The conclusion of the 1962 World Car Championship was a little less pronounced, almost overwhelmed by the end-of-the-year festivities, the remoteness of the last test venue, The fact that only British cars and drivers were involved. Such an epilogue, just a few years ago, would have been inconceivable; today no one is surprised, after a season entirely dominated by those who were once easy opponents, and who still last year had been bent, albeit after hard struggle, by Italian machines. But this does not mean the end of a cycle at all. You work years to get to the top, but a bad year is enough to fall into the dust. Take the case of B.R.M., the English brand with which the tenacious Graham Hill won the 1962 title. B.R.M. was born a dozen years ago for some sort of consortium of British car parts manufacturers. There was still the parallel formula prescribing engines of 1500 cubic centimetres with compressor or 4500 cubic centimetres without compressor, dominated by Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Maserati. It seemed that the B.R.M., started with means to profusion, had to easily carry itself at least to the level of the Italian brands, and instead it was a check after the other. Yet, the technical team of Raymond Mays and Owens did not give up and bate e rebate began to pick up some affirmations, finally reaching the conquest of the maximum title of motor sport. All this also thanks to financial possibilities of which none of the other Houses, which are dedicated to competitive activity, today can have. Much less Lotus, to stay in England. The Lotus that its means derives from a regular commercial activity, and that to the fame has reached even before the B.R.M., by virtue of courageous and successful technical conceptions applied to its racing machines. B.R.M. and Lotus, with their first guides Graham Hill and Jim Clark, were the protagonists of the 1962 season, taking four and three victories, respectively. How will things go in 1963? It is too early to say, especially in view of the constructive novelties and new situations matured in recent months.
First of all, we must consider the withdrawal of Porsche, which despite having set up promising new mechanical means (the Stuttgart house was the only one, in 1962, to interrupt with the victory of Rouen-les-Essarts the series of English affirmations) is no longer able to bear the very serious burdens imposed by competitive activity. But for a name that disappears from the sporting scene, two new ones appear: one concerns the Bologna initiative of the A.T.S., the other is even the Honda. The Italian car, designed by engineer Chiti, will soon begin the first round of tests on the Monza track. The single seater is very modern, and seems promising; Dr Billi, president of the A.T.S., is an industrialist who knows what he wants. But nothing is improvised, particularly in this field, while granting Chiti’s ability and experience the maximum credit. Even less can be said of Honda, if not that it should be in the more advanced stage of preparation than the A.T.S. The Japanese company has already established itself to a massive extent in the motorcycle field and would not surprise a resounding statement in the automotive sector. On the other hand, however, Ferrari’s programs - apparently not ambitious at all - are known, having produced new single-seaters, with three different engines in preparation: six, eight and twelve cylinders. Ferrari has had many bitterness, since the last World Championship, even for reasons outside the organization of the company, but if there is a man capable of returning to victory, it is Enzo Ferrari. Climax had also announced that it had to abandon the construction of racing engines; but meanwhile, in East London, Clark competed with a Lotus powered by a new Climax injection engine, a sign that either things have changed, or the overt withdrawal was not a serious thing. However, on the momentum of a bright season, both Lotus and B.R.M. are preparing updated machines perfectly aware that in this sector of high specialization mechanical vehicles age inexorably from year to year. Tuesday, January 8, 1963, the new Italian team A.T.S. announces that it has hired the former Formula 1 World Champion Phil Hill, and soon already late the Bologna team also hires Giancarlo Baghetti, also from Ferrari. Two fundamental factors are revealed: the confidence in the group that had led him to win the title in 1961, and the relationship now deteriorated with the new staff of Maranello. As will tell Billi:
"In the negotiations was fundamental Chiti, who acted as guarantor and took very little to convince the American, exquisite person and great driver. He and Baghetti showed confidence in the A.T.S., since Hill had become World Champion with the car designed by Chiti".
And Romolo Tavoni, sports director of A.T.S., adds:
"The reality is that at that moment Phil Hill and Baghetti were the only valid pilots left, for various vicissitudes, without contract. Baghetti had come to the office in Bologna, declaring himself free for the 1963 season. Chiti offered him a limited salary and the Italian accepted. The American did the same, convinced by the fact that he was returning to work as a count group with which he had enjoyed himself".
A few days after the announcement of the A.T.S. concerning the engagement of the two former Ferrari drivers, Saturday, January 12, 1963, during the traditional appointment with customers and friends of his company, in which generally Enzo Ferrari rewards the drivers who have raced for the Maranello House in the previous season, the manufacturer of Modena also reserves a prize Luigi Chinetti, long trusted man on the US market and founder of the North American Racing Team, and Ronald John Hoare, the Ferrari representative in the UK. In 1962 Colonel Hoare facilitated the meeting between Enzo Ferrari Stirling Moss, also invited to the meeting to publicly acknowledge its value and underline the misfortune that prevented the British driver from racing with the cars of the Maranello team. Approaching the first round of the season with the 12 Hours of Sebring, which in fact opens the 1963 sports season, another British driver, John Surtees, on Lola-Climax, beats II compatriot Graham Hill in the Brisbane Grand Prix, which takes place on Sunday, February 17, 1963. The race is held under a torrential rain, and only four of the fifteen cars match manage to reach the finish line. Surtees takes the lead in the 60th of the 189-kilometre race, and I will never be passed again. The successful British driver, hired as Ferrari’s official test driver for the 1963 season, proves to have undoubted skills and tenacity. Intact, skilfully exploiting the manoeuvrability of his car, he manages to recover the disadvantage on the reigning World Champion, Graham Hill, who on wet ground can not exploit all the power of his B.R.M. John Surtees imposes himself for having been able to lead the race with calculated skill. While the development of the Ferrari 250 P continues, which in practice is the combination of the 248 SP slightly modified with the 12-cylinder engine type GTO, a car that by the choice of the engineer Forghieri mounts the engine in the rear position, while maintaining a weight ratio of not more than 55% in the back. To develop the model, Forghieri asked and obtained permission from Ferrari to use the wind tunnel of the University of Stuttgart.
Despite the high cost - the engineer also works at night to contain electricity costs - the choice will turn out to be happy. Forghieri does not have a database to rely on to develop the aerodynamics of the car, but thanks to the help of professor Pottof manages to get a huge amount of data, tips and very useful advice. Thus, Forghieri is able to find an aerodynamic solution that involves the shape of the front glass, shaped not to create turbulence, and the bow placed behind the pilot in the roll bar position, so as to intercept all the fluid threads from glass, Make sure that they were not scattered from the roll bar, and then crush them with the back flop, advancing the pressure point five times. With a significantly increased downforce and a pressure point displaced in the rear area, the machine becomes extremely driveable at high speeds. Such is the advantage that Forghieri decides not to talk about it with anyone, except the designer Casoli. A perfect car. If it weren’t for a month from the beginning of the season, Ferrari technicians discover that the clutch of the new gearbox, mounted cantilever, at the rear of the gearbox, inherited from previous sports and the Dino 156 F1, has a remarkable inertia. This is evident during the first tests conducted on the Modena circuit, where the gearbox is irreversible due to the increase in power and inertia obtained by the V12 engine, so that both Bandini and Surtees can not correctly insert the gears. Forghieri, however, does not despair and immediately seeks a solution together with Salvarani, Rocchi, Maioli and Farina, with the intention of reducing the inertia of the clutch. Salvarani draws in a brief time a completely new change, and as the polishes are ready, Forghieri takes them to the workshop, to his father Rufus and his boys, to proceed with the production. Sunday, March 24, 1963, the 12 Hours of Sebring ends with a great triumph of Ferrari: the cars of Maranello are classified in the first six places. The winner was the pair formed by the former world motorcycle champion John Surtees and the Italian Ludovico Scarfiotti, at the wheel of the new model with 12-cylinder rear engine of three thousand cubic centimetres.
Willy Mairesse and Nino Vaccarella were second in the same type of car - whose debut could not have been more impressive - . Graham Hill and Pedro Rodriguez follow on a four-litre, again from Maranello, then three other Ferrari Gran Turismo cars: those of the Americans Penske and Pabst, of the Turin-based Dario Mario Abate paired with the Argentine Bordeu and Ginther-Ireland. If from a technical point of view the superb test of the two new prototypes built by Ferrari for the 1963 racing sport is the main result of the 12 Hours of Sebring, It should be added that once again manages to excite the magnificent race of the always very good three-liter Gran Turismo, to which ultimately the Italian House owes the points won for the ranking of the world championship brands, precisely reserved for cars from Gran Turismo. And it is very significant the finish achieved by Abate and Bordeu driving an unofficial Ferrari GTO. In the compact front of Ferrari there is only one defaillance: the three liters of Parkes-Bandini, withdrawn after four and a half hours of competition (when it is in sixth position), following the rupture of the fuel tank, caused by a spin. Of the winners, needless to point out the class of John Surtees - a valuable purchase for Ferrari - that sports a confidence and a stunning style. The young Italian driver Ludovico Scarflotti follows him very well, not new to the claims, but for the first time winner of an international race of such resonance. After all, all the Italian drivers in the race are honoured, as shown by the excellent results of Vaccarella and Abate. Sebring is therefore once again benign for Italian colors. And there is therefore an air of celebration in the Italian clan, after the triumphal conclusion of the race. Ludovico Scarfiotti is happy for his precious contribution to the victory of Ferrari, as are the young Nino Vaccarella - who is a professor in a middle school in Palermo - and Carlo Maria Abate, a gentleman from Turin who is judged among the best Italian drivers. It is Abbot to make a few statements while the crowd - at the end of the race - invades the track holding in an affectionate siege the most popular runners.
"I am well pleased with my fifth place In collaboration with friend Juan Bordeu. Our car was not the official Scuderia Ferrari car, so our second place in the GT ranking is very satisfactory. Our race was very regular. According to the tests we had prepared a schedule that they were able to meet on time. Perhaps a more reckless race would have compromised our chances. In a competition like the 12 Hours mechanical accidents are very common and it is therefore prudent to try to minimize the chances of losing valuable time. Bordeu and I had calculated that with our program we would have to conquer the fifth position. Everything went according to our calculations, but it was still a great satisfaction: it is not always easy to respect the plans that are made before departure. Only the last hour of the race was quite difficult, because unlike the other competitors we had changed the brakes only once".
To hear about Abbot, it seems that to arrive fifth in Sebring in front of drivers of the caliber of Ginther and Ireland, McLaren and former World Champion Phil Hill, is a pretty easy thing, an accountant’s calculation and nothing more. Instead, you have to travel for twelve hours at an average of almost 200 km/h. But this is part of their job for motor racers, and they no longer consider it a risky adventure. Slowly, therefore, the car season is also getting underway. The 12 Hours of Sebring and the subsequent tests of Le Mans are explicit in indicating the balance of power between Ferrari and the thick competition. But the most important point concerns the performance of the new model with 12-cylinder rear engine, which engine is evidently derived from the Gran Turismo version, and therefore cannot arouse fears or surprises. It is interesting, however, that after the positive experiences on the models with six and eight-cylinder motor, Maranello technicians have managed to overcome the most difficult problems related to the road holding of the machine burdened by the distinct size and weight of the 12 cylinders mounted at the rear. This is a major general technical advance in favour of the structure of rear-wheel motor vehicles. Meanwhile, during the month of March, the new A.T.S. team takes its first steps with the Formula 1 car near the Pontecchio Marconi factory, starting from Via Pila, the road that leads right to the headquarters of the Dragone team. Teodoro Zoccoli is the protagonist of that first issue:
"We tried the Tipo 100 in the dusty and muddy paths next to it, on a straight 300 meters long, then I drove it for several stretches on the Porrettana, under the curious gaze of passers-by and especially motorists. Then we went to the Modena circuit and on that occasion, I understood, after several laps, the first defect that the car had: there was a fairly evident imbalance between the springs and the shock absorbers that caused a not perfect balance of the car. On the other hand, you learned everything by running and testing, because at the time there were no telemetry to help you improve the car".
Tests are also carried out by the first two guides, as Baghetti says:
"For the most part, Phil Hill and I took them along with Zeccoli, although Fairman was hired for this job. Elsewhere we experimented other curious phenomena, like an increase of a thousand rpm of the maximum speed of the engine that then disappeared quite inexplicably. I think that besides the single seater had problems of aerodynamics, but at the time there were wind tunnels".
Giorgio Billi continues on:
"Unfortunately, the single-seater always had some flaws, given its young age. By all accounts the engine was valid, the body a little less, since it was still of the tubular type".
Afterwards, the most probative tests will be carried out on the Monza circuit. The sports director of the A.T.S., Romolo Tavoni, will recall a sympathetic episode:
"We were newly born chicks who were going up against giants. Chiti did not announce anything to the press on that occasion and, in order not to be noticed, we camped with the equipment and single seaters in the side streets of the circuit brianteo, within its perimeter. The cars entered the track from a way out and we could work in peace".
The protagonists will face particularly sultry days, with Chiti who, far from possible photographers, remains shirtless with a large bandana on his head to defend himself from the scorching sun. The tests at Monza are repeated, with the car entrusted to Fairman and Baghetti. The two have a precise task: to expose the defects, to discover the changes to be made, to find the gaps that only a perfect tuning can find. In these tests there are unforeseen events regarding the ignition system, the gearbox synchronization and the one already detected by Zeccoli related to the suspensions. For this reason, the engineer Chiti immediately gets back to work to prepare the appropriate changes in the rear area and, in the weeks before the Monaco Grand Prix, Phil Hill returns to Pontecchio Marconi to get familiar with the car. Meanwhile, during the afternoon of Wednesday, April 10, 1963, in Maranello, the secretary of Enzo Ferrari, the 31-year-old Franco Gozzi (a man 1.80 meters tall, married to the daughter of Antonio D'Elia, the barber of Ferrari, graduated in law and known for his wit), receives a phone call: to contact him is Filmer Paradise, the president of Ford Italiana. In an Italian with a strong American accent, Paradise asks if he can talk to Enzo Ferrari. Gozzi replies that he would take a message and report, but Paradise insists, and asks if Ferrari is present in the office. Gozzi, who has a cup of coffee in one hand and a copy of the Puzzle Week in the other, precisely because Ferrari is not present, replies that the Modena manufacturer has not yet arrived (This, in fact, is one of those days when he says he has some business appointment outside Modena, but only Peppino - his faithful driver - knows where they really have been).
"Tell him I called to see if he’s interested in setting up a meeting".
Ferrari will arrive at the office only in the late afternoon. When he arrives at the office, Gozzi informs him of the phone call. Ferrari seems to reflect: he has known Paradise for a couple of years, so he assumes that, in all probability, something big is moving. He therefore asked Gozzi to arrange the meeting, giving him instructions to organize it in Modena, in the old headquarters of the Scuderia Ferrari in Viale Trento Trieste, away from prying eyes, and recommended maximum confidentiality even in the company. Gozzi calls Paradise, and the meeting is scheduled for Friday, April 12, 1963. A few months earlier, in February 1963, the executives of the German branch of Ford received a mysterious letter from the German consul in Milan, in which it was said that a certain car manufacturer of modest size but internationally renowned is on sale. The news was transmitted to the CFO, Robert G. Layton, who at first thought it was one of many companies conditioned by the Italian economy. But a brief survey revealed that the company in question produces the most famous sports cars in the world. On February 20, 1963, Layton forwarded the information to headquarters:
"I enclose a letter, which must be taken for what it is. I doubt that this is of any interest to us, but perhaps there are prospects of which I am not aware".
It just so happens that Lee Iacocca and Don Frey had already discussed the opportunity to buy Ferrari. Henry Ford II endorsed the idea, which matched his strategy of expanding the European market. And, on the other hand, Ford II knows well the charm surrounding Ferrari, since in 1952 the manufacturer of Modena himself had given him a 212 Barchetta that he had found beautiful, with clean and essential lines. Henry Ford II had customized it with four Firestone white band tires. When, Friday, April 12, 1963, Enzo Ferrari and Filmer Paradise meet, the latter is not lost in preambles, and asks Ferrari if he is interested in discussing a plan of collaboration with Ford in Italy. Paradise explains that the sales of the American company are growing strongly both in Italy and in Europe, and that he believes that we can think of a Gran Turismo designed by Ferrari and built by Ford quantitatively relevant for the European market. The proposal affects Ferrari, since lately it has also taken some satisfaction from designing prototypes. Besides, he’s always been an admirer of old Henry Ford. But Ferrari immediately understands that the collaboration should not be limited to the production of a Gran Turismo car, since the president of a national subsidiary does not have the authority to discuss on his own initiative industrial plans with a manufacturer. Ferrari knows perfectly well that the American houses are in the middle of what Ford had christened a few years before Operation Europe, and that Chrysler has recently acquired a stake in the Simca of twenty-five percent which has quickly risen to sixty-three percent.
And in fact, shortly after Paradise asks him if he was interested in opening the conditions for an industrial agreement. Ferrari answers yes. The productive development of his company can affect him only if administered by others. The only condition that Ferrari places in order to start any discussion with Ford is absolute independence as far as the racing department is concerned, and with the wealth of technical and financial means that it does not have. Ferrari reminds his interlocutor that in 1962 he had spent 450.000.000 lire on sports: almost a madness, for a company of such small proportions. This was followed by a visit to Maranello, before Ferrari and Paradise left with the understanding that they would soon meet again with a small delegation of Ford officials, specialists in multiple business sectors, for an exact assessment of the economic value of the business. Paradise informed Ford’s headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan that the meeting went well and that Enzo Ferrari was interested in the operation. Five officials prepared to leave for Italy. The leader of the expedition is a 38-year-old English engineer named Roy Lunn. Having worked at the Aston Martin in the 1950s, he is the only Ford technician with real experience in the field of European sports cars; therefore, when the agreement is concluded, In all probability he will become the new technical manager of Ferrari in Maranello. Before leaving, Lunn is contacted by Lee Iacocca, Ford’s Italian-born general manager, who informs him about the climate of hostility he could have found in Maranello:
"Imagine if a gang of Italian mobsters came here to buy the New York Yankees...".
About three weeks later, on May 2, 1963, Lunn arrived in Italy, and settled in the Royal Hotel of Modena. The Ford delegation, 15 people in all, reached Maranello in a couple of cars. Franco Gozzi welcomed them; Ferrari arrived later. While walking inside the wards, Lunn and his four traveling companions find curious looks, rather than hostility. The racing department, a large open space with high ceilings, is full of sports and competition cars arranged diagonally, on which work some mechanics in gray overalls. The environment is illuminated by natural light, which is small and bare. At the other end of the plant is another open area, which houses the assembly line of the luxurious 400 Superamerica. The workers - about 400 - build the mechanical components using lathes, presses and drills, checking highly detailed drawings. When Americans see the wind tunnel, they almost burst out laughing. This was built by recycling a faulty engine, a rotor, and a large white funnel. Obviously, given the scarce means, this can only accommodate small car models. When Lunn notices that the foundry is neat and clean, he exclaims:
"What a cleanliness, guys. I can’t believe you can hold a foundry like this".
Joking, Ferrari answers through the interpreter:
"I taught my men to wipe their asses".
For three weeks the delegation will look and verify even the smallest detail together with the heads of the various functions of the factory in Maranello, which in 1963 would have produced about six hundred cars, That’s half of what the Ford factory on the Rouge in Dearborn produces in one day. And they never cease to wonder that Ferrari’s berlinette are entirely handmade, as well as the organization chart of the various corporate bodies, including the direct press office and entirely constituted by Franco Gozzi. In the meantime, however, Ferrari employees are extremely wary of Ford emissaries, who see themselves wandering between departments as if they were already the owners of the company. In addition, Ferrari employees, many of whom are linked to the union of the CGIL (Italian General Confederation of Labour), are afraid of losing all employment rights, since it is not immediately clear whether - passed under the command of Ford - Ferrari would continue a process of interaction with the local union, well attentive to the daily needs of employees, in the event that it was still Enzo Ferrari to manage this important business aspect, or if this would be managed by Confindustria, In case Ford took care of it. With consequent lack of confidence towards Ford, not being able to hypothesize how - from Detroit - they could understand the problems of the employees present in Maranello and Modena. There was also distrust of Ford’s working method, more directed towards industry and less for quality craftsmanship, as it was done in Maranello, and for the actual use that the Detroit-based company would have of the sports section; Isn’t it possible that Ford wanted to buy Ferrari to remove an uncomfortable competitor from European tracks?
This was the doubt that gripped the minds of Ferrari employees. And Enzo Ferrari perceived it, since he - always - was aware of everything that happened in the company, and therefore inevitably had to know the thoughts of his employees, since communications were sent from the secretariat to the departments and the office of the CGIL of Modena at each evolution of the negotiation. And every time the feeling changed according to the information: contentment and mockery towards the Americans when the negotiations turned negative, concern, discontent and discomfort when the news was positive to the agreement between Ferrari and Ford. From the days following April 12, 1963, date of the first meeting between Ferrari and Paradise, until May 15, 1963, every evening the delegation of Ford is received, in his office, by the manufacturer of Modena, which is joined by the administrative director Della Casa, by sales manager Manicardi and lawyer Cuoghi. Italians and Americans discuss, approve and translate technical and administrative documents that will form the various annexes of the actual agreement. In the first days of May the compilation of an inventory of all that is present in Maranello, and its value is completed. The resulting figure is of $ 18.000.000, which Enzo Ferrari considers suitable to conclude. Henry Ford, whose personal wealth is about half a billion dollars, obviously gives his consent to the purchase. So Lee Iacocca sends to Maranello his deputy, Don Frey, to conclude the deal.
"Am I worth it? Well, I’ve grown".
Think to yourself Ferrari, who also talks to his wife, Laura Garello, at a time when the latter is lucid. She screams, happy:
"Enzo, but then we are rich".
Ferrari up until now had no idea how much his company could be worth. Therefore, the manufacturer of Modena, for a kind of scruple, or rather of intimate feeling of Italian, tries to probe the possible interest of the three major Italian car manufacturers, for a possible domestic purchase. Before selling to the Americans, Ferrari wants to make sure they don’t have real alternatives in Italy. But the three answers it receives are not satisfactory.
"Ferrari’s competitive technical heritage is undoubtedly of considerable importance, but we believe that racing cars are not used for the construction of good touring cars".
It’s the Spear’s answer.
"An agreement with Ferrari would be an ideal match, but first we should ask ourselves which of us should give way to the newcomer".
It is the second, derived from Alfa Romeo. While the third, that of Fiat, through Vittorio Valletta, who knows very well Enzo Ferrari, admits his impotence:
"We are humiliated not to be able to do, for the great Ferrari, everything it deserves, but we cannot compete with a giant like Ford".
At this point Ferrari is convinced that not only what he is about to do would not have aroused criticism in Italy, and when it should have happened, he would have known what to answer; but also that Ford is the only card in his hand to be able to remain at the top of the automobile sport and ensure a future for his company. The racing license will in fact remain Italian, not giving up the red of its racing cars, the Italian color. When Don Frey arrives in Maranello and meets with Enzo Ferrari, he finds him in perfect harmony with his ideas and at peace with himself in the idea of signing an agreement of that magnitude with an American company. The two liked each other from the beginning, and often spoke of the differences between the American and Italian business models. Frey is thirty-nine years old and looks at least ten. But behind that youthful air, Ferrari understands the solid preparation. To the point that, when the builder of Modena discovers that the American has obtained a doctorate in metallurgical engineering, he stops calling him simply engineer and addresses him with the double term: doctor engineer. As the days passed, the relationship between Ferrari and Frey did not stop growing, to the point that the manufacturer of Modena even decided to bring the American in the car, in the Apennines, showing off the two skills of driver. He drove like crazy. He liked to get me in the car to try to scare me, Frey will say in the future. During long meetings, Ferrari and Frey never find themselves in real disagreement. Even, Ferrari draws on a sheet of paper the possible logos of the companies that are about to be born from the union between Ferrari and Ford: this is in fact the direction in which negotiations are going, the establishment of two new companies. The town of Maranello, for its part, would have seen the expansion of this small factory, with an obvious advantage for the entire population. And, meanwhile, Frey reports on the evolution of trading to Henry Ford II.
Meanwhile, in Sicily, on the tormented circuit of the Madonie, there will be the Targa Florio, the oldest race in the world. The Sicilian race is at its 47th edition, but it is fresh and alive more than ever. This time it is valid as a test for the world title brands and for the prototype trophy, and more than fifty drivers take part. The team to beat is Ferrari, which puts in the race three cars all able to win: the 3000 spider twelve cylinders, piloted by the Englishman Mike Parkes, that of Surtees, and the spider two-liter six-cylinder pair Scarfiotti-Bandini. The Sicilian race will then live - unless sensational surprises - on the duel between Ferrari and Porsche. Great anticipation also for the struggle between the different categories, gran turismo and prototypes, the indirect comparisons between the Giuliette and the Abarth, a whole series of exciting competitions that will keep the attention of the audience lined up as usual in the most challenging stretches of the long track, seventy-eight kilometers that, repeated ten times, will subject drivers and cars to a tremendous effort. Sunday, May 5, 1963, a sensational final twist, in the sign of a tradition that makes the race of the Madonie, as well as the oldest, even the most fascinating, concludes the forty-seventh edition of the Targa Florio, the second round of the World Championship brands. Porsche seizes a sensational victory at the finish in Cerda, with the pair formed by the Swede Joachin Bonnier and the Turin Carlo Mario Abate, Just when it was believed that by now Ferrari had to have once again won with the two liters entrusted first to Bandini, then to Scarfiotti and finally, in the last two laps, to Mairesse. The Ferrari, on the penultimate lap had just twenty seconds of advantage, but it was believed that they could be enough to graduate victorious once again in Cerda.
But, just two kilometers from the finish, Mairesse, who seemed thrown to success, swept a slippery road for the rain and had a scary spin that caused him to break the tie rods fixing the rear of the car, So he opened the tailgate, which greatly delayed his march in the finale. The setback caused the driver to hang a precious handful of seconds, so that at the final finish the regular Bonnier and Abate were able to graduate winners, albeit only with a small margin of eleven seconds. Nevertheless, we must admit that the victory of Porsche is fully deserved and it must be emphasized that the Stuttgart car has managed to establish, at an average of 103,908 km/h, the new average-record of the race, held so far by Ferrari, which established it in 1961 with the pair Trips-Gendebien. Ferrari, which on the first lap places its two three-litre prototype cars in the first two places and seems set on a quiet victorious day, is unlucky. Already on the second lap, the three liters of Scarfiotti gives in to the feeding pump and loses ground, disappearing permanently from the fight during the fourth lap. The other prototype, driven by Parkes, who on the second lap marks the fastest lap of the race and who took the lead after the disappearance of Scarfiotti, keeps the position until the end of the fourth lap, but during the fifth, while it is piloted by Surtees, which succeeded Parkes, gets out of the way (without consequences for the pilot) and drops out. The team of Maranello, at this point, we can only hope for the only two liters left in the race, entrusted in the first three laps to Bandini, from the fourth onwards to Scarfiotti and in the final to Mairesse. This car is in second place at the end of the fifth lap and remains alone to contend for the record at the Porsche of Bonnier-Abate, which has meanwhile passed to the lead.
Twenty seconds separate the two cars in the middle of the race, and from this moment the race lives on the duel between the two leading cars, while behind the other Porsche of Barth and the pair Maglioli-Baghetti (these two are absolute thirds to the ninth turn, then the change is broken and Baghetti must carry out the last turn with the first efficient alone). The Porsche of Bonnier and Abate is first at the end of the sixth lap, then stops in the pits and at the end of the seventh lap back in the lead. At the eighth lap, Ferrari took over again, and remained so until the end of the ninth lap, The events themselves of the race exalt the endurance and regularity of the Porsche, which confirm their perfect adaptability to the Madonie circuit. The success of the House of Stuttgart is undoubtedly due to the goodness of the means, but also to the experience of a pair of great drivers, which proves perfectly close: Bonnier, who had already triumphed in Cerda in 1960 in partnership with Graham Hill, and his driving companion, the young Carlo Mario Abate from Turin, who recorded his first great success in a world championship test, and that is the authentic revelation of the day. Abbot, in fact, leads his car in the middle of the race, which will prove to be the crucial part, because at this moment, from the fourth to the sixth lap, the Porsche is to move from the second position in the lead to the race. The race, started under a beautiful sun, ends under the rage of a storm that in the last two laps contributes to cut the ranks and to provoke a very strict selection. Just think that at 8:00 in the morning about fifty drivers had started, but already on the fifth lap they were reduced to thirty-one; at the end of the ten laps only nine cars have completed the entire course of the race. All the other finishers stop when they have to make one or two laps. At the end of the race, Carlo Maria Abate, still excited, almost incredulous, of the victorious test provided with Bonnier on the difficult track, tells:
"I am happy; for me a success like this can mean the recruitment in the official Porsche team for the whole season and could also affect the Formula 1 races".
How did the race go? What impressions did you have of your partner, your opponents?
"It was a tough fight. We started beating from the two models 3000 of Ferrari, that of Surtees-Parkes and that of Mairesse-Scarfiotti, but we had heard some voice that reported from the pits of Ferrari a certain apprehension about the fragility of the engines; Surtees flew off the road and Mairesse smashed it after two laps. I was checking every move in the pits, waiting for Bonnier to change. After three laps Bonnier was in the lead, but we lost some time for refueling and I ended up running almost always in second position. On the seventh lap I changed again with Bonnier and then I didn’t get back in the car: we had established a new change on the last lap, but when it should have stopped, Joaquim had just thrown the first and the second gear; Fifty kilometers from the end, he also missed the fifth and sixth and had to get to the finish line with only two efficient marches. Are you asking about Bonnier? He is a great driver, and everyone knows it, but yesterday he was exceptional especially in the initial part, when he managed to control the two most powerful Ferraris even with a much lower car. The others were unlucky: Surtees, Parkes, Mairesse, Bandini, Scarfiotti; it is sad to see them removed from the race by mechanical accidents, but luck counts a lot in a car race and I had it many times against that it seems right that for once I was in favor".
Abbot also talks about future programs:
"In two Sundays, on May 19th, we will race at the Nurburgring for the second round of the World Championship; I hope that Porsche will give me another car, and I aim to improve my position because I have already raced on the German circuit and I know the track perfectly. Then there is the 24 Hours of Le Mans in mid-June and I should get into the race on that occasion too. In the meantime, it may be that the Scuderia Centro-Sud will allow me to compete in a race of the Italian Formula 1 championship that should take place in Vallelunga, if there is a car ready for me. The season has just begun and I have already played a series of races too intense, but I prefer not to refuse any opportunity to be able to assert myself permanently".
Two weeks later, however, the Ferrari GT Prototype entrusted to the pair Willy Mairesse and John Surtees won at the Nurburgring circuit a 1000 Km as dramatic and full of twists. For the Italian company, the race - which takes place on Sunday, May 19, 1963 - is a complete triumph, with three cars finished in the first three places of the general classification. Sixty-eight Gran Turismo cars and prototypes start at 9:00 am. The two Ferrari Prototypes, piloted respectively by Surtees and Scarfiotti, immediately jump in the lead, followed by the Jaguar-E driven by the German Lindner. On the second lap, Surtees set the new record for the Gran Turismo category by hurtling to the average of 144.2 km/h. The Englishman, stalked by Scarfiotti’s Ferrari, is at this point ahead by about a minute on the nearest Porsche, that of Bonnier, while Lindner’s Jaguar remains in third position. On lap four, Linge’s Porsche retreated due to a broken rear axle. Surtees and Scarfiotti gained a three-minute lead over Mairesse. On lap 16, the race marks its most dramatic moment. In an attempt to overtake a dubbed car, Parkes grazes with a wheel against the shoulder of a bridge. Although damaged, Mairesse manages to bring his car back on track, to change a wheel and reach the pits for final repair. The Belgian resumed the race with half an hour behind, a seemingly desperate delay compared to Phil Hill, who meanwhile moved on to lead with his Porsche, ahead of Lindner’s Jaguar by two minutes.
But the twists and turns are not over. On lap 21, Phil Hill’s Porsche goes off the track, and the American is forced to leave. So the couple Mairesse-Surtees, who led a fantastic chase, return to lead the race. In the meantime two other Ferraris have come to find themselves in second and third position: that of Noblet-Guichet and that of Abate-Maglioli; and in this order the very hard test in German soil ends. When Wednesday, May 15, 1963 Frey and two of his colleagues sit at the table to begin the final negotiations, everything suggests that only the technical time to draft, read and countersign the necessary documents, is separating the two companies from a historic agreement. On the other hand, the Americans countersign a brief handwritten note personally by Enzo Ferrari, which establishes the establishment of two companies: Ferrari-Ford and Ford-Ferrari. The first will aim to create prototypes and racing cars, to compete in all the competitive tests in the world. The second will build touring cars for the Italian and European markets. Of the first Enzo Ferrari, owner of ninety percent of the stock, he will become the president with full powers. Of the second, Ferrari will be the vice president with ten percent of the shares. As for Ferrari’s duties in Ford-Ferrari, the manufacturer in Modena will limit himself to technical supervision of production. On May 18, 1963, a qualified source of the Sefac-Ferrari confirms:
"It is true that conversations are currently underway between engineer Enzo Ferrari and Ford technicians to agree on a vast programme of competitive participation worldwide. These conversations to date have not given concrete results, but they continue favorably".
There is therefore reason to believe that the Modena and American companies are marching towards an agreement, to which the US leaders look with great interest. Talks are also continuing in the coming week, and it is expected that within a month the final act of the negotiations should be reached. Meanwhile, the Ford press office in Rome does not deny or confirm the news circulated these days. During the morning of Monday, May 20, 1963, on a table in Ferrari’s office are laid all the typewritten files that have been prepared by Ford lawyers in the previous five days. On one side sit Frey and a host of Ford lawyers; on the other Ferrari, Gozzi, a lawyer and an interpreter. One by one, both sides reread each file again, before Frey and Ferrari can sign. Every sentence is translated, discussed and agreed upon, and before signing it, Americans call Detroit for approval. For Ford the intent to buy Ferrari is coming true, so that he can win at Le Mans, where the Maranello team is almost unbeatable. Ferrari, however, was disappointed several times during the meeting, as he discovered some important changes and interpretative variations to the note signed five days earlier. By the way, the initial purchase price of $18 million has now fallen to $10 million. Nevertheless, try not to give too much importance to these details, knowing that you are one step away from an agreement that would solve any future problem. But when he picks up Annex 17, called GS, the one about the expenses of the racing department, he realizes that something is not right. A document that was held oddly last. Ferrari realizes that with what is written in the annex, he would have become the president of Ferrari-Ford, with ninety percent of the shares, but his activity would not have been independent at all, but conditioned to the approval of Detroit.
"It says here that if I spend more on racing (450.000.000 itaian liras per year) I will have to apply for a licence in America. Is that what it says in the official English text? Where is the freedom that I have demanded from the beginning to make programs, choose men and decide economic means?"
He asks Gozzi, who checks and discovers that the official text of the agreement, in English, confirms that the presidency of Ferrari-Ford and ninety percent of the shareholding do not guarantee him full and unlimited autonomy. Ferrari’s anger explodes, because the fundamental presupposition of the whole negotiation has always been, from the beginning, since the first meeting of April 12, 1963, which should have been absolutely free and independent in its sector: free to establish programs economically wide, free in the choice of means and men. The answer given to him, instead of comforting him, will debase him. Don Frey, deputy executive director of Ford, replies:
"Mister Ferrari, do you sell your company and still want to dispose of it at will?"
Ferrari remains silent for a moment, then asks:
"Doctor engineer, if I want to register my cars in Indianapolis and you don’t want me to, do I go?"
Frey answers without hesitation:
A few moments later, violence against himself so as not to overturn the table, with a visibly transformed face, Ferrari replies that if this is largely true for the entire industrial sector, it is not at all true for the experimental competitive one, where the bureaucratically correct laws of a large complex can certainly not harmonize with the spirit that this requires. To the one who seems most interested in the American commission, Ferrari finally asks a question:
"To what extent can you make a commitment without prior authorization from Detroit?"
When Frey responds that the maximum amount is 10.000 dollars, the wrath of Ferrari turns into despair. The builder of Modena does not feel, of course, a man suited to that great industrial device, where everything moves according to predetermined patterns. And he wonders, among other things, why he did not remember the 1938 episode, when he gave his material to Alfa Romeo to become the director of Alfa Corse. At this point Ferrari begins to scream: the manufacturer of Modena yells at the Americans who cheated, deceived, betrayed, and on the first page of annex number 17 emphasizes with the pen violates the sentences that have displeased him. Then, on the margin of the sheet he writes: No, we are not there, accompanied by a huge exclamation point.
"My rights, my integrity, my very being, as a builder and entrepreneur, prevent me from working under the enormous machine and the stifling bureaucracy of the Ford Motor Company".
And as he writes and squeals, naturally first in Italian, then in the dialect of Modena, Ferrari speaks words that initially the person in charge of simultaneous translation tries to translate, but then abandons himself at the moment, since the Americans, although not understanding specifically, They sense the meaning of what is being said. The members of the Ford delegation, who at first try a slight reaction, look at him in amazement. Then, suddenly, Ferrari stops screaming and turning to Gozzi alone, he exclaims:
"Let’s get something to eat".
Ferrari and Gozzi leave the meeting room, leave the building and cross the street to go to the Ristorante Il Cavallino. It’s 10:00 a.m. and the deal with Ford is off. Ford emissaries quickly collect the paperwork and leave Maranello. At the same time, Romolo Zanni telephoned Eliseo Ferrari, a trade unionist from the CGIL office responsible for monitoring Ferrari.
"He chased them out of the office with anger, shouting and invective".
Romolo Zanni tells Eliseo Ferrari.
"But who did he hunt? What does that mean? Explain yourself".
This is Eliseo Ferrari.
"But yes, Enzo Ferrari threw out the Americans of Ford shouting to them: Enough arguing, with you you cannot make arrangements. Say one thing and think another. Enzo Ferrari does not buy. This is still my company. Get out of here. There are limits to everything, with you it is not possible to deal, you want to impose your will, money cannot buy everything, Ferrari as long as I live, it is not for sale".
It must be emphasized, however, that Enzo Ferrari had already harbored doubts about the agreement with Ford the night before. And the next day Ferrari called the lawyer Gianni Agnelli, Fiat's president, to find a co-partnership agreement in the company. The very lawyer Gianni Agnelli will recount:
"So I entered, the next day, in the company, to help him. So we (Fiat) would take care of the industrial part and the sports cars, and the racing department would remain in his (Enzo Ferrari's) hands".
The screams of Enzo Ferrari polarize the attention of employees, technicians, engineers and employees, who stop working and assist, happily, assiepati windows, in front of the doors and in the courtyard, The unusual scene of the removal of the confused representatives of Ford, with bags and sheets in hand. Ferrari couldn’t give his employees a better gift. For this reason, despite being an unpredictable and decisive person but at the same time having a deep sense of humanity, the builder of Modena is esteemed by his employees. Tuesday, May 21, 1963 Frey leaves Italy, and returns to the United States with a signed copy by Ferrari of his book My terrible joys. After a long return, Frey enters Henry Ford II’s office in the Glass House, and exclaims:
"Mr Ford, I failed".
Then the two climb into the dining room at the top of the building, where Frey tells Ford II all the details of the trip to Italy. He doesn’t like what Henry Ford II hears.
"All right, we’ll kick his ass. On the track".
Slowly, Frey begins to realize what Ford II wants to do, then asks:
"How much do you want to invest?"
The answer removes any doubt as to what the objective is now.
"I didn’t say money".
With this answer, Frey understands that Henry Ford II would have incurred any expense to win at Le Mans. Just informed, Lee Iacocca sends an internal note to his staff:
"Prepare a presentation of proposals to be implemented in view of the suspension of negotiations with Ferrari".
In the meantime, on Wednesday, May 22, 1963, the Italian press, which has naturally intuited something in the stages of the negotiations, announces that - despite the absolute reserve - Ferrari and Ford have reached an agreement for the establishment of the two new companies; Ford-Ferrari, and Ferrari-Ford. But as a result of these publications, Ferrari and Ford are of course forced to issue a very brief joint note with which, in reference to the negotiations in progress for a possible collaboration, they inform that these negotiations have been suspended by mutual agreement. The next day, Ferrari replies to the correspondent of Resto del Carlino, an Italian newspaper, with at least misleading phrases given the stormy manner in which the negotiations ended.
"I have not yet sold, in spite of all the news so far spread; that are ongoing negotiations for a collaboration I have never denied. But where they will land, no one can reasonably know".
A week after the failure of negotiations between Ford and Ferrari, Lee Iacocca already has in hand the rough draft to create a special department, something never seen in Detroit, with the aim of designing and building the fastest, most reliable and advanced racing car in the world. Obviously, to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans. And in this regard, they even try to hire the engineer Mauro Forghieri, technical director of Ferrari. But the engineer from Modena, despite the extraordinary offer, declines the invitation to leave Maranello. Moreover, in their quest for ever greater speed, the manufacturers of today's single-seaters have come up with solutions that can't fail to raise a number of safety concerns, not to mention the fact that they have little or no bearing on the needs of the general technical progress of the car, which racing should precede and promote. For example, in order to limit the frontal section of the cars as much as possible. Their resistance to advancing, very thin, low and narrow bodies have been built, within which the drivers drive semi-recumbent, acting on a steering wheel with a very small diameter, and literally encapsulated, with no possibility of jumping out in the event of an accident. For the 1963 season the brands that were protagonists last year will still be in front: the English Lotus, B.RM.., Cooper, Brabham and the Italian Ferrari. Porsche, on the contrary, seems to have abandoned the competitive activity, but the German House will be replaced by the new Bolognese brand ATS. Then there will be other artisan cars, less committed and with little chance of disturbing the big ones, such as the English Lola and the Italian De Tomaso. Only Ferrari, B.R.M. and the Italian ATS were powered by engines built by the manufacturers ; Lotus, Cooper and Brabham, on the other hand, used engines supplied by Coventry-Climax or B.R.M. This is, roughly speaking, the situation on the eve of the start of the 1963 world championship, that with the European Grand Prix on the classic, winding circuit drawn on the boulevards of Monte-Carlo will live its first episode, giving the fans some indication of the possibilities and probabilities of supremacy of the various brands.
Last year the English dominated, with their cars and drivers; we will see if Ferrari, which has made some very promising new single-seaters, and later on ATS, will be able to bring back to Italy the record that for many years had never left Italy. On Thursday 23rd May 1963, during the first day of practice, the event's organising committent officially announced that the ATS had withdrawn from the race. This reduced the number of qualified drivers to four (Graham Hill, Brabham, McLaren and Trintignant), as American Phil Hill, the former world champion driver, was due to race in an ATS. As has become tradition, only sixteen drivers are allowed to participate in the Grand Prix. This year, there is some discontent because no driver has been guaranteed to the car manufacturers; instead, only five drivers are officially invited, regardless of the cars they will be driving. These five are World Champion Graham Hill, Phil Hill, Jack Brabham, Bruce McLaren and Maurice Trintignant, driving a B.R.M., an ATS, a Brabham-Climax, a Cooper-Climax and a Lola-Climax respectively. Initially, this invitation arrangement means that five teams are guaranteed a start, thus excluding the Lotus-Climax and Ferrari teams, who will have to take their place on the grid during practice. Altogether twenty-four drivers were admitted to practice, but at the first session on Thursday afternoon this number was drastically reduced by the withdrawal of Phil Hill and Baghetti, who should have run with the ATS cars, not yet ready, Settember and Burgess with the Sirocco-BRM V8 cars for similar reasons, Campbell-Jones with the Lotus-B.R.M. V8 of Parnell that had broken the gearbox at the Rome Grand Prix the week before, the 8-cylinder of de Tomaso that had suffered in Rome too, Bandini with a BRM of the Centro-Sud team, and de Beaufort who retired his Porsche because he was convinced that he wouldn't have been able to qualify. In his place the French driver Collomb with his Lotus-Climax V8 was allowed to take part in the practices, so in total there would only be seventeen cars, of which Collomb would obviously have been left out of the sixteen starters for Sunday's race. As a result there will be no need for pre-qualifying, but all the drivers' efforts will be directed at gaining positions on the grid.
The Brabham Racing Organisation entered its own founder with the car used at Silverstone and Gurney with a new one, virtually the same mechanically but with more space in the cockpit and the fuel tanks next to the cockpit forming the sides of the bodywork, as on the official Coopers. On this new car the gear rods run along the top of the chassis with a long rod diagonally above the VW gearbox and a lever to the right in the cockpit, while the original car has a lever to the left with the rods running under the side of the Coventry-Climax V8 engine. Both cars feature the latest short-stroke fuel-injected engines, with Australian-made exhaust tips and megaphones. Finished in dark green with a gold stripe, the cars look very smooth and well maintained. Drivers B.R.M. Hill and Ginther use the 1962 cars with the new engines. Both cars are equipped with lighter bolt-on front wheels. The team also brings a third car as a reserve, and exactly the single-seater that Bandini had driven at Silverstone, as it is not available again for the Centre-South team until B.R.M. has built the new cars. McLaren and Maggs run with the Coopers already used at Silverstone. These mount protection bars around the rear of the gearbox, as the oil pump is quite vulnerable and the pipes protrude from the rear. In Monaco Ken Tyrrell takes the role of team principal replacing John Cooper, still convalescing from his accident in the Twinny-Minny. Team Lotus brings in a completely new Lotus 25 for Jim Clark, while Trevor Taylor takes over the car the driver used at Silverstone. Both cars are fitted with Coventry-Climax fuel-injected V8 engines, while the 1962-engined Type 25 with Weber fuel-injected carburettors comes in handy for spares. Clark's car is fitted with the latest version of the short-stroke Coventry-Climax engine with an improved power curve, giving a slightly wider rev range.
At Monte-Carlo Bonnier will drive Team Walker's 1962 Cooper, purchased from the factory, equipped with a 1963 Climax V8, while the Ken Gregory/Pa Moss British Racing Partnership team will bring its two Lotus 24s, both with B.R.M. V8 engines. Ireland's car is fitted with a five-speed Colotti gearbox, while Jim Hall's is fitted with a six-speed Colotti gearbox. Both cars have bumper bars in front of the radiators, under the nose fairings. The Reg Parnell Racing team brings two Lolas, both with 1962 Coventry-Climax engines and Weber carburettors. Chris Amon will drive the last one built, with fabricated front suspension struts, while Trintignant will have to race in one of the earlier cars, fitted with an engine similar to the one used by Amon. Both cars have Colotti gearboxes, the first six-speed and the second five-speed. Ferrari brings only two cars to Monaco, identical to those seen at Silverstone. Both cars are fitted with alternative, short, bevelled fairings, and both long and short megaphone exhaust manifolds (the long ones, however, will give the best results). The drivers are Surtees and Mairesse, and a full complement of engineers and technicians are present for this important first outing. On Friday morning, before 7:30 a.m., as the sun rises but the air is still cold, all the drivers return to the track. All except Brabham, who is preparing to take his wrecked engine back to England for the necessary repairs. Both Ferraris and both B.R.M.'s seem competitive; to prove it, Mairesse manages to set a time of 1'36"0. It is curious to note that while Graham Hill runs smoothly around the station hairpin, the Ferraris are forced to run wide, because the weight transfer causes a violent understeer that doesn't allow them to open the throttle immediately; however, the Italian cars behave well in the faster corners, giving Surtees the opportunity to start setting excellent times. This spurs Clark into action. The Lotus 25 suffers from weight transfer - like the Ferrari - on downhill hairpins, but in addition it locks the right front wheel under braking.
Nevertheless, this didn't seem to bother Clark. On the opposite, it is the traffic that worries the young Scottish driver, who even though he tries with all his might is forced to stop without improving the time set by Surtees. In the meantime, the Ferrari driver returned to the track with different rear tyres, but as a damaged wheel had been mounted by mistake, the British driver was forced to stop at the pits to put on another one. Few minutes before the end of practice, Clark, Surtees, Graham Hill, Ginther, Ireland, Gurney and McLaren went on track to try to set better times. However, Jim Clark prevailed, first setting a time of 1'35"2 and equalling Surtees' fastest time, then improving it and taking the limit to 1'34"3. It is interesting to note that while all the cars were fitted with five- or six-speed gearboxes, most of the drivers were oriented towards the use of only four speeds; Bonnier, for example, only used the lower four gears, as using all six gears on the slow and winding Monte-Carlo circuit would mean spending too much time on gear changes, and every fraction of a second spent changing gears was a fraction of a second subtracted from acceleration. The final practice session takes place on Saturday afternoon at 2:00 p.m., for an hour and a quarter. While the drivers were taking to the track for the last practice, Phil Hill was sitting in the pits with nothing to do, which was a pity, especially considering that both Lotus and B.R.M. had a reserve car that could have been given to the American driver. Clark, being satisfied with the time set the previous day, decides to test his car with the fuel tanks full. In the meantime Gurney began to gain confidence with his Brabham and set an excellent time of 1'35"8, before on his engine, because of a valve, a piston was destroyed, while Surtees arrived too fast at the chicane and bounced against the barriers, bending the front lower right wishbone and the chassis, and ending the practice session prematurely.
Before starting practice, McLaren had another engine installed in his Cooper, therefore he took advantage of the available time to make all necessary adjustments, while Hill and Ginther tried to improve their positions on the starting grid by experimenting different springs of suspensions. The search for both drivers led to success, as Hill set a time of 1'35"0 and Ginther 1'35"2. Just for fun, Clark decided to enter the track in the Lotus 25, equipped with a carburettor engine, and set a time of 1'35"2. Jim Clark, in a Lotus, and World Champion Graham Hill, in a B.R.M., will start from the front row in the European Grand Prix. The two British drivers set the best lap times in official practice, with 1'34"3 and 1'35"0 respectively. Clark lapped at an average speed of over 120 kilometres per hour: the highest speed ever achieved on this winding Monte-Carlo circuit. Surtees' Ferrari will start from the second row, flanked by Ginther's B.R.M., which matched the British driver's time on Friday. They are followed in the third row by Ireland, in Lotus-BRM, and Gurney, in Brabham. The other Ferrari driver, Mairesse, will be behind the first six drivers, beside last year's winner, Bruce McLaren. Of the sixteen starters, from one of these eight names should come out the winner of the Grand Prix, perhaps adding to the favourites Brabham (who will run at the wheel of a car of his own construction), who didn't try because of an engine failure, and who will line up in the last row. Not even an Italian driver at the start: after the ATS forfait, Baghetti was absent and Bandini didn't go on the track for practice, because the English B.R.M. preferred to keep the single-seater in reserve that, as said, should have been driven by the Milanese driver.
On Sunday, 26 May 1963, at 13:00 the cars start to be fired up, in preparation for the start of the Grand Prix which is scheduled for 14:45. In the meantime Brabham, who had returned to Monaco with his engine repaired, hearing about the problem with Gurney's engine, decided that he would have to leave his place to his teammate. However, spurred on by the organisers, Chapman is persuaded to lend Brabham the spare Lotus 25. Thus, the fifteen drivers gathered in the pits, and around 2:30 p.m. the cars were lined up on the grid in staggered pairs, with Clark and Hill on the front row, and Brabham alone on the back row. The Prince Ranieri of Monaco officially opens the event, taking the lap of honour in a Porsche Super 90 with his head down, while the drivers receive their final instructions from Louis Chiron, who acts as race director in his usual excited manner. With a minute to go the engines are started, and when the flag is lowered all fifteen cars take off amidst a surprising amount of rubber smoke. The two B.R.M.'s run fast up the hill to the casino, and are still leading the race at the end of the opening lap. The first nine cars are very close to each other: Clark immediately tries to overtake Ginther, but the B.R.M. continues to overtake the Lotus in the corners. Only during the fifth lap the Scottish driver managed to overtake his rival and gain the second place. In the meantime, during the third lap Siffert was forced to retire because a connecting rod came out of one side of his B.R.M. engine, which consequently flooded the Gasworks hairpin bend with oil. Despite new tyres and full tanks, the pace is very fast. After passing in second position, Clark tries desperately to overtake Hill.
On the seventh lap the Lotus of the Scottish driver managed to pass the B.R.M. on the inside of the Gasworks hairpin, but Hill was the author of a better trajectory and won the duel under acceleration. In spite of this furious battle for the lead, most of drivers managed to keep up with the first ones: Ginther, Surtees, McLaren, Ireland, Gurney, Maggs and Mairesse were all one behind the other, as if they were tied together. Clark, after losing the second position, was soon back in pursuit of Hill, and on lap 10 he was once again alongside the British driver at the entrance of the Gasworks hairpin bend. The B.R.M. driver managed to keep the lead even after leaving the hairpin. Hill made a wide left-hand manoeuvre before closing for the right-hand hairpin, so that he had a chance to exit in the middle of the road, accelerating hard from the apex. For this reason the British driver gives way to Clark, who punctually comes alongside on the entry, cutting tight through the apex and coming out on the outside or on the left side of the road, and consequently can't open the throttle as the B.R.M. driver can. Hill always manages to have the best and fastest line around the bend, but he needs a lot of willpower to keep left as Clark passes on the inside, because if a third man had followed the Lotus on the inside, Hill would have found his way blocked at the moment of acceleration. But fortunately his teammate, Ginther, is third, so this situation doesn't happen. Brabham encountered gearbox problems on his borrowed Lotus 25, and Bonnier returned to the pits too on lap 14 to explain that he felt the gearbox gears were jumping, with the engine revs suddenly increasing as a result. But since the engine had already passed 11.000 rpm without bursting, his mechanic sent him back to the race.
On lap 17 Hall stopped briefly to report a noise in the transmission and continued again, but not for long, because on lap 20 a gear in the axle transmission sheared off. On lap seventeen Clark was once again close to Hill at Gasworks corner, but this time he managed to stay alongside the British driver as he raced close to the pits, and going up the road towards the Casino he managed to get ahead of his rival. However, Hill did not give up so easily and the two cars would again be side by side all the way along the harbour front, with the Lotus driver managing to maintain a precarious lead as they both finished the lap. The whole group of leading cars arrived in the laps following Brabham's lapping, who kept well away from the ideal trajectory so as not to hinder his colleagues' race, and starting from lap 21 Clark began to move away, recording a lap in 1'37"0, while keeping an anxious eye on the rear-view mirror, to see where the B.R.M. of the British driver was. Surtees now started attacking Ginther, followed by McLaren, while Gurney entered the pits on lap 25 to retire with a broken wheel and pinion. On lap 28 Surtees overtook Ginther and was about to approach Hill. At this stage McLaren remained close to Ginther, while maintaining fifth place. During the 34th lap Trintignant, who in the meantime had been lapped, was obliged to retire because on his Lola his Climax engine broke down. Only eleven cars remained on the race track. Surtees is now at a few meters from Hill, but he lives a bad moment because the engine of the B.R.M. leaks oil, which covers the face and the glasses of the Ferrari driver. Also the problem of Bonnier's car worsens, so the Swedish driver is forced to stop once again at the pits. Here it is discovered that the driver has pressed so hard on the clutch pedal that the catch for the clutch actuation lever has been bent, so the clutch doesn't return to its original position. A temporary repair is carried out to rectify the damage, and the Swedish driver sets off again, although he returns to the track far behind all the other competitors.
After thirty-seven laps Mairesse came into the pits to retire, due to a broken sprocket in the transmission. At the same time Taylor passed Maggs and moved up to seventh place. Ireland was running alone, in sixth place, but was having gearbox problems. So, on lap 40, as he braked downhill to enter the waterfront right-hander in the lowest gear, the Colotti box suddenly broke, and losing the braking effect of the engine, the car stopped decelerating at the wrong time, leading Ireland to hit the sea wall. There is no respite between the top five drivers, and as the fuel loads drop the lap times drop. Nevertheless, Clark increases his precarious lead to seven seconds, and as Surtees tries to pass Hill's B.R.M., the McLaren tries to pass Ginther's B.R.M., but both cars prove superior in low-speed acceleration and have excellent pick-up and the right gear ratios to get away from the hairpins. On lap 48 Clark set a new record with 1'35"8 and at mid-race, that is 50 laps, he enjoyed an 8.5 second lead over the B.R.M. driven by Hill, followed by Surtees. For a few laps it seemed that the positions were stabilizing, because Surtees seemed unable to overtake the B.R.M. and McLaren was happy with the position just behind Ginther. On lap 57 Clark set a time of 1'35"5sec, equalling his 1962 lap record, and at the same time Surtees and Hill were side by side after the pits, with the Ferrari on the left, thus better positioned to make the right turn at St Devote, in order to overtake the rival going up the hill to the Casino. The crowd seems to be particularly happy to see the Italian car move into second place, but having oil-covered glasses, Surtees realises that following the blurred shape of the B.R.M. was bad enough, but being in front with only an opaque view through his glasses and no shape to follow was impossible. So, after five laps he allowed Hill to get back in front again, before slowing down to remove his oil-covered goggles and put on his spare pair.
In the meantime Taylor stops at the pits because he thinks there are problems with the gearbox, but his mechanics quickly send him back to the race. On lap 69 Clark sets a new lap record of 1'34"9. With his glasses clean and the B.R.M. now a little ahead of him, Surtees is more in trouble because his oil pressure has dropped from 6 kg/cmq to 2 kg/cmq, due to the high temperature, so he is forced to slow down, favoring the return of Ginther and McLaren. At three quarters of the race Clark has seventeen seconds ahead of Hill, who in turn has ten seconds ahead of the third man, who at this point is Ginther because the race director has in the meantime stopped on the road, demanding that Surtees let the B.R.M. pass, much to the disgust of the crowd who boo this action. But problems continued to plague the British driver's car. In fact, fearing that the oil pressure could drop completely, destroying the engine, Surtees lets McLaren pass on the seventy-ninth lap. In the same lap, while Clark arrives on the port side from the chicane and is preparing to change trajectory to turn towards the tobacconist's corner, the gearbox of the Lotus jams and the Scottish driver runs along the corner struggling desperately to fix the gears. Throughout the following stretch, up to the Gasworks hairpin, Clark tries to bring the gearshift to coincide with the selectors, but the damage is irreparable.
However, having enough of an advantage over Hill, Clark begins to lower his pace and instead of swinging the shift lever from notch to notch, he begins to gently ease it off. This will, absurdly, be his undoing, because the movements of the selector and spring piston in the ZF gearbox are very small and rely on a certain amount of their own inertia to engage properly. Sliding the shifter lever briskly will accomplish this, but having it gently move from notch to notch doesn’t impart the inertia necessary to ensure full engagement; on the fateful gear change made on the port side, the selector is snapped back the wrong way. On lap 78 Graham Hill takes the lead in the race. Ginther is in second, with the other B.R.M. and McLaren following not far behind. Surtees, in fourth place, is still anxiously focused on the oil pressure level. Still in the race, but quite far away, are Maggs, Taylor, Bonnier and Brabham. In the last ten laps McLaren decides to settle for third place and pulls away from Ginther. But at the same time Surtees decides to make one last attempt, as the oil pressure seems to remain at a minimum. In this way, the last laps become very exciting: Surtees sets a new lap record of 1'34"6 on the ninety-seventh lap, and then improves it on the hundredth lap, setting a time of 1'34"5. This, however, doesn’t allow him to overtake McLaren, who knows he is safe in third place.
Once again a twist towards the end of the race determined the outcome. The World Champion Graham Hill in a B.R.M. won the Monaco and European Grand Prix for Formula 1 cars, after his compatriot Jim Clark had dominated for almost four-fifths of the race, with an almost constant superiority. The pivotal moment occurred on the seventy-eighth of the scheduled one hundred laps. Clark and his Lotus had swaggered into the lead from the eighteenth lap, after overtaking Hill who, having taken the lead at the start, managed in the first half hour to contain the attacks of his rivals. Then Clark literally took off, repeatedly improving his lap record and reaching a maximum advantage of about fifteen seconds over Hill. And here comes the drama: just after crossing the finishing line on the 78th lap, Clark is seen frantically operating the gearshift, arriving at an excessive speed on the gasometer curve, spinning and finally stopping a few centimeters from the protective straw bales: his gearbox has jammed, and the Scottish has had to make do with the brakes alone. From the immense public of the stands located near the finish line and on the curve, a scream of fear rises, but luckily Clark jumps out of the narrow cockpit of his Lotus and walks towards the pits. A mockery of fate, not new where man needs gears, wheels and mechanisms to emerge, has deprived the most deserving of the prize that none of those who have experienced this Grand Prix from the stands or the pits would have denied to Jim Clark, the strongest car driver of the last two years. And yet, it would be unfair to consider the victory of the mustachioed Graham Hill as a gift of luck. The World Champion fought splendidly, first reacting with his very fine driving style to Clark's overbearing attack, then never losing sight of the wheels, and towards the middle of the race repelling the attacks of an inconstant Surtees, now all aimed at conquering second place, now as if he were detached from the events of the race, and finally again launched in pursuit of Hill, so much so as to achieve, on the very last lap, the new lap record of the circuit at an average speed of almost 120 km/h.
Very good then, Graham Hill: the English driver drives in a charming way, without taking risks, always giving the impression of doing things with the utmost simplicity. In the meantime he conquered the first precious nine points for the 1963 world championship: it shouldn’t be easy even for Clark to snatch the title from him. Surtees' behavior shifted the discourse on the cars: excellent under every aspect the B.R.M. (first and second place with Hill and Ginther); very fast Lotus (at least the one driven by Clark), but revealing their weak point in the transmission parts; the Ferraris were up to the level of the English single-seaters - even if Mairesse had to abandon the race because of the broken clutch - as Surtees' record lap showed, when the mechanics of all the cars were severely tested, and as it became clear in the moments of the driver's commitment, towards the middle of the race and in the final stages, when, overtaken by Ginther and then by McLaren, he tried - too late - to overtake the latter. The European Grand Prix, apart from these moments of struggle and especially the first twenty laps, with seven cars grouped in the space of about ten seconds, didn’t have any particularly lively phases. The course of the race was regular, with no incidents whatsoever (however, it was thanks to Clark's skill that something serious didn’t happen in the incident described). This year's innovation was a good one: the start after the gasometer curve, which avoided the usual frightening traffic jam on the curve itself, and the protective installations for the drivers were much improved. Graham Hill's overall average speed - 116.555 km/h - is almost three kilometers higher than Moss' previous record, set two years earlier; while Surtees' lap record (1'34"5) subtracts exactly one second from the time obtained in 1962 by Clark. On a circuit such as this, these are remarkable results, demonstrating the great technical progress of mechanical means that have been extraordinarily advanced in constructive solutions that are unfortunately far from being transferred to normal automotive technology, but are equally fascinating for those who love beautiful mechanics.
Many fans of the Monaco and European Grand Prix have attributed to mere luck the affirmation of the Englishman Graham Hill, who saw his way to victory opened wide by the gearbox jamming of Jim Clark's Lotus when there were little more than twenty laps to go. But, if from a human, sporting point of view, the disappointment of those who see car racing as a simple comparison of drivers can be understood, objectivity demands that it be specified that the World Champion was not at all humiliated by the Lotus ace, remaining no more than 13-15 seconds behind, without ever losing sight of Clark's agile single-seater. There is a substantial difference in style and technical behavior between the two British racers, at the wheel of these difficult, bizarre mechanical means that are the Formula 1 cars. Clark is impetuous, swaggering, even reckless in his way of facing the track; and this style is reflected in the system of exploitation of the mechanical means, to which he asks everything, without saving. He is reminiscent in all this of Stirling Moss, except for that extra bit of class that made the unfortunate Moss rank among the greatest racers who ever lived. Clark isn’t yet at that level, to reach which he will have to smooth out the corners of his hot temper, and have a little more mercy for the car. Graham Hill has a completely different style: he is thoughtful, imperturbable in good times and bad, an excellent connoisseur of what happens under the hood and in the surroundings. Hill drives in a delightful way, composed at the wheel like few great drivers of the past; he always gives the impression of going for a walk, not of being in the bedlam of the track, and this is a sure sign of class.
And on a passionate level, we can remember that - if he had any luck at all - Graham Hill was simply given back what he had been denied a year ago, on the same circuit: like Clark, a mechanical failure had robbed him of victory just seven laps from the end of the race. So the English cars still won: the B.R.M. in the first two places (Richie Ginther's race was not particularly outstanding, but its regularity was rewarded) and McLaren, on the Cooper, third. Then the order of arrival gives to the fourth place a Ferrari, the one piloted by John Surtees. It's the same old story: Ferrari is no longer able to beat the English Formula 1 cars. But it will be good not to make hasty judgments. The single-seater from Modena, renewed but not yet the definitive 1963 model (which will have an 8-cylinder engine, instead of the current 6-cylinder, much improved thanks to the injection system), was almost up to the green single-seaters from across the Channel. First of all it arrived at the finish line only fourteen seconds from the winner, but above all it could have reached an even better result than the fourth final place. So the Ferrari is there, and it compensates a slightly higher weight compared to the English cars with some more horsepower in the engine. On fast tracks he should be able to put himself in evidence, provided that Surtees and Mairesse (the Belgian, after a promising start, complained of a clutch failure and abandoned) are up to the situation. The World Championship is run on a series of circuits with different characteristics or almost always different: it is necessary, that not only the cars ,but also the drivers adapt to the various circumstances that arise. In the past, the title has always ended up in the hands of the driver who, during the course of the season, has shown greater consistency and regularity of performance. And this, for Ferrari, isn’t a problem born today.