non-regulatory fuel; however, two technical stewards of the Monza circuit, engineer Vincenzo Galmanini and Elio Pandolfo, declare:


"We can absolutely deny these rumours; a check on the fuel of the Lotus of the Austrian was not even planned for tomorrow. At most, it would be possible to test the use of fuel with a number of octanes higher than allowed, but it is excluded in advance that drivers can use mixtures other than the traditional ones".


Mister Louis Stanley, brother-in-law of Sir Owen, owner of the B.R.M. and manager of the International Grand Prix Medical Association, speaks harshly to the rescue services of the Monza circuit after the tragic death of Jochen Rindt. Mr. Stanley declares that it is inadmissible not to find at the edge of the runway an helicopter during the official qualifying of a Grand Prix, that Rindt was transported late even to the resuscitation centre located inside the circuit, and that the healthcare provided to the Austrian driver was poor; concluding that, according to him, precisely for this reason Rindt was not saved. The medical services, through Professor Rovelli, answer the serious accusations of Stanley with a long statement. If Staney does not officially withdraw his statements he will be sued. Here it is the text of the statement:


"As the manager of the emergency services of the forty-first Italian Grand Prix, in order to inform the press of the modalities of medical intervention on the occasion of the accident that occurred to the driver Jochen Rindt I specify the following: at 3:30 p.m. approximately at the time of the accident the driver was immediately rescued and transported by the ambulance that was parked about 50 metres from the accident site, assisted by the medical staff of the Italian Red Cross, to the emergency centre of the circuit (the journey was covered in 4-5 minutes); after a medical examination with Dr Merli of the Resuscitation Centre of the Maggiore Hospital in Milan and Dr Carassai of the Resuscitation Centre of the University of Milan, given the gravity of the situation and the impossibility of any suitable intervention in place, I decided to transfer the driver, through the mobile resuscitation centre of the Automobile Club of Milan, to the Maggiore Hospital of Milan (in Niguarda, on the road between Monza and Milan); along the way the driver was continuously subjected to resuscitation therapy by Dr Merli and a resuscitation assistant; I would point out that the Mobile Resuscitation Centre is equipped with all the equipment necessary for resuscitation and the equipment required for transfusion therapy, etc.; despite the care provided, the driver died along the way. Signed Professor Emilio Rovelli - Federal Doctor Italian Automobile Sports Commission (CSAI) Director of the Sports Medicine Centre of Coni in Milan - lecturer in sports medicine of the University of Milan".


Jochen Rindt’s body lies in the Milan Morgue, where many motorsport fans go on pilgrimage during the afternoon. There are especially many young people who felt the need to honour the body of the driver who lost his life just when he was about to win the championship title. Jochen Rindt’s wife, Nina, leaves in the afternoon, shortly after 6:00 p.m., together with her father and Lotus owner, Colin Chapman, to Geneva, where she lived with her husband. On Sunday, Rindt’s body will be taken from the morgue to the Institute of Forensic Medicine in Milan and subjected to necropsy there; then it can be carried to Geneva, where Nina will be waiting for it. On the assumption that the death occurred practically in Milan and that it was ascertained in the hospital in Milan, the investigation on the accident and death of Rindt is conducted by the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Milan, acting ex officio when in any event wounds are caused that can be healed in over 40 days or even worse in the case of the death of a person. During the morning of Sunday, September 6, 1970 the investigation will be entrusted to the deputy prosecutor, Dr Gustavo Cioppa, who will define it immediately:


"A very complex investigation".


The investigation will start on Sunday. In Monza the first inspection will be immediately carried out by technicians on the remains of the car in an attempt to ascertain the exact dynamics of the accident. In the meantime, there are other controversies related to the sudden retirement of the official Lotus and that deployed by Rob Walker’s team for Graham Hill. The mourning for Rindt’s death does not seem like the sole cause of renunciation. Hill had to race for the first time with the new car, which has to his credit an accident to Miles, in Zeltweg and in Monza, and on Friday to Fittipaldi. Currently, therefore, the Lotus of Rindt is placed under seizure, waiting for the technical expertise that will try to determine if there has been a mechanical failure, or a driving error. As far as the organisers are concerned, the case is already closed, since it has been established that the accident occurred without the participation of third parties and, luckily, without any other victims. From how the facts turned out, and from the analysis of other circumstances, it seems quite unlikely that there was a mistake of the driver: in fact, he was certainly not tired, because he had just started qualifying, and he was not even pushing for the same reason. Of course, it is not the case to anticipate conclusions that belong to the judiciary, but the duty of chronicle requires telling the facts and background. The Lotus 72 is a very advanced car, of which the constructor has taken advantage of the possibilities offered by the current Formula 1, that requires a minimum weight of only 530 kg. In order to obtain a superiority over opponents who mount the same engine Ford V 8 and those with the most powerful 12 cylinders, the constructor Chapman has used every possible mean, both in the field of materials (new metals such as titanium, beryllium, etc.) and in aerodynamics; the wedge shape and the front brakes inside the bodywork are some examples. 


Lined up in pairs the 20 cars make an impressive sight, with the three Ferraris one behind the other on the left and a B.R.M., the Tyrrell March 701 and another B.R.M. on the right, only Stewart being among the 12-cylindered cars with a V8. As lckx and Rodriguez move up towards the starting line, followed by the rest, Surtees is sitting with his arm raised, unable to start his engine because of a flat battery. Before the start Stewart has lost all enthusiasm for the race, affected like Bonnier by the death of his close friend and neighbour, but once on the starting grid the racer in him overcame his personal emotions and as the flag falls he is right in amongst the Ferraris and B.R.M.s as they screamed away towards the Curva Grande, leaving the unfortunate Surtees to be pushed into the pit lane to have another battery fitted. The clamour from the public left no doubt as to who is leading at the end of the opening lap, and lckx had Rodriguez (B.R.M.), Stewart (March), Regazzoni (Ferrari), Giunti (Ferrari), Oliver (B.R.M.), Siffert (March), Brabham and the two Matras in a string behind him. Next time round Regazzoni has moved ahead of Stewart and as the cars stream by Siffert raised his arm as his Cosworth engine goes “bang” in a big way and he coastes towards thr Curva Grande with the rest of the field dodging by on each side. In the pit lane Surtees got his engine started and joined in to a great round of applause from the enthusiastic spectators, but he only did one lap and went straight into the pits to retire as the car was far from being right. With the race in only the third of its 68 laps and the two cars out of the 20 gone already, it looks like Monza is once more going to sort out the strongest and fittest. 


On lap 4 there is a great cheer from the British contingent, and a lot of Italians as well, as Rodriguez gets his Yardley-B.R.M. into the lead and next lap sees Stewart leading with the Ferraris in third, fourth and sixth places It was all going wrong according to the form book, for a Ferrari 1-2-3 procession has been anticipated, with the others trying to keep pace. From the back of the grid Stommelen has made a superb start and is galloping up through the slower cars, being at the end of the leading bunch on lap 5 and about to pass Brabham, whose engine is misbehaving. Stewart still leads on lap 6, with Rodriguez right behind him, and they have Regazzoni in their draught, the Swiss having put aside team orders when he sees Ickx lose the lead. Usually the field at Monza breaks itself up into groups of varying speeds, but this time there is one big group going by in line-ahead formation almost without a break, from Rodriguez (back in the lead on lap 7) to Brabham in 12th place, with Gethin (McLaren), Eaton (B.R.M.), Peterson (March), Schenken (De Tomaso), Amon (March), and de Adamich (McLaren-Alfa Romeo) straggling along at the rear. Rodriguez has two laps as leader and then it is Stewart’s turn for a lap and then Regazzoni goes ahead for a lap. Having weighed up the situation and realized he could not get away from the rest, Ickx is content to sit back a bit and let the race take its inevitable mechanical toll, as he does not enjoy the Monza type of wheel-to-wheel racing, whereas Regazzoni, Rodriguez and Stewart are happy to fight it out every inch of the way, the three of them taking turns in the lead. On lap 12 Regazzoni is in front again, but Ferrari hopes of complete domination has gone, for Ickk is down in seventh place and Giunti is in the pits with a misfiring engine. Next lap a white and gold B.R.M. appears in the lead, but it is not Rodriguez, it is Oliver having jumped up front third place, and the B.R.M. team leader is missing. After they have all gone by the missing B.R.M. is seen coasting into the pits, trailing oil from a big hole in the side of the engine and with a flat rear tyre, probably punctured due to running over some of the bits that came out of the side of the engine. Stewart is not amused to see Oliver out in front and took the lead on laps 14, 15, 16 and 17, at which point there is a share-out of some of the prize money, as there is to be on laps 34 and 51. Having won himself 590.000 lire for being first across the line on lap 17, Stewart drops back to third place and let Oliver lead from Regazzoni. 


The race average is very nearly 234 kph and rising all the time as no-one is easing up, and Ickx now moves up to review the situation, taking the lead on laps 19 and 20, followed by Oliver, Regazzoni, Stewart, Stommelen and Hulme. Still keeping pace with the leaders are Cevert (March 701/7) and Beltoise, but the other Matra has fallen by the wayside with a sick engine, thought to be valve or valve-spring trouble. From the back of the field the De Tomaso disappears and Schenken comes walking back to the pits to report a blown-up engine and Giunti has gone out after struggling to get his Ferrari engine to run properly. The pace is certainly telling and at 20 laps six cars have fallen by the wayside, while Brabharn’s engine is not well, nor is de Adamich’s Alfa Romeo engine. On lap 21 Oliver is back in the lead and he holds it for five laps, with Stewart and Regazzoni changing places behind him, which is some consolation for the Yardley-B.R.M. team for Eaton has to give up due to losing all the water from his B.R.M. cooling system due to porous heads on the new engine. While in the lead Oliver enjoys being able to drive through the known patches of cement dust and throws it back at Stewart and Regazzoni, as they have been doing to him when he was behind them; all in good-natured sporting fun, of course. Ickx is back in sixth place and keeping to one side of the nose-to-tail scrapping, and on lap 26 he coasts into the pits with his clutch having disintegrated so that the whole of Italy’s hopes now rested on Regazzoni, who is sitting in fourth place, for Hulme has decided he ought to see what it was like up front. On lap 27 Oliver and Stewart are side-by-side, with the orange McLaren behind them. Next lap it is between them and on lap 29 it is leading, but only briefly for next time round it is back in third place, with Oliver leading once more. Stommelen is holding a steady fifth place, well in the draught of the ever-changing lead, and Cevert and Beltoise are keeping up, with Brabham there providing his engine did not play up. Amon, Peterson and Gethin are bringing up the rear, apart from de Adamich who has lost a lot of time at the pits. With the next monetary share-out due at lap 34 Regazzoni moves up and takes the lead on lap 32, holding it until lap 35 when Stewart virtually deadheates with him. 


As the Ferrari takes the lead there is a great commotion down at the South Curve for Brabham’s engine has decided to cut out completely and then cut in again at a most inopportune moment and the Australian goes sailing off the track, ripping off both left wheels and damaging the monocoque on the barrier. He is quite unhurt and two laps later could be seen walking back to the pits. Stewart and Regazzoni finishes lap 35 wheel-to-wheel, With Hulme and Oliver behind them, and at the tail of the runners Peterson’s Cosworth engine breaks as he passes the pits and he coasts to a stop on the left of the main straight. He had barely got out of the car when the leaders reappeares, with Regazzoni in the last remaining Ferrari in the lead, and Oliver crosses the line in sixth place with his arm raised as his B.R.M. engine has overheated. He coasts off to the right and stoppes opposite the Antique Automobiles’ stricken March, receiving a loud and appreciative ovation as he leaves the B.R.M. and walks back to the pits. It is certainly proving to be a case of the survival of the fittest, with all three B.R.M.s gone, two Ferraris, one Matra and three Cosworth engines broken. Beltoise in the screaming Matra now begin to move up, passing Stommelen, and as Cevert has been using his compatriot for a tow it means that he lost touch with the leading group, and once out of the suction of the cars ahead he rapidly falls hack. The scene becomes almost settled for a few laps, with Regazzoni leading Stewart, Beltoise, Hulme and Stommelen in line-ahead formation, sometimes up the main straight on the left, sometimes up the middle, and on one lap right over against the pits wall. The average speed has crept up to 235 kph, but the track is slippery in places, which prevents any new lap records being set up, and in fact the race is being run at an almost identical pace to last year. It now becomes clear that Regazzoni is setting the pace and he leads from lap 44 to lap 50, dodging from one side of the track to the other on occasions to weigh up what those behind could do. As it is Stewart in his wake he can not shake him off as easily as that, and Beltoise, Hulme and Stommelen are right in his tyre tracks, but Cevert is now way back and a very lonely Amon is almost in sight of being lapped. Gethin and de Adamich are still running, but have been delayed by pit stops. 


On lap 51 Stewart snatches a brief lead, and collects another 590.000 lire and next time round Regazzoni has a practice run at coming up in the slipstream of the blue March and jumping it as they cross the timing line, judging it to a nicety. He has another go on the next lap and misjudged it by inches, but he has obviously got the March weighed up. Beltoise now gets into second place and on lap 55 Regazzoni lets the Matra take the lead and did another practice slipstream jump as they cross the line, but as it is all at a lap time of 1'28"0 it looks as though he is merely playing with the opposition. Sure enough he then put in two laps at 1'26"2, followed by a run at 1'25"8 and motored away in what must have been a demoralising manner to Stewart, Beltoise, Hulme and Stommelen. At 60 laps it is all over, the Ferrari pulls away at half a second a lap, leaving the others floundering in its wake. On lap 65 Regazzoni records the fastest lap of the race, in 1'25"2, equal to the Formula One lap record, and on lap 66 he lapped Amon’s March. As he starts his last lap way out on his own, more than 200.000 Italians hold their breath in case the Ferrari should break, but as he appeares from the South Curve, able to coast to victory even if the engine has fallen out, pandemonium break loose and Monza seems to explode, so that few people see Stewart, Beltoise and Hulme racing for the finish to claim second place, the decision going to the March by seven hundredths of a second. The Swiss driver Clay Regazzoni takes the victorious Ferrari to the finish line in the 41st Italian Grand Prix, in front of a crowd of 200.000 spectators full of enthusiasm. It was in fact since 1966, with the death of Ludovico Scarfiotti, that a car from Maranello did not win the most important race of the season. The success, which could perhaps have been even more consistent without the withdrawal, due to mechanical failures, of the teammates of Regazzoni, Jacky Ickx and Ignazio Giunti, has however confirmed the current superiority of the Ferrari 312-B. Regazzoni, in his first racing season with a Formula 1 car, acted as a true champion, resisting the attack of his fierce rivals: the World Champion Stewart on March-Ford (who finished second), Beltoise on Matra-Simca (third), Hulme on McLaren-Ford (fourth) and Stommelen on Brabham-Ford (fifth); at the end, the Ferrari driver irresistibly detached his rivals. With the victory of Clay Regazzoni in the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, the Maranello team achieves the second consecutive success in the Formula 1 World Championship. 


Above all, the team confirmed to have achieved an enviable position of strength in the tough group of three-litre single-seaters. The 12-cylinder boxer, with its 460-470 horsepower at 11.600 RPM, has about thirty horsepower more than the B.R.M., Matra-Simca and Ford-Cosworth engines. In addition, after a long and sometimes disappointing setup work, he has achieved an excellent resistance to the terrible strain of a Grand Prix. Today, with chassis and tyres on a level of substantial balance, it is the engines that count, at least when the game of slipstream does not intervene. In circuits with long straights, the drivers with less powerful cars have the possibility to use the slipstream and not lose contact from the others. This is what happened at Monza: Giunti and Ickx, as long as they remained in the race, did not have the chance to detach themselves from Jackie Stewart. A few laps from the end Clay Regazzoni succeeded with a series of reckless exits from the parabolic, which led him several times to reach the grass in an attempt to set faster trajectories. The Swiss has shown a unique maturity for a driver who made his debut in Formula 1 last June, in the Netherlands. But Regazzoni was trained in the hard school of minor formulas, especially Formula 3 and Formula 2. Today, at 31, he has nothing to learn from anyone. His seasonal result is clear: fourth in Holland, fourth in Great Britain, second in Austria behind the Belgian ace Jacky Ickx. Sooner or later, his affirmation was expected, as a Ferrari victory at Monza was. Clay fulfilled both expectations, straightening out a situation for Ferrari that seemed compromised by the gloves that had stopped the momentum of Ickx and Giunti. And that would have been unfair. Ickx was in the lead when he had to stop with the clutch burned out: fault of the device itself or a start which was too abrupt? Giunti has picked up his usual dose of bad luck with the (very banal) failure of the accelerator spring and, as a result of the pit stop and of overheating, with the seizure of a power supply device. 


Two Ferraris out of three, with a wild Stewart thanks to the improved Ford-Cosworth fitted on his March, with an always fearsome Beltoise on the Matra-Simca (also equipped with a renewed engine and with a better grip) and with Hulme ready to take advantage of the slightest opportunity. Regazzoni has assumed with authority the difficult task fallen on his shoulders, succeeding in a race that places him among the best drivers of Formula 1. The Swiss is no longer a young man: he is 31 years old and has a wife and two children. He is a man and a mature driver, who has encountered difficult moments in his career, but managed to overcome them with determination. He is about to win the European Formula 2 Trophy and, in theory, he could also hope to win the Formula 1 World Championship: the Pederzani brothers, owners of Tecno, gave him confidence as well as Enzo Ferrari; Clay has repaid both. In a climate of controversy, the Lugano driver represents a sure pivot of the Maranello team as the competitive 312 B. The combination Regazzoni-Ferrari has forced to surrender a World Champion and a good number of good contenders. As has happened for many Grand Prix, the Ford-Cosworth engines have failed and so have the three twelve cylinders of the B.R.M. and that of the Matra-Simca of Pescarolo. But at least Matra has been partially consoled by the good race of Beltoise. Anyway, in the spotlight now there is Ferrari. The team of Maranello has made a comeback in this exasperated sector of the sport of the steering wheel, so fascinating and, at times, so cruel. It was logical that this would have happened: two years away from victory cannot obscure twenty years of splendid affirmations all over the world, and the contribution of men and means resulting from the agreement with Fiat, a new and youthful enthusiasm have accomplished the miracle. In the racetracks we speak Italian again, perhaps with a slight accent of the Canton of Ticino. But it is not only Clay who can hope for success. There is the young ace Ickx (and he showed it to Zeltweg), there is Giunti, who sooner or later should find the right moment. Monza has a new idol. Clay Regazzoni escapes too many violent hands of his admirers climbing on a metal mesh that divides the box sector from the press room, in which he finds a temporary shelter.


"In the race I was never afraid, I didn’t run any danger. But here I got really scared".


Clay, his face red and congested by the heat, the sweat that drips from his forehead, immediately speaks on the phone with his wife, Maria Pia, who watched the Italian Grand Prix in the colour transmission of the Swiss television.


"You know, Maria Pia saw three or four of my races, and I never got to finish them. For luck this time she preferred to stay at home with our children".


Regazzoni just turned thirty-one years old on Saturday afternoon. He got himself the best gift by winning the Monza Grand Prix. It does not happen to all drivers to debut in Formula 1 and to establish themselves immediately, but Clay has made a long training in the minor formulas, showing a strong determination.


"Today I have to thank both Ferrari and Tecno. I don’t think I’ve ever done great things, yet both brands have trusted me with their cars".


This year Clay was divided between the Bolognese team of the Pederzani brothers and that of Maranello, but it is likely that from next season he has to think exclusively of Ferrari.


"I’m happy, I almost don’t believe I won yet. At first, with the tanks full of fuel, I couldn’t, like Ickx and Giunti did, create a gap from Stewart. Then, as the car lightened, the performance improved and I began to detach myself from the group. I went out two or three times at the edge of the Parabolic, but they reached me in the straight thanks to the slipstreams, until I came out of the curve with Beltoise behind me. The Frenchman wasn’t as fast as Stewart, and I took advantage of it for the decisive attack. I left them behind progressively and only then did I realise that I could win. In the last laps I was afraid that something would break, but everything went well. Very well."


The 312 B, apart from the problem with the fuel vent valve, has really run very fast and its powerful twelve-cylinder engine has shown again its vitality. Regazzoni has the merit of having been able to drive his vehicle with extreme skill, without fear of comparison with proven champions. Clay in everyday life is a kind person, almost shy, but at the wheel has no inferiority complexes.


"After some laps, the rear-view mirrors started to get loose due to vibrations and I could only see some confused shadows behind me. This incident has slightly complicated the race, but now I don’t have to complain about anything. Among my rivals, Stewart and Rodriguez were the strongest, then Beltoise".


Regazzoni also expresses very human words towards Rindt’s tragedy.


"I don’t mean to sound rhetorical, but I want to dedicate my first victory to Jochen Rindt. We were friends, I admired him: I hope he won’t be mad at me, but when you’re racing there’s no time to think about who falls. You think about these things only when it’s too late. Believe me, I would have liked so much more to be able to win and get a handshake from my friend Jochen".


Sincere words by a driver who does not forget the man in him. Clay has two children, Alessia, who is three and a half, and Gian Maria, who is two. He swims, plays tennis, likes good food; when he was young he played as a left winger in a Swiss football team, Noranco of Lugano, participating in the third division. Then the passion for cars. Now he is at the top and deserves to stay there for a long time. Enzo Ferrari also followed the race on television, and at the end of the Grand Prix he confesses:


"I am satisfied, very satisfied, even if I am sorry for the problems that happened to Giunti and Ickx. But now at least no one can say that we won thanks to a team game. Regazzoni behaved with intelligence and showed that the car could detach the others when he wanted".


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