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What happened to Ferrari in 1973?


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#1 Victor

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Posted 17 May 2020 - 14:29

 An old an uncompetitive 312 B2 only to be replaced by a terrible new 312 B3. Jacky Ickx leaving the team and not even being replaced by another driver, leaving Ferrari with (can you imagine!), Arturo Merzario as their sole driver. What the hell was going on in the Scuderia? And how did they manage to get back on their feet so fast the year after, with a proper car and a very good pair of drivers? Does anyone care to enlight me?



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#2 john winfield

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Posted 17 May 2020 - 14:48

This thread is quite useful, Victor.

 

https://forums.autos...=+ferrari +1973

 

 

Edit.

 

It was a bewildering, sad, but ultimately exciting time for this young Ferrari fan. I only saw the cars race 'in the flesh' three times in the period July 1972 to July 1974, each time at the British Grand Prix.

In 1972, at Brands Hatch, Ickx was flying in the ageing B2, on pole, and as quick in the race as Fittipaldi's Lotus and Stewart's Tyrrell. At Silverstone, a year later, the (early) B3 was a lumbering embarrassment, running in midfield, completely outclassed by the McLarens, Lotuses, Tyrrells, BRMs, Hesketh March etc.

Back at Brands in 1974, the revised B3 was stunningly quick, both in practice and the race, and Lauda, from pole, would have won at a canter but for that unfortunate puncture.

 

The fall and rise of Ferrari during this period is fascinating!


Edited by john winfield, 17 May 2020 - 15:07.


#3 Charlieman

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Posted 17 May 2020 - 15:06

Ferrari -- the racing teams -- suffered from industrial relations problems in the 1970s. If you want to blame the workers, have a go at the metal bashers. I have always subscribed to the idea that when you have industrial conflict, both sides share blame and lots of people get hurt.

 

The cars were not seriously wrong. It's not like they tried a low polar moment chassis design or too much anti-dive. Ferrari had a good engine and an almost good chassis, but the team didn't know how to make it all work. The 312 B3 Spazzaneve is embarrassing. Most F1 teams have something they'd like to forget about.

 

Clay Regazzoni was a friend of the Ferrari team. He was a race winner so he was welcomed back. He introduced a BRM mate, Niki, who had shown his talent as a test driver at March previously. When you put all of that driving and intellectual talent in a team with loads of resources, they're going to win races.

 

Art Merzario was a much better driver than his F1 record suggests.



#4 Victor

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Posted 17 May 2020 - 15:18

The thread you have linked, John, is a very interesting reading. Thanks for that.

I also understand and agree with Charlieman's explanation for Ferrari's comeback in 74. However, I still find amazing that they came out of their 73's misery so fast.



#5 BRG

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Posted 17 May 2020 - 15:21

1973 was the last year of Ferrari's serious sports car racing era. It looked like the Scuderia could no longer manage both F1 and WSC campaigns as the 1973 WSC was not very fruitful, beaten by Matra at Le Mans and for the title. In 1974, they concentrated on F1, as they have done ever since.

#6 Charlieman

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Posted 17 May 2020 - 15:51

However, I still find amazing that they came out of their 73's misery so fast.

Apart from Spazzaneve, which the team identified as a mistake, the cars were good. The teams building McLarens, Tyrrells, Lotuses spent their money wisely and used the Cosworth-Hewland package to build different cars.

#7 Regazzoni

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Posted 17 May 2020 - 16:07

Apart from Spazzaneve, which the team identified as a mistake, the cars were good. The teams building McLarens, Tyrrells, Lotuses spent their money wisely and used the Cosworth-Hewland package to build different cars.

Charlie, what are you talking about? The Spazzaneve never raced and wasn't supposed to and Forghieri never "identified it as a mistake", quite the contrary.

the Spazzaneve is embarrassing

I thought we had already discussed about this.

Ferrari -- the racing teams -- suffered from industrial relations problems in the 1970s. If you want to blame the workers, have a go at the metal bashers. I have always subscribed to the idea that when you have industrial conflict, both sides share blame and lots of people get hurt.

Blaming it on the industrial relations is a red herring, but people carry on believing whatever they fancy.


When you put all of that driving and intellectual talent in a team with loads of resources, they're going to win races.

That applies to 1972 going into 1973 too, surely?

When you have a driver of the calibre of Ickx (Clay had yet to leave too) and the technical staff all there - Forghieri, Rocchi, Bussi - what can possibly go wrong??

It explains nothing.

#8 kyle936

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Posted 17 May 2020 - 16:36

1973 was the last year of Ferrari's serious sports car racing era. It looked like the Scuderia could no longer manage both F1 and WSC campaigns as the 1973 WSC was not very fruitful, beaten by Matra at Le Mans and for the title. In 1974, they concentrated on F1, as they have done ever since.

 

How much of that was down to Niki Lauda's influence, do you think? That was the impression I got at the time, anyway - he seemed to give Ferrari a singlemindedness it had never had before. It's so hard to take, though, that 1973 was the last time there was a works Ferrari entry in the top flight at Le Mans - I suspect nobody at Ferrari (or anywhere else) thought then that they would never be back.



#9 Charlieman

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Posted 17 May 2020 - 16:47

Charlie, what are you talking about? The Spazzaneve never raced and wasn't supposed to and Forghieri never "identified it as a mistake", quite the contrary.

I thought we had already discussed about this.

 

I just mentioned it as an example of how Ferrari were trying to get back in there. A different car.

 

 

Blaming it on the industrial relations is a red herring, but people carry on believing whatever they fancy.

 

 

I didn't blame industrial relations. It was just Ferrari's excuse whenever the car didn't drive on time. Way on in the 1970s.

 

 

When you have a driver of the calibre of Ickx (Clay had yet to leave too) and the technical staff all there - Forghieri, Rocchi, Bussi - what can possibly go wrong??

It explains nothing.

 

All I can say is that the team worked when it had great drivers. That sort of team should have made great cars for your grandmother to race.



#10 Regazzoni

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Posted 17 May 2020 - 16:49

My grandmother has nothing to do with it.

 

Thanks for putting it personal. Carry on with all your nonsense.



#11 Macca

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Posted 17 May 2020 - 16:57

Wasn't Forghieri out of it for 1973, and then recalled at the end of the year?

 

Whatever his speed as a driver, I think on reflection that Ickx was not a very good development driver, and Merzario definitely wasn't.

 

Paul M



#12 Pablo Vignone

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Posted 17 May 2020 - 18:53

How much of that was down to Niki Lauda's influence, do you think? That was the impression I got at the time, anyway - he seemed to give Ferrari a singlemindedness it had never had before. It's so hard to take, though, that 1973 was the last time there was a works Ferrari entry in the top flight at Le Mans - I suspect nobody at Ferrari (or anywhere else) thought then that they would never be back.

 

The fact is that Luca Di Montezemolo convinced Enzo to put down the sports car effort, which at that time was more of an coverted-wheels-F1 exercise, which wasn't selling any more client cars as during the 50s & 60s. Those were the years Ferrari pursued Le Mans as his ultimate goal in order to sell sports cars and make money to run the F1 programme. 



#13 Charlieman

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Posted 17 May 2020 - 18:55

My grandmother has nothing to do with it.

 

Thanks for putting it personal. Carry on with all your nonsense.

I do not understand.



#14 MCS

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Posted 17 May 2020 - 19:07

Wasn't Forghieri out of it for 1973, and then recalled at the end of the year?

 

Whatever his speed as a driver, I think on reflection that Ickx was not a very good development driver, and Merzario definitely wasn't.

 

Paul M

There is a very good piece on Forghieri in the August 2019 issue of Motor Sport magazine that provides some information.



#15 rl1856

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Posted 17 May 2020 - 23:03

Just as you need a confluence of positive circumstances to have success, a confluence of negative circumstances can lead to failure.

 

Ferrari in 1973 is a great example.

 

They still focused on the WSC at a time when their primary competition forced them to devote even more resources to running what was then a chassis in its 3rd competitive season.

 

Their lead driver may have lost a mil-sec or two on the track, or at least in his head.

 

Their lead designer was relegated to the background.

 

Their F1 chassis design and construction was split between two bases because of design choices and conditions in Italy.

 

An unproven/unrefined design was used in mid season races.

 

A comedy of errors ?  Unfortunate circumstances ?  Bad luck ?   Even the best teams go through doldrums from time to time.

 

Ferrari released Ickx from his contract and suspended competition for a few races.  MF was brought back and he immediately improved the B3.   Mezzario may have been an under rated driver but he was not front of the pack.  Yet there he was in Austria 1973 running in the lead pack, with the newly improved B3.

 

In the offseason Rega and then Lauda came aboard.  Lauda and Ferrari at the time were much like Surtees and Ferrari in 1962/63.  A charismatic driver who knew what was wrong, or knew how to find out what wrong arrived at a time when the team was more open minded to finding ways to improve.

 

Rega was the #1, but by mid-season '74 it was obvious the team was coalescing around Lauda.  The rest is history.



#16 Michael Ferner

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Posted 18 May 2020 - 08:15

Q: What happened to Ferrari in 1973?

 

A: They got beaten by a team operating from a wooden shed...



#17 Nemo1965

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Posted 18 May 2020 - 09:17

Victor, a think a famous quote by Enzo Ferrari himself could give you a hint: 'Aerodynamics are people who don't know how to build engines.' My impression was always that Ferrari back then took much too much pride in their engine, underestimated aerodynamics, Mauro Forghieri often misunderstood aerodynamics (he misunderstood negative lift, for example) and often distrusted feedback from his drivers - if they dared to give feedback about the car at all. I think the emergence of the Ford DFV really shook Ferrari to their core. It was just damn clear it was the superior engine of the late 60's and early 70's. If the culture had been different at Ferrari, they would have shaken off their stubborness by themselves. But it took the 'conspiracy' of Luca di Montezemelo and Niki Lauda to reorganise the team and get the Old Man to what good sense dictated not tradition.

 

Funnily enough, I believe that McLaren a couple of years back was in the same situation as Ferrari back then. When all the other teams were trying to emulate Red Bull with cars with a lot of rake and a lot of suspension-travel, flexing of wings and soforth, McLaren were still building ultra-stiff cars with no rake at all.  'This is the way we do things around at X.' If you hear that, you know you are dealing with an organisation that is stuck in the past. 



#18 nexfast

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Posted 18 May 2020 - 10:47

It is interesting to read what Forghieri himself thinks about this period. According to him, Enzo Ferrari was in bad health in 72-73 which allowed for Fiat bigwigs to control the firm. Forghieri was taken out of the racing team and put in charge of the Advanced Studies Bureau. There he conceived the Spazzaneve, never  intended to be a racing machine, rather a moving laboratory that was the basis for the future successful 312 T cars, thus hardly the embarassment mentioned above. His position as designer was taken by Sandro Colombo who built the B3 with the results we all know. In the Summer of 73 Enzo was back at the office running the show, called back Forghieri who redesign the car and it became more competitive, laying the foundation for the 1974 season. Forghieri also acknowledges for the change in fortune, the withdrawal from sports car racing and the arrival of Luca di Montezemolo. So basically 1973 was a year of internal strife caused above all by Enzo's health condition in Forghieri's opinion.



#19 guiporsche

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Posted 18 May 2020 - 14:04

As I’m writing from memory (my books being a ‘bit’ far away), some details of the following will/might be wrong. 1973 is explained by various interwoven factors internal and external (as in Fiat) to Ferrari. Firstly, the team’s resources were still overextended in-between F1 and sports-cars. Fiat money allowed Ferrari not to go bankrupt but arguably did not allow it to keep two programmes systematically at a high-competitive level– particularly against the well-drilled Porsche & Matra (which by ’73 had left F1 to focus on Le Mans only). 

 

Meanwhile, at the Reparto Corse, Forghieri – who certainly did understand negative lift (!!!), especially since he had heard about wings first-hand from Michael May back in 1961-2 – had trouble curing the Firestones’ vibrations: the ’71-‘72 312B1/2 suspension design was much criticised by drivers and the press. From his own testimonies, he was clearly overworked, what in-between designing and developing the 312PB and attending races.

The press targeted Forghieri & blamed the lack of an English pure monocoque for Ferrari’s falling performance. Other Ferrari designers, including most probably Giacomo Caliri (hinting from Forghieri's bio & judging from a couple of interviews Caliri gave in ensuing years to Rombo) seemed to have wanted to take the centre stage.

 

By 72 Enzo Ferrari was not in good health indeed and at some point, the decision was taken to put Forghieri in the sidelines. The exact timeline is not very clear but according to Pritchard in ‘Grand Prix Ferrari’ (2nd ed) the decision was taken by OMF out of his own will; I do wonder about how much Fiat pressed for it. The scapegoat was the Spazzaneve, which was never meant to be raced, at all, and which encompassed most of the ideas Forghieri was to develop from ‘73 onwards… But it looked ugly, making it an easy target to journalists; OMF did not believe in it and Ickx was non-committal about its short-wheel-derived nervousness. The car & the potential it embodied were never given a chance, for the time.

 

Forghieri was therein replaced by engineer Sandro Colombo (a FIAT suggestion), who had never designed a race car but was rather a manager. Design on the 312B3 is usually attributed to Rocchi and Salvarini but I suppose with Caliri’s input too (responsible for the unsuccessful longbase 1973 312PB). The rest of the story is well known: the 312B3’s English monocoques were well-built but the car was too heavy, too long, aerodynamically outdated, wrong weight distribution, etc. Endless configurations were tried along 1973, making it a modeller’s paradise. By Summer 73 OMF was healthy again to start fully assuming decision-making roles and brought back Forghieri. Colombo was eventually sent packing; Caliri quickly started losing importance until sent packing as well, his fate eventually sealed after the ’74 Watkins Glen disaster; long-standing designers Franco Rocchi & Walter Salvarini remained working under Forghieri’s direction.

 

Initial testing on a revised 312B3 was done by Merzario. The rest, indeed, is history. Given the extent of Ferrari lack of competitive in GP’s the decision to drop sports car racing was finally taken. Able to focus on F1 alone Forghieri gave the superb Flat-12 the package(s) that it deserved, becoming the engine/car combination to beat until the arrival of ground-effects. Much is made of Montezemolo as a factor underpinning the 73-75 turnaround and Lauda's contribution cannot of course be underemphasised, but the key ingredient behind Ferrari’s revival was primarily the return of Forghieri, and that was OMF’s decision and his alone.



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#20 Henri Greuter

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Posted 19 May 2020 - 19:00

Charlie, what are you talking about? The Spazzaneve never raced and wasn't supposed to and Forghieri never "identified it as a mistake", quite the contrary.

 

Spazzaneva reminds me about the Brabham BT55. What appears to be a good idea not carried out properly the first time and misjudged because of that.

The basic principle tried a second time wit use of experience of the first failure becoming an entirely different matter. Spazzaneva inspired the 312T, Brabham BT55 the McLaren MP4/4.

 

Enough said if you ask me....


Edited by Henri Greuter, 19 May 2020 - 19:00.


#21 Charlieman

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Posted 20 May 2020 - 09:57

Regazzoni picks me up on two points, which I ought to clarify.

 

"The 312 B3 Spazzaneve is embarrassing." 

 

"Apart from Spazzaneve, which the team identified as a mistake, the cars were good."

 

Reporters and fans were taken aback by the appearance of the 312 B3 Spazzaneve and mocked it. Whilst it may have been the first implementation of Forghieri's thinking, it was a long way from race readiness. Even if it was intended as an experimental model (I'm unsure whether Forghieri designed for the racing team or the experimental department at the time of conception), it was not presented as a 'concept car' or understood to be one outside the team. (One can be embarrassed by appropriate behaviour if others incorrectly perceive it to be unwise.)

 

The team clearly identified it as a mistake because they commissioned a conventional car, a flawed one but with development potential, from Sandro Colombo's associates. The Spazzaneve (or its evolution) was a long way from the track in 1973 or 1974. I'm sure that Forghieri learned from Spazzaneve but the 312T (one of my favourite F1 cars) looks like it came from another planet, in spite of the under the skin similarities. That's how development works.

---

If you look at other experimental cars from F1 teams in the same period, they rarely feature the design detail that we can see in some photos of the Spazzaneve. It must have been a very expensive experiment -- a bit like 4WD fever a few years previously, although most of those experiments hit the track. Those British and French experiments incorporated clear design compromises, most obviously the Ferguson with its engine in an inconvenient place.



#22 BRG

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Posted 20 May 2020 - 11:06

As I believe our very own  DCN owned, or at least had custody of, the Spazzaneve at one time, maybe he has some tales to tell about it?



#23 Arjan de Roos

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Posted 21 May 2020 - 13:15

Fiat was more interested in Sports Cars and had with the 312 PB's diamonds in their hands. They thought it better for selling cars on Monday. So Fiat limited F1 activities, yet when Ferrari came back directions changed 180 degrees (punch intended).

 

Ferrari did have a nice array of drivers, even in 1973: Ickx, Merzario, Redman, Schenken, Pace, Reutemann and Vaccarella. Yet mostly with a sports cars contract.

Enzo gathered Merzario to be more a sport car driver, yet a true team member. He sported the cavallino rampante for years on his helmet.  

 

The Spazzaneve was truly a prototype for testing new ideas Forghieri had in his head to move away from the traditional F1 monoposto. Much to do with weight distribution, polar moment of inertia and radiator positioning. Also a shorter wheelbase for better handling. Yet mostly for aerodynamics. Forghieri was inspired by the 312 PB body work and tried to emulate this on the snowplough. A lean F1 car does not touch too much air and will create limited down force. It was tested long by him in a Stuttgart wind tunnel. And could have raced in 1972 at Monza, and was even pre-registered for the John Player Trophy at Brands Hatch. 


Edited by Arjan de Roos, 25 May 2020 - 08:39.


#24 Doug Nye

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Posted 21 May 2020 - 13:48



As I believe our very own  DCN owned, or at least had custody of, the Spazzaneve at one time, maybe he has some tales to tell about it?

 

 

GPL-DCN-FERRARI-312-B3-SPAZZANEVE-AT-HOM

 

The Cunningham Cadillac Le Monstre, the Fiat Mephistopheles, the Ferrari Spazzaneve... Wth apologies to Mephisto, maybe I just like ugly women...   :blush:

 

DCN



#25 ensign14

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Posted 21 May 2020 - 13:56

I hope Mrs Nye doesn't read that...



#26 10kDA

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Posted 21 May 2020 - 15:58

Re: Spazzaneve - It's easy to be critical of something when you aren't the one trying it out. How would one discover what worked or not unless by trying? Trying something different might result in a breakthrough. Over and over again I've seen aircraft perform altogether differently when actually being flown as compared to the computer simulations and modeling, as well as wind tunnel testing. I remember when The Great Out Of The Box Man Himself, Burt Rutan, once told a friend "We tried that - and it DIDN'T WORK!", dismissing my friend's efforts. Nonetheless, airplanes equipped with my friend's products finished 1-2-3-5-6-7 at the Reno air races that year. Yet The Great Man gave props to the guy whose product managed 4th, because... he did it the same way Burt did. You see, Burt worked within a box of his own making.

 

And maybe there's some wisdom in Doug's preferences (  ;) ):

 



#27 Doug Nye

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Posted 21 May 2020 - 18:23

Ahem - I wholly, completely, totally, absolutely, unhesitatingly, EXCLUDE my dear wife from inclusion within my entirely car-related broad-brush comment in post 24.

 

CND (In the  hope i just might get away with this one...)



#28 Arjan de Roos

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Posted 22 May 2020 - 08:04

The Spazzaneve has moved about, from the UK it went to Japan, from Japan to Switzerland, then to Italy, back to CH... Albert Obrist had it, yet stored it long time under a cover. Many dislike its appearance, others love it. Fact is that it was raced (in historics) extensively in the past years and at Retromobile it was a regular guest over the past 10 years. One of a kind, prelude to the Ferrari renaissance of the 70s. 



#29 arttidesco

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Posted 22 May 2020 - 15:58

 

 

The Cunningham Cadillac Le Monstre, the Fiat Mephistopheles, the Ferrari Spazzaneve... Wth apologies to Mephisto, maybe I just like ugly women...   :blush:

 

DCN

 

 With you all the way could add the Maki, Arrows A2, Ardex S80 and quite a few more ;-)

 

download-1.jpg

 

Loved the snow plough ever since I saw a very small b&w pic of her in Autocar in 1972, thanks to TNF's Ted Walker I managed to get close to her in Lincolnshire a couple of years ago. Amazingly while I was looking at her a couple of mechanics came in and tried to take the wheels off. Thanks to galvanic corrosion muggins got asked to get in and press the break pedal ! Happy days, thanks again Ted !

 

Back on topic I think '73's failure was all down to the bean counters from FIAT calling the shots while Enzo was otherwise desposed ;-)



#30 Michael Ferner

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Posted 22 May 2020 - 17:51

Hey, Art, you look nothing like your avatar there!! :eek:



#31 arttidesco

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Posted 22 May 2020 - 18:45

Hey, Art, you look nothing like your avatar there!! :eek:

 

It was movember and I struggled with my better half to keep the Mr Lao look since I drew the avatar nearly errrrr..... 15 years ago, how time flies ;-)