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#161 1967 Mexican Grand Prix

2021-09-12 01:00

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#1967,

#161 1967 Mexican Grand Prix

Twenty entries are invited for this year’s Mexican Grand Prix, which takes place at the same time as the Mini-Olympics. Of the 20, 19 are all ready fo

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Twenty entries are invited for this year’s Mexican Grand Prix, which takes place at the same time as the Mini-Olympics. Of the 20, 19 are all ready for the first four-hour practice session on Friday afternoon, the one missing car being the Cooper down to be driven by Rindt. This is withdrawn due to a haggle over starting money which the Austrian driver demands but no-one thought worth paying. B.R.M. has the three cars that they use at Watkins Glen. The two engines which brake rods have been back to England for a rebuild and the one in Stewart’s car is changed as a precaution. The new works V12 which is expected to run in Mexico for the first time has teething troubles when tests recently at Goodwood and fails to materialize. Lotus has three cars for Clark, Hill and Solana, and again there is little change. One engine has been sent home for an overhaul, and on Hill’s car the USA race clutch problem has been diagnosed as a bent withdrawal bracket which reduces the length of operating arm travel. Mechanics have strengthened the small sub-frame on to which the rear suspension is attached, but Chapman brings over two sets of much more strongly constructed frames for Clark and Hill. One of the problems at the altitude of Mexico City is that fuel vaporizes at a lower temperature and therefore causes vapor locks. Cosworth has a simple fuel cooling system by-passing the surplus fuel from the metering unit back to the pick-up tank via the inlet manifold, which runs at something like 30º C. and is the coolest part of the car. This cooling system has been on the car since it appears in Holland but this is the first time it has been of real value. Ferrari has the same two cars for Amon and Jonathan Williams, who was being given his first Formula One drive, after the team’s fairly successful Group 7 run in the Can-Am race at Laguna Seca. Both F1 engines have been back to Modena for an overhaul and team manager Franco Lini is frantically trying to extract them from the customs on the night before practice.

 

Both Brabhams are unaltered, one engine being out from England, the other having has a rebuild by the mechanics on the spot. Coopers has only one car, this being the older, 1967 chassis use by Rindt at Watkins Glen. The engines have been back to Modena and Maserati recommends using the 36-plug, 36-valve version, so the mechanics have to find homes for all the coils, etc., on the older chassis. Rodriguez is hobbling round on a stick, his face more pinched than usual, but he feels that when sitting in the cockpit he wants be able to cope. Dan Gurney has his Eagle 104 with new rear uprights to stop the repetition of the trouble at Watkins Glen. One engine is sent home for overhaul and another returned, indicating that there are now three serviceable Gurney-Weslake V12s. Each time the team has reached this situation one or more engines are disintegrated in a big way. The Honda V12 is unaltered as far as the chassis is concerned, it being the same as at Monza, but the engine has several modifications to try to overcome the poor fuel injection. A new metering unit has been fitted and the fuel system overhauled to include extra filters. McLaren’s car is unaltered and the B.R.M. V12 engine, when it arrives back at Bourne, is found to have only a slightly bent valve. Beltoise has the Formula Two Matra which he runs in the US Grand Prix. This is unaltered and is hoped to be more competitive as the altitude would have less effect on a 4-cylinder engine than the multi-cylinder units. The last four entries are the private owners: Siffert, in the Walker/Durlacher Cooper-Maserati which goes exceptionally well in the US Grand Prix; Bonnier in his own Cooper-Maserati, now beginning to look rather tatty; Ligier in his Brabham-Repco fits with his spare engine (the other being badly damaged at Watkins Glen); and last is Mike Fisher, who drives the ex-Graham Hill Lotus 33-B.R.M. V8 at Mosport in the Canadian Grand Prix, and with a club event since, is driving this car for the third time.

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Practice starts 20min late. Fisher is late getting started as some gearbox parts only arrives as practice begins. Solana’s Lotus is found to have bearing trouble in its Cosworth V8 engine and so mechanics start fitting the spare engine as practice begins, while Ferrari has prepared Amon’s car but still has two hours’ work to do on Williams’ car. First away are McLaren, Brabham, Hulme, Gurney, Clark and Surtees. After a few laps they are all in with mixture or overheating problems. Amon complains about something breaking at the back end, but nothing is at first visible and it takes some time to discover a fault in the gearbox, which is then changed. Clark’s Lotus is the first car to show its pace and he is very quickly down to 1'51"0, with Brabham a second behind. This is well inside last year’s record by Ginther in the Honda of 1'53"75 (158.241kph). Practice has only been going about an hour when the annual dog stories starts. Spence says two are rushing around on the other side of the circuit and, even while he is talking, one appears on the track in front of the pits, which has Beltoise avoiding on to the grass. Most of the drivers are complaining about the slipperiness of the circuit, which is not so much due to an oiling in the opening laps, but to a film of dust due to lack of use. Solana is given the chance of practicing in Clark’s car and the team pulls him in after only a few laps when his time is down to 1min 52.86sec. When the second Ferrari is ready it has Amon’s number put on and Williams doesn’t get a chance to practice as it is taking a long time to get Amon’s car repaired. Surtees is a lot happier with the Honda engine, but it is boiling hard, so a larger radiator is fitted. McLaren is having very few problems, for the mixture cam fitted back at Bourne is right.

 

However, Gurney is not getting the right mixture for a long time and then he finds that for no apparent reason the car is oversteering very badly and he likes a car that understeers slightly. Many laps are put in trying to sort out this problem with tyre pressures and suspension angles being altered, so he never has a real go. Hulme closes up on Clark’s time, which is now down to 1'50"0, and as the temperature is dropping towards 5:00 p.m., so the times are decreasing. Spence has a connecting-rod break on his B.R.M. and the team’s only spare engine has to be fitted. This means that Stewart has to be careful if he wants to start and the whole team relax. Brabham comes by the pits and his engine blows up in a cloud of smoke, so when the car is pushed in work begins on fitting a new engine. Clark betters his time, coming down to 1'49"80, and almost immediately Hulme clips off 0.01sec. It is now that Clark states that in the last minutes he wants drop the times into the 1'48"0 bracket, and 10min from the end of practice he does just that, with a time of 1'48"97. Hulme and Clark are the only two under 1'50"0 on this first day; although Gurney, Hill and Brabham are not far off. Second practice is much cooler, with haze keeping the temperature down. Williams and Rodriguez are off immediately the track is open. After a few laps Williams comes slowly into the pits with the glass-fibre nose of his car damaged. He has been concentrating on where the track goes instead of the handling of the Ferrari and has hit a marker tyre. Overnight there has been a stir around in Team Lotus for Clark’s usual car, 49/2, is numbered for Solana and Clark is driving the first car, 49/1 with the new engine. Hill’s 49/3 is smoking badly and an oil pipe is found to be fractured. Brabham has fitted larger extractors behind the radiator and one B.R.M. has its nose cut back to the radiator.

 

Amon has stopped without fuel at the hairpin and when the car is got back to the pits it is discovered that fuel was escaping from the fuel pump, and another is fitted. In the first two hours only Clark manages to get under 1'50"0 and it becomes obvious that most teams are waiting for the last and cooler hours. Surtees is trying very hard. His engine is on all 12 cylinders down the straight but the pick-up from the corners is still suspect and is losing him at least a second a lap. Brabham and Hulme both do a few laps but nothing serious until the last hour; then they both get down into the 1'49"0 time, with Brabham slightly the faster. Clark goes out to put in some fast ones and gets down to 1'47"56 (167.441kph) with a bad pick-up out of the hairpin, so his next lap should have been quicker but he passes Hulme near the pits and lifts off before doing a predicted 1'46"0 to stop pulling the Brabham higher up the starting grid. As Clark sits on the pit counter in the last 10min. Hill, Gurney and Amon go out. Hill is unable to get within one second of Clark’s time; Gurney gives up, unable to break the 1'48"0 time, while Amon’s last lap is given by the team at 1'47"9 - in fact it is four-hundredths of a second the wrong side of 1'48"0. Rodriguez complaints of clutch trouble at the end of practice but nothing can be found wrong and it is then announced the pain in his leg is stopping him depressing the clutch fully after some time. Ligier’s engine has cut suddenly on the far side of the circuit and he coasts in with what he diagnoses as bearing trouble. The engine removes, laid on its side and the sump removes. Then one of the bearings is taken out and seems in perfect condition. The engine is turned and finds to be quite loose. The mystery is solved when it is found that the tank is empty, and because the engine blows up at Watkins Glen, Ligier assumes the same thing has happened. Most of the other mechanics come and have a look as Ligier’s two mechanics refits the engine and a certain amount of laughter is forthcoming.

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With the end of practice race preparation begins. On Clark’s 49/1 Lotus the monocoque is found to be cracked, again at the right-hand lower radius arm mounting point. This part of the monocoque on this car has been repaired when buckles at Mosport in practice, earlier by Hill in testing, and earliest of all on the first day at Snetterton when Mike Costin gives the brand new car full acceleration from the hairpin and pushes both lower radius arms somewhere-into the monocoque. Race day is clear and has all the symptoms of developing into a very hot day, which in fact it does. This adds to a last-minute frenzy to cut more louvres and extractors in bodywork and enlarge radiator openings. Brabham goes one stage further and two hours before the start his mechanics are shaping a new water pipe which they fit along the outside of the cockpit. On the back of Solana’s Lotus the mechanics have fixed a rod across the back joining the top link mounting points to spread the load. There are three preliminary saloon car races which added a further film of oil to what is there already. The big crowd gets through the fences all round the circuit and sits on or in front of the safety bank, while 800 soldiers send to control them merely joined them. After being present to the Governor the drivers go on their warming-up lap. Going very slowly is Fisher’s Lotus-B.R.M. which earlier has broken the diaphragm in the metering unit and in fitting a new one has disrupted the opening which means they can only get 4000 revs. As there is no chance of repairing the unit in time for the start, the car is wheeled off the dummy grid and retires. At 2:30 p.m. the revs, rose and with a double wave the flag is dropped.

 

The double wave causes Clark to hesitate a moment so his engine does not pick up and Gurney, right behind, runs the nose of his Eagle over the Lotus exhaust pipe, bending this, puncturing his own radiator and damaging the glass-fibre nose. With an almost stalls engine, Gurney throws up an arm and the field sweeps by him. Amon leads until nearly the end of the straight when Hill goes by him into the first corner. As the cars complete the first lap, Hill is leading from Amon, Clark, Brabham, Solanai, McLaren, Surtees, Hulme, Siffert, Rodriguez, Spence, Williams, Stewart, Bonnier, Beltoise, Irwin, Ligier and, some way behind pouring water on to the track, comes Gurney. Clark’s hesitant start does not keep him back for long and on lap 2 he is in second place and on the next lap he is ahead of Hill, a position he holds until the end. While passing Hill, Clark’s clutch operation stops working and for the whole race at record speeds he drives without it. The only place that it is noticeable is the approach to the corner at the end of the main straight. Here his line is quite different to practice and he does not change down at all until he is right round the corner. On the second lap Surtees and Hulme pass McLaren and it is obvious Hulme is not driving in his usual forceful way and is keeping well out of trouble, for he only has to finish one or-two places behind Brabham to be sure of his World Championship. Down at the back of the field Irwin passes Beltoise and Gurney is close behind Ligier, but his car is still pouring water. Next lap the Eagle is in 17th place but not for long, for on the fourth lap all the water has gone and the engine begins to overheat. Ligier is having handling trouble and the link from the rear roll-bar to the wishbone is hanging loose, making the car unstable on some corners. On the fifth lap Spence passes Rodriguez and Beltoise gets ahead of Irwin, whose B.R.M. is smoking badly front an oil leak.

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On the same lap both Irwin and Beltoise go by Bonnier which puts hint back into last-but-one place. On lap 6 Clark is 7 sec. ahead of Hill, who, in turn, is 2sec clear of Amon and Brabham, Solana, Hulme and Surtees. The latter two switch places on this lap and are close together 15sec behind the leader. Solana’s fifth place is an extremely competent effort for a driver who only runs in Formula One once or twice a year. McLaren is eighth, 25sec down, then Rodriguez 31sec down. Next, and close together, are Spence and Siffert, 33sec behind, with Williams and Stewart 8sec behind them. Ten seconds further down is Beltoise, who in one lap has pulled 3sec away from Irwin. On lap 7 Stewart manages to pass Williams and for five laps the order remains constant. With 12 laps gone Hulme cautiously slips by Solana putting himself about 6sec behind Brabham, a position he is quite happy with. On the next lap Solana fails to appear. The pin which connects the lower link to the left front upright has broken on braking for a left-hand corner and in turning the whole thing broke the top of the upright. Fortunately, in a left-hand bend all the weight is on the right-hand wheels so he is able to stop on the grass without doing any further damage, nor scooping up those spectators sitting in front of the safety banks. Three laps after Solana has gone Williams and Beltoise passes Stewart, who comes into the pits running on only 14 plugs and without the use of his rev-counter which has broken. While he is in the pits Hill goes missing and Amon is now in second place. After most of the field has gone by the Lotus crept into the pit area with a die engine. When the mechanics have pushed the car to its pit they discover that the left-hand drive shaft has broken at the yoke at the wheel and in flailing around have carried away the damper-spring unit.

 

Hill is not looking very happy but he wants not have lasted much longer for when the car is being drained of liquids for the air freighting to England it is found that there is barely any water left. By lap 20, Clark is 21.5sec ahead of Amon and 29.5sec ahead of Brabham. Hulme is 43.5sec behind the leader with Surtees 51sec down and McLaren 63 sec. down. Stewart, in last place, retires when his engine begins to vibrate as it has done before, just as a connecting rod is about to break. Also it is found that the monocoque is cracking at the bulk-head. The race settles down now until the halfway stage when Irwin retires with no oil left. Clark is now 34sec clear of Amon and 47.5sec ahead of Brabham. Hulme has dropped back to 72sec behind, while Surtees is 80sec down. Next, and about to be lapped, comes McLaren. The only close racing which is now taking place has just started between Williams and Beltoise in 10th and 11th places. These two are evenly matched and swapped places right to the end. Williams, with the much greater power of the Ferrari, wants pass on the straight only to lose what he gains on the corners and braking. For a further 10 laps things remain constant. Surtees is having some differential trouble which make the car weave on the straights. Then McLaren, who is in sixth place one lap down, comes into the pits with oil pressure trouble. On right-hand corners there is no pressure showing although he has plenty of oil in the tank. The fuel and oil pressure pipes are switched and he goes out for another lap, but the same trouble is still there. After some minutes of fiddling, he again goes out for another lap, then on the 45th lap he retires with a stuck pressure relief valve somewhere inside.

 

 Spence, in the remaining lone B.R.M., catches and passes Rodriguez, who is tiring and who very nearly kills two young spectators who decide to run across the track to some friends on the other side. As the race settles into the final stages Clark sets a new lap record in his 52nd lap of 1'48"13 (166.466kph). On the 58th lap, Siffert goes by the pits very slowly, his engine sounding terrible. One of the small plastic oil pipes between the vee has collapsed with the resultant cutting off of oil to the cams and one of these seized, which means he does not complete the lap. Hulme is lapped by Clark on lap 62 and on the next lap Amon tails to appear. The second place Ferrari has run out of fuel at the hairpin. Amon climbs out and takes off his helmet—a very unhappy young man. The leaders sweeps by him and then he suddenly hears his ticking fuel pumps slow as they find some more fuel. The engine starts and he heads for the finish line. Several times the engine cut and then re-starts and, as he reaches the line, Clark goes by to take the checkered flag. On the lap chart Amon appears as fifth, two laps down. Brabham comes second, the only car to remain on the same lap as the winner and 1min 26sec behind. One lap down are Hulme, who with this result clinches the 1967 Drivers’ Championship, and Surtees. On the same lap as most people have thought Amon is, com Spence, Rodriguez, Beltoise and Williams. The F2 Matra driver has out-driven Williams on the last lap to cross the line just ahead. The only other finishers are Bonnier and Ligier who is four laps down. The official results take a long time to prepare for, according to the regulations, the last lap of any car must be within twice the time of the winner’s fastest lap and Amon’s last lap has been more than this, so, after much deliberation, the stewards disallow the Ferrari’s last lap, which puts it three laps behind and between Bonnier and Williams in ninth place.

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Jim Clark wins the Mexican Grand Prix and the new zealander driver Denny Hulme, third after Jack Brabham, conquers for the first time the World Champion title for the first time. Denis Hulme, 31 years old, single, new zealander, is the new king - for one year - of that thirty car racers that risk their life on European and American tracks in Gran Prix season. Hulme obtained the title arriving third, after Clark and Brabham, in the Mexican Grand Prix, last of eleven races in which the championship was divided. By strange chance the arrival order repeated in reverse order the World Championship standing: first Denny Hulme with 51 points, second Jack Brabham (46) and third Jim Clark (41). Hulme, at the wheel of Brabham with eight cylinders Repco engine, won only two races (Monaco and Germany), but he showed to have reached a exceptional shape and performance level, conquering a streak of placements. He may not have been the best driver in an absolute sense, but he certainly was overall. Clark is over him, and infact he affirmed himself in Netherlands, in England, in USA, in Mexico but too much time Lotus-Ford stopped the run-up of the scottish and his team mate Graham Hill. Hulme and Brabham, on less agile and powerful but working cars as whatches and with a formidable resistance on distance, never have been too much busy. To Hulme the title represents the definitive recognition in the élite of the Formula 1 racers. He is a calm and staid man, with a drive style done of courage and strength, and a bit of improvisation. He started to race in 1959 in New Zeleand and the next year landed in Englad. Lot of races around Europe, with a second hand Cooper, often skipping meals, working as mechanics at London. A hard life, until in 1963 Hulme started the collaboration with Jack Brabham starting to work in the australian costructor-driver’s garage. The Formula 1 World Championship debut took place two years ago, in Clermont-Ferrand, for the France Gran Prix. An anonimus race, between racing legends, Clark, Graluim Hill, Surtees, Brabham himself. Race after race, with lot of modesty and discretion, Hulm did experience.

 

"In every race I learn something new".

 

He learned soon, the new zealander, and now sports directors of half world are contending for him. Now Hulme does not want to stay with Brabham anymore, who - by the way - decides to retire from competitions. (Pheraps he will still do the next Indy 500, then he will only build cars, not driving them). It seems, however, that the new Champion of the World will run in 1968 on the compatriot McLaren cars, provided of B.R.M. 12 cylinders engine. His seat, at Brabham, will be taken by the austrian Jochen Rindt, one of the revelations of the year, who will almost certainly have Siffert as team mate. Rindt want to leave Cooper-Maserati, he does not get along with scuderia’s mangers. It is a revolving door of names, of negotiations, where are involved even Jackie Stewart, Gragam Hill, Pedro Rodriguez, Alan Rees and other pilots. Stewart, who was talked as probably Ferrari’s first driver, he is going instead from B.R.M. to the english Ken Tyrrell’s scuderia, with the belgian Ickx, where he will have a french Matra single seater with Ford-Cosworth eight cylinder engine, the same as Lotus. For Graham Hill is expected to return to B.R.M. or a transition to Ferrari. The expert english racer could be a true master to the young Amon, author of two great and unlucky races in the USA and Mexico. Rodriguez and Rees, at the end, would be employed stably from Cooper-Maserati. In other words, the World Championship is just ended with the success - derved - of both the new zealander Denny Hulme and the Brabham-Repco eight cylinder, and already rumors about drivers transfers for the next season are going to spread in both Europe and America. And it is logic, because this motorsport marketplace, in contrast to football, does not have only one location (even if London is the most important). The moment is good: for two-three months the wheel sport will met a break, constructors develop new cars or update their model in relation to defects come to light during the year and racers go on holiday.

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Not everyone, naturally, because in USA, in Australia, in Zew Zealand calendar continue full of events. With all probability, Denny Hulme will leave the Jack Brabham’s team. Between them, togheter since 1963 when the australian employed Denny in his garage as mechanic, created a certain tension this year. Both were chasing the title, the forth for Brabham, the first for Hulme. An important goal for the old Jack (42 years old) and for the young Denny (31 years old). In addition, Brabham already deserved to retire, while Hulme was not able yet to show his class. A pile, basically, of good reasons to argue. And, in the last races, the two of them do not show as two good team mates. In the divorce would take advantages McLaren and Rindt, given that Hulme will pass to his compatriot’s suderia, which single seaters will mount in the 1968 B.R.M. twelve V cilynders engine, while in his place will go the austrian. He is in a bad relationship with Cooper- Maserati.

 

"I will not even hear of it".

 

Said with friends by the austrian driver. The game continue: who will replace, then, Rindt at the anglo-italian scuderia? Two names are made: Pedro Rodriguez and Alan Rees. The mexican was already at Cooper-Maserati, while Rees is a young english of new generation, who done well in Formula 2. And Ferrari? Amon, with the great races in USA and Mexico, looks currently being relaunched. But, he could need an expert and confident team mate. In recent times it is discussed of Stewart and of belgian Ickx. Now, fade away both candidature, faces the limelight a new name: Graham Hill, just him, the mustached and nice english driver who leaves B.R.M. for Lotus, he accomodated himself this year doing the wingman to the unleashed Jim Clark. Hill is satisfied of his position, he would come back to B.R.M. (from where meanwhile Stewart left, as we see in a moment) or end wortly a beautiful carreer at the wheel of the Maranello red single seater. It seems that in Mexico, between Ferrari men and Graham Hill, has been talked about it. Jackie Stewart will race for Ken Tyrell’s scuderia with Ickx. They drive Matra with Ford-Cosworth eight cylinders engine, the same as used by Lotus. Matra, probably, will enter Formula 1 in May, in Monaco Gran Prix. The 12 cylinders engine of the enterprising french house will run on the bench at the end of the year. Light- blue single seater drivers will be the long-haired Jean-Pierre Beltoise and one of the three between Jassaud-Pescsarolo-Servoz. This, more less, the situation. In the next few days many position will clarify. It is preparing a big season of Gran Prix, even if many drivers are worried about for abandoning of the wheel sport by a part of important tyres and oil houses. Less money on the market? Does not seem to, after all. Big conductors are a few and will continue earning well. Andrea De Adamich, the driver with the glasses goes to Ferrari: it is pratically decided, unless unlikely second thoughts from Enzo Ferrari. Trieste born, but from years resident in Milan, De Adamich is a young of 26 years, tall and reserved; he is graduated in law, and sometimes law books travel with him for hal Europe. This year De Adamich conquered for second time in a row the title of champion of Europe with the Giulia GTA.

 

A prominent enterprise, gained through a dozen of races on the most challenging tracks of Europe. Andrea got his license in 1960 and attended to his first race in 1962. An uphill race, the Castell’arquato-Vernasca. Result: third in 2000 class. Then many other races, until to obtain the possibility to race with a Formula 3 single seater. His girlfriend, Donatella, learn to give times with the board, raised on a chair in the Monza box. 1965 is the good year. The student De Adamich graduate himself Formula 3 champion. He own a old Lola with an engine prepared by novarese Pedrazzani. While, he wins a bunch of races at the drive of cars entrusted to him by Alfa, that in 1966 employee him in the sportive scuderia, the Autodelta. De Adamich gives to the milanese house the european Challenger. At Monza, now, he is at home. He would try the step to the most prestigious class, the one of the Formula 1 drivers, maybe on a Ferrari, but it is not the right time. Enzo Ferrari, devastated from Bandini death, seems determinated to abandon italian racers. Fromt the team leave Scarfiottti, but in mean time Adrea De Adamich try in theese days on Vallelunga track a Maranello single seater. The italian driver run good, taking confidence with the car. Probably, he will attempt to the Madrid Gran Prix, on Sunday 12th 1967, a kind of preview-testing of the new Jarama autodrome that next year will host the Spain Gran Prix, race of the World Championship. If all will go right. Andrea in 1968 will alternate with Amon, Williams (and pheraps Graham Hill) on Formula 1. And about of the Gran Prix, Lotus dominate the race which took place fow kilometers from the spanish capital. Jim Clark wins, in one hour 31'10"4, at average 134.529km/h, ahead 14 seconds of his team mate Graham Hill and 46 seconds of the former Formula 1 World Champion, the australian Jack Brabham, at the wheel of the Brabham-Repco of his built. The pair anglo-scottish doubles all the competitors, except Brabham. Positive is the debut of the young italian driver Andrea De Adamich, for the first time at the drive of a Ferrari single seater in a Formula 1 Gran Prix. De Adamich ends the race at ninth place, but it has to reveal that he was slowed down five laps from the end by a puncture. In that moment he was in fourth place, on the back of Brabham.

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I am quite satisfied with it, says De Adamich after getting out of the car. The italian, in fact, ends a very judicious race, trying to stay with the firsts, but without taking any absurd risks. Scuderia Ferrari wanted to test him in the past days doing him run repeatedly on one of their single seater in the Vallelunga, Modena and Monza autodromes. In Madrid, De Adamich run as private, but actually he was followed from all the Maranello team, with technicians and mechanics lead by Forghieri engigneer, responsable of preparation of italian cars. Saturday, in practice, the young driver obtained on lap the time of 1’32’’3, behind Clark (1’29’’3), Stewart and Graham Hill. De Adamich run with a Ferrari 12 cylinders with 36 valves, actually not the most recent model, but definitely the most tested from the races of this year. At the end of the Gran Prix mechanics say about De Adamich that he is a guy who will be able to achieve good, and the analysis finds a confirm in the judgments of many expert come to Jarama to assist to the official opening of the circuit. Andrea De Adamich comes back to Italy on Monday 13th November 1967 evening, by plane in Milan back from Madrid, where the day before he attended for the first time to a Formula 1 Gran Prix driving a Ferrari single seater provided of a 12 cylinders engine. The Trieste-born driver, from many years resident in Milan, is accompanied by his girlfiriend Donatella Odoard and Ferrari managers and mechanics. De Adamich ended ninth in the spanish race, won by the scottish Jim Clark ahead of his team mate Graham Hill and the former World Champion Jack Brabham. The placement of the italian racer could have been better if, five laps from the end, while he was in fourth position, he was not been stopped from a puncture of a tyre.

 

"It was a long rusty spike that shoved in the right tyre. I went slowly to the pits, mechanics have been really good in changing the tyre in a moment, but unfortunately was not enough. It was bad luck".

 

After all, De Adamich debut was not clearly helped by fate.

 

"In first laps, Brabham with his car hit a rubber cone nearby a curve to delimit the track. The object jumped up as a bullet and went as a bomb against the windshield of my Ferrari. The windshield fell into pieces and that one hit me in the face breaking my goggles too. I managed to remain on track by a miracle".

 

De Adamich admit to have paid the price of his inexperience at the wheel of a Formula 1 car.

 

"I burned my feet quite seriously. At the end of the car cockpit, near the pedals, goes water and oil tubes. During the race there are temperature around 100 degree and I did not put the shoes with protection asbestos. In addition, I was ignoring the motive behind its place, also I got the wooden slab taken down that was put there by Chris Amon in the point near the tubes. Then I suffered pains of hell and now I find my self with the feet full of burn. Patience".

 

On the whole, however, the debut of the italian did not disappoint. He did an honorable race, always in touch with the firsts. Any future perspectives? De Adamich makes no commitment.

 

"Will be engineer Ferrari to decide".

 

It is probable, in any case, that De Adamich next year will partecipate to all or almost all races of the World Championship of Formula 1.

 

"A racing driver has to live with his car as a rider with his horse. He has to raise with attention and patience. Like this did Lorenzo Bandini, one of the racer that I was closer, and many champions before him. Each car has its soul and its misteries. The driver has to love it, understands problems, supervises its preparation. Otherwise the car will be a strange to him and before or after it will betray him".

 

The image of the rider adapts in a bad way to Enzo Ferrari, so high and vigorous. Still his secret as tester, driver and lastly constructor of racing car born from this inflexible passion of a life. Exactly fifty years ago, the 22th of November, Ferrari got in Turin his first job in the motor industry, in a small truck factory. Since then little by little he entered in the automotive history. Today is the italian name most known in USA: they write from all the world for one of his advice: crazies, artists, scientists of the wheel.

 

"Yes, the motor sport is changed. The technical material has remained, but the show conquered a prevalent role. Frequency of the races and new tracks have modified the driver mentality. They have become the main characters of the Sunday. They arrive a few hours before the race, run just after to go to race somewhere else. They jump with confidence from a Formula 1 to a Formula 2 car. They race all the year, from a continent to the other, following the good weather. Once the Gran Prix were four or five and tracks different, longer: to know them it was necessary to arrive in time, to study, to try. Now the racer is a professional that compete as much as possible, disputed from engagements of the autodromes and of the accessories industry".

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But it is right that a man who risks every Sunday earns as much as a footballer?

 

"Certainly, it is right; but the problem is not how much earn a racer, but how much cost to bluid him. The football club offers to his athlete a ball, a racing car costructor entrust to the racer a heritage of milions. A driver of a certain class cost infinitely more than the car. It takes ten years to prepare him: and how many cars a racer destroy in ten years? Not including the projects cost and the sperimental phase, a single seater cost today 25.000.000 lire. After every race it has to be redone completely. The ideal car for today’s races is a three litres of five hundred kilos that at the end of a Gran Prix it is at the limit for machine wear. If it takes ten races it means that is the wrong car. It has to dye after every race, the performance have to be exasperated to the limit of the formula. Between workouts and the race, an engine has only four-five hours of life. Problems have still more complex with a sport prototipe with two seats for races as Le Mans. A Gran Prix car of this type costs double and have to reach the end of its life, have pressed out during the race all its power. Then there are incidents. A driver that never smashes cars hardly is a champion. The important is that from the incident he is doing okay, not only for human considerations but because the racer is the biggest investiment of the modern motorsport".

 

The laboratory technical has not made mathematical certainties about the car performance?

 

"The race is a testing that not a single laboratory car reproduce. The state of necessity obliges the driver to force the mechanical vehicle in a unpredictable way. Only what comes out from the logic gives the exact measure of the car. In fact the best testers of production cars are less capable customers. They do incoherent maneuvers, absolutely unintended from the designer, they make pop out potential defects. Sometimes it happens the same in the races world. Way back some of our cars manifested a big technical problem. We were not able to find the origins, they gave them to us already broken and we could not figure it out. Who is here at Ferrari who drive worst? I asked. I discarded all the mechanics and I invited my administrator, excellent in his work but a bad driver, to make a run on the car under observation. In a few minutes he caused the technical problem that testers, just for their abilities to deal with the engine, were not able to make. And thus we were able to find the origin of the defect".

 

The progress has made easier the driver job?

 

"It is harder today. Races are shorter, half of kilometers of the past. They ask a concentrated effort and the aerodynamic exasperation of the formula forces drivers to drive in a innatural position, almost lie down in the car. Today’s racers are men wrapped of fuel. Once in a time was stronger the distress. Heavy cars, firm suspension, dusty roads. To navigate they run with a eye on telegraph poles, the road was hidden by the dust. In this way that once Antonio Ascari ended a race. Telegraph poles at a certain point left the street and continued in the fields. He followed them and found himself in a wheat field with the car into pieces. They were the cars of that time. Now they race on the asphalt. In both technical and environmental conditions different, but the driver effort is more complex. In the cockpit temperature are extremely high, the nervous stress in 400 kilometer, with no stops to refuelling, it is higher than requested by the eight hundred kilometers of Gran Prix of a time".

 

Enzo Ferrari talks of men wrapped of fuel. The modern racing cars are more dangerous then?

 

"No, because on the other hand there have been an important progress in tyres, cars are less rigid, better roads. However, it has to be ask if, to satisy the audience, current cars offer a lower contribution to the technical experience. In establishing the racing formulas, the international technical commitee should impose shapes and limited position to drive, that can be found in cars to be used every day. The Indianapolis car gives back a little to the series, while Mille Miglia cars have advanced in a decisive way the automotive technology".

 

Physiologists claim that a driver, more than lightning reflexes, needs accurate reflexes, capable of exactly repetitions in the stress conditions coused by races. Sports medicine can offer an help in findind and improve a champion?

 

"Modern psycho-physical tests are important and it is obvious that a racer have to be an athlete too. But the champion many times escapes from every rule. Nuvolare was certainly not an athlete. A driver should never drink, smoke, have a unstable affective life. Some respect theese rule, others not. To the root causes of many mortal incident there are hard psychological sistuations in the champion’s life. A racer tormented by some of his story faces the race as a nightmare and his fate before or after is marked. Reflexes are determinants at certain speeds, but the champion, today like yesterday, is a personality composed of many elements. Before everything he has to have passion for the mechanical and love for his car, with the one to lear to live. In motorsport the progress is a metallurgical revolution: the use of lighter materials that require new driving techniques. The modern champion has the same characteristics of the one of yesterday: he only adapted to the technic updates".

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The feeling of the people is however that once were born more champions. Protagonists as Varzi and Nuvolari, it is said, there are no more. Cars are better, but races do not make anymore characters at the limit of the sportive legend.

 

"Is perspective mistake. Each champion lived in his time, comparisons are impossible. We can instead find similarities between champions of the past and the present and identify certain temperament fundamentals. There are champions, as Alberto Ascari was, that have to go soon leading at first lap. This multiplies their sense of security, highlights their qualities. If they remain behind, hardly come back. There are others, as Clark, that render the most in fighting. Now, we can say that Clark is the Nuvolari of today. Even Nuvolari if remained behind did never give up".

 

Ferrari stops a while and smile behind his memories. Thousands of races; of characters, of drama pass for a momento in the room, roaring ghosts of a silent Sunday.

 

"The champion is always a unique character. I tell a story. In a Grand Prix in Livorno, Nuvolari remained on foot after a few laps. He asked me to take one car of the other four of scuderia still racing. Stop the last, he said, I do not want to affect others. The last was Pintacuda, he had one lap down. He said that he went slow because brakes were defective. Nuvolari listened to him for a moment, jumped in the car, rejoined the lap and won the race. It was a memorable sprint, he arrived overwhelmed and triumphant. But how you did it, I asked to him, if the brakes does not work? Beh, said Nuvolari, you know better than me that to go fast you do not neet to brake".

 

Btween possible future champions, at least for now Jonathan Williams will not run with the Scuderia Ferrari cars. This because one of the young english drivers of the new generation is hired from Abarth on Thursday 14th December 1967. The torinese house intends to use Williams in circuit trials and makes use of his expertise of tester in the Formula 1 operation. Carlo Abarth, in fact, decided to try the adventure in the most prestigious class in the motorsport after having collect thousands of sucesses (only this year they have been over 900) with the brilliant cars derived from Fiat sedan and coupe.

 

"The international sports committee, reducing prototypes to three litres of displacement which will have to run next season, has caused us a serious damage. We had ready a 12 cylinders engine of almost 6000 cc, which had cost months of passionate work. From a day to the next it has become a museum piece. The disappointment, for me and all my employees, has been strong. What to do to raise the mood? I immediately thought to Formula 1: to build a Gran Prix single seater would be a fascinating project".

 

The initiative has lost corpo in a few months. The engine will be a eight cylinders derived from the one exposed in exhibition of racing cars in 1966. The displacement will be taken from two to three litres and the power to 420-425 CV. Is remarkable, if we consider that the Brabham of the new zealander Denis Hulme, winner of the World Championship, barely touched the 350 CV and others single seaters were close to, in average, 400 CV. On Formula 1 Abarth will be used a five-speed gear box, made by the same torinese house. It is expected a chassis of the trellis type in tubes of minimum cross-section, similar , from the costructive point of view, to those used on current racing cars produced from Abarth. These fondamental technical details, naturally intended to be expanded and explored as quickly as the project will take a shape.

 

"We think to be ready for first tests in May. We will go to Monza, to Modena, to Vallelunga. We will run a few circuits, we will get an idea of car potential; then, we make a final decision, if continuing until the end or not. In any case, we will not be able to take part to a Gran Prix before the spring of 1969".

 

Carlo Abarth knows well difficulties which involves building and setting up of a Gran Prix car, but he is not afraid. He is a man determined, obstinate, that even before to be the head of a highly specialized company of 350 people, he is a fan of the sport of the wheel. Himself, after all, starded his carreer as a motorcycle and car racer. Why he chose Williams?

 

"Because he is a smart young and then because he has the size of the rider. He is tiny and small, he fits comfortably in very tight cockpits of racing cars. He will not make any trouble in this field for my single seater".

 

For precision, the english driver is 1.59 meters high and he is 56 kilos of weight. Williams, for its part, is satisfied of the agreement with Abarth. He is a serious and prepared racer, that has a great talent: to make the most of a car, but to never brake it. In addition, he is a quite type, who finds easly agreement with team colleagues and mechanics. Awaits him, in next months, a challenging work. But he is decided to try his best, he knows to play a decisive card. We will see in May the results of this commitment. Sportspeople are hoping to see soon on track an other single seater all italian. Ferrari will not be alone anymore.

 

Chiara Zambelli

 

Translated by Damiana Iovaro


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