#208 1971 United States Grand Prix

2022-08-21 00:00

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#1971, Fulvio Conti, Translated by Siria Famulari,

#208 1971 United States Grand Prix

The United States Grand Prix, the eleventh and final race of the Formula 1 World Championship, will take place on Sunday 3 October 1971 at the Watkins


The United States Grand Prix, the eleventh and final race of the Formula 1 World Championship, will take place on Sunday 3 October 1971 at the Watkins Glen Circuit. The extra width and length of the Watkins Glen circuit have the advantage that a larger number of cars can be raced and 29 plus one reserve entry is accepted. Substantially, the list is the same as at Mosport Park two weeks earlier but there are some additions plus a driver change or two. Numerically the order is as follows with last year’s winner, Emerson Fittipaldi heading the list at number 2 (No. 1 is left blank in memory of Rindt). Thus Wisell is next up and the pair are in their regular Lotus 72s in D specification although Fittipaldi’s car is built in 1970 and Wisell’s this year. Ferrari brings along the three B2 models for Ickx, Regazzoni and Andretti plus the faithful last of the B1s which both Regazzoni and lckx rush to drive if they have the slightest opportunity. This is rather a touchy subject in the Ferrari camp, particularly when a copy of an Italian magazine claiming the older car to be better is produced. In fact, lckx races the 1970 B1 in the end just as he has done at Monza. Andretti has something of a problem on his hands for the week before Watkins Glen he is scheduled to drive for the STP team at the USAC Championship race in Trenton, New Jersey and this has been rained off. A new date is fixed for a week later with obvious complications for the commitment with Trenton is more binding than Watkins Glen. Andretti makes it blatantly clear that he would far rather race the Ferrari and turns up to practice, hoping and praying the Trenton race would be rained off for a second week running which, according to the weather forecasters, is a distinct possibility. In exactly the same situation, is Mark Donohue who has driven so well in the Canadian GP with the Penske/White McLaren M19A bought from the works but still under their influence. However, Penske nominates his British second string driver David Hobbs as a reserve, Hobbs previously having Grand Prix experience in rather uncompetitive machines like the Bernard White Racing B.R.M. of three seasons back. Also in a McLaren, M19A is Denis Hulme who is in high spirits following his first Can-Am victory for some months the previous weekend. 


For the first time since 1969 the Tyrrell Organization decides to run three cars in addition to Stewart in 003 and Cevert in 002, Peter Revson is co-opted into the team to drive Stewart’s usual spare, the faithful 001. Revson, is a familiar if not successful face in Formula One in Europe in 1964, and since then has concentrated most of his efforts on American racing culminating in a highly successful association with McLaren Racing this season in both Can-Am and USAC racing. The Matra-Simca team from France is little changed with the regular blue MS120Bs for Amon, whose growth of beard, first seen at Monza, has been shaved off. Perhaps, he should have kept growing it until he wins a Grand Prix. Just as in Canada, Yardley-B.R.M. are at full five-car strength with all four P160s and also the last of the P153s. Siffert, Gethin and Ganley are all in their regular cars while Austrian Helmut Marko receives a kind of promotion by moving up from the P153 to the fourth P160, the car driven by George Eaton in Canada. Meanwhile, P153 finds a willing pilot in the form of fellow Canadian John Cannon, who has been threatening a Grand Prix début for a race or two but who has made his Formula One début at the Questor GP in a March 701 earlier in the year. All the P160s finish up with Mk. 2-headed engines but no short-strokes. There are whispers of Aubrey Woods’ imminent departure from the team, but another member of BRM’s engine design staff is present. John Surtees’ Edenbridge firm are fielding three TS9s on this occasion for, following Monza, the latest side-radiator version TS9/005 has undergone a test programme which proves successful. In the car raced by Surtees in Canada, is Mike Hailwood fresh from his excellent showing for the team at Monza but the Eifelland-sponsored car poses a problem. Rolf Stommelen has gone down with a jaw infection and is under doctor’s orders, thus ending his unsuccessful association with the team a race early, and Surtees decides to nominate a replacement driver. He has two in mind, Dutchman Gijs van Lennep who has done such a good job in the rent-a-TS7 at Zandvoort in the rain and American Sam Posey who has finished runner-up in the Continental Championship driving one of Surtees’ TS8 Formula 5000 cars. In the end, Surtees brings them both to the circuit to try the car and delays a final decision until after final practice. 


Despite trying hard, Ron Tauranac’s first season without Jack Brabham has brought little reward for the hard work. The team is headed, as usual, by Graham Hill in the unique Brabham BT34 while Tim Schenken is in his regular BT33. In between the two North American races, the pair has been back to Europe for the Formula Two race at Albi where driving the Rondel team Brabhams they have come into contact with each other when contesting the lead-thus they are eyeing each other rather suspiciously. A third entry under the Motor Racing Developments banner is made for Chris Craft in Ecurie Evergreen’s Brabham BT33, although Tauranac is leaving them mainly to their own problems which are considerable although Craft uses an engine borrowed from the works in practice. The STP-March outfit are, obviously, hoping to finish the season on a bright note and have a trio of 711s for Peterson, Galli, and de Adamich. De Adamich’s 711/1 is back with an Alfa engine in the rear following its use by Beuttler in Canada, and this latest V8 from the Italian firm seems the best yet although there is little incentive with de Adamich announcing he would be driving a Surtees-Cosworth next season. Again, Peterson has the new shovel nose to try and again it does few laps but a new one-piece rear-wing lasted throughout. Pescarolo has recovered from his neck-damaging accident in practice for the Canadian GP. The Williams team, having suffered the ignominy of all three of their F2 cars failing to qualify at Albi, are hoping for better things with their 711, while a similar private March 711 is entered for Skip Barber by the Gene Mason Racing/Triple R Oil Filters outfit. Barber is the first and only reserve and is guaranteed a run if it doesn’t rain at Trenton. Finally Pete Lovely comes along with his hybrid Lotus Special, the jovial 46-year-old American’s crew all wearing Pete Lovely Fan Club tee-shirts (someone cares), and Jo Bonnier makes another of his spasmodic Grand Prix appearances with the almost vintage McLaren M7C. It is unlikely either of these two cars have the fuel tankage to take them through the race without a stop, but Lovely at least has taken the precaution of fitting a special quick release filler for his car and plans a stop. 


Practice is planned to span the two days prior to the race with a four-hour session starting at 1:00 p.m. on Friday and at mid-day on Saturday, while there has been a free-for-all on the Wednesday, although at that stage contractors still have work to finish off including white-lining the sides of the new track, erecting fences and generally building the new timing and press stand. On both official days, practice would be stopped if a car becomes immobile out on the circuit and then recommence when it has been towed in but no allowance made at the end of the session for time lost, which upset some teams a little although with all the time available there is little excuse for not setting up a car. The main problem in practice is one of tyres for the new section’s bends are all banked and graduates at nearby Cornell University has estimated that a lateral force of 1.74 g is probable on these corners compared with the normal 1.4 g estimate of the latest Formula One’s cornering force. Thus, and with the added ingredient of hot weather, the softer compounds are proving marginal and both Goodyear and Firestone have harder than usual compound tyres on hand if necessary and for once seem to be keeping their own information very much to themselves. But briefly back to the Cornell University Aeronautical Laboratory’s computer, which has been used to assist in the design of the new section of the circuit. The computer has forecast a lap time for the new course of 100 seconds, but the interesting booklet published by Cornell on the survey points out that, assuming the figures of cornering force, acceleration and deceleration are correct, then this target lap time can only be achieved by the completely fearless driver with perfect anticipation and the ability to place his car exactly on a geometrical line. In practice Stewart laps just 2.642 sec. slower than the perfect driver and one wonders what kind of figure would have been obtained by the computer for the Nurburgring under the conditions when Moss is in his hey-day. The computer also gives target speeds for the various corners, and using all this information the Penske team actually gear their McLaren for the ultimate but soon have to drop the ratios. Practice starts with Stewart, Hulme, Amon and Peterson setting the pace, but whereas Stewart keeps improving to finish up the fastest of the day the others run into trouble. Amon’s Matra goes off-song, and both the other cars require engine changes. Hulme’s mechanics claim to have broken the engine-changing record, for under an hour-and-a-half later, the car is circulating. However, what is impressive, is that subsequently nothing falls off and Hulme finishes up seventh fastest. 


Peterson’s mechanics take it easier replacing, the team is now damaged and only 11 series engine and the car is not practising again that day. All the times are being recorded to the 1.000th of a second, which only serves to confuse most people. So in this text, we will refer to the nearest tenth only although our table indicates all those tiny fractions. Stewart it is who finishes fastest of the day at 1'42"9 while Regazzoni is heading something of a Ferrari revival by being second fastest at 1'43"2. Fittipaldi and the Lotus team, in general, seem to be in good form, although Wisell does run out of fuel on the circuit. The Brazilian finishes up third fastest at 1'43"9, and going noticeably deeper into the tricky corner after the pits than anyone else. Andretti helps Ferrari spirits with a 1'44"1, Cevert is going well at 1'44"3 to head Hulme, while Howden Ganley surprises and delights everyone with a 1'44"6, but says convincingly that he isn’t personally all that satisfied. However, he very much overshadows the rest of the B.R.M. team, with Siffert further down the list than usual but not really knowing why (an engine has been changed overnight), Gethin who just scratches his head, Marko whose engine develops an oil leak and soaks his back-side in the process and Cannon who finds the P153 rather a handful. After Ganley in eighth, ninth and 10th spots come Beltoise, Surtees and Schenken who seems reasonably happy. Of the non-regulars Hailwood is working hard and going almost as quick as Surtees but van Lennep (with Posey watching his progress carefully) does not impress, Revson is going quite well with Tyrrell’s oldest and most tired engine and Hobbs only does a few laps before the DFV motor loses its flywheel. Conditions on Saturday are similar to the previous day, with the circuit still dusty in places from contractors lorries and so on but not worryingly so. By this time, a huge crowd have already assembled, the great majority of them young people who spurn the costly motels in the vicinity and set up camp in their tens-of-thousands, just as they do at the Nurburgring, but very few other places. The weather is perfect for this outdoor life, and while the evening brings beer and other things in excess and we witness one bloody brawl, the gathering is on the whole very peaceful. However, the peace is shattered at 12 noon by the sound of Formula One racing engines running in anger and soon Stewart and Cevert are out proving the Tyrrell superiority in the opening hour. 


However, Peterson, frustrated by the previous day, soon puts himself in the 1'44"0 bracket and into the top five or six, and Fittipaldi is proving a threat once again. Donohue appears dressed in his overalls, although Hobbs is allowed the first couple of hours in the car, while likewise Posey is in his Nomex, but he has the first go in the Surtees he appears to be sharing. Almost immediately he starts lapping 3 sec. quicker than the Dutchman’s best. Again the tyre engineers rush up and down the pit road with worried expressions on their faces, particularly when the teams are doing full-tank tests. With chunking to worry about the vibrations seem to be forgotten. Incidentally, at this circuit Goodyear, are using Wolverhampton-made tyres again as they suit the Watkins Glen circuit better than the Akron tyres which have proved successful in Canada. The last hour of practice is undoubtedly the most exciting, with most of the fireworks coming from Fittipaldi who, in a display of tremendously mature and determined driving, carves his time down into the high 1'42"0 bracket and looks like snatching pole from under Stewart’s nose. With an extra $2.000 at stake the Scot has something to aim for and Tyrrell has immediately picked up the Brazilian’s impressive laps so the World Champion goes out and coolly and calmly defends pole position. At any other circuit, the pair would have been given equal times but when they are announced officially Stewart has lapped in 1'42"642 and Fittipaldi in 1’42"659. This makes a previously very excited Colin Chapman rather upset. However, in the closing stages, Denis Hulme has also got into the groove and he hustles the orange McLaren round to complete the front row at 1'42"9 with Regazzoni barely slower at 1'43"0, and he makes up the second row with Cevert who has been paced by Stewart. The third row produces an interesting line-up of different 12-cylinder engines. Mario Andretti seems heartened by the stories of showers in the Trenton area, and works hard to get his Ferrari as high up the grid as possible in the event of him starting but seems a little mystified that he is 0.2 sec. slower than Regazzoni but nevertheless good for the third row. Following his disappointing first day Jo Siffert is happier, although not completely satisfied with his performance at 1'43"5. Jacky Ickx has walked back from an abandoned B2 which has suffered an engine disaster, jumps in the spare B1 and, as if to prove a point, immediately starts lapping it quicker than the newer car and finally records 1'43"8. 


Chris Amon takes a while to get his Matra running the way he likes but finally succeeds and just before he puts in the quick one, the session ends. Amon has expected an extension of the session for the couple of halts and walks back to the garage looking very black indeed. His best, 1'44"0, is good enough to keep him just ahead of Reine Wisell (who is driving hard to attempt to keep himself in the Lotus team for next year) and team-mate Beltoise.  After his fast laps early in the session, Ronnie Peterson fails to show any significant improvement because of/or despite various juggling of tyres and suspension settings by the March crew and he has to be content with an unaccustomed eleventh fastest. Ganley is next, and second fastest B.R.M., despite an engine blow up before the end of practice while John Surtees and Mike Hailwood seem happy with the TS9 and return almost identical times. Tim Schenken fails to improve over the previous day thanks to a persistent mis-fire but still remains quicker than Graham Hill. Schenken ends up on the same row as a spectacular Marko and skilful Posey who has not only eclipsed van Lennep, but several other noteworthy and experienced Grand Prix drivers. Unlike Andretti, Donohue does not seem to be taking a start at Watkins Glen as much of a possibility and Hobbs does most of the driving in the Penske McLaren without making much impression but in his few laps Donohue laps in 1'45"4. Revson is still using the tired engine, and all plans for him to get a good tow from Stewart go wrong although in the last half hour he does a fine job of kicking up stones at Can-Am team-mate, Denis Hulme. The rest of the field lines up as per the grid, Cannon having suffered an early engine blow up, Gethin hardly showing Monza form, and Craft finding Formula One perhaps a little more difficult than he anticipates. The thoughtful organizers produce two completely separate grids, one in the event of rain over in New Jersey, which includes Andretti and Donohue but without Hobbs or Barber, and another assuming that Andretti and Donohue would not make it. Incidentally the Penske Lear jet is available to transport the drivers the 250 miles to Watkins Glen at the last moment. It is’t needed and Trenton is on as planned, this mismanagement amongst the rival American racing factions robbing the huge crowd of sight of their best two road-racing drivers in action. 


Of the potential front-runners, Peterson is one of the few who decides discretion is the better part of valour. The three warm-up laps produce some drama for Surtees, who has to have a sticky pressure relief valve fixed while the two slim-line B.R.M. P160s are topped up with fuel. Tex Hopkins, that extrovert starter, does his stuff in his, now rather faded lavender suit, and while he is still in the air there is a growing of sound and out of it all Denny Hulme gets the jump on the rest with Cevert snaking through into second place and Stewart into third. Stewart is in no mood to be headed and by the end of the first lap he bursts past the pits ahead of Hulme, Cevert and Regazzoni. Then, there is the briefest gap to Siffert, then Ickx, Amon, Fittipaldi, Wisell, Beltoise and then Pescarolo, who must have made a tremendous start. As everyone strain to see up the road and watch the rest come through, there is a great screech of tyres and Craft spins at the kink before the pits fortunately being avoided by the followers. He stalls the car and has to push it back to the pits, continuing on his way later. Barber has also started late and Cannon has a first lap spin in the country and re-joines half-way down the field on the second lap, which makes lap charting very difficult. Revson slowly comes into the pits at the end of lap one for his Tyrrell’s clutch is slipping badly due to an oil leak and his car is immediately retired. The opening ten laps, give the race a very Tyrrell complexion for Stewart is establishing a reasonable lead and Cevert seems to be in command of second place. Hulme is third but being pressed hard by the Ferraris of Regazzoni and Ickx with Fittipaldi, Siffert and Hailwood all giving good chase. Surtees has made a longish stop with ignition trouble which drops him to the end of the field although the car sounds good after that while Wisell suffers some brake problem and hits the Armco barrier after five laps and he has to walk back to report to Chapman. The next few laps brings something of a surprise for rather than pull away from the rest of the field it is noticeable that Cevert with the others in tow are pulling the Scot in. Apparently, the Goodyear tyres are starting to lose their effectiveness and the car starts understeering. Cevert is on exactly the same compound so one can only assume that Stewart’s car is either set up so differently that it affects them, or that his driving style has something to do with it or that there is a fault in one or more of the tyres themselves. No one from the Tyrrell camp is keen after the race to suggest which alternative is nearest the truth. 


The bare facts, however, are that on lap 14 Cevert overtakes his team-mate and goes into a lead he is not to lose while Stewart does his utmost to hold off the pursuing bunch who, in turn, starts to slip by. Of these Fittipaldi has made a pit stop with a jamming throttle, and after that runs into tyre problems and is never again in the running while Ickx is showing some of his top form and is setting off in chase of Cevert. Stewart is third when lap 20 comes around, Siffert has moved to fourth ahead of Regazzoni and Hulme while Hailwood and Peterson are engaged in a furious battle with Ganley getting a grandstand view of it all from ninth place. Galli has gone, when someone throws up a huge rock which puts a bow into a steering arm, dentes the chassis tub and then buries itself in one of the side radiators, while Posey’s race only lasts 15 laps when his engine expires. Pescarolo has slipped down the field after his initial good start and is soon destined to retire with top end trouble in his engine. The racing amongst the first ten is as furious as we have seen it for some time and, although Cevert has a healthy lead, the rest are scratching like mad for every inch of road. As it approaches half-distance the race maintains this pace for Ickx is making a very strong effort to haul in Cevert and undoubtedly seems to be making up ground when lapping back-markers. The advantage of six seconds is gradually chiselled down to two-and-a-half. In another couple of laps, we think it would be wheel-to-wheel and Cevert would really carve his name as an ace if he can hold off Ickx. But it just isn’t to be and the Ferrari starts to slip back for the alternator driven from the rear of the gearbox has fallen apart, the battery is providing electricity for the moment but not for long and the engine seems to be leaking oil. HuIme has spun off on the oil and clobbered the Armco, bending the front suspension, and now Siffert is third, Stewart fourth with Peterson, Hailwood and Ganley all urging to pass the Champion. Regazzoni has spun, lost time and with 20 laps remaining re-starts in eighth place. Hill has methodically moved up and just passed Gethin for ninth position. Marko is tenth ahead of Beltoise and this group is about to be lapped. Both Brabham BT33s have retired, Schenken with fuel pressure trouble and Craft with a broken chassis at the rear. Despite his problems Ickx clings gallantly on to second place until ten laps later when the old and tired Ferrari would take no more and he free-wheels into the pits as Siffert passes the start/finish line. 


Siffert’s second spot is insecure for the B.R.M. is mis-firing at peak revs, and has been doing so for some time. Peterson moves up to third having passed Stewart and loses the shadow of Hailwood who has fallen back with a deflating rear tyre which five laps from the end sends him into a barrier. Ganley moves up to fifth and he too is hard on Stewart’s tail now that the Tyrrell’s tyres are almost through to the canvas. Bonnier runs out of fuel but no one notices. Cevert’s lead is now over 30 sec. despite a brush with a guard-rail which can so easily have spelled disaster but doesn’t. Luck is on the young Frenchman’s side and he reels off those last few laps and when Hopkins brings down the chequered flag, Cevert flings both arms high in the air. Siffert’s mis-fire is worse but he is a sound, if a little disappointed, second. Ganley’s great drive almost takes him past Peterson but the slim line B.R.M. is preciously short of fuel and, like Marko has done a lap before him, he comes in for a quick gallon. Parnell waves him on and the gamble pays off for he completes the last lap weaving wildly to pick up the last drop and just holds his fourth place a fine finish to a promising first season. Fifth is Stewart almost catching the B.R.M. while Regazzoni takes sixth spot. A lap behind come Hill, Beltoise, Hobbs and de Adamich who has gone somewhat faster than usual. He is ahead of Amon’s sick Matra, the B.R.M.s of Marko and Cannon while Surtees, Barber, Fittipaldi and Lovely complete those still running. For Ickx there is the consolation of the lap record and a prize of $5.000 that goes with it. The Formula 1 World Championship ended with the United States Grand Prix. Jackie Stewart had won the title on August 15th, in Austria, therefore over two and a half months early. He still had one goal to achieve: surpassing the record set by Jim Clark in 1963 with seven successes in one season. Jackie stopped at six, without too much complaining, also because, in the overall eleven tests of the year, Tyrrell established itself seven times (Cevert concretized its escalation by imposing itself in the United States), with two victories for Ferrari and B.R.M.. It is clear that the championship was dominated by Stewart and Tyrrell, who capitalized on their own merits and the troubles of others. It should have been Ferrari's year, with Stewart alone to counter the trio of drivers from the Maranello team, namely lckx, Regazzoni and Andretti. The latter soon demonstrated that it's one thing to race on American ovals and another to navigate European circuits. 


An experience that most likely would not have followed in 1972. Ickx and Regazzoni committed themselves with anger and pride, but the well-known events (tyres, engines, suspensions) prevented the 312-B2 from offering satisfactory performance. A continuous decline, a series of disappointments which however did not extinguish Enzo Ferrari. The 1971 season ended bitterly, now we're aiming for the next one. What else is left to do? In 1970 Ickx had come second in the World Championship standings, behind poor Rindt. Now, he is fourth, while the great Stewart's deputies are two young men with just two years of experience in Formula 1, namely Ronnie Peterson and François Cevert. Peterson, a 28-year-old Swede, has accomplished admirable things at the wheel of a March with a fragile chassis and rather precarious road holding, placing himself in second place four times (Monaco, Great Britain, Italy and Canada). He is an impetuous driver, with a somewhat dirty ride, all in a drift). The number of accidents he has had cannot be counted. In 1972 he will race again with March and in the prototypes with Ferrari. François Cevert, brother-in-law of Jean-Pierre Beltolse, has an accountant diploma and a formidable collection of weapons (and beautiful girls). Twenty-eight years old and also a bachelor, Cevert was called by Tyrrell at the beginning of 1970 to replace the retiring Servoz-Gavin alongside Stewart. Second in France and Germany, François achieved a sweep in America, in the most coveted Grand Prix for its 50,000 dollar prize. Stewart's school was invaluable for the Frenchman (by the way, it had been since 1958 - Trintignant in Monaco with a Cooper Climax - that a French driver had established himself in a Grand Prix). 


With Stewart and the two revelations, however, there is also a confirmation: the 8-cylinder Ford-Cosworth engine. It was thought that this engine would have to be beaten by the 12-cylinder, Ferrari or B.R.M. or Matra; instead, it demonstrated once again its vitality and, above all, the abilities of its creator, engineer Keith Duckworth. One fact remains indubitable: Cosworth achieved 11 successes out of 58 Grands Prix in five years and pushed Graham Hill (Lotus, 1968), Jackie Stewart (Matra, 1969), Jochen Rindt (Lotus, 1970) and Stewart again to the world title (Tyrrell, 1971). The piercing scream of the twelve cylinders intended for Formula 1 single-seaters quiets down. The racing season is over. But in Maranello, while the first mists of autumn blur the outlines of the Lambrusco factories and vineyards, there is no melancholy. Anger, perhaps, for a bitter year and the desire for revenge. We work towards 1972, we look with loving eyes at the Fiorano test track, which becomes more beautiful and perfect day by day, we console ourselves with series production. Ferrari does not only mean red metal and plastic cigars launched at 300 km/h in a Grand Prix, but also elegant granturismo cars whose ownership has been in existence since 1946. Today, every day, three Ferraris, five Dinos and around eight Fiat Dino coupé and spider. The expansion of the factory has been completed, the number of employees has been increased to 900, of which around one hundred are destined for the racing sector. Engineer Giuseppe Dondo, general director of Ferrari, says:


"However, whether we win or lose in competitions, customer interest does not change. We should be able to anchor ourselves every year on sporting successes, however those who want a Ferrari do not make a choice determined by contingent events. He focuses on quality, he knows that our machines do not lack a hint of craftsmanship and that the materials used are the most refined it is possible to find on the market".


Currently, the Ferrari models are the 365 GTB 4 in the berlinetta and spider versions better known as the Daytona, and the 365 GTC 4, both dressed by Pìninfarina. The Turin body shop and the Maranello company have been working together for around twenty years. It was a sudden surge of friendship between Enzo Ferrari and Battista Pininfarina that led to an agreement that brought conspicuous fruits to Italian motor racing, and which will bring another one very soon. The Daytona dates back to 1969, the first highly anticipated deliveries have begun of the GTC - presented in March at the Geneva Motor Show. The GTB is the most Ferrari of Ferraris, the one that comes closest to racing cars in terms of its performance. However, and this is one of its greatest advantages, it does not require any particular technique or skill to be guided. He wears it normally, and willingly forgives some mistakes. It is clear that everyone must be able to evaluate their own limits, because fully exploiting the 352 HP of the very generous 12-cylinder V-shaped engine is not an undertaking for everyone. 


Road holding is impeccable, at high speeds the front end remains close to the ground and you don't get that unpleasant impression of progressive lightening offered by models from other brands. The 1000 meters can be covered from a standing start in 24s (outgoing speed 222 km/h, maximum speed 280 km/h, almost like a Formula 1 single-seater), but you can also accelerate gently uphill, with fifth gear engaged and 1500 RPM. The GTC is perhaps a little less powerful but with greater refinement and comfort, softer in behavior. It is still Ferrari, however, and you just need to overtake to realize it. Dondo explains:


"This year we think production will be around 1400 units. Our goal is to reach 2500 units and, in 1972, to introduce the Dino in the United States, which in recent days has been approved by the American authorities, in particular with regards to safety standards and anti-pollution devices. Furthermore, in anticipation of further production developments, we have acquired a majority stake in the Scaglietti body shop, which has been the exclusive supplier of Ferrari for many years and which currently creates the bodies of the Dino and Daytona".


The problems of safety and pollution are of extreme importance for Ferrari and also difficult to resolve.


"Working in collaboration with Pininfarina on both a design and testing level, we have resolved safety and style needs. We have also carried out crash tests, and it is a considerable sacrifice to ruin a car worth nine million, not to mention that our orders are certainly not those of the large manufacturers, which can count on production of hundreds of thousands of units per year. Now, our concern is this: that each country varies its own rules, forcing us to make costly production diversification. On the topic of pollution, in collaboration with Weber and Fiat we have solved the problem. For Ferraris we are looking for devices that allow us to keep the characteristics of our twelve cylinders unchanged. In terms of difficulty, we find ourselves at the opposite end of the spectrum from US manufacturers, who have developed eight-cylinder engines with a displacement of 7-8000 cc. So far we have defended ourselves honorably, it will be a matter of seeing what sacrifices to make in the future".


Sacrifices is the right word, because each Ferrari engine is a monolithic block that does not deserve filters to the expansion of its roar and its horsepower. Horses found on the tracks, because every 12 cylinder in production comes from a racing engine. The transposition is never immediate, as the former represents an avant-garde idea realized at any price, while the latter is the result of a meditation that contemplates industrial problems. It is clear that there is no moment, when visiting Ferrari and talking to his men, that the conversation does not fall, directly or otherwise, on racing. They are the blood, the lifeblood of Maranello, the driving force that makes work more frenetic but more exciting. Enzo Ferrari says to engineer Dondo showing him the layout of the Fiorano test and testing track, near the factory.


"You see, here we will be able to fine-tune our machines in peace".


The facility, which is nearing completion, occupies 26 hectares and extends over 3000 meters with around ten curves that imitate those of the most famous circuits. A Ferrari circuit for Ferraris. On Sunday 24 October 1971 an ultra-race of little importance took place, and another fire on the track took another man away. The race at Brands Hatch, the racetrack located on the road between London and Dover, was supposed to be a demonstration of joy, a celebration for the sport of driving that greeted its World Champion, Jackie Stewart. Almost a reunion between friends, without the stimulus of the fight for the world title. And instead, here is the tragedy. Destiny enjoys suddenly and cruelly tearing away those who emerge more than others in the difficult world of competitions. Jo Siffert as Pedro Rodriguez or Jim Clark. Flames flare up, tragic black mushrooms bloom. Fire is the most terrible enemy of men who run at 300 km/h; an enemy that we have not yet managed to tame, despite the adoption of new safety measures on the single-seaters and on the circuits. When a car with 200 liters of petrol crumbles against an obstacle, there is no need to delude yourself. 


There are no tanks capable of withstanding such disastrous impacts; assuming the pilot survives, the firefighters would have to intervene and put out the fire in about twenty seconds. Will it ever be possible for this to happen? The discussion becomes academic, it also involves legislators, organizers, builders. The former, who issue regulations that are absurd in their danger, the latter who aim only for entertainment, without limitations. The manufacturers who bend, must bend, to create machines that cannot help but be terribly fragile. Motorsport must move forward, but it's time to change many things, without indulging in the usual sterile controversies about the usefulness or otherwise of competitions. They are merely empty exercises, which many love to indulge in in the aftermath of a tragedy. We chat, we discuss, we propose, and meanwhile the sad tragic list grows longer, and includes the best. Siffert was undoubtedly an ace behind the wheel, one of the best, because he alternated with equal skill at the wheel of the large five-litre 917-Ks of Gulf-Porsche and that of the streamlined Formula 1 single-seater of B.R.M.. The Swiss had won with the Porsche thirteen races of the World Sports Championship (from the 1000 km of Monza to that of Spa, from the Targa Florio to the 6 Hours of Watkins Glen) and with B.R.M., this year, the Austrian Grand Prix, the second in its life. He achieved his first success at Brands Hatch in 1968, with the Lotus of Rob Walker's team. In 1972 he would continue to race for B.R.M. and in the prototype sector, with Alfa Romeo. Siffert was born in Freiburg on 7 July 1936. A modest family, without too much money. He was a body shop worker. A thin, thin young man who was sent home at the draft office because his foot was too weak. Jo took advantage of this so as not to interrupt her motorsport career, which began in 1958 as a passenger in Edgar Strub's sidecar. After becoming the Swiss motorcycling champion, Siiteli switched to motor racing in 1960. Those were the times of Junior Formula and he made incredible sacrifices to be a driver. He dealt in used cars. what he earned (little) he needed to keep the car and move around Europe.


"My colleagues went to sleep in the hotel. I was content with a corner in the garage, and I often skipped meals".


His rise to success began in 1965, when in Sicily he beat Jim Clark in a memorable race on the Pergusa circuit. That victory fixed many things, especially the financial situation of Siffert, who had spent his last money to pay for the ferry between Reggio and Messina. Worm signed by Rob Walker. he had a Cooper-Maserati in Formula 1, then a Lotus. Porsche realized that they almost had someone in their house who knew how to go fast. The days of the apprenticeship are over. Siffert was soon able to afford luxury hotels. In Freiburg he opened a garage and became a Porsche dealer. He had married the daughter of a Swiss industrialist in autumn 1970 and I had a child. Siffert, however, had not forgotten the hard years. He remained a reserved, almost shy man. He loved skiing and playing ice hockey on vacation. Ever shorter holidays, because the racing calendar became longer and longer: Formula 1, World Sports Championship, Can-Am. He could still obtain a lot from that profession which he had chosen out of pure passion. The death of Jo Siffert arouses deep condolences In Switzerland: not only racing fans, but the entire population was dismayed to learn the news of the tragic end of the driver from Fribourg. Television broadcasts dramatic snapshots of the fire in which Siffert perished at various times, while the newspapers dedicate ample space to the disaster. Siffert was very popular, Swiss athletes saw him as a kind of idol. His numerous victories on the international stage were considered a challenge to the federal laws which for fifteen years have prohibited the holding of circuit races in Swiss territory. Due to this ban, the Swiss ace was almost always abroad, only returning to his homeland to take care of his personal affairs and deposit the prizes won in international competitions in a Friborg bank. Swiss commentators are unanimous in pointing out that Siffert was the number one in Swiss motor racing. They say that he was even superior to Clay Regazzoni from Ticino, because he had collected an impressive number of laurels not only in Formula 1 but also in the sports category. Siffert's death arouses strong emotion among the pilots and technicians. Jackie Stewart says:


"Siffert was a very talented driver and friend. It's a terrible tragedy, I was in front of him with a 5s lead and I couldn't see anything: I only observed a cloud of smoke in the rear-view mirrors. I don't think he made any mistakes, also because he went off the track a hundred meters before the point where you start braking".


And Clay Regazzoni adds:


"Jo was my close friend. I am losing one of the dearest people that I have had the chance to appreciate over time. He was a boy born for motor racing with a remarkable profession and ability. The last time I met him was the first few days of this month, he was beaming because he had a competitive car, the B.R.M., which gave him great satisfaction. He was really happy. I prefer to remember it like this".


And de Adamich concludes:


"Another champion of this sport leaves us forever. The precise causes are not known at the moment; However, it is heartbreaking to know that you are losing a friend as generous and loyal as Siffert was. This had been his best season. He didn't even have time to enjoy it".


After many unlucky races, on Saturday 6 November 1971 the new Ferrari 312-PB achieved a splendid success - the first of its young career - on the Kyalaml circuit, in South Africa, in the 9 Hours. Clay Regazzoni and Brian Redman won by defeating every opponent (three Porsche 917-Ks and a cloud of 2000 cc Chevron B 19s), while Ickx and Andettl took second place. The Belgian-American couple is left with a banal inconvenience, a fault in the fuel system according to some, a simple lack of petrol according to others. The fact remains that Ickx and Andretti lost half an hour and a large number of positions. The two then took off in pursuit and, while Regazzoni and Redman were leading without any problems, they began to overtake rivals in series, pushing the car to the maximum, which revealed all its fantastic qualities. In the end, the prize of second place, albeit fifteen laps behind his teammates. The victory of the 312-B, which is powered by the same 12-cylinder boxer engine fitted in Formula 1 and which has undergone slight changes compared to the model used so far, is a comforting sign for Ferrari in view of the next World Sports Championship, in which the Maranello will have to face Alfa Romeo 33.3s, Matra-Simcas and, probably, British-built cars. Third place went to the Chevron B-19 of Ganley, Drive and Hailwood, finishing five laps behind Ickx and Andretti; in fourth the Porsche 917 of Adamowicz and Casoni. Few car manufacturers in the world have a racetrack as a test bed for their production. On Friday 10 December 1971 Ferrari joined the team, having completed the construction of its Fiorano track. We are talking about a racetrack in a broad sense, of course, because the public will not be admitted to the facility nor will any competitions be held there. The Fiorano track represents another example of Enzo Ferrari's tenacity. 


The Modena manufacturer had long wanted its own test track, close to the factory. The reasons? Simple, to test the racing cars and those destined for production, to test and train the drivers, to train the mechanics and the sports team. It is clear that the development of Formula 1 single-seaters and three-litre sports cars used in Grand Prix and long-distance racing will be facilitated. The proximity of the track, characterized by curves and hairpin bends similar to those of some famous circuits, will allow for greater frequency of testing and, in the event of modifications to be made to the machines, easy availability of spare or new parts. The touring cars will benefit from the same teachings as the racing ones, with the advantage of being able to drive outside normal traffic and receiving even more careful preparation. The facility takes its name from the municipality of Fiorano, on which the land owned by the Ferrari family used for the track depends. Which track, created with the collaboration of Shell, Firestone, Marelli and Heuer, represents a useful example to ponder. First, because it was built in just a few months (in Italy, with the help of bureaucracy, the long-awaited racetracks are still not seen); second, because it constitutes a model plant from a safety point of view. At Fiorano, the orientation of the track with respect to the sun was studied to avoid dazzling the drivers in the most difficult sections; jumps and sinkholes have been eliminated; all obstacles (walls, trees) on the sides of the route have been knocked down; Fixed fire-fighting posts have been created and elastic elements for retaining the machines have been adopted. Anyone who wants to design a racetrack in the future will do well to go to Maranello. The facility is located in a very gentle rural context. Farms, cottages, generous Lambrusco vineyards peek out at the edges of the route. 


The general services are housed in three delightful farmhouses. Testing the machines will be like going on a picnic. There is also an aspect of Enzo Ferrari's common sense and psychology in this. But the Fiorano circuit is not the only Italian vanity to be presented in this season finale. Small, compact, with an appearance that closely resembles the famous Lancia Formula 1 car of the 1950s (and even some technical solutions seem to be inspired, in a modern key, by that admirable car), the Tecno PA 123/1 will be presented on Thursday 23 December 1971 in Pessione, in the Martini and Rossi factories, which financed its activities in the 1972 World Championship. It was a festive meeting, which not even the fog could prevent. Protagonists and supporting actors arrive at the appointment, even if at the cost of adventurous journeys. Present are the builders, Luciano and Gianfranco Pederzani, the sporting partners of this initiative, Gregorio and Vittorio Rossi di Montelera, the drivers Nanni Galli and Derek Bell, the sporting director of the new Martini Racing Team Tecno, David Yorke. And then technicians and journalists from all over the world, immediately demonstrating the interest aroused by this single-seater which is about to begin its career. It must be said that Tecno was born from the authentic passion of the Pederzani brothers and the generous contribution of Rossi, who have always felt the charm of the sport of the wheel, beyond the cold reasoning of advertising give-and-take. The Pederzanis are from Emilia, therefore a characteristic of merit for the roaring world of motors. They started with karts, moved on to Formula 3 and Formula 2 single-seaters, and now arrive at Formula 1. Luciano says:


"It was a dream we had always chased, but we didn't have the money. That day the workers from my aerodynamic system factory came to visit me. We are willing to work overtime, they said, but you build a Formula 1. At that point, I committed. In the first days of February I designed the engine; after seven months he was running the counter. We thought about the frame later. In this matter, we had no worries, given our experience in Formula 2. Now, the car is a reality. We have to refine it, fine-tune it, but it's here. Maybe we'll make our debut in Argentina with Nanni, maybe in South Africa with both drivers".


The PA 123/1 (PA means Pederzani Automobili, 123 stands for 12 cylinders of 3 liters and 1 for Formula 1) was tested for 150 km on the Pirelli track in Vizzola Ticino. Nanni Galli, who finally sees his aspiration of having a car all to himself fulfilled, says:


"You can feel it's a Tecno. Let me explain: it retains the characteristics of the Formula 2 cars of the same brand; that is, it's small, easy to handle, not great road holding. You have to enter corners faster than with another car. It's clear that we still need to work, but the conditions are there for excellent performance".


Naturally, questions and answers come back and forth. The Tecno-Martini agreement (the cost of the combination is not specified, but it is believed that the Turin company has allocated between 100.000.000 and 150.000.000 lire) is valid for one year, but both parties hope to be able to renew it later ; Tecno, so far, has built an engine and a car, but has, respectively, three under assembly and four under construction, while the construction of a series of five other engines is planned; no engine will be sold or given away; the Pederzanis chose the 12-cylinder engine because they believe that, for the same displacement, greater power can be obtained with a more accentuated fractionation of the displacement and the boxer solution because it allows for the creation of more balanced engines; an agreement has not yet been reached with oil brands for the combination of petrol; the Formula 2 program (driver Fontanesi) will be subordinate to the Formula 1 program; Yorke was asked to lead the team due to his professional skills; the new Autodelta fire fighting tank will only be fitted if prescribed by the CSI or by agreement between all manufacturers. Tecno's adventure thus begins in Pessione, at a museum that contains precious archaeological finds. An anachronistic environment which will hopefully bring luck to this all-Italian car which will join, perhaps with a little timidity, the red Ferraris. . In the meantime, however, 1971 is passing away, leaving in the eyes of fans and professionals the image of drivers, sometimes friends, who will not see each other again on the tracks in the new season that is about to begin. 


It goes away with a tail of controversy and bitterness, because it seems that the players in this spectacular, but sometimes so cruel, steering wheel sport do not want to commit so seriously to greater safety on the circuits. It would also be necessary on normal roads, where dying is a daily occurrence, but the roads are more numerous than racetracks and the drivers are less educable. Therefore, starting from the track we could begin a promotional campaign for the road, for common traffic. Sport could be a training ground for ideas, the starting point for looking for new construction solutions, both on board the machines - although, in many cases, distant from mass production - and on the edges of the tracks. There are black spots on the circuits, but also on the streets we travel with our small car. And instead, discussions continue to prevail over facts, and if there is someone who comes up with a new device, there are many who play the role of the perplexed. The legislators of motor racing think of the interests of the organizers, the manufacturers, who commit technical and financial assets to racing, they do not want immediate changes so as not to lose an expensive fleet of cars, the drivers are willing to make compromises. Something, however, is moving, under the pressure of some men of good will, such as the World Champion himself, Jackie Stewart, and under the impression of tragedies - Giunti, Rodriguez, Siffert - which perhaps could have been avoided or ended with a less dramatic budget. 1971 goes away with the idea that Ferrari's not so happy year left in the Maranello fans. Much had been hoped for. Formula 1 and little has been achieved. It is useless, now, to talk about reasons already known, to delve into the folds of a season that was ungenerous. The shiny red cigars of Icxk, Regazzoni and Andresti had to surrender to Stewart's blue Tyrrell after an initial alternation of victories and defeats. Even Italian drivers have not achieved prestigious results in Formula 1. For Galli and de Adamich it was a terrible ordeal, which they both resolved for 1972. the first with Tecno and the second with Surtees. Galli and De Adamich will meet together with Alfa Romeo in the World Sports Championship which opens on 9 January 1972 in Argentina. The Milanese manufacturer had a happy 1971, with three victories; hopes to repeat them, but will find itself facing Ferrari, determined for revenge both in this sector and in Formula 1. A fight that should renew an ancient rivalry, in the name of new successes for Italian motor racing.


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