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1952-1953: F2 replaced F1


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#1 Marcor

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Posted 15 January 2003 - 00:50

When was it decided that the GPs would be run under the F2 regulations ? I would like to have a precise date but it was not so simple.

According all what I've read and understood, each organiser of a round of the World championship decided himself which formula he would choose. Finally all - one after the other (in Europa) - chose the F2. The Royal AC of Belgium was one of the last to accept the F2 . A Belgium GP with some BRM, Ferrari (private ?) and Talbot (including two yellow cars !) could be enough attractive. The RAC supported the F1 because of BRM but also joined the F2 camp.

So who was the first to prefer the 2-litre unsupercharged or 500 cc supercharged - the F2 ? Monaco didn't accept at all and organised a sports cars race instead of a F2 Grand Prix. He lost his place in the Championship.

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#2 Don Capps

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Posted 15 January 2003 - 01:32

It was not until after the non-appearance of the BRM team at Torino that the rush to F2 really began. Alfa Romeo were still not certain whether or not they would or would not compete as early as the beginning of January. The BRM team was testing at Monza and instead of competing at Torino, the BRM cars were whisked off to Britain to be tested by Fangio that weekend. Meanwhile, Fangio was at the race in Italy when he was expected to be testing the BRMs. An absolute fiasco. With any hope of BRM competing that season, given that incredible bone-headed move, the organizers jumped ship to F2 almost en masse within a week or so after Torino. I think that Belgium (RACB) was one of the first to defect with the ACF and others following in quick succession, with even the RAC finally falling in line.

#3 Wolf

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Posted 15 January 2003 - 03:51

Speaking of GP regulations and P51- I remember reading that P51 was cruical consideration when setting the capacity of supercharged engines for F1 after F2 period (I think it would run either as straight or vee 8, hence 750cc). Needless to say, BRM then turned to 2.5l normally aspirated engine... :lol:

But what surprised me, if it is indeed so, that BRM's wellbeing would be such a big factor, or was British lobby that strong?

#4 Marcor

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Posted 15 January 2003 - 11:45

What was the role of the AIACR (sorry the FIA) ?

#5 Don Capps

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Posted 15 January 2003 - 15:38

The CSI basically rolled with the punches and simply read the handwriting on the wall and shifted the CSI World Championship to F2 by the rather creative elegant solution of simply allocating the rounds and giving points to whoever fininshed in scoring positions. There was a championship event run to the current F1 -- with a few modifications -- in 1952 and 1953: the International Sweepstakes.

The lack of faith in the BRM team to contest the F1 rounds -- CSI WDC or not -- of the year, coupled with the decision by Maserati to focus its efforts on its "real" business interests -- machine tools and so forth -- and only providing mounts for private entrants in 1952 (a stance it modified once the season got under way) meant that F1 was essentially dead in the eyes of the organizing clubs. F2 was really quite healthy at the time and had entries from both France and Britain, plus the series was only 500cc shy of the new GP formula announced in late 1951. All these factors led to a stampede by the clubs to stage the premier events for the 1952 (and 1953) season to F2.

Although the season looks like a Ferrari rout in retrospect, keep in mind that Ferrari was scarcely the established marque it is today and its best efforts to date -- and the $$$ -- being in sports car racing. Only in the latter part of the 1951 season did Ferrari emerge as a GP marque, pushing Alfa Romeo to the wall with the latter narrowly putting one of its drivers on the throne as the seasonal champion. Alfa Romeo then hemmed and hawed about continuing its GP program until the very first days of 1952. Finally, the pressures to shift the staff working in the racing shop to the production team to gear up and produce new models won out over the urge to race.

Although BRM is usually painted as the villain in this whole mess, it is done with good reasons to back it up. Although Our Doug can do a much better job of explaining all this, by simply not providing at least one BRM to sit on the grid at Torino, BRM clearly demonstrated a lack of commitment to a racing program which sent a wave of near panic through the various organizers. That the cars were hastily rushed back to Britain for a testing session for a driver who would not appear for the simple reason that he was watching the race in Torino was the last straw. The incredible incompetence and the lunacy of how the BRM team was being run at the time would have reverberations far beyond the madness of its managment.

#6 petefenelon

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Posted 15 January 2003 - 15:57

Originally posted by Don Capps

BRM clearly demonstrated a lack of commitment to a racing program


I'd argue that "competence" or "focus" is probably a better word here than "commitment" - having read various writers including Tony Rudd, Raymond Mays himself and DCN on BRM it seems that the guys on the front line were working extremely hard in a virtual management vacuum (Mays and Berthon seemed to understand pre-war timescales and efforts, and to misunderstand that racing had stepped up a gear since "their day") and BRM had yet to properly settle down as part of the Owen Organisation.

Of course, there's also the argument that maybe the Championship wasn't all that important to BRM at the time - maybe they really did prefer beating the Thin Wall Special in five-lappers at the likes of Turnberry.

pete

#7 Don Capps

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Posted 15 January 2003 - 16:33

I meant to imply that BRM lacked a commitment to a racing program which actually resulted in cars on a grid anywhere but Turnberry. My heart aches every time I read about the super-human efforts that the mechanics and staff expended in their efforts to make the BRM a competitive racing machine during this period. Coincidentially, I am re-reading Tony Rudd's book and I never cease to marvel at just how consistently the team snatched failure from the jaws of success -- in large part due to the antics of "RM" and "PB." This still remains a good "what if..." situation to mull over. This is in part due to the fact that BRM, from what I am given to understand, had not even submitted entries to some fof the major events (WDC and otherwise) on the Continent.

#8 petefenelon

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Posted 15 January 2003 - 17:28

Originally posted by Don Capps
I meant to imply that BRM lacked a commitment to a racing program which actually resulted in cars on a grid anywhere but Turnberry. My heart aches every time I read about the super-human efforts that the mechanics and staff expended in their efforts to make the BRM a competitive racing machine during this period. Coincidentially, I am re-reading Tony Rudd's book and I never cease to marvel at just how consistently the team snatched failure from the jaws of success -- in large part due to the antics of "RM" and "PB." This still remains a good "what if..." situation to mull over. This is in part due to the fact that BRM, from what I am given to understand, had not even submitted entries to some fof the major events (WDC and otherwise) on the Continent.


Glad to see we're in almost complete agreement then!

The BRM drivers, engineers and mechanics were buggered-about (although perhaps that's not the best term....;)) horribly by the management. Everything one reads (even Mays' own book on BRM) paints him and PB as dilettantes.

Had Tony Rudd's talent been recognised earlier, or Eric Richter remained with the project longer, or Alfred Owen's men pushed the Mays/Berthon axis aside... who knows.

In the bluntest analysis, BRM missed the boat so many times it's almost untrue - anyone looking at them with a managerial eye would have to wonder just how they managed to make the same mistakes so many times. (And yes, I'm aware how much external work Rudd and his people were doing... the question has to be how much did that benefit the Owen Organisation?)

They had a pretty horrid record of unreadiness for every F1 they raced in -

- the V16 was late, at least coming to any semblance of real raceworthiness
- the four-cylinder car was late, so they had to buy the Maserati - but it eventually came good.
- arguably turning the car round to get it rear-engined should've happened a year earlier...
- the V8 was late, so they had to faff around with the BRM-Climax - but was eventually very good.
- the H16 was late.... and not very good.

It's only with the initially-stopgap V12 that they start to get vaguely timely. If they'd gone straight from Tasman V8 to 3l V12 they should have dominated in 66/early 67...

I'm amazed that there seems to never have been any real project management there - to make this kind of mistake once is excusable. To miss the start of four separate formulae for pretty much the same set of reasons implies a serious managerial malaise!

And yet I still feel more affection for BRM than for almost any marque other than Lotus and Chevron. Weird.


pete

#9 ensign14

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Posted 15 January 2003 - 17:40

Yet could it be argued that the move to F2 was a mistake? The BRMs did race fairly regularly in British F1 races, and almost every single major event was won by Ferrari. Did organizers misjudge the quality of the Gordinis, AFMs, Maseratis &c at the start of adopting the formula? Or perhaps this is hindsight (thinking in particular of how Fangio/Maserati would have done against Ascari/Ferrari had he not been injured)?

And Pete, as for missing 4 major formulae changes, almost every team missed the 1966 change, the British teams did their best to ignore the 1961 change and no-one else could be bothered with F1 in 1952...

#10 petefenelon

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Posted 15 January 2003 - 19:32

Originally posted by ensign14
Yet could it be argued that the move to F2 was a mistake? The BRMs did race fairly regularly in British F1 races, and almost every single major event was won by Ferrari. Did organizers misjudge the quality of the Gordinis, AFMs, Maseratis &c at the start of adopting the formula? Or perhaps this is hindsight (thinking in particular of how Fangio/Maserati would have done against Ascari/Ferrari had he not been injured)?

And Pete, as for missing 4 major formulae changes, almost every team missed the 1966 change, the British teams did their best to ignore the 1961 change and no-one else could be bothered with F1 in 1952...


The '66 change was coming years before. Rudd is in fact partly to blame for it - the CSI wanted something bigger because sports cars were starting to go faster than F1s. The British constructors actually wanted 2 litres, so they could extend their existing 1.5l engines. The previous formula was 2.5 litres, so they figured the FIA wouldn't go back to that. So Rudd, Chapman and various other Brits got together and proposed three litres, confidently expecting to be knocked back down to 2 litres by the CSI. The CSI however accepted three litres and it went through on the nod, leaving a bunch of befuddled Brits.... They had the entire '64 and '65 seasons to start developing a 3.0l engine!

As for '52 - BRM knew the 2.5l formula was coming in '54. They had TWO FULL YEARS of F2 during which they could've been developing the P25 rather than racing V16s in FLibre sprints. (Heck, a sensible programme might've involved putting a 2l version of Tresilian's engine into one of the lightweight V16 chassis - or is that too sensible!?)

pete

#11 fines

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Posted 15 January 2003 - 19:53

Once and for all: There was NEVER a change to Formula 2!

The Formula One World Champion was first run in 1981. From 1950 to 1980 there was a "World Championship for Drivers", and from 1958 to 1980 additionally an "International Cup for Formula One Constructors". There was no rule until 1961 (from memory) that WDC races should be run to Formula One rules - hence the inclusion of the Indy 500, which wasn't similar to F1 at all (supercharged cars were allowed double capacity, and there were options for Diesel engines (6,600 cc 4-stroke, 4,500 cc 2-stroke). We've been through that before, haven't we????

#12 Don Capps

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Posted 15 January 2003 - 20:31

Michael is quite correct to point out that it was the "WDC" as administered by the CSI, and not the current "F1 WDC." Please note exactly what I said: the CSI simply allocated the rounds to the various clubs and counted the score, regardless of what formula they were run to. In 1952, there could have potentially been a mixture of the formulae used, F1 or F2, to decide the CSI WDC. As Michael points out, the CSI could designate its WDC from whatever formula it desired -- or at least in both theory and practice as far as 1952 and 1953 go.

Now that I think about it, I am always a bit curious as to why this very topic is rarely addressed in any depth in the ocean of ink and the mounds of dead trees used to chronicle the CSI's WDC. Interesting that there are millions upon millions of lines devoted to the history of F1 and only a very, very few to this whole affair. I remember looking into all this some time ago, but what I remember most is that the whole thing seem to teeter on the events of literally just days, scarcely much more than a few weeks, during which the tide shifted several times before finally moving in the direction it did.

#13 Wolf

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Posted 15 January 2003 - 21:27

Michael, whether we call it one way or another (or not call it at all) the fact is that all the events counting towards C'ship in '51 were run to Formula 1, and all events in '52 to Formula 2...;) The problem is we need to call it something, and whatever we use will somehow imply official 'change' (which there was, as You say, none), but I guess it's still better than using 'general tendency of organizers of WDC rounds to run them to Formula 2 specification'... Hell, that would be too cumbersome as a akronym- GToOoWDCRtRTtF2S. :p

#14 Ray Bell

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Posted 15 January 2003 - 21:45

A 'matter arising'...

Had BRM chosen to continue with the supercharged engine into the 2.5/750cc formula, would they have accelerated the acceptance of turbocharging?

Accepting that they could have put together a car as basically good as they did for the 2.5 engine, then what kind of an impact would their 300hp have made? Could they have made it driveable? Would the 1958 fuel change have come sooner or killed the project?

And I wonder just what prospect there is that some of the moves on the continent regarding the 1952/3 races might have been purely to keep Britain out of a winning position?

#15 fines

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Posted 15 January 2003 - 22:56

Originally posted by Wolf
Michael, whether we call it one way or another (or not call it at all) the fact is that all the events counting towards C'ship in '51 were run to Formula 1, and all events in '52 to Formula 2...;)

Wolfie, I'm a bit disappointed! You're usually a quick and witted learner - but you messed up big time here!!!! :down:

Just check mine and Don's posts, what do you read???? The Indy 500 was neither F1 nor F2, but... it counted for the World Championship!!!!;);) :lol:

#16 Wolf

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Posted 15 January 2003 - 23:42

Michael- mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa! Admittedly, I never saw Indy race as integral part of C'ship (not that it would excuse obvious error on my part). :blush:

#17 dolomite

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Posted 15 January 2003 - 23:55

Originally posted by Ray Bell
A 'matter arising'...

Had BRM chosen to continue with the supercharged engine into the 2.5/750cc formula, would they have accelerated the acceptance of turbocharging?

Accepting that they could have put together a car as basically good as they did for the 2.5 engine, then what kind of an impact would their 300hp have made? Could they have made it driveable? Would the 1958 fuel change have come sooner or killed the project?

And I wonder just what prospect there is that some of the moves on the continent regarding the 1952/3 races might have been purely to keep Britain out of a winning position?

At the risk of dragging this thread even further off topic, why didn't BRM resurrect the V16 in 1966? According to Rudd it was developing a reliable 600bhp plus on the dyno by 1954, even given the drawbacks of packaging it into a rear engined car maybe it would have been sufficient to blow away the available opposition in '66/'67? More so than the H-16 anyway....

#18 cabianca

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Posted 16 January 2003 - 05:33

IMO BRM was so far behind the 8-ball that they never could have pulled it off in the time-space continuem they were operating in. Many interesting cars have been developed by modern methods to show their design soundness and have performed much beter in vintage racing than they ever did in their youth. Perhaps someday, some gazillionaire will acquire a immediate post-war BRM and do that. Until then, I have to think it was a piece of dog doo. One of the problems was that Europe and UK didn't understand how broke they were, both financially and spiritually after WWII. The lifting of the gloom of war led to magnificent concepts, but no finance or vision to see them through. To paraphrase one of the more unpopular political leaders of the 20th Century, a Nation of Shopkeepers just wasn't up to making a competitive GP car at the time. They weren't alone. Think about the CTA Arsenal and the Cisitalia GP program. Like BRM, lovely visions, with no hope of success. To understand the mood of the day, the 1948 Olympics saw no new records set.

#19 Doug Nye

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Posted 16 January 2003 - 10:18

Originally posted by dolomite
At the risk of dragging this thread even further off topic, why didn't BRM resurrect the V16 in 1966?....


Goodness me - have you seen THE SIZE of the V16 engine?

Sit down and doodle a design with such a unit in the rear (as it would surely have needed to be given the thinking of the period 1965-67) of a 'modern' F1 car - then (considering the darned thing is 8 cylinders long PLUS the space for the centre ancillaries drive - check the wheelbase length required... Spin that at Silverstone and the road would be blocked. Oh yes - and then thread the necessary exhaust system through a 'modern' 1965-67 rear suspension system...

Regarding the FIA/CSI's acceptance of F2 events for WDC qualification through 1952-53, race organisers of national Grand Prix events were in correspondence with the governing body through the late summer and autumn of 1951 researching the possibility/expressing their intent of running their 1952 event for the minor Formula. Several of them did not actually confirm the change until very late in the piece...that winter.

Largely on BRM's behalf, Lord Howe of the British RAC lobbied the CSI not to permit such a move, but they rightly regarded the Continental GP organisers' conversion to F2 regulations as inevitable given the lack of competitive F1 entries since BRM remained unwilling (and self-evidently unable) to GUARANTEE their participation.

Desmond Scannell - contemporary Secretary of the British Racing Drivers' Club and never a BRM fan - made it plain almost from the outset that he was in favour of adopting F2 for the British GP. BRM could not guarantee entries - so what? - Cooper-Bristol, HWM, Frazer Nash...there were other cheerfully reliable outfits who were free of self-important dreams of grandeur and who could readily guarantee support for a Formula 2 British Grand Prix.

Contrary to their self-image, BRM did not provide the only flag-waver.

And so it came to pass...

DCN

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#20 David McKinney

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Posted 16 January 2003 - 11:18

Originally posted by Doug Nye

Goodness me - have you seen THE SIZE of the V16 engine?

Sit down and doodle a design with such a unit in the rear (as it would surely have needed to be given the thinking of the period 1965-67) of a 'modern' F1 car - then (considering the darned thing is 8 cylinders long PLUS the space for the centre ancillaries drive - check the wheelbase length required... Spin that at Silverstone and the road would be blocked. Oh yes - and then thread the necessary exhaust system through a 'modern' 1965-67 rear suspension system...

...and don't forget the extra tankage you'll need because of the much higher consumption rate

#21 Vitesse2

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Posted 16 January 2003 - 14:56

Originally posted by David McKinney

...and don't forget the extra tankage you'll need because of the much higher consumption rate


I know the Alfa 159s were only pulling 2-3mpg (or was it maybe 1?) in 1951 - what did the BRM do? Sixteen thirsty little pots, as opposed to 8 ...

#22 Bladrian

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Posted 16 January 2003 - 17:21

Originally posted by dolomite

At the risk of dragging this thread even further off topic, why didn't BRM resurrect the V16 in 1966? According to Rudd it was developing a reliable 600bhp plus on the dyno by 1954, even given the drawbacks of packaging it into a rear engined car maybe it would have been sufficient to blow away the available opposition in '66/'67? More so than the H-16 anyway....


The biggest problem with using that particular engine is that it's high bhp figures derived mainly from a fuel mixture that would have been quite at home in a V-2 rocket. I believe stuff like acetone would have been frowned upon in 1966 .... :rotfl:

#23 Don Capps

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Posted 16 January 2003 - 17:58

The abandonment of F1 was not a monentary or hastily concocted action. It was something that arose from a reading of the tea leaves and pretty much pushed into being by the actions -- or inaction -- of several actors. When BRM became a no-show at Torino, the mood already had shifted well in the favor of running F2. BRM's decison -- or lack thereof -- was not unanticipated and the ballots were already cast pretty much cast.

As Doug correctly reminds us, the RAC was ever mindful of the fact that F2 allowed HWM, Cooper, Frazer Nash, and a few others into The Show.

Interestingly enough, I recall seeing where the new 2.5-litre F1 was seriously considered by the AAA, but.....

#24 dolomite

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Posted 17 January 2003 - 00:27

Originally posted by Doug Nye


Goodness me - have you seen THE SIZE of the V16 engine?

Sit down and doodle a design with such a unit in the rear (as it would surely have needed to be given the thinking of the period 1965-67) of a 'modern' F1 car - then (considering the darned thing is 8 cylinders long PLUS the space for the centre ancillaries drive - check the wheelbase length required... Spin that at Silverstone and the road would be blocked. Oh yes - and then thread the necessary exhaust system through a 'modern' 1965-67 rear suspension system...


I've never seen one in the flesh. I saw one of the V16 cars at the Autosport show once but it didn't seem to have an engine in it. Surely a 1.5l V16 wouldn't be that much different in length to, say, the 3l Honda V12 though? What about the Climax flat-16, how long was that?

You could do the exhaust with stack pipes, like the 1962 V8 car. And 4wd, for all that power, and provision for mid-race refuelling, as planned in 1951..... I'm not saying it would have been pretty, but it might have been fun... :stoned:

#25 Wolf

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Posted 17 January 2003 - 00:45

Originally posted by dolomite
I'm not saying it would have been pretty, but it might have been fun... :stoned:


Dolomite- fun?!? With that centrifugal charger?!? It was handful for drivers of Moss' calibre, and required driving style that was long gone even when P15 was around*. H16's powerband was quite peaky (hence the 6-speed box), but I think P15 was far worse in that respect...

* Imagine results of a driver that had to wait to get around the corner before being able to accelerate in '66 or '67 ;)

#26 Ray Bell

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Posted 17 January 2003 - 10:17

Obviously the world had moved on from the centrifugal supercharger by the mid-sixties...

And it would have been more logical to supercharge the V8... that would have been an interesting route... probably forestalled by the 'pump fuel' requirement.

But back in 1954, the V16 was becoming reliable, according to Mays. Of course, it should have been, after five years of development... so a V8 might have been an interesting proposition at that time.

#27 petefenelon

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Posted 17 January 2003 - 11:07

Originally posted by Ray Bell
Obviously the world had moved on from the centrifugal supercharger by the mid-sixties...

And it would have been more logical to supercharge the V8... that would have been an interesting route... probably forestalled by the 'pump fuel' requirement.

But back in 1954, the V16 was becoming reliable, according to Mays. Of course, it should have been, after five years of development... so a V8 might have been an interesting proposition at that time.


It was probably nearer seven or eight years since the engine was first conceived. Mays conveniently forgets how long the whole ADL/Britannia etc. genesis of the project went on!

#28 robert dick

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Posted 20 January 2003 - 11:53

What about the Climax flat-16, how long was that?



Just 25 millimetres longer than the V-8, otherwise smaller!

#29 Milan Fistonic

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Posted 20 January 2003 - 19:09

This was published in Autosport on December 28, 1951.

France's wholesale switch to Formula 2 racing deprives BRM of the chance to race at Rheims, a circuit well suited to the car. To suggestions that Formula 1 races next year will be few and far between, and poorly supported at that, the retort comes that Alfas, having built new cars which appeared at Monza, will want to race them somewhere, and that Ferrari, whose 4.5-litre cars are now au point, will most certainly compete. Oscas, too, don't develop an unblown "4.5" for nothing. Time will tell.

#30 dolomite

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Posted 20 January 2003 - 19:36

Originally posted by Wolf


Dolomite- fun?!? With that centrifugal charger?!? It was handful for drivers of Moss' calibre, and required driving style that was long gone even when P15 was around*. H16's powerband was quite peaky (hence the 6-speed box), but I think P15 was far worse in that respect...

* Imagine results of a driver that had to wait to get around the corner before being able to accelerate in '66 or '67 ;)


I meant fun as an engineering exercise, not necessarily fun for the driver....