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#158 1967 Canadian Grand Prix

2021-09-15 00:00

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#1967,

#158 1967 Canadian Grand Prix

For some time we have been hearing conflicting reports about Scuderia Ferrari's total or conditional withdrawal from motor racing. On Wednesday 16 Aug

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For some time we have been hearing conflicting reports about Scuderia Ferrari's total or conditional withdrawal from motor racing. On Wednesday 16 August 1967, we finally learn something precise, as Enzo Ferrari himself answers a series of questions put to him by an Ansa editor at a location on the Adriatic coast. In an almost polemical tone, Enzo Ferrari replies:

"I have never thought of retiring; I have decided since May, after the tragic end of Bandini, to direct - better to say limit - Ferrari's future technical-sporting activity. Basically, I want to maintain the technical thermometer of our possibilities in comparison with the competition, which is becoming more numerous and challenging every day. To conclude, I can say that one formula or prototype Ferrari will be present in the most important competitions; two at most, if it is possible. Consequently, I don't intend to reconstitute a drivers' team as I had in this tragic year".

The Scuderia Ferrari has been on the world market for twenty years: does Enzo Ferrari believe that he still has a need for racing or does he not believe, instead, that his name is now such that he can live off his income?

"Indeed Ferrari, after so many years of successful racing activity, could give up racing and devote itself solely to the production of GT cars. In doing so, however, it would cease to progress technically, even though it could realise economic benefits that it has never been able to capitalise on due to the enormous expenditure it incurs annually on studies, construction and management of racing cars. I am a constructor, not an industrialist: quantity is not in my mentality".

We move on to talk about the Italian drivers to whom Scuderia Ferrari has always been sensitive. On that subject, Enzo Ferrari says:

 

"I have recently spoken about the amateurism of Italian drivers and this adjective has been unfavourably commented on. I would like to clarify: the late Bandini was the last example I knew of a professional sportsman who dedicated his entire activity to preparing the car, testing and racing. He was the mechanic turned ace. Unfortunately, this is a breed that is dying out. We cannot compare Bandini to other Italian drivers with good skills, who don't make a living from the job, but who derive their legitimate ambition and popularity from racing. You cannot turn wealthy landowners or driving enthusiasts into trainers, test drivers, professional drivers who don't disdain to stamp their cards every day even after winning a Grand Prix. True, times have changed, but I remember the origins of Nazzaro, Lancia, Salamano, Ascari, Campari, Sivocci, and I cannot forget that dear Lorenzo was one of them. In Italy there is no  sporting policy aimed at training these professional drivers, and the first cause is to be found in the absence of racetracks. Where and how to create drivers if we don't have - with the exception of Monza - the tracks on which to hold races every Sunday? Times, men and machines have definitely changed. Just as in 1957 the Mille Miglia tragically ended its cycle, I think the time has also come in Italy to abandon races that aren't organised on technically suitable permanent circuits, with large marginal defence zones and with efficient first-aid services".

These statements arouse exceptional interest. In short, the famous manufacturer affirms his decision to reduce his company's racing activity to reasonable limits, reiterates that the current sporting policy doesn't favour the training of new drivers capable of driving a Formula or Prototype car, points to the regulations, techniques in force, as one of the main causes of the lack of safety for racers. Above all, Ferrari's thoughts on the advisability of abolishing road racing to make way only for races held on permanent circuits, reactivating those already existing in Italy but currently unfit for use, and if possible building new facilities, are striking. Agreeing with certain approaches also expressed in government after the tragic accidents of recent months (but not shared in some sporting circles), it demonstrates in Enzo Ferrari a lively sense of responsibility and an objective assessment of reality. It is certainly not an easy problem to solve, especially as far as the extension of racetracks is concerned. But it will have to be addressed in some way, if this increasingly difficult sport is not to self-destruct. Enzo Ferrari is no stranger to explosive declarations, alternating with long periods of silence during which he prefers to leave the floor to hard facts. This is also a style, which helps to define the personality of the man who has made the most advanced motor racing technology a reason for living.

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On Sunday, 20 August 1967, Scottish driver Jackie Stewart, at the wheel of a Matra-Ford, won the sixth edition of the Mediterranean Grand Prix, an international speed race for Formula 2 cars, valid for the European Formula 2 Drivers' Trophy and the Italian overall speed championship. The race is held on the very fast Pergusa circuit, where Formula 3 cars had competed last Sunday. It is divided into two separate trials, with the final classification based on the sum of the times. Each stage is 40 laps, equal to 191.905 kilometres. Fifteen competitors take part; no Italian cars are present. During the course of the first heat, Mexican driver Pedro Rodriguez is the protagonist of an accident that miraculously has no serious consequences. While he is making his eleventh lap, and is in the leading positions, as he rounds the big, fast bend that leads onto the finishing straight, Rodriguez's Harris-Costin is hit with the front right wheel by the Matra-Ford of Frenchman Beltoise. The car splashes against the guardrail and crashes into it, almost breaking in two. Immediately rescued and treated by the medical staff, Pedro Rodriguez was taken to the Civil Hospital of Enna, where they found a state of traumatic shock and grazes on his face and right heel. However, his condition doesn't give cause for concern. Pedro Rodriguez's younger brother - Ricardo - had died in 1962 during practice for the Mexican Grand Prix. The race is dominated by the French-English Matra-Ford cars, which take the first five places in the classification: Jim Clark's Lotus-Ford, which is in the leading group during the first practice, complains of an oil pan failure and the former World Champion crosses the finish line pushing the car. Stewart wins the opening heat at an average speed of 228.813 km/h, just ahead of the young Jacky Ickx and Jean Beltoise, repeating his success in the second race. As part of the celebrations for the Canadian Centennial Year, the FIA sanction a Formula One race to take place on the 3.956km Mosport circuit just outside Toronto.

 

The Canadian Grand Prix looks as if for the time being it may be just a one-off race for it is not included in next year’s calendar. Sandwiched as it is between the German and Italian classics, this race creates travel problems and throws the expense of transporting the Grand Prix circus firmly on to the shoulders of the Canadian Racing Drivers’ Association and the Imperial Tobacco Company. Eighteen cars are entered. Brabham have BT24/1 and 2 for Brabham and Hulme, neither car being any different from the recent victory at the Nurburgring. Team Lotus bring their three 495, Nos 1, 2 and 3. Since the retirements in Germany certain minor modifications have been made. Extra filters are included in the fuel system to cut down the misfiring due to dirty fuel. The front suspension rocker arms are now made from heavier gauge metal and, other than the modifications to the rear top link mounting point described last month, an Allen screw has been threaded into the bracket to stop the main bolt loosening. Clark is using his usual car, 49/2, while Hill has the choice of 49/1 or 49/3; whichever he does not want will be used by E Wietzes, a local driver who knows the circuit well but who has not handled anything more powerful than a GT40. Two works Coopers are to be driven by Rindt and Attwood, who is standing in for this race in place of Rodriguez who is still in hospital after his Enna F2 crash. The new lightweight car has been left at home being prepared for Monza, so Rindt uses Rodriguez’s car Ft-6-66, while Attwood uses the aluminium car Ft-1-67 that Rindt has used this year. B.R.M. have three works H16 cars for Stewart, Spence and Irwin, the last named being entered and looked after by Parnell. Stewart is using the slimmer, lighter car 1151, while Spence has 8302, which he used at the Nurburgring. Irwin has 8303 which has been the spare in Germany. For a change, there are only Goodyear tyres in the B.R.M. pit, so there will be none of the new game of musical tyres.

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The Eagle team is back to one car for Gurney. This is the Monaco aluminium chassis 103, with all the titanium hits from the magnesium chassis 104. Which is having an overhaul for the end-of season races. The engine (5805) is the one used at Nurburgring and the spare (5804) is McLaren’s German race engine. Since Gurney’s trouble in Germany new stronger drive-shafts have been fitted. Ferrari have only one car for Amon. This is the same as he raced last - No 0005 - and still with the three-valve-light alloy engine, which has brought the weight down to a claimed 1.157lb. Last of the factory cars, and a brand new car at that, is the new F1 McLaren. This new chassis is a stronger version of the well-tested F2 cars and has installed the first of the new V12 B.R.M. engines. This 60deg unit is giving 360bhp at 10.000 revs. The two camshafts per bank of cylinders are chain driven from the front and operate two valves per cylinder. Lucas transistorised ignition is used, also Lucas fuel injection, the injectors squirting upstream from just below the throttle slides. The metering unit is belt-driven at the front of the right-hand cam drive, while on the left-hand bank is the distributor. The engine has no place at the moment for a mechanical fuel pump drive so McLaren has fitted one to the back of the Hewland gearbox; as this pump will not work on the start line with the clutch depressed, there is an electric pump mounted on the side of the gearbox, to cover initial starting and waiting at the start line. The whole car, finished in McLaren red, is neat and compact, the engine not taking up much space. The rest of the field consists of private owners. Bonnier has his Cooper there, as does Rob Walker for Siffert. David Hobbs is driving Bernard White’s B.R.M. V8, which should have been a V12 but for a slight mix-up. Then comes the locals. A Pease has bought Gurney’s 2.7-litre Eagle-Climax No 101 and is having his first outing. M Fisher has bought Lotus 33 R11 which was used by Hill in Monaco this year, and he has with it a 1.9-litre B.R.M. engine. He is another club driver who has never driven this type of car before, or run in a race of this type.

 

Last comes T Jones, an almost unknown driver who has bought a Cooper F2 chassis (F2-2-66) into which has been fitted a Climax 2-litre V8 engine. So with this varied field practice gets under way. With unofficial practice on Thursday afternoon, Friday and Saturday morning, and official timed practice on Friday and Saturday afternoon, everyone has plenty of time to learn and set up the cars properly. The cars are all in a long tent where all the work is done, making the Grand Prix Circus live up to its name. On Thursday ten cars go out to familiarise themselves with the course and see if they can get near Gurney’s record in the Lola T70 of 1'23"1 (171.466kph) or the fast practice lap by Hall’s Chaparral of 1'22"9. Gurney, Clark and Amon are the fastest, with the Eagle doing a 1min 23.6sec and Clark and Amon not quite breaking 1'24"0. Clark is using the oldest Lotus and the one that Wietzes is expected to use. As he goes into the first corner past the pits, the tail swings wide and he spins in the middle of the road at about 120mph. Just as the car is stopping it runs backwards up the grass bank. Clark fishes around for a gear and looks as if he is going on; then he cuts the engine and climbs out for, although there has been no hard jolt, the right-hand rear radius arms are both buckled, the top one slightly, and the lower one bent at right angles, with the rose joint snapped at the wheel. As the lower radius arm has given way the overload on the monocoque mounting has been enough to ripple the skin of the monocoque. This brings an end to the unofficial practice, and Lotus mechanics start work to repair the damage before the next morning. Unofficial Friday practice is used by most ears to complete mixture and suspension settings. The official afternoon session starts with Rindt going out first and returning to the pits a lap later with fuel pouring from the right hand pontoon. The starter ring has shattered again and the pieces have flown off like shells. One piece has entered the pontoon, gone through the fuel bag and out of the side, leaving a hole that can easily have been made by a small shell.

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Clark is lapping consistently under 24s and as Firestone has not got the exact mix, tread or profile that he requires, Goodyear tyres are fitted, and in this first timed session Clark sets the fastest lap of 1'22"9 while tyre testing. In the other Lotus, Hill is not very happy, partly because he has a touch of flu, but also because the car is not set up quite to his liking. The B.R.M.s are having all sorts of problems. The engine in Stewart’s car is not running cleanly, nor is it opening up coming out, of corners. Going into corners the car is juddering badly under braking and, judging from the number of times the suspension settings are changed, it is difficult to set up the car for this tricky circuit. Amon is not going as well as he did in the unofficial practice the day before and although he does a lot of lap’s, changing suspension Settings after each outing, he is unable to get the Ferrari under 1'24"0. Also in trouble is Gurney, for the Weslake engine has gone very flat and he does not get below 1'25"0. The McLaren-B.R.M. is having mixture problems and McLaren thinks his oil temperature is running too high. However, after doing only 13 laps he is down to 1'24"0 and felt there is a lot more to come. Hulme’s Brabham is going well and he is second fastest with a time of 1'23"6 Brabham’s car, however, is not going properly and is smoking quite a lot. On Saturday morning there is an unofficial practice again and another American entry turns up. He is Tom Jones of Ohio and his car is a Cooper-Climax V8. This is only the second time he has ever driven a rear-engined car, the first being at the Watkins Glen meeting a week earlier. Hulme is soon being given times of under 1'24"0, and so he packs up until the afternoon session. Brabham is not going very well and the oil smoke gets worse and worse, until he comes in with oil all over the back of the car and the catch tank full. As either a piston or ring has broken it is decided to change the engine, which gives just three hours to do this before official practice. Wietzes is out acclimatising himself and lapping very slowly in Lotus 49/1.

 

Stewart is still not happy and the engine is not right, so the mixture cams are changed, but it still will not pull cleanly. The other two B.R.M.s now seem to be running as well as they are going to. Ferrari fit Firestone tyres with a lower profile which alters the gear ratio so the gearbox is changed, and then Amon has difficulty selecting 3rd gear. Also having gear trouble is Rindt, who with his new engine in is finding the gearbox very stiff. Graham Hill goes out for some laps on Goodyears and expresses enthusiasm for them, saying they have more latitude and do not give the feeling of driving on a knife edge. However, Firestones has the right tyres by now and when the official practice starts both Lotuses are on Firestones. Both Lotuses are going perfectly by now and Clark does 1'22"4, with Hill only three-tenths behind. As the Lotus drivers are the only ones under 1'23"0 it looks as though the Canadian GP can be a walk-over. Amon, with the right ratios, gets down to 1'23"3, but Gurney breaks the belt which drives the metering unit and as this is the second to go in only a few hours and the engine is not pulling well, it is decided to change it and fit 5804. Stewart’s B.R.M. is still not going well and it is still misfiring. After practice a loose wire is found in the electrical system, and it is hoped that fixing this will cure the trouble. McLaren, although still not satisfied, is going quicker and gets a time of sixth fastest on this first outing. Brabham comes out to run in his new engine, only half an hour late, which is a good effort on the part of his mechanics, who, without any lifting gear, do the change in 3.5 hours. Just at the end of practice oil again pours from Brabham’s car but this is only due to a faulty bell-housing which is soon put right. Siffert has been improving his time slowly when the starter ring on his car suddenly shatters, slicing through the casing and cutting the starter off. The four American drivers running in their first GP fare better than some expected, so far as they keep out of the way. None are able to better 1'30"0, not even Wietzes in the Lotus-Ford. Jones’ time of 1'57"9 is considered too slow by the organisers and he is not allowed to start.

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On race day the fine warm weather of previous days changes, as forecast, to low cloud with occasional drizzle. Overnight both competitive Lotuses are found to have fuel leaks but this is remedied before it is too late. Rob Walker’s Cooper-Maserati which the night before has looked a certain non-starter now has a chance of starting, in that parts of the starter-ring has been recovered and, with the bits from Rindt’s engine, a complete circle has been welded up and, by growing weld and fining it into teeth, they hope the car will start just twice, once to try and once on the line. Unfortunately for Siffert, when they try the first time the welded teeth chews up and the strain on the freshly drilled bolt holes for the starter causes this to be torn off. Gurney has the spare engine fitted and thinks it might be a bit faster. McLaren has found an electrical fault which could have been causing the trouble that he has thought was mixture. Overnight he has decided not to fit an alternator as the battery should be ample to last the race, and this saves just over 5lb in weight, plus the odd hp needed to drive it. After two warming-up races the cars are wheeled out and the drivers go round in a procession of dignitaries. The drizzle which has stopped early in the morning now returns and as the cars come round for their warming-up lap the track is about as treacherous as it can be. Amon spins on this warming-up lap when doing about 50mph, on what would normally be a 110-plus curve. The flag falls a few minutes late and what must have been one of the slowest first laps ever takes place, with the drivers driving as if on ice. Clark takes the lead and must have been the only driver to see anything on that first lap. Behind him comes Hulme, then Hill, Stewart, Brabham, McLaren, Gurney, Spence, Irwin, Rindt, Hobbs, Bonnier, Attwood, Wietzes, Fisher and, last, Amon, who spins again on the opening lap and is getting no adhesion at all.

 

Pease can not get his Eagle-Climax started on the dummy grid and is wheeled to the pits for a new battery. The rain is getting heavier and on the second lap the Goodyear-shod cars begin to feel the advantages of their intermediate tyres over the Firestone dry-weather tyres. Clark is still leading but using an awful lot of road, and Hulme is trying to find a way through the pall of spray. Hill retains third place but Brabham and McLaren have both passed Stewart. Spence gets by Gurney and the American is having a lot of trouble trying to feed limited power to the wheels. Hobbs gets by Rindt, the Cooper being very intractable under the conditions, so much so that after only four laps Rindt comes into the pits to have the rear roll-bar disconnected, but on trying to re-start, the engine refuses to respond and, after running the battery flat, the car is wheeled away, retiring with wet electrics, for when it was dried out in the tent it bursts into life immediately. On the third lap McLaren finds that his car is perfect for the conditions and he passes Brabham on the outside of one corner, travelling a good 10mph faster, only to lose it on the next righthander, and before he can get off the sandy bank, most of the field has gone by, so at the end of the third lap he has dropped to twelfth place. Hulme makes a big effort on the fourth lap and breaks through Clark’s spray cloud and begins pulling away from the Lotus. Brabham is similarly placed behind Hill and on the eighth lap he gets by and begins closing on Clark. McLaren gets back into his stride again and begins carving his way through the field, still 12th on lap 4; he goes by Bonnier and Hobbs on lap 5, Gurney next lap, Irwin on lap 7, Stewart and Spence on lap 8, and down the straight he can then see the spray of Hill’s Lotus. It takes three laps to catch Hill and on lap 12 he is in fourth place. Two laps later the tractable V12 B.R.M. engine has taken him by Brabham and is rapidly closing the gap on Clark.

 

Whilst this excitement is going on at the front of the field, Pease has got started and is running last, many laps behind. Amon begins to regain his confidence and gets by the American tail-enders to pull up to 12th place by the 12th lap. Bonnier gets by Hobbs on lap 11, putting himself into 10th place. On lap 12 the B.R.M.s are lying in numerical order, Stewart, Spence, Irwin, 6th, 7th and 8th positions, which they hold until Stewart gets by Hill, and Gurney overtakes Irwin. The rain eases and stops after half an hour, and the lap times begin to improve, but before the track dries out McLaren gets by Clark and begins to close on Hulme. Irwin spins on lap 18 and comes into the pits with the throttle slides on one side filled with sand and mud, and he is retired. Pease spins off and spends many laps trying to restart; when eventually the engine dries out enough to start he is even more laps behind. Stewart, once he has passed Hill, takes heart and catches and passes Brabham, and the two of them then close right up on to Clark. The track is now drying quickly and on about lap 25 the turning point comes when all the power can be put on to the road. Clark, with Stewart and Brabham just behind, now begins to gain on McLaren and on lap 27 they are just behind him, the four cars covered by one second and all lying 25 Seconds behind Hulme. Next lap Clark is back into second place and he begins to give the crowd a demonstration of driving at ten-tenths as he sets off after the Brabham. On lap 32 the gap is down to 24 seconds. Two laps later it has closed to 21 seconds. McLaren tries to hang on but nothing can keep up with Clark as the track dries right out. Hulme has lapped Gurney just before it dries out, but the American unlaps himself and the two cars keep together for some time; in fact, until Hulme sees how the gap is closing when the pit signals him to speed up. 

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He passes Gurney and then, with the tail hanging well out, tries to stay ahead of Clark but, with Clark in the mood he is, nothing can hold him and on the 58th lap he shoots by on the straight into the lead. On the 58th lap, which is to end the dry period, for, fine rain begins again, Brabham is third, having passed McLaren, now fourth. Ten laps previously McLaren’s engine is beginning to misfire due to a flattening battery and no alternator to recharge it. Fifth comes Gurney, a lap behind, then Stewart and Hill, Spence, Amon, Hobbs, Bonnier, Attwood, Weitzes, Fisher and, many laps down, Pease completes the field. The rain now begins to fall harder than ever and conditions reach their worst. Hobbs comes to the pits on lap 6o and collects clean goggles. On lap 64 Stewart comes in with grass and sand stuck in the intakes and rear suspension. After a quick clean-out he is sent off but next lap he is in again as the throttle linkage is jamming; after some more cleaning and another spring added, he is sent off again, but at the end of that lap he comes in and climbs out, and the car is pushed away. While Stewart is in and out of the pits, drama takes place in the lead. The Brabhams have not caught up with Clark in this second storm and it looks as if the now lighter Lotus can retain first place. Hulme signals that he is coming in for goggles and pulls into the pits next lap. At the same time Clark’s engine cuts dead at the hairpin and Brabham suddenly finds himself in first place. The Brabham pit is all excitement; Hulme goes out with goggles and comes in next lap for a dome-type visor. The Lotus pit are still wondering what was wrong with Clark when Wietzes stops on the outside of the pit wall with a dead engine. Mechanics push him to the end of the pits and when the electrics are dried out the engine starts again, but only until they become wet again. For being pushed Weitzes is disqualified.

 

After some 10 laps Clark re-appears by the pits and next lap he comes in with a dead engine which has cut on the straight when water again shorts out the ignition. This ends the drama. Gurney makes two pit stops for goggles and mixture adjustment to give better performance at low revs, and the Old Man plods on to win by 1'01"9 from his team-mate, who is in the only other car on the same lap. One lap behind is Gurney, then Hill another lap down. Spence and Anson complete 87 laps and McLaren 86 laps. The McLaren-B.R.M. could have won the Canadian Grand Prix when the second lot of rain started, but the battery runs right down and another has to be fitted, which loses a lot of time. Has an alternator been fitted the result may have been quite different. Clark does the fastest lap while catching Hulme with a time of a 1'23"1 (106.53mph), which equals Gurney’s time in the Lola T70. The most uncomfortable race to date this year and one in which the drivers really earned their money. Australian Jack Brabham, at the wheel of the car of which he is also the constructor, wins the Canadian Grand Prix at the Mosport circuit. In second place, one minute behind, is Denny Hulme. Of the seven title races held so far, Brabham has won five: three with Hulme and two with Brabham. The New Zealand driver leads the standings with 43 points, followed by the manufacturer-driver with 34 points and Chris Amon, with 20 points. In the Canadian Grand Prix, American Dan Gurney in an Eagle finished third, Graham Hill in a Lotus-Ford fourth, Spence in a B.R.M. fifth and Chris Amon in a Ferrari sixth. The race was run in the rain. After a lightning start by Clark in a Lotus-Ford, Hulme took the lead on lap four and remained there until lap fifty-four, when the former World Champion managed to get back into the lead; then Brabham also overtook his team-mate. But on the sixty-eighth lap Clark was forced to abandon due to an electrical fault, leaving the way clear for Brabham.

 

Nicoletta Zuppardo

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