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What the History Books Don't Tell Us -- The Behind-the-Scene Stories


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#1 Don Capps

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Posted 14 September 2004 - 20:31

As I was pondering some of the things -- especially those mysterious backroom goings-on of the CSI and other assorted rascals -- which rarely seem to make it into the history books, I started to contemplate why the CSI mandates which initiated changes which completely altered the Grand Prix scene beginning with the 1958 season did not take effect until the 1958 season. By this, I mean that after 1955 the CSI was in the deep fat fryer to do something and do it quick. On the surface, not much really seemed to change for 1956 season -- the AC d'O did make changes to the Le Mans pit and grandstand area, but the cars were still allowed bigger and bigger engines through the 1957 season in sports car racing and the GP world rolled along as before, only certain venues such as the Bremgarten disappearing.

However, for 1958 the GP events get shortened Significantly, there is the dubious adoption of AvGas in the place of alcohol, and sports cars also get cut back to three-litres. So, why didn't this happen in 1958 and not 1957? Unlike today, the CSI was prone to shoot first and aim later and tell everyone to lump it. Please. Living in another dimension, the CSI Blazers were immune to some of the lobbying tactics common today, but they could be had.

Did the 1957 Mille Miglia finally push them to the point where they could no longer dither and delay in the hope of it all blowing over? Similarly, one has to wonder if once more switching the championship to F2 crossed their minds. Indeed, had the CSI considered this measure, did it not get the support from the organizers or was it simply looked upon as simply gettng into a dither over nothing?

While the world scarcely needs another history of GP racing, I have yet to come across one that really deals frankly and in a forthright manner with all the many things that bubbled beneath the surface in just that one form of racing from its inception in late 1949 right up until today. The problems of the Winter of 1951/1952 have only touched upon in any detail once or perhaps twice, the backroom stuff generated by the problems of 1955 has been largely ignored for the most part. The loss the AAA Contest Board as the USA's voice on the CSI has rarely been addressed from an European standpoint.

How did the various package deals for starting money affact the sport during the 1960s, especially in light of the increasing presence of the F1CA in such things, really affect things? The London Committee has scarcely a line mentioned in the histories of GP racing. Yet, for the next decade, its impact gets felt as the contours of the sport change.

I realize that the vast majority cares not one iota about such stuff, but lurking beneath the surface are so many factors which obviously influenced things but rarely gets any mention since there seems to be an unwritten rule that such things are best ignored.

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#2 Don Capps

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Posted 14 September 2004 - 23:29

Would be be correct, from the 1950 thru 1980 seasons, to consider the international racing formula one and the world championship(s) conducted by the CSI as two entities, separate but connected? If so, which organizing club -- or clubs -- took the lead to shift the focus for the 1952 season from the GP formula/F1 to F2? The new IRF1 for 1954/1957 was announced in late-1951 (October or November, I can't recall right now) and while Alfa Romeo did not formally withdraw until the Spring of 1952, most of the focus has been on the decision of the BRM team to not enter the Torino race, not on the discussions to drop to the using the voiturette formula. And, was the CSI a party to these talks or merely reacting to the obviously on-going discussions?

Recall that one of the friction points twix the F1CA and GPI in the early 1970s was that the CSI was free to designate any formula that it wished for the championship series.

Did the Brits simply not play their cards right with the Intercontiental Formula or just get outplayed by the Blazers?

Funny how little or if any of this ever gets discussed in the tomes that enshrine the illustrious history of GP and F1.....

#3 Ray Bell

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Posted 15 September 2004 - 01:06

Can you imagine just how frustrating it would be for a spannerman at BRM in 1952?

Here you are, the key factor, the lynch pin in changing the course of F1, forcing Ferrari to trot out with their 4.5s, and having to dither around while the 'fools upstairs' take decisions that wangle your team right out of the spotlight...

#4 Wolf

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Posted 15 September 2004 - 01:35

Ray, didn't 'fools upstairs', as I've read somewhere, decide on the option of 750cc S/C engines for new formula in order to allow B.R.M. to cut their engine in half?

Don, those are the very kind of things I've missed too. And that's why I liked Your RVMs on, say '61 season, where You 'set the scene' waay back with CSI meeting, followed Ferrari's rear engined cars prior to the season, included *all* the F1 races, &c... One wants to know all sorts of things, and some things are unfortunately very rarely dealt with.

#5 Ray Bell

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Posted 15 September 2004 - 01:41

Wolfie... the 'fools upstairs' to which I refer were the in-house ones at BRM... not the CSI, FIA or anyone outside the organisation.

What I mean is this... BRM had the prospect of forcing organisers to run the F1 cars if they just turned out and put on a show. But imagine the frustration of the guys in the back rooms working to make it happen while their bosses were deciding they should do other things instead...

#6 David McKinney

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Posted 15 September 2004 - 05:30

I once tried to get to the bottom of the 1952/53 F2 switch, but at that time had only Autosport as a source.
That publication had, during 1951, reported nervousness among race organisers about the likelihood of very small fields for Grands Prix. Then in December 1951 the French organisers announced that all their 1952 events would be held under F2 regulations. Other Continental organisers were known to be considering following suit, for Ferrari had declared they would not run their F1 cars in Europe this year, and, in spite of the published intentions of BRM, organisers had learned to take such pronouncements from the British team with a grain of salt.
The last straw was Alfa's announcement, in March, that they would not be racing in 1952.
I did not however find any specific reference to the CSI decision to switch the WC to F2.

#7 Even Darker

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Posted 15 September 2004 - 09:24

Kevin Desmond's dire biography of Antonio Ascari, The Man With Two Shadows , is not only badly written and full of numerological claptrap, it is also very shaky on basic facts. For instance, did you know that Fangio drove the 1952 TT in a BRM? :rotfl:

Nevertheless, for what it's worth, here is a summary of his take on the 1952 decision.

The organisers of grand prix were getting worried that with Alfa Romeo withdrawing and the BRM not ready, races would be a Ferrari walk over. So to get a better spectacle, the organisers of non-championship races began switching to F2.

According to Desmond, the crunch point came at the Turin Grand Prix, which had stuck with F1. When the BRM scratched, the race was a Ferrari procession. I believe the only other classified finisher was a Lago-Talbot 5 laps down. This is said to have clinched the decision to switch to F2 for the championship.

What is interesting is that while several people have commented on this, no-one has yet responded on Don's original question on the 1955-58 situation. I must admit I'm at a loss to see how we could ever get to the bottom of that, unless there are some contemporary accounts or memoirs from the people involved at the CSI. Even if we could get at the minutes of key meetings, I very much doubt that they would record what was really going on. The only way to get to the bottom of it may be to track down any surviving members of the CSI and torture them. :)

#8 petefenelon

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Posted 15 September 2004 - 11:08

Originally posted by Don Capps
Would be be correct, from the 1950 thru 1980 seasons, to consider the international racing formula one and the world championship(s) conducted by the CSI as two entities, separate but connected? If so, which organizing club -- or clubs -- took the lead to shift the focus for the 1952 season from the GP formula/F1 to F2? The new IRF1 for 1954/1957 was announced in late-1951 (October or November, I can't recall right now) and while Alfa Romeo did not formally withdraw until the Spring of 1952, most of the focus has been on the decision of the BRM team to not enter the Torino race, not on the discussions to drop to the using the voiturette formula. And, was the CSI a party to these talks or merely reacting to the obviously on-going discussions?

Recall that one of the friction points twix the F1CA and GPI in the early 1970s was that the CSI was free to designate any formula that it wished for the championship series.

Did the Brits simply not play their cards right with the Intercontiental Formula or just get outplayed by the Blazers?

Funny how little or if any of this ever gets discussed in the tomes that enshrine the illustrious history of GP and F1.....



You must remember that history is always written by the winners - at least "popular" history -- and therefore F1 'politics' of course started at Montjuich in '75, peaked with the FIASCO war and ended with Bernie emerging triumphant carrying the severed head of Balestre in the early 80s....;) Revisionism and Year Zero syndrome have seen to that - in the years BBCE it was just a bunch of old duffers in blazers who were more interested in racing than the much more important business of making money ;P

I have found no thorough account of the 52 drift to F2 in any of the literature. The nearest I've encountered come from the BRM perspective - DCN volume 1, the Mays/Roberts book - there are odd mentions in biographies of drivers active then, but since when were drivers party to most of the politics? Oddly (as the main beneficiaries of the decision of most of the GP organisers to switch to F2) there is relatively little in any Ferrari books I've read about this.

The impression I've pieced together from the fragments I've found is that through the winter and early spring the race organisers individually realised that in the absence of Alfa and BRM, nobody was going to pay to watch three Ferraris and a couple of clapped-out Talbots, and decided to promote F2 instead. Of course, this tends to become a self-fulfilling prophecy, although some races 'held out' for much longer than others - the British GP was going to be for F1 until quite late in the day, IIRC.

Such books as bother to say more than "...Alfa retired, BRM dropped out and the championship was run for F2"
(would it be more accurate to say "all the European rounds of the championship were run for F2"? - probably - was there anything that precluded the Championship including F1 and F2 races? - I have never seen any evidence of this!) imply that the CSI was basically presented with a set of faits accomplis...

It's interesting that you're splitting the 54-60 formula into two distinct periods, I think it's a very fine piece of revisionism (and I mean that in a positive sense) - it makes more sense to consider 54-7 and 58-60 as separate formulae with entirely different constraints on the cars and the racing, the formulae just happening to share engine capacity. And 1958 meets my personal criterion for a "new formula" -- BRM weren't ready for it ;)

And yes, now you mention it, why did '58 happen? Because it isn't a "major formula change" (except it is!) it isn't documented in anything like the depth the '52-3 changes, or the '61 or '66 formulae are....

Intercontinental -- what a great name for something that was effectively glorified clubbie FLibre! -- never stood a chance anywhere else, did it? It had no chance of acceptance anywhere else given the almost inevitable domination of British chassis and Climax engines from the previous F1 - it has to be regarded from this distance as a "two fingers" gesture to the FIA and a way of providing some relatively spectacular single-seater racing at national level. It was doomed from the point that Climax and BRM started work on V8s, and arguably could not have survived "Big Banger" G7 sports car racing anyway. (Of course, had Intercontinental developed any 'legs' of its own, would G7 have happened in Britain?)

I think it's definitely appropriate to consider "F1" and "the championship" as separate but related entities certainly up to the "return of power" and arguably up to at least the Energy Crisis.

In the 1.5l years, the barrier to getting into F1 was lower than at any time before or since. You could buy a Cooper or a Lotus or a Brabham for a few grand, start off with an FPF and if you were any good you could make enough in start money and prizes at minor races to eventually stick a tired old ex-works V8 in your car... the scene had enough space for privateers, enough races where the pickings were relatively juicy and easy. At least at the start of the formula, the cars were low-tech and relatively cheap, and the performance sufficiently down on the previous F1 that it wasn't too intimidatory for less-experienced drivers. There was F1, and part of F1 was the Championship, but if you were a privateer you probably weren't too interested in that and were more concerned with finding races with weak entries and/or good starting money!

The balance seems to shift from F1 being "just another racing formula" some of whose races counted for the championship and others didn't to "a championship with a few supporting non-championship races" over the 66-70 period; the next 'threat' to "f1 = championship = gp" seems to come in '73 with the Energy Crisis and the brief rise of GPI. There is quite a bit of reference to the possibility of F2 and/or F5000 cars filling GP grids in the contemporary magazines... oddly enough the F1 grids seemed to get bigger in '74 once the season got properly under way, but '73 clearly marked a point where the CSI had the possibility of organising a different sort of championship - economic circumstances briefly made that look possible, too.

Then of course the next point at which a schism was possible was the FIASCO war - but even then the WFMS were going to run to what were essentially F1 regs but with skirts, weren't they?

#9 angst

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Posted 15 September 2004 - 11:34

Originally posted by David McKinney
I once tried to get to the bottom of the 1952/53 F2 switch, but at that time had only Autosport as a source.
That publication had, during 1951, reported nervousness among race organisers about the likelihood of very small fields for Grands Prix. Then in December 1951 the French organisers announced that all their 1952 events would be held under F2 regulations. Other Continental organisers were known to be considering following suit, for Ferrari had declared they would not run their F1 cars in Europe this year , and, in spite of the published intentions of BRM, organisers had learned to take such pronouncements from the British team with a grain of salt.
The last straw was Alfa's announcement, in March, that they would not be racing in 1952.
I did not however find any specific reference to the CSI decision to switch the WC to F2.



That opens up some new questions, doesn't it? I'd always believed, from what I have read of it, that F2 was introduced for the championship because the organisors were nervous of small fields being dominated by the Ferraris. I didn't realise that Alfa Romeo announced their withdrawal quite so late either. There is obviously so much more to this.

Was Ferrari concerned that Alfa may still offer a challenge? Or, perhaps the rumours of Mercedes-Benz coming back prompted them to 'manipulate' the situation to their advantage (the Ferrari F2 was absolutely dominant).

#10 Ray Bell

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Posted 15 September 2004 - 12:24

What hasn't been stated so far, but is obvious to those reading between the lines, is that the Championship was secondary to the individual races.

That is, the organisers of the races had the say, the Championship was bound to follow their decisions.

To me, this means that a mixed bag title with some F1 and some F2 races was a definite possibility...

#11 petefenelon

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Posted 15 September 2004 - 12:53

Originally posted by Ray Bell
What hasn't been stated so far, but is obvious to those reading between the lines, is that the Championship was secondary to the individual races.

That is, the organisers of the races had the say, the Championship was bound to follow their decisions.

To me, this means that a mixed bag title with some F1 and some F2 races was a definite possibility...


Indeed, something that's hard to tell (because of all the reflected glare of championships, and because one's perspective is coloured by the culture in which one formed one's opinion of racing) is when did the World Championship become "a big thing"? I don't think there's any one unique answer to this, I think there are different perspectives in different "racing cultures"...

The impression I get is that at least until '57-8 or so it was 'no big deal' in the UK and it took the rise of Vanwall, Moss and Hawthorn to actually give it a profile beyond the specialist press and the sports pages. (Or, put bluntly, there wasn't much British interest in it until there was British success!). You can see the rise of the importance of the championship with the increasing use of Brabham, Hill, Clark etc. in advertising material, endorsements etc. What role did the instigation of the Constructors' championship play in the rise in importance of titles?

It would be interesting to hear European perspectives on this - was the dominant Italy indifferent to the Championship at first, treating it as "just more races"? There seems to be a case for saying that (possibly down to the lack of top-line French drivers apart from Behra, and the lack of good French cars, and the importance of Le Mans) it wasn't regarded as particularly important in France until the later sixties) - look at how grand Rheims was, championship round or not; it was an important race in its own right. What about Germany, for instance - did Mercedes see the benefit from F1 in being recognised as Grand Prix winners, or was the World Championship important to them?

#12 Vitesse2

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Posted 15 September 2004 - 13:22

But Pete - Intercontinental did survive elsewhere! It's just that it came to be known as the "Tasman Formula" ... and have a hunt around for references to "Formula 366": had it happened, this would have been the US equivalent of ICF and you can even trace its spoor in the beginnings of the SCCA Formula A which eventually gave us F5000.

#13 Vitesse2

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Posted 15 September 2004 - 13:34

Re the 1952 switch: in First Among Champions David Venables says the FIA announced it "within a few weeks" after Turin. I don't think he's the sort of man to rely on anything other than a published source .....

#14 petefenelon

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Posted 15 September 2004 - 13:42

Originally posted by Vitesse2
But Pete - Intercontinental did survive elsewhere! It's just that it came to be known as the "Tasman Formula" ... and have a hunt around for references to "Formula 366": had it happened, this would have been the US equivalent of ICF and you can even trace its spoor in the beginnings of the SCCA Formula A which eventually gave us F5000.


Good point, but isn't Tasman Formula just a case of parallel evolution rather than conscious adoption of ICF rules - loads of old F1 kit that had been scuttled Down Under?;)

I must admit that I hadn't thought of the origins of FA/F5000 as lying with ICF, I'd always thought of it as just being a way for Americans to have affordable single-seaters with locally-available stock smallblocks in them rather than turbo Offys.

On a similar "doomed formula" theme, I recall once reading about a "Formula Britain" proposed in the later 60s that was for 3l British production-engined single-seaters, as a top-level national formula - but F5000 was adopted instead? (I think I saw it referred to in the programme for the Rothmans 50,000)...

#15 David McKinney

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Posted 15 September 2004 - 14:28

There's not really a direct link between the I-C and Tasman series.
I-C was for 3-litre cars and died at the end of 1961. The first Tasman Formula, for 2.5s, came into force at the beginning of 1964.
Between those times competitors in Australia and New Zealand used 2.5 or 2.7 FPF engines, but could equally have used 6-litre V8s if they'd wanted to

#16 D-Type

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Posted 15 September 2004 - 17:25

So,

For 1952 we have the reasons postulated as[list=1]
[*]Alfa Romeo's withdrawal
[*]BRM failure to appear at Turin
[*]The non-appearance of Mercedes
[/list=1]
All indicating a walkover of Ferraris from Talbots and Gordinis with half full grids, etc.
We also have the suggestion of Ferrari orchestrating a push for F2 to avoid the possibility of the W165 appearing.
But we have no real evidence.

If memory serves me right, one of the reasons for introducing the Inter-Continental Formula was that the Americans had publicly stated they had no interest at all in a 1.5 litre formula so the Inter-Continental Formula was proposed in the hope that they might buy in to it leading to a series involving races in the US and in Europe and possibly even Indianapolis and the USAC championship following suit. Ferrari weren't interested, the Americans didn't take the bait so the formula became a refuge for last year's cars.
Again, no evidence.

#17 Roger Clark

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Posted 15 September 2004 - 19:46

I believe the catalyst for the change in 1952 was the announcement in January that the French Grand Prix series (Pau, Marseilles, Paris, Reims, Rouen, Sables d'Olonne, Comminges and La Baule) would be run to Formula 2. I don't know whether some of these races could ever have supported Formula 1 races, but the prosepct of having Gordini in a challenging position must have counted for something.

Other continental Grands Prix followed very quickly after this, but the British Grand Prix was not changed until May. Interestigly, the RAC delegated the decision to the BRDC. THe Belgian Grand Prix was another that changed very late.

By the time of BRM's failure to appear in Turin the majority of championship races had already changed to Formula 2.

As far as I know, the was never an announcement that the world championship was changed to Formula 2. The races were changed and the championship followed them.

#18 uechtel

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Posted 15 September 2004 - 20:36

Originally posted by Ray Bell
What hasn't been stated so far, but is obvious to those reading between the lines, is that the Championship was secondary to the individual races.

That is, the organisers of the races had the say, the Championship was bound to follow their decisions.

To me, this means that a mixed bag title with some F1 and some F2 races was a definite possibility...


In fact with the inclusion of Indianapolis it was a multi-formula championship already.

On the other hand the organizers or the German Grand Prix of 1950 and 1960 made the deliberate decision towards running it as Formula 2 race and thus loosing the world championship status. So while the organizers were free in chosing the formula I don´t think the championship followed AUTOMATICALLY, but it looks more like if this required some kind of explicit decision by the FIA, which became necessary, when it became clear, that there would be no sufficient number of Formula 1 events in 1952.

Regarding the status of championships I think it certainly did have already quite some importance on the "continent". For example in "Automobile Revue" the Swiss championship (which had a REALLY weird points system) was really extensively discussed. And wasn´t Alfa Romeo´s decision to return to Grand Prix racing in 1950 directly connected with the introduction of the world championship?

#19 Vitesse2

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Posted 15 September 2004 - 21:07

Originally posted by David McKinney
There's not really a direct link between the I-C and Tasman series.
I-C was for 3-litre cars and died at the end of 1961. The first Tasman Formula, for 2.5s, came into force at the beginning of 1964.
Between those times competitors in Australia and New Zealand used 2.5 or 2.7 FPF engines, but could equally have used 6-litre V8s if they'd wanted to

.... both of which would have conformed to Formula 366! And the only car which could be said to have been built specifically for either ICF or F366 was the rear-engined Scarab - which only ever raced once in period: in Australia in a Formule Libre race!

I'm not saying it's a formal direct link, David, but it all slots together quite neatly ....

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#20 Ray Bell

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Posted 15 September 2004 - 21:31

It's also true to say, David and Speedy, that local press referred to cars competing in Australia and New Zealand at that time as 'Intercontinental' cars...

But it is a fact that the races had no ceilings on engine capacity, minimum weights or anything else, some races including sports cars. Though not many, it seems...

#21 Doug Nye

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Posted 15 September 2004 - 22:02

Some history books do try to tell us at least part of the background stories...

I'm not sure of the detailed machinations of the accursed FIA at the time, but I do know that in the CSI meeting which took place during the 1951 Paris Salon - October 2-4 - the delegates dicussed possible replacements for plainly faltering Formula 1 to take effect after the end of the 1953 season.

The British delegate was Earl Howe who pleaded - largely on BRM's behalf - for a continuation of the existing 1.5-litres supercharged/4.5-litres unsupercharged options. Howe's stance was actually supported by Alfred Neubauer who had wangled a presence representing Daimler-Benz...who - one would imagine - had some interest in the 1.5-litres supercharged category.

But agreement emerged instead for the 750cc supercharged/2.5-litres unsupercharged classes to take effect for 1954.

None of which did anything to fill race promoters' grids short-term, for 1952-53. Initially Alfa Romeo issued a statement declaring interest "only in short-distance events". This seemed to leave only Ferrari and BRM with what might be described as 'current' machinery to offer any prospect of competition on track.

As a result the French promoters first met and in mid-January 1952 'Autosport' reported "BOMBSHELL FROM FRANCE! Wholesale switch-over to Formula 2" - and the report further declared that Belgian, Dutch, Swiss and German organisers were also expected to limit their major events to this minor class.

I believe that French influence within the CSI had already opened a door by attracting agreement that if insufficient Formula 1 races were to be organised during 1952 then World Championship status could be devolved instead upon Formula 2 events. Raymond Mays of BRM cabled every Grand Prix organiser in Europe to plead with them to maintain faith in Formula 1. But to his horror Desmond Scannell of the British Racing Driver's Club almost immediately announced that its International Trophy race at Silverstone would be run to Formula 2, and furthermore pressed BRM for confirmation of entries for the British GP there - otherwise it, too, would be run to F2 instead of F1 regulations.

Scannell emphasised to BRM's management that since race regulations had to be settled three to four months in advance of raceday he required definite assurances of guaranteed entry immediately.

On February 9, 1952, Earl Howe wrote to Mays commiserating over the wholesale cancellation of F1 dates across Europe and seeking to console him with news that the Turin GP was confirmed for Formula 1. For various reasons - including the fact that Mays and Peter Berthon were so dazzled by the prospect of Fangio and Gonzalez testing their cars at Silverstone that running V16s were recalled from testing at Monza instead of being sent on to Turin - Ferrari had an unopposed walkover at Valentino Park.

This stupidity on BRM's behalf condemned them in the eyes of a majority of European race promoters, and persuaded virtually all of the remaining waverers to commit their races to Formula 2 instead. Most notably the high-speed venues of Spa-Francorchamps and Monza at which the possibility of Formula 1 Belgian and Italian GPs had apparently survived into April, were speedily declared as having become further Formula 2 events.

The game was up...

DCN

#22 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 16 September 2004 - 07:47

Originally posted by uechtel
...the organizers or the German Grand Prix of 1950 and 1960 made the deliberate decision towards running it as Formula 2 race and thus loosing the world championship status...

:rolleyes:




Germany, which had lost the war, had been barred from international racing till the end of 1950, therefore German cars and drivers were not seen at international grand prix racing events. At the October 1950 Paris conference of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), the German delegation was admitted amiably. The restriction for German racing drivers to participate in other countries was officially abolished, enabling German drivers to participate again at every foreign race... and Germany was again allowed to stage international events.

Das Auto, March 1950, No. 6, pg. 180 ... In the row of Grandes Épreuves, the official championship runs of the FIA, the German Grand Prix is still missing at the moment, whose tradition is not less than the rest of the scoring runs, but 1951 it will surely count again...

#23 Vitesse2

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Posted 16 September 2004 - 10:04

Originally posted by Hans Etzrodt
:rolleyes:




Germany, which had lost the war, had been barred from international racing till the end of 1950, therefore German cars and drivers were not seen at international grand prix racing events. At the October 1950 Paris conference of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), the German delegation was admitted amiably. The restriction for German racing drivers to participate in other countries was officially abolished, enabling German drivers to participate again at every foreign race... and Germany was again allowed to stage international events.


Just a reminder, Hans - the October 1950 announcement was the official confirmation of a decision taken in 1949 ... German drivers had raced abroad during 1950.

http://forums.atlasf...&threadid=32280

:)

#24 uechtel

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Posted 16 September 2004 - 11:57

The 1950 Grand Prix was a fully international race again (hence the title "German Grand Prix" in contrast to the 1949 edition which was held as "Grand Prix of the Nürburgring"), with the usual participants from all of the world (ok, rest of Europe) present. The decison to run it as Formula 2 race was IIRC in order to present the spectators German cars and drivers, when no competitive F1 cars were available in Germany at that time.

In 1951 the race switched to F1 in order to achieve wc status, but it was again quite a disappointment when only one German driver (Pietsch) took part and crashed out of the race.

#25 Ray Bell

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Posted 16 September 2004 - 12:33

Originally posted by Doug Nye
.....For various reasons - including the fact that Mays and Peter Berthon were so dazzled by the prospect of Fangio and Gonzalez testing their cars at Silverstone that running V16s were recalled from testing at Monza instead of being sent on to Turin - Ferrari had an unopposed walkover at Valentino Park.

This stupidity on BRM's behalf condemned them in the eyes of a majority of European race promoters, and persuaded virtually all of the remaining waverers to commit their races to Formula 2 instead. Most notably the high-speed venues of Spa-Francorchamps and Monza at which the possibility of Formula 1 Belgian and Italian GPs had apparently survived into April, were speedily declared as having become further Formula 2 events.

The game was up...


This is what I meant by my original post... just imagine being one of the hard working crewmen who wanted to see the BRM in the right kind of company!

And isn't it ironic that the move to F2 was largely French, yet BRM's biggest European appearances were at Albi?

#26 WINO

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Posted 16 September 2004 - 14:02

It is not exactly that the Americans did not take the bait for the Intercontinental Formula. In fact, Reventlow planned to become a IC manufacturer and had developed, via Eddie Miller, a competition engine for this very purpose. It was the aluminum BOP V8 which, after considerable tweeking, reached 345 bhp on alcohol in its 3.5 liter version. Phil Remington developed its cross ram and fuel intake was by Webers.

Then the 1962 IC rules came out. The two additional classes created for U.S. competitors were:

-a 4 liter class allowing ohc but no modifcations in original carburetions/fuel injection.

-a 5 liter class for pushrods, again without modifications in carburetion/fuel injection.

Since production BOP units did not come with crossrams or Webers, the new engine would not be allowed to run and Reventlow saw the futility of it all. He ran the car once where it was allowed, in Melbourne in March 1962. Daigh beat Moss for 4th place. The engine was sold locally, immediately after the race.


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#27 Ray Bell

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Posted 16 September 2004 - 14:13

...to Bib Stillwell, who fitted it to his Cooper Monaco.

But if that's the case, where did the engine for Carnal Arnold's BRM come from?

#28 WINO

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Posted 16 September 2004 - 14:21

Not sure it was Bib Stillwell, as I would have recognized that name.

Daigh mentioned the owner at the time and the name was not familiar to me. Daigh said he met the owner many years later and was told the engine was used in six different cars after Melbourne 1962, without breaking once.


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#29 Ray Bell

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Posted 16 September 2004 - 14:26

Well, Arnold Glass' car was referred to as the 'BRM-Scarab' after it gained this engine... maybe Stillwell bought one that was sitting in the workshop in the USA?

I'm fairly sure it was Stillwell's car that fronted out with the Buick first... maybe David McKinney can check that out?

As for six cars, I know for sure that I couldn't trace that bit of history...

#30 WINO

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Posted 16 September 2004 - 14:35

If Stillwell called his engine an Olds it is likely that it was completed in 1962 by Traco. The engine in the rear-engined single seater Scarab was the 1961 Buick version. They were slightly different. Jim Travers and Frank Coon took over the RAI development after Daigh left early in 1962.


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#31 Ray Bell

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Posted 16 September 2004 - 14:44

My apologies, I've corrected my earlier post...

Stillwell's car was known as the Cooper Buick.

The first engine to run here with the Traco name attached to it was Matich's Elfin 400, which came to fruition in early 1966.

Wasn't the main difference between the Olds and Buick that the Buick had five head studs around each cylinder the Olds only four?

#32 WINO

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Posted 16 September 2004 - 15:00

Ray,

Actually, it was the other way around, with the Olds version having more studs. The rear-engined Scarab sportsracer of 1962 received an Olds engine, after blowing head gaskets on the Buick version a couple of times.

I would be interested to know when exactly Stillwell raced his Cooper/Buick for the first time. Looking at the timelines, RAI started work on the BOP first, in 1961. Apart from the rear-engined single-seater Scarab engine, they built one for Briggs Cunningham, which was dropped in the ex-McLaren Cooper Monaco of the 1961 Times GP and became the first Cunningham Cooper/Buick. They also built a version for Indianapolis in 1962, which was sent to Mickey Thompson.

By 1962 Thompson and Traco had started their own development programs, with Traco concentrating on the Olds version.


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#33 Ray Bell

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Posted 16 September 2004 - 15:09

Like I said before, you'd have to rely on David McKinney for that kind of information...

Not only am I away from my Racing Car News collection, but it doesn't start until August 1963. I have precious little, and certainly nothing complete, prior to that date in local magazines, so I would be hard pressed to put a date on it.

My feeling is that it happened about mid-1963, but it may have been as early as October 1962. Then, as I say that, I feel confident that I saw Matich race his 19 against Stillwell's Monaco with similar (Climax) engines more than once... and the first meeting I attended was in October 1962.

#34 Ray Bell

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Posted 16 September 2004 - 15:14

However, I am sitting right next to my AGP book... and in it the BRM Scarab's timeline is clearly identified...

The 1962 AGP was in mid-November, and the story describes the car as being the "three month old conversion of Glass' second P48 BRM to accept the alloy Buick V8 from Lance Reventlow's Intercontinental Scarab which Chuck Daigh had raced at Sandown in February..."

So Glass definitely got the engine from the Daigh car and had it fitted by August. I'm sure that's ahead of Stillwell... but where did Stillwell's engine come from? I had always believed (or maybe wanted to believe?) it came from Reventlow.

#35 McGuire

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Posted 16 September 2004 - 15:48

Originally posted by Ray Bell
Wasn't the main difference between the Olds and Buick that the Buick had five head studs around each cylinder the Olds only four?


The Buick used only 14 of the cylinder head screw holes in their common block, while the Olds used all 18. That and slightly different cylinder heads, requiring different pistons, flat-tops for the Olds and dished for the Buick. The Olds used a rather Chevy-like wedge chamber layout, while the Buick was "semi-hemispherical." There are some other minor differences -- Buick used cast iron rocker arms while Olds were aluminum, etc. The valves in the Olds are slightly bigger, but the ports are essentially identical.

But the major visual difference: the two variations of the aluminum 215 were obviously "styled" for their individual divisions. The Buick 215 has "vertical" rocker covers (gasket surfaces parallel to the ground) like the original "nailhead" Buick V8 (267-425 CID, with the "underhand" rocker arms and vertical valves), while the rocker covers on the Olds 215 more resemble those on the big Olds V8 (303-394 CID). So the differences between these "two" engines are more obvious than they are profound. The majority of pieces interchange. Meanwhile Pontiac apparently used the Buick version exclusively.

#36 David McKinney

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Posted 16 September 2004 - 15:52

I dunno, you turn your bac k for five minutes :lol:
Yes, the upgraded Glass car was known from the outset as the BRM-Scarab, and I think it was generally known where he'd got the engine from.
As to Stillwell's V8 Cooper, I'd have to look into that a bit more deeply.
Like Ray, I seem to remember lots of Matich/Stillwell races with both using FPFs

#37 WINO

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Posted 16 September 2004 - 15:57

McGuire,

Best description of the Buick-Olds differences I have seen so far!



WINO

#38 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 16 September 2004 - 17:05

Originally posted by Vitesse2
...Just a reminder, Hans - the October 1950 announcement was the official confirmation of a decision taken in 1949 ... German drivers had raced abroad during 1950...

:blush:

#39 Ray Bell

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Posted 16 September 2004 - 21:08

Is it just possible that the Scarab came to Sandown with a spare engine?

Thanks for the complete detail, McGuire... and of course, it was the Buick version that went to Rover, wasn't it?

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#40 WINO

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Posted 16 September 2004 - 21:10

Spare engine? Not according to Daigh. He was pretty disgusted that Warren Olson sold the ONLY engine!


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#41 McGuire

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Posted 17 September 2004 - 09:33

Originally posted by WINO
McGuire,

Best description of the Buick-Olds differences I have seen so far!
WINO


Thanks. The stuff that filters into one's brain and somehow takes root. I have always admired these engines...though by the time I came along, many had seen better days. Owners would not give them the maintenance they required, and of course coolant was not what it is today. The jackets would corrode internally and "porosities" would develop -- coolant seeping straight through the side of the block. With careful ball-peening one could seal up the pinholes. More serious cases got the "water glass" treatment, aka sodium silicate.

#42 fines

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Posted 17 September 2004 - 09:46

I am surprised this gets discussed all over again, didn't we have it before?

Originally posted by David McKinney
I did not however find any specific reference to the CSI decision to switch the WC to F2.

Of course not, because there never was such a decision. There was no Formula One World Championship until 1981, and only in 1961 was it stipulated that races for the World Drivers Championship should be to Formula One rules. Remember, until 1960 even the Indy 500 was part of the WDC. If the FIA had decided to, even the Le Mans 24h could have been a qualifying round...

#43 McGuire

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Posted 17 September 2004 - 09:50

Originally posted by Ray Bell
Thanks for the complete detail, McGuire... and of course, it was the Buick version that went to Rover, wasn't it?


Yes, though it might be fairer to call it a Rover as the engine was revised considerably in their hands. They switched over to a sand-cast block among other changes...though many parts continued to interchange just as before. A cast-iron version remained in production at Buick in 300, 340 and 350 CID versions for some years. The 350 Buick was a sweet-running engine, though heavy with its deep-skirted block and with not much performance potential. The 3800 V6 was originally based on the 215 architecture as well.

There are fascinating similarities and differences among all the GM V8s, even the Holden. The Holden has some intriguing resemblances to the 215, and some unusual features as well. For example, the distributor and oil pump are at opposite ends -- unique among all pushrod V8s in that regard, I believe. It would be fun to bring one here to the states and install it in a sports special or street rod, so people could wonder: what the hell is that?

#44 275 GTB-4

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Posted 17 September 2004 - 10:48

Originally posted by McGuire
There are fascinating similarities and differences among all the GM V8s, even the Holden. The Holden has some intriguing resemblances to the 215, and some unusual features as well. For example, the distributor and oil pump are at opposite ends -- unique among all pushrod V8s in that regard, I believe. It would be fun to bring one here to the states and install it in a sports special or street rod, so people could wonder: what the hell is that?


Well just send over some of your luverly dollars and one of us will crate up an old clunker for you!!

Alternatively, there are plenty of engine reconditioners about which would not be that expensive.

So over to you Blue Leader!!

#45 uechtel

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Posted 17 September 2004 - 11:16

Originally posted by fines
I am surprised this gets discussed all over again, didn't we have it before?

Of course not, because there never was such a decision. There was no Formula One World Championship until 1981, and only in 1961 was it stipulated that races for the World Drivers Championship should be to Formula One rules. Remember, until 1960 even the Indy 500 was part of the WDC. If the FIA had decided to, even the Le Mans 24h could have been a qualifying round...


Basically I agree, the 1952 example shows, that the WC was not necessarily Formula 1. But then why did the 1960 German GP have to loose its championship status?

#46 HDonaldCapps

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Posted 24 November 2008 - 00:34

Somewhat related to all this is that I recently found a reference to an "Intercontinental formula" from as early as the 15 November 1958 issue of Competition Press in an article by Denis McCluggage. She writes that even then that the US, Britain, and Italy were examining an alternative to the new formula. I had thought that the ICF effort did not bubble up until at least a year or so later, the late-1959 or early-1960 timeframe. This provides some basis for thinking that the ICF effort began earlier than I, for one, realized.

As for the question 'uechtel' asks, the answer seems to be that the organizers opted to have it run as a round of the F2 Constructors Championship rather than the world championship. Most accounts cite the reduced costs for using both the F2 category and the short circuit, of course. It is interesting that they chose to do so that year. You suspects that it also provided the opportunity for a German win may have also entered their thinking....