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#200 1971 Monaco Grand Prix

2022-08-29 00:00

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#1971, Fulvio Conti, Translated by Siria Famulari,

#200 1971 Monaco Grand Prix

For some strange and seemingly masochistic reason everyone wants to compete in the Monaco Grand Prix and, equally, everyone would like to inscribe the

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It's been two years since Porsche established itself in the 1000 km of Monza and many predict that it will get the hat trick on Sunday 25 April 1971. The circuit could not be modified with the introduction of chicanes and presents itself with the usual characteristics, i.e. an ultra-fast track. We think - if it doesn't rain - of averages of 230-240 km/h, with peak speeds well above 300 km/h. It is clear that the 600 horsepower of the 917 K cars from Stuttgart will have the opportunity to show themselves. And in fact the cars have undergone some aerodynamic modifications, especially the clear rear part, in order to adapt them to the more exaggerated speed performance required. However, in this fifth episode of the world championship for brands, Porsche will not be able to dictate the rules of the game alone. Ferrari and Alfa Romeo are there to bring a challenge that becomes closer and more threatening from race to race. It is enough to remember the outcome of the Brands Hatch 1000 km to inflame the hearts of the two Italian clans with hope. The Alfa of de Adamich and Pascarolo won, Ferrari was second with Ickx and Regazzoni. Porsche had to settle for third place from Siffert and Bell after a disastrous day. Above all, what impressed the regularity of the Milan prototypes was the formidable performance of the new Maranello spider and, conversely, a certain air of disorder and improvisation in the garage of the German cars. But Monza, unfortunately, is not the British circuit, with its ups and downs and its curves, designed specifically to enhance the qualities of the three-litre cars compared to the five-litre ones in Stuttgart. Nor should anyone believe that Ferrari and Alfa Romeo form an anti-Porsche coalition. There is a traditional rivalry between the two brands, with an unconfessed and unspeakable hint of jealousy on the part of the Milanese company for the successes achieved by the Maranello company and for its ability to develop competitive cars in an extraordinarily fast time. This is the case of the 312-P, which in three races (Buenos Aires, Sebring and Brands Hatch reached exceptional heights, while only now, after years of disappointments, is the 33 3 starting to offer an acceptable performance. In any case, it cannot what a pleasure to see two such glorious manufacturers fighting for victory. 

 

Afa if Alfa Romeo fields three cars with de Adamich-Pescarolo, Nanni Galli-Stommelen and Vaccarella-Hezemans, Ferrari lines up only one 312-P with Ickx-Regazzoni. There is no need to be shocked, the Maranello team is simply pursuing its program of preparation for the 1972 World Championship, which will be reserved for 3000 cc cars. If this program also brings victories, fine: but the main intent remains to put finalized the prototype. Porsche, divided as always into the two Cult and Martini teams, presents the usual Rodriguez-Oliver, Siffert-Bell. Elford-Larrousse and Marko-Van Lennep. which benefit from 917-K with slight aerodynamic modifications. To these eight cars, we must add seven Ferrari 512-Ms from private teams (these are the five-litre sports cars in the improved version) with drivers of the caliber of Merzario or Parkes, and two 917-Ks with Joest and Martin. Then other cars, up to a total of 40 competitors. Among them, relatively slow touring models, which constitute an encumbrance and a potential danger for the Alfa-Ferrari-Porsche trio. However, we persist in admitting its registration. It is the international regulation that allows it and no one opposes it. The Milanese organizers have tried to improve safety by erecting double guardrails along the entire track, and by placing special protective nets in the most dangerous points. These have the aim of slowing down any cars that may have left the road, protecting drivers and spectators. The short race will take place over 174 laps of the 5750 meter road course. The game of fuel supplies could be included in the fight for success: the sports 5000 and the 3000 prototypes have tanks of equal capacity (1120 litres), but the former consume more than the latter. It is likely that Ferrari and Alfa will cover the distance by stopping only three times (the minimum required by regulation) in the garage. Will the Porsches succeed too? The start will be given at 11:00 a.m.. Then, four hours of breathless racing. Having made the necessary conditions, on Sunday 25 April 1971 the Porsche won the 1000 km of Monza without many problems. The five-liter 917-Ks of Rodriguez-Oliver and Siffert-Bell, on a sunny day and on a track that had returned to dry, made their 600 HP count, beating the 3000 cc Alfa Romeo prototypes, which completed a good run, obtaining the third, fourth and fifth place with de Adamich-Pescarolo, Stommelen-Hezemams and Hezemans-Vaccarella-Stommelen. The only Ferrari in the race, the three-litre 312-P of Ickx-Regazzoni, was involved in a scary accident a quarter of an hour before the start and had to retire.

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It was a dramatic moment, underlined - for those in the pits - by the slow rising of a cloud of smoke in the Lesrno area. The versions of what happened are different, however the substantial dynamics of the accident should be the one reconstructed by questioning the protagonists. There are four of them: the Swiss Willy Meier. in a Porsche 907. Arturo Merzario. on a Ferrari 512-M. Jacky Ickx and the German Hans Dieter Weigel, in a Porsche 906. Meier was rear-ended by Menarlo before the Ascari curve, the car exploded and Ickx and Weigel passed through the sea of fire. Meier was then admitted to the Niguarda hospital in Milan with a fractured pelvis and right leg and burns to his hands, the others were miraculously saved. The fiery debris injured some spectators (eight or nine), but only one, who was burned on his right shoulder, needed to be transported to the clinic in Monza, where he was judged to be recoverable in fifteen days. The accident takes place during lap 12. Merzario, having just returned to the garage with his yellow Ferrari which bears the marks of the collision with Meier's Porsche on its nose, says:

 

“I had just exited the Lesmo curves and entered the underpass that precedes the Ascari curve. I had a car in front of me and I was about to overtake it, I was on the right of the road, the other driver was traveling on the left. A traffic marshal waved a blue flag to signal my manoeuvre. I don't know what the other guy understood, but he swerved from the right to the left, cutting me off. I braked desperately, but at almost 300 km/h you can't expect much. I ended up in front of him. on top of me, we started pirouetting, I didn't understand anything anymore”.

 

Merzario's 512-M stops after about 500 metres, with broken front suspension and damage to the bodywork. An initial fire is immediately put out. However, the situation is worse for Meier's 907. which is almost disintegrated. The pilot, who out of habit was not wearing his seatbelt, was thrown out of the cockpit, then rolled onto the runway, crawling, and stopped against a protective fence at the edge of the runway. Meier clings to it, trying to save himself, while, on the embankment, the public flees as pieces of sheet metal and burning plastic rain down. A shocking scene. At this point Ickx appears and, immediately after, Weigel. Here is what the Belgian pilot, very pale in the face, reports:

 

"I had a feeling. I knew I had Merzario ahead of me and, after Lesmo, I tried to broaden my vision. I glimpsed the two cars touching each other, a sort of cloud, and I pressed on the brake. Then I closed my eyes, it's the truth, and I walked through the burning wreckage like this. I was scared, so scared".

 

A very human, sincere confession. Jacky bears the marks on his body from the burns suffered in the terrible fire in Madrid last year in Formula 1. Luckily, the Ferrari did not catch fire and Ickx managed to stop it on the lawn, surrounded by firefighters and fire fighting vehicles. Autodrome. Weigel does as Ickx does, while taking steps to stop the rest of the machines. But Siffert, continuing his journey, punctures a tire on a fragment of metal and Hezemans realizes with horror that the exhaust pipes of his Alfa 33.3 have caught fire. He jumps to the ground and, helped by the firefighters, remedies the unfortunate situation. If the accident was resolved without serious consequences, it must be said that the 312-P is not a car favored by good fortune. We remember the drama of Buenos Aires with Giunti and the vicissitudes of Brands Hatch. In Monza he didn't have the time or the way to express his talents. One gets the impression that the five-litre Porsches could also impose themselves on the Maranello spider which, however, traveled at a much higher pace than the Alfa Romeos. But they are just sensations. The crowd that flocked to Monza was left disappointed. The Ferrari eliminated, the Alfa Romeos forced to race which was undoubtedly regular (and the opinion on the cars and the men, from the five drivers to the mechanics and managers, with engineer Chili, is extremely positive) but not exciting, and the Porsches engaged in the now usual victorious ride. A ride that continues on Sunday 9 May 1971, in the 1000 km of Spa, sixth round of the World Makes Championship. Also in this case there is yet another success for Porsche (the fifth of the season), Alfa Romeo is reconfirmed and we witness the usual misfortune for Ferrari. 

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Rodriguez-Oliver and Siffert-Bell, with their powerful five-litre 917-Ks, are fighting a family battle on the fast Belgian circuit. In the end the Mexican-English couple prevails. Record time and average, of course: 71 laps in 4 hours 2'13"6, at 249,061 km/h. Alfa Romeo, which had brought de Adamich-Pescaiolo to Spa in the hope of gaining some points for the championship, reaches the aim of the eve. The Frenchman (who led for three quarters of the race) and the Italian placed third with their 3000 cc prototype 33.3 (two liters of displacement and 200 hp less than the 917-K from Stuttgart ). As always, a 1000 km in the name of regularity: changes and refueling, never any trouble. The trouble, however, happened to the 312-P, that is to say the three-litre Ferrari. This car seems to be haunted by bad luck. It must be mentioned quietly to the tragedy of Giunti in Buenos Aires, to lckx's going off the track at Brands Hatch due to the spin of another car in front of him, to lckx's terrible adventure in Monza. During lap 56, while the red spider of Maranello was in third position, just one lap behind the two Porsches of Rodriguez and Siffert and with two advantages over de Adamich's less fast Alfa, Regazzoni found himself in front of a much slower, smaller-displacement car, the Dulon-Ford by Taylor. A commissioner signaled Taylor that Regazzoni was approaching by waving the blue flag, but the driver, who was on the left of a curve that turned to the right, instead of staying in line, dropped to the rope, cutting off the Ferrari. The impact was violent, the two cars went off the road. Scary moments. 

 

The Dulon and the 312-P suffered very serious damage, but the two drivers returned to the garage unharmed. On Sunday 16 May 1971, just a week before the 1000 km of Spa, Alfa Romeo and Porsche will compete in Sicily, during the Targa Florio race. And here it is the new Alfa Romeo with such a complicated acronym (it's called 33.TT.3, in which the TT stands for Tubular Chassis), but - as was logical to predict - it was the usual type versions that shone on the only day of tests for the Targa Florio, the seventh episode of the World Makes Championship, the only one to take place on a road circuit. Porsche has given up on sending its powerful but bulky five-litre 917-K to Sicily and has re-presented the 908.3, the small three-litre prototype spiders which made such an impression last year on their debut on this rough and wild track. Absent Ferrari, whose 312-P is troubled by series accidents, the challenge was therefore limited to Alfa Romeo and Porsche, and it was precisely the 33.3 that set the tone for the tests. Even if engineer Ferdinand Piëch, with a slightly tight smile, claims that training is one thing and racing is another, the fact remains that the young German technician is forced to accept two truths: first, the three Alfa they fared better than the three Porsches (two entrusted to Wyer's Team Gulf and one to Scuderia Martini); second, Porsche has had series troubles while everything has gone well for Alfa. In the Clan directed by Carlo Chiti there is an air of enthusiasm for the recent good performances at Brands Hatch, Monza and Spa. The Tuscan coach says:

 

"This time we seriously challenge Porsche and we can win. We are on equal terms, with cars of equal displacement, on a circuit that can be unforgiving for both of us".

 

Vaccarella, de Adamich and Stommelen took it upon themselves to prove their technical director right by obtaining the three best times: Nino is the fastest, lapping in 34'14"2, at an average speed of 126.180 km/h. Andrea follows with a time of 34'36"9, and Rolf with a time of 34'49"3. Last year the best was Siffert with 908.3 (34'10"0) while the 33.3 had achieved the best performance with the poor Courage (35'05"7). There is therefore considerable progress in the Milanese spiders, the result of continuous modification and development work. The 33.3 today weighs 620 kilograms and its 8 cylinder delivers 440 HP at 9200 RPM, while the aerodynamics have undergone notable improvements.

 

"However, it is not possible to declare oneself satisfied with a car, and this is why we have imposed the version you see today and which we have indicated with this acronym since June 1970".

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The 33.TT.3 is driven by Stommelen and Zeccoli, while Facetti - who with Zeccoli should take the prototype to the race - runs with an example of the usual type. Stommelen scores the seventh best time. Zeccoli only travels a few hundred meters, because the progressive failure of the attachments and suspensions recommends returning to the workshop. Carlo Chiti states:

 

"It's a young car. We haven't yet decided whether to race it or not, however these are important first experiences".

 

The new Milanese spider stands out, compared to the previous model, for having adopted the solutions of the central engine (with gearbox placed between it and the differential) and the tubular frame reinforced by duralumin elements. The driving position is very advanced, but this - Zeccoli assures us - turns into an advantage: visibility is perfect, a few laps are enough to find the car's limit, the behavior is neutral (neither oversteering nor understeering). A car that arouses considerable interest, including that of German technicians. Piech says:

 

"It looks like our car from last year".

 

But the central engine solution dates back to a 1500 cc ATS single-seater (Formula 1) created by Chiti in 1962. All this, while Porsche is forced to follow above all its own events which culminated in two off-roads by Elford and Siffert . Elford had already set a valid time (35'22"4), while Siffert was on his first lap after his crewmate, Redman, had previously lost almost two hours returning to the garage after a puncture along the way Elford damaged the suspension, Siffert - slipping on an oil stain - the left side. The most consistent was Rodriguez. The 908.3s are slightly heavier than in 1970 due to the adoption of the automatic fire prevention system and a more massive roll-cage. There is talk of 575 kilograms (5 less than the 33.TT.3), but one has the impression that in reality the spider is considerably lighter. There are many tuning problems, more caused by the non-arrival of a batch of tyres. Only one suitable set of tires was available for the three cars, which was rotated. Perhaps this detail can also explain the uninspiring behavior of the Stuttgart prototypes. What remains to be recorded, however, are the good tests of the Lola 2 liters of Scuderia Filipinetti with Bonnier and Parkes, those of the Fulvia HF 1600 of Munari-Maglioli and PintoRagnotti (with Munari and Pinto in evidence) at the top of the Gran Turismo category and a series of more or less serious. Kinnunen, Stommelen's new teammate on the Alfa, was injured in the eye (but without serious consequences) by a fly that managed to overcome the barrier of the goggles (and this prevented the Finn, Targa record holder with 33'36"0 to make a good impression); Lattea went off the road, breaking two rims of his private 33.3; the Turin driver Sergio Morando ended up in an embankment with his Abarth 2000 and was admitted to hospital in Palermo with a fracture of his right shoulder.

 

"With us, however, nothing serious ever happens".

 

Sicilian leaders say. One hopes, of course, that this will always be the case. However, in a Targa Florio too often broken by the whistle of ambulances and the flight of rescue helicopters, hit by the tragic death of a young driver from Trieste, Alfa Romeo wins the battle with Porsche. Nino Vaccarella and Toine Hezemans prevailed and, in the 33.3 three-litre, preceded their teammates de Adamich and Van Lennep. The three 908.3s fielded by Team Gulf and the Martini team, but managed this time directly by the men from the Stuttgart company, all retired: Redman and Rodriguez went off the road on the first lap, Larrousse abandoned the race due to a series of punctures . Fabulous triumph, therefore, for Alfa Romeo, which entered the race with three cars and lost only one, that of Stommelen-Kinminen due to the failure of a driveshaft during the first lap. The car went off the road, Stommelen, who was at the wheel, was unharmed. Except for this episode, the 33.3 march was very regular, marked only by pit stops for driver changes and refueling. The 33.3 allowed Alfa Romeo to return to victory in this prestigious competition after 21 years. The last success of the Milanese company in the Targa dates back to 1950, when the Bornigia brothers won with a 2500. Then came the Lancias, the Mercedes, the Ferraris, the Porsches. 

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The German one had become an unstoppable roller, concretized by ten successes, five of which were consecutive (from 1966 to 1970), the result of a tenacity and organizational capacity that were rightly rewarded. Ninni Vaccarella and Toine Hezemans broke the Porsche gold streak, and it is particularly nice that it was Vaccarella himself who succeeded in the feat. Nino, a full-blooded Palermo native (his grandparents have a house on the Targa route), idol of all Sicilians, had already won in 1965 with the Ferrari 3300, paired with Lorenzo Bandini, this race which he considers to be his. A few moments before the start, Baroness Gabriella Giunti, honorary president of the Targa Florio, had given him a small plaque for having obtained the best time in the tests. Vaccarella had raced in 1970 with poor Ignazio, finishing third in the Ferrari 512-S. Porsche lost two 908.3s in just half an hour. Rodriguez ended up against a wall while leaving the town of Collesano. It broke the left front and rear rims; he consoled himself by drinking wine in spectators' homes. On the other hand, the adventure of Brian Redman, Siffert's partner and winner of the 1970 edition, was scary. The Englishman, who replaced Bell (considered unsuitable for the Madonie), rolled down an embankment on the Caltavuturo descent, overturning several times. The car caught fire and the Englishman miraculously escaped the fire, crawling out of the car. Rescued by some carabinieri, Redman was taken by helicopter - at his request - first to the first aid station located behind the Cerda pits and then to the Palermo hospital. At Porsche they say that Redman went off the road due to a mistake on his part, but - according to some - the driver murmured to the rescuers:

 

"The steering broke. He no longer answered the steering wheel. Then, it seemed to me that I could regain control of the car and, instead, the inconvenience repeated itself and I flew out".

 

In Cerda there was also a quasi-argument between doctors: those on duty wanted to transport the driver immediately to Palermo, a German doctor who was part of the Porsche team demanded that Redman stop for two hours, to let him rest before undertaking the transfer in Palermo. The report is this: first and second degree burns to the face, neck, hands, thigh and right leg, with a slight state of shock. Rodriguez and Redman gone, Stommelen lost, Alfa Romeo found itself facing the 908.3 of Elford-Larrousse with Vaccarella-Hezemans and de Adamich-Van Lennep. On the first lap, Larrousse was the fastest of all, followed by Vaccarella and de Adamich. Vaccarella took the lead during the second lap, maintaining the position in the third, also due to the refueling game (the Porsche refueled and replaced Larrousse with Elford after two laps). The fourth and fifth passes were the prerogative of the Englishman, who handed over the lead to the Frenchman in the sixth. On the following lap, Larrousse suffered a first puncture, which he remedied with the spare wheel, but lost half an hour. He passed the pits again and, after a few kilometres, two more tires went flat. Larrousse and the Porsche gave up, but Vaccarella and de Adamich were already on their way to a splendid one-two. The final stages of the Targa Florio hold no emotions. The two red Milanese spiders are greeted by shouts of enthusiasm from the public, too dangerously close to the edges of the road. It is still worth remembering the good performance of the two-litre Lolas of Bonnier and Parkes, while the two Fulvia 1600 HF gave up due to a failure in the lubrication system despite the tenacity of the drivers and in particular of Raffaele Pinto. Now. Alfa has moved even closer to Porsche in the standings for the World Makes Championship. The fight, starting from the next 1000 km of the Nurburgring, promises to be increasingly closer. It was a Targa Florio with many, too many accidents. A pilot, Fulvio Tandoj from Trieste, aged 33, has died. A gentleman who was, he came to Sicily to participate in the most fascinating race in the world with an Alpine-Renault 1300 paired with Floriano Colombo. Before him, only one other rider had fallen on the Madonie circuit, Masetti, in 1926. The tragedy occurred during the second lap. Tandoj went off the road between the Sclafani and Caltavuturo crossroads. The car smashed into a tree and a wall, reducing itself to a pile of twisted sheet metal. The intervention of specialized personnel, who arrived on a tow truck, was necessary to extract the Trieste from the wreckage. Tandoj was loaded first into an ambulance and then onto a helicopter, which transported him to the Palermo civic hospital. The unfortunate pilot died en route. It was 11:30 a.m.. In addition to those of Tandoj and Redman, accidents occurred to the Belgian Alain Cadenet and the Palermo Nino Todaro (on the fourth and fifth laps). Cadenet was on a Lola.

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"I felt the car skid, I don't know why, and I flew off the Buonfornello straight".

 

The pilot was taken by ambulance to the emergency room in Cerda. He suffered traumatic shock, a lacerated-bruised wound to his right leg and an abdominal contusion. The prognosis is ten days. Todaro went off the road at the end of the same straight due to a deflated tire. The Sicilian driver's Alfa 33.3 crashed into an embankment, split in two and hit a Fiat 500 with a spectator inside. The latter was slightly bruised, while Todaro emerged unharmed from the adventure. Almost all the drivers underlined how the public was excessively close to the road, overcoming every barrier.

 

"People were sitting on the guardrails, on the walls, pushing themselves along the road as if it were a bicycle race. We couldn't even set the exact trajectories".

 

At the end of the race, moreover, a little girl was hit by a spectator who, having gotten back into his car, was leaving the circuit; she was hospitalized in Palermo in serious condition. It is a sign of alarm that this edition raises. The Targa Florio must survive, but it is not enough to mobilize 2000 officers to curb the enthusiasm of over 500.000 spectators who are certainly not traffic policemen, as was claimed on the eve of the race. Much greater measures are needed, because at this rate a huge tragedy will really end up happening. And then it will be useless to complain. The president of the Automobile Club of Palermo, the lawyer Nino Sansone, states:

 

"There is no threat to the future of our race, the small 24 kilometer circuit we are preparing will only serve to increase the passion for the competition, but the Targa Florio will continue to take place on the current route. I have received precise assurances from Rome in this sense. For Sicilians it is a point of honor”.

 

And safety?

 

"Ours is a prepared public, as if they were all traffic policemen accustomed to navigating traffic".

 

An answer that increases perplexity. Now that this last round of the World Sports Championship has concluded, we're back to talking about Formula 1.

 

For some strange reason, everyone wants to compete in the Monaco Grand Prix and, equally, everyone would like to inscribe their name on the long list of winners. It is probably due to the relative unavailability of the circuit, for it is only in use by racing cars once a year and there is never any opportunity to do any private test driving on the circuit or any pre-race meeting practice, as there is with most permanent circuits on private ground. Silverstone, Brands Hatch, Monza or Nurburgring you can go to at almost any time of the year and drive your racing car, but not at Monte-Carlo, so that every occasion is a rare and valuable one, and the chance to race through the streets of the world-famous principality, in front of the Prince and Princess of Monaco themselves cannot be equaled anywhere else in the world. By the standards of the so-called modern safety requirements that cause trouble at Spa, vast modifications at Nurburgring and the virtual abandonment of street-racing in other countries, the circuit through the streets of Monte-Carlo is a joke, with its complete lack of a fenced-off pit road, hairpin bends with no escape roads, kerbstones and brick walls, spectators within a few feet of the passing cars and, to cap it all, a tunnel with a curve in the middle of it. The circuit has just about everything that the improvers are trying to eliminate on other circuits, yet everyone clamours for an entry at Monaco and accepts a limitation of starters imposed by the autocratic Automobile Club of Monaco under the leadership of Jacques Taffe and Claude Fin. 

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Perhaps it is all because it started in 1929 and that, apart from minor details, the circuit has remained unchanged since that day, even though Monte-Carlo has been almost totally rebuilt over the years; many of the old hotels being replaced by sleek skyscrapers, the gasworks being removed completely, the station being moved to a new site, the trainlines being re-routed, an old train tunnel turned into a motor road, a new elevated road being made and yet the shape and character of the roads used for the circuit are unchanged. Where the racing cars blast along the harbour front, you are still not allowed to drive on non-race days and you are still not allowed to ride a motorcycle through the Casino square, while you must drive your car anti-clockwise round the square, whereas the racing cars circulate clockwise. One French paper summed it all up by asking whether the Grand Prix of Monaco had grown up with the town or whether the town had grown up with the Grand Prix circuit? To add to this strange and irrational attitude to the Monaco Grand Prix Stewart wrote a piece for the powder-puff press saying that if he was limited to driving in only one Grand Prix each year he would choose the Monaco Grand Prix. If he ever has an accident at Monaco and frightens himself, as he did at Spa in 1966, probably he would change his tune. The practice time for the Grand Prix is four hours, divided into one and a half hours on Thursday afternoon, one hour early Friday morning and one and a half hours on Saturday afternoon, during which time all 23 entries can thrash round as much as they wish and at the end of it all the fastest 18 would be allowed to start in the race. This year there is no Geneva agreement, which means no pre-arranged favouritism; it is quite simply the 18 fastest, though the timekeeper’s word is law. 

 

A lot of people seem to think that this system results in a fiendish last-minute dice by everyone, where in plain fact the only dicing that is necessary is by the odds and ends who occupy the last two or three rows of the starting grid. Even before things get under way on Thursday the rain begins, and gets worse and worse as the official hour and a half dragged on. The pits are jam-packed with cars and drivers, Fittipaldi and Wisell with the two Lotus 72 models, Ickx, Regazzoni and Andretti with the Ferraris, Hill and Schenken with the Brabhams, Hulme and Gethin with the McLarens, Stewart and Cevert with the Tyrrells, Rodriguez, Siffert and Ganley with the B.R.M.s, Peterson, Soler-Roig, Galli, Pescarolo and newcomer Barber with the March 711s, Amon and Beltoise with the Matra-Simcas and Surtees and Stommelen with the Surtees cars. Andretti, with his South African victory to uphold is trying Monaco for the first time and hating every one of the 119.1 sec. that it takes him on his fastest lap. His only consolation is that Stewart takes 129.9 for his best lap and calls it a day. Something gets into Amon and he does heroic things with the Matra to go round in 108.8 sec., his heavy braking for the hairpins being awe-inspiring to watch. He is the only one to get below 1'50"0 (110 sec.), though Wisell, Hill, Beltoise, Surtees and Rodriguez are heroes as the Practice Times first column indicated. So bad are the conditions that the organisers cancell the practice for the Formula Three supporting race, which is a wise decision in view of the way some of the up-and-coming stars can have accidents under perfect conditions.

 

"Lots of water to swim in; It feels like going on a boat, it's very dangerous; Better not to insist".

 

Here, in summary, are the opinions expressed by Andretti, Regazzoni and Ickx on the first day of testing for the Monaco Grand Prix, the third episode of the Formula 1 World Championship, scheduled for Sunday 23 May 1971 on the circuit of the Principality of Monaco. Rehearsals, needless to say, were completely ruined by the rain. Times cannot offer any valid indication. Chris Amon, on the Matra-Simca, was the fastest, but this means that the New Zealander passed the 3145 meters of the track in 1'48"8, at an average hourly speed of 104.063 km/h. Last year Rindt, with the Lotus lapped in 1'23"2, at an average speed of 136.081 km/h. Better to talk about the participation of the drivers and teams in this Grand Prix which, after the races in South Africa and Spain, introduces the championship into its liveliest phase. Everyone is there in Monte-Carlo, plus two rookies, Nanni Galli and the American Skip Barber, the first with the March-Alfa Romeo, in communion with de Adamich and the other with a March-Ford. The problem will be to qualify. Once the Geneva pact with its favorite riders has lapsed, the first 18 best times will be admitted to the race out of 23 participants. Nanni Galli says:

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"I drove the car today for the first time, after going to England to get to know it at least when it was stationary. It won't be easy to get into the magnificent 18. However, I have the satisfaction of being able to try".

 

As in Africa and Spain, the theme in the fight for victory remains the duel of the three Ferrari drivers with Stewart and his Tyrell. Mannello's team brought four single-seaters to Monte-Carlo, namely two brand new 312-B2 models (for Ickx and Regazzoni), a car with a 1970 type chassis, a new engine and a reserve car for training (the car with which Ickx finished second in Barcelona behind Stewart). The four 312-Bs were tested in Italy by Peter Schetty and Ickx, with excellent results. Schetty, sporting director of the Mannello team, says:

 

"I was impressed by the handling of these cars. They should be comfortable on this circuit".

 

Mauro Forghierl, technical director, states:

 

"The new 12 boxer cylinders, an improved version of the one used in 1970, allow a wider range of use. The maximum speed rose from 11.800 to 12.500 RPM, with a power of approximately 470 HP".

 

The range of use now varies from 7000 to 12.500 RPM. The car and drivers would have undoubtedly benefited from a good number of test laps. Instead, both Andretti, Regazzoni and Ickx limited themselves to completing half a dozen laps. Ickx, the young veteran of the Ferrari team in the Principality, advised his teammates against persisting.

 

"There are puddles everywhere. It's dangerous: you risk skidding and damaging the car".

 

Andretti and Regazzoni had to settle, reserving the right to make up for it starting from Saturday morning, in the second training session. Andretti says:

 

"It's a fun circuit, but it's not very easy to learn. It seems terribly narrow to me and overtaking is difficult".

 

The Italian-American has a 312-B1 with a 1970 chassis and a new type engine. In this regard, despite the progress made by Cosworth with its Ford eight-cylinder engines, in particular with those - about fifteen - of the special series intended for Tyrrell, Lotus, Brabham and McLaren, the 12-cylinder Ferrari remains at the top of power with its 470 HP. The new edition Cosworths have 15-20 fewer. Two facts and one suspicion remain to be reported. As mentioned, only 18 drivers will be admitted to the Grand Prix. The manufacturers and racers would like this number to be increased to twenty, but the organizers refuse for safety reasons. On Saturday 22 May 1971 there will be a joint meeting to settle the dispute which, according to some, could take a very controversial turn. Meanwhile, six of the twenty-three participants did not try, namely Pescarolo, Siffert, Hulme, Soler-Roig, Ganley and Cevert. Many have smelled a component in the exhaust gas of Lotus cars that could be ether. By regulation, Formula 1 single-seaters can only use commercially available fuel, i.e. very common petrol. But some secret (and forbidden) additives could add a little more horsepower. The word about Lotus and other non-Italian teams had already spread last year. Wouldn't it be time to do some checks? Friday morning is at least dry but by no means bright in the normal sense of Monte-Carlo weather, and practice is a bit late as the Formula 3 chaps are given extra time to compensate for the cancelled practice. When the Grand Prix field is released there is a mad rush for no one believes that the dry weather is going to last and an instant quick lap time is essential. Stewart is away first, followed by the rest and there is so much traffic that any fast times are impossible. Fairly soon, the mad rush subsides as cars stop to have adjustments made and with more room available some semblance of reality begins to emerge. 

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Stewart, Ickx and Rodriguez are setting the pace, their lap times getting down below 1'25"0, which means that creditable times by drivers like Peterson, Gethin, Regazzoni and Wisell are being overshadowed. After a few laps, with the new radiator cowling on his new Tyrrell Stewart reverts to the original nose with the wide, flat aerofoil and left everyone overshadow with a lap in 1'23"2, equalling the record. While Stewart is having his glory others are having their despair. Notably Andretti whose Ferrari engine has died in the Casino square when the fuel-injection system has stopped working. He coasts downhill to the sea front in an endeavour to get it starts but to no avail, so he is stranded on the far side of the circuit. As he is still learning his way round and is still trying to get used to the confined spaces of the circuit, a feature of the Barcelona circuit that has troubled him, he has not made any very fast laps and everyone is in front of him on the starting grid list except Galli, as the Alfa Romeo-engined March 711 is popping and banging with fuel starvation trouble due to installation problems, Soler-Roig because his March 711 has shed a rear wheel due to poor inspection back at the factory letting a machining error creep through, and Barber who never gets going at all as his gearbox is all wrong. The exhilarating duel that took place in Spain between Ickx's Ferrari and Stewart's Tyrrell-Ford will be repeated in the Monaco Grand Prix. The outcome of the second day of testing can be predicted, although to have more valid indications we will have to wait for the conclusion of the last training session, scheduled for Saturday afternoon. On Friday, under a dark but not rainy sky and on a track that had once again become dry, Stewart was the fastest, equaling the record set last year by Rindt and Lotus. The Scotsman lapped in 1'23"2. lckx set the second best time, while Siffert (B.R.M.) and Amon (Matra-Simca) tied for the third best time. A second of difference is no small thing, however it should be noted that Stewart achieved his exploit with half-empty petrol tanks and instead with those of his Ferrari filled with around one hundred liters of fuel. The Belgian Ferrari driver says:

 

"Stewart is very good, but I don't start out beaten, even though he has always performed very well in Monte Carlo, better than in any other circuit. The time I achieved today is of relative importance".

 

And Stewart adds:

 

"I am pessimistic by nature. Setting the best time doesn't matter much, the important thing is to arrive first".

 

On this route that unravels between houses and hotels, touching gardens and doors, with two rows of guardrails. to contain the 450-470 horsepower of the current 3000 cc single-seaters, lckx stands as the leading man of the Ferrari trio, the winning ace. Andretti and Regazzoni are at their first experience in Monte-Carlo, the first in an absolute sense, the second has two previous experiences in Formula 3. Too little, perhaps. Furthermore, Regazzoni (like lckx) was plagued by brake problems, while Andretti Ita could only complete nine laps. The breakdown of a petrol station blocked the Italian-American along the circuit, who set a rather modest time (the twentieth). A time which, if it is not improved, could even cost him exclusion from the race. Says lckx, who has his delightful young wife, Catherine, by his side:

 

"Here I raced in 1967 in Formula 3 and in 1969 and 1970 in Formula 1, with Brabham and Ferrari. There are safety barriers and, above all, lots of curves. It is not possible to reach high speeds, perhaps 220 per hour on Boulevard Louis II, that is, on the coastal road that precedes the tunnel and the chicane. It is a very narrow track and overtaking is only possible on the two out-and-back straights of the pits or if the person in front is kind enough to move aside. To win or at least to have a good race, the driver and car must meet specific requirements. Whoever is behind the wheel must have exceptional driving precision. With the small diameter wheels that are fitted now, it is easy to make mistakes and the slightest mistake is enough to touch a guardrail or a pavement and be forced to retire. The car must be easy to handle and light, with a very robust transmission to withstand the extraordinary stresses imposed by the layout of the circuit".

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In the opinion of lckx, in addition to Stewart and Tyrrell, the behavior of Amon and Matra-Simca is good, which has excellent stability, while the B.R.M. they are improving. And the new Ferrari 312-B2? The Belgian replies:

 

"It is softer and easier to ride than the previous model. The engine also offers better performance and acceleration seems more brilliant".

 

The information gathered from the various teams reports that Cosworth has sent seven engines of the new enhanced series to Monte-Carlo (for Tyrrell, Brabham, McLaren, Surtees, Lotus and March): that on Cevert's Tyrrell an unprecedented braking system has been fitted double discs; that March and Lotus have redesigned the rear suspension (but if Fittipaldi judges the change to be positive, Peterson is unhappy with it); that the Matras have returned to engines with titanium pistons, giving up steel ones; that the B.R.M. by Rodriguez has new type of headers. In any case, it is significant that four of the five fastest single-seaters today are equipped with twelve-cylinder engines. Compared to the eight-cylinder Ford-Cosworth engines, it offers better maximum torque. On Saturday afternoon, two heats of the Formula Three race are held in the dry, but heavy rain clouds are coming over the mountains and before the last Grand Prix practice begins rain is falling once again. The outcome is settled before anyone goes out, the Friday morning times are going to settle the grid, Andretti would be a nonstarter and the dividing line is drawn between Schenken and Ganley, that inseparable pair that contrive to record almost identical performances everywhere, even though they drive diametrically opposed types of car, which must prove something or other. Schenken is in and Ganley is out, with half a second between them. As lots of teams have installed rebuilt engines, or have cured previous troubles there is a surprising amount of activity, even though none of it can alter the starting grid. 

 

Surtees and Stommelen do some filming with their camera car, the Alfa Romeo engine is made to go properly, Cevert overdoes the bedding-in of the new twin-disc Girling brakes and cracks a disc, and Andretti goes round in his own car and the spare one, but without any hope. Towards the end of the session the rain stops and the road begins to dry, but not enough to be significant, and everyone tries surprisingly hard, just in case they are going to have to race under the same conditions. It is Siffert who makes fastest lap as the roads are drying, with 1'31"8, a long way off bogey-time, and quite a long way off the last qualifying time, which is Schenken’s 1'28"3 on the previous day. While the Grand Prix circus returns rather gloomily to their workshops an elated David Walker deals very convincingly with the French Renault-Alpine and Italian Tecno opposition in the Formula Three final, winning the 24-lap race in his works-supported Lotus 69 with Italian Novamotor Ford engine. The Ferrari trio at the Monaco Grand Prix was unfortunately reduced to a duo. Mario Andretti was unable to enter the list of 18 drivers admitted to the third episode of the Formula 1 World Championship. He, the winner of an Indy 500 and of the first Grand Prix of the season, that of South Africa, will have to content himself with watching . It's a real shame, also because it was mainly the rain that prevented the admission of the Italian-American. Over three days of training, bad weather hit the principality twice, on Thursday and Saturday. The only sunny session took place on Friday and, on this occasion, Andretti was stopped after 37 minutes by a fault with the injection distributor. His best time was only the twentieth.

 

"We will have time tomorrow".

 

They called themselves the Ferrari clan. During the night, to entrust Andretti with a vehicle in perfect working order, the 312-B1 was subjected to careful overhaul and fine-tuning work, and a new engine was fitted. But the Italian-American's exploit never came. Mockingly, a storm broke out on the principality circuit a few minutes before the start of practice. Just like Thursday. Andretti took to the track anyway, but with inevitably poor results. Furthermore, after a few girls, his 312-B1 began to complain of carburetion problems, until it stopped in the garage (and it seems that the engine ended up failing). 

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Peter Schetty and Mauro Forghieri put Mario in the reserve car, the same one that Ickx Spagna had used. Too bad it wasn't already on the track on Friday. The mechanics quickly adapted the car to the Italian-American and the latter took off making some furious passes, until he dropped to the limit of 1'40"0. Then the differential broke, putting an end to all hopes, just as the sun returned to Monaco and the asphalt began to dry, Ickx was preparing to pull his teammate and the Firestone specialists had already piled up a set of very special tires (the only one brought here) for mixed conditions of wet-dry. Andretti doesn't make a tragedy of it, but he is clearly sorry.

 

"I am a religious man, and therefore I don't say bad words. but I really want it. I've never had so much trouble together. It's a shame, because I was starting to like the circuit and I was learning. All I have to do is come and tell me in Indianapolis".

 

The Indy 500 is scheduled for Saturday 30th on the famous American oval.

 

"That's a track I know well, and if it rains you can't race".

 

Equally unlucky was Nanni Galli, the only Italian driver entered in the Monaco Grand Prix. The Tuscan, a talented prototype specialist, is attempting an adventure with single-seaters. But bad weather and the vagaries of his March-Alfa Romeo prevented him from entering the group of 18 best. However, it is worth mentioning his time, considering that it is sixth of the day and that the best time was set by Siffert (B.R.M.). Of course, it's sad not to see even one Italian driver competing in a race that has rightly been defined as the Italian Grand Prix, given that there are so many enthusiasts who come to the Principality. Galli would not be able to participate in the third episode of the World Championship even if the number of entries were increased from 18 to 20, as requested by the builders to the organizers. His time is the last. If this possibility were to materialize, Andretti would be back in the game. But it is very vague because the organizers took refuge behind the regulations, approved by the CIS. They invoke security issues. And perhaps they are not wrong, apart from the fact that in Monte-Carlo, generally after a few girls there are already two or three retirements.

 

"And then, the prince doesn't want it".

 

But if the prince really wanted to stay calm, it would be better for him not to organize a race through the streets of his Principality. The theme of the Grand Prix, at this point, remains the one outlined the day before. Challenge between Ickx with the Ferrari 312-B2 and Stewart with the Tyrrell-Ford, yet another comparison between the 8-cylinder and 12-cylinder engines on this circuit which involves 2000 gear changes and 800 corners. A pairs race, one could say, given that two examples from the Ferrari team, Tyrrell, are competing. B.R.M., Brabham. March, Surtees, Matra-Simca, Lotus and McLaren. Two hours in agony, hoping that the rain doesn't return. In any case we will run, the show has its needs. Although Sunday, May 23, 1971, is bright and sunny there are still ominous clouds over the mountains behind Monte-Carlo, but all morning huge crowds pour into the principality, parking is impossible and walking is the only means of movement. The whole town is overflowing with spectators as Prince Rainier officially closes the roads at the wheel of a Jaguar V12 Roadster, and the 18 starters assemble ready for a warm-up lap. Sixteen of them get away all right, Amon is delayed as his Matra V12 would not generate enough pressure in its injection system, and Regazzoni misses his lap as the fire-extinguisher system goes off inadvertently and there is a panic to fit another extinguisher container. Stewart zooms round in the Tyrrell 003, confident that he has the best engine that Cosworth can supply, and that his pit are well prepared with tyres and pneumatic wheel-nut spanners at the ready should rain develop, necessitating a stop for wet weather Goodyears. The others follow him round at intervals, Peterson using some new Firestone tyres on his March, as are the two Lotus drivers. 

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These are a new compound smooth tyre, reckoned to give increased cornering power, but lack of testing and the poor practice weather mean that their race-long characteristics are unknown, although such knowledge as there is indicated that they would be good on the relatively slow Monaco circuit. Cevert’s Tyrrell 002 is back on normal ventilated single-disc Girling brakes, and shortly before 3:00 p.m. the cars are lined up in pairs and hearts sunk when it is announced that Louis Chiron would give the starting signal, in honour of the 40th anniversary of his victory at Monaco with a Bugatti. Once again Amon’s Matra fails to start and there is some confusion as mechanics push his car to one side, Rodriguez creeps forward and Chiron waves his flag to stop the B.R.M. driver. More by luck than judgement the start is given and Stewart shoots straight into the lead from pole position and leads the pack up the hill from Saint Devote corner. Ickx makes a good start from alongside Stewart, but Siffert makes a better one from behind the Scotsman and lckx can do nothing but fall in behind the B.R.M. By the time the pack are half a lap away poor Amon gets his Matra starts and screams off in rather hopeless pursuit. With a clear road ahead, Stewart is waiting for no one and he makes full use of the empty circuit leaving everyone struggling to keep pace. As the general mêlée are ending the second lap Hill clips the Armco barriers on the inside at the Tabac corner and shoots across the road to demolish the Brabham BT34 against the outside of the corner. It is a most unusual and rare mistake for Hill to make, but there is some small consolation in that he is not alone in clouting a barrier by the end of the race, the wheel and tyre mortality being exceptionally high this year. It takes Stewart only five laps to open up a significant gap between his Tyrrell and the second-place B.R.M. of Siffert, and from then on he is uncatchable, driving an immaculate race that is almost perfection. He does not have to drive so hard and so desperately as he does in Barcelona, when Ickx is hounding him unmercifully, for this time he is in full command and setting the pace. He is in great form and makes fastest lap after fastest lap as his fuel load lightens and everything settles into the swing of the pace he is setting. He is soon lapping under 1'25"0, then under 1'24"0 and just before half-distance he is under 1'23"0, and each one is now a new absolute record. 

 

He finally leaves the lap record at a staggering 1'22"2, a whole second faster than Rindt’s seemingly phenomenal lap record of 1970. There is no question of anyone else matching this pace and such interest as there is behind the flying Tyrrell is centred on the progress of Peterson in the works March 711. Siffert is holding second place, with Ickx behind him, but the Ferrari begins to drop back after 10 laps as the rear anti-roll bar has broken and the back is rolling badly on the hairpins and letting the inside wheel spin badly, even lifting it off the ground at times. After dealing with Hulme’s McLaren. Peterson has his red STP-March in fifth place and is pressing hard on the tail of the B.R.M. of Rodriguez, but the little Mexican is not to be pressed-on and refuses to take any notice of the charging Swede. On lap 13 Rodriguez is desperately braking late for the Gasworks hairpin, about the only place where overtaking is possible between equal cars at Monaco, when a front brake locks on solid and rubs a flat on the tyre as he slithers towards the hairpin. He has no choice but to stop at the pits for a new wheel and tyre, and this let Peterson go charging on unhindered in his pursuit of Siffert and Ickx. While the leader is putting on an impressive display of his superiority over everyone else in Grand Prix racing, and Peterson is giving his supporters something to support, those at the back of the field are having their various troubles. Amon has to stop and change a flat tyre, which put him even further back and with no hope of catching anyone. After his brake-locking incident and subsequent pit-stop, Rodriguez stops again on the next lap as the car does not feel right, but nothing can be found wrong so he carries on. In the opening laps, on lap 4 to be precise, the tail-enders get all muddled up when Cevert stalls on the Gasworks hairpin and Schenken has to take violent avoiding action and brakes both near-side wheels of his Brabham against the outside kerb. As the pits are only a little way away he is able to limp in and have two new wheels fitted and carry on. Two laps later, Cevert clouts the edge of the track and damages the rear of his Tyrrell, which stops any further racing for him. At 20 laps Stewart is away on his own, Siffert is second and Ickx third, but Peterson is closing steadily. Hulme is in fifth place and Beltoise sixth, though some way back having made an excursion up the escape road at the chicane on the harbour front. 

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Then comes a furious group that looks fast and heated and probably is by their standards, but it is only seventh place that is at stake and you have to be higher than that to get into the World Championship stakes. This comprises Wisell, Pescarolo, Regazzoni, Stommelen, Fittipaldi, with a clutch that is not freeing, Surtees and Gethin, and as they all rush into the relative darkness and shattering noise of the tunnel on the next lap, Pescarolo’s Hewland gearbox jumps out of fourth gear. By the time he is out in the sunlight again and has realised what has happened his rev.-counter is showing 11.200 RPM and all except Gethin has shot past him. This put Regazzoni behind Wisell and next lap, as they go along the sea-front towards the tunnel the Ferrari is nearly touching the Lotus. From all accounts Wisell muffs a gear-change, Regazzoni dodges the Ferrari sideways and strikes the kerb which results in two broken wheels and flat tyres on the right-hand side and he limps to the pits for new ones. Wisell also stops at the pits with a wobbly right-rear wheel, the hub race having broken up, which may have been caused by being struck by the Ferrari or it may not, no one is quite sure what happens in the general scramble. It all results in Wisell’s retirement and Regazzoni rejoining the race way down the field and out of contention. On lap 23 Gethin hits the edge of the track and bends the right-front suspension and that is his race over, and two laps later Regazzoni catches his right-rear wheel on the wooden barrier as he is leaving the chicane and this bends the rear suspension and spins him like a top. He recovers and retires at the pits. Peterson’s meteoric drive in pursuit of the B.R.M. and the Ferrari in second and third places is held up momentarily when he gets behind Pescarolo, as he is lapping him, but then he goes by and takes the Ferrari as well, and in no time at all sweeps past the B.R.M. on lap 31. He is throwing the March about as if he has gone mad, but it is all calculated and he doesn’t bounce off anything, nor does the March fall to pieces under him, which surprises a lot of people. Although he is only 17 seconds away from Stewart after he has dealt with lckx and Siffert, the Scot is not troubled, and at 49 laps, which is half-distance, the gap is 18 seconds, soon to be increased to 20 seconds and 21 seconds, so it is all over. 

 

With Wisell and Regazzoni out of the also-rans battle, and Pescarolo slowing with a deflating near-side rear tyre, Fittipaldi leads the two Surtees cars, but the Brazilian has bumped a kerb somewhere and put the right-rear wheel out of line, with a bent top link mounting pin on the chassis, and a crack in the cross-member supporting it. Beltoise has another excursion up the escape road at the chicane, which let Fittipaldi into sixth place, and then both Matras disappear within two laps, with a breakage in their Hewland final-drive units, Amon on lap 46 and Beltoise on lap 48. There are now only five cars on the same lap, Stewart in an unassailable lead, Peterson in a dominant second place, Siffert third and Ickx hanging on tenaciously, even though half his rear anti-roll bar mechanism has fallen in the road! Hulme is a lonely fifth, just driving round steadily for a finish. As a race it is now a procession to the end with little hope of any last-minute excitement, and on lap 59 as Siffert accelerates away from the Gasometer hairpin an oil pipe brakes and he sees his oil pressure gauge needle drop to zero, so he switches off hurriedly and comes to rest, out of third place and the race. At the back of the field Stommelen and Surtees are running steadily and reliably, nose to tail, in sixth and seventh places and Pescarolo is bringing up the rear, apart from Rodriguez and Schenken who are many laps behind. As the 80 laps draw to a close grey clouds appear over the town and the beady eyes of the race leader look anxiously skywards as he goes up the hill towards the Casino. The weather man is kind and the small pending shower holds off until Stewart receives the chequered flag, and then falls lightly as he goes round on his slowing-down lap accompanied by great applause and appreciation from the great crowd. No duel, no battle in the Monaco Grand Prix. There was only one protagonist, who is naturally called Jackie Stewart. The Scotsman dominated as he wanted, lowering the record several times on this incredibly crowded serpentine circuit. A human wall, a colorful tide, broken by the shouts of Ferrari fans. It went badly, there's no point in hiding it. Ickx had to settle for third place, preceded by the Swedish revelation Ronnie Peterson, while Regazzoni had to retire after hitting a curb. Andretti did not qualify and all attempts to expand the number of starters to twenty were in vain. But even Andretti couldn't stand up to Stewart, especially here. 

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The Scotsman, well supported by his Tyrrell, on which one of the new 450 HP Super-Cosworths had been mounted, offered yet another proof of his class. He started in the lead and ended up in the lead after 80 textbook laps. The curves always tackled in the same way, the succession of gear changes always perfect, never an imperfection, even the slightest, while racing through the ups and downs and curves of the Principality, the helmet tilted to the right, brake - clutch - gearbox - accelerator, the wheels skimming the pitfalls of pavements and guardrails, on this circuit which forces the driver to achieve absolute driving perfection. Stewart was a master, who Siffert with B.R.M., Ickx with Ferrari and Peterson with March tried in vain to oppose. Siffert was forced to retire due to engine failure, Ickx did not shine as usual at the wheel of a car equipped with tires that were not suitable in relation to the conditions of the asphalt and the weather, Peterson completed an excellent race, and the relief gains greater value if you consider that the Swede (who made his debut in Formula 1 just last year in Monte-Carlo) raced with one of the old-type Ford-Cosworths. Mauro Forghieri, Ferrari technical director, says:

 

"We have never had as much trouble as in the Principality".

 

In fact, after the Andretti case, the problems for the Maranello team began even before the start. While the stewards were busy aligning the 18 cars on the starting grid, the fire extinguisher went off on Regazzoni's 312-B2. The command, perhaps struck in the confusion, went into action, creating a large cloud of dust. It was an almost dramatic moment. While the other drivers set off for a reconnaissance lap around the circuit, the mechanics threw themselves on the Swiss's car. In a few feverish minutes, the system was restored. Regazzoni joined him on the starting line just a few seconds before Louis Chiron, starter of honour, lowered the Monegasque flag. The failure of Ickx and the Ferrari to challenge Stewart made the race monotonous, in the sense that no one could doubt a Stewart victory. Peterson offered a thrill of emotion by bravely overtaking Siffert and Ickx, but it was a poor thing, nor could one be passionate about the race of the followers, committed to conquering a position of honor and above all, urged to give way to the Scotsman . In training, they had asked Ken Tyrrell, Jackie's manager, why he only took the times of his rider. And Tyrrell replied:

 

"And why should I do differently? He is the one who counts".

 

An un-British joke, perhaps, but, at the moment, quite accurate. Stewart is on his way to winning his second world title. With the success obtained in Monaco he rises to 24 points, while Ickx has 10 points and Andretti 9. The other drivers are even worse. At the Monaco Grand Prix it is also worth noting that the cars equipped with the new Super-Cosworths placed well (apart from Stewart, Hulme, Fittipaldi, Stommelen, Surtees and Pescarolo); The performance of the Matra-Simcas was unsatisfactory, with Amon blocked at the start by failure to engage the gears and, once started, by the failure of the differential, and Beltoise forced to retire for the same reason, of the B.R.M. and Lotus. Graham Hill, the hero of Monte-Carlo, the most successful driver on this circuit, crashed into a wall at the tobacconist corner, in front of the port. He walked back to the box. A few courtesy applause, and that's it. His eyes were on Stewart's blue car. Even in the Grands Prix the idols fade away. The Grand Prix is over, and Mario Andretti participated only as a spectator, following the unfortunate race of his teammates from the Ferrari garage. The attempts made during the night by the Maranello team to have its driver admitted to the race, raising the number of qualifiers from eighteen to twenty, did not have a positive outcome. Since the opposition, dictated by security reasons, came mainly from the Monegasque government, it was even thought of involving the American embassy in France. Ferrari sporting director Peter Schetty says:

 

"It is absurd that a potential world champion cannot take part in a race on the calendar. There is a risk of altering the very progress of the Formula 1 season".

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Regarding the lack of the reserve car, in Friday's training session, Schetty states:

 

"That single-seater was only supposed to be used in the event of an accident to replace a damaged car. On Friday the tests lasted an hour and to modify the 312-B according to Mario's size (steering wheel position, pedals, etc.) it would have taken about three hours. For this reason, we considered it unnecessary to take the car to the track".

 

In this bitter exclusion, the sporting attitude of Ferrari's rival teams and drivers should be noted, in particular those using Ford-Cosworth engines (Lotus, Brabham, McLaren, Tyrrell. March and Surtees). Walter llays. manager of Ford Europe, he associated himself in vain with Ferrari's requests. And, moreover, a positive opinion had also been given by the CIS. Unfortunately, everything was in vain, including the work of the mechanics, who had also developed the car destined for Andretti during the night. A driver, a car, a track. The three factors of every race. Success comes from the man-car combination. Famous speech. But in the case of this super ace called Jackie Stewart, collector of Grand Prix, the last one yesterday in Monte Carlo, it is necessary to add a third element. AND' ! Ken Tyrrell, fifty years old, former driver, talent scout of future racing champions and manager of the Scotsman. For a year he has also been a builder, or - if you prefer - an assembler. To him, to his experience and his organizational genius, we owe the Tyrrell, i.e. the single-seater with an eight-cylinder Ford-Cosworth engine, sponsored by a French oil company, which allowed Stewart to prevail in the challenge with the 12-cylinder Ferrari and its Ickx. Regazzoni and Andretti. Okay, if Stewart wasn't the champion he is, the accountant of clean driving, the master of drifting to the millimeter, Tyrrell's work would be useless. But, certainly, in Stewart's place there would be someone else, a champion, so this English Neubauer has the flair for discovering hidden talents. It was the case of Stewart, of Ickx, of Tony Maggs. On his advice John Surtees left the motorbikes for the car.

 

"To evaluate a driver, I first consider the results he has obtained. How else can I find out if he takes part in a sporting activity? However, it can happen that it was the lack of a good car that deprived a rider of successes or placings. I then examine their CV, evaluating their experiences. I try to know what his personal attitude is, that is, his behavior at certain times. I remember Ickx at twenty. He was a rookie, or almost. In one race, his rear suspension broke. He arrived at the garage with a semi-detached grindstone. He was calm, detach him. He sat down and looked at the others. He couldn't do anything else. This is the right attitude as a professional. I would add that to race in a Grand Prix you need to be very intelligent, it is not enough to know how to go fast. And you can get an idea on the subject perhaps by going to dinner together".

 

The Stewart-Tyrrell combination dates back to 1964. Ken heard of a young Scotsman who seemed promising and let him test a Formula 3 Cooper on the Goodwood circuit. There were also Bruce McLaren and Cooper himself. Stewart started to turn and on lap three he matched McLaren's time. The car belonged to him and Jackie achieved an incredible series of successes: he won eleven competitions in a row, driving with a style very similar to that of Jim Clark who seemed to be driving a bicycle and not a Grand Prix single-seater. Stewart and Tyrrell only separated between 1965 and 1967. The B.R.M. offered the Scotsman the chance to race in Formula 1 and Tyrrell, who had not yet organized a team with cars in this category, left his pupil free to try the adventure. In 1968, Tyrrell entered the big game and Stewart returned with he. As for cars, the Matras with Cosworth engines. A good season and, in 1969, the conquest of the world title. The rest is recent history, but it gives an idea of the stubbornness, tenacity and organizational ability of Tyrrell, this large, taciturn man who has two children and a grandson and owns a thriving timber company. Interestingly, Ken is the son of a game warden and Stewart's grandfather was a forest ranger. Therefore, having dissolved the relationship with Matra, last year Tyrrell reached an agreement with March. Now, he admits it was a mistake. The car was not in order and Jackie could not shine. 

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But in June the English manager commissioned the designer Derek Gardner to design a car for the Scotsman, a car that appeared in Monza in the tests for the Italian Grand Prix, namely the Tyrrell-Ford.

 

"I would have preferred to remain a competitor. It is simpler and less expensive to manage other people's cars. For example, the first example of our car, without illness and change, made me spend almost 40.000.000 lire, while I bought a March chassis for less than 15.000.000 lire. However, it was a necessary operation, and now we can be satisfied. At the end of 1970 we solved some problems with the steering, wheels and fuel system and this winter we brought other innovations, paying particular attention to Jackie's safety. Now, it seems to me, things are going quite well".

 

Tyrrell decides on his own, after consulting with Stewart. Ken has full trust in Jackie, and Jackie has full trust in Ken. Stewart says:

 

"You know, a driver feels comfortable with Ken in the garage. We understand each other quickly, as long as he moves his hands. I know that he will always make the right decision, in my best interest".

 

Here, this - with his wonderful class - is perhaps the secret that allows the Scotsman to win. With the Monaco Grand Prix he reached thirteen races. And he will continue, if those at Ferrari don't commit.


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