On Saturday, February 24th, as per tradition, pushed by Eugenio Dragoni’s advice, the new sporting director (a middle-aged Milanese man, industrialist in the cosmetics’ branch, previously secretary for the Saint Ambroeus Scuderia) called to substitute Romolo Tavoni, fired a few months earlier, Ferrari gathers the journalists and friends in Modena for the usual event before the start of the competitive activity. And this time, the invite is accepted by even more people than in the previous years: many came from England, from France and from Belgium: Ferrari recently had a serious blow due to a few important men leaving the holding, and clearly everyone is curious to know the new situation of the Modenese company, apart from the manufacturing innovations.
None of the participants had the feeling that the internal crisis - if there ever was one - hadn’t been solved, (not by chance, Ferrari admitted to the press that the company structure was, at that time, simpler than it had been in the recent past: he is still the manager, helped by just two other people, Ermanno Dalla Casa in the administrating role, and Federico Giberti as production manager) and this is unequivocally proven by the copious cars set up for the upcoming season: the Formula 1 single-seaters, a few rear-engined Sport models, the Berlinetta Gran Turismo 3000 prototype. Let’s talk about Formula 1’s: compared to 1961 their architecture had not been changed (rear engine), but the chassis’ interaxis had been elongated by a few centimeters, the rear suspension modified, and the car had a different weight distribution. The two types of 1.5 liters engines are still the well-known V-shaped six cylinders (respectively with an opening angle of 65 and 120 degrees), employable, the one or the other, depending on the type of circuit in which the cars will race in.
In this regard, the 26-year-old Ferrari engineer Mauro Forghieri, new technical director of a team that can boast the experience of Rocchi, Salvarani, Farina, Bellei and Maioli, has and expresses more than a few doubts. Forghieri wastes no time in discussing with Ferrari about the choice, in his opinion, wrong, of the Dino 156’s which won the 1961 World Champion, because he deemed them too obsolete for the new challenges that Ferrari would have to face in 1962. Forghieri also speaks to Gian Paolo Dallara, a member of his team, about this matter: the two young engineers agree that the Dino 156’s were too wide in the rear part and exempt of stiffening pipes, which would affect the road holding due to the chassis torsion.
"Don’t you dare touch the chassis adjustments".
Said Ferrari to the young Forghieri, who, almost fearful, replied:
"But commandator, if it's raining we have to make adjustments...".
The engineer didn’t have time to finish his sentence, because he was given an equally abrupt answer. But the matter with the engines is also interesting, because the torque power - which was too high - was mortified over the years in favor of the search for horsepower to win the competition against Maserati, which was going on since the start of the ‘60s. Going back to the Sport models’ presentation, the new two-seaters features a new type of rear engine. Lastly, the new Berlinetta Gran Turismo still has the classic 12-cylinder, 2953 cubic centimeters engine and 300 horsepower, but brings a new aerodynamic car bodywork with a truncated tail. This is the car that will be driven by Ferrari’s clients, not by the official team drivers.
A car, the latter, that faces with quite a few difficulties in the first months of its life. Deriving from the 250 Berlinetta born in 1959, this was designed by Giotto Bizzarrini, that resigned without finishing the project. This was tested for the first time by Stirling Moss in Monza, during September 1962. But only some time later, during a test on the Autostrada del Sole, the car is discovered to have a serious design flaw: Willy Mairesse is victim of a severe accident between Bologna and Firenze.
This brings Forghieri to carry out analyses and to find out that the car’s issue lies in the rear: the back bridge, which is only retained by two semi-crossbows and by a spring-strut axle for each side, is not controlled enough, and in the wide radius bends it moves, creating dangerous swerves. A dramatic situation, since the car - as previously said - had already been omologated. The winning idea will be mounting a really thin Watt diagram anchored to the transfer box: this way, the springs would remain there, but without having any function, in line with the sporting regulations. The drivers’ formation, announced at the conference-debate that occurred after the visit to the Maranello factories, is the following: first in line the World Champion Phil Hill; then Giancarlo Baghetti. Lorenzo Baridini, Ricardo Rodriguez, Olivier Gendebien, Pedro Rodriguez, Mike Parkes and Willy Mairesse.
Speaking of Giancarlo Baghetti, on Tuesday February 26th the international jury for the Tazio Nuvolari Prize judged him as the best driver amongst the new recruits for the year 1961. The prize, established a few years earlier at the initiative of the Unione Italiana Giornalisti dell'Automobile to honor the memory of the great mantuan driver, is assigned every year to the young driver who particularly stood out during the previous season, and consists in a small gold turtle, symbol that Nuvolari had adopted for himself. Many representatives of the Italian, French, English, German and Austrian press participated to the voting, and they all unanimously agreed on Baghetti. The prize will be given to the young Milanese driver, who will race for Ferrari in the 1962 season, before the start of the season. In the previous year, the prize had been won by Bruce McLaren, a driver form New Zealand
On Wednesday, March 7 th, further surprising news reach the journalistic editors: Ferrari will participate in the 24 Hours of Le Mans with seven new experimental cars. The announcement is surprising since, in the sport’s environment, doubt was being cast on the presence of the Italian company at the upcoming 24 Hours of Le Mans, which will only be open to experimental and Gran Turismo cars. Meanwhile, during February, Giorgio Bili, the young earl Giovanni Volpi di Misurata and Jaime Ortiz Patino, along with Ferrari’s historical staff, gather in the study of a renowned Bolognese lawyer, to give birth to the Automobili Turismo e Sport Serenissima joint stock company, with an initial capital of 60.000.000 lire. The headquarters of the scuderia is established in Bologna, in Via Altabella no.17, and, according to the structure of the establishment plan, Giorgio Belli will be president of the board of administration, while the earl Giovanni Volpi di Misurata will be vice-president.
Jaime Ortiz Patino, lawyer Felice Valenza, professor Alberto Tripiccione, engineer Carlo Chiti and accountant Girolamo Gardini will all be members of the board. The administration board will make use of a technical committee made up by engineer Giotto Bizzarrini, Carlo Chiti, Fausto Galassi, Girolamo Gardini, Enzo Selmi and accountant Romolo Tavoni, all of them also being shareholders of the company. The goal of this group is building a Formula 1 car, to take part in the 1963 World Championship, and also build a Gran Turismo road car. A few years later, Alfonso Galvani will tell a few small anecdotes about the premises of the new A.T.S. headquarters:
"They were located in a central area, and we settled at the last floor of a building which is still property of the Banca Nazionale del Lavoro. The spaces were really wide, there were at least six or seven rooms which then featured a really big terrace, and in that space we immediately set up the technical office, the department in which the future cars would be designed".
Meanwhile, in the motorsport environment, questions arise about the reasons of the establishment of the new A.T.S. Serenissima. People wonder if the company was born following a feeling of revenge harbored by many people, including Chiti, that had been removed from Maranello a few months earlier. The Tuscan engineer himself will clarify:
"It has been said that the real reason of me leaving Ferrari had to be related to the birth of the A.T.S. company which occurred a few months later: it’s all wrong. When I left Maranello, I had no idea of what the future had in store for me. A further proof of the lightness I took the situation with has been Gerolamo Gardini, another of the conspirators, that set the scene for the A.T.S., convincing Giovanni Volpi di Misurata and Jaime Ortiz Patino, old acquaintances of him, to give birth to an organization that could bring back what we had left. But even before this opportunity, there has been one proposed by the Leto di Priolo brothers that had, in turn, the idea of establishing a sporting car factory. We did not join them because we thought that the Volpi-Patino combination seemed to offer better guarantees. They have been later joined by the well-known Florentine industrial Giorgio Belli, whose name was suggested by myself".
Giorgio Belli will also remember which had been the reasons behind the project:
"At the basis of everything there was a certain sporting hatred, especially between Carlo Chiti and Ferrari, since both him and the commendator had strong personalities: each one of the two wanted to be the best. This led to us focusing our work on the Formula 1 single-seater, rather than on the Gran Turismo, to prove Ferrari that they were better than him. But the difference was in a small detail: Ferrari had an already structured team, meanwhile, on our side everything was new and still under construction, even if the designers’ team was very valid and prepared".
And Alfonso Galvani will think the same:
"One thing is certain: there was a feeling of conceit, not coming from me, but coming from Chiti and his followers, because they wanted to prove that they were the ones destined to victories and success. This is perhaps the aspect they underestimated Ferrari on. The commendator knew exactly who to surround himself with: history has taught us that he didn’t crumble despite some important figures in his company left their place, in fact, he took off towards new and prestigious goals".
Ultimately, the A.T.S. Sporting Director Romolo Tavoni, recalls the first contact that then brought the project to life:
"Due to the letter to Ferrari, we found ourselves dismissed within half an hour, but we all needed to work and we hoped to keep doing it in our field. While Della Casa and Giberti were rehired by the commendator, the remaining six of us, including me, have been contacted by the count Giovanni Volpi di Misurata that offered us to found the new Serenissima scuderia. He had already found another financier in Jaime Ortiz Patino, whose family was one of the most relevant in the tin industry, but he was looking for a third financier. Initially, an offer was made to the Leto di Priolo brothers, but we didn’t reach an agreement, them Chiti named his friend Belli, that made his fortune thanks to multiple-headed machinery that produced stockings with great production rates. At that point the Florentine industrial accepted the offer with enthusiasm and on February 17th, 1962 the Automobili Turismo Sport Serenissima was born, with headquarters in Via Altabella. On my side, but also on Bizzarrini’s and Galassi’s, this wasn’t the spirit that drove us: we needed to work and it was nice to work in another emilian scuderia, on the other hand for Chiti and maybe a few others the fact that they parted ways with Ferrari was still an open wound".
A version, the latter, that will also be confirmed by Bizzarrini:
"We founded the A.T.S. because all of us were experts in that field, and we found ourselves unemployed overnight. We were a close-knit group of friends, apart from being ex-colleagues. We gathered on the day following our dismissal and asked ourselves: What are we going to do now? That’s when Gardini, previously Ferrari’s commercial director, thought about a new scuderia".
On the day the A.T.S. Serenissima was founded, we also defined the area in which the new factory would be established. Having discarded the hypothesis of building it in Lavino, we opted for an area near the Cippo 78 of the highway N°64 (the Porrettana), right before entering the town of Sasso Marconi: it was a terrace of 12.000 squared meters in Pontecchio Marconi that had been bought in March. A strategic choice, considering that they had the possibility to test the new cars uphill on the winding turns that lead to the Tuscan-Emilian Appennines. The project will be executed by Florentine architects Fabbri and Martelli. Giorgio Billi will then remember:
"I bought that terrace, however this led to the start of a negotiation with Guglielmo Marconi’s wife, because the well-known inventor’s mansion overlooked the terraces on which our factory was going to be built. I was summoned to her house with the cardinal archbishop of Bologna Giacomo Lercaro. The lady pointed out, during a lively dialogue, that the terrace of her house overlooked a rural landscape that, moreover, had inspired Marconi himself in his inventions, and she didn’t want that quietness to be disfigured by the construction of wide sheds. We were considered crazy. At that point, a long bargaining started both with the family and with the major of Sasso Marconi and we agreed to build just half of what we had planned".
An episode that also Alfonso Galvani remembers well:
"The Marconi family wanted to keep a situation of quietness and calm. This was right form their point of view. There surely was tension, since not only because not only they had to be built there in front of the establishments, but also because inside of those we would have to run long engine tests, with all the acoustic consequences this would lead to. The terrace had been chosen because there were facilities to rehabilitate the area, and at the same time the Municipality was happy to be able to host a racing car factory, since Emilia-Romagna had the fame to be the land of motors. In fact, this would have brought a great renown to the region, especially since Carlo Chiti was a really influent personality and not only in the automobile sector. In the end, we found the right agreement".
During August 1962 the symbolic laying of the first brick of the facility occurred. An event that will gather the most important Italian government officials. Among these the Undersecretary of Industry Cervone, the cardinal archbishop of Bologna Lercaro, and the Fiat director Allegra, apart from the drivers Sanesi, Perdisa, Bordeu, Venturi and even Juan Manuel Fangio.
"The laying of the first stone was attended by many prominent personalities. I have to say that Fangio showed appreciation for the A.T.S., to the extent that we tried to contractualize him, but we were unable to find an agreement. Later he also tired the single-seater and he was positively impress by it: after all it was a car that various novelties, despite the fact that it had been designed in only four months. The Formula 1 cabin was really coveted, since many team components came from Ferrari".
The birth of the Automobili Turismo Sport Serenissima immediately creates a remarkable interest in the sport. Not by chance, in a short time people start talking about an interest by Stirling Moss towards this new scuderia. But this assumption will be quickly disproved, because on March 10th 1962, Enzo Ferrari meets Stirling Moss in Maranello. Displeased by Phil Hill’s behavior, Ferrari tries to recruit Stirling Moss. He has always liked him as a driver because he reminds him the colleagues he had known really well in the 30’s. a first contact occurred in the fall of the previous year, when Ferrari asked him to try the first sample of what would later be the 250 GTO on the Monza circuit. During winter, Ferrari and moss write each other some letters.
And there also were a few phone calls, always about technical matters related to the 250 GTO. But when Moss goes to Maranello in March, the constructor proposes him his involvement in the Formula 1 World Championship, behind the wheel of a Ferrari enrolled by Rob Walker’s team. Ferrari is willing to see him on a 156 F1 painted with the American colors, just to have Stirling Moss driving his car. They reach an agreement that satisfies both of them: they also chose the debut race, the Daily Express Trophy in May, a race not valid for the Championship but that would enable the British driver to get to know the new single-seater.
After this brief period of adjustment, among announcements, negotiations and presentations, with the 12 Hours of Sebring, scheduled for Saturday, March 24th on the circuit of the little Florida city, the automobile international season takes its first steps, even if a few races had already been held, like the Brisbane and the Daytona Beach ones. But Sebring has another level of importance and a tradition of its own, so it can be said that only with this race the agonistic activity comes back in great style. It is also necessary to appoint that also this 12 Hours no longer has the interest it used to have in the past, although it maintains the status of race valid for the Marche Word Championship. Because this year, the International Sporting Commission had the great idea of passing the world title from the Sport cars to the Gran Turismo ones, and of breaking down the title itself into three, respectively for the 1000 cc, 2000 cc and 3000 cc classes. At the end of the year, we’ll have three World Champion Marches, with the result of downgrading the prestige that came from the conquest of the championship to the winning car’s constructor Home.
Also the 3 Hours of Daytona Beach, disputed on the previous month, was valid for the championship (only for the 3000 cc class), and it was Stirling Moss, driving a Ferrari Berlinetta of the Scuderia Walker, that brought the first points to the Modenese Home, but only a few noticed that, because the English champion finished fourth after three sport cars: these are things that leave people indifferent, because they only care about who finished first. These regulations and the inflation of the titles do not help the clarity and the interest of a sport that already is a good source of never-ending controversies itself. At the 12 Hours of Sebring will hence be competing both the Gran Turismo and the Sport cars, but the latter are excluded from the leaderboard of the Marche world championship (nay, world championships). Right before leaving for Sebring, Ferrari tested the GTO, that had been modified in the meantime, in Monza: in presence of Enzo Ferrari, Lorenzo Bandini managed to complete a lap of the circuit beating Stirling Moss’s time, set in September 1961, proving that the ideas that Mauro Forghieri, also present that day, had were not wrong.
One does rather wonder what interests people the most: the racing itself, the competition between the fastest cars of the sport category or the events that will lead to the assignation of the points for the three titles? The deployment of the cars and the drivers at the Sebring race is pretty heterogeneous, and a few prominent names are missing, for example someone from the Ferrari team: the Maranello Home has indeed deemed more appropriate not to officially register to the race, both for the expensiveness of the transfer, without the counterpart of acceptable financial warranties by the American organizers, and for the mild interest that the new regulations on the Marche championship raises on the sport cars’ constructors (in the 3000 GT class, Ferrari can sleep soundly, as the clients will provide points for them).
However, many unofficial three-liters of the Italian Home will be in the race, as will be the new 3458 cc rear-engined 8V, steered by Moss and Innes Ireland, meanwhile Phil Hill and Gendebien will drive a Berlinetta Gran Turismo, just like Carlo Mario Abate and Nino Vaccarella, and the Rodriguez brothers will drive the North American Racing Team 6-cylinders 2400 sport. In turn, Maserati debuts with two brand new 12-cylinders 3000’s, assigned to the Americans Hansgen-Thompson and Bonnier-Graham Hill. The 12 Hours will start at 10 a.m., with the simultaneous start of the Gran Turismo and the Sport cars.
On Friday, during the official practice session, it’s the younger of the Rodriguez brothers that to record the best time on the chronometers, but the result of the Mexican, who drives in the North American Racing Team colors, has a relative value considering the length of the race, which will bring the victorious crew to touch, at the end of the 12 hours, 1800 kilometers of route. This regarding the ones who aspire to the overall victory, not at all restricted to just the crews of the new cars, meanwhile amongst the 3000 cc Gran Turismos there shouldn’t be doubts about the affirmation of the 12-cylinders Ferrari, whose couples that detain the most titles are - as already said - PhiI Hill-Gendebien and Abate-Vaccarella and the two young men from the scuderia Serenissima. In Sebring, during the hours before the race, many enthusiasts come from all over Florida and California: the interest for the 12 Hours of Sebring has indeed greatly risen thanks to the announcement of the participation of some aces of the automobile world, that were not registered for the race a few days prior; and despite an incessant rain compromising the day on Friday, the race will be attended by 30.000 people.
On Saturday March 24th, 1962, after the previous day’s rain, the weather is grey and windy, but the track is dry. At the start, the Moss-Ireland’s Ferrari immediately takes the lead, initially driven by the latter; up next, Hansgen’s Maserati, Pedro and Ricardo Rodriguez’s Ferrari and McLaren’s Maserati. After the first hour of the race Nino Vaccarella, on his Maserati 3000 has to retire with a broken gearbox. At the expiry of the second hour a serious accident occurs to the American driver Ernest Grimm: he was burned by splashes of burning oil coming from the engine of his Maserati. Immediately helped, Grimm is transported on the ambulance to the medical place for the first medications.
In the meantime, the Rodriguez had taken the lead of the race, chased by Moss that occasionally overtakes them. After the fourth hour the Mexicans definitely take the lead but at 3.30 p.m., they stop due to transmission problems and Moss-Ireland find themselves leading, followed by Bonner-Bianchi. The Rodriguez brothers, after leaving their car, get back in the race with the Americans Grossman and Constantine’s and the French Tavano’s Ferrari. The positions do not change up until the seventh hour of the race, when the plot twist happens: Moss’ and Ireland’s Ferrari gets disqualified for an unauthorized refuelling.
From what has been announced, the car filled the tank after seventeen and a half laps0 and not after 20 as the rules prescribe. Moss doesn’t appear convinced by the rightness of the measure: he claims to have stopped at the box not to refuel, but for a brake and tire check, and a member of the crew, forgetting about the rule that forbid the early refueling, opened the tank and filled it. What is still unclear is the fact that the disqualification was only announced at 5.30 p.m., three and a half hours from the inconvenience.
Vain are the two drivers’ protests: the race stewards are adamant. After Moss’ car is disqualified, the Bonnier-Bianchi Ferrari jumps out in front. This is how Ferrari thriumphly starts the agonistic season dominating the 12 Hours of Sebring, taking the first two places of the general leaderboard, respectively with Joakim Bonnier-Lucien Bianchi (on a sport model) and Phil Hill-Gendebien (behind the wheel of a Gran Turismo). But the success of the Italian cars could have been even more solid if the impetuous Mexican brothers, Pedro and Ricardo Rodriguez, hadn’t knocked out two cars, and especially if an equivoque hadn’t caused the exclusion of Moss-Ireland from the race.
La eliminazione dei due equipaggi favoriti impedisce anche il miglioramento del record della corsa, ma questo nulla toglie al valore della vittoria ottenuta dalle macchine italiane, rivelatesi insuperabili sia con i modelli sport che con le berlinette Gran Turismo. L'unica vettura dimostratasi in grado di impegnare le Ferrari è la Cooper Maserati di McLaren-Penske, almeno fintanto che numerose, fermate ai box non hanno tolto ogni velleità all’equipaggio. Dopo la corsa, Joakim Bonnier confessa che la sua Ferrari ha lamentato fin dal principio un inconveniente al cambio, per cui la leva tendeva a disinnestarsi dalla:
The elimination of the two favorites also prevented the previous record from improving, but in no way this detracts from the win obtained by the Italian cars, that turned out to be unbeatable both with the sport models and with the Berlinetta Gran Turismo. The only car that proved to be able to engage the Ferraris is McLaren-Penske’s Cooper Maserati, at least as long as they were numerous, once at the box they haven’t taken away every wishful thinking to the crew. After the race, Joakim Bonnier confessed that his Ferrari had a gearbox problem since the start of the race and the lever kept on disengaging from the direct drive:
"I didn’t believe I could finish the race in these conditions. On the other hand, if I had stopped at the box to get the car fixed, I would have lost too much time. So, me and Bianchi - that substituted Graham Hill, designated as my teammate, at the last moment - decided to keep going, paying attention to the lever and making sure it didn’t disengage".
After this first triumph, Ferrari also dominates and wins in Bruxelles, where both the Lotus’ and the B.R.M.s were impressive; too bad that a series of mechanical inconveniences compromised their performances. Stirling Moss, with his undiscussed class, does not fail to put on a show with a private Lotus that in this occasion mounts an 8V engine. Moss’ car encounters some problems at the power-on at the first heat, however he bounces back thanks to his extraordinary ability, concluding the first hundred kilometers of the race behind Graham Hill.
Unfortunately Moss, in the second heat, after setting a lap record, is forced to retire at the tenth lap. Also the ex-motorcycling world champion Surtees and Hill get stuck after mechanical failures and have to abandon the race. Graham Hill, after winning the first race at the wheel of this B.R.M., gets disqualified because since he couldn’t start the car on his own, he got helped by the mechanics. Same fate has occurred to Marsh, that was driving a B.R.M. as well. With the best ones out, the ones that stand out are Bonnier with the Porsche and Ireland with the Lotus. The two, with a prudent drive, are able to regularly complete the three races, but without ever worrying Willy Mairesse’s Ferrari, that throughout the competition can exploit all of his prodigious power.
In the opening race of the Formula 1 automotive Grand Prix’s Ferrari dominates confidently, winning with Milly Mairesse. The Modenese team only sends one car to Belgium, giving it to a medium class driver, with the evident goal of touching base and without putting in big efforts. The test of the Modenese car is more than satisfying, from all points of view, because the Ferrari is the only car that provides excellent performances: speed, power and road holding. Thus the Ferrari technicians are extremely satisfied of this first success that, by the way, provides interesting indications about the performance of the car designed in the Maranello garages. Of course it was the first positive result of the season, and only the next races can tell if the Italian six-cylinders will continue to dominate on the English cars.
On Easter’s Monday, as an old tradition wants, the automobile Grand Prix of Pau will be held, on the short and troubled 2.760 meters circuit that, in the last three years, saw the victories of Trintignant, Jack Brabham and Jim Clark. But in the 1962 edition there will be a deployment of Formula 1 cars and drivers that had not been seen for quite a while in an early phase on the championship’s Grand Prix: Ricardo Rodriguez and Lorenzo Bandini on Ferrari, Brabham, Trintignant, Clark and Trevor Taylor on Lotus; Bonnier and Heimrath on Porsche; Marsh and Lewis on B.R.M.; Bianchi on Maserati: Burgess and Collomb on Cooper; Vaccarella, on Lotus. These fourteen pilots are qualified by authority; others will be able to qualify in the course of the official practice like Siffert and Kunkhe on Lotus, May and Shiller on Porsche, Caillet on Cegga-Maserati, Tarano on Cooper. As you can see, the young Bandini will debut at the wheel of the Ferrari. Bonnier, on his side, will still drive the model 1961 Porsche, that has a four-cylinders engine, much less powerful than the six-cylindered Ferrari.
Moreover, the characteristics of the Pyrenean’s city circuit mainly puts the focus on the agility and stability skills of the car, than on the absolute engine power, and just like the Monte Carlo circuit it’s designed to highlight the driver’s qualities. This makes the predictions on Monday’s race very uncertain, that could still give interesting indications on the car’s grade of efficiency in preparation for the upcoming trials. The Pau Grand Prix isn’t indeed valid for the conducutor’s world championship, that this year will start at the end of May in Zandvoort. Another important thing, on the technical side, is the presence at the race of two B.R.M.s with the new 8 cylinders engine but with the original construction. As said, these will be driven by Jack Lewis and Tony Marsh: the latter is considered one of the young drivers of the nouvelle vague, along with Baghetti, Bandini, Rodriguez, and May. This year, in fact, there are many new drivers that will race in the Grand Prix’s, and many expect a new Fangio or a new Moss to come out and revive the interest for car racing.
While waiting for these new levers to rise, it’s the forty-four-year-old Frenchman Maurice Trintignant on Lotus that wins the XXIInd edition on the Pau Grand Prix, reserved to Formula 1 cars but not valid for the World Championship. Trintignant wins deservedly, leading the race for eighty-four laps, from the sixteenth to the end, always sporting a stunning confidence. With that of the present day, Trintignant is at his third affirmation in the Pau Grand Prix. An excellent second place conquered by Ricardo Rodriguez with his Ferrari: the Mexican is able to prevail by a nose on Tony Marsch (B.R.M.), defending like a champion to the final stint of the Brit. Also honourable the placement on the other Ferrari driver competing in the race, the young Lorenzo Baldini, in his rookie season on the Modenese single seater.
The race is held on 100 laps of the twisty track, along the avenues of the Pyrenean city. A large crowd was there. Sixteen competitors at the start. First in line the Englishman Clark (Lotus), fastest in the practice sessions, Rodriguez (Ferrari) e Bonnier (Porsche). It’s the latter that snatches the lead when the starter flag goes down; followed by Rodriguez (Ferrari), that during the first lap overtakes the Swedish. Vaccarella (Lotus) has problems at the start and gets going with some delay. In the opening laps Trevor Taylor (Lotus) already stops at the box and Jack Brabham retires, on Lotus as well. Meanwhile, Jim Clark brings himself behind Rodriguez and the two earn, in a short time, tens of meters from the group made up by Bonnier, Trintignant, Bandini and Lewis (B.R.M.). In the battle for 1st place, Rodriguez and Clark are wild, and they both beat the previous lap record at the fourth lap, with a lap time of 1'33"4 (averaging 106.381 km/h).
Right after, the Englishman overtakes the Ferrari driver. In the meantime, Trintignant comes back and at the thirteenth lap engages Rodriguez and manages to beat him, and after three more laps is leading the race. During the twenty-fourth lap Clark stops at the box and withdraws due to gearbox problems, and Bonnier overtakes Rodriguez. Trintignant, free from his most dangerous opponent, keeps gaining ground, and halfway through the race his lead goes up to twenty-one seconds on Bonnier, thirty on Rodriguez, thirty-one on Lewis and a minute and twenty-four seconds on Bandini. All of the other had been lapped at least once. Then Trintignant slows down (looks like the reason is also a supervening inconvenience with the gearbox) and at lap sixty Bonnier finds himself at five seconds from the race leader. The alarmed Frenchman reacts, but there’s almost no need for that, because a few moments later Bonnier’s Porsche, clearly overstressed during the furious chase, suddenly gives up. And since Rodriguez in twenty-three seconds behind, Trintignant has nothing to worry about and can pretty comfortably head to the triumph.
The final stage of the race is however revived by the very lively fight that lights up between Rodriguez and Lewis: the two go through the last twenty laps a few meters apart from each other, but pointless are the attempts of the Englishman to overtake the young Mexican. They end the race really close, and the Ferrari beats the B.R.M. for just a few meters of advantage. Trintignant covers the victory lap receiving enthusiastic ovations from the public, that had not seen a French driver win in a Formula 1 race for a long time. By the way, Trintignant also improved the record of the Pau Grand Prix by almost a kilometer. Defeated in a clear way the two Ferraris at the Pau automobile Grand Prix: this is the news that that more caused quite a sensation in the motorsport world. The victory was conquered by the French champion Maurice Trintignant that won for the third time on this track: indeed, he had already imposed himself in 1958 and in 1959. Only the Mexican Rodriguez tried to prevent the Frenchman’s win for the most part of the race, but his gap to the winner at the finish line, even if it was not catastrophic, is still a clear indicator of the situation.
However, it’s not the engine to blame for Ferrari’s defeat, but the bad physical condition of the drivers that didn’t allow to exploit fully the resources provided. Because a high-class driver needs a good dose of fatigue resistance to be able to excel. This is demonstrated by the fact that Maurice Trintignant, at the age of forty-four, didn’t provide a spectacular end of the race, and he got out of the car and asked for water with a loud voice instead, his face worn out by fatigue. Also Bandini’s performance was not how they expected: the young Italian racer has suffered his Ferrari debut more than they thought, he endured emotion and fatigue, also caused by the great heat of the city, and he got out of the car with a pale face at the end of the race.
Meanwhile in Goodwood, on Monday April 23rd 1962 Stirling Moss is victim of a severe accident during the race for the Glover Trophy. The driver is rushed to the Chichester hospital, in southern England, where his conditions are deemed pretty serious. The first news after the unfortunate event even give the impression that Moss perhaps would not survive. Later, the picture appears less tragic, even if it’s not a secret that the driver is in serious conditions. The last bulletin during the evening, around midnight, reports:
"The patient has a quite serious head injury, various abrasions and two fractures, one in the rib and one in the left leg. The head wound calls for exams in a neurosurgical center and, for this purpose, Stirling Moss will be transferred to the Atkinson Morely hospital in Wimbledon. The journey to Wimbledon - near London - will be accomplished on a special ambulance".
At the bedside of the injured, his father and his mother; the latter had witnessed the race from the grandstand. But what had actually happened? On Monday, April 23rd 1962 the 100 miles race for the Glover Trophy, reserved to Formula 1 cars, is going to be run. Moss is at the wheel of a Lotus Climax, with an engine of a new kind.
"I feel great today".
He confesses to his mechanics right before the start. But since the opening laps his cars shows signs of not being performing and the racer remains limbered. After a box stop, Moss throws himself vigorously to the chase of the first positions, gaining ground at every lap. The disaster happened at the thirty-fifth lap, in the Saint Mary corner. The champion’s Lotus travels at 150 km/h; while the car was getting close to the turn, the public realizes with terror that Moss wasn’t slowing down: a few moments later the dark green racing car comes out of the roadway, bounces on the lawn, comes back to the track, spins around itself - luckily without capsizing - and then falls apart against a protective wall.
A rescue team immediately run towards the Lotus’ wreckage, but the efforts in order to free Moss from his car are vain; prisoner of the car’s disrupted framework, the driver isn’t able to move and the rescuers are not able to breach the crumpled metal. One of the doctors is however able to medicate at his best the injury to Moss’ head wound, which was copiously bleeding, through a gap in the steel tangle. But minutes run in useless attempts of a concrete aid, while the ace, conscious of what was happening, passes out from time to time.
Finally, in the meantime, a fireman with robust shears arrives and starts to tear the metal sheets. Thirty minutes had passed from the incident. Opened the car, the beeding body of the driver is brought out of the car, and, rapidly but with care, is laid on the ambulance. The champion understands and is conscious, his hands are shaking but he’s smiling: before they could close the ambulance’s door, he speaks to a race commissioner:
"Tell my mom I’m okay, and that she doesn’t have to worry".
What were the technical causes of the incident? At first, the hypothesis is a brake failure, but Surtees will almost instantly deny this possibility, stating that, in that turn, there is no need to brake because the deceleration is obtained with the use of the gearbox. The most prevalent explanation is the one that hypothesizes a failure in the linkages of the acceleration pedal, that caused it to be stuck and impeded the driver in slowing down the engine and the car. In this situation, the craft and experience of the driver played a fundamental part in not turning the accident in a tragic race to death. The Goodwood circuit unwinds along southern England, near the coast.
Many thousands of people attended the Grand Prix, not only for the racing competition, but also for the warm and sunny day. But even before the start of the race, a misfortune had appalled the spectators with a few instants of terror. The people were enjoying parachute jumps, but one of the candid umbrellas only partly opened. No one had the hope that the man would survive: the paratrooper, a certain Miller, got off with a broken arm and a few bruises. Later, during the race, Moss faced a fearful adventure while he was chasing the ones in front, causing even more emotion in the thousands of spectators.
This is the fourth incident involving the British driver in the last two years. In July 1960, during a practice session for the Belgian Grand Prix, he suffered serious back and leg injuries. About ten months later, in August 1961, on the Goodwood circuit, the same of today’s fearful adventure, Stirling’s Ferrari swerved as a result of a tire failure; the driver was able to control the car after going out of the track. Last month, in Melbourne, during the Sandown cup, the driver bumped into another car at 150 km/h, this time with no serious injuries. For the record, it is fair to say that the race is won by Graham Hill on B.R.M., that covers the 100 miles distance in 59’55"1. Behind him McLaren (Cooper), Ireland (Lotus) and Salvadori (Cooper). The fastest lap went to Surtees on Lola and Moss on Lotus in 1'22", averaging 189,570 km/h.
After just five days from the Goodwood race, made dramatic by Moss’ accident, the Formula 1 drivers and cars are back racing in England, at the 200 Miles of Aintree, a enlivened 4800 meters racing track, in the vicinity of Liverpool. Unlike on the Easter Monday race, however, there are not exclusively English cars in the competition: in fact, we also see the seasonal debut of the World Champion Phil Hill and Giancarlo Baghetti, both at the wheel of the new Ferraris. According to the Pau Grand Prix results, won by Trintignant on Lotus, one would say that the English constructors succeeded, thanks to the new 8-cylinder engines built by B.R.M., in catching up with the Italian single-seaters.
The Aintree race, not valid for the world champion, could give more precise information about this matter, since this race will see, apart from the two Ferrari drivers, many drivers amongst the best ones of the moment: Graham Hill and Richie Ginther on B.R.M., Bruce McLaren and Tony Maggs on Cooper, Jim Clark and Trevor Taylor on Lotus, and John Surtees on Lola. It looks like the English constructors have recovered the ground they lost in the technical field against Ferrari, and they did it by finally developing the new 8 V-shaped cylindered engines made by Coventry-Climax and B.R.M., that are mounted on all the English cars. We’ll see if the balance of forces is restored. The Aintree circuit is three miles long and a very lively layout, with seven turns, of which four are really tight.
However, on Saturday, April 1962, the duel between the Italian and English Formula 1 cars is won by the latter. Jim Clark on his Lotus, indeed, wins the 200 miles, ahead of the New-Zealander Bruce McLaren on Cooper, the World Champion Phill Hill and the Italian Giancarlo Baghetti, both on Ferrari. The race is tight: the circuit and the very fast pace put a strain on the cars, forcing Ginther (B.R.M.), then Brabham, Ireland and Gregory (both on Lotus-Climax) and lastly Graham Hill, who was running in second place, (B.R.M.) to retire for mechanical issues. Twenty-seven drivers show up at the start.
Jim Clark takes the lead, while Hill’s and Baghetti’s Ferraris lose precious time due to the velocity of the start. At the end of the first lap, Hill parades in front of the grandstands in fifth position, while Baghetti in ninth. As time has passed, all the Italian cars are able to gain a few positions and, halfway through the race Hill runs in fourth position and Baghetti in seventh. Behind Clark, who had never been seriously intimidated, the strife for the podium is on. Graham Hill is the victim of a high-paced race and is forced to withdraw with five laps to go due to a oil sleeve failure. The second position is took over by Bruce McLaren’s Cooper, who manages to contain the comeback of Phil Hill and Giancarlo Baghetti’s Ferraris, while the last one, with a consistent and regular race, has succeeded in conquering the fourth position.
The following week, on May 6th, the tormented road circuit of the Piccole Madonie will host the forty-sixth edition of the Targa Florio, the oldest race of the world, and one of the classics of the automotive sport. The race, valid for the Gran Turismo World Championship for the classes 1300 and above, draws, however, the main reasons of interest from the presence of many new cars, driven by internationally renowned names. The big Sicilian race represents a great technical test for engines, brakes, and mechanical means’ transimission; and from the agonistic point of view is always a strong call. In this year’s edition, 63 crews enter the competition, assuring to the forty-sixth Targa Florio many tight and unpredictable races in every class, with particular regard to the confrontation between Ferrari, Porsche and Maserati
For the overall victory the battle will be between the drivers of the Ferrari official team Ferrari Phil Hill-Gendebien, Mairesse-Rodriguez and Baghetti-Bandini, and the duo Colin Davis-Carlo Mario Abate on the new Maserati 12 cylinders of the Scuderia Serenissima. The Ferrari drivers are the favorites, but the Anglo-Italian team is able to fight for the win. Other high relevance names are the ones of Scarfiotti-Govoni on Osca 1500 Sport, of Porsche’s official pilots (Bomnier-Gurney, Herrmann-Linge and Strahle-Bahln, of which the first ones will be at the wheel of an experimental vehicle which could actually get in the fight for the absolute win). Then Vaccarella-Graham Hill, also on Porsche, Balzarini-De Leonibus from Turin on the new Abarth-Simca 1300, and lastly Ada Pace-Todaro, Simon-Tavano, Lualdi-Vorbaum and Scarlatti-Ferrara, all on Ferrari.
The history of this classical motor race, born at the start of the century, is reminiscent of the names of all the great driver from the past, from Cagno to Nazzaro, from Ceirano to Boillot, from Masetti to Sivocci, Costantini, Materassi, Divo, Varzi, Nuvolari, Brivio, Villoresi, up to the post-World War II winners: Villoresi, Biondetti, Cortese, Bonetto, Maglioli, Taruffi, Moss, Musso, Barth, Bonnier, Trips e Gendebien. The last two, the triumphant duo from the 1961 edition, on a Ferrari, also established a new record: an average of 103.433 km/h in the race and an average of 107.841 km/h on the 72 km lap.
Will these records be improved? It’s possible, due to both the new progress achieved by the 1961 cars and the fierce fight between the drivers of the major teams. The points of interest of the Targa Florio are various, starting from the expectations towards the two young Ferrari drivers, Giancarlo Baghetti and Lorenzo Bandini, for the first time on the same car. In the Formula 1 races held so far in Pau and Aintree, the two Milanese youngsters have been pretty overshadowed, especially Bandini, who probably paid the emotional price of his first call at the wheel of a Maranello car. And we will also see what the drivers with more experience will be capable of. To be followed closely the duo Davis-Abate, at the wheel of a 3 liters Maserati: a car which, speaking of absolute power, finds itself even ahead of the Ferraris. But the biggest danger for the Italian cars comes from the Porsches, which despite the lower displacement, have such manageability skills that, on a circuit like the one of the Madonie, could compensate the engine power difference.
On Sunday, May 4th, 1962, for the first time in fifty-six years, a driver have the satisfaction of winning the Targa Florio for the third time. Oliver Gendebien attains this achievement which will surely be in the motor racing history. Before him, this ambitious record was missed by drivers such as Mosetti, Costantini, Nuvolari, Varzi, Villoresi, Biondetti; all of them, for one reason or another, couldn’t cross the Cerda finish line as winners for three times and be awarded the Targa. In this regard, it must be said that at the beginning of the century, in the first decades of the race, the Florio family had put up for grabs a gold plaque of great value, which would be awarded to whoever had won three times. And after Gendebien arrived, everyone wondered if the Belgian driver would receive the famous plaque.
In fact, however, the plaque no longer exists. The war, the decline of the splendor of the Florio family compared to its golden age at the beginning of the century, made the famous plaque vanish. But Olivier Gendebien will equally receive an eye-catchingtrophy, and his satisfaction can be particularly great for having set a record that will remain memorable in the history of motorsport. Gendebien, immediately after the end of the race, in the exaltation of the victory, manifests the intention to return to Sicily again next year, and possibly to win again.
"Sicily brings me luck. I won the Giro di Sicilia in 1951, ahead of a champion like Piero Taruffi; then I participated in the Targa seven times, obtaining two victories in 1958 with Musso, in 1961 with Trips, and now with Mairesse and Rodriguez. I finished third twice. What can I say, I really like the Targa and it is really the most beautiful race in the world".
The triumph of the driver, however, was also the triumph of the Italian cars. The Ferraris achieved a resounding success overcoming the rivals Porsche, who were also looking for revenge for the defeat suffered in extremis last year. Ferrari has confirmed a perfect efficiency to the race with the old car, albeit retouched, that won last year. Also positive has been the 196 S test entrusted to Bandini and Baghetti. It was a real shame that the new 2600 missed the race, which would have been entrusted to World Champion Phil Hill and Gendebien, and would have given rise to an interesting duel. There was no confirmation from Porsche - even if the Gurney one was affected by an unfortunate accident suffered during the tests - and it ended up taking away all interest in the race.
To defend the colors of the Stuttgart House there was only the experimental car that Vaccarella brought to third place together with Bonnier. It is, however, a car that needs to be reviewed, as well as Scarfiotti’s Osca, which also had aroused so much hope at practice and in the first laps of the race. Once, - and this is the only difference - the victory in the Targa Florio had a worldwide echo, and an unparalleled propaganda value. Today things have changed, the interests and attention of the public are turned elsewhere rather than to the result of a car race, which ends up in the comments of a rather small circle of fans. For a while now the car has ceased to represent something almost fabulous: those who still do not have it, can safely put the car among the dreams of not impossible realization, and the events of a race certainly do not affect his choice.
The Ferrari is something else; it’s a car for high speeds, for highways. But from the small utilitarian car to the Gran Turismo, the path is still long. And yet, even at the design of popular vehicles, races like the Targa Florio and cars like the Ferrari can still be useful. It is not the only raison d’être of a speed race, but for sure a not negligible component. The car that won the Targa has nothing in common with normal touring cars, but the relationship has remained as it was thirty or forty years ago, and the progress made was and will always be somewhat tributary of that technology pushed to the limits of thinkable, that competition machines represent.
It was said that the affirmation of Ferrari on the Madonie circuit was expected. It was expected because only the Modenese House has continued to improve, perfect, renew its mechanical vehicles also for the categories Sport and Gran Turismo of large displacement. The British have given up (their interest now seems to be focused only on Formula 1 cars), Porsche only takes care of medium displacements, Maserati now devotes to this sector an almost marginal part of its activity. Instead, Ferrari’s programs have been, for many years, linearly directed on each of the most demanding aspects of motor sport: it is a great effort, of which not everyone seems to realize; but at the same time the results continue to comfort this courageous vision of the world’s largest factory of racing cars.
The car driven in turn by Ricardo Rodriguez, Willy Mairesse and Olivier Gendebien is of the 2400 type with a six-cylinder rear engine, that is basically the same as last year, but brought to a level of almost perfect efficiency. The new 8-cylinder model of 2800 cubic centimeters did not participate in the race, badly damaged in the accident happened during a test to the world champion Phil Hill: without this setback, the affirmation of the Modenese cars would have been even more massive, and probably would have beaten the average-record of the Targa Florio, just as the one on the lap collapsed thanks to Mairesse. Once again a Ferrari (the one of Scarlatti-Ferraro) was first in the Gran Turismo, bringing other points for the Marche world classification. As for the overall second place - Baghetti and Bandini - there is nothing to do apart from being pleased about the excellent race. However, we must not forget that they were particularly unlucky, as Giancarlo Baghetti says at the end of the race:
"On the third lap, uphill, I spun and hit a curbstone. In short, the back of the hood came off and I had to tie it up to be able to continue. I lost so many minutes. In the final, Bandini and I had to recover several positions to finish second. It was the first road race we disputed and I am really satisfied".
For Bandini and Baghetti it is only necessary to wait with confidence and see them at work in the next editions: moreover, the Targa Florio, for its traditional harshness, is not a race that can be won at the first try. Gendebien won three, but he participated in it seven times. But it’s rather peculiar what happens during the Targa Florio between the new Ferrari sporting director, Eugenio Dragoni, and the reigning World Champion, Phil Hill. During the tests before the race, the US driver asks the director to be able to change the ratio between the third and fourth gear, which in Hill’s opinion is too long. But Dragoni insists on not wanting to change the gear ratios, arguing that a World Champion should know how to drive. It’s a break between the two.
In the following days there are only admirable expressions for the superb affirmation of Ferrari in the forty-sixth edition of the Targa Florio. And it’s natural. It was renowned that the Modenese machines could win the severe Sicilian test, which always has had as theater the harsh path of the Madonie, but perhaps no one expected such a massive superiority. On the day before, the Porsches - not new to a victory in the Targa - seemed very fearsome for their maneuverability and road holding; the new 12-cylinder Maserati of the Colin Davis-Abate couple was considered an difficult opponent. And yet everything worked perfectly for the cars of the Maranello team, which had to give up one of the entered cars: the new 8-cylinder 2800 of Phil Hill-Gendebien, badly damaged in a scary car accident that happened to the World Champion driver.
Gendebien thus contributed to the team’s success, alternating behind the wheel with Ricardo Rodriguez and fellow countryman Willy Mairesse. As tradition dictates - a tradition determined by the severity of a track that does not leave to both the mechanical means and drivers a single moment of breath - the selection was very strict. Among the most illustrious victims, Gurney and Maglioli on Porsche; Colin Davis on Maserati (he went badly off the road but was fortunately unharmed); Scarfiotti on the Osca 2000. And it was also a pity that an irremediable mechanical trouble prevented the departure of the Abarth-Simca 1300 of Balzarini-De Leonibus.
Basically, Ferrari seems unbeatable in the sport category races this year as well. We will see at the end of next month, in the 12 Hours of Le Mans, if some other House - starting with Maserati, which seems to have created a car of great possibilities - will effectively oppose the cars of Maranello. However, the next goals are in the Formula 1 sector: in three Sundays the drivers’ World Championship is set to start with the Dutch Grand Prix, at Zandvoort. And since it seems, from the rumblings of the beginning of the season, that the British manufacturers have reassembled the disadvantage that separated them from Ferrari at the end of last year, it is likely that for the latter life will not be as easy as in sports and gran turismo races.
Archived the Targa Florio, the British sports environment welcomes with great satisfaction the news that the ace of motoring Stirling Moss got up for the first time from his hospital bed, spending a couple of hours talking with friends and doctors. And there is also talk of a slow, but certain recovery, as the medical bulletins confirm. In the early hours of Friday, May 18, 1962, the medical bulletin confirms that the famous British pilot keeps improving but informs that there are still periods of partial unconsciousness. After that, however, the doctors will expose the prospect of a permanent paralysis, at least partial: Moss could not regain the full use of the arm and left leg. In other words, the Goodwood accident could end the career of the English racing ace. The British driver, therefore, will not be able to respect the agreement made with Ferrari.
Saturday, May 12, 1962, Enzo Ferrari entrusts a Dino 156 to the UDT-Laystall Racing Team, to participate in the BRDC International Trophy, held at Silverstone. Innes Ireland, who drives the Dino 156 and crosses the finish line in fourth place, at the end of the race confirms the impressions that Forghieri had expressed a few months before about the lack of quality of the chassis. Ireland explains to the engineer that the engine is powerful, but the torque is not the best, because it starts from a too high regime and forces the driver to overly use the gearbox (also considered valid), while the chassis does not get any kind of compliment. Back in Maranello, a slightly fearful Forghieri - together with Vittorio Jano, Rocchi and Salvarani, comes back to ask Ferrari to make the necessary changes to improve the car’s behaviour.
In the same period Enzo Ferrari, who had never stopped dating Fiamma Breschi (Luigi Musso’s former girlfriend), asks the latter to marry him: the two are in a car, heading to Bologna. Not sure if she had understood well, the girl asks him to repeat what he just said. In the recent months, Ferrari’s letters to the young girl had started to talk more and more about feelings and less and less about work situations. Fiamma had naturally noticed, but she didn’t expect a proposal.
"Will you marry me?"
Ferrari repeats, but Fiamma remains silent.
"Why can’t we do that?"
The Modenese manufacturer insists.
"You’re confusing me".
Fiamma answers, and for now Ferrari does not insist.