Inside Track P H I L H I L L • F E R R A R I ’S A M E R I C A N W O R L D C H A M P I O N H I S S T O RY • H I S P H O T O G R A P H Y
Phil Hill with
The GP Library
Foreword Jim Sit z
FEEL GENUINELY PRIVILEGED TO WRITE THIS FOREWORD introducing some of my late friend Phil Hill’s finest photography. It was just one of the great interests that Phil and I shared among many: photography, and fine cars, and automobile racing, and classical music … such enthusiasms shaped both our lives.
The monthly magazine ‘Road & Track’ was required reading for both Phil and Jim through the 1950s and ’60s – and, indeed, thereafter – it provided some of the glue that united the American road-racing fraternity.
Phil was 11 years older than me. When I was 11, I rode my bicycle 20 miles to Hollywood to see the new Jaguar XK120 at International Motors where he worked as a wrench. I also found a warehouse that contained all the classic cars used in the movies: 540K Mercedes, Hispano, Isotta. I felt I had gone to heaven then … As a young road-racing fan I had been following Phil’s career with great interest for almost three years before we finally met, in November, 1953. I had previously got to know his great friend Jerry Chesebrough, who shot a lot of the early photography for ‘Road & Track’ magazine. Phil had just returned from Europe, where he’d driven Rees Makins’ OSCA at Le Mans, had gone to Ferrari with Bill Spear, then drove Bill’s car at Reims after experiencing, first-hand, some of the ever-present tragedy which in those days always lurked just beneath the surface. Phil had found Spear’s crashed Bentley far from help, and despite their best efforts they couldn’t save the life of Bill’s French race mechanic … So it was a worldly-wise, grown-up Phil that I met at Riverside’s March Field airbase races. I had recently been engaged by the Swedish car magazine ‘Motor Revy’ as their US correspondent. What they didn’t know, and didn’t need to, was that I was still only 15 … They were mainly interested in the industry and US trends, and I soaked up enough of that stuff through a friend in the GM styling studio to keep them supplied. But I was really just race-car mad. Earlier that fall, at Santa Barbara, I’d got some good photos of Phil and Bill Stroppe in their big duel. Now I wanted to show them to Phil – but there was another motive too … My burning ambition was to go to Europe – as Phil had done – to follow the European road-racing scene. For me, as for
him, that was where it was all really happening. Despite my youth – and despite our age gap – Phil instantly accepted me as an adult, just a fellow enthusiast. And from that moment, we became firm friends … I really wanted to make my way as a photographer and a writer, deeply embedded within the flourishing Californian roadracing culture. Through the 1950s it became an extraordinary community: close, and friendly, despite being, even then, intensely competitive – and quite commercial at its top end despite the SCCA’s intent to keep everything amateur. Within that community, everyone essentially knew everyone else … and most looked out for one another. Meanwhile, Phil’s lifelong interest in the automobile had seen him join the Horseless Carriage Club around 1940. I followed by joining it in 1952. Phil once told me how he had ridden his bicycle all the way from Santa Monica to downtown Los Angeles just to hear the great Ralph de Palma speak at a Horseless Carriage Club function. He’d gone down there with his head full of questions to ask the great man. But once in his presence he was too shy to say a word … so just looked and listened. That’s pretty much the way I felt that day at March Field, but he was so friendly, so open, so receptive that he almost immediately put me completely at my ease. He retained that characteristic ability all his life. He was to the core ‘a car-guy’, always appreciative of anyone like-minded. Frequently, throughout our long friendship, he’d call me and say something like: “Hey Sitz – have you heard so-and-so down town has got an Hispano-Suiza in his shop. Let’s go and see it”. And we would. Phil’s most evident characteristic was his integrity. He cared intensely for the things that interested him, or were dear to him. But, make no mistake, he was also fiercely competitive. He could be feisty, and whenever anyone proposed some viewpoint he would almost inevitably adopt some different position and challenge it. This was evidence of his particularly bright mind – from which all who knew him could benefit.
Remembering old friends – Jim Sitz astride the ex-Denis Jenkinson Norton in the Brooklands Museum at Weybridge, England, in 2012. Jim raced Cotton and AJS 7R motor-cycles in the US through 1965-67. His talent and smoothness as a rider attracted comment but, as Jim recalled, “I didn’t progress any further”. November 13, 1955 – Glendale, California - Phil Hill checking out Johnny von Neuman’s Ferrari 750 Monza before going out to win again. In the background, in the pale shirt and clutching his Hasselblad camera, is the young Jim Sitz. Photo by Bob Lytle © corsaresearch
Cuban Grand Prix
ATE IN FEBRUARY ‘57, WE RAN TILP’S WELL-WORN 875 Sport in the Cuban Grand Prix in Havana. But following problems during practice, come race day I had trouble getting its engine to fire, and was disqualified for a push start …”
The first international Cuban Grand Prix was a rather unfortunate affair. Havana through the mid-1950s has been described as an anything-goes hedonistic playground, but the faltering dictatorship of President Fulgencio Batista had progressively antagonized a large proportion of the Cuban population. His regime’s brazenly corrupt support for the activities of American companies and organized crime was under attack by Fidel Castro’s ‘26th of July Movement’, and by the time of the sports-car Grand Prix the clock was ticking down on Batista’s power. Regardless, tremendous pre-race promotion brought enthusiasts and curious holidaymakers alike flocking to the island. The Grand Prix, however, was already in jeopardy. A major dockers’ strike on the US East Coast embargoed a number of entries inbound from Italy. But Luigi Chinetti went in to bat on the Cubans’ behalf, cajoling many of his customers to let him air-freight their cars to Havana as last-minute substitutes. Others made the trip by sea from Florida, and by the time first practice started, there were 18 assorted – and in some cases unlikely – sports-racing cars ready to go. Unfortunately, George Tilp’s 875S – their so-called Monza – was really worn out. Its hard-run engine was certainly due for a rebuild, and whenever Phil used its full rev range, the cooling system would pressurize and overheat. In hopes of raising the boiling point of the coolant, the system was filled with antifreeze instead of water and Phil promptly set third fastest practice time. But he knew there would be little chance of finishing on race day. In fact, it was not a mechanical issue that cost Phil the race, but confusion following a push-start that led him to be blackflagged and disqualified. Phil left Havana distinctly unimpressed by the first Cuban Grand Prix … RIGHT Lined up by the stone wall flanking the Hotel Nacional on Havana’s Malecón seafront, here’s a typically mixed bag of entries for the ’57 Cuban Grand Prix. The No 24 ‘shortnose’ Jaguar D-Type in those American colors is actually Cuban owner-driver Alfonso GomezMena’s entry. He finished sixth, which is more than I managed. Next up is George Tilp’s Ferrari 857S, No 14, which I drove for him. I set third-fastest practice time to Fangio’s works-backed Maserati 300S, but my race ended when I was given a push start after a pit stop to fix a snatching brake. I’d fumbled the ignition key, but that was it. I was flagged in and disqualified.
FERRARI TESTING 1957
LEFT In more recent years a popular model subject – Ferrari’s big open-frame
Fiat-Bartoletti transporter was the latest thing when I took these shots. Maserati used one too, and later one of them passed on to Scarab and then to the Shelby Cobra works team in Europe. It was based on a Fiat ‘Alpine’ bus chassis and had about a 6½-liter 6-cylinder diesel engine. Bartoletti built the custom bodywork with its top deck, lifts and winches at their plant in Forli.
ABOVE Fully loaded here with three Grand Prix cars and ‘the guys’ in the cab, the transporter was no streak of lightning. Its cruising speed was only around 50mph, but that was quite good considering the European rural and Alpine roads of that era. The truck could carry quite a sizable stock of spares, wheels, tires and tools, and seven or so crew members in the double-row seated cab.
THE RACE OF TWO WORLDS 1957
LEFT Here’s the full Ecurie Ecosse team of D-Type Jaguars. I was always
amused by their military-style recognition stripes – lance-corporal, corporal and sergeant. Standing between ‘lance’ and ‘corporal’ is the tall figure of team chief David Murray, with Jack Fairman holding his brown crash helmet to the left, and their famous chief mechanic ‘Wilkie’ Wilkinson in the white overalls, right. That’s Ninian Sanderson, with his yellow crash helmet, leaning against ‘sergeant’ No 6. They will actually excel and make their long trip quite profitable – eventually inheriting fourth, fifth and sixth places overall on aggregate. They couldn’t match the pace of the Indycars, but they outlasted many of them. RIGHT ABOVE Monza was – and still is – absolutely vast when you stand on the pit apron and look down, as here, towards the road circuit’s Curva Grande. But before you might reach it, in this shot you can see the Pista di Alta Velocità speedbowl banking curving up and away to the right. Since the Monzanapolis cars were running anti-clockwise, they would be exiting from the speedbowl there and accelerating up to maximum speed right through the area where the Jaguars are parked. The crowd against the fence on the left there are in for quite a spectacle. Gregor Grant wrote of “… cars passing one another at 180mph”. For once he wasn’t making it up. RIGHT BELOW The UPPI’s opposition to this ‘Monzanapolis’ race left the
serious racing entirely to the visitors. But Jean Behra had gone his own way – as usual – and qualified a 3½-liter V12-engined Maserati special, and after it struck trouble he tried a sports version only for its transmission to break. Bornigia brought out an obsolete Ferrari V12, but was too slow to make the grid. And all this left European honor to be upheld by the Scottish Ecurie Ecosse team which had driven its three D-Type Jaguar sports cars – on the public road – direct from finishing first and second at Le Mans. No 2 here was the Le Mans-winning car – co-driven there by Ron Flockhart and Ivor Bueb – now about to be driven by Jock Lawrence, while No 4, for Jack Fairman, had finished second at Le Mans, shared by Jock Lawrence and Ninian Sanderson. The nose of their third D-Type is just visible on the extreme right.
REIMS GRAND PRIX 1957
LEFT Here’s the tail of the standard open-wheeler Vanwall, with its ‘teardrop’
bodywork. I believe that back then there was little idea that aerodynamic racecar bodies would generate lift at the rear. They improved the front end’s penetration without considering what was happening at the back, but with only the front improved, the faster a car went the more unstable it became. In the end the driver could hardly back off or add power without upsetting the balance. It’s amazing to me that somebody didn’t put two and two together sooner. But it certainly made for an interesting-looking car. LEFT BELOW Although it was actually quite roomy, the Vanwall cockpit was remarkably deep and very enclosed by its high coaming and tall wrap-around windscreen in molded perspex. The forward pick-up points for the rear de Dion axle system’s long twin radius rods are clearly visible, with that riveted up auxiliary fuel tank tucked outboard of the Colin Chapman-designed chassis tubes. This individual car’s chassis number is painted on the tank – ‘VW6’ – together with its capacity – ‘8½-gallons’. The dashboard could hardly be more simple, while even the rear-view mirrors are mounted in streamlined fairings. RIGHT By the time of this French race at Reims it was clear that the British Vanwall team was a fast-developing new force in Grand Prix racing. Their cars looked startling, they were plainly powerful and with such a strong driving team as Stirling Moss and Tony Brooks they were literally going places fast. Here in the Reims paddock No 24 is the special-bodied experimental streamliner which the team tried – and discarded – during practice, while Nos 26 and 28 are the regular open-wheeled ‘teardrops’ with their distinctive Frank Costindesigned aerodynamic bodywork. Moss was sidelined due to sinusitis contracted from too many wipe-outs when water-skiing on the French Riviera, while Tony Brooks had to stand down because he’d hurt himself by rolling an Aston Martin at Le Mans. Team owner Tony Vandervell called in Roy Salvadori and Stuart Lewis-Evans instead – and the latter proved a total revelation, earning an immediate place as the team’s regular third driver.
GERMAN GRAND PRIX 1957
LEFT Here I am at the Karussell itself, about 400 yards further down from the shot on the previous page, with Behra settling his Maserati ‘Lightweight’ onto the famous 180-degree corner’s banking. Before coming down to the Nürburgring, I had returned George Tilp’s Mercedes-Benz 300SL to the factory in Stuttgart and then gone to a party at ‘Taffy’ von Trips’s place – his family’s castle at Hemmersbach near Cologne. And now here I was watching cars on the Nordschleife in the sunshine – quite a week. RIGHT ABOVE Same place, same line, and here’s Luigi Musso in the
Lancia-Ferrari 801. He was a good driver, but here at the Nürburgring he was completely overshadowed by Mike and Peter in their sister Ferraris. From this position on the inside bank, I guess we were standing within about 10 feet of the cars. It was a great viewpoint.
RIGHT BELOW A number of Maserati 250F private owners led a gypsy existence, wandering around Europe from race to race, in some cases living on their start money, prize purse and trade bonuses. Horace Gould here was a big, burly garage owner from the port city of Bristol in England, and his older-model 250F actually posted the first retirement from the Grand Prix, breaking its transmission on the opening lap. I guess there was no steak on the table that night …
LEFT The beautiful little MG EX181 record car on the salt at Bonneville – a lovely thing in an extraordinary setting. I first saw this car while it was being built, at Abingdon-on-Thames, England, in 1956. It was designed by MG’s famous chief engineer, Syd Enever. I guess by this time I had something of a reputation as being an acceptable test driver, and the people at MG remembered me as a marque enthusiast who had also ‘served my time’ at the factory. I was engaged as a kind of understudy to get the car ready for Stirling Moss to attack the world speed records in International Class F, for 1100-1500cc cars. BELOW A tiny teardrop on the salt – the MG EX181 on stage and ready to
BONNEVILLE SALT FLATS USA
perform. And I just love that doormat …
Argentine Grand Prix, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Buenos Aires 1,000Kms, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Buenos Aires City GP, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Cuban Grand Prix, Havana, Cuba
Sebring 12-Hours, Florida, USA
Ferrari Testing, Modena, Italy
Targa Florio, Sicily, Italy
Monaco Grand Prix, Monaco
ADAC 1,000Kms, NĂźrburgring, Germany
Le Mans 24-Hours, Circuit de la Sarthe, France
The Race of Two Worlds, Monza, Italy
French Grand Prix, Reims-Gueux, France
Italian Grand Prix, Monza, Italy
Moroccan Grand Prix, Casablanca, Morocco
ARGENTINE GRAND PRIX 1958
ABOVE This admiring group are surrounding the brand-new Ferrari V6 which Luigi Musso was about to drive into second place in the season-opening Argentine Grand Prix. Today, I guess all enthusiasts know these cars as the Ferrari Dino 246. As far as we were concerned at the time – although the cam covers by this time had ‘Dino’ cast into them in memory of The Old Man’s deceased son – this was just the latest Grand Prix Ferrari, and it happened to have a gasoline-burning V6 engine based on the 1500cc Formula 2 design that had won at Reims the previous July. See those little air louvers behind the front wheel? I think they were intended to feed cool air to the magnetos on the back of the engine’s camshafts, but if they were anything like the scoops Ferrari fitted to cool the driver they always failed terribly. If you’re going to ventilate things you have got to do a complete job, like not only scoop the cold air in, but also keep the hot air out. They always seemed to arrange hot-air exit louvres and cold-air intake scoops so one fed the other. Whatever airflow the driver received was almost always all mixed up …
ABOVE This is our chief mechanic, Adelmo Marchetti, being given a pushstart in Mike Hawthorn’s race car for the Formula 1 Grand Prix. He fell ill and eventually passed away, which really upset the entire team and certainly The Old Man himself. During his illness and after, whenever anyone at Ferrari mentioned Marchetti they’d also add the Italian adjective for ‘poor’ – povero. So ‘povero Marchetti’ it became, and he has remained so in my memory ever since. He was a good guy and very unlucky to die as young as he did. LEFT Here are some of my Ferrari team-mates, taking time out in one of the
BUENOS AIRES ARGENTINA
Buenos Aires Autodrome’s smaller grandstands. It must have been raining. ‘Taffy’ von Trips is standing in the foreground, radiating good humour and with his camera at the ready. Maurice Trintignant is over there to the left (part hidden) with his receding hairline. Peter [Collins] and Mike [Hawthorn] are in the center of the top row, Peter in his lightweight blue overalls and Mike in white, wearing a jacket and reading. Peter was sort of the ‘golden boy’. He was Mr Ferrari’s favorite at the time. He spoke a little Italian, and he and Mike had use of a little house that belonged to an old lady on the road just outside the old factory gates. We’d all visit there, time to time.
BUENOS AIRES GRAND PRIX 1958 RIGHT Here’s Fangio chasing Hawthorn down into Turn One, already lapping a batch of Mecánica Nacional cars – with Stirling’s battered Cooper being trailed ignominiously back to base (left). The clouds are breaking here, but through mid-race it rained pretty hard. There’s plenty of vacant space left here in the more expensive grandstands … BELOW Moss arrived at the very first corner in third place, behind Hawthorn and Fangio, and was hard on the brakes – I’ve no doubt feeling as confident as ever – when he was collected from behind by a wildly out-of-control local driver named Jesús Iglesias in a home-built Chevrolet special. He’d started from the back row of the grid, yet arrived at Turn One in fourth place, having zoomed past almost the entire field. As he tried to brake he just lost control and slammed into Stirling, thankfully in the tail before Stirling had locked over into the turn – otherwise he could have been caught broadside in the little Cooper’s cockpit … which doesn’t bear thinking about. Later in the race I walked down to take some pictures, and here’s the broken little ‘bug’ being dragged back to the paddock. I don’t recognize the guy in its cockpit. Stirling had only two Rob Walker mechanics with him down there – Alf Francis and Tim Wall – and this is neither of them. Maybe he’s one of the local helpers, just holding the steering to stop those front wheels castoring. See the jam-packed crowd? Those must be the cheaper grandstands beyond …
BUENOS AIRES ARGENTINA
MONACO GRAND PRIX 1958
ABOVE Here is von Trips accelerating hard past the harborside front of the pits, with the exit of the left-handed corner at the Tabac in the background. I didn’t dwell on why he was driving Ferrari’s Formula 1 cars and I wasn’t, because it was just obvious – he was right there on the spot in Europe all year round, he lived there and he had money; that always attracted Ferrari’s attention like a magnet. But ‘Taffy’ was a good driver, although early in his career he seemed to crash quite a lot. I never had a problem with him being chosen for Formula 1, while I seemed to be considered for sports cars only. I would have just jumped at the chance of a single-seater drive, especially here, but it wasn’t to happen for another year. Then I’d find out that to drive at Monaco really was immensely tiring – a very difficult challenge indeed. LEFT Mike just rolling onto the brakes as he approaches the Gazomètre turn,
with the Monte Carlo harbor on one side – just beyond those iron railings – and the pit row on the left, erected temporarily on the median strip between the two legs of the track just there. This was the sun-soaked Mediterranean Principality, looking just the way I’d pictured it ever since I’d first read about the place in the ‘Bira’ books …
THE RACE OF TWO WORLDS 1958
ABOVE Two happy guys here – Luigi Musso and myself, both well satisfied with having survived the Monzanapolis ‘500’. RIGHT Here’s my ‘little’ Ferrari 296MI being wheeled away after I’ d retired
it – under instruction – with so-called ‘magneto failure’, but in reality after engine damage caused by its partial seizure in practice. This all coil-sprung car would be re-engined with a 2.4-liter Formula 1 V6 unit and would reappear as part of the works Grand Prix team. They fitted it with a re-profiled nose with larger radiator opening to admit more airflow at lower speeds on road circuits, and in practice at the Nürburgring Mike Hawthorn said he preferred it to his regular leafspring car, ‘although the steering was dead and it wandered along the bumpy straights’. Trips drove it into fifth place in the subsequent Portuguese Grand Prix, and Gendebien retired it back here at Monza in the Italian race, then hurt himself in a crash while driving it in the Moroccan GP at Casablanca.
ABOVE No, not the three Stooges: rather, team manager Romolo Tavoni to the left; me, feeling very relieved and happy – but tired – in the middle clutching a bottle of fizz; and team technical coordinator, or however you might describe him, ‘Mino’ Amorotti, with that approving arm linked reassuringly through my own. I got the feeling very much that they thought I’ d done OK for them, and that perhaps I could drive a single-seater competitively after all. I certainly felt that driving the 4.1 around the Monza banking was the hardest job I’d tackled, but to me this kind of oval racing was just a case of how much physical discomfort you could endure. For my taste, it could never replace genuine road racing …
LE MANS 24-HOURS 1959
Here pre-race is the works Ferrari TR59 which I was to share again with Olivier Gendebien. Innovations at Le Mans this year were a Test Weekend in April, and a new rule stipulating a minimum 30-lap distance between replenishing any of the car’s fluids – fuel, oil or cooling water. At the Test Weekend the TR59 had been under-geared, too hard-sprung, and its brake pedal pressure and fade-rate were both too high. But by race time I found driving this Ferrari there was wonderful; it was a great car. LEFT BELOW Olivier getting animated about something, to our mechanics’
apparent amusement. But in practice we found the darned cars were still under-geared. Tavoni had told us to observe a rev limit of 7,400, but on track that was almost impossible and we all kept coming back with the tell-tales lodged around 8,000rpm. Tavoni read the tell-tale on mine which was stuck at 7,900 and he just blew up. I knew I hadn’t over-revved, and told him the needle had been there when I got into the car. Gendebien owned up, he’d left it there before I took over. Then one of the mechanics weighed in, saying he thought he’d re-set the tell-tale after Olivier had got out. So Tavoni started yelling again, at which I just turned my back and walked away. Behra came back after setting fastest practice lap with his tell-tale reading 8,900 and Tavoni just went for him, by this time out of control. We all leapt to Behra’s defense. The cars were so under-geared that over-revving was unavoidable. RIGHT The Scottish Ecurie Ecosse team had won Le Mans in 1956 and
’57 with their D-Type Jaguars, and for 1959 they returned with this TojeiroJaguar using a 3-liter version of the XK engine to meet the capacity limit. But the 6-cylinder Jaguar engine in its 3-liter form never impressed and the ‘Toj’, as they called it, went out with overheating – 1959 works Ferraristyle. The Scots-blue car’s drivers were past double-winner Ron Flockhart and Jock Lawrence.
GERMAN GRAND PRIX 1959 BELOW More sightseeing, but this time with a definite and immediate pur-
pose – Dan Gurney and I drove and walked our way around a full lap of the AVUS track before practice began there for this 1959 German Grand Prix. The Nürburgring, this was not! Here’s the right-hand swerve over this little bridge between the parapets, through which we’d be hammering in our works Ferraris, up around 170mph, slipstreaming each other like crazy, and all jockeying for the best position before setting up the cars and aiming them left-handed into that fearsome banking of the North Wall … RIGHT Some obscure political forces conspired to take the 1959 German Grand
Prix to the old AVUS track in Berlin. I just adored racing on the Nürburgring and this move was a real disappointment to me. But it was still fascinating to see the scene of the great ‘AVUS-Rennen’ of the 1930s, when Manfred von Brauchitsch – in a streamlined Mercedes – set the lap record around here at 172mph. I’d read a lot about AVUS, but to see this North Turn banking was just something else. If you look closely there’s a guy climbing a ladder up the banking over there, I guess to fix another advertising banner on the lip. I was used to driving on banked tracks – the only thing new was that this wasn’t Monza or Montlhéry. On my first practice lap, I only got about halfway around and my car stopped – out of fuel. The German marshals absolutely would not allow me to push it just around the corner to the pits, so I missed the whole day’s running.
ARGENTINE GRAND PRIX 1960 RIGHT And here’s a new prototype Formula 1 car making its racing debut.It would scare the hell out of us, it was so fast. It’s the first rear-engined Lotus, the Type 18, with Colin Chapman – its designer – standing beside it on the right, with his chief mechanic, Jim Endruweit, in the cockpit preparing the car before first practice. Innes Ireland drove the car and led the Grand Prix briefly – he spun, then came back to lead again only for the gearbox to jam, dropping him back to sixth. Even so, the writing was on the wall for our frontengined cars. BELOW
The Lotus’s rear suspension was strange to our eyes, with the top of the hub carrier located laterally by the fixed-length drive shaft, and the bottom of the hub carrier located by a reversed A-arm, the point pivoted on the chassis. The Lotus gearbox was a positive-stop mechanism, like a motor-cycle ’box; the lever in the cockpit just clicked through each gear, without a visible gate or shift pattern.
BUENOS AIRES ARGENTINA
DUTCH GRAND PRIX 1960
ABOVE Zandvoort was an unusual circuit. When the wind was blowing there – which it usually was – sand used to get in everywhere. If the wind was blowing down the main straight it was a quick day. If the wind was blowing back up the straight, into your face, it was slow … and sand flurries blown across the track could make corners slippery on one lap, but not the next. It must have been a real hot day – normally so formal, Chiti has removed his jacket and rolled up his sleeves. LEFT My car again at the back of the brick-built pits, a little reminiscent of
Silverstone’s. That anti-aircraft gun in front of the car is actually the electric starter with its long engagement shaft, parked on top of its battery trolley.
BELGIAN GRAND PRIX 1960 RIGHT I always relished the challenge of the high-speed circuit at SpaFrancorchamps – home of the Belgian Grand Prix. I took this shot as we got ready for practice. See the stepped architecture of the pits on the right? From that you can judge the steep downhill grade here in the start area. We used to chock the cars on the startline with a ball of oiled rag jammed under one wheel. A skilled mechanic would know exactly how big the ball had to be – just sufficient to stop the car rolling forward until the moment you spun the wheels over it. After the start there’ d be 18 torn-up balls of oily rag littering the start area. Down in the bottom of the valley you can see the left-right swerve over the little bridge across the Eau Rouge stream, and beyond it there’s the climbing swerve they called Le Raidillon. In modern times this became the most challenging turn in Formula 1. Back then it was just another of the many challenges at Spa. Before they built the Raidillon in 1939, the circuit used to follow the old public road off to the left here, then hairpinned right around an old customs house to pop out at the top of the hill. BELOW Ferrari had three cars at Spa that year. I was in No 24, partially hidden here, with Trips in 26, and our guest Belgian team-mate Willy Mairesse in 22, which had a Belgian flag yellow and black flash across the top of its nose. This was a real black weekend. Both Moss and a private Lotus driver named Mike Taylor crashed really badly during practice and were severely injured. And on race day Lotus driver Alan Stacey was hit in the face by a bird, left the track and was killed, while Chris Bristow – a young British driver who had been showing great promise earlier that year – died when he got involved with Mairesse in a fight for position and crashed at high speed in the Burnenville Curve. Spa took no prisoners …
OOKING BACK, I GUESS I SCREWED UP THROUGH THE winter of 1960-61. During my winter at home in Santa Monica, I kept in touch with Richie and what was happening in Modena. But it was no substitute for being there to put miles on the latest Formula 1 and sports cars. Richie did most of the testing, with Trips and Willy Mairesse contributing as often as they were asked. Being European-based made them almost instantly available. I was just out of the loop until March that year, and didn’t get to test at Modena until after the Sebring 12-Hours. “Technically, Ferrari was in a state of revolution. The success of the rear-engined Coopers, Lotuses and BRMs just emphasized what Trips, Richie and I had been saying after driving our own prototype motore posteriore Formula 1 car. Putting the engine behind the driver was plainly the way to go … it would become even more significant when Formula 1 regulations changed for 1961. “The old 2½-liter Formula of 1954-60 was dead. The new FIA rules cut engine size to just 1½-liters … and these new cars were not only going to have less power, they were going to be much heavier. So 1961 was to be an interesting year. “But, not for the first time, Mr Ferrari’s strategic planning was just about perfect … we had a rear-engined 1½-liter V6 car winning at Formula 2 level through 1960, which Chiti and his engineers could quickly develop into the all-new Formula 1 Ferrari for ’61.
“PUTTING THE ENGINE BEHIND THE DRIVER WAS CLEARLY THE WAY TO GO.” “Chiti had been trained as an aeronautical engineer. He appreciated the aerodynamic effects that could – if you got it right – stabilize a car at speed or, if not, make it just terrifyingly undrivable. He had no great grasp of what was right or wrong … hardly anyone really did back then. But some of his research – coupled to a stylistic whim – introduced the new F1 cars’ most characteristic feature. That was their pointed, twin-nostril, nose treatment which earned the nickname they’ve carried ever since – the ‘Sharknose’ Ferrari …” RIGHT This is what became the view almost everybody else had of the most dominant Grand Prix car I ever drove. It’s the prototype 1961 Ferrari 156 and this is the opposite end to what gave the car its enduring nickname –the ‘Sharknose’ Ferrari. I guess it’s just been unloaded from Ferrari’s big Fiat-Bartoletti transporter in the background here, and that’s Marchetti in the cockpit, warming it up.
MONACO GRAND PRIX 1961
LEFT While Moss genuinely drove a brilliant race to hold us all off to the
finish in his basically year-old Lotus, you could characterize Monaco 1961, with all its twists and turns, as being an unequal race between Moss’s whippet and our Ferrari racehorses. Richie had actually led our pursuit of Moss early in the race, before I got by to have a go at him. I managed to close the gap, but around three-quarter distance my engine began to choke up with carburetor trouble and I’ d really caned the brakes. Richie was right on my tail again – that’s him following me into the Gasworks turn here – so I thought he’s got more car left than me, and waved him by. Stirling had qualified on pole with a 1m 39s lap. In those closing race laps both he and Richie were lapping below 1m 37s … Still Stirling hung on to win, with Richie second, me third and Trips – who’ d been delayed by throttle and battery problems – fourth. The ‘Sharknoses’ had been beaten, OK, but only by an exceptional driver on a course which favored his car. BELOW The Surtees/McLaren battle continues, with Bruce McLaren in the latest,
more compact works Cooper leading John Surtees in the older design, blueand-red Bowmaker Team machine. Bruce would finish sixth, while John was classified 11th after a late retirement when his car’s fuel pump gave up.
Luxury three volume edition on the racing life and photography of Phil Hill, three-time Le Mans winner and American World ChampionDriver for...
Published on Jul 22, 2017
Luxury three volume edition on the racing life and photography of Phil Hill, three-time Le Mans winner and American World ChampionDriver for...