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#111 1962 South African Grand Prix

2021-08-30 00:00

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#1962,

#111 1962 South African Grand Prix

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The 1962 racing season is drawing to a close, even though the most important race of the fall - the South African Grand Prix, the last and decisive round of the Formula One World Championship - will wait until the end of December. In Europe, however, we are coming to the end. The race that will close the International Constructors' Cup for Grand Touring cars (equivalent to a World Championship) in the over 1800 cubic centimeter class (already largely won by Ferrari). The 1000 kilometers of Paris, disputed on Sunday, October 21st 1962 on the Montlhéry track, collected the entries of an impressive number of aces, especially in the larger displacements. First of all, in the top class, there will be a confrontation between the unofficial Ferraris of the brothers Petro and Ricardo Bodriguez and Mairesse-Lucien Bianchi on one side, and the Aston Martin piloted by Jim Clark and John Witemore on the other, a duel in which the famous G.T.O. of Mannello will be clearly favored.

 

The 1000 Kilometers of Paris, a car race reserved for touring cars from 850 to 3000 cubic centimeters of displacement, is now part of the traditions of the Parisian sporting season, with a great popular success. Tens of thousands of fans, in fact, flock to the Montlhéry circuit on Sunday, October 21st , 1962, where many of the most prestigious drivers - from Jim Clark to Surtees, Bandini, the Rodriguez brothers, Mairesse, Abate, Vaccarella, Scarfiotti, etc. - i.e. forty-eight crews of two drivers each, compete for victory. Ferraris dominate from the beginning of the race and it is the car n. 1 driven by Riccardo Rodriguez to take the lead immediately, followed by those driven by Surtees and Mairesse. Abate's partner, Vaccarella, is in fifth position, also with a Ferrari. Since the first kilometers, in short, the fight is limited between the Ferraris only. Progressively the Rodriguez increase their advantage and at the halfway point of the race they have more than two minutes of advantage on Mairesse, in the meantime passed in second position. Abate, meanwhile, who has replaced Vaccarella at the wheel, is forced to retire due to a broken differential. In the meantime, the lap record (of 7.784 meters) is beaten and beaten first by Rodriguez and then by Mairesse who sets the best time of the day, establishing the new record. Mairesse's Ferrari, meanwhile, which is in third position, is forced to retire due to a clutch failure. Twenty kilometers to the end and Ludovico Scarflotti, also on a Ferrari, takes his place and with Colin Davis conquers one of the most flattering positions, the one on the lap.

 

On Thursday, November 1st 1962, Mexico is in mourning: Ricardo Rodriguez, a 21-year-old promising car driver, loses his life when his Lotus overturns and catches fire during practice for the Mexican Grand Prix to be held on Sunday, November 4th 1962. Ricardo had achieved, together with his brother Pedro, great victories at the wheel of Ferraris sport and gran turismo, imposing himself, among other things, with a car of the Italian company in the Thousand kilometers of Paris. Ricardo, just 21 years old, was also building a splendid career as a racing car driver. Fate struck him down on the last bend of the track in his city, after he had faced and overcome dangers all over the world. The tragic accident threw the country into consternation. Mexican sport is going through a period of great satisfaction: the tennis team has just earned the right to the Davis Cup final, with India, beating the very strong Sweden here. And the Rodriguez brothers had made the notes of the Mexican anthem echo on all or almost all the racetracks around the globe. Sunday's race will be (but it's not sure yet if it will be run: someone says that due to Ricardo's death the Grand Prix will be suspended, and those in charge have not yet made any statement) the first Grand Prix of its kind to be held in Mexico. Pedro Rodriguez - who is twenty-two years old - is also entered. Both brothers had gotten married in recent months, Ricardo in December. All the local fans were getting ready to encourage their favorites. Lightning fast instead came the tragedy.

 

Shortly before the accident Ricardo stopped at the box, complaining of fuel defects. A brief check by the mechanics and then the car restarted very quickly. Rodriguez has already completed one practice lap and is about to complete the second, when he takes the last corner before the finishing straight. This is the most difficult point, a 180-degree turn. The Lotus of Ricardo Rodriguez, for reasons not yet ascertained, skids and collides against the protective fence, turns over doing two somersaults, and catches fire. Hundreds of people witnessed the dramatic episode. Immediately the rescues started. A fire engine deployed at the control tower of the curve - called Peraltada - arrived in a few moments at the car. The daring firefighters jump towards the smashed car and pull Rodriguez out, who is still alive and exclaims:

 

"Don't let me die, please don't let me die".

 

Ricardo Rodriguez passes out in an ambulance as they drive him to the hospital. Another rider who followed Rodriguez in circuit practice and watched helplessly as the tragedy unfolded - Dutch-born Mexican Fred Van Buren - would tell reporters:

 

"Ricardo took the curve at a speed that was certainly excessive and I myself was clearly surprised".

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The lack of caution of the young and unlucky driver is also confirmed by the head of the press office of the Mexican Grand Prix, Manuel Alonso, who affirms that Rodriguez proceeded at a speed of about 200 km/h while entering the curve. Ricardo Rodriguez, who in his unfortunately short career had already been noted for his impetuous and decidedly reckless race conduct, may have been betrayed by his lack of knowledge of the Lotus car that he pilots instead of the usual Formula 1 Ferrari. The English car has a very particular driving position: the cockpit for the driver is very narrow and low, and he must drive almost totally lying down. This position has been chosen by all the manufacturers, with the exception of Ferrari which has maintained the classic seat, to increase the aerodynamic possibilities of their cars, and although it gives a full guarantee of safety after adequate training, it could be a serious handicap for a driver who is not used to it.

 

The Mexican could have found it difficult to downshift gears and this hypothesis would be validated by the fact that it would be difficult for a driver, by now an expert on Grand Prix cars - for three years Rodriguez had been competing in all international courses - to have taken a curve, beyond the safety limit, during the tests. The technicians have not yet been able to accurately examine the remains of the car, and it is not to be ruled out that a more thorough search may reveal a mechanical failure such as to justify the loss of control of the vehicle by the driver. The following day, an emotional and impressive crowd paid homage to the body of Ricardo Rodriguez during the afternoon. In the funeral chamber set up in the hospital where Ricardo had already been brought dead the previous day, friends, other drivers entered in the competition and a host of sportsmen and women followed one another. The mother and brother of the deceased, Pedro, did not leave the hospital for a moment. The father Hagard was forced to stay at home, as his heart could not stand the pain of the serious misfortune. Since the previous day he has been repeating almost continuously:

 

"It is not possible, it is not possible".

 

And he has been seized twice by collapse. The doctors kept a watchful eye on his health. The previous evening, reporting the first news of the accident, the Mexican newspapers come out in a special edition. In the meantime, technicians are examining the remains of the Lotus that the driver was driving at the time of the disaster, and try to establish the causes of what happened. Difficult and search, also for the conditions in which the car is found, the causes of the accident. For Mexican sportsmen, the cause of the disaster is of no importance: it is the tragic death of the pilot that arouses condolences and enormous impression. Ricardo Rodriguez was born in Mexico City on February 14th 1942, so he was just over twenty years old and had been married for four months. Since the previous year, he was already considered one of the best touring car drivers.

 

Ricardo Rodriguez had only been involved in motor sports for a few years, or rather in official racing activities. But he must have been very precocious if at the age of eighteen he had already won several races in his native Mexico and in the carretera trials so popular in Latin America. He ran, in these stage races for touring cars, together with his brother Pedro, a year older. They looked like two kids (and they were), but they were not afraid of the older and more experienced drivers. One day, Luigi Chinetti, a former racing driver, Ferrari's representative in the United States and owner of the North American Racing Team, a racing team that uses Ferrari cars, saw them racing. With Chinetti, Pedro and Rlcardo Rodriguez crossed the Atlantic three years earlier to compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. They were respectively nineteen and eighteen years old, accompanied by their father and mother (very wealthy landowners from Mexico City), and the public watched them run, amazed at such bravura. But also of so much, too much impetuosity, especially in Ricardo, who was also endowed with more class.

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They both ended up at the Scuderia Ferrari, hired for the cross-country races, as a pair, and became very popular everywhere, noisy and carefree with their small court of parents and friends (last year their wives joined them) who cheered like crazy; a bit reluctant to team discipline, but always generous, brilliant in the race. Last year, at Le Mans, the two Rodriguez were in command in the second half of the race: a small mechanical problem stopped them. Ricardo cried like a child (after all, he was a child, with his twenty years of age and that smooth face without a trace of beard) and it took the great uproar of his family to make him smile again. But the sport and grand touring races were not enough to satisfy the passion of the younger of the two brothers, Ricardo, who had the great opportunity to be invited, again by Enzo Ferrari, to test the Formula 1 single-seater. We are at the end of the 1961 season, and Ricardo promises himself great things, while in the hot Mexican winter he keeps himself in practice with every kind of race, even Kart. When the 1962 Grand Prix begin, Ricardo Rodriguez is in the official Ferrari team, but he finds it hard to get along with his single-seater, because his almost aggressive temperament pushes him to risk beyond all limits. At Zandvoort he ends up off the road, he fails to qualify in the Monaco Grand Prix, he still has accidents.

 

"He is not mature for Formula 1, the driver who has too many inacidents will never be an ace".

 

He sentences himself. And instead he took so many risks also to compensate in some way the inferiority of the Ferraris of this year, generously. He didn't think about the mortal dangers he was running. Very religious, before starting the race he was absorbed and kissed a gold medal that he wore around his neck.

 

"With this protection nothing can ever happen to me".

 

Poor Ricardo, his youthful confidence was not enough to save him. The terrible toy that was, unfortunately, the main purpose of his life, took his hand, like too many others. Of Ricardo Rodríguez, responding to a journalist's question, Ferrari had dictated these words:

 

"He is a wild kid, driving with a frightening recklessness and an unparalleled squandering of physical energy. I think if this young man learns to contain his eagerness and refine his style, his success will be very significant".

 

He had expressed them in this perhaps somewhat crude form so that what he had said to him verbally after the 1962 Dutch Grand Prix could be repeated to him in writing. In that race, according to Ferrari's opinion, the Mexican driver had not behaved like a professional driver: he had had a collision with Jack Brabham, he had restarted with the car repaired and three laps from the end, seventh in the standings, two laps behind, therefore with illusory possibilities of recovering decisively, he had gone off at a curve due to excessive speed. Luckily he didn't get a scratch, but he had practically destroyed the car.

 

"Dear Riccardo, these things should not be done. You see, pilots are divided into two major categories: professionals and the ambitious, who are the amateurs. You want to be a professional. And then you have to do the races thinking about the future, about the race that will take place next Sunday. The risk, therefore, must be measured, coldly calculated. You feel capable of going fast, but your still immature experience can betray you at every turn, at every overtaking. You have to reason, distribute the effort, yours and the car's. Ricardo, let's be clear, I say that you will really become, as you hope, a great driver, only if you are able to control yourself. Otherwise, I don't know if your improvisation skills will be able to save you for much longer".

 

Ricardo gave him his overgrown boyish smile, saying yes: he understood. But Ferrari watched him with concern: he could see that the lust for success was eating away at him. A noble ambition, as a man, but dangerously lurking. The manufacturer from Modena knew that Ricardo did not find water for his fire in his family, but gasoline. He then wrote a letter to Ricardo's father, repeating the speech. Unfortunately, in vain. For the record, the race will be held, and will be won by Jim Cark, on Lotus, after inheriting the car of his teammate - with whom he will share the triumph - during the tenth lap. Even one of the founders of the A.T.S., Count Giovanni Volpi di Misurata, is impressed by this episode, and decides to withdraw all his sporting commitment. To the French newspaper Le Figaro, he tells:

 

"We give the champions of the steering wheel the means to kill themselves: I renounce. The death of Orellier had already struck me deeply, that of Armagnac, although I did not know him personally, had invited me to reflect. Afterwards I had spent in Paris, with the Rodriguez brothers, the three-four days preceding the 1000 Kilometers, the race that they won this year for the second consecutive time, and we had made joint plans for the following season. When I heard about the fatal accident that Ricardo Rodriguez was the victim of, I suddenly realized that we motorsport people live in a false world. The racers are carried away by their passion, we builders, stable owners, race organizers, give these young people the means to kill themselves and encourage them to launch themselves on this deadly path. I have decided to give up, it's over for me. I chose Le Figaro to make my thoughts known, because I hope that the moral authority of the newspaper will give this gesture the value of an example. I wish that all those who participate in competitions would dwell on the responsibilities they face. While my thoughts return reverently and movingly to the deceased drivers, I would like to emphasize that what some have called rebellion means nothing more in my intentions than a heartfelt and sincere appeal, made in the light of a lived and suffered experience, to reconsider on a truly new basis the problem of motor racing and the relationship between the driver and the car. The driver must be guided by expert people, technically and spiritually prepared, who are aware not only of man's insurmountable limits and of the irreplaceable value of human life, but also of the tremendous responsibility they assume by leading a team on the race track. Today, too many races have become death-giving for a misunderstood and silly feeling of primacy or pseudo progress: all this is unbearable and it is against this system, which involves many responsibilities, that I wanted to say a resolute enough. This is the hour in which everyone must assume their responsibilities even at the cost of disavowing the past. I disavow mine. The Scuderia Repubblica di Venezia should have ceased its activity at the end of 1962. Now this closure is anticipated by me. We have forfeited the international races in Puerto Rico, Nassau, Vallelunga, Sandown Park and South Africa, ending the competitive activity that has lasted over two years".

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These words, obviously open new scenarios for the A.T.S. Serenissima. In the following days, Count Volpi speaks with Giorgio Belli, to whom he confesses:

 

"Whoever builds Formula 1 is a killer. We cannot go ahead with the project".

 

But Billi replies that the A.T.S. Tipo 100 is already practically finished and is strictly necessary to make itself known as a company, so that it can then maintain itself economically with the production of the road car.

 

"We can't, this sport kills people, drivers and spectators".

 

At the base of this choice, however, it seems that there could be also a scarce possibility of being able to continue the collaboration with Billi, due to differences of ideas. What bothers Belli is the fact that the Count spoke to the French newspaper Le Figaro in the first person, almost as if it were only his, and not as a shareholder.Therefore, Count Volpi clarifies to the Italian press:

 

"I spoke only in my capacity as the owner of the Scuderia Repubblica di Venezia. The company A.T.S. Serenissima will continue to carry out its activity in harmony with these principles of protection, of safeguarding the safety of the drivers and of the public, and of renewal of the competitive sector, with the sole purpose of creating new products with their own characteristics and as such only able to favor the installation of industries adhering to the constant progress of modern technology".

 

In the meantime, we learn that the Japanese factory Honda, whose motorcycles have gained worldwide fame by winning the main international competitions and two world titles, has announced its intention to start producing sports cars and light trucks. The first models of its automotive production will be launched on the market next spring. The Japanese manufacturer will produce two small-displacement sports cars, the Honda Sport 800 and the Honda Sport 360. These are two two-seater cars, with four-cylinder engines, the first with a displacement of 492 cubic centimeters and the second with 356 cubic centimeters, with three gears and reverse (however, a four-speed gearbox will be available for both models). The 492-cubic centimetre model will have a top speed of 180 km/h, will weigh 830 kilograms and will have a wheelbase of two metres, while the 356-cubic centimetre model will have a wheelbase of 1.80 metres and a weight of 810 kilograms. No official announcement has been issued regarding the sales prices of the two cars in Japan, but according to unofficial information the 500 model will be sold at around 800,000 yen ($1.390) and the 360 model at about 480.000 yen ($1.280).

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On Saturday, December 1st 1962, the usual meeting that Ferrari promotes between one season and another is slightly anticipated this year, and held at the Palace Hotel in Modena, so as to coincide with the presentation of the book that the owner of the famous Modena-based company, Enzo Ferrari, wrote after many second thoughts. The book, published by Cappelli, is entitled: Le mie gioie terribili. More than an autobiography, it is a story of episodes lived and often suffered by this unique manufacturer of racing cars, who made the sport of driving his reason for living, battles, pain and satisfaction. The traditional meeting between Ferrari and representatives of the press presents an important variation with respect to previous years: it is not preceded by a visit to the Maranello factory, where it was customary to see the new cars being prepared for the following racing season.

 

But the reason for this can be guessed from the statements made by Ferrari during the Q&A interview, which the manufacturer himself likes to substitute for conventional conferences. Ferrari, which this year has had a brilliant season with its sports and grand touring cars, has not been as competitive in the Formula 1 world championship, which is the pinnacle of racing. The main cause was the union unrest that at times paralyzed the racing department of the company; there were many accessory causes regarding the technical situation, the drivers and the imposing financial commitment that the competitions required. In addition to this, Ferrari institutes for the first time the journalistic prize named after his son Dino, to be awarded - says Giovanni Canestrini, who is part of the jury - to the Italian journalist, professional, who has written, between January and October of each year, the article on motorsport judged the best among those submitted to the jury of the prize, which condidte in 500.000 lire, a substantial amount. In addition to Giovanni Canestrini, doyen of automobile journalists, the other members of the jury are the writer Carlo Montella, winner of a Viareggio prize, and Carlo Cappelli, the Bolognese publisher of Ferrari who published his first book, which was then given to the journalists at the end of the meeting.

 

"In recent years, more than once, I have been invited to write the story of my case, but I never joined. The sum of my daily commitments, which I felt were not to be postponed, did not allow me to think about rearranging in my memory the men, the things, the facts, which had determined my life, and which had led me to build cars with my name on them, the last act of a cycle that began with the dreams of adolescence".

 

Ferrari writes in the book's foreword, adding that everything changed following the event that shocked and marked his life.

 

"The disappearance of my son Dino made me painfully pause and reflect. And after so much panting, turning back, I was able to glimpse the perspective of my existence. So I decided to give vent to this conversation with myself, perhaps too much delayed. A conversation in solitude, accompanied by the greatest pain of my life".

 

A beautiful black and white photograph of a smiling Dino welcomes the reader. On the back of the page with the picture of the boy, Ferrari asks you to write a few words:

 

"Dino Ferrari, my son

He was born on January 19, 1932

he died on June 30, 1956".

 

In presenting it to the press, Cappelli confesses that the book was edited with a speed equal to the speed of Ferraris, revealing the fact that the book was done in about twenty days. However, to tell the truth, the twenty days are those between the closing of the text and the printing, which had to be finished for the meeting with the journalists on December 1st 1962. As for the drafting of the text, the work had been long and had begun more than a year before. The first to take note of Ferrari's memories had been Fiamma Breschi in various trattorias in the Apennines of Emilia in the summer of 1961. Sitting at the table with her, Ferrari would probe his own memory and dictate, she would diligently take notes.

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Soon, however, Ferrari realized that, while he enjoyed the girl's stimulating company and the diligence with which she took notes on his memories, if he wanted to shape a real book, he would need a professional. Incidentally, the courting of Fiamma Breschi continued throughout the spring, summer, and fall, but the young woman continued to refuse the advances of the Modena builder. With each refusal, however, Ferrari's court became more passionate, his letters more heated, his counterproposals more concrete. Ferrari was sure that sooner or later Fiamma would give in and agree. To have her by his side, he would have left his wife, to whom he would have given a payment of 900.000.000 lire, even going so far as to ask his lawyer to study the possibility of drawing up a real marriage contract, as is done in the United States.

 

But Fiamma does not give in; she is fascinated by Ferrari, but does not love him. On the other hand, she had already once challenged social conventions, but then she had done it for love, and she had no intention of replacing Luigi Musso with Enzo Ferrari. The Modenese constructor, therefore, in order to continue the work related to the production of the book, decided to turn to a young journalist from Turin. Gian Paolo Ormezzano was little more than a boy when, in 1960, he interviewed Ferrari for Tuttosport, the Turin sports newspaper. When the interview was over, Ferrari had invited him to write the piece directly in Maranello, asking if he could read it before he returned to Turin that evening. Ormezzano obeyed. Back in the editorial office, he passed the piece on to Ferrari, who read it and approved it, from which, given the length of the text, two articles were born. But then he published a third, in which he told the story of the other two, or how Ferrari had pretended to approve them.

 

Ferrari, who usually demands blind obedience, but at the same time finds irresistible whoever dares to challenge him, decides that Ormezzano is the right person to give shape to the book. Tracking him down, however, is not easy. The young journalist, fearing the wrath of the Modena builder, is not to be found for days. But when he finally agrees to talk to Ferrari, he is offered the opportunity to assist him in the writing of his memoir. Ferrari is clear from the outset: he is not looking for a ghostwriter, but rather for a journalist capable not only of organizing the material born from his memories, but above all of formulating the right questions. For his own memoirs, Enzo Ferrari thought of a dialogue in the form of an interview. Armed with a small tape recorder and a lot of patience, Ormezzano took time off from his daily routine and spent his days in a small room near Ferrari's office. There he waits all day long to see him and record his memories. For hours she feels only his presence, without seeing him.

 

Then, at the end of the day or often later, Ferrari summons him and together they leave for some trattoria where, between one dish and another, with Peppino the driver in the corner, the Modena manufacturer dictates and the journalist takes notes. Ferrari's ability to dictate is extraordinary, as is his capacity for synthesis. His slow speech allows him to mentally compose the sentences he utters, so that all Ormezzano has to do is put punctuation on words that, as they come out of Ferrari's mind, directly create sentences that could have gone into print as they were spoken. Ormezzano discovers at one point that he has used up all of the back days of vacation in his possession, even though he has not finished the job. He is therefore reluctantly forced to tell Ferrari that, as much as he regrets it, he would have to return to the newspaper. Nevertheless, Ormezzano suggests a colleague, a peer, Gianni Roghi, who would work alongside Ferrari until the end of the writing of the text.

 

"My book will have to be published only after my death. Otherwise I would spend the last years of my life in jail".

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Enzo Ferrari used to say this when, long before publication, he began to make no secret of the fact that he was trying his hand at being a writer. The book is in fact characterized by severe judgments on drivers, organizers and public figures, but Gozzi's censorious hand, under whose eyes the proofs must have passed before publication, softens or sometimes even deletes these very comments. The harshest ones are dedicated to Fangio, since the year before the five-time World Champion had published his own memoir and almost talked about sabotage by Ferrari himself to make him lose the world title. Ferrari, therefore, responds by dismantling Fangio's thesis, ridiculing the accusations made by the Argentinean driver who had mentioned possible commercial strategies behind some team decisions, but who had actually spoken more about bad luck than anything else.

 

However, in Maranello new mechanical means are being prepared (in particular three new Formula 1 engines with 6, 8 and 12 cylinders respectively): the agonistic plot of the 1963 vintage is therefore conditioned to the concrete possibilities that the cars will show. For this reason the team of drivers has not been reconstituted: only two test drivers have been initially hired and they will defend the colors of the House in the races: the former World Champion of motorcycling John Surtees and Willy Mairesse; another Englishman, Michael Parkes, has been called to Modena for the tuning of the prototypes.

 

"If the machines go well, it is not excluded if we can make some available only to deserving Italian drivers".

 

There is no lack of polemical hints from the Modenese constructor towards certain environments and interesting news has been learnt, such as, for example, the one concerning Ford, which is about to start its sporting activity by entering the scene already next March at the 12 Hours of Sebring; such as the expenses sustained by Ferrari for the management of races during 1962 (almost 400.000.000 lire); such as the number of prototype engines made in the Maranello workshop from 1946 to today: 131. After all, keeping up the good name of Italy through sport entails enormous costs. Ferrari's racing department is made up of 94 people - workers, drivers, clerks and engineers - and to keep it going requires 23.000.000 liras per month in 1961, which becomes 36.000.000 liras in 1962. It is not, therefore, an explosive meeting as in recent times, but perhaps the precise meaning of Ferrari's statements today will be better understood in a few months. On the other hand, Ferrari can still celebrate a total of 163 victories achieved by the official team and by clients that he now boasts all over the world and that run and win for him Sunday after Sunday. But of course, the impossibility of competing on equal terms with the rivals in Formula 1 due to the union unrest has not been forgotten. In Italy, a new national labor contract has been waiting for four months.

 

"Customers may wait, but racing has fixed deadlines. I would consider abandonment a desertion, worse, a betrayal of all those who have worked, suffered and died for racing, whose results are identified with automotive progress".

 

But he warns the press, saying:

 

"We cannot continue to give you what you expect. We gave it to you as long as we could. We can no longer give it to you".

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The political forces and above all the Italian trade unions, which no longer grant him the impunity that he had carved out for himself as long as it was possible, are not the only polemical targets, however, but also the drivers are included, especially those who, having won a World Championship, have begun to make claims of various kinds:

 

"When someone says I am champion, I don't come for training anymore, I don't lend myself for testing anymore, but I only come the day there is time to be done so I can get the starting spot, that is no longer a racer".

 

Referring to Phil Hill, with whom he interrupts the collaboration relationship at the end of the season. Enzo Ferrari announces that he will not form a drivers' team, entrusting his cars to test drivers. With which drivers will he face the 1963 season?

 

"In 1963 Ferrari will not constitute a drivers' team, but will entrust the Formula 1 and Prototype GT cars that it has decided to realize, to its collaborators. We can no longer submit to the conditions suffered this year and previously. This is a return to the past, as in the days of Campari, Bordino, Salamano, Nazzaro and many others. Our collaborators are John Surtees and Willy Mairesse. In addition, a 31 year old engineer, Mike Parkes, will join our company in the sports management department and he will take care of the prototypes".

 

For participation in the Formula 1 World Championship, is there any program on the part of Ferrari?

 

"The sporting activity in 1963 is conditioned to the technical results of the built cars, but however, we trust, since now, to participate to all the most important races of the Formula 1 Championship and of the World Trophy Prototypes and GT".

 

Do the two young Italian drivers Baghetti and Bandini still have ties?

 

"Baghetti and Bandini have an agreement that will expire at the end of December. If the Formula 1 and GT prototype cars they build will show, through the tests of our testers - tests that they will do also in some competitions - probable possibilities of affirmation, I will be glad to put at disposal of the Italian drivers, from that moment, the cars of the Company. And these drivers will be those who, obviously, will be free".

 

Is it foreseen with which cars you will participate in the GT championship and in the prototype championship?

 

"The international calendar provides for four main activities, namely: Formula 1, Prototype GT, GT Brands Championship and European Mountain Championship. As far as Formula 1 and GT Prototypes are concerned, the Company intends to take part in them directly if and insofar as the cars it will build, as soon as possible, will give satisfactory results. As far as the Brands Championship and the European Mountain Championship are concerned, this will be an activity to be reserved exclusively for drivers-customers. It's possible that Ferrari will also sell cars type 196 S, the 2 liter 6 cylinders, with which Scarfiotti, already in the first year of appearance, was able, participating only in five races out of the eight on the calendar, to be four times first overall and to win the European Mountain Championship".

 

He seems to have glimpsed some of Scuderia Ferrari's difficulties in carrying on racing, at least economically:

 

"I think the difficulties always consist in size, in proportions. Let's see: how much do you spend to maintain a racing department with an official team of drivers? In the first year of its sporting management, from July 1, 1960 to December 31, 1961, that is, for eighteen months, Ferrari spent more than 425.000.000 liras - with an average monthly expense of more than 23.000.000. The department consists of 94 units including workers, drivers, technicians, clerks and engineers. In the second year of the same sports management, from January 1 to December 31, 1962, i.e., for twelve months, it sustained, for eleven-twelfths, over 397.000.000 lire, with an average monthly expense of approximately 36.000.000 lire. The racing department still consists of 94 units. For a company, with the limited production it has, and provided that the work is carried out normally, it is not possible to sustain such a burden; it is necessary, therefore, to resize it. What did Ferrari get out of these accessory expenses in 1962? All in all, less than 100.000.000".

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Speaking of Indianapolis:

 

"I don't think we can talk about Indianapolis because that would mean an enlargement of the program not a downsizing. On the other hand, it is a problem that the day it has to be faced will require a lot of effort, which would stifle other initiatives. In fact, it is well known that the technicians, workers, and specialists in general who deal with these projects are few and far between and cannot easily be increased, even for those who have large resources. Therefore, the day that a decision is made to participate in Indianapolis, which I dream of (I dream because the last thing that abandons man is hope), I think I would have to give up, at the very least, either Formula 1 or the prototypes, that is, something very important. It will be necessary to send down technicians to see what the others do, because there is no one who invents everything, but everyone copies, even if by copying we normally arrive late".

 

If Enzo Ferrari for 1963 had to choose a driver and only one from the past or present times, who would he choose?

 

"Let's talk about the man, let's not talk about the past times, because obviously it is not possible to judge the drivers apart from the epoch in which they have acted, but if today I had to hire a driver, and I make a wish, I would hire Moss, because he is the man that resembles more Nuvolari. As far as an ideal team of drivers to drive Formula 1 cars is concerned, I think that first of all it is necessary to create a car with 20-30 horsepower more than the competitors, after that my task and that of the sporting director will become extremely simple. That's why we discuss the environment, managers, technicians, and a bit of everything, because when there are no longer cars with 20-30 horsepower more, we need Nuvolari or Moss who give the two seconds! Like a driver who legitimately aspires to have the best car, it is obvious that a manufacturer also tends to have that driver who, in a moment of technical deficiency, can give him a decisive help. We have had these men, they were called Nuvolari, they were called Moss, there are men who have given more than the famous sharecropping. I will remind you of the episode of the Montenero circuit, when there were German cars and Pintacuda, a great Mille Miglia winning driver, was running. One fine moment Nuvolari, who had a 12-cylinder car while Pintacuda had an 8-cylinder, stopped; why? He broke an axle shaft in the 12-cylinder and the Germans were all ahead. Absolute frost! Then the Minister of Foreign Affairs was Galeazzo Ciano, who was close to the director of the ACI, Eng. Ivo Magnani, he sent for me and asked: "How come you gave Pintacuda, now the last one, the car that went less? Every time Carletto passed he complained that the brakes didn't work. I said: You can really see that the brakes don't work. Nuvolari arrives near the pits and asks me: Can't you stop someone and give me his car? And I said: Look, there is Pintacuda who is signalling that the brakes are not working. So he says: I don't want the first one, I want the last one; Pintacuda's, because the others had better go ahead. So Pintacuda stops, Nuvolari jumps into the car muttering: To go fast you need brakes. The moral is this: Nuvolari after four laps had overtaken everyone and won the Montenero. The 8-cylinder was not a superior car to the Mercedes, to the Auto Union, but he won! This is the truth; and we tend to have Nuvolari as the racers tend to have the cars, the best ones! Fangio succeeded, he always had the best car. As much as he wrote the opposite, he always had the best car".

 

The Formula 1 car races for the 1963 season promise to be very interesting, with the predictable redemption of the Italian constructors in front of the English ones, triumphant in all the trials held this year. It is necessary to say constructors, because the tenacious Ferrari, always on the cutting edge and silently, almost humbly, preparing for future struggles, will soon be joined by A.T.S. (Automobili Turismo Sport), a new Bolognese company whose president is a well-known industrialist from Florence, Dr. Billi. The new single-seater makes the voice of its engine heard on Saturday 15 December 1962, in Bologna, during a meeting of authorities, journalists, technicians and sportsmen. In the presence of Minister Preti, drivers Consalvo Sanesi, Ludovico Chizzola, Geki Russo, Piero Taruffi, Giuseppe Farina, Mimmo Dei, Jack Fairman, Giancarlo Baghetti, and other authorities, the first example of the Formula 1 racing car built by the new company A.T.S. was presented in the lobby of the Baglioni Hotel. President Billi - after reading a joint communiqué from Count Giovanni Volpi di Misurata and A.T.S, in which it is announced that, as Count Volpi himself had resigned from the company, the latter's partnership was transformed from Automobili Serenissima into A.T.S. - outlines the program of activities of the new Bolognese organization. This activity includes on the one hand the construction of racing and touring cars in the Pontecchio Marconi plant, and on the other the participation, starting from the next season, in all Formula 1 races.

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Dr. Billi announces the hiring of the English driver Jack Fairman as chief test driver, while he declares that he will be able to announce the names of the riders of the official team only in the first days of January. However, it seems to be understood that the driver most likely to enter the ranks of the team should be Giancarlo Baghetti, but the name of Phil Hill was also mentioned. The new Formula 1 car - whose debut is scheduled for April in the Grand Prix of Syracuse - is designed by engineer Carlo Chiti and designed by Alfonso Galvani, and has a rear engine with 8 V-cylinders of 1494 cubic centimeters (diameter 66, stroke 54), with an expected power of 190 horsepower at 10.000 rpm. The gearbox is six-speed and is in block with the engine, the frame is a latticework of tubes - assembled by a former factory of airplanes in Palermo, the Aeronautica Sicula - with independent suspension on four wheels in magnesium alloy, the wheelbase of 2.32 meters (and no coincidence to the journalists present seems very long, but Chiti, with a meter made specifically to fool those present, measure the car making believe that it is equal to the competition), the front axle of 1.35 meters, and the rear of 1.32 meters. The car is very thin, low (only 43 centimeters from the ground) and extremely profiled. This has two side tanks and a rear tank of 120 liters total. Its dry weight barely exceeds the minimum limit of 460 kilos. There are several technical innovations, starting with weight distribution and suspension.

 

This car will soon take its first steps at the Monza circuit, tested by Jack Fairman. These are the programs of the very young company, which enters the automotive sector in a particularly delicate moment both for economic and commercial aspects (the lively international competition, which tends to cover every smallest area of the market), and for the situation in the competitive field. British manufacturers, specialized in Grand Prix machines, largely dominated the situation in 1962. The British school - in the field of competition car construction - had had its first successes with the search for low weight through the wide use of light materials and the application of concepts taken from aeronautical technique; then, returning to the solution of the engine on the back proposed many years before by the Germans. The new A.T.S. was actually inspired by the English school - and it could not be otherwise - but its designer, engineer Carlo Chili, probably went even further, rethinking the issue of weight distribution in relation to the moment of inertia of the machine, bringing innovations to the geometry of the suspension arms, and creating an engine of singular compactness, therefore very light: 112 kilos, including the starter motor. A few years later Alfonso Galvani will tell us:

 

"The presentation was an event that created great interest at the time. The presence of the local press and drivers who came to study the opponents was really massive. I had already adopted in Stanguellini, in particular with the Junior, original solutions with particularly tapered profiles: luckily I was gifted with a natural talent, I drew very well freehand and for this reason I was much appreciated. At the time I also collaborated with some specialized journalists, to whom I supplied newspapers and magazines with cutaways of the cars that participated in the World Championship. The design of the A.T.S. Tipo 100 came spontaneously, and even today that single-seater maintains a splendid profile and a great capacity for aerodynamic penetration, without using a wind tunnel. We worked well and quickly, and the single-seater was born in just five months. The vernissage at the Baglioni Hotel was a good sounding board for the team, the car met with a lot of approval and the contrast with Ferrari came about almost naturally. In fact, the commander did not see eye to eye on the matter, as he did not underestimate the potential of those men who had helped the Maranello company to win the 1961 world title".

 

And Giorgio Billi also remembered:

 

"Ministers, drivers and the creators of the Mille Miglia came. It was truly a great presentation. The only remark I made to Chiti was about the construction of the bodywork, which I wanted in monocoque and load-bearing. I told him: let's take the project to Ambrosini to build it there, rather than having a tubular trellis frame that looked like a chicken cage to me. Colin Chapman had the intuition to create a monocoque chassis, the Lotus was 50 kilos lighter than the A.T.S. and, despite having about sixty horsepower less, it always won. I told him that we had to rely on aeronautical engineering, but Chiti replied that there was little time ahead and we had to participate in the races right away. At the time there was a lot of confidence that we would become the anti-Ferrari par excellence. There was also a lot of enthusiasm among the fans for the great novelty of another all-Italian team, capable of building a road car. Chiti's resentment towards Ferrari meant that they dedicated themselves above all to Formula 1, neglecting the other aspects, and in the end Bizzarrini left, he who had to develop the Gran Turismo project".

 

Waiting for the debut of the A.T.S., in Maranello they discuss which is the technical way to go in order to return to success in the Formula 1 World Championship in a short time. Despite the fact that Enzo Ferrari would have preferred to build a monocoque car, taking the example of the new Lotus 25, because he was advised by his men (including Rocchi and Salvarani, who came from the Officine Reggiane, where the Re 2000, a remarkable fighter plane, had been built), Forghieri managed to impose his idea, because to create a monocoque car would have taken a long time, to the point that the engineer hypothesized that its eventual realization would have required even more than an entire season. So, Mauro Forghieri - supported by Vittorio Jano - proposes to Ferrari to split the work of the technical department, which would have studied the project of the monocoque car entirely in Maranello, while the same Forghieri and the designer Farina would have studied a more traditional chassis but able to be competitive already at the beginning of 1963. This is how the 156 called Aero will be born, with a 6-cylinder engine combined with Bosh direct injection, equipped with a tube chassis, but rigid and very modern, with triangulations to distribute the stresses and an aluminum cladding riveted on tubes. Pending Ferrari's return to racing, the fate of the 1962 World Drivers' Championship will be decided in East London, South Africa, which will host a Formula 1 Grand Prix for the first time. The two title contenders, Jim Clark and Graham Hill, had never before won the world title. Both are British drivers driving for a British team, and it will be the first time in history that the World Champion will be a Briton in a British car.

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The 1962 Formula One World Championship season will end with the 9th South African Grand Prix at East London. Although it is titled like this, it is the first Championship race that will actually be held in South Africa. It is also the most important International event yet staged in this pleasant country. East London is situated in the south-eastern corner of the vast continent of Africa. The sea front faces south-east. The circuit lies a little way down the coast on gently sloping ground which runs right down to the Indian Ocean. The track is over open roads that are especially closed for the race. It is 3.919 kilometres long. It is not over-wide but has enough room to fit multiple Formula One cars. The start/finish line is opposite to the control tower, on the main straight. This straight is flat. It is not very long and is then followed by the Potters Pass Bend. It is a level long downhill right-hander that has an almost flat-out corner called Rifle Bend. The drivers then brake for a wide-ish hairpin called Cocobana Corner. The track then flattens out onto Beach Straight, Butts Bend and onto the esses.

 

The esses consist of a fairly fast right and two slow lefts which are followed by a fast-accelerating right onto the back straight. The two slow lefts are taken as one long carve although they look like two corners on the map. The back straight rises to the Beacon Bend hairpin and onto the main one. The pit lane lies back from the track. It has its own approach road which starts just after the hairpin. The entry list is the best international one ever obtained for a South African race. The Drivers’ Championship is still wide open. Lotus has three cars for Clark and Taylor. Coming from England, the new monocoque No. 5 arrives just in time for the race. It is the car that Clark will eventually drive. The Monocoque No. 4 is a training car that has a Lucas fuel-injection V8 Climax. The Lucas pump is fitted beside the gearbox and out in the open. It has an aluminium shield that keeps the heat away from the engine and gearbox. The Lucas injector pump is fed by two Bendix fuel-pumps.  However, a third Bendix has been added after the Durban weekend. The goal is to try to stop the misfiring at maximum speed and power. Taylor is at the wheel of the third car, the monocoque No. 2, that first appeared at Rouen this year in its original trim.

 

BRM has three cars for Graham Hill and Ginther. Hill’s first car arrives in East London on the same ship as the Lotus. This car is a lighter version of the 1962 design with only slight alterations. The front of the car is slightly wider. Larger wishbones are needed whilst the front discs are noticeably thicker. The front wheels are the bolt-on type instead of the knock-on ones. The body is made out of a thinner gauge, light alloy sheeting and a little weight that pares off the gearbox. Tony Rudd, B.R.M. Team Manager, says that the weight-saving should be about 40lb. According to the Club’s weighbridge, the cars are only 5 lb lighter. The spare car was used by Hill throughout the year. The only difference is that three large vents are cut in the bonnet top, behind the radiator, to let out the hot air. The BRM team finds that the car was badly damaged during the Johannesburg race due to the altitude. In addition, the water inside it was 10 degrees lower than normal. The third car, that will be driven by Ginther, has large air vents as well. The American driver drove that car during the US Grand Prix. B Johnstone enters a fourth B.R.M.. He is however unable to use it thanks to an engine issue that occurred during last week’s Durban race. Furthermore, the team’s spare engines cannot be released until after the last practice session, in case they are needed. The car belongs to Jack Lewis and it was used earlier this year.

 

It is a 1961 chassis with a works V6 engine. Johnstone is forced to start from the back of the grid given that he is unable to set any practice times. Bowmaker/Lola has two cars for Surtees and Salvadori. The latter is at the wheel of the car that has a 6-speed Colotti gearbox. The second car has been fitted with a 5-speed box. The Cooper Team brings two cars for McLaren and Maggs. McLaren’s Climax V8 engine is equipped with Lucas fuel injection. In addition, the car has a new and larger radiator in order to improve the cooling. The plan view of this radiator resembles a flat-bottomed vee. The sides of it are the water radiators whilst the flat portion is the oil radiator. The nose is opened out in order to cover this larger radiator. It makes for a very ugly car. Unfortunately, it keeps over-heating. Thus, the old nose and radiator are fitted for this race. Maggs’ car is the one that he raced with earlier this year. Jack Brabham’s blue and gold Brabham car remains unaltered for the upcoming weekend. Innes Ireland has the pale green UDT-Laystall Lotus-Climax with the 5-speed Colotti box. G de Beaufort, coming from outside Europe, drives the 4-cylinder Porsche. The car is the ex-Filippinetti vehicle which the Dutch driver had hired for Mexico and finally purchased. It is equipped with the disc brakes and the 6-speed gearbox that come from his old car. Unfortunately, there is no time to respray the car.

 

Therefore, it is painted in Italian red instead of Dutch orange. Li Pieterse is one of the local drivers who will drive a Lotus 21 with 4-cylinder Mk II Climax engine. This is last year’s works car. It is also the one with which Clark gained the lap record in 1961. J. Love enters in the 1961 works Cooper with a Mk II 4-cylinder Climax engine. NA Lederle is at wheel of a Lotus 21 with Mk. II 4-cylinder Climax engine and 6-speed Colotti gearbox. The last two cars to enter this race are both powered by linered-up Alfa Romeo Giuliena engines. The first one has been fitted on LD Serrurier’s LDS Alfa. This car is built in South Africa and is based on a 1960 Cooper design. The other car is a 1960 Cooper that is now called a Cooper-Alfa. It will be driven by M Harris. G Hocking, at the wheel of the RRC Walker’s dark blue V8 Lotus-Climax, unfortunately killed himself during the Durban race a week ago. Eye-witnesses say that he was going too fast when entering a very tricky corner. T Settember would be able to drive an Emeryson car. However, he fails to turn up to the event. S. Van der Vyver is supposed to drive the Lotus-Climax V8. However, he badly damaged it at the Durban race. He is thus unable to get it repaired in time. SA Tingle is supposed to drive Hocking’s own car. He instead decides to run in one of the supporting races rather than in the main event.

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First practice is on Wednesday’s Boxing Day. The sun is brilliant. There is also a strong and warm wind. It leads people to speak about Boxing Day in Brands Hatch. The first cars to go out on track are the two BRMs. Hill is in his old car and Ginther is in his one. Hill completes his first lap followed by Clark’s fuel-injection car. Salvadori, Serrurier and Surtees follow in quick succession. Some drivers are learning the circuit for the first time. Others, such as Jimmy Clark, are just remembering it. Clark is soon in his injection car. He is complaining of fluffing on the straight. This proves that the extra Bendix pump, fitted in the hope of curing this issue, is not necessary. Ginther sets a 1'36"4 whilst Hill comes back to the pits to change over to his new light-weight car. The American driver complains that the dead engine stiffened so much that he cut it up instead of letting it seize up on him. He immediately goes out on track with the old car. He soon sets a 1'33"4 which is the best time set so far. All is not well down at Lotus. Clark coasts back to the pits with a dead engine after a few laps. Something starts to seize up. He is not sure whether it is the engine or the gearbox. The Lucas injection pump is being bled on the fuel-injection car every few laps in order to try to stop the misfiring. The mechanics eventually cut and lengthen the fuel pipes so that they are across the car. The team then asks Clark to look for air bubbles at maximum speed down the straight. According to him, this move is a little dodgy.

 

Maggs is slowly circulating out on track with his Cooper. He is not getting below the 1'39"7 mark. He is 1sec slower than Serrurier’s Alfa-engined car. Harris manages to get down to 1'40"2 before encountering an issue with the bearings. The mechanics wheel the car away to repair the problem. A number of cars fail to turn up for the first session for various reasons. McLaren’s and Taylor’s cars are not ready for practice whilst the rest of the drivers do not arrive in East London on time. The next practice session is also in the afternoon. The weather is overcast. It starts to rain at the end of the session. All drivers except for Harris are present. The Alfa engine is being rebuilt as we speak. Practice will start 20 minutes early. As the cars are going out on track, with Surtees leading the pack, it is discovered that the drivers are required to follow a camera car. Hill quickly pulls into the pits after one lap whilst the rest continue with the filming. Graham will surely remember his incident with a camera back at the Nürburgring. This filming with the producers, directors and cameramen is rather spoiling the racing atmosphere of the practice session. After all, racing is a serious business and there is no need to turn it into a film studio. However, the Club has sold the rights to it. The film company is thus getting its money’s worth.

 

After a while, the practice session can properly start. McLaren leads the way. Clark, Hill, Taylor and Lederle are in hot pursuit. The rest follows very quickly in order to get as much track time as possible before the rain comes. Ginther is scrubbing tyres to start with. Hill is lapping fast at the wheel of the T car. It is not long before he breaks the old lap record of 1'33"0. The track is more slippery compared to yesterday. After a few laps, Taylor spins violently coming out of the esses. He then spins at the hairpin onto the next lap. De Beaufort also spins at the same time as an act of sympathy. The Lola cars are doing a lot of laps in the meantime. That is before Surtees comes into the pits with a broken gear-selector. He can only use three gears due to the malfunction. Ginther is sitting in his car in the pits when an electrical fault suddenly sparks and smoke start to pour from behind. Ginther leaps out and an extinguisher soon has the fire under control. Innes Ireland is having trouble with his clutch and unable to jump out of 3rd gear. Due to the brilliance of the sun, Innes’s screen is blackened over. It is thus impossible to see through the Perspex.

 

McLaren’s Cooper is overheating. The engine is losing a considerable quantity of water. The cause of it is a flake that cracked the water pump. Maggs’ car is going very well so far whilst McLaren’s mechanics sort out the heating issues. He then does a couple of laps with Maggs’ car. The Lotus cars are having slight brake snatch. Despite this, Clark, in the fuel-injection car, is the first driver to get under the 1'30"0 mark. Brabham is lapping fairly fast and seems to be having a trouble-free ride. Lederle is the fastest of the local entries with a time of 1'36"0. Love is 0.4sec slower than him. Practice ends under rainy conditions. The cars are thus taken to the various garages in order to allow the mechanics to sort out either minor or major troubles. The last practice session is at 6am on Friday morning. The marshals are thus able to go to work in the usual way. The morning is sunny, cool and there is very little wind. The lap times are expected to be faster than before. Salvadori, who has done all the practice that he wanted, is the only absent driver. Every driver goes out on track a few minutes into the session. This shows how the cross-wind on the straight was slowing them down during the previous sessions. Hill does a few laps in the car before the oil pressure drops. The mechanics drain the engine and aluminium particles are found in the oil. Taylor pushes the Lotus car in with a partially seized engine. As a result, he takes out the fuel-injection car in which Clark has previously set the fastest time in 1'28"9 whilst he did the third fastest time of 1'30"9.

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Hill’s car is still in the pits as the mechanics are sorting out the issue with the oil pressure. He thus goes out on track with his old car and sets a 1'30"2 lap time. McLaren is still having heating issues. It is therefore decided to put back the old radiator and nose before the race. Surtees is having his first proper practice without having any mechanical troubles and lowers his time to a 1'31"5. Harris is again in trouble with his Alfa engine. A roughness is starting to affect it again. Pieterse has the top break off the rear damper. Releasing the spring, it flies up on to the top wishbone. Hill is out on track again with the new car. He however does one flying lap at a time since the engine is still not right. Even so, after several of these short outings, he eventually gets down to 1'29"6. It is only 3 tenths slower than Clark’s time in his race car. As practice draws to a close, Surtees comes in to the pits with no brakes. The balance pipe on the right-hand rear brake is split and is letting out the brake fluid. A swap of engines is taking place down at the BRM garage at the end of the free-practice session. Hill’s engine is put into the new car. Johnstone has Ginther’s engine. Ginther’s car has been fitted with an engine that has been flown out. The radiator on Ginther’s car is larger than Hill’s one and therefore is running cooler. The American gives his team-mate his radiator in order to give him a better chance on race day.

 

Lotus decides to not use the injection car as it is not running satisfactorily. This means that neither Clark nor Taylor could count the fast times that they had made with this car. Harris goes away in order to rebuild his Alfa engine again. This time he is having to grind and reface both crankshaft and flywheel. Surtees’ Lola has the spare engine given that his own is running rough. Race day is sunny. A strong wind blows across the straight. 90,000 spectators are turning up on track during the night. All the best parking places round the circuit are gone by midnight. It is also reported that 30,000 people camp the night at the circuit. The crows swarm on to the circuit as the cars are bought out in front of the pits. They then leave just enough room for the cars to go through. The drivers do an honour lap with a MGs. A crowd of Africans pat them on the back. According to the drivers, their touch is not soft whatsoever. The cars are wheeled onto the grid in pairs as 3 o’clock approaches. The two contenders for the World Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships are at the front. Bruce Johnstone, with no practice times set, is at the back. The flag drops at 3 o’clock precisely and the South African Grand Prix is under way.

 

Clark has a brilliant start with smooth acceleration and no wheelspin. Next to him, Graham Hill lets in the clutch, spins his wheels and takes off in a cloud of rubber smoke. The field vanishes from sight in their grid order down to Cocobana Corner. Pieterse’s Lotus car refuses to start. The mechanics are frantically working on it in front of the pits. At the end of the first lap, Clark leads by almost 1sec from Hill. Their lap times are 1min 40sec and 1min 40.9sec respectively. Maggs, Surtees and McLaren jockeying for position behind the leading duo. Ginther is 6th ahead of Ireland and Brabham who are very close together. The rest is stringing out behind in the following order: Lederle, Love, Taylor, Serrurier, Harris, Salvadori, Johnstone and de Beaufort. Pieterse, who was supposed to start the race from 17th position, is still in the pits. The mechanics are fitting a new battery given the other one is flat. On lap 2, Clark extends his lead by another second. Clark’s time is a 1'31"1. It is 1.5 seconds faster than Hill’s time of 1'32"6. Taylor overtakes Lederle and Love for 9th place, behind Ireland and Brabham. De Beaufort drives past Johnstone for 15th place. He gives a nonchalant wave to his rival as he does so. On lap 3, the leader sets the fastest lap of the race in 1'31"0. Hill’s time is 1'32"3. Clark is now 3 seconds ahead of Hill.

 

At this point of the race, the two leaders are easing their race pace, to 1min 33sec and 1min 34sec respectively, due to the gusty wind on the main straight. Salvadori, who had a bad start, firstly overtakes Harris for 13th position. The Lola driver is now up to 12th after three laps. Taylor is right on Brabham’s tail. Both of them are pressing Ireland’s Lotus very hard. Innes though is not moving over for them and makes them work hard to get past. The group, who is fighting for 3rd position, is trying very hard to catch back to the leaders. The drivers in it are passing the pits in a close bunch. Maggs leads this pack. On the 4th lap, McLaren passed Surtees by using his team-mate’s slipstream. The dice for 7th place is getting fierce. The cars are trying to corner as well as storm down the straight three abreast. Eventually Brabham sweeps past Ireland’s pale green car after eight laps. Taylor also does the same onto the next lap. The trio then sweeps past Ginther, whose BRM sounded rough, on lap 10. The pecking order is still the same. Clark is a second per lap faster than Hill. On lap 10, the gap between the two drivers is 10 seconds. In the meantime, there is a big scrap going on for 3rd place. McLaren drives past Surtees on lap 4. The battle is not yet over. Halfway through the 10th lap, the Lola driver fights back and re-takes the position from McLaren. Onto the next lap, the Brit powers past Maggs for 3rd position. Salvadori moves up to 12th on lap 5 after overtaking Lederle.

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On lap 7, he forces Salvadori to get past Love’s Cooper for 11th place. As the leaders complete the lap, Pieterse finally get his Lotus up and running and he is able to re-join the field. On lap 9, Johnstone comes into the pits. He complains of a flat engine. The BRM driver then finds out that his own mechanics have connected two terminals of the Lucas ignition round the wrong way. This will be a hopelessly long pit-stop for him. The driver re-joins the race after the terminals are reversed. Taylor’s 7th place is short-lived. On lap 12, his car grounds to a halt given that he is unable to engage any gears. The field begins to spread out ever so slightly. Surtees is still hanging on to 3rd place closely pressed by McLaren. Salvadori is continuing his steady progress through the field. The two Alfa-engined cars are now 12th and 13th respectively. At the end of the 16th lap, Serrurier makes a pit stop in order to take on water given that the car radiator is leaking. On the 19th lap, McLaren makes a big effort to overtake Surtees for 3rd position. The Lola is now sandwiched between the two works Coopers. The sound of Ginther’s BRM engine is rougher than ever. He in fact spins on two different occasions, once in the hairpin and once in the Esses, due to misfiring and poor pick-up. On lap 23, he dives in the pits to have a change of oiled-up plugs. This pit stop cost him five places. The car is running much better though and he quickly makes up two places on lap 27 and 28 respectively.

 

Serrurier’s water leak is more serious than anticipated. The LDS Alfa dives into the pits for more water on lap 25. Surtees is overtaken by Maggs’ Cooper on the 27th lap. Onto the next lap, the Lola pulls into the pits with a metallic noise coming from the engine. Eric Broadley finds a broken tappet or valve and so the car is wheeled away. Ginther’s B.R.M. is beginning to make progress. On the 32nd lap, he moves ahead of the Alfa-Cooper just before Harris retires. The cause of the retirement is the same one that had dogged him in practice. After that, there is no change in position or tempo for the next six laps. Serrurier makes yet another pit-stop for water on lap 38. He is relegated to last position, even behind Pieterse’s Lotus who is seven laps down on the leaders. Positions remain unaltered. Halfway through the race, Clark is leading Hill by 27.2 seconds whilst Hill is a further 26.1sec ahead of McLaren. The lap times are round about the same. On the 41st lap, Clark laps in 1'32"7, Hill in 1'33"5, McLaren in 1'33"9, Maggs in 1'34"2 and Brabham in 1'33"5. On lap 46, Serrurier makes another routine stop. The race order remains unchanged for the next 10 or 12 laps. On lap 57, Salvadori, who was in 7th, pulls into the pits. The car is wheeled away after the mechanics discover a split fuel tank. Both Lola cars are now out of the race.

 

At this point it looks as though Clark will complete the remaining laps to win the last Grand Prix of the year. However, on the 61st lap, blue smoke starts to pour from the rear of the Lotus car. He is still able to maintain his speed for two more laps despite the issue. He then pulls into the pits as the oil pressure surges in the corners on lap 64. Colin Chapman and Jim Endruweit look in all the obvious places to discover where the oil leak comes from. The mechanics then find a small hole in the crankcase hidden behind the heat shields, that are in between the exhaust pipes and the back of the engine. They do not know what is missing from the hole at first. When they check the spare engine, they find that an approximately 2in long bolt has fallen out in the jack shaft bearing. As a consequence, it is letting the oil spray out onto the exhaust. Further investigation shows that the locking washer has left a firm impression in the alloy on the spare engine crankcase. On the other hand, there is no such impression on Clark’s engine. This proves to the Lotus mechanics that no such locking washer has ever been fitted. The crowd are once again brought to their feet after this startling retirement. On lap 62, Serrurier is coming back to the pits for water. He retires two laps later due to a dry radiator. The last laps are slipping away. Thee B.R.M. mechanics are keeping the fingers firmly crossed. Hill is already the champion but the team still wants to win a fourth consecutive World Championship. The crowds start to cheer and blew car horns as Hill crosses the line to win the race. It is a very popular victory.

 

The two Coopers are right behind the B.R.M. cars. McLaren is leading Maggs by half a second. Brabham is a further 3.1sec behind. These four are the only ones who are on the leading lap. Ireland is a lap down at the wheel of the UDT-Laystall Lotus. Lederle, the first South African entry, Ginther and Love are four laps down. E Pieterse and de Beaufort are lapped five times whilst Johnstone’s BRM is six laps down. De Beaufort pushes his car for the last mile when the electrics to the fuel pump pack up. In the confusion that follows, he crosses the line un-noticed. The Porsche finishes the race 1.2 laps down on the winner given that it is not allowed to push a car over the line. The scoring in the time-keeper’s box is a little confusing. As the drivers are doing the post-race interviews, the Club has not officially given any placings after the first six driver. The last five places are worked out by using an accurate lap chart. The average speed of the race is 150.586kph. The fastest lap goes to Jimmy Clark with a speed of 155.060kph. Graham Hill has one of the largest garlands of flowers ever put round a racing driver’s neck in the meantime. During his honorary lap, he unfortunately runs over the leg of a fifteen-year-old boy who steps in front of him to try and take a photograph. The rain that is building up out over the Indian Ocean starts to pour down as the race finishes. This does not damp the enthusiasm of these sun-tanned spectators. Some of them have driven a thousand miles to watch the race and are now returning home. One spectator that we found come all the way from Nairobi. It was an 8.000-mile round trip.

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The fight was over, and the rainbow helmet went to Graham Hill, who thus wrote his name in the golden book after Phil Hill. On few occasions has the World Championship reserved for drivers had such an uncertain ending as in the last race held in South Africa. Englishman Graham Hill was seriously threatened by Jim Clark in winning the world title, despite the fact that he led the standings by a fair margin of points. But the second dominant reason was also the duel between B.R.M. and Lotus, which arrived in South Africa with modified cars compared to the models that had competed during the season. In fact, Colin Chapman had prepared a couple of Lotus cars with fuel-injected engines, while B.R.M. had prepared Formula 1 single-seaters with a six-speed gearbox, a new type of suspension and retouches to the transmission, as well as an increase in power and a reduction of about twenty kilos.

 

The race proved Graham Hill right and he won, while Clark was forced to retire after having tried, with a desperate race conduct, to secure the rainbow helmet. Clark's Lotus, which remained in the lead for over two-thirds of the exciting competition, highlighted its exceptional acceleration, lightness and maneuverability, but was less able to hold its own against the rival car B.R.M. In fact, apart from the victories obtained in the Belgian, British and US Grand Prix and the fourth place in the German Grand Prix, in the other races of the season Clark's Lotus was forced to retire. Graham Hill's B.R.M., on the other hand, showed a greater continuity of performance and results, winning at Zandvoort, at Nurburgring, at Monza and placing in all the championship races, which would be an important progress compared to the model 25 of 1962.

 

Also the B.R.M. designers didn't make mystery that in Bourne's workshops a new Formula 1 is already being studied with some innovations, such as the cooling system with new air intakes and small lateral radiators, the four-speed gearbox and the suspensions have already been tested with satisfaction in East London. Undoubtedly, the English are determined to maintain their supremacy in Formula 1 by studying new solutions and insisting on injection engines and the lightness of the cars. The South African Grand Prix was an excellent test bench. Lotus was able to test the innovation of fuel injection, the Coventry-Climax 8-cylinder V engines, and the new suspensions. It seems obvious that Colin Chapman was already at a good point in the design of the Lotus model 32 that should have, among other things, a new type of chassis and other innovations.

 

But for the moment we can only archive the 1962 World Championship with the well-deserved success of Graham Hill who succeeded Phil Hill, to whom, with Ferrari, it was impossible to defend the title, obtaining the second place in the Monaco Grand Prix and the third in the Dutch and Belgian ones. The other placings of the Ferrari drivers were a fourth and fifth place of Baghetti, a third of Bandini, a fourth and a sixth of the poor Ricardo Rodriguez and a fourth of Mairesse. Now drivers and cars will meet in the spring at the first world test of the Monaco Grand Prix where, in addition to Ferrari, which are announced with belligerent intentions, will be in contention the new Italian Formula 1 A.T.S., designed by Carlo Chili.

 

Ylenia Lucia Salerno

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