WHETHER WE HAVE spent the winter in sunny California or not, it is still nice to see Monaco again bathed in sunshine, especially when reports were coming through that there was more snow just upcountry around Digne than there had been in the Monte Carlo Rallye. Certainly Monaco has a private atmosphere all its own, with the picture-book harbor filled with really big and expensive yachts (there were three 3-masters in on race day), which in turn are filled with expensive and languorous crumpet.
These young ladies, if a trifle shaggy around the armpits, switch around marvellously Making Entrances (even if only to the toilet) with their all too clearly female bodies sliding about inside Pucci silks. They are female, they want everybody to know it without actually doing the Sadie Thompson bit as the movies would have you believe (high class crumpet never flings it about), and they are about as far removed from the plastic. Doh-faced. wired-up American young college chick as Fangio from me.
One night in the Bec Rouge we were watching all the mini-skirted birds parade in and out (escorting them, unfortunately, were a number of stone-drunk clean-limbed Young English aristocrats) and we noticed a jolly Dutchman and his blonde daughter across the way. They were also enjoying the show, understood each other perfectly as fathers and daughters do, and he kept nudging her to take special notice of some outrageous - specimen. Her round blue eyes would travel slowly over this bird in white wickerwork with sparkly underpants showing through, for example, everything would get filed away, and then she would slip us a conspiratorial look before whispering something to Dad that would send him off into gales of laughter.
Too bad that we have to write about cars, but there was a race on. As Monaco is the first Grande Epreuve of the season, one would expect that there would be lots of new equipment (or variations of old) about, but in fact there was not quite as much as you would think. I suppose in the cold winter over here nobody wants to go out and test cars, especially when there is money to be picJ<:ed up raCing in the down-under Tasman series. Just the same, if you will bear with me a bit, there were lots of detail changes, and _ if I can read my notes we will do a bit of nutsey-boltsey without going into far too much detail. HONDA. FEARLESS John Surtees had two cars, as he js now in charge of the racing end of things. One of these had a lighter engine (about 65- lb) than the other, both had new gearboxes to give ,a quicker shift, extra suspension mounting points were put on to give variation in tuning- the car, the track was now someplace in between the narrow and wide as seen at Watkins Glen, the fuel lines were much, much bigger than before and, generally speaking, everything was cleaned up enormously. (There are other changes, of course, as on all the cars, but sometimes we get asked to keep our trap shut.) As the Honda is still pretty heavy and has a torque curve like a cat's back, JS had his problems getting a competitive time, but in spite of having to make one good gearbox out of two bad ones and coping with a pair of very tight engines, he wound up third on the grid. The road-holding is still a bit dodgy as well; if anybody but John were driving it, the Honda would have been in midfield somewhere Ferrari appeared with two of the latest 3-valvers covered with airscoops in relevant places. Bandini and Amon were down to drive them. Amon was having a difficult time due to the usual Ferrari politics as he is really too nice a chap and all spent their time working on Banders' car. Actually, Scarfiotti was supposed to drive No.1, but he got the ride taken away from him after David Piper pipped him on the line (in Surtees' Lola-Chev) at the recent Spa sports car races. The whole burden of responsibility thus fell on Bandini and he was definitely feeling it, not being his usual ebullient self inspite of horsing the big Ferrari onto the front row. Monaco was Bandini's best circuit and he showed it . . . putting up such a good performance in the presence of several World Champions..
Lotus is traditionally unready for Monaco and this was no exception. The new Cosworth-Ford V-8 wasn't deemed in a sufficient stage of development for Chappers to bring it (although all the Ford top brass were there. . . reportedly H. Ford himself bought a Lamborghini Miura) so Clark made do with the familiar 2-liter Climax V-8 and Graham Hill with what looked like the World's Next-to-Oldest BRM V-8 with injection trumpets in the center stuffed into his Lotus. Graham had. a lot of bothers with the gearbox, among other things, but in any case the two made a good, strong team. Graham going back to Lotus after the past friction many years ago was a bit of a surprise,. but it was Ford money (reportedly about £40,000 or $112,000) and the promise of a good Indy ride that clinched it. Also Clark is supposed to be in rather a high income tax bracket in England and won't race there this year. This leaves Graham as No.1, in the many races at home anyway.
The Cooper people were still slaving away at their Maserati-engined machines, which looked pretty much the same as last year. I gather that Something New will appear before very long. Ing. Alfieri of Maserati brought along a new smaller and lighter engine in any case, which appeared to be made of exotic alloys. The heads were definitely different, with air intakes looking like port glasses, bifurcated manifolds with the injection nozzles pointing upward to take advantage of the high-pressure area there and the exhaust system much sleeker, than heretofore. They also have much closer ratios in the gearboxes, while much attention has been paid to weight-saving as demonstrated by large holes drilled in the centers of the alloy wheels. Neither of them-or for that matter all three-seemed to run very well, however; Rindt and Rodriguez made the back row of the grid.
The French firm of Matra (a big combine that owns Breuget aircraft among other things) has gotten the green light from De Gaulle and is going into racing in a big way. Their F3s cleaned up that race very handily at Monte Carlo, but the FI offering until the real thing comes along (they have very close ties with BRM) was two ballasted F2s with twincam Cosworth-Lotus-Fords driven by Johnny Servoz Gavin and Jean Pierre Beltoise. This last gent is very fast but very hairy, and had a rough time of it with mechanical troubles, spinoffs, etc.,. but Servoz-Gavin turned a faster
time than Spence, Courage, Anderson, Amon, Rindt, Beltoise, Ginther and Rodriguez, which should prove something.
BRM has been racing Down Under, but also revamped the H-16 considerably, mostly in the suspension department. They have done away with the top rear trailing link (allegedly because it interfered with ,the airflow to the injectors) and a massive bridge structure now carries the rear suspension. The front wishbones are also at different angles and are considerably reinforced. Both engines were proper I6s as the twin 8 has been given up as a bad job, but Stewart? found, that the slightly overbored 2-liter V -8 car gave him the best results, leaving Spence the H-I6.
Two shining new Eagles were there for Gurney and Ginther, but in spite of winning a race at Brands Hatch recently, gave quite a bit of trouble. All that business of the oil chundering out is now fixed (by a decrease in oil pressure among other things),. while there are millions of other little detail changes too numerous to go into, even if Gurney would let me say anything about them. One thing that they had trouble with was sticking throttle slides. and also the ignition spinner flexing or simply coming off the end of the camshaft. The cars were beautiful, but there was only time enough to get one sorted properly.
Brabham appeared, looking more cheerful than usual, with a couple of new engines. One of these just had new heads with the exhaust stacks out the center, but the other was an entirely new Repco block with the new heads as well. The latest block is much stiffer inside, with through bolts at odd angles to keep the, bores round, and plainly produced a lot more power than the. old one. Jack blew up the interim engine in a big way and then had a midnight bodging session fitting the new one, as the drawing office had boobed on gearbox layshaft lengths, etc. However, all was well and he scuttled around in the last practice to make fastest time, much to the fear and despair of the other drivers. That arch-professional Hulme was not downhearted and bent his efforts into learning handbrake turns around the two hairpins. He has got to be the fastest, man in the world around these and plainly enjoys his work, God help the rest when he gets a new engine too.
McLaren appeared with a lovely new red car powered by the World's Oldest BRM V-8, dug out of the BRM parts bin. By their account it was 30 bhp down on a proper one but at least it is better than the Ford or the Serenissima they tried last year. They had, a bit of trouble too with an upper rear suspension mount breaking away, but mostly spent the time trying to get it to handle, properly. Brucie looked like he had gotten a real dose of confidence, getting all sideways under power out of the hairpins, and everything should be okay when his nice BRM V-12 arrives.
Of the others, Parnell had a 2-liter BRM V-8 for young Piers Courage (who had his adventures around the circuit), Siffert horsed the Walker Cooper-Maser around quicker than the works ones and the perennial Anderson showed u' with his Climax-4-banger-engined Brabham. He managed to qualify it faster than Amon, Rindt, Beltoise, Ginther and Rodriguez (plus equaling Courage's time but in a later session), but was cast into outer darkness along with Beltoise and Ginther. Sixteen cars are allowed to start for what the organizers call safety reasons but actually means starting money. Eleven of the entrants are "invited" as they have been works teams for a specified period (Honda, BRM, Lotus, Ferrari, Brabham and Cooper), while everyone else has to scratch for the remaining five places. Actually; if they would start everyone then perhaps there would be more than
six cars running at the end. "
PRACTICE WAS the usual shambles, with F3s and F-Vees' practicing at unearthly hours of the morning (our contributor Nick Brittan was projected onto his head in the F-Vee go and there was the usual multi-car shunt in the 3s); as there is no space to go into it we refer you to the grid.
Race day was nice and sunny which should please the photographers but they were cursing as Gurney had shortened up the nose on his car as had a couple of the others. Prince Rainier and Princess Grace took a slow lap around with the latest Lamborghini with transparent doors (showing Grace's fashionable-black and white print dress), and then the usual howlings from the pit area showed that the Spectacle was about to Commence. Frankly, we wouldn't have wanted to have been Bandini, surrounded with that horde of sabre-toothed tigers. . . we cautioned his neighbors not to push him into the drink in the first lap anyway and all they did was grin. Lorenzo was a past master at getting off the line about 0.10 sec before the flag actually fell anyway and sure enough, encouraged by beady eyes in his mirrors, he did just that, leading off the line and up the hill.
We were wandering around at the Station hairpin (one of the few places where they actually come past slowly enough to count them) and when all the row burst around the downhill Mirabeau corner Bandini's red Ferrari was in front (to the joy of the large Italian contingent), followed closely by Hulme, Stewart, Surtees and Gurney. Scarcely had we assimilated this when there was a hell of a commotion up at Mirabeau . and one J. Brabham was seen perching on the pavement. Elbows and yellow flags were seen flapping about like feathers in a pillow fight, but after everybody else had gone poor Jack came c1ackity clackity past on his way to the pits, looking even blacker than usual if such a thing is possible. Evidently the engine had gone all crook on the way up the hill and then had blown a rod out the side on the way down to Mirabeau, depositing a considerable amount of oil on the track and his rear wheels. A Firestone balance weight also fell out as he wept past, which may prove something as he is on Goodyears.
Anyway, by that time they were around again with Banders still in front but only just, as Hulme and Stewart were making it plain that they would like to go by if Lorenzo wouldn't mind. As a matter of fact they sqeezed him out going into the chicane and the commotion was such that J. Clark, arriving there behind McLaren in seventh place, took it upon himself to visit the parking lot at the chicane to avoid being part of a tube sandwich. This naturally dropped him back a bit so when they arrived the third time around at the railway hairpin all going umnimmahhhhummmmmahhhhummmmahhhhgrate the order was Hulme (Brabham), Stewart (BRM V-8) then a second before Bandini leading Surtees (Honda), Gurney (Eagle), and McLaren, then another short gap before Rindt (Cooper), G. Hill (Lotus-BRM), Spence (BRM H-16), Amon (Ferrari), then another before Rodriguez (Cooper); Courage (BRM V-8) and finally Clark (Lotus-Climax V-8).
Already disappeared from the scene were Servoz-Gavin, whose alternator belt had jumped its trolley or worse, and Siffert, who had shunted McLaren up the back (a lot of cars were wearing rear nerfing bars) and had busted his radiators. Both of these cars came out again for short periods but something else broke on the Matra and Siffert gradually dribbled out all his oil. There was a fair amount of this about already and perhaps was contributory to Stewart getting past Hulme on the seventh lap. His Firestones are supposed to be a couple of seconds faster a lap on oil than the Goodyears. Just for the record, the Ferraris, Stewart's- BRM, the Matra, the Lotuses, the Honda and the Coopers, including Siffert, were all on Firestones, while Spence's BRM H-16 and ,Courage's BRM were on Dunlop, the rest all wearing Goodyear.
WEE JACKIE, as he observed afterwards, was finding it "all too easy" using only 9500 rpm and taking the chicane in top, even so pulling out a lead on Hulme of about six seconds, although nobody knows better than Denny that a hundred lap race is a hundred-lap race. At any rate the Brabham was still holding off Bandini, Surtees, Rindt and McLaren quite handily, one fearsome menace in the shape of Gurney removing itself on the fifth lap when the fuel-pump drive belt broke. The honeymoon lasted only for 14 laps, though, when a pin in the BRM's gearbox broke, selecting two gears at once, and Stewart clanked into the pits. Coincidentally, Rindt felt an odd sensation and came in as well to find a large gaping crack in the gearbox casing resulting from the final drive coming apart. There had been some trouble with the engine shifting about on its mountings in
practice, as the front solid motor mount had given up. .
By this time Hulme had worked up a good 7-sec lead on Bandini and Surtees, who in turn led McLaren by another two seconds, Clark coming up like a bomb at 25 sec behind the leader, (making the race's fastest lap at 1:29.5), Graham Hill afflicted with clutch slip and a loose coil hanging off the back at 32 sec, Amon driving well and catching Hill but slowly losing ground on the leader at 38 sec, Spence at 1 min 12 sec in the unwieldy H-16, and Rodriguez sounding ratty, plus Courage with locking brakes, both having been lapped already.
. The remaining interest was to see if Surtees could diddle his old teammate Bandini, if a resurgent Clark could catch up, and if it comes to that would Bandini put on a sprint to reel in Hulme. Alas for Honda fortunes, the Japanese car had developed a head gasket leak on the second lap and blown out most of the water. As Surtees had had experience before with dicky temperature gauges and odd fuel starvation, he decided to carryon and see if what the gauges said was really true. Unfortunately it was; the Honda began to smoke furiously as a piston broke up and on the 33rd lap he squeaked to a halt at the chicane. Clark put on the performance that would normally be expected of him and pulled himself up past McLaren to just behind Amon before a top rear suspension mount let go in the fast Tobacconists' corner, of all places, and he spun madly up against the wall. It isn't easy to spin through there without hitting anything, as he observed.
Bandini then began his push to whittle away the 16 sec lead that Hulme had worked away on him about half distance. Denny was never in better form, though, and was wheeling around the hairpins on full opposite lock and flitting through the Casino turn faster than anyone else in an effort to offset his lack of power. All hands were temporarily bemused by the sight of Courage spinning his BRM at St. Devote and killing the engine, but just the same Bandini, to cheers from the crowd, pulled up to about 9 sec. But Denny was watching over his shoulder as he did his handbrake turns and didn't let it get any closer than that. Bandini was one of those drivers who worked on nervous energy and got very tired. . . when he saw there was no use in it he slowed a bit, but was clearly at the end of his tether missing the odd shift and not driving as neatly as he usually did. .
The inevitable happened on the 82nd lap: the Ferrari touched the inside left side of the chicane, lost the wheels on that side, rolled over and then hit the bales and an electric light pole on the outside of the quay next to the water. Naturally enough, the whole business lit up and after some comic opera work by the totally incompetent Monegasque fire laddies (who dragged the car back and forth after putting the fire out and then turned it over to find poor Bandini still inside after some five minutes) and some brave work by a couple of commissaires, Bandini was got out and to the hospital' via a boat. From his terrible burns and injuries, he died. three days later. The whole business was a Chinese fire drill, and as if the pompiers didn't have enough trouble, a French TV helicopter hovered overhead fanning the flames briskly. In fact, the car lit up again and a fireboat had to be called into play. Poor Lorenzo. . . he had had such a weight landed on his shoulders and was subjected to heavy pressure by the Italian press and Ferrari to do the right thing by the Maranello cars. And this same press was crowding the Ferrari pits taking pictures of all the grief-stricken faces. Daily papers. . . bleagh.
Anyway, the race went on but with Amon suddenly projected into second because of McLaren's stop to replace a flat battery and to look at the bald front tires on his understeering car. However there was still another bit of drama to come, as Amon suddenly pulled in to change a rear wheel punctured on the debris at the chicane. The crafty Graham Hill was not all that far behind and nipped past Amon but was worried about his still slipping clutch and low fuel pressure. .
And so the ten remaining laps ran out like that, with Hulme holding down a well deserved first, Graham Hill a lap behind, and then Amon, McLaren, Spence trundling around in the H-16, and finally Rodriguez ahead of Spence in the final results in spite of the fact that many lap charts (Surtees's among them) showed the other way, but that's the way it goes in Monaco.