It is now official: the ban to use wings on F1 cars is about to take effect. To make the heads of the International Sports Commission take a decision we needed a severe accident and a controversy between Jochen Rindt and Colin Chapman. We still do not know when the ban will become effective, but it should be soon, maybe at the Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday 18 May 1969. The wings were first used on the famous Chaparral by Texan Jim Hall. They were re-introduced on the cars at the beginning of the last season, by Ferrari and Lotus first, then by all the other teams. There has never been a real scientific study behind these pieces, just practical tests race after race. They were modified in different ways and with varying surfaces of wings. What was their purpose? They gave the car more grip and higher road holding. Essentially, the wings were used as remedies for a particular situation. At that time, with the ongoing regulations in Formula 1 and 2, chassis and engines were the same, more or less, it was not even possible to bring out further horsepower from the three liters engine of the higher Formula. Many single seaters were alike, furthermore, the aerodynamics could not be improved because of the regulations. Today, a single seater is far away from aerodynamics. The wings were a workaround. The problem is that they were often used in the wrong way and many teams have abused these wings, causing a lot of serious mistakes - especially Lotus. One of the weaknesses is the support of the wings, fixed onto the tires’s uprights, front, and rear. These supports are fragile and do not resist the impacts with bumps and turns and continuous and strong collisions of suspensions and tires.
If the wing fragmentizes or breaks, the driver could find himself in a difficult situation. The vehicle would be subjected to a sudden imbalance, ending in a change of direction. If this happens at high speed or in difficult parts of the circuit, it could lead to a tragedy. For this reason, it is better to ban the wings. The improvements of these cars can happen through less dangerous means. Another curiosity: the circuit of Spa-Francorchamps on Sunday 11 May 1969 will host the 1000 Kilometers (620 miles), the sixth race of the Brands World Championship. The race will take place on the same track that was rejected by Stewart and other drivers, where the Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix took place. After this negative judgment, the competition was canceled. However, the prototypes are not slower than the single seaters, on the other hand, it looks like the dangers persist. The fight features Porches, Ferraris, Lolas, and Gulf-Mirage cars. The Gulf-Mirage will debut the new three liters prototypes and Porsche will race with the Sport 4500 cc, Ferrari instead will line up a 312/P with new drivers: Rodriguez and the British Piper (Schetty is busy at the uphill race in Volterra, Aron is sick, Regazzoni, Bell and Brambilla are in Madrid with Dino for Formula 2). Sunday 11 May 1969 Porsche establishes itself in the 1000 kilometers in Spa-Francorchamps, the sixth race of the Brands World Championship. However, it was not a full success like in Brands Hatch, in Monza, or at Targa Florio, in fact, the Ferrari 312/P of Rodriguez and Piper, that replaced the unwell Chris Amon, placed itself just behind the winners Siffert and Redman, on the three-liter long-tailed Porsche (the two drivers preferred this old model to the new and high-powered 917 of 4500cc).
This is the beginning of a long battle between the white Porsche of Siffert-Redman and the red Ferrari of Rodriguez-Piper. The other vehicles and teams, since the beginning, played the part of the wingmen. The only 917 at its debut was the one of Mitter and Schutz, who retired at the first lap for a failure of the injection system; while the 908 of Elford-Ahrens and Stommelen-Herrmann proceed slowly, ready to take advantage of a wrong move of the tread. The fourth 908, with Wendt and Kaushen, goes off track at the fifth lap. The driver Von Wendt is luckily unharmed. For what concerns the new Mirage, with B.R.M. 3000 cc engine, the one of Ickx-Oliver is forced to retire by the failure of the fuel pump; the other one driven by Hobbs-Hailwood finishes seventh. Even the Lola T70 5000 cc does not bother Porsche and Ferrari. Bonnier-Muller settle for fifth place, just in front of the surprising Alfa 33 two-liters driven by Belgian Pilette and Slotemaker and Hawking-Prophet get stuck at lap sixty-six of the seventy-one laps programmed because of an engine problem (but they got into classification anyway thanks to the laps they run). The success of Porsche is mainly due to Siffert. The Swiss, perhaps the most complete prototypes driver at the moment, finishes an incredible race, they even forced Ferrari to keep Rodriguez at the wheel of the 312/P for three hours straight, he was considered stronger than Piper who was driving this car for the first time, to resist Siffert. Rodriguez surged into the lead at the start, given at 1:00 p.m. under an overcast sky and in the presence of the Crown Prince of Belgium, Alberto di Liegi. Siffert follows him closely and on the third lap, he overtakes him. The battle is tight, and at lap four Rodriguez improves the best average speed of the Spa circuit with 232.950 km/h.
Little by little, Siffert nibbles away seconds to Rodriguez; the two of them are racing alone, proceeding at an incredible pace. At the finish line, the German car precedes the Italian one by three minutes. Everyone else has been lapped. The Porsche, as strong as in the other races of the championship in between a great deployment of vehicles and an efficient and tight-knit team, gains the fourth consecutive success of the season setting a big mortgage for the final win of the Brands World. Championship 1969. As for the Ferrari, the 312/P reaffirms to be the most dangerous enemy for Porsche. Juan Manuel Fangio, the traveling ambassador of Argentine motorsport, a good friend of Italy, the land of origin of his family, and the sport of the Italian wheel, Monday 11 May 1969 visited Abarth, Lancia, and coachbuilder Pininfarina. Tuesday 12 May 1969 he is in Modena, while on the 13 of May 1969 he will be back in Turin, to take part in a business meeting, as a representative of the American lubricants company Molykote; then, on Thursday 14 May 1969 he will leave for Monte-Carlo, where he will attend the Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix.
"It would be amazing to see Ferrari win".
It would be amazing, however, to start Chris Amon would need to recover from the flu that forces him to bed. Amon will race for himself since Ferrari will not take part officially in the competition (after Bandini’s death they think the Monegasque circuit is too dangerous), even if, they prepare two single-seaters for the New Zeeland driver. Amon himself will choose the car after practice. Monday night, Juan Manuel Fangio is spending time with a group of friends: drivers, technicians, and redactor Cornero. Fangio, five times world champion, and host of the Argentinian Temporada, is one of the most prestigious figures of Motorsport even at 58 years old. And, while talking about cars and races, he gives some interesting judgements, that make a great point about the current situation. Safety.
"Enough with wings. On Sunday I attended the Formula 2 race in Madrid, and - as in Barcelona for the Grand Prix - these monstrous wings proved to be dangerous. They are just backups, and when they break it’s a disaster for drivers. It looks like, more or less, that the cars today are at the same level and that the drivers cannot differentiate themselves with their driving style as before. Wings should give something more, mainly stick the cars to the ground. I think the biggest flaw is in the actual lightweight of the vehicles".
As for the drivers, what is - in Fangio’s opinion -the best after Clark’s passing?
"The Swiss Jo Siffert in my opinion is the most complete driver. He is very good at driving prototypes, and he is proving to be good in Formula 1 as well. I am convinced that he did not have the chance to prove his talent in Grand Pix yet, even if, he won already, for example, the Great Britain Grand Prix. At this moment, considering single seaters only, Stewart is the best, followed by Rindt. Two drivers that know how to fight and do not refuse battle".
The question is obvious. What about Amon? What does Fangio think about this young New Zeeland who is lucky enough to be the first driver at Ferrari? The answer is cautious.
"A good guy, but maybe he does not like the chaos during some turbulent laps and sometimes he races like he wants a second place, and not first".
How does Fangio see the actual situation in Scuderia Ferrari?
"Ferrari has always built Incredible cars. Even this year they are amazing. Nevertheless, they are missing drivers, anyway, they are not good enough for the vehicles they need to drive. Maybe, Ferrari has always considered the more technical side of the team instead of the human one. Now they have the tools, but they do not have the one able to bring them to success anymore. And in racing the driver-car duo is fundamental".
That is the end of winged single seaters. On Thursday 15 May 1969 the International Sports Committee bans the use of wings at the Monaco Grand Prix, the third round of the Formula 1 World Championship, and in all the competitions under its jurisdiction, therefore in every important race. The Committee decides to cancel the races held on the Monegasque circuit, where Jackie Stewart, on his Mantra-Ford, has accomplished an exceptional feat, covering the 3145 meters of the track in 1'21"9 at a record average of 133.356 km/h. The previous record was established the year before by Attwood on his B.R.M. (1'28"1 at an average speed of 128.513 km/h). The lap times were considered invalid, consequently on Friday, on the second round of practice, the vehicles must run without wings. The decision was inevitable, the only aspect that surprised was the speed at which it was actuated: everyone thought that the ban would take effect after the Monte-Carlo Grand Prix. Clearly, after observing the car’s behavior on the troubled circuit of the principate, with its turns and ups and downs, bumps provoked by the impacts with the sidewalk, worn tires, and suspensions, the Committee decided that there was no need to waste time. The accidents that occurred on 4 May 1969 in Barcellona at the Spanish Grand Prix opened everyone’s eyes: Graham Hill and Jochen Rindt went off track because of a failure of the wings of their Lotus, and if it wasn’t for the guardrail, it could have been a tragedy.
The wings appeared for the first time on the prototype car of Jim Hall, the Chaparral, but Formula 1 started using them only last year, at the Spanish Grand Prix, where they were used by Ferrari and Lotus. They diffused rapidly. Constructors relied on practice rather than specific scientific studies. The rules for the wings kept changing from race to race, the supports were moved back and forward on the body of the car, until everyone placed them on the suspensions. The result was: large surfaced wings (with inserts kept together with duck tape) and more and more tall and thin supports, unsteady legs submitted to continuous height variations to which tires are subjected due to the roughness of the track and the kinematic stresses imposed by the curves. When the legs broke, the car’s behavior changed immediately and suddenly, and the driver did not even have the time to check the car. Now obviously, we are going back to the past. All we needed was the polemical statements by Rindt and the discussion of technicians. For what concerns constructors, the Monaco Grand Prix will prove to be harder than usual. The Race will happen on Sunday 11 May 1969, hence in two days, the cars need to be fixed, remove the wings, remake the setup, and enable them to well approach the circuit without wings. We will soon discover the real efficiency of the wings (not considering their potential danger) through the lap times the drivers will set on Friday and Saturday. The Committee announcement only provokes a reaction on Mantra and Brabham. Ken Tyrrell, head of the team for which Stewart races and Brabham declared that for them it’s impossible to ban the wings overnight since they are installed on specific suspensions.
"We will be forced not to take part in the Gran Prix".
Nevertheless, maybe, an additional practice session will be added to try and fix everything - no objection on behalf of Ferrari. The Sports Director Franco Gozzi and Chris Amon (who scored the seventh best lap time, caused by problems at the carburation) declared that for the Italian team the wings are more of a complication rather than a benefit in Monte-Carlo. Before the race Lotus, as only he and his boys can do, had built two new Lotus 49 to replace the ones destroyed in Spain, by converting two cars used in the Tasman races. Graham Hill has available the model 49/10 that was built quickly after Jochen Rindt destroyed his original Tasman vehicule, and the second one is the 49/8 that Hill drove in the Tasman series. Seen that Rindt was still unavailable, Richard Atwood took his place in the Gold Leaf Lotus Team. Hill’s car had the oil tank above the gearbox, while Atwood’s one had the oil tank at the front. The two perfect McLarens had wing profiles both at the front and at the back, moreover, they also had frontal wings, and both had a new design of the front tires, now merged in just one piece, while the prototype tires in Spain were of riveted construction. Denny Hulme drove the M7A/2 and Bruce McLaren the 1969 car, the M7C-1. Jack Brabham and Jacky Ickx had respectively at their disposal the Brabham BT26-2 and BT26-3 with front wings and two wing profiles, the rears also had deflectors in Perspex at each end before the start of practice, they were then removed after the committee decisions.
The Matra International team had available the two cars from 1969. Jackie Stewart is driving his MS80-02 and Jean-Pierre Beltoise is driving the winning car of the Spanish Grand Prix, the MS80-01. In addition to their normal complement of airfoils and moving front fins, the vehicles have alternative covers with aluminum straighteners longitudinally on the cover. The French team has at their disposal the car from 1968 as a backup. Obviously, every single Lotus, McLaren, Brabham and Matra are powered by Ford-Cosworth V8 engines and Hewland gearboxes. Scuderia Ferrari gives Chris Amon two cars, the 0019 as first choice and the 0017 as a backup. Both have the front wings molded in fiberglass fairing. The 0019 is also equipped with a hydraulically operated wing profile, and both are powered by Ferrari V12 engine. The B.R.M. team brings three official cars for John Surtees and Jackie Oliver, while the third is meat for Reg Parnell’s team, which will be driven by Mexican driver Pedro Rodriguez. John Surtees races the Monaco Grand Prix on a 138-01 equipped with the latest 48 valves and B.R.M. gearbox engine; even his backup car has the new engine, but with a Hewland gearbox. This vehicle is new and built around a chassis previously destroyed by Surtees at Brands Hatch, the 138-02. Jackie Oliver always has the B.R.M. number 133-01 at his disposal, with a 48 valves engine and Howland gearbox. To complete the sixteen participants list there are Jo Siffert with Lotus 49 by Walker/Durlacher team, Piers Courage with the Brabham-Cosworth V8 of Frank Williams (Racing Cars) Ltd team, Vic Elford with Cooper-Maserati V12 from Antique Automobiles Ltd team.
Lastly, Silvio Moser with a Brabham-Cosworth V8 that was used before as a special 2½ liters driven by Piers Courage, to race in Tasman events. Given that the vehicle was built as a sprint car for 100 miles, the car has an insufficient fuel transportation capacity; therefore, it has two stabilizers side fuel tanks that McLaren tested last year. The young Swiss driver skips the first practice session but takes part in the sessions on Friday and Saturday. Even without the wings, Jackie Stewart, with his Mantra-Ford, is the fastest in free practice at the Monaco Grand Prix that takes place Friday 16 May 1969. The Scottish, by now considered the heir of the great Jim Clark, runs the 3145 meters of the circuit in 1'25"6 at the average speed of 132.266 km/h. The most interesting fact is that Stewart employed just 0.7 seconds more than Thursday when he had on the deeply discussed wings on his Matra. Even the other drivers had similar times to the ones obtained during the first day of practice (canceled by the International Sports Committee). Graham Hill, with his Lotus, run in 1'25"8 (on Thursday in 1'25"6), Ickx with Brabham in 1'26"3, while Beltoise on the other Matra has even gone from 1'29"01 to 1'26"3. Therefore, the wings are not so useful on the slow track of Monte-Carlo, they only could have proved to be extremely dangerous. Constructors have spent just one night to fixing their cars and adapting them to the new rules from the Committee. Even Matra and Jack Brabham, after some whining at first, adapted themselves, and the car performed well anyway.
"Let’s not forget, however, that on average on the second day of practice you gain 1.2 seconds, with the wings we could have done even more".
The driver says. The reactions to the Committee decision are generally positive, especially from technicians and organizers. Constructors affirm that they could have taken measurements with less rush. Ickx and Siffert, for example, were in favor of the regulation of the wings (dimensions, type of attachment, position), rather than the ban. Graham Hill and Surtees said that even tires break or come off, but no one ever thought about taking them off. Amon and Ferrari continue saying that they approve of the taken decision. The New Zeeland driver affirms:
"We were the first to use the wings. Here in Monte-Carlo they would not have been useful but in a lot of circuits they help the driver to better control the cars. If it does not rain, in particular, they reduce the aquaplaning effect, pushing a lot more the tires onto the floor. However, for what concerns our safety and the safety of the audience it is fair that they are banned".
During the second practice session, the New Zealander did not score a good time either (only 10th, with 1’28’’8), but it was not his fault. On both the cars brought to the Principality, an issue emerged in the fuel system. Amon is relaxed, he finally hopes for great success. He is a determined young driver, and he would definitely deserve more than what he got till now. During the day the Grand Prix organizers receive a telegram from Livorno: on Sunday 2700 people from Livorno will arrive in Monte-Carlo by bus. It is evident that they will support Ferrari (that comes back on this circuit after a year of interruption) and Amon. After so many races dominated by Matra or Lotus, is it possible that none is ruled by Ferrari? The constructor from Modena says that Amon is here just for private obligations, but behind the New Zealander driver, there is a big team organization in Maranello. Enzo Ferrari, in short, chose the indirect route to come back to a circuit that brings back hurtful memories and disappointment. Just one car is not enough to fight the opponents, moreover with a vehicle that is not even perfect. However, that is sufficient to bring hope and enthusiasm. The Italians that come to Monte-Carlo for the Grand Prix are numerous, they represent most of the audience. Seen the little time provided between the decision to avoid the wings and the second practice session, not a single team managed to configure the suspensions in the best way possible. Therefore, most cars look unstable during harsh breaking and not very responsive to strong accelerations, but it’s just a matter of readjusting everything to the low suspensions.
There’s a minimum difference in the lap times and everyone seems to be going on with their work and learning a lot about rollbars, spring speed, and shock absorber settings, things that seemed to have been forgotten with the start of aerodynamic assistance. During practice, Stewart’s Mantra has some issues with the Cosworth engine, so the driver uses the second car, this slows down Beltoise’s lap time, and Siffert crashes into the guardrail while breaking to turn on Gasworks and he’s forced to stop. The vehicle spins 180 degrees and shatters the fiberglass muzzle; however, before having this accident, Siffert had scored a lap time of 1’26’’5. Another private racer who is excelling is Courage, with Williams Brabham, he is just one second slower than Siffert and he has fun with a great uninhibited, fast, and raging driving style. The new B.R.M. engines are very slow at the start and nor Surtees nor Oliver are happy about this, on the other hand, Amon is clearly unhappy about his Ferrari which turns off during acceleration, after the gear shift. When the engine turns back on, at full throttle, the jump gives him a painful pain in the neck. Stewart hits a sidewalk and breaks a rear tire, that quickly goes flat, Surtees instead, leaves a big mark on the sidewalk with the rear rim, but there are no further damages. The two McLaren are much cleaner and tidier, and the owner obtains some competitive lap times without mistakes or surprises. Despite having a young car built recently, Hill is in very good shape and he works hard, he is also the second fastest, while Attwood studies the route, seeing that he had never driven a Lotus 49 before. Stewart lowers his time at 1’24’’9, with his Matra accelerating far from the Gasworks turn like a dragster.
The small and sturdy Matra MS80 looks as wide on track as how long its race pace is, the very small low profile Dunlop tires of 13 inches cause this effect. Siffert’s car is repaired with layers of fiberglass, but before getting back on track the Cosworth engine explodes and puts an end to his practice session. Stewart keeps on setting the pace, however, Hill is right behind him and, Ickx, Brabham and, Courage is not that far either. The Parnell-B.R.M. still uses an old engine from 1968, so Rodriguez has low chances to be able to keep up; everything that Elford can do with his oud Cooper-Maserati is hoping to be able to be fast enough not to become an obstacle. The recovery oil pump on Oliver’s car stops working and stops in a smoke cloud when the base fills up with oil. Ickx, instead, must go back through the tunnel when a rear upright holder on his Brabham breaks. At the end of the practice session, Beltoise proceeds slowly with a smashed transmission shaft, and the fuss of a street race starts. Sixteen single seaters will race through the twist and turns of the anachronistic Monaco Grand Prix circuit, the third race of the Formula 1 World Championship. The frontrunner is just one, Jackie Stewart, who won in South Africa and Spain with his Matra-Ford. Nevertheless, Saturday 17 May 1969, in the last session of practice, Chris Amon emerged with his twelve-cylinder Ferrari. The best lap time is still in the hands of the Scottish driver, with 1’24’’6, at the incredible average of 133.829 km/h, but Amon scores an excellent 1'25"0, after ringing a series of angry passages. The team technicians of Maranello fix the problem that occurred the previous days at the fuel system. Some replacement parts have in fact arrived from Maranello during the night, after going over some difficulties with the French custom house.
The mechanics also added a special aerodynamic element to the engine that works as a stabilizer. It has the same functions, even if with less efficiency, as the wing, banned on Thursday by the International Sports Committee. McLaren as well, on their and Hulme’s car, exploited the same solution, but without great results. Amon runs with dedication and determination. Scoring a good lap time and starting in the first or second row is always important, however, on this circuit, it is a necessity because of the difficult overtakes, due to the narrow road, and the series of turns, two of which (the Gasometer and of the old Train Station) are of 180 degrees. It is said that drivers switch gear twenty-five times per lap, on average every 4 seconds: this means that at the end of the race the number of gear changes reaches two thousand. It is for this reason that the Monaco Grand Prix is a real test bench for both drivers and cars. Every year, even if the circuit doesn’t change, the average times go up, and drivers improve the record lap time. In these practice tests, twelve racers have progressively lowered the record established by Attwood, on a B.R.M., in 1968 (1'28"1, at the average speed of 128.513 km/h). This proves that it was not only the wings that made the cars go fast, but it was above all the progress in the engine field (from 390 horses last year to 420 today, with peaks of 440 from Ferrari) and in tires. Stewart and Amon (that had to stop towards the end of practice because of problems at the distributor of fuel) cannot forget about Graham Hill (Lotus), that prevailed four times already in Monte-Carlo, or about the French Beltolse, that obtained the third best time with the other Matra (1'25"4), or about Siffert, who went down to 1'26"0 with his Lotus, or even about Surtees on B.R.M.
The Brabhams of Jack Brabham and Ickx seem to have fewer probabilities, in fact, they stopped after a few laps. As a preface to the Monaco Grand Prix, the Formula 3 Grand Prix takes place in the afternoon, the winner is the Swedish driver Ronnie Peterson on a Tecno, after a fierce duel with his compatriot Wisell on the Chevron. Both during qualifying and the race there were a lot of accidents. Baur, at the harbor chicane, even lost a tire from his Tecno, that ends up in the sea. He stops after a few meters looking calm. In the afternoon, after Formula 3 races, there’s plenty of time to modify the Formula 1 cars. On Siffert’s car is installed an engine of the 1968 team, Surtees has his engine changed on his B.R.M. to try getting better lap times, while Ferrari mechanics install a small fuel tank above the engine, to try and fix their problems. The conditions are still not the usual ones in Monte-Carlo, but they are ideal for fast driving, with dry and glare-free roads. After abandoning every aerodynamic device, the only thing left to do is adjust the suspensions, and many mechanics seem to have forgotten what key to use to adjust the rollbar or the shock-absorber adjustment. The problems which some teams go through during the last practice session are as serious as they could have been, and with the race start planned for 3:00 p.m. on Sunday 18 May 1969, there is enough time to solve them.
Sunday 11 May 1969, the sun does not come out one more time. The race, then, will take place in a mild climate, but with a small risk of sudden rain. After Prince Rainier’s usual opening for the event where he goes for a lap around the circuit on a Lamborghini Espada, closely followed by an orange Lamborghini Miura, the Formula 1 cars line up for the race start, and the kick-off is given by new race director Paul Frére. It is curious to notice that the two Brabham are side by side in the fourth row, and the two McLaren are close to each other in the sixth row. Denny Hulme is not feeling well at all, he caught a sort of fever and can’t concentrate for long periods. The Lotus of Graham Hill adds a deflector on the back of the car, while Bruce McLaren’s car installs an engine cover with an integrated flap at the end, exactly like Amon’s Ferrari. The two B.R.M. set up basket fuel tanks and Oliver has two flippers at the front of his car. The start is clean, but when the drivers reach the St-Devote turn, 100 meters away from the starting line, the young British Jackie Oliver, on the 12 cylinders B.R.M., after a battle ends up against the sidewalk, just before the uphill section that leads to the Casino, he is forced to stop with a broken suspension. In a short time, Jo Siffert and Chris Amon leave the rest of the group behind and, even if Beltoise follows them for two laps, Hill quickly reaches third place. Ickx and Courage overtake Siffert during the fourth lap since Lotus’ engine makes a strange noise. In just five laps Stewart leaves behind Chris Amon’s Ferrari and gains ground on his opponents. Hill, Beltoise, Ickx, and Courage are very close to each other, and Siffert is in front of Surtees, Brabham, McLaren, Atwood, and Hulme.
Rodriguez and Moser close the group, followed by Elford on the old Cooper-Maserati. Besides the group that fights for the third position, the competition gradually disappears: Jackie Stewart dominates in a masterfully and Amon is alone in the second position. On the tenth lap, Jack Brabham follows John Surtees along the seaside, getting closer to the tunnel, and decides to overtake the B.R.M. on the right when Bourne’s car has a problem at the left gearbox and stops abruptly. The two cars crash, the left rear tire, and the hub holder get torn from the Brabham of the Australian driver, the front right suspension of the B.R.M. gets bent and the cars separate. The B.R.M. stops on the left side of the road close to the reservoir with the tires looking in all directions, at about a hundred meters from the tunnel, meanwhile, the tire, the hub, and the break from the vehicle of Jack Brabham break just at the tunnel entrance and the car slides along the tunnel without breaks and on three tires, before stopping on the right side of the road outside the tunnel. Jack Brabham starts laughing at what just happened once he is outside the car, both drivers then head back to the box. At the same time, Jackie Stewart keeps going and reaches 9 seconds of advantage on Chris Amon; at Monaco, this is a great advantage. Behind them, Jean-Pierre Beltoise follows closely Graham Hill, but exactly behind them Ickx and Courage begin to get closer. Elford, Rodriguez, and Moser get lapped, but during the 16th lap the Swiss driver enters the box with his orange Brabham with a broken cardan joint in the semi-axle, and during the same lap Rodriguez ends his race due to the sudden power off on his engine.
Right when Matra’s box tells Stewart to turn off the auxiliary oil evacuation pump, which the drivers use during the first laps to secure that the carter is correctly cleaned, the speaker announces that Amon stopped at the Portier turn, right at the end of the serpentine downhill that leads to the seaside from the old train station. Chris Amon is walking back to the box whispering:
"It was the gearbox: it suddenly got stuck. I saw Stewart disappear towards the finish line".
Now Stewart has nothing to worry about. Only 20 laps went past, and the race is already finished, as regards the head of the race, even if Beltoise is still chasing Hill’s Lotus. Or so it seems since when Beltoise goes past the box at the end of the 20th lap, the transmission shaft breaks, and the French driver goes off track. At the end of the same lap, the Matra team doesn’t see Jackie Stewart pass by the box. During this lap, his blue Matra slides in the security escape route near the harbor chicane. The Swiss jumps off looking angry and mutters:
"The transmission collapsed. And think that after Amon’s retirement I slowed down since I had 30 seconds of advantage on Graham Hill".
Stewart is left with the fastest lap, scored during the 16th lap: 1'25"1, at an average speed of 133.043 km/h. With the main characters out of the game, the Monaco Grand Prix is now a private affair for Graham Hill. The British, on a Circuit where he feels confident for instinct, he doesn’t have opponents, his Lotus-Ford goes as smooth as a clock, this is the demonstration that Lotus cars (without the wings weighing on the suspensions and the tires) are less fragile than it looks like and still have a lot to say in this World Championship. Hill at the front, while behind there are Ickx, Courage, Siffert, McLaren, Atwood, Hulme, and Elford. The only thing left to do is count the retired drivers. With Oliver, Amon, and Stewart they are eight, after just 72 kilometers (23 laps of 3145 meters, while the Grand Prix lasts 80 laps for a total of 251.600 kilometers). Ickx and Courage are now battling for second place. At the end of the 26th lap, Ickx makes a gear change mistake, the car hesitates, and Courage overtakes him, but the Belgian driver recovers immediately. Halfway, at the end of the first forty laps, Hill has a significant advantage with 20 seconds on Ickx. The two young drivers are putting up a great show, they drive over their limits and don’t grant anything to each other. A hopeful marshall keeps showing the blue flag to Ickx at the Gasworks turn, but he loses time because none of them withdraws or gives up. The two contenders have a 34-second advantage on Siffert, that is ahead of McLaren, with Atwood that gets closer slowly. Hulme has already been lapped, and Elford gets lapped two times. Just eight drivers over sixteen are left. Hill rarely makes mistakes on, a Circuit like Monte-Carlo, as his four victories on this same circuit demonstrate, and the 27th Monaco Grand Prix is no exception.
The British driver, on his Lotus, runs at a great rhythm scoring times that go from 1’27’’0 to 1’28’’0 and keeps gaining an advantage, so that at the end of the fiftieth lap he’s at 23 seconds. During the 49th lap, while Ickx is ahead of Courage, along the seaside, before the tunnel, the rear left suspension and the fusion of the hub support break and the Belgian driver’s car crosses the street staggering in front of Courage and ends up on the sidewalk. Luckily Ickx is unharmed, and the vehicle as well is intact. Courage, at this point, can relax and Hill can lower the tension, simply keeping a good advantage on Courage. Siffert as well is safe in third place. Behind the Swiss driver, the situation is not that safe since Atwood gets progressively close to McLaren. The British driver, on his Lotus, reaches McLaren during the 59th lap and goes up to the fourth place. Even if the distance between the drivers on track fluctuates during some laps, it doesn’t further decrease, and the order is the same until the end of the race: the only changement is Graham Hill lapping Bruce McLaren during the seventy-first lap. For the second year in a row, Graham Hill wins the Monaco Grand Prix, archiving his fifth victory on the Circuit of Monte-Carlo. The forty years old British driver wins at the record average of 129.036 km/h, after him, Piers Courage, followed in third place by Swiss driver Jo Siffert. Richard Atwood closes fourth followed by Bruce McLaren and Denny Hulme.
Graham Hill, the old Monte-Carlo lion, did not miss his appointment with success this time either during the Monaco Grand Prix: and they are five, an exceptional record. The Lotus-Ford of the British driver, without the wing adopted until now, has moved smoothly without accusing the usual problems to the suspensions or tires: this is a sign that Chapman, constructor, and head of the British House, instead of whining could thank the decision taken by the Sports Committee. The defeated are the young Stewart and Amon. The Scottish and New Zealander started well, they had fun with a good duel and both Ferrari and Matra ended up surrendering: the Italian single seater because of the broken gearbox, the French vehicle instead, due to a broken transmission. But the situation is worse for Ferrari. Stewart, after all, has already won two Grand Prix, South Africa, and Spain, and he is still the Championship leader with 18 points, three more than Graham Hill. Amon, on the other hand, has zero points. Three races and three retirements. At this point, we can’t talk about misfortune, nor blame the driver. Unfortunately, the car is the real problem, it’s not fast and it can’t stand the competition of rivals. In South Africa and Spain, it was the engine that stopped Amon, in Monte-Carlo, it was the gearbox.
The results are missing from all the sectors the team from Maranello is working on. Ferrari is a small and brave House, led by a genius. However, seeing that it is small, with a limited balance, they can launch a challenge both in Formula 1 and 2, in prototypes, in uphill races, and the Canada-America Cup. These works involve setting up five different cars, to face a full calendar of races with a small number of employees, drivers, mechanics, and technicians. Lotus has never thought about participating in the Brands Championship, and Porche is involved in that one only. Why does Maranello want to do everything? The will and passion of Enzo Ferrari are moving. Nonetheless, everyone is questioning themselves on this topic: wouldn’t it be better to focus on just one direction? They can prepare a car and leave another one behind. There is no time to do both. Meanwhile, the opponents, English or Dutch, do not stop. Porche has almost conquered the Brand’s Championship, and the Formula 1 World Championship is moving towards a battle between Stewart and Hill. Amon and Ferrari still have a chance. But Maranello must understand the lesson given in Monte-Carlo.