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#129 1964 Italian Grand Prix

2021-08-12 01:00

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#1964, Fulvio Conti, Nicoletta Zuppardo,

#129 1964 Italian Grand Prix

After the Italian triumph at the Austrian Gran Prix, there is a news: Ferrari will participate to the 35° Italian Gran Prix, eighth stop of the World

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After the Italian triumph at the Austrian Gran Prix, there is a news: Ferrari will participate to the 35° Italian Gran Prix, eighth stop of the World Championship, that will be held on Sunday, Semptember 6, 1964 in Monza. On Tuesday, August 25, 1964, Enzo Ferrari meets in Monza Luigi Bertetti, head of the Automobile Club Milano, the institution which organizes the race. At the end of a long conversation, through the boss of the press office, Franco Gozzi, it is released a statement which says that Ferrari accepts the invitation to subscribe at the Italian Gran Prix two or three cars, but reserving the right to confirm the participation before the start of the official tests. The participation, to what is known, would be subordinate to the acceptance by the Automobile Club of some requests concerning the increase of the amount of the prize for the Italian constructors of racing cars. As a consequence, Scuderia Ferrari vehicles will get on track. Bandini and Surtees will be on the wheel of two cars with 8-cylinder engine, and will race a hundred laps each one. The English driver, in the evening, also tries a new special prototype with 4000 cm3 engine and establishes a new absolute record of the circuit with the time of 1’35"4, corresponding to the fantastic average of 216.981 km/h. On the other hand, the Ferrari at the Austrian Gran Prix demonstrated to have definitely resolved the technical problems which, during the first half of the Formula 1 World Championship, kept its cars in position of inferiority if compared to the English ones. This affirmation acquires value if we think that the winner Bandini (first victory of an Italian driver on an Italian car since 1961) was driving the 1963 6-cylinder, that the Modenese constructor has chosen to improve together with the 8-cylinder.

 

This means that the material of Ferrari is now better than the opponents’ one. In addition, the young Italian driver, strong, combative and tenacious, more than once has demonstrated to be at the same level of the best European drivers. The Championship ranking has remained unchanged for what concerns the three contenders, because of the mechanical problems that knocked out Graham Hill, Clark and Surtees. The last one, most of all, has suffered the problems caused by the circuit of Zeltweg; now, in fact, to remount the two compatriots, he should necessarily beat them. On Saturday, August 29, 1964, is held in Goodwood the 29° edition of the Tourist Trophy, competition reserved to the Sport and Gran Turismo cars with no limit of maximum displacement. John Surtees is involved in a scary accident together with Innes Ireland and Tony Lanfranchi. This one was racing on an Elva-B.R.M. behind Surtees, preceded by Ireland with his Ferrari privately subscribed. At the corner of Santa Maria, dangerous and very tight, Ireland, too launched, spins and Surtees, who runs at 160 km/h, steers to avoid to finish on the Scottishman, but after he lightly bumped into him, finishes in the grass; with a big effort, he manages to keep the car straight. The British driver banging then on a grass dock, tilts, and comes back on the ribbon of highway of the track, just when Lanfranchi arrives, who sees Surtees’ Ferrari falling on him: for a few centimeters the nose of the car misses the connection, but the Italian car finishes on the rear part of the Elva-Bmw crashing it completely. Even if the cars are damaged, the drivers, in a first moment, seem unharmed: both go out alone from the vehicles, but after a little Surtees is bowed down unconscious. The British driver is fast taken to Saint Richard’s Clinic, where is submitted to an accurate x-ray examination, as a result of which one of the doctors declares:

 

"Surtees reported a lot of contusions and a shock state, but his conditions are not worrying. Although, we will keep him all the night".

 

Ireland reports less damages than the other two drivers. The Scottishman manages to keep the car on track after the spin and, after a short pit-stop to change the train of the tyres, resumes the race ending sixth. On the other hand, the accident of Surtees does not prevent the Ferrari from winning the Tourist Trophy for the fifth following time, thanks to Graham Hill that placed himself first even if he ran the 480 km of the circuit with the neck immobilised in a pillow of foam, because of a recent injury. Hill, on a Ferrari 330P, ends the race in 3 hours, 12’43"0, at the average of 156.280 km/h. Behind him David Piper, on Ferrari 275LM and Dan Gurney, on Shelby Cobra. Jim Clark tried to counter the pass of the Ferraris: he maintained the first place for 82 laps, but was then forced to retire because of a double failure on the engine and suspension. Surtees is dismissed from the Royal West Sussex Hospital on Monday, August 31, 1964. The doctors say that the English driver does not have injuries, even if they recommend the visit of a specialist before deciding to participate to the Italian Gran Prix. Surtees, who on the way out the London clinic seems in good conditions, said that he feels good and is sure to run in Monza.

 

"I think that I will leave for Italy on Monday”.

 

Says confidently the British driver. The possible absence of John Surtees would compromise the possibility of a Ferrari’s victory at the maximum Italian race, together with the hope to conquer the world title with its first driver. The picture of the situation would get worse if we think that the Italian Company decided to participate to the race with three cars, with the debut of the new V12, given to Scarfiotti. The absence of Surtees would also add responsibilities on the shoulders of Lorenzo Bandini, winner of the Austrian Gran Prix in Zeltweg.

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On Thursday, September 3, 1964, in Monza starts the official practice of the 35° Italian Gran Prix, eighth stop of the Formula 1 World Championship. The subscribed drivers are 29, and about 12 represents the six official teams: Ferrari (with Surtees, Bandini and Scarfiotti), Lotus (Clark and Spence), B.R.M. (Graham Hill and Ginther), Brabham and to a lesser degree Bandini, Gurney and Ginther. Technically, the race of Sunday will establish the best Formula 1 car of the moment (the setting of the circuit of Monza are suitable to point out the skills and the limits of the vehicles) reveal the possibilities of the new Ferrari V12 and the consistency of the threat composed of the Japanese Honda after the uncertain debut at Nurburgring. Early in the season the best results have been obtained by B.R.M. and Lotus, but then, after a short affirmation of the Brabham, it has been the Ferrari to soar with two following victories, at Nurburgring and in Zeltweg. This swing of results has made that the drivers’ world ranking is now uncertain. Are essentially three the drivers fighting for the first place: Graham Hill (B.R.M.), Jim Clark (Lotus) and John Surtees (Ferrari). The Italian Gran Prix will be preceded in the morning by the Coppa Inter-Europa for Gran Turismo cars, in which lies ahead a duel between Porsche and Abarth. In the interval there will be an interesting exhibition of dragsters, American vehicles with very powerful engines and able to develop extraordinary accelerations: in the United States, where they are very popular, the dragsters race in short tests on straight road with standing start, also reaching 300 km/h. This year there were no arguments or discussions about how the Italian Grand Prix was to be run, for right from the start it was decided that it should be on the 5.75-kilometers Monza road circuit, with no question of using the banked track.

 

So the Grand Prix teams know that sheer engine power is going to be the main requirement to be competitive. Before the race Ferrari work hard on their new flat-12-cylinder engine and B.R.M. do the same with their revised V8 engine. The Japanese Honda team had given the Austrian Grand Prix a miss in order to get their V-12 engine working properly and Lotus, Cooper and Brabham has to rely on Coventry-Climax. The Monza track being a permanent circuit, in use for racing or testing at all times, BRM and Honda are there well before the official practice starts to try out their cars. For the first practice, on Friday afternoon, Ferrari fields four cars: having three drivers entered for the race, Surtees has to choose between the two V8-engined cars, and Bandini and Scarfiotti will have the V6-engined cars, because the new flat-12 is not ready. Because of slight doubts about starting the engines, the V8 cars carry an additional 6-volt battery to supplement the main ones. Team Lotus will have their two Type 33 cars, Clark in the latest one and Spence in the other one; The Type 25 that Clark has often used in the past is in Monza as a spare. Like Ferrari, the Lotus cars use larger spherical ball joints on the suspension links at the rear, the weaknesses that Zeltweg showed up having caused some rethinking in Maranello and Cheshunt. The Brabham team goes on track with Brabham himself and Gurney, with the same two cars they raced in Austria, and the B.R.M. team has a new car for Graham Hill and the usual car for Ginther. The Cooper team travelled direct from Zeltweg to Monza and were a bit short of material, but managed to get both their cars. Phil Hill has been replaced with John Love, to support McLaren. The Honda has been very badly bent at Nürburgring and it has meant building a new car, using some of the undamaged components. No major changes were made to the layout, except that the engine has now a Japanese system of fuel-injection, on the lines of the Lucas system, running at relatively low pressure.

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The Parnell racing team are reduced to one car, driven by Hailwood, that comprises the ex works Lotus 25 chassis that has been acquired at Zeltweg, and used by Amon with a Climax V8 engine and ZF gearbox, but since then a BRM engine and Hewland 5-speed gearbox has been installed. The new Derrington-Francis A.T.S. is driven by the Portuguese driver Cabral, and the rest of the entry is made up of private owners: Anderson with his Brabham-Climax V8, that has been completely rebuilt since the Austrian race, Siffert with his Brabham-B.R.M. V8, Raby with his similar car, Trintignant with his blue B.R.M. and Jean Claude Rudaz with his Cooper-Climax V8. There are three non-arrivals, Gubby with his Lotus 24-Climax V8, Pilette with his Scirocco-Climax V8 and John Taylor with Bob Gerard’s Cooper-Climax V8. On Friday, September 4, 1964, Gurney starts the practice dictating the pace. He seems able to put in fast times with or without the help of others. Surtees is also very quick and invariably has someone sitting on his tail. Graham Hill is out in the new B.R.M. but it is soon back in the pits to have some vents cut in the top of the engine hatch, for the exhaust pipes in the middle of the V of the engine are creating a lot of heat and showing signs of burning the cover. Ginther is late in starting practice as the engine in his car has broken during the morning, and his mechanic did a fantastically quick engine change during the lunch hour.

 

McLaren puts in a very fast lap, well under 1'40"0, setting a standard for people to aim at, while John Love is forced to remain in the boxes because his Cooper shows signs of failure. The Honda proves a difficult starter, but once it fires it is really on 12 cylinders and sounding very powerful. Team Lotus is not at all happy, their cars not being fast enough on the straights, as happened so often in the past, and Clark is not in the running for last times, even though he tries to use Gurney and Surtees as a wind break. While these three are going round together Siffert gets in with them, and though it makes him sweat he gets a time in the under 1'40"0 group. Surtees still feels a bit dizzy from Isis Tourist Trophy crash at Goodwood, but it does not seem to affect his driving. The British driver is nearly a second faster than anyone else, with a time of 1'37"4, with Gurney second fastest. Bucknum makes the same time as Ginther, but Spence manages to beat them by setting a faster time, though the Honda comes to the boil too frequently. The car is taken away for investigation. Cabral’s Francis ATS runs steadily and reliably, while Rudaz drives his old Cooper-Climax V8 as hard as it would go until a big cloud of smoke heralds disaster and the engine breaks. As practice draws to a close Clark takes the older Lotus out and makes his best time of all, with 1'39"1. A good time, but it is nowhere near quick enough to challenge the V8 Ferrari of Surtees which is going incredibly well, nor is it a match for the new B.R.M. which Graham Hill has got round in 1'38"7.

 

On Saturday, September 5, 1964, the whole of the north of Italy seems to be a grey colour and rain drizzles down intermittently, so that the track is wet and it is quite impossible to do any serious practice. This is unfortunate as the new flat-12-cylinder Ferrari makes its first appearance, driven by Bandini, while Surtees stuck to the V8-engined cars, and Scarfiotti keeps on with a V6 car. Lap times seems unimportant for they are not going to play any part in the line-up for the race, or for qualifying, which is very hard on those people who are not in the first twenty on Friday. Particularly hard hit is the drivers who calls himself Geki, who has spent the first afternoon getting used to the Brabham-B.R.M., and Trevor Taylor who did not have an opportunity to have a real go during the first practice. John Love is out of the running anyway as Cooper has no spares for the broken engine, and they spend their time concentrating on McLaren’s car and getting it ready for the race. Lotus try to gain a few more rpm on Clark’s Type 33 by isolating the inlet pipes and injector nozzles from the engine heat by fitting a rubber shroud round the intakes. Due to the conditions it is a long time before anyone even begins to approach a lap time of 2min, but eventually Gurney gets under this figure, and so does Clark, while Bandini is only a few tenths of a second off, the flat-12 Ferrari going very well on its first outing. The Honda goes noticeably quickly along the straights, while Graham Hill uses one of the earlier 1964 B.R.M. cars, as well as the new one, but then the earlier engine breaks in a rather violent fashion and he has to walk back to the pits and resume practice with the new car.

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By the time practice finishes, Monza is a very grey colour all over, and the organisers does not deem it necessary to reveal any practice times for the wet conditions. So, the starting grid is decided on Friday’s times, which causes some dissatisfaction among the tail-enders. The twentieth qualifier is Rudaz, but as he has no spare engine or parts to repair his broken one, he is forced to be a non-starter and this let Trintignant into the list to race the last Gran Prix of his career. and Taylor, Geki, Love and Raby are out. Saturday, September 5, 1964, is also an important date for Franco Gozzi, who is forgiven - so to speak - by Enzo Ferrari for disappearing for five weeks, being on vacation. Everything starts on Monday, June 29, 1964, when Franco Gozzi, Enzo Ferrari’s secretary, decides to add to marriage leave also the vacation. It follows a run five weeks-long, in which Gozzi turns over the Spain on a Fiat 600. Meanwhile, the secretary sends only a postcard to Enzo Ferrari, found some years later with an exclamation point written with purple link by the Italian constructor. The two, besides a good working relationship, enjoy each other’s company, so it is not rare Ferrari snooping around Gozzi’s agenda, where time behind - around his wedding date, found written: civil voluntary suicide. And to which Ferrari added: to make a good suicide you need a good gun. Back to the office, on Monday, August 3, 1964, Gozzi finds Ferrari shocked:

 

"Are you done in getting married?"

 

Asks Ferrari to Gozzi, before do not talk to him until Saturday, September 5, 1964, occasion in which the Italian constructor asks his secretary to go with him to Monza to see the practice on the new V12 vehicle. In the afternoon, at the end of the official practice, John Surtees stops on the square of the boxes of the Monza authodrome, to fuel the tank of his Ferrari, when the Maranello Company’s constructor himself comes to his side. Ferrari, who trusts the little, skinny and bald driver from Tatsfield, smiles to him and asks him how he feels:

 

"Ok".

 

It is the lapidary answer. Ferrari addresses the big group of sporty men which sorrounds him, saying:

 

"Have you heard? If tomorrow the weather is good, I have a lot of hope: the cars are on point, the drivers in shape. I think I can give you a beautiful satisfaction".

 

On Sunday, September 6, 1964, the weather is not an encouraging one for the spectators, but is ideal for the racing, being overcast and cool, and the track is packed solid with spectators, most of whom has come to see a Ferrari victory, with Surtees being on the front of the grid. The Grand Prix is due to start at 3:30pm over 78 laps of the road circuit. Instead of the long line of paired cars on the grid, as used last year, the cars are lined up three-two-three-two and on a dummy grid back from the proper starting line. Surtees drives one V8 Ferrari and Bandini the other, as the flat-12 has not done sufficient running. As practice ended on Saturday Bandini did a few laps in one of the V8 cars, but his position on the grid is due to the time he made with the V6 car on Friday. Graham Hill uses the new B.R.M., as was expected, but Clark is in his old Lotus 25, with the Metallastik rubber-ring joint drive shafts, and abbreviated engine covers to keep the inlets and injection mechanism out in the air-stream. During the operations of start of the Gran Prix, being rather worried about the starting of the Honda, Bucknum starts his engine much too early and this causes others to start up. So the whole field has their engines running with two minutes still to go before getting the signal to move up onto the proper grid.

 

After the following two-minutes wait, the cars move forward in neat and tidy rows to the main grid and the flag goes up and the noise of the engines became terrific. Clark is nicely placed behind Surtees and Gurney, so that at the start, he can nip into their slip-stream. When the flag goes down Surtees and Gurney get away together so that Clark seems unable to decide which one to follow. On the other side of the front row Graham Hill does not move and his arm is up in the air to warn drivers that he is in trouble. McLaren does a violent swerve round the stationary BRM and roars away ahead of Surtees and Gurney who are busy watching each other. Photographs taken just after the start show Surtees looking incredulously at the Cooper that is about a length in front of him. When the noise and smoke dies away poor Graham Hill is still on the line, not having moved at all. He makes two more attempts to get going but nothing happens, for the clutch thrust mechanism has seized in the out position. The car is wheeled back to the pits but nothing can be done, and Hill is out of the race before he has even started. McLaren is still in the lead at the Lesmo turns, but down the dip to the Ascari turn and along the back straight Gurney and Surtees go by. The Cooper is immediately in the Ferrari’s slipstream and stays ahead of Clark. The first lap ends with Gurney (Brabham), Surtees (Ferrari), McLaren (Cooper) and Clark (Lotus) nose-to-tail and already some distance ahead of the rest of the field.

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The second group is made up by Bandini (Ferrari), followed by Bonnier (Brabham), Ginther (B.R.M.), Brabham (Brabham), Ireland (BRP), Siffert (Brabham) and Anderson (Brabham). On the next lap the grandstand echoes to cheers for it is the red V8 Ferrari Surtees that is leading, with Gurney, McLaren and Clark right behind him, while the next group is changing positions as far as one can record their passage. Now it is Bonnier leading them and driving the Brabham-Climax with renewed vigour. Cabral (ATS) Revson (Lotus) and Trintignant (B.R.M.) are bringing up the rear and having a little battle all on their own, so that the overall race has developed into three separate ones. On the third lap Clark gets by McLaren and on the fifth lap Gurney snatches the lead back from Surtees. Then, on lap six, Clark takes second place from the Ferrari, but it is all relatively unimportant, for on lap eight Surtees is back in the lead again, and on lap ten Clark is back in fourth place. One can only record the positions as they finish each lap, but they are changing all round the circuit, for these four are very close at all times and they lap at around 1'40"0. The only one showing any signs of consistency is McLaren who spends most of the time in fourth place, apart from occasional laps in third position. This battle is exciting to watch, but what follows is fantastic. During the fourth lap, Hailwood is forced to pit with the engine broken, but the remaining eleven cars battle away all round the circuit. There is no semblance of order or domination and anyone can be leading. They can be side by side one moment and the next they can be in-line, then they can break up into groups of twos and threes, and then they can be all over the wide track in a chaotic fashion. This is motor racing at its best and the great thing is that they are all drivers who can look after themselves in close racing so that the resulting cutting and thrusting, swerving and weaving, is all part of the game, and fair and safe.

 

The leaders are pulling away all the time: by fifteen laps they pass the pits as the next group is racing for fifth place down the back straight. Surtees and Gurney are swapping the lead regularly, but one feels that if anyone has anything in reserve it was Surtees with the Ferrari, while Clark and McLaren are only there by reason of really hard driving and clever slip-streaming. The second group obviously can not continue the battle for the fifth place and the weak ones begin to fall out. First to go is Anderson, who has been straining his engine to keep with them, and rather than risk an expensive blow-up he drops back a bit. Then Bucknum draws into the pits to retire, but not before he created a good impression with the Honda. Bucknum was having trouble with the brakes and getting into some difficult situations in such close company under braking. So he begins to use the full power of the Honda down the straights and goes by other cars with case, but they all catch him again at the corners. As they finish lap 12 he was in third place, and before retiring he had got into the lead of this group, putting him fifth overall, but then oil and water sprayed out of the radiator fillers and plastered his goggles. So he decided to stop before anything unfortunate happened. Meanwhile, the three tailenders spread out: Trintignant stops at the pits when his engine starts misfiring, and Cabral falls back a long way due to a slight moment. The leaders lap them, and for five laps things look settled out at the front of the race, with Surtees leading Gurney, but Clark and McLaren are still changing places for the best position in the slip-stream. In the second group of cars nothing is defined and battle continues.

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On lap 19 Scarfiotti gets pushed before he can retaliate with a shove and he finds himself on the grass, with the others disappearing in the distance. Ludovico gets back on the course again but this little excursion caused him to lose contact with the group and there is no hope of rejoining them. This leaves Ginther, Bandini, Ireland, Bonnier, Baghetti, Brabham, Siffert and Spence in the tightly packed bunch. At 25 laps Gurney leads, while McLaren shows signs of losing contact. Mario Araujo de Cabral’s Francis-ATS suddenly stops by the trackside when its engine dies and on lap 26 Gurney and Surtees go by with a definite advantage over Clark, and the Lotus engine sounds distinctly odd. On the next lap Clark stops at the pits and after one more slow lap he retires with a broken piston in the Coventry-Climax engine. This means that McLaren can not hope to stay with the leaders; the gap between the leading pair and the Cooper begins to widen visibly. This does not worry McLaren as he has no hope of beating the Brabham or the Ferrari, but the opening pace put him so far ahead of the rest of the field that his third was secure. Normally by this time a race tends to settle down, but this one has not. While Surtees and Gurney keep taking turns at leading, there are still eight cars lighting now for fourth place. This battle is so enthralling that there is a tendency to view it as an entirely separate race and it is doubtful whether any of the eight drivers are worried about the fact that they are racing for fourth place, not the first. Ireland leads, then Bonnier, then Brabham, then Ginther, then Bonnier again, then Bandini, then Ginther again and so it goes on. One lap they appear close and nose-to-tail, and the next lap you can see all ten as they race up the straight spread all over the track. One lap they are in line-ahead formation on the far side of the track right on the white line along the front of the pits, and the next lap they are on the grandstand side of the track with their wheels nearly on the grass.

 

Then they are dodging all over the place trying to shake each other out of the slip-stream, but it never works and next lap they are in an orderly line again. While all this is going on the leaders draw away from them all the time and the further ahead they get the closer they become to coming up behind to lap this lot. On lap 34 Scarfiotti is lapped, and on lap 37 Gurney and Surtees can see this unruly lot, dodging and weaving about, and could not have been looking forward to the prospect of getting past them. On laps 39, 40 and 41 everyone passes as and when they can and has anyone weakened they have got run over. The pace of this second group is still so furious that even though Surtees and Gurney get through them and to the head, they do not get away very quickly, while McLaren is content to sit behind them all, safe in the knowledge that while they are in front of him on the track he holds third place. After the leaders went through Brabham begin to take command on the second group, having been at the front of it on lap 31, but at the back of it on laps 38. By lap 46 he is back in front again and then stays there for eleven laps, followed by Ginther, Ireland, Bandini and Bonnier, while Baghetti, Siffert and Spence are obviously a bit exhausted when the leaders go through and fall back a bit. On lap 51 Bonnier comes slowly into the pits: his battery going flat due to a faulty alternator and his fuel pressure drops due to the lack of amps at the high-pressure pump. He is very unfortunate as he was putting up a very spirited fight, giving as good as he was getting; by the time another battery will be put on everyone is well ahead. This leaves a foursome out of the original twelve cars in this group, and they settle in the order Brabham, Ginther, Ireland and Bandini with Siffert, Baghetti and Spence some way behind. Out in front Surtees begins to lead consistently, but Gurney is still right behind though not challenging any more, but equally he is not losing ground. McLaren is comfortably in third place, making no attempt to start lapping the midfield runners and setting his pace by them. 

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From lap 56 to lap 62 Gurney is in tow behind Surtees, but on the next lap his engine beging to stutter; this creates a sizable gap between these two. Each lap the misfiring on Gurney’s car gets worse; this failing of #16 car seems unbelievable because, while the apparent settling down is going on for the lead, Brabham himself loses the lead of the small but fierce group now fighting for fourth place, and drops back behind Ginther, Ireland and Bandini. Then on lap 60 his Climax engine breaks and Brabham parks the car on the side of the track out near the Lesmo corners. The smoke has hardly settled before Gurney’s car begins to weaken, and on lap 68 he draws into his pit. Firstly, the mechanics think that the high-pressure fuel pump might be overheating so they pour water on it and he sets off again; but this is not the trouble for the engine sounds even worse as he leaves the pits. Poor Gurney can do nothing but limp round at a very low speed and let everyone catch him up, lap by lap dropping farther and farther down the field. This puts McLaren in second place and the trio of Ginther, Bandini and Ireland races for third place. The three continue the hard battle, with Ginther leading, but occasionally Bandini is right alongside him, varying the tactics up the straight, being right along the pit, wall on one lap and on the edge of the grass on the opposite side the next lap. The leading Ferrari is almost forgotten due to the tenseness of the battle for third place, and behind this trio are Spence and Siffert fighting for the six place, and behind these two are Baghetti and Scarfiotti running in very close company. With victory in sight for Surtees and the Ferrari, Gurney stops at his pit once more, but then limps on again desperately trying to finish.

 

Despite this, his alternator is not charging and the battery runs down, which means that the Lucas electrical pump supplying fuel under pressure is not working efficiently: the low pressure to the injectors ruins the mixture and causes the misfiring-and lack of power. This is not known at the time, or else another battery could have been fitted. McLaren laps Siffert and Spence, but their personal dice is so fierce that the Cooper driver can not get away from them as they both make use of his slipstream. So with plenty of time in hand McLaren eases off and let them un-lap themselves and get on with their battle on their own. The joy of the partisan crowd is immense as Surtees finishes his 78th lap and wins with his Ferrari the Italian Gran Prix. Ginther and Bandini are due to arrive soon for third place, while McLaren takes second place almost unnoticed. During the last few laps Ireland has fuel feed bothers in the BRP and is forced to drop back a bit, so third place is now left to the B.R.M. and the second V8 Ferrari. A great shout goes up as the red car takes the command, but the olive green B.R.M. is right in its slip-stream and obviously poises to pull out arid strike as they race up the straight. Bandini is watching Ginther in his mirror and when he sees the B.R.M. begin to pull out to his right side he keeps to the right, forcing him to swerve back. Ginther gets alongside and the two cars go over the line so close to each other that the decision of the judges has to be awaited before anyone can be sure who wins the battle. Bandini is then given the decision and a subsequent photograph shows that he won by half the width of the chequered finishing line.

 

Ireland comes in fifth and then there is another flurry as Spence and Siffert appear, racing for the finish with only a few feet between them, the works Lotus driver just getting the advantage. Then Baghetti and Scarfiotti arrive side by side and another wheel-to-wheel race for the finishing line takes place, the Centro-Sud car just getting the verdict. The unhappy Gurney finishes, and an equally unfortunate Bonnier, and as the cars do their slowing down lap the crowds begins to swarm onto the track. Some 100.000 Italians saw one of the greatest races for a long time and Ferrari finished 1st, 3rd and 9th, destroying the English competitors. The enthusiasm of the crowd is fantastic and Surtees goes straight to the pits at the end of his slowing down lap, as does everyone else, for the track is black with people and the officials with the garland of flowers and the cup are swept aside, as are the police. Mass enthusiasm takes over and Ferrari and Bandini are the heroes of the day. Poor Surtees is almost trampled under foot as the crowd chairs and cheers Bandini. The 35th Italian Grand Prix finishes up in a greater scene of chaos than even Le Mans has ever witnessed, all quite orderly and friendly. But patriotism at its best, for nobody loves Italy more than the Italians. At the end of the race the big Ferrari road train used to transport the vehicles, is taken of assault by the fans, arrived to acclaim John Surtees and Lorenzo Bandini. The English driver, who with the victory improved the possibility to conquer the world title (he reached 28 points, against the Graham Hill’s 32 and Clark’s 30), declares:

 

"The duel with Gurney was long, difficult. He is a though and capable opponent, who has been unlucky this year. Despite this, the 8-cylinder that the comm. Ferrari gave me went great, like a watch, and I tried my best. I think I managed to do it. The Italian Gran Prix is hard for cars and drivers due to its lenght, even if, personally, I think that is more difficult the circuit of Nurburgring even if it is more congenial to my possibilities. In Monza everything went well, even if only in the last lap I was convinced of the victory. In the car races imponderables are a lot and can happen at any time".

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Also Bandini is satisfied by his race:

 

"Yes I am very happy of my third place, even if I have a regret. On my 8-cylinder was mounted a report too long which notably damaged me during the first half of the race, when the weight of the car for the full of fuel was relevant. I lost in acceleration and I had to be more cautious in the corners".

 

The Italian driver then says that he does not prefer the new 12-cylinder Ferrari, which, while being a wonderful car, has never been tried in race, so may surface that little tuning defects capable to force the retire. Then Bandini says:

 

"The track of Monza was excellent, dry and smooth. I am a driver who is more at ease when the weather is good, and this morning, when I woke up and saw the road dry after the rain of yesterday I breathed a sigh of relief. Now I will have a little relax and then I will probably continue, together with Surtees, to try in Modena the 12-cylinder".

 

Surtees gave proof of his ability by defeating the resistance of the most seasoned opponents, in first place that of Jim Clark, in difficulty from the start, because the new engine of his Lotus (arrived Coventry on Saturday and mounted during the night) was not so effective, forcing him to retire at lap 28. The most tenacious in contrasting Surtees’ action has been Dan Gurney, as long as his Brabham’s Coventry-Climax engine gave up. So, Ferrari’s technical superiority conditioned the Italian Gran Prix and legitimized Surtees’ victory, who also recorded the fastest lap at 209.514 km/h, new official record of the circuit of Monza. Good test also for Bruce McLaren, second ranked, on Cooper, only driver that has never been lapped by the winner. Until some years ago, Ferrari’s victories in the car races were a normal affair, welcomed without great excitement. But now that the Italian Company’s affirmations in the Formula 1 races - that are the top of the technical activity in motorsport - are not so granted, the passion seems returned on track, and the Italian make’s victories are greeted with a warm which resembles the times of the big fights between legendary drivers and cars. It has been seen in Monza, after Surtees crossed the finish line and Bandini with a great third place ended his fight against Ginther, when the mob in the circuit passed from the choral incitement to the hectic ovation, and broke all the barriers pounces on the finish line to give a great hug to its favourites. It is noted on the panels appeared from who knows where, bearing big long live Ferrari and big down for the true or probable responsibles of some faults done to the Italian constructor, who has been forced to take hard decisions (do not run in Italy anymore, after Monza, and give back to the Motorsport Commission the concurrent licence), that now it is hard to retract.

 

The Italian Gran Prix victory and the controversy that preceded it, had the power to make the enthusiasm of the fan explode again, and around the circuit they did a show by theirselves, very attentive to the big battle between drivers and cars, ready to applaude, not objective but inexorable judges. The triumph of Ferrari was in the air; after Friday and Saturday’s official practice - beside the momentary superiority demonstrated by Surtees - the English opponents, technicians and drivers were worried, nervous, because maybe they felt that the long period of dominance was ending. Beside the victory, had long that Ferraris did not manage to end a Formula 1 race. It is an undoubted sign of the big improvements done, with a continuous tenacity, neither in the most difficult moments. The fans shows their gratitude to Enzo Ferrari by organizing little parades with a lot of panels in which there are the usual, a little naive, sentences of the popular enthusiasm. Towards Surtees and Bandini, born in triumph on track, there is a current of sympathy and, most of all towards the Italian driver, of cheering. Estended hands to obtain an autograph, boys that climb on the sides and on the red nose of the Ferrari where the two drivers have found a temporarily refuge, applauses and shouts of encouragement. The mob is so dense that the two drivers’ wifes barely manage to reach their men, to stay finally close, to sign together the anxiety of the race. Mrs Bandini’s name is Margherita, is sixteen, and has a nice face, framed by a crown of brown hair.

 

"Lorenzo and I married seven months ago, around these days. He could not have pleased me more and give me a bigger joy that with this affirmation".

 

Saying so, she looks at him, who sitting in a corner of the cabin has some autographs to sign, with eyes full of admiration and tenderness. However, Surtees looks at the times recorded during the laps in the specific table, made by his wife Patrizia. They married two years ago and are inseparable. Mrs Patrizia, a young brown-haired woman, 25 years old, tall and smart, follows John in all his races around the world. She admits, in a very curious mix of Italian and English:

 

"When John is racing I am always in the Ferrari box, I take the times trying to be helpful".

 

The English driver adds:

 

"I am happy that she is next to me; maybe by doing this she is less afraid, looking at me passing lap after lap".

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Moss welcomes with the compatriot, but also with Bandini to whom expresses his compliments and wishes. The ex British driver now runs in London an important chain of centres specialized in the immediate repair of the car’s bodies, and collaborates with some cross-Channel motorsport magazines. Near to the winners’ joy there are the darkened faces of the defeated, mostly the ones that have been forced to retire because of failures on their cars when everything was going well or was about to start. This is the case fo Dan Gurney, Ronnie Bucknum, Graham Hill and Jim Clark. But while the last two do not look so shaken (in fact, Clark, after the retire, continues to look at the race sitting on the wall between the boxes and the track, talking with the Lotus mechanics and the omnipresent Moss) the two American men seem to be waxy. Gurney, an ex marine from Riverside, California, 33 years old, has been cut off from the battle after a long duel with Surtees for the failure of his Brabham’s engine. The American driver is not so lucky: already on two or three occasions, like in Francorchamps for the Belgian Gran Prix, during the best moments something happens to him. In Monza, comforted by the team mates and the car’s constructor himself, the Australian Jack Brabham, Gurney blames the fate. Bucknum, from California too, when the Honda arrived in the boxes, raised his hands to the sky, while around him, in a final attempt, there are the Japanese mechanics, very organized and precise. All for nothing and Bucknum is forced to retire. He will explain then:

 

"The car was going very well, when I noticed that the brakes did not respond to my command. Going on was too dangerous in those conditions, so I stopped".

 

The American blonde man shakes his head and his big glasses, as he wants to throw them to the ground. Then he calms down and returns to the boxes where he stays with Clark until the end of the race. When the starter lowers the checkered flag to indicate the end of the race and the mob goes to Surtees and Bandini, Bucknum takes his helmet and walks, a tall man sorrounded by a lot of little Japanese technicians with unflappable expression, towards the exit of the track. To comment the 35° Italian Gran Prix’s events, it seems deserved Surtees and Ferrari’s victory. The English driver, already motorcycling world champion (also other greats of the past came from that world), did a spectacular race, mostly for his continuity of action that has worn out the opponents’ resistance. Given that in the car races the car and the driver must integrate in a perfect way, we can say that Surtees’ power of action has been possible thanks to the excellent skills of the Ferrari V8, surely the most complete Formula 1 car of this period. For the same reason, the progressive failure of Clark and Gurney (the only ones who, together with the reflexive McLaren, pledged Surtees) happened because of the limits accused by the Climax engine of all the British single-seaters, except for the BRM. A technical superiority, that of Ferrari, which conditioned the development of the Italian Gran Prix and legitimized Surtees’ victory. In particular, Jim Clark does not seem to get along anymore with his car: even if the Lotus had a new 8-cylinder Climax, Colin Chapman’s single-seater seems to have lost its undefeated. In Monza, Clark’s best moment was at the start, with the attempt of forging between Surtees and Gurney’s cars that preceded him. Also the Californian man has been unlucky, he was cut off from the battle after a long duel against Surtees because of the failure of his Brabham’s engine.

 

For righteousness the good Dan Gurney on Brabham (a completely artisanal car), should have finished the race in second position. The Honda is not yet at the point, and probably its frame will have to be radically redesigned, but its 12-cylinder engine seems to promise great things: we can talk about the Japanese car the next year. Good also Baghetti, on the wheel of a BRM of the Scuderia Centro-Sud, for long trait has been among the most brilliant protagonists of the second group’s long battle. Good race also for Siffert, Ireland and Bonnier. A few days after the end of the Italian Gran Prix, on Thursday, September 17, 1964, Ferrari Sefac announces its participation to the next Paris Motor Show with a very interesting news: a model with 12-cylinder engine of about 3300 cc, in two versions, berlinetta and spider, built by Pininfarina. The engine, as the Ferrari statement specifies, is the same 275 Type that was mounted on the Italian Company’s prototypes and won all the big races of this year’s World Championship for Makes. This announce is good in its concreteness, more than that issued at the Italian Gran Prix’s eve, in wich Ferrari communicated the decision to not participate to the Italian races in an official way, and to transfer abroad the headquarter of its sportive organization. The fact that this was not a simple verbal controversy (as in other previous occasions) was demonstrated by Enzo Ferrari with his action of returning to the Italian Sports Car Commission the licensing of competitor for 1964; in the next Formula 1 races, the cars of Maranello will run with the American Racing Team’s colors, white and blue, American organization connected to Ferrari. These are the unpleasant facts.

 

About the background has been said a lot, and sometimes with excessive passion. Ferrari’s decision has matured after the Commission Sportive Internationale refused the homologation of the 250 Le Mans in the Gran Turismo category, necessary to race for that category, and that by rule is (or may be) given to the cars of which during the past 12 months have been built no less than 100 same copies. Given that this is not a realistic rule for technical sporty activity, always in evolution, to apply for the big companies, the trouble is that this has hardly been applied from Csi, because there are cars defined as Gran Turismo of which it is hard to support the fact that there are 100 copies; but they have the homologation. Ferrari says that he is fine with the principles of double standards, even if on a moral and juridical level, one could argue that the violation of a norm by third parties does not justify the same behaviour by those who cannot be considered damaged by the same violation. The evil is at the root, so in the anachronistic regulament and in a subordinate way in the inability to enforce it by those who have the sportive power. Ferrari then complains that Italian delegates of Csi, despite precise credit lines, failed to assert with energy the opportunity to homologate the 250 Le Mans, as happened with other constructors. Anyway, the Drivers’ World Championship is drawing to a close without anything being decided. Will be held next month the United States and Mexico Gran Prixes: Graham Hill, Clark and Surtees are on the same level, but the title is not a chimera anymore for the Ferrari driver if what happened in Monza has a meaning.


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