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#173 1968 Mexican Grand Prix

2021-11-19 00:00

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#1968,

#173 1968 Mexican Grand Prix

Sabato 28 Dicembre 1968 Andrea de Adamich e Enzo Ferrari si incontrano a Maranello. I due, al termine del colloquio, decidono di dividere le loro stra

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Ernesto Brambilla, anni 34, ammogliato, padre di due bimbe, da ragazzo pattinatore prima e ciclista poi, proprietario di una officina meccanica a Monza, venuto alla ribalta del mondo sportivo come motociclista (sette titoli italiani all'attivo), è ora uno dei piloti italiani più quotati sul quale si è puntata l'attenzione di Enzo Ferrari.

 

“Però non è stato facile entrare nel grande giro, per anni ho fatto tutto da me. In poche parole, ero un privato, affrontando un lusso che, a lungo andare, forse non mi sarei più potuto permettere. Soddisfazioni che ho già avute, come quando nel 1966 conquistai il titolo nazionale di Formula 3. Ma il mio sogno è quello di pilotare una Formula 1".

 

Ci siamo. Brambilla parla dell’argomento tanto caro alle folle italiane le quali, appassionate come sono di corse automobilistiche, si chiedono per quale arcano motivo l’Italia non debba più esprimere piloti di fama mondiale. Brambilla, a questo punto, vorrebbe evitare il dialogo. Porse si è già pentito di aver confidato che il suo sogno è appunto quello di pilotare una Ferrari, ma è tale il suo desiderio che, sia pure involontariamente, finisce per ricadere lui stesso sull'argomento.

 

“In questi giorni mi incontrerò a Modena con l'ingegner Ferrari, mi ha convocato proprio lui. Può essere che si tratti di uno scambio di idee magari in vista del Gran Premio di Roma in programma domenica 27 Ottobre 1968. Ma può anche darsi che…".

 

Ernesto Brambilla tace nuovamente. Forse, teme che il suo sogno non debba realizzarsi, o forse teme di essere accusato di presunzione. Eppure non è così. Le doti per pilotare una vettura di Formula 1 non gli mancano, l'esperienza, il mestiere e la volontà nemmeno. E allora, perché non tentare? E come lui, perché tanti altri piloti stanno in tribuna ad assistere alle corse di Formula 1, le cui vetture sono guidate da altri piloti?

 

“Penso che vi siano non pochi preconcetti nei riguardi dei piloti italiani in generale, molti nostri tecnici vivono nel ricordo dei grandissimi campioni del passato. Non parlo a titolo personale perché non sono più giovane da tanti anni, anche se giovane mi sento nel fisico e nel morale. Però mi chiedo: ma questi grandissimi assi del passato, che anch'io ammiro in modo eccezionale, prima di diventare campioni osannati avranno pure loro sostenuto un periodo di tirocinio o no? È mai possibile che siano diventati fuoriclasse dall'oggi al domani?”

 

Di più Brambilla non dice, ma è chiaro il suo breve discorso. Provateli i giovani piloti, e poi giudicateli se sono più o meno idonei. Forse ha ragione, dato che domenica 27 Ottobre 1968, con la Ferrari-Dino, proprio Ernesto Brambilla ottiene sul circuito romano di Vallelunga una grande affermazione nel Gran Premio di Roma, ultima prova del Campionato europeo per vetture di Formula 2. Vince Ernesto Brambilla, Andrea de Adamich giunge al traguardo al secondo posto, mentre l'Inglese Bell, terzo pilota della Scuderia Ferrari, si classifica al sesto posto. Un successo tutto italiano, quindi, che ripaga la Ferrari di tante delusioni, Brambilla, sia nella prima, sia nella seconda manche, balza subito in testa, resistendo agli attacchi dei suoi avversari. Anche la prova di Andrea de Adamich, tornato per la prima volta alle corse, è davvero eccezionale. Per il pilota milanese si tratta di un positivo collaudo dopo l'Incidente di Brands Hatch, che lo ha tenuto fermo per otto mesi. Ferrari può essere cosi soddisfatto dei piloti italiani al quali ha affidato le sue vetture. Anche l'inglese Derek Bell non demerita, nonostante termina la corsa piuttosto staccato dal primi. Chi ha deluso è il team Matra, classificatasi quarta e quinta rispettivamente con Beltoise e Pescarolo. Per Beltoise, già da tempo campione europeo della categoria, c'è la valida attenuante di non essersi impegnato a fondo, anche se la sua vettura non da l'impressione di poter competere con le Dino. Per Brambilla, attualmente il più forte pilota della Ferrari nel campionato di Formula 2, questa è una nuova probante conferma dopo la bella vittoria ottenuta ad Hochenheim, in Germania, due settimane prima. Il pilota milanese, inoltre, migliora ulteriormente il primato ufficiale della pista già abbassato nel corso delle prove, segnando un temo di 1’16”2 e battendo li record ufficiale già stabilito l'anno scorso dalla Matra di Ickx, di 1’18”7. Graham Hill, attualmente in testa al Campionato del Mondo, delude parzialmente le aspettative classificandosi solo al settimo posto. Di rilievo Invece la prestazione del giovane inglese Gethin, su Brabham Ford, classificatosi terzo. Alla partenza della prima manche la Dino Ferrari di Brambilla si porta al comando tallonato dall'altra Dino di de Adamich, poi, dietro, seguono le Matra di Beltoise e Pescarolo e la terza vettura del team di Mannello, affidata all'inglese Derek Bell. Leggermente staccati sono Gethin, su Braham Ford, e Graham Hill, su Lotus Ford. Brambilla ingaggia un serrato duello con il compagno di squadra de Adamich, mentre Gethin recupera progressivamente lo svantaggio superando Beltoise e Pescarolo e avvicinandosi al due battistrada. Il pilota milanese conclude brillantemente i primi 40 giri della gara tagliando nettamente in testa li traguardo. La seconda batteria vede ancora in testo Brambilla che conclude indisturbato da un capo all'altro la frazione seguito da de Adamich e da Gethin che a un giro dal termine riesce a superare De Adamich e a piazzarsi al secondo posto.

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The final round of the World Championship Grand Prix season for 1968 take place at the Mexico City circuit in the outskirts of this huge city. The cars  are  shipped down by road from the US Grand Prix at Watkins Glen which took place four weeks earlier. The delay between the United States and Mexican Grands Prix is more than usual this year, due to the Olympic Games finishing on the date traditionally reserved for the final Championship round. Team Lotus has three cars for Hill, Oliver and Solana. The car Oliver crashed at Watkins Glen had been repaired and on Hill’s car the wing had been hinged so that it could be feathered down the straight. The operation of the wing is simple, rubber bungees hold the wing in a working position, while a slim pedal beside the clutch pedal operate the wing when the driver rest his clutch foot. The full travel of the wing pedal bring it to just the start of the clutch pedal travel. In the Lotus pit there is some rear wheels with two-inch spacers giving a rim width of 17 inch. These isn't used and the spacers are removed when it is heard that the tyres designed for them come off the rims at 140mph. The two Brabhams for Brabham and Rindt have larger nose wings and no nose spoilers as these have caused overheating. The troubles cause by cam followers breaking up is happily over as a special batch has made up for them by Alfa Romeo! Ferrari  had three cars for Amon and Ickx; the latter now fit enough to drive, although his leg is still pinned and with an external brace. B.R.M. has the same two cars for Rodriguez to choose from, while Parnell has his 126 series car for Courage. Ken Tyrrell has the two Matra-Cosworths for Stewart and Servoz-Gavin. Neither car is any different from the previous race and the only problem the team is whether Servoz-Gavin’s entry would be accepted. They know it just two hours before the start of the race that it would. The Matra works team has the same two cars for Beltoise and Pescarolo.

 

The engine of the former’s now has three oil radiators over the back of the engine, two side by side and the other just behind, and all three linked up in series. The two Coopers unchange and Elford and Bianchi drive them. Also unchange the two Mclaren for Hulme and Mclaren, but the car Hulme crashed at Watkins Glen is rebuilted, the bulkheads being undamaged so the chassis just needed re-skinning. The third McLaren for Gurney is new, higher screens to try to enwrap the large Californian. Honda has two cars for Surtees to choose from; the 301/802 chassis still has the engine which would not rev, but a complete change of ignition hope to have cured this problem. The  Walker/Durlacher Lotus-Cosworth is the same and with Siffert driving as he has lately, is more than competitive. The field is completed by Bonnier's McLaren-B.R.M., which now has a nose wing as well as a much higher rear wing. Last year’s race had been completely dominated by the late Jim Clarck. He had won the race, setting the fastest laps both in the race and in the two practice sessions. The times that were the targets for this year’s race were the record 1'48"13 (166.466kph) and the slightly faster practice time of 1'47"56. First practice is on Friday from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Mclaren, Surtees, and Rodriguez is off as soon as the track is open. It isn't long before Stewart give some idea of how the lap records would fall, and in under an hour he has broken both last year’s race and practice times with a 1'46"96. While setting this time, Dunlops is testing several different tyres and compounds on the Matra-Cosworth, the most successful being CR.84, which is a similar tyre to their normal CR.82 but with only the radial cuts in the tread and no cross-cuts. Several cars are in the pits with gearboxes torn apart fitting new ratios, but Coopers  are the only ones this year that seem to be suffering from heat and this turned out to be mainly because the radiator blanking fitted at Watkins Glen hasn't been removed.

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In Elford’s Cooper is young Servoz-Gavin, who turn up in the hope of driving the spare Matra-Cosworth, so when Elford fail to appear for first practice, the Frenchman gladly step in and lap faster than Bianchi. The third of the team Lotus cars for Solana is without wing or nose spoilers all day and is used by Hill for most of his practising, while his race car do only a limited number of laps with its movable wing in the fixed position. This led to speculation among the other teams and it isnt’t long before most teams has removed their wings to see what difference they make to lap times. In all cases the results are similar to sea level with improved speed on the straights, but lap times is down. Rodriguez is trying both B.R.M.s and is faster in the 138 series car, although he is happier with the 133 series car which he has used most of the season. Amon has 0007 and 0009 out, but is faster and happier in 0009 so the other car push to the garage. Surtees is lapping the two Hondas well and the complete change of ignition seem to have the desired effect for the latest engine is now revving well and slightly overheating. Even so, the older chassis and engine are giving Surtees the faster times and the cockpit of the older car don't get so hot, which is an advantage. Siffert’s times are right up among the fastest, but his brakes are keeping him from doing a very fast lap. Into the hairpin and at other slow corners the brakes are shaking the car very badly. The mechanics spent some time overhauling the braking system and before practice end the Swiss driver has set up the fastest lap of 1'45"52 (170.584kph), which is half a second faster than anyone else. Both Hill and Stewart are in the 1'46"0 bracket, but couldn't get near Siffert’s time. The third contender for the World Championship title, Denny Hulme,don't seem very perturbed about the lack of practice that he do, nor the fact that his best time is eighth overall and just behind his boss, McLaren, whose engine broke when the timing slipped.

 

Both Brabhams are slow but aren't giving very much trouble and the new Alfa cam-followers seem to be in good order. The second Ferrari is lapping slowly as Ickx begin to feel his feet again. Courage has electrical trouble and the transistor box is replaced. One of the big talking points of the first practice is the difference in times between Oliver and Solana who, because Hill is using the other two cars, both drive the same car. Solana set up the sixth fastest time of 1'47"67, while Oliver has to be content with 13th fastest, 1'50"31. Admittedly, Solana knows this circuit very well, but then Oliver should be more at home with the car. Gurney isn't happy nor are his mechanics, for their McLaren-Cosworth has so many little things wrong, they really don't know where to start and 14th fastest time is not where one expects to find Gurney. On the Saturday the weather is slightly hotter for the four-hour afternoon practice. During the night, Elford has arrived from training with Porsche in Corsica for the Tour de Corse. So Servoz-Gavin is to drive the second Matra-Cosworth, although he would only get a start if someone fell out. As Bonnier has damaged his engine, it looked as if the young Frenchman might get on the starting grid. The second Matra V12 is prepared overnight for Pescarolo and this is a definite entry. Again the McLaren team are first out followed by Stewart, Hill and Rodriguez. Both Stewart and Hill are more tense than usual and the strain of who would be Champion is beginning to tell. Hill’s speed down the pit road get faster and faster as he is unable to improve on his previous day’s time. Lotus are having trouble with their movable wing and also they has to fit stays from the wing uprights to the roll-over bar to stop the whole wing leaning backwards. Solana do a few laps in his own car, while Oliver tried very hard to make up for his disappointing first practice; whilst improving his time to 1'48"44 he spun and tore off the exhaust pipes when he touch an earth bank at the Esses. Stewart is just getting into his swing when the yoke of the universal joint on the left-hand wheel brake on the 180º slightly banked turn just before the start and finish line.

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Unable to brake, Stewart coasted down the straight at well over 100mph with the wheel leaning in. All would have been well if the anti-roll bar mount hasn't cut through the side wall of the tyre, but, when it do, the tyre deflated, throwing tread everywhere and causing considerable damage to the suspension. Stewart is soon back in the spare car which Servoz-Gavin has to relinquish and when the wrecked car reach the garage it is hoped it could be repaired. Ferrari find a bit more power for Amon and with a helpful tow on the straight he is able to get under 1'46"0, although still a tenth off Siffert’s time. lckx is still driving warily and has a long session sitting out on the circuit when he lost all fuel pressure due to a leak. All three McLarens improved their times, Hulme getting within three-hundredths of Hill’s time, while both Gurney and McLaren were within a second behind. Brabham and Rindt are both faster, but still not up with the front row times. Half-way through practice Servoz-Gavin’s chances of starting seem dashed when Bonnier go out in the spare Honda (it really is time he retired and stopped trying to hang on to his position in the GPDA). After some laps. the Honda engine heard revving up and down with the change in the car’s speed, and next lap it is in with a cooked clutch due to Bonnier resting his foot on the pedal. However, when the plate temperature drop, all was still well. Both Coopers run more than the length of the race without problems, while the Matra V12s similarly do many laps without any major problems. Just as practice was closing, Siffert went out again to see if he has got the most from the car and on the last lap he improve his time to 1'45"22, which is a little slower than several reliable watches in the pits timed him at. When practice end Hill come to the Walker garage and peer at all the settings, wondering, no doubt, why for three races running, he is in the second fastest Lotus-Cosworth.

 

Race morning is hot and sunny. Overnight B.R.M. switch the engine from their 138 chassis to the 133 car as this engine run cooler and Rodriguez prefer the handling of his usual car. A row in the Lotus garage after last practice has resulted in Solana being given Oliver’s car, which he want, and Oliver taking over a car he hasn't driven. The race organisers don't realise this and so he keep his position on the grid instead of starting from the back. Brabham’s mechanics has replaced the Cooper rings on one bank of the Repco V8, but when they start up on race morning, the other side is find to be gone and a panic operation start to replace the faulty ones. On Rindt’s car the engine has changed and when this start there is no oil pressure which start a rush check, resulting in the discovery of a sticking return valve. Fresh weld marks on the left rear sub-frame of Siffert’s car are due to a crack, which is discovered after Lotus mechanics has found and repaired a similar crack on Hill’s car. After much arguing Servoz-Gavin’s entry is accepted only two hours before the start. In the hour before the start, the 21 cars are wheeled out and the drivers are presented to the personal representative of the Presider of Mexico. Then came the warming-up lap and the cars are lined up on the dummy grid. After a longer delay on the proper grid that most drivers liked, the flag fell and the 7th Mexican Grand Prix and the deciding race in this year’s Driver’s Championship is under way. Siffert and Amon both make poor starts, and the rest of the field begin to stream by before they were properly under way. Hill lid into the first corner, but Surtees passed him on braking to take a momentary lead, then the Honda water pump packed up and the temperature is off the clock as Hill re-passed down the next straight. By the end of lap 1, Hill lid from Surtees, Stewart, Amon, Hulme, Rodriguez, Rindt, Siffert, Brabham, Gurney, Oliver, McLaren, Beltoise, Servoz-Gavin, Solana, Courage, Ickx, Bonnier, Pescarolo, Elford and, some way behind, Bianchi.

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As the second lap start Stewart is trying to get by Surtees for he isn't going to let Hill get away, and during the lap he do so, getting right into the Lotus slipstream. Hulme get by Amon on the second lap and the Ferrari don’t look at all happy. Rodriguez’ good start is short-lived and, after two laps, he has dropped three places to Rindt, Brabham and Siffert. Servos-Gavin show his style in these opening laps by moving up two places, McLaren and Beltoise on lap 2, and two more places next lap. Rindt is the first retirement and during his third lap the engine suddenly cut, out on the circuit, and Rindt walk back to the pits. Stewart is now shadowing Hill and looking for an opportunity to get by. This come on the fifth lap when the Matra-Cosworth outbrake the Lotus-Cosworth and Stewart dive through into the lead. Surtees’ overheating is beginning to cause trouble and on lap 5 he dropped two places to Siffert and Hulme. Siffert’s bad start has him in eighth place in the opening lap, but then he really start to get into his stride and make amends. He is sixth on lap 3, fifth next lap, then fourth and third, and ahead he could see the blue Matra leading the red Lotus. Hulme at this point was lying fourth and keeping the leaders just in sight. Amon is beginning to drop back and the car is nothing like as fast as it has been at St Jovite. The next retirement is Ickx in the second Ferrari. The car just cut dead, indicating a spark failure, and the Belgian park out on the circuit, and then as he don't want to walk far with his bad leg, he set on the bank with the spectators, who has climbed over the new fences all around the circuit, and are sitting in places which make some experience observers cringe. Stewart’s lead is short-lived and after only four laps Hillis back in the lead, while in third place and closing fast come Siffert.

 

Hulme is lying comfortably in fourth place, while Surtees is dropping further back with overheating problems. Solana drive several laps with part of the wing hanging down by the side of the car, the rest having broken off and fall onto the road. When he pull into the pits, the Lotus mechanics cut away the upright, level off the nose spoilers and sent him off in last place. On lap 10 Hulme has the top of the left-hand damper/spring unit break at the rear while he is taking the 180º banked curve before the pits. This shot him up into the barrier, wrecking the front suspension and setting the car on fire, so for the second Formula One race running he career the full length of the pits out of control, and this time stop right by the fire tender at the pit exit. The reigning World Champion is unhurt, but the car is damaged. On the same Beltoise retire when his left rear wishbone brake at the outer pivot point. On lap 11 Surtees come slowly into the pits with a puncture and the mechanics check the overheating, only to find that the water pump has seized. It is only a matter of time before he would have to retire and, in fact, he complete six more laps in last place before he do so; while Surtees is in the pits Bianchi also come in to retire with a broken piston. Solana is not happy. The car, in his opinion, isn't going well and he retired on lap 14, out of temperamental frustration, for the mechanics could find nothing wrong with the car. While Siffert has been closing on the two leaders, the rest of the field has been holding positions. On lap 16, Siffert is right on Stewart’s tail and only two seconds cover the first three cars, while back in eighth place Amon give up when the differential begin to break up, which, in turn, knock off the pads of the inboard disc brakes and he had a moment out on the circuit. At the end of lap 16 Siffert is by the Matra and beginning to pressure Hill for the lead.

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The Lotus pit give the OK to their driver and on lap 22, Siffert take the lead. From the Championship point of view, Hill would be as happy with a second place as with a first as long as Stewart is behind him. Stewart is really the only one worried because he had to gain a nine-point win if Hill is one place behind, for he need the three points for an outright win. Behind the three leaders, the field is opening up. Gurney, in fourth place, has dropped to 23sec behind with Brabham just holding him, then come McLaren, 8.5sec down, with Servos-Gavin just about keeping in his slipstream. Twelve more seconds has opened up to Oliver, who must have been very happy Solana has insisted on driving his car. Siffert pull out a second and a half very quickly, but this is not his lucky day and on lap 25 the nipple at the end of the throttle cable jumped out of its socket and the Swiss driver coast into the pits. It take nearly four minutes to find and rectify the fault and two laps down Siffert rejoin in last place. On the same lap, Courage’s B.R.M. start trailing smoke in a dense cloud as a piston collapse and he retired as he reached the pits. So by lap 30 the order is Hill and Stewart with only a car’s space between them. Next is Brabham, 49sec down, with McLaren 4.5sec behind him. Then come Servos-Gavin, driving exceptionally well, 8.5sec down, with Oliver a further 15sec behind, while just in his sight 5sec down came Rodriguez in the works B.R.M. These seven cars are the only ones on the same lap. The remainder of the field are one or two laps behind in the order Bonnier, driving the Honda very smoothly, Elford, Pescarolo, whose hands are full trying to keep what look a very unstable Matra on the road, and, last, still Siffert. Siffert’s last place has not slowed him up, in fact it has the opposite effect for he lap faster and faster until he is consistently in the 1'44"0 bracket, leaving the lap record eventually at 1'44"23 (172.695kph) a second and a half faster than Hill or Stewart are able to lap at.

 

For the next few laps the order remain the same, then suddenly Stewart is no longer right behind. In one lap he has dropped 7sec, next lap the gap is 16sec and it is obvious the Matra is in serious trouble. In fact, the fuel pressure has dropped for no apparent reason, causing the engine to cut on the straight and also at the hairpin. In addition, the car begin to handle peculiarly, which later is discovered to be a cracked frame which put the rear suspension out of alignment. While this is happening Brabham lost first gear and McLaren begin to overhaul him, until on lap 39 he goes into third place and begin to pull away. The gap between Hill and Stewart go on opening up until by lap 47 it has reached 1 minute and still Stewart is in second place, but McLaren is closing fast, and on lap 57 Stewart is fourth behind McLaren and Brabham. Then, lap by lap, the rest of the field caught and pass the sick Matra until eventually he is lapped by the four leading cars. In the closing laps Servoz-Gavin has his engine cut with ignition trouble and then Brabham retired just beyond the pits when his falling oil pressure vanish with the last of his oil. A last-minute excitement for the Mexican crowd come when Rodriguez get by Oliver four laps from the end. In their dice for third place these two drivers has caught up Hill, who os now slowing, and are about to un-lap themselves. When the three cars appeare next lap they are un-lapped with Oliver just ahead of Rodriguez and both are now ahead of Hill on the road. Rodriguez is unable to re-take Oliver and so finish in fourth place with Oliver third. Hill’s victory is well deserve as is his Championship win, which he get after dominating the race. McLaren is a worthy second, alter keeping much to himself during the race. So the season is again closed until the Grand Prix circus get together again at Kyalami on March 1st, 1969. Let’s hope that next year reliability creeps back into F1 racing, as the rate of attrition in the last four races has been far too high. Mexican hospitality and the weather being what it is, much of the wet, dull racing earlier in the year is easily forgotten, and 1968 will be remembered as the Year of the Wing.

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Andrea de Adamich rientra martedì 24 Dicembre 1968, nel corso del pomeriggio, in Italia. Il vincitore della Temporada argentina per vetture monoposto di Formula 2 giunge in aereo a Roma da Buenos Aires e poi prosegue in auto, con la fidanzata Donatella, per Milano. Un Natale tranquillo, in famiglia, dopo un mese di gare, di allenamenti, di tensione nervosa, con l'amaro di una polemica non certo voluta, appena mitigata dalla soddisfazione di una serie di splendidi successi. I fatti sono conosciuti. Si imperniano su un misterioso telegramma ricevuto da Ferrari, in cui de Adamich avrebbe annunciato al costruttore modenese di non poter più correre per lui nel 1969 essendosi già impegnato per un'altra Casa automobilistica, cioè l'Alfa Romeo. Ma il pilota è in Argentina e i familiari non sanno chi possa averlo spedito. Qualcuno, per seminar zizzania, ha inviato il messaggio. Dice de Adamich, nel suo appartamento di piazza Sicilia:

 

“Se riuscissi a sapere chi è lo denuncerei. Ho fatto una piccola indagine all'ufficio postale. L'originale è stato vergato con una biro, a stampatello. Particolare curioso: il mio cognome è scritto in modo sbagliato, il de è maiuscolo e al posto della lettera h finale c'è una k. Sembra incredibile che debbano accadere episodi del genere”.

 

De Adamich esprime tutta la sua amarezza in proposito, e ammette di essere rimasto di malumore anche per il modo con cui Enzo Ferrari ha parlato di lui. Soprattutto, si chiede perché il costruttore modenese non lo abbia informato in Argentina di quanto stava accadendo e perché il suo contratto non fosse stato discusso in Ottobre, come quelli di Amon (riconfermato) e di Ickx (sciolto). De Adamich ha anche precisato di non essersi accordato con l'Alfa, ma di avere soltanto molti amici presso la Casa automobilistica milanese, con cui vinse due titoli europei per vetture turismo.

 

“Siamo in un periodo di festa, lasciamo perdere le polemiche. Voglio solo aggiungere due cose. Ho ventisette anni, corro da professionista, ma corro anche perché mi piace. Non ho bisogno di fare il pilota per vivere. Piuttosto di dover modificare il mio carattere, la mia personalità, rinuncio alle gare. Per il prossimo anno, desidero guidare una monoposto di Formula 1. È il mio sogno, e anche il mio programma, che intendo seguire a tutti i costi”.

 

De Adamich non dice di più, ma, a questo punto, la sua posizione è chiara. Venerdì o sabato andrà da Enzo Ferrari, a Maranello, per un colloquio definitivo. Toccherà al costruttore confermare o no il triestino. E la conferma si chiama Formula 1. Secondo molti esperti, de Adamich meriterebbe questa conferma. Corre da sette anni, ha disputato quasi 700 competizioni alla guida di macchine diversissime, fra cui monoposto di Formula Junior, Formula 3 e Formula 2. C'è stato l'incidente di Brands Hatch, in Marzo, a interrompere una ascesa sicura. Ma dopo quattro lunghi mesi di sofferenze, Andrea de Adamich ha ripreso il volante, ha dimostrato alla guida della Dino Ferrari 1600 una limpida classe. All'esperienza, ha aggiunto grinta e volontà. Un anno forse non lieto per lui, ma un anno che ha anche trasformato il giovane pilota in un pilota, l'unico pilota italiano che possa, con un briciolo di fortuna, essere al livello di una monoposto tre litri di Formula 1. Meglio se questa monoposto sarà rossa e si chiamerà Ferrari. Come previsto, sabato 28 Dicembre 1968 Andrea de Adamich e Enzo Ferrari si incontrano a Maranello. I due, al termine del colloquio, decidono di dividere le loro strade. Il contratto fra il triestino e la Casa modenese scadrà il 31 Dicembre 1968 e non sarà rinnovato. A de Adamich si aprono ora le porte dell'Alfa Romeo per le gare del Sportscar World Championship, mentre in Formula 1 è possibile che riceva una B.R.M. inglese o una Honda giapponese tramite John Surtees, che proprio venerdì 27 Dicembre 1968 è stato ufficialmente ingaggiato dall’Alfa Romeo e che l'anno scorso era in forza alla casa giapponese. Né Ferrari né de Adamlch rilasciano comunicati o dichiarazioni ufficiali.

 

Anzi, i due cercano di tenere li massimo riserbo sull'incontro che ha chiuso la vicenda fra il costruttore modenese e il pilota triestino dopo le molte polemiche degli ultimi giorni. Per la prima volta, dopo parecchi anni, Enzo Ferrari ha trovato un corridore italiano disposto a rinunciare ad una sua vettura per far valere le proprie ragioni. Andrea de Adamich aveva lasciato gli amici dell'Alfa soltanto per correre in Formula 1. L'Incidente di Brands Hatch lo aveva fermato per lunghi mesi, e Ferrari, malgrado i successi ottenuti poi in Argentina dal pilota triestino, aveva chiaramente fatto capire che nel 1969 non gli avrebbe dato una delle sue monoposto da Gran Premio. Divorzio logico, inevitabile. Dispiace che sia stato preceduto da insinuazioni. Chi ha spedito il famoso telegramma? Alcuni, malgrado la smentita di de Adamich, continuano a dire che il corridore aveva già firmato per l'Alfa prima di partire per l'Argentina. Meglio lasciar perdere. Risulta, comunque, che il pilota triestino e il costruttore modenese si sono lasciati senza astio, ma con rammarico. Attraverso il velo del riserbo steso sull'incontro. Sono filtrati alcuni particolari. De Adamich avrebbe detto a Ferrari di aver bisogno di un ulteriore periodo di esperienze e di voler cercare fuori Modena, In altre condizioni e con altre responsabilità, questo perfezionamento. Ferrari gli avrebbe risposto esprimendogli il suo rincrescimento. Il costruttore modenese sarebbe rimasto colpito dagli argomenti del pilota. In ogni caso, a parte le parole, rimane il fatto che è stata una separazione senza drammi. Anzi, si può quasi pensare che le porte di Maranello restino aperte in futuro per de Adamich. Spiace soltanto che il miglior pilota italiano di Formula 1 si sieda il prossimo anno al volante di una monoposto straniera, che probabilmente non potrà garantirgli la stessa fortuna.

 

Nicoletta Zuppardo


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