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The Complete History of Grand Prix Motor Racing by Adriano Cimarosti
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F. Gordon Crosby - Nazzaro wins the French GP at 42

   
 




The End of the Old Order
Jack BrabhamThe year was 1959 and the Grand Prix paddock was a very a different place. Gone were Fangio, Hawthorn and Collins. Vanwall had decided to quit Formula 1 during the winter and Maserati, Mercedes and Alfa Romeo were only distant memories. Cooper building upon their success in the junior formula entered the year committed to a full-time program. Cooper in partnership with their Australian driver/engineer Jack Brabham built a rear-engine car using a 2.5 Liter Coventry-Climax engine. The key advantages of their design was a low frontal area for improved aerodynamics and light weight of the total package. The T51 tipped the scales at 458 kg versus the front-engine BRMs of the time which weighed 673 kg. The use of the Cooper-Climax engine opened up a new opportunity for small teams to utilize specialty engines and go racing at the highest level of the sport. This development would open the door for future teams such as Brabham, McLaren and Surtees to name a few.

With the cancellation of the Grand Prix of Argentina the first race of the season would be Monte Carlo. Brabham inherited the lead and then the victory after the retirements of first Behra in a Ferrari and Moss in the Rob Walker Cooper. Zandvoort, the next race on the calendar, saw a surprise win by Jo Bonnier in a BRM. The was the marquee's first victory after nine seasons. Ferrari showed that they were still a force to reckon with on fast circuits by scoring a 1-2 at Reims with Brooks leading his teammate Phil Hill. The Cooper's were back in force for the British Grand Prix at Aintree where Brabham scored his second victory. His young teammate Bruce McLaren would finish third behind Stirling Moss. Ferrari, citing an Italian labor strike did not enter the race. The effect on the World Championship hopes of its driver Tony Brooks would prove fatal. The next race was the German Grand Prix which this year would be run on the banked Avus circuit. This being a horsepower track, provided Ferrari and Tony Brooks with a dominating win. Moss winless until now won the Portuguese Grand Prix and further tightened the World Championship race between Moss, Brabham and Brooks. Monza saw another victory for Moss with Brabham finishing third and once again picking up some valuable points.

Jack BrabhamThere was a three month gap to the next race, the United States Grand Prix, to be held at Sebring the home of the 12 hour sports car race. The only chance that Moss would have for the title would be to win the race and after qualifying on the pole he was doing just that. Unfortunately his engine would not uphold its part of the bargain. This left the door open for Brabham who promptly ran out of fuel. Stubbornly pushing his car over the finish line he was awarded fourth place and the title. The victory went to the youngest driver in history to win a Grand Prix, the 22 year old New Zealander Bruce McLaren. Cooper won the Constructor's Cup beating Ferrari by eight points. David had beaten Goliath and Grand Prix racing would never be the same again.

By 1960 only Ferrari of the major contestants used a front-engine car. The young Cooper driver, McLaren won the opening race in Argentina. Moss in a private Lotus scored a brilliant victory, in the rain, at Monaco. The next five races were all claimed by Brabham and he was well on his way to scoring a second consecutive World Championship. Monza was won by Ferrari and the season ender, the US Grand Prix, was captured by Moss. Cooper once again won the Constructors Cup and their drivers were 1-2 in the title race with Brabham taking the crown for the second time running. This was the last year of the 2.5 liter formula that had seen so much history.

Ferrari 156The new formula for the 1961 season placed a minimum car weight of 450kg, limited engine size to 1500cc and banned the use of supercharging outright. The new rules were met with wide spread protest that these cars would be to under powered and lose fan interests. The British teams were most effected as they did not have a suitable engine and would be at a disadvantage to Ferrari for the foreseeable future.The development of a new V-8 Coventry-Climax engine was running into problems and most of the British teams had to rely on an old four-cylinder unit. Ferrari, since converted to the rear-engine format would have the advantage this year. Driving for Ferrari were two Americans, Phil Hill and Richie Ginther who were joined by the charismatic German Wolfgang von Trips.

Stirling Moss was relegated to a year old Lotus having been refused the latest factory model. Yet Moss would score the greatest victory of his career at Monaco. Moss recalls: "I'd say, without a doubt, that was my best race. I had to drive flat-out for all but about eleven of the 100 laps. And I mean flat-out. For the first few laps I was happy to pace myself, but when the others started to speed up I felt that I had to keep with the pack. I wouldn't normally have gone for the lead so soon but it seemed the right thing to do.' First Hill and then Ginther tried to force their way past. Always looking for the slightest mistake but there would be none this day. After being pressured by the three Ferraris for the entire race it was finally the last lap and Moss miraculously was still in the lead: "I thought, here we go, this is where they put their foot down and take me. From what I heard they were given signals by the Ferrari pits to "give all" but I managed to stay in front." Moss took the checkered flag 3.6 seconds in front of Ginther who was followed by Hill and von Trips in the other Ferraris. The Ferraris would not be stopped again. Even Reims where all of the factory Ferraris would fall victim to mechanical problems, was won by a private entrant, Giancarlo Baghetti, in a Ferrari. It was only Moss's victory at Nurburgring and the death of von Trips at Monza that ruined a great season for Ferrari. The championship belonged to Phil Hill. Tony Brooks the former dental student who had battled for the championship against the likes of Hawthorn and and Moss announced his retirement. This gentle man was, next to Moss, the greatest British driver during the 1950's and only the vagaries of fate deprived him as it did his, friend and rival, from his crown.

Goodwood

   
   
Ferrari correctly sensing that his cars could not maintain their dominance over the British contingent, sought to sign their best driver. Stirling Moss had earlier spurned the old man's advances due to an incident that had happened earlier in his career when in 1951 Enzo Ferrari offered Moss a place in his team for a race at Bari. When Moss appeared for the first day of practice he asked which one of the cars was his, and was told that there would be no car. Ferrari had changed his mind and had given Moss’s car to Piero Taruffi. Moss swore that day that he would never race in one of the red cars but feeling a desire to once again have competitive car he considered this offer carefully. Seeing new British teams sprouting up like mushrooms Ferrari began to feel vulnerable. To Moss he confided. "I need you. Tell me what kind of car you want and I will make it for you in six months. Put your ideas on paper for me. If you drive for me, you tell me on Monday what you did not like about the car on Sunday and by Friday it will have been changed to your taste… If you drive for me, I will have no team, just you and a reserve driver. With Moss, I would need no team…" Moss would not turn his back on Rob Walker so he suggested to him that he would drive a Ferrari as a Rob Walker entrant. Amazingly Ferrari agreed and a car was dutifully prepared and painted Rob Walker blue.
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Moss never drove the Ferrari for he crashed and suffered career ending injuries at the Easter Monday meeting at Goodwood. Graham Hill in his book Graham, wrote: "I was leading the race comfortably, with Stirling still two laps behind me, when he flew past on the outside of a bend. Normally Stirling would never have attempted to pass anyone there, and as he overtook me he was already off the grass. Then, for no apparent reason, he just ploughed straight on into the bank. When he passed me he seemed to be completely out of control. Just what happened no-one will ever know - but I'm absolutely sure it wasn't due to driver error." Moss hovered near death and when he finally awoke he was temporally paralyzed. On 1 May 1963, just over a year after his accident he returned to a deserted Goodwood and tested a race car. Even though he was able to lap the circuit at near racing speeds he found the effort extremely difficult. What had been natural was no longer and he shortly afterwards announced his retirement. The link to the past had been broken and a new generation would rise to the top. Their names were Clark, Surtees, Gurney and Hill. 

Be sure to visit the Grand prix History Auto Racing Books
Mon Ami Mate by Chris Nixon A Racing Motorist  by S.C.H. Davis Gentlemen, Start Your Engines by Wilbur Shaw Grands Prix 1934-1939 by Rodney Walkerley Full Throttle by Tim Birkin Auto Union V16 - A Technical Appraisal by Ian Bamsey Sir Henry Segrave by Cyril Posthumus Managing a Legend by Robert Edwards It was Fun!: My Fifty Years of High Performance Power and Glory by Wiliam Court My Cars, My Career by Stirling Moss