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Monza in the '70s: new chicanes

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#1 908/3

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Posted 17 August 2009 - 11:40

Hello everybody,

The fastest lap (or pole postion) of the 1973 Monza 1.000 Km race was marked by Cevert on a Matra, at an average speed of 252 km/h;
In 1972, F1 cars had already used the new layout with the chicanes that slowed down the average speed to around 215 km/h.
The average speed of touring cars for the Monza 4 hour race of the same 1973 also reveals that chicanes were not used (pole speed was around 210 km/h).
The question is: why were chicanes used only for F1 ? Were sports and touring cars considered safer than F1 ? It's hard to say, if you take into account the danger to get past the backmarkers.

Were these the last races run without chicanes at Monza ?

thank you !


#2 john winfield

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Posted 17 August 2009 - 13:30

Ciao Massimiliano,
I had forgotten that the 'new' chicanes weren't used for all races after the 1972 GP. I'll have a look through some old magazines but I would think that race organisers and / or governing bodies were less concerned about the speed differential of prototypes and touring cars than the accident potential of a slip-streaming group of open wheel racers. I believe the chicanes were installed to break up the groups of cars slip-streaming around at nearly 250kmh - a geat shame but, when I watch footage of the 1969, 1970 and 1971 Grand Prix, I'm not surprised! It's astonishing that there wasn't another big GP accident between 1961 and the arrival, in 1972, of the horrible, scratchy chicanes.
Anyway, my guess is that initially open-wheel grand prix cars were seen as the big problem.

Edited by john winfield, 17 August 2009 - 13:31.

#3 longhorn

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Posted 17 August 2009 - 14:12


Re-reading DSJ's report in Motor Sport October 1973, it would seem that the chicanes were requested by the GPDA in an effort to slow the GP cars down. As you say the chicanes were implemented for the 1972 GP but not used for the 1973 1000km even though there were 8 GPDA drivers in the race. At least half the drivers at the 1973 GP thought the chicanes more dangerous than the slipstreaming but the balance of power at the GPDA was held by Stewart, Hulme etc.

I was lucky enough to see the 1971 GP, the last before the chicanes. It was the first race I'd been to outside the UK. It was memorable for so many reasons, not least the staggering speed. Because of the rush to get away after the race, we didn't even know that Gethin had won until we bought a L'Equipe newspaper in France on the way back to the UK.

#4 stevewf1

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Posted 17 August 2009 - 17:11

If I recall, in 1972, there was a temporary chicane set up towards the end of the front straight at Monza and Chapman put a "narrow-track" front suspension on the Lotuses so as to negotiate that chicane better...

#5 longhorn

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Posted 17 August 2009 - 21:36


In 1972 there were in fact two chicanes, one as you say on the pits straight at the point where the road splits onto the banking. The pits straight was coned off from the exit of the Parabolica, so the exit was tighter and the cars had to run on the pits side of the straight until they reached the chicane which they exited into the left lane towards the Curva Grande. The second chicane was just before the Vialone or what we now know as Ascari and was a second gear left right left.

I didn't know about the narrow track Lotus. Chapman only sent the one car entered under World Wide Racing, as he had also done in 1971. That car 72D/R7 was damaged when the transporter had a blowout and crashed onto it's side. Fortunately, they also had 72D/R5 on a transporter on the French side of the Mont Blanc tunnel, in case of irreparable damage to the first car, but probably weren't expecting damage in transit.

#6 proviz

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Posted 18 August 2009 - 08:28

Off the top of my head, I'd say Lotus used the narrow track solution in '73 or '74...