WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP GRAND PRIX MOTOR RACING
1960 to 1969
The success of the Cooper rear-engined (technically mid-engined as the engine lies ahead of the rear wheels) cars at the end of the 50s showed the other teams the way forward going into the 60s, but the first round in 1960 was in Argentina which was run early in the year (7th February) so most teams pitched up with their old cars while they continued development of their new cars back home. Also back as a World Championship round was the Belgian GP, but with dropping of the German GP there were only 10 rounds with the best 6 scores counting. The FIA also changed the scoring system by allocating one point to 6th place and not to the holder of the fastest lap as hitherto. Otherwise the regulations were unchanged. Things got off to a familiar start with Moss on pole and Bruce McLaren going on to win. Both were in Cooper-Climax T51 cars, although Moss was driving one for private entrant Rob Walker, who decided he’d be better off with one of the new Lotus 18s. Moss went on to win a couple more races in the Lotus but it wasn’t enough to stop Jack Brabham clinch his second title in the Cooper T53.
FIA introduced a new formula for 1961 reducing capacity to 1500cc with no
supercharged equivalency. They also introduced a minimum weight limit of 450kg.
plus a few detail safety measures. The Argentine GP
was dropped so the season started in May at
1961/Ferrari Dino156/P Hill/Zandvoort
In 1962 they added the South African GP to the calendar with still only 5 best scores counting out if the nine rounds. But that wasn’t the only change. BRM’s P57 was much improved, now with their own engines, and Ginther took Tony Brook’s place in the team alongside Graham Hill. Jack Brabham had set up his own team, initially with a Lotus 24, but for the last three races Brabham became the first F1 driver to compete in a car bearing his own name. By the time the first race came round Stirling Moss had crashed heavily in the non-championship F1 Glover Trophy at Goodwood and was lucky to be alive, but would never race F1 again. Lotus produced the first monocoque F1 chassis in the Lotus 25. Graham only failed to score points in one round and won the Championship from Jim Clark in the Lotus and Bruce McLaren, still driving for Cooper. By now Ferrari’s Dino156 was well out-classed.
1962/BRM P57/G Hill/Aintree
1963 saw the introduction of the Mexican GP to the World Championship bringing it back to ten rounds with the best six counting. It also saw the domination of Clark and the Lotus-Climax 25, scoring almost twice as many points as Hill, continuing with the BRM P57, and still backed up by Ginther. Ferrari now had John Surtees in the team but they were also running their old car, the 156, so stayed down the order despite Surtees winning the German GP.
In 1964 the South African GP was dropped in favour of the Austrian GP but it was still only the best six results to count towards the Championship, which meant that when Graham Hill scored 41 points from seven results he had to drop the worst, 2 points from the Belgian GP which put him 1 point behind Surtees who was declared World Champion. Hill, driving the BRM P261, was joined in hot pursuit of this year’s championship by Jim Clark in his Lotus-Climax 25. Ferrari’s 158 was an improvement on the old 156 and enabled Surtees to win two races, the same as Hill but one fewer than Clark who only finished in the points five times.
For 1965 the South African race was reinstated at the expense of the Austrian GP, so still ten races with the best six scores counting towards the championship. This year there was no controversy over the scoring system as Jim Clark’s top six scores were all victories giving him maximum possible points. Five of the six were in the new Lotus-Climax 33 and one, the French GP, in the older Lotus-Climax 25 - its last win. Clark wasn’t at the Monaco GP as he was busy winning the Indy 500. Teammates Graham Hill and Jackie Stewart were 2nd and 3rd in the BRM P261 making it an all-British top three.
1965/Lotus-Climax 33/Clarke/Brands Hatch
In 1966 the South African race was dropped again leaving nine races with best five results counting. This was no problem for Jack Braham who won four successive races in the middle of the season to take the Championship easily driving his eponymous Repco-powered BT19 and BT20 (Mexican race only). The pursuit was led by John Surtees and Jochan Rindt driving the Cooper-Maserati T81 for the Cooper Car Company. 1966 was a significant year inasmuch as the engine capacity regulations doubled to 3 litres. Minimum weight was increased to 500kg and a raft of safety measures brought in. There were also regulations designed to stop the dangerously high wings being fitted to the cars (although we’d see them again in 1968). Maximum race distance was reduced by 100km to 400km. Cars that failed to complete 90% of the race distance were no longer classified as finishers and would therefore receive no points even if they finished in the first six. This was Brabham’s third and final World Championship
For 1967 the South African race was back on, and the Canadian race was included in the Championship. They still didn’t want every race counting towards the championship and with eleven races they decided to count the best five of the first six and then the best four of the last five races. The Brabham-Repco cars dominated the season and it was Denny Hulme who won the Championship from Jack Brabham as runner-up. The team started the year with the BT20 development of the Championship-winning BT19 from1966, but soon moved onto the BT24 for the second half of the season. Although Jim Clark’s new Lotus-Cosworth 49 won more races he still only came 3rd in the Championship as Hulme and Brabham accumulated more points from more top-6 finishes.
1968 and the addition of the Spanish GP at Jarama made 12 races for this season, so the best five from the first six races and the best five from the second six races counted towards the Championship. Jim Clark won the first race in South Africa but was tragically killed in a relatively insignificant F2 race at Hockenheim. Graham Hill led the team on through the season to take a convincing Championship even though the team had lost its exclusive use of the Cosworth DVF engine, which was to become the “industry standard” for those teams not producing their own engines. Behind Hill came Jackie Steward driving the Matra-Cosworth MS9 and MS10 with the emergent Ken Tyrrell running the Matra International outfit. Third was Denny Hulme, now driving for Bruce McLaren who’d followed Brabham’s lead and now owned his own team. This year also saw the lifting of the restrictions on sponsorship that allowed teams to paint their cars in the colours of their sponsors. More significantly it also saw the introduction of integral wing-shaped aerodynamic devices, or aerofoils, on the cars.
For 1969 there would have been no planned changes to the races. There were many new safety measures, e.g. Montjuic circuit, Barcelona was the first to be fully lined with Armco barriers, but the measures were still nowhere near what we see today. Indeed the Spa circuit in Belgium was, at that time, one of the most feared and Jackie Steward led a campaign to improve safety there, but the owners refused to spend the money required. A drivers’ boycott resulted in the event being cancelled, reducing the season to 11 races with the best five of the first six and then the best four of the last five races counting. Jackie Steward virtually ran away with the Championship driving the Matra-Cosworth MS80 for Ken Tyrrell. Next up was Jackie Ickx in the Brabham-Cosworth BT26A (the Cosworth-powered variant of the Repco-engined BT26), with Bruce McLaren third in his own McLaren-Cosworth M7C.
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