image-448

#100 1961 German Grand Prix

2021-08-26 00:00

Array() no author 82025

#1961,

#100 1961 German Grand Prix

Domenica 23 Luglio 1961, sul circuito di Stoccarda correrà il Gran Premio Solitude, gara automobilistica non di campionato che segue le regole della F

[resizer.in]-61ed8671a7460.jpeg

On Sunday 23rd July 1961 the Solitude Grand Prix will be held on Stuttgart Circuit. A race which is not valid for the Formula 1 World Championship but that, however, follows the same rules. Eighteen drivers take part in the competition, but Ferrari is missing. In fact, the Maranello-based team has decided not to participate in the German race to save their cars from such an effort ahead of the challenging German Grand Prix, which will be held on Sunday 6th August 1961 at the Nürburgring.

 

On the difficult Solitude Circuit Britain’s Innes Ireland, one of the most valiant drivers of the new generation, takes the win for a matter of tenths of a second in a Lotus special. Overtaken on the penultimate lap after having led the race from the start, Ireland manages to beat his rival, Sweden’s Joackim Bonnier, driving a Porsche, by the smallest of margins. The riveting duel between the two drivers, followed for its whole length by an estimated crowd of 300.000 people, resolves in favour of the Brit in the last 200 metres of the final straight in front of the grandstand. Ireland precedes Bonnier by just a few metres thanks to a spectacular sprint.

 

Ireland takes the lead of the race already on the first lap, followed closely by New Zealand’s Bruce McLaren (Cooper), by German Hans Herrmann, by American Dan Gurney and Bonnier, both driving a Porsche. On the third lap, Gurney climbs up to second place followed by McLaren and Bonnier. Meanwhile, British ace Stirling Moss provides a disappointing performance with his Lotus, which loses two seconds per lap to the leading cars. Reigning world champion Jack Brabham sets a new record on the seventh lap with a time of 4’02"3, at an average speed of 169.6 km/h, against 167.966 km/h of the previous record.

 

On the tenth lap, Brabham replaces Gurney in the lead of the trio that is chasing Ireland and that is composed by McLaren, Bonnier and Gurney. On lap eleven, the reigning Formula 1 world champion takes the lead but only for a lap: in fact, on lap twelve Ireland is in the lead again. On the eighteenth lap, a struggling Moss convinces the experts that his privately entered Lotus is still to reach the perfect set-up of the factory-entered cars assigned to Ireland and Jim Clark. On lap nineteen, Brabham sets another lap record, stopping the time under four minutes for the first time in the history of Solitude Circuit. The nineteen lap is in fact covered in 3’59"6, at an average speed of 171.500 km/h.

 

However, his exceptional performance is improved by Dan Gurney after only two laps. The American sets the ultimate lap record in a race with a time of 3’58"6 at an average speed of 172.200 km/h. With three laps to go, Moss retires, and he does not hide his anger. Race winner Innes Ireland covers the race distance (a 11.417-kilometre-long circuit repeated twenty-five times for a total of 285.850 kilometres) in 41’04"6, at an average speed of 169.400 km/h. Joackim Bonnier from Sweden classifies second with a time of 41’04"7, just a tenth of a second away from the winner.

[resizer.in]-620d219c8a797.jpeg

On Thursday 27th July 1961, Enzo Ferrari, who has preferred not to send his cars to Germany, is acquitted after the preliminary investigation of the charges of manslaughter and culpable injury for the tragedy that cast a pall over the 24th edition of the Mille Miglia. The sentence is deposited in the morning at the Penal Registry office by examining magistrate Dr Luciano Bonafini of Mantua lawcourt. In the afternoon of 12th May 1957, the four-litre Ferrari 335 S driven by Alfonso Cabeza de Vaca, Marquis of Portago, and co-driven by American journalist Edmund Gurner Nelson went off the road because of the explosion of the left front tyre, sowing death in the village of Guidizzolo.

 

Nine spectators were killed and seven were injured. Also, both drivers perished in the crash. At the end of the investigation, Mantua public prosecutor hypothesized that the car driven by the Marquis of Portago was equipped with tyres that were not built to withstand the high speeds of the Italian race. Enzo Ferrari, who was responsible for the construction of the vehicle, was therefore informed against for manslaughter and severe culpable injuries. However, while in Mantua, Ferrari is fully acquitted of the charges for not committing the crime at the end of the preliminary investigation.

 

On Wednesday 2nd August 1961 Australian ace Jack Brabham tests at the Nürburgring a new British Formula 1 car, whose characteristics are kept secret, in preparation for the German and European Grand Prix, which is held on Sunday 6th August 1961 on the famous 22.8-kilometre-long racing track. It is a Cooper equipped with a Coventry-Climax V8 engine with a power output of – according to the rumours – 170 horsepower and capable of challenging the four V6 Ferraris (190 horsepower) for the win, even though they are the favourite. At the German Grand Prix these Italian cars will be driven by Americans Phil Hill and Richie Ginther, German Wolfgang von Trips and Belgian Willy Mairesse.

 

If Brabham is not satisfied with the outcome of test, on Sunday 6th August 1961 his car will be equipped with the tried-and-tested Climax four-cylinder engine. Thirty-four cars are entered for the German Grand Prix. This is the most important race of the 1961 season, witnessing the participation of the best racing drivers in the world. The previous rounds were dominated by the Ferraris, with Wolfgang von Trips leading the drivers’ standings. Among the cars racing at the Nürburgring there are the Porsches driven by American Dan Gurney, Swede Joackim Bonnier and Germans Edgar Barth and Hans Herrmann: a formidable team. The two factory-entered Lotus are driven by Scots Innes Ireland and Jim Clark, while the other privately entered Lotus see at their wheel Ian Burgess, Tony Maggs, and Tony Marsh.

 

After two editions held at other racing tracks - AVUS in 1959 and Nürburgring Südschleife in 1960 - on Sunday 6th August 1961 the German Grand Prix comes back to his traditional home, which is the 22.8-kilometre-long Nürburgring Nordschleife. Many entries are accepted in an attempt to field the largest group of cars on the longest racing track in the world. People are particularly interested in seeing the new Coventry-Climax V8 engine in its new outing installed on a Cooper chassis driven by Jack Brabham. This new interesting 1.5-litre V8 engine has four overhead camshafts, two for every bank, activated by intermediate gears and a single-roller chain. It also has transmission casings and camshafts boxes on both banks, being a single fused piece, with the transmission in the front part of the engine.

[resizer.in]-620d22290b021.jpeg

Four air draught double-starter IDF Weber carburettors are mounted inside the engine V, and eight exhaust pipes surround the rear part of the engine block before merging in a left-right scheme of coupled pipes and end into two exhaust pipes with small silencers. Single sparkplugs are used for every cylinder, and these are powered by a battery which is mounted vertically and rises from the crankcase in the rear part of the V; the transmission works with oblique gears. Ignition exploits a new transistor mechanism built by Lucas, whose segments on the flywheel provide the interruption of the current flow instead of a make-and-break mechanism.

 

Climax seems reluctant to reveal bore and stroke of this 1.5-litre engine, neither do they mention data regarding its power output, even though it is presumed to have at least 170 horsepower at 8,600 rpm, whilst the total weight of the car is 530 kilos. In order to mount this engine Cooper modifies a standard Formula 1 chassis and makes the tube of the upper chassis between the bulkhead and the rear suspension detachable, with two-bolt flanges for each extremity. Removing this component allows the engine to slide through the chassis from the side, while the pipe of chassis is bolted on after crossing the left-side aspiration cam-box.

 

Before receiving the first Coventry-Climax V8, team Cooper welds a new additional crossbar under the engine at the centre of the engine bay, but when the engine arrives in Surbiton just a week before practice for the German Grand Prix, they discover that Climax has designed an oil pan that is two inches deeper; therefore, the crossbar must be cut. Another characteristic of the engine which does not suit with the layout of the chassis is the exhaust layout, which crosses behind the engine; so, the entire unit has to be pushed forward by an inch or two and a new ad-hoc spacer plate has to be placed between the engine and the Cooper gearbox, while a new water pipe is mounted running along the right-hand side of the bodywork on the outside, going from the rear part of the engine to the radiator.

 

Team Cooper mechanics work all day and night undaunted while singing their favourite song, Design as We Go. They finish to build the car, they go for a brief test run in Silverstone, and they arrive at the Nürburgring in time for the beginning of practice. In case something went wrong, they would have the usual Formula 1 car equipped with the Climax four-cylinder engine that they would give to Brabham, as well as their second working four-cylinder engine supplied to McLaren. All the other British teams have to rely on the Climax four-cylinder engines, since Cooper’s V8 is the only one to have left Coventry.

[resizer.in]-620d23364d78a.jpeg

Stirling Moss will drive the dark-blue Lotus-Climax with a Colotti five-speed gearbox entered by Team Walker, while Clark and Ireland will race with the two cars entered by Team Lotus, with a 1961-spec car as a spare, even though the organizers insert this car in the definitive entry list hoping that it will be lent to a German driver. Two running B.R.M.-Climax will be available to Brooks and Graham Hill, and they will also have a spare car for practice: the V8 engine designed by Bourne is currently on the dynamometer and provides a satisfactory power output, but it is not ready to race yet.

 

Yeoman Credit have their three Cooper-Climax for Surtees and Salvadori, one of which specially equipped with a Colotti gearbox represents an alternative for Surtees. Single entries come from H&L Motors with Jack Lewis driving their 1961 Cooper-Climax, Marsh with his heavily modified Lotus-Climax, Mrs. Bryden-Brown’s blue and white Lotus-Climax driven by Maggs, Ashmore with his Lotus-Climax and Burgess with Team Camoradi’s Cooper-Climax, as well as Masten Gregory. Then Seidel and May with Scuderia Colonia’s Lotus-Climax, Trintignant with Scuderia Serenissima’s Cooper-Maserati, Bandini with Scuderia Centro-Sud’s 1961 Cooper-Maserati, and Frenchman Collomb with his 1961 Cooper-Climax.

 

Scuderia Ferrari, entered under the name of SEFAC, has three cars equipped with 120°-V rear-engine for Wolfgang von Trips, Phil Hill, and Richie Ginther, and a 60°-V rear-engine car for Belgian Willy Mairesse, because Giancarlo Baghetti’s sister car is yet to be repaired after his retirement in Aintree. Porsche is in a negative phase, having no new cars or engines: Bonnier, Gurney and Herrmann will be driving the 1960 cars, whilst Barth is without a car since the 1961 experimental single seater used in Solitude is not deemed race worthy. A fourth 1960 Porsche will be driven by de Beaufort: this is covered in orange paint to indicate the Dutch ownership. Of all the factory-entered cars, Gurney’s is equipped with disc brakes, while the others have drum brakes.

[resizer.in]-620d22b1948ae.jpeg

In the morning of Friday 4th August 1961 - under a hard sun - official practice begins, and it opens with a great disappointment: during the ignition phase, the Cooper-Climax V8 engine emits a blast and then turns silent because the timing belt breaks. While leaving behind Wally Hassan and his men repairing the damage, Brabham goes out on track for practice together with all the other drivers in the four-cylinder engine car, which is provided to all the privateer teams. The lap record at the Nürburgring is 9’09"02 and it was set by Stirling Moss with a Vanwall during the German Grand Prix in 1958, and since Phil Hill set a time of 9’15"8 with a Ferrari sportscar during the 1000 Kilometres in May 1960, it is obvious that a nine-minute time is not out of the question once everybody gets in the heat of the race.

 

Free practice lasts an hour and a half, during which most drivers get acquainted with such a long and difficult circuit and, not by chance, it is Bonnier with the Porsche to go fastest, since he tested there recently and has little to learn. Soon, Brabham in the four-cylinder Cooper-Climax, Moss, and Phil Hill all come close to the old lap record, while von Trips has some engine issues. After a two-hour break, during which GT-car drivers practice, Grand Prix cars reappear and, thanks to a mild sun and a dry track, things really start to get serious. The Climax V8 is still under repair, so Brabham goes out with the old car, but after a while the team shows up with the V8 car ready for a first firing attempt.

 

Brabham discovers that the enlarged oil pan scratches the floor on some of the roughest bumps. However, the car seems promising and in fact the Australian sets the fastest lap in 9’15"6, then he comes back to the pits to find a way to lift the front part of the engine. Ferrari team is busy changing the engine in Wolfgang von Trips’s car, therefore the German is unable to take part in practice, while Seidel does not go very far before breaking a support and parking his car on the grass. Ferraris do not seem to handle very well on the bumpy Nürburgring, because both the front and rear suspensions reach the maximum travel, making the cars bounce in a rather unpredictable way. Nevertheless, the Ferraris are the fastest cars on track, but Phil Hill has to work very hard to beat Bonnier’s lap times. The Swede does a 9’04"8 and drives with great determination.

 

Hill drives on the pace of 9’03"0, jumping and bouncing around in some corners: he manages to keep the car on track more out of luck than skill, when all of a sudden he manages to find the right setup and sets a shocking time of 8’55"2. On the following lap the American driver goes back to setting times over nine minutes and candidly admits that that was a monster lap where everything went right. However, there are few hopes that it will be replicated. For most people the limit seems to be a lap around 9’10"0, but Clark, who is driving fast, manages to set a time significantly under that limit, while his teammate Ireland is busy learning the characteristics of the circuit, since he did not have a real knowledge of the Nürburgring before this event.

[resizer.in]-620d367403873.jpeg

On Saturday 5th August 1961 Ferrari and Cooper are authorized to use the track for some test sessions in the early morning, since Wolfgang von Trips skipped a session and Jack Brabham did not have the chance to run many kilometres with the new Cooper-Climax V8. During this short practice session, the new V8 car is set up well and Brabham goes under nine minutes according to manual timing, making all of his fans much happier. The last official practice is delayed but the weather is wonderful, and the drivers bathe in the shining sun. The Coventry-Climax V8 is now complete: it makes a beautiful sound, and it obviously has enough power to enable Jack Brabham to search more speed in the twisty parts of the circuit. The Australian completes five laps in total.

 

Lifting the front part of the engine solves the problem of the oil pan scratching the floor, and Brabham’s best time is an exciting 9’01’’4, which turns out to be the fastest of the day. Moss drives at the top of his skills, but the engine does not put out its full power and the Brit is also bothered by the Colotti gearbox, which skips the third gear. Nevertheless, Moss fully exploits his knowledge of Nürburgring circuit to set a time of 9’01’’7, therefore it seems that the additional twenty horsepower of the Coventry-Climax V8 compensate for the worse manoeuvrability of the heavy Cooper compared to the Lotus and Brabham’s relatively scarce knowledge of the Nürburgring compared to Moss’s. Ferraris still have issues with their suspensions, and also an atmosphere of melancholy is hovering inside Team Lotus as Clark suffers a scary accident on his first lap: a part of the steering system breaks down and, even though the driver walks away uninjured, the car is heavily damaged.

 

Meanwhile, the spare car is lent to Seidel while his is in the process of being repaired, but when Clark comes back to the pits the spare car is made available to him so that he can continue practicing. These two teams are not the only ones in trouble: Bandini stops for a small fire in the carburettor of his Cooper-Maserati, while Michael May loses control of his white Lotus-Climax, flipping it and bending the chassis badly. Graham Hill does some laps with the test-spec B.R.M. while his car is being repaired, but then he decides to increase his pace doing some good laps, while Brooks in the other B.R.M.-Climax seems very competitive. Phil Hill does a lap with Ginther’s car and Surtees tries out Yeoman Credit’s Cooper Special for two laps.

[resizer.in]-620d7aa2a037d.jpeg

On Sunday 6th August 1961 a race for grand touring cars is held before the Grand Prix and it is dominated by Carlo Abate in his Ferrari 250 GT entered by Scuderia Serenissima. Subsequently, a squadron of the United States Air Force performs a demonstration flight with fighter jets, which are flown in the sky to (quoting the publicity flyer):

 

"Dissuade any potential aggressor".

 

The night before the race was clouded, and the falling rain forces all the mechanics to run to the paddock and put Dunlop D12 rain tyres on the cars, while Ferrari mechanics quickly remove the gauze covers from the carburettors of their cars and install the covers made of Perspex. Surtees decides to drive the standard Cooper-Climax entered by Yeoman Credit, Clark drives the early 1961-spec Lotus, Seidel puts together a car with the two wreckages of the single seaters entered by Scuderia Colonia, Gurney will utilise again the Porsche with disc brakes, and Brabham will be provided with the Cooper equipped with the four-cylinder engine, which is ready in case something went wrong last minute with the V8.

 

After practice, a suspected overheating leads the mechanics to remove the engine from the chassis and to disassemble it for the inspection, but everything seems in order. The only complaint comes from Dunlop, who insists on using 6.50x15-inch rear tyres instead of regular Cooper 18x15-inch tyres. At 1:45 p.m. the sun shines and Dunlop technicians rush over to the paddock to tell all the mechanics to remove rain tyres and put on slick tyres. Some people like Moss and Chapman tell Dunlop staff what to do, because Lotus raced with high-hysteresis tyres in Solitude on a dry track without the signs of the high degradation rate previously predicted. Scuderia Ferrari mechanics do what Dunlop technicians say as well as Porsche mechanics and they put on their cars regular slick racing tyres.

 

At 2:00 p.m. all twenty-six drivers are aligned on the starting grid in alternating rows of four and three cars: this race is presented as one of the most interesting shows to be seen in a long time. Considering only the first row composed by Ferrari, Cooper, Lotus, and Porsche, there would be enough variety to silence the harshest of Formula 1 critics for a year. On the second row a Ferrari, a B.R.M., and a Porsche can be admired, so that no one can complain about the monopolization of a single manufacturer.

 

The driver parterre is also international, with an American, an Australian, a Brit, and a Swede on the first row, and then a German, a Brit and an American on the second row. A few minutes after 2:00 p.m., with the sky already showing menacing clouds on the horizon, former Formula 1 world champion Juan Manuel Fangio from Argentina waves the flag to start the race that will be held on a fifteen-lap distance. All the field starts at Fangio’s signal, and Ferrari cars, once dominators of the Grand prix scene, are now surrounded by green and silver cars.

[resizer.in]-620d7e15e2a85.jpeg

Brabham builds up a small advantage over Moss and Bonnier, before entering the Südkehre and then the straight behind the pits. But then approaching Nordkehre Moss, Gurney and Brabham are side by side and the V8 Cooper takes the lead, while the three cars enter the left-hand corner. Down the hill, through Hatzenbach, Brabham has a precarious advantage, but then he passes on a wet patch and slips out of the track among the sheds and lands on a bank, while the other twenty-five drivers pass by without making mistakes. With a free track in front of him, Moss exploits his vast racing expertise and the knowledge of the Nürburgring and starts driving in a way that only he can.

 

Meanwhile, Phil Hill gets rid of the group following the British driver, and so does Herrmann with one of the factory-entered Porsches. At the end of the first lap Moss is leading the race followed by Phil Hill. Herrmann follows them in third place, with Gurney, Graham Hill, and von Trips very close to each other. Entering Südkehre the drivers live scary moments because Gurney creates a huge bump on the side of his car, while Graham Hill flies over the bank onto the tall grass. At the end of the second lap Wolfgang von Trips crosses the finish line in third place preceding Herrmann. In the middle of the group Ireland is preceded by Ginther and the Brit has his Lotus missing its tail, having lost it at the beginning of the first lap.

 

Shortly afterwards, de Beaufort’s orange Porsche comes back to the pits to change his tyres with others fabricated by Continental, while Bonnier pits for a puncture in the rear right. Brabham refuses to go back racing and stays on the grassy bank where he landed, while further away on the track Marsh is blocked and tries to understand the cause of the coil failure and Trintignant is driving slowly because of a problem with the suspensions. On the second lap Moss pulls away from Phil Hill by setting the fastest lap in 9’13’’8 still with a full fuel tank, with new tyres and the track still damp in certain points. Now that Wolfgang von Trips has pulled away from the midfield, he gets closer to Hill and Clark and tries to climb up to fourth place by overtaking Herrmann.

 

These drivers are followed by Ginther, Gurney, McLaren, Surtees, and Mairesse, all wrapped in a few seconds, while Ireland does not appear on the finish line because his Lotus has caught fire after Schwalbenschwanz corner. Ireland quickly stops with the rear of his car on fire and jumps out of the cockpit, without unfortunately avoiding a mild burn on his arm. The British driver is now forced to stand on his feet in front of his burning car, because there are no fire extinguishers around to put out the flames. After the first drivers cross the finish line to begin the third lap, Marsh goes back to the pits to adequately repair the broken ignition wire, later followed by Trintignant too; both resume racing after losing some time repairing their cars.

[resizer.in]-620d86dad90ef.jpeg

After changing a tyre, Jo Bonnier goes back on track and shows a good pace, but he is too far behind to have hopes of reaching the leaders, while Graham Hill goes back to the pits and sits down to watch the race. Moss is really rushing now, and he is not waiting for anyone: he seems the same driver admired in Monte Carlo, showcasing his brilliance in the corners to compensate his underpowered engine. At the end of the third lap the British driver has built up a ten-second gap over Hill, whilst Wolfgang von Trips is now seven and a half seconds behind his teammate. Clark sits comfortably in fourth place, letting Ginther, Mairesse, Gurney, and McLaren battle against each other. Lewis is following at a certain distance, even though he is the fastest privateer, preceding Salvadori and Brooks.

 

After a rather long break from action, the rest of the field is left behind and Seidel goes back to the pits with the steering broken, with Ireland keeping his balance on the tail of his white Lotus. The German driver is forced to retire. On the fourth lap Moss maintains his advantage setting a time of 9’13"5, but Wolfgang von Trips substantially increases his pace and when Moss improves with a lap of 9’13"0, von Trips beats it by setting a 9’12"2, bringing his gap to Phil Hill down to five seconds, with the American driver still in second place. Team Porsche are having a difficult day because Gurney is eighth, while Herrmann comes back to the pits to repair the clutch pedal. While the German driver is in the pits, Bonnier approaches the garage with a threatening white smoke coming out of the exhaust. Then, he retires.

 

On the sixth lap, Wolfgang von Trips does a 9’08"1, setting the new all-time lap record and reaching Phil Hill. On the following lap he does even better, with a lap of 9’04"3. A drier track, partially worn tyres and a lighter car (with less fuel) allow this improvement in lap times, but also Moss and Hill circulate at the same speed of von Trips. After seven laps the classification sees Moss in the lead, followed by Phil Hill, von Trips, Clark, and Surtees, while Mairesse has recovered up to sixth place and Ginther has fallen behind Gurney and McLaren. Finally, Salvadori has overtaken Lewis; however, Salvadori spins at the Karussel shortly afterwards, and the British driver loses a lot of time trying to restart his car. So, Lewis has the chance to regain tenth place.

[resizer.in]-620d8737ab05e.jpeg

On the sixth lap Brooks retires for engine issues and Marh, de Beaufort, Herrmann, Collomb, and Trintignant are all a lap or more behind the leaders. On lap eight, Moss is still in the lead and sets a new lap record in 9’02"8, while von Trips overtakes Phil Hill and completes his lap in 9’01"6, furtherly setting a new record. On the following lap the German beats his teammate with a record time of 9’01"1 and this brings him closer to Moss, who now is less than ten seconds ahead. However, the record set by his teammate spurs Phil Hill, who is now determined not to be left behind. Therefore, when von Trips completes the tenth lap in 8’59"9, becoming the first driver to go under the nine-minute limit during a race, he has the American on his tail again, and von Trips’s lap has barely the time to be recorded by the timekeepers and the journalists before it is announced that Phil Hill has set a time of 8’57"8. Now the Lotus has a precarious nine-second advantage.

 

With such high standards, the effort made by any other competitor to keep up seems useless, even though Clark is running well with the Lotus, followed by Surtees and Mairesse. These last two, however, are much over a minute behind the amazing Moss. On the following lap von Trips sets another time in 8’59"9, and this brings him to seven seconds away from the blue Lotus. But one thing is seeing Moss, a completely different thing is reaching him. The thirteenth lap is unlucky for Scuderia Ferrari, because a light rain starts falling on the circuit and without adequate tyres there are no more chance of closing the gap to Moss because, despite Dunlop technicians’ dark predictions, the Brit started with rain tyres and these did not wear out on the dry track, so he can carefully carry on.

 

All the excitement is now gone as it is obvious the Team Walker mechanics have perfectly prepared Moss’s Lotus, and on the wet track the Brit pulls away from the Ferrari, heading towards a new triumph. As all the hopes for the win have vanished, von Trips and Hill start battling between each other and, even though the American driver is ahead of his teammate at the beginning of the first lap, it is the German to cross the finish line before his teammate, taking second place. Phil Hill sets and holds the lap record. On the penultimate lap Mairesse spins, ending up on the grass and damaging his Ferrari; therefore, it is Bruce McLaren who takes sixth place behind Clark and Surtees. The driver from New Zealand precedes Dan Gurney. Richie Ginther crosses the finish line with a significant delay: the American slows down on the last lap and is almost overtaken by Lewis when the storm starts hitting the remaining competitors.

[resizer.in]-620d866a4b35f.jpeg

Salvadori nearly misses Moss’s lap and when he crosses the line to begin his fifteenth lap, he can see the chequered flag ready to be taken by Moss. Frenchman Collomb stops on the finish line on his twelfth lap, and when Moss takes the chequered flag, he pushes away his Cooper. For sure, Moss gets the cheering/compliments/welcome he deserves, and the 350.000-people crowd seems to have really appreciated seeing an artist at work. Moss’s popularity is so widespread that he is even forgiven for having beaten the home hero. After the race Wolfgang von Trips pays homage to Moss by saying:

 

"On some lap I was able to do up to fifteen turns perfectly, but Moss did all of them right every lap".

 

Showcasing exceptional driving skills, Brit Stirling Moss (Lotus) wins the German Grand Prix ahead of the Ferraris of German Wolfgang von Trips and American Phil Hill. The British driver, who has been haunted by bad luck the whole season, has taken a splendid revenge on the drivers of the Maranello-based team: it is sufficient to say that he has led the roaring carousel of Formula 1 cars from the first lap, neutralizing von Trips and Hill’s ambitions. The British driver, who set the new record over the race distance with an average speed of 148.600 km/h, owes his success first to his driving skills.

 

The Nürburgring has again demonstrated that only a complete driver can win on this circuit, which, with its 175 corners - many of which are downhill - is the most difficult in Europe, if not the world. Ferraris have worked well, but evidently von Trips and Hill, despite their huge effort, were not able to threaten Moss’s cavalcade. Apart from the honour places, the Modena-based manufacturer sealed the lap record: in fact, Hill covered the tenth lap in 8’57"8. Ferrari made the mistake not to field young man Baghetti at the start, who would have surely been at ease on the difficult Nürburgring circuit.

[resizer.in]-620d84a268674.jpeg

Moss’s surprising win does not preoccupy too much the drivers of Scuderia Ferrari. The sixth round of the Formula 1 World Championship provides Stirling Moss’s brilliant victory: the Brit sets the new official record of the circuit that he already held since 1958. Driving the prestigious Lotus, Moss has managed to hold off and resist against the violent attacks launched by Ferrari drivers Wolfgang von Trips and Phil Hill. At the Nürburgring the British ace replicates his win at the Monaco Grand Prix, moving up to third place in the drivers’ standings and theoretically returning in the fight for the world title.

 

German Wolfgang von Trips and American Phil Hill maintain the first and second position in the classification respectively. On the other hand, the performance given by von Trips in front of his fellow countrymen proves to be more than excellent. In fact, the Ferrari driver never gave up on the resolution of catching Moss who - it should be acknowledged - turns out to be a driver of great resources, thanks also to the exceptional performance of his Lotus. On a wet track the Ferraris cannot unleash their full power; however, they are always fighting for the win, which is testified by von Trips’s second place, followed by Phil Hill. It has undoubtedly been a very interesting race from the technical point of view, because it has clearly shown strengths and weaknesses of the best Formula 1 cars.

 

On the other hand, Porsche cars disappoint the expectations ahead of the German Grand Prix, but they still show the serious intention of coming back stronger, as the times set during practice demonstrate. The best place obtained by the German cars is Gurney’s modest seventh place. Lotus gets an honourable fourth place with Clark, while very admirable performances are provided by the Cooper-Climax of motorcycle world champion John Surtees and New Zealand’s Bruce McLaren. Unfortunately, defending world champion Brabham’s new Cooper equipped with Climax’s V8 engine disappears from the race too soon to be judged. The Australian got away better than everyone at the start and immediately took the lead, but, unfortunately, he went off the track before completing the first lap.

[resizer.in]-620d82df4a0af.jpeg

Twenty-four hours after his great triumph at the Nürburgring, Englishman Stirling Moss takes another win, racing at Brands Hatch circuit in England and driving a Ferrari Berlinetta. Despite being of minor technical interest, this second victory gives the British journals the chance to underline the crystal-clear class of the British driver, who was able to win two times in the span of a day. After all, Moss deserves all the praise of the international press for his magnificent feat at the European Grand Prix. Besides, the comparisons that someone made with Varzi, Ascari, and Fangio do not appear disrespectful. On the fearful Nürburgring circuit the human factor undoubtedly played a crucial part. It was not a secret that Moss was racing with a car that has around thirty horsepower less than the Italian cars.

 

The lap times clocked during official practice clearly show the clean superiority of Ferrari’s six-cylinder cars. In fact, during the hard-fought race both Phil Hill and Wolfgang von Trips repeatedly demolished the lap record going under the nine-minute limit. That, however, did not prevent the British ace from holding off the attacks of the Ferrari drivers and win the German round. Moss is now third in the world drivers’ standings with 21 points. Theoretically, he is still in the title race, because there still are three races to be held in 1961: the Italian Grand Prix on 10th September in Monza, the United States Grand Prix on 26th October in Riverside (or Sebring) and the Moroccan Grand Prix on 29th October in Casablanca. Apart from Moss’s revitalization in the title race, the Nürburgring race has called the attention of the pundits on some problems of remarkable interest.

 

On the difficult German racing track Coventry-Climax’s new 90°-V eight-cylinder engine was tested for the first time on Brabham’s Cooper. The Australian driver was not very lucky: he could not even finish the first lap before being forced to retire while he was leading the race. During several tests ahead of the German Grand Prix the car of the reigning world champion was capable of giving sufficient tastes of its power. Brabham beat the circuit record by setting the second fastest time. The new Cooper-Climax seems to be capable of a power output of 177 horsepower, which will allow it to compete against the Ferraris more effectively, which have 180 horsepower at 9.600 rpm. The experiment of combining two Climax four-cylinder engines seems to have had a positive outcome, therefore the other British teams (including Moss’s Lotus) will use the new V8 in the following races.

 

The international motor racing activity will continue with the Grand Prix of Pescara on 16th August 1961, which is valid for the World Sportscar Championship. On this occasion, Ferrari will enter young talents such as Baghetti and Bandini. It will be a very interesting experiment, especially regarding Bandini testing the Modenese car. Enzo Ferrari will assign the 270-hp rear-engine two-litre sportscar to the Baghetti-Ginther duo, while Bandini, partnered by Scarfiotti, will be provided with the old twelve-cylinder model with 315 horsepower. This will not be a direct contest between the two young drivers, but it will serve as a test ahead of the Italian Grand Prix.

 

Martina Felloni

Contact us

 

Nitidepopeia

 

​©​ 2022 Osservatore Sportivo

About us

 

Academy

 

​Network

Team

 

Cookie Policy

 

Privacy Policy

Create Website with flazio.com | Free and Easy Website Builder