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A Graham Hill question


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#1 GregThomas

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Posted 25 May 2022 - 07:26

In 1968 I'd graduated to a semi-useful position on racedays. That year I ran the comms link at the Wigram Hairpin - under the control of the very experienced ex racer John Armstrong.  This gave me a literal trackside close-up view of the action at a point where a lot of overtaking under brakes took place.

G Hill of course drove the Lotus 49T at Wigram that year.

From our vantage point we could watch as every lap as he applied the brakes, he rose up out of the cockpit. The general effect was as John remarked, like raising the dead.....

Very obviously he ran his belts quite slack, such that he could perform this act - but with the altitude limited by the belts..

It may have been quite useful as the apex for the hairpin was hard to pick from low level.

 

I've never seen a picture of him doing this - or read of it either.

So, was this a one-off performed where "colonial" officialdom wouldn't step on him ?  

 

Does anyone know of him doing it elsewhere ?



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#2 Ray Bell

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Posted 25 May 2022 - 09:08

Were belts fitted to the car...

 

Most didn't wear them until later in 1968, after Niel Allen's Lakeside crash.



#3 Tim Murray

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Posted 25 May 2022 - 09:59

My understanding, based on Michael Oliver’s 49 book, is that Jackie Oliver was the first to use belts in a Lotus 49 following his massive accident at Rouen later in 1968. I don’t know when Graham started using them.

#4 AJCee

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Posted 25 May 2022 - 10:26

There is a picture on page 73 of that book of Graham Hill in the cockpit during the 1968 Tasman series and I can’t see a sign of belts (although the mirror is right in the way). On p136 there is a picture of Rindt one year later and there are clearly belts fitted to his car.

#5 Sterzo

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Posted 25 May 2022 - 10:45

I think seat belts became compulsory in F1 in 1972. Don't know about other formulae. I doubt the officials would be interested in 1968.



#6 Tim Murray

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Posted 25 May 2022 - 10:54

Here’s a photo from this article on Mark Bisset’s Primotipo site. It was taken by Bryan Henderson at Warwick Farm in 1968 - clearly no belts. (There’s another photo on that page of Graham one year later, and definitely wearing belts.)

C9-B2-D0-E1-D7-C8-4-C4-F-90-D4-BC99-EFE9

#7 GregThomas

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Posted 25 May 2022 - 20:18

Okay gents, I got the year wrong. i rode at the same meeting a year later so this has to be 1969 not '68.

 

Belts were definitely fitted to the car and were in use.



#8 Glengavel

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Posted 26 May 2022 - 06:38

Here’s a photo from this article on Mark Bisset’s Primotipo site. It was taken by Bryan Henderson at Warwick Farm in 1968 - clearly no belts. (There’s another photo on that page of Graham one year later, and definitely wearing belts.)

C9-B2-D0-E1-D7-C8-4-C4-F-90-D4-BC99-EFE9

 

Who is that in the background wearing formal shoes and socks and no trousers?  :eek:



#9 GregThomas

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Posted 26 May 2022 - 07:18

Probably a pom who has let the heat get to him.

 

I'll repeat the question :  Did G Hill do this act anywhere else ?   He was so good at it, I'm sure he would have repeated it somewhere.

In a very long association with most flavours of motorsport, watching him levitate out of the cockpit lap after lap is one of the wierdest things I've ever seen.


Edited by GregThomas, 27 May 2022 - 00:00.


#10 Odseybod

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Posted 26 May 2022 - 08:54

Probably a pom who has let the heat get to him.

 

 

Or a pioneering Oz cross-dresser (possibly in breach of Rule 7)?



#11 Ray Bell

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Posted 26 May 2022 - 10:29

I thought the move to make belt-wearing compulsory came quickly after Niel Allen's Lakeside crash...

 

It certainly did here.



#12 cpbell

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Posted 26 May 2022 - 17:36

I'm sure Chris Amon was wearing belts by the 1968 Italian GP as I've read in Lord Louis' Year review that he wore them during his accident.



#13 Ray Bell

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Posted 26 May 2022 - 21:57

That was a couple (or three?) months after Niel's accident...



#14 doc knutsen

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Posted 27 May 2022 - 18:42

Here’s a photo from this article on Mark Bisset’s Primotipo site. It was taken by Bryan Henderson at Warwick Farm in 1968 - clearly no belts. (There’s another photo on that page of Graham one year later, and definitely wearing belts.)

C9-B2-D0-E1-D7-C8-4-C4-F-90-D4-BC99-EFE9

No belts...and not much rollover protection either.



#15 cpbell

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Posted 28 May 2022 - 17:08

That was a couple (or three?) months after Niel's accident...

I'm not disputing that - I have vast respect for your knowledge and appreciate that you have argued persuasively that this incident was the catalyst for belt-wearing in single seaters, though I wonder how much influence it had on practice outside Australasia, bearing in mind that Hill and Clark, amongst others, had experience of belts in USAC racing in the mid-'60s - just providing a reference for belts definitively entering GP motor racing by the end of the "European season" of 1968.



#16 Doug Nye

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Posted 28 May 2022 - 18:27

Jackie Stewart, August 27, 1967 - Canadian GP, Mosport Park

 

Photo: Revs Digital Library

 

Screenshot-2022-05-28-at-19-22-34.png

 

DCN



#17 Geoff E

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Posted 28 May 2022 - 20:14

Jackie Stewart, August 27, 1967 - Canadian GP, Mosport Park

 

Photo: Revs Digital Library

 

Screenshot-2022-05-28-at-19-22-34.png

 

DCN

 

 

Stewart is said to have first used belts in the German GP, 6 August 1967.



#18 GreenMachine

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Posted 29 May 2022 - 00:30

No crutch straps, that only became a thing later.  That photo certainly highlights why they were needed.



#19 Ray Bell

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Posted 29 May 2022 - 08:53

Yes, crutch straps were an intrinsic part of Dr Michael Henderson's 'plan'...

 

The critical point about Niel Allen's crash is that it was a huge crash, he could easily have been killed had he not had the belts on. It put to bed the theory about it being better to be 'thrown clear' for once and for all.



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#20 Sterzo

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Posted 29 May 2022 - 12:39

In terms of what influenced the introduction of seat belts, they were of course being widely discussed for road car use through the sixties. Fitting them to road cars (though not wearing them!) was compulsory in the USA from 1/1/1968. It probably didn't need a specific accident to trigger their introduction to the racing rulebook.



#21 Odseybod

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Posted 29 May 2022 - 20:49

In that JYS pic, the buckle looks very much as though it's been liberated from an RAF parachute harness - if so, there was probably slots for a couple of crotch straps, too..

 

I think Volvo (of course) were the first to introduce seatbelts as a standard fit in road cars, though static belts (i.e. non-inertia reel) were becoming quite common as after-market accessories in the UK during the early '60s, especially if you wanted your car to look 'serious'. My Mum's first Mini had very pukka Irvine belts, though whether their anchorage points were attached to anything solid is debatable ...

.



#22 Glengavel

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Posted 30 May 2022 - 06:32

In that JYS pic, the buckle looks very much as though it's been liberated from an RAF parachute harness - if so, there was probably slots for a couple of crotch straps, too..

 

I think Volvo (of course) were the first to introduce seatbelts as a standard fit in road cars, though static belts (i.e. non-inertia reel) were becoming quite common as after-market accessories in the UK during the early '60s, especially if you wanted your car to look 'serious'. My Mum's first Mini had very pukka Irvine belts, though whether their anchorage points were attached to anything solid is debatable ...

.

 

I remember my dad fitting belts to his Austin 1100. The mounting holes were already there so it was just a matter of bolting them in. Non-retractable of course so you had these lengths of webbing lying in a tangle 



#23 fyrth

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Posted 30 May 2022 - 07:40

Slightly off topic, the pic of JS reminded me of his accident at Spa. I wonder when removable steering wheels first made their appearance?



#24 Alan Baker

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Posted 30 May 2022 - 09:24

Slightly off topic, the pic of JS reminded me of his accident at Spa. I wonder when removable steering wheels first made their appearance?

The German "Silver Arrows" had detachable steering wheels, von Brauchitsch blamed his 1938 German GP crash on the detachable steering wheel coming off! As for Stewart's BRM, the steering wheel was detachable if you had the right spanner handy. After Spa JYS had one taped to the wheel.



#25 Roger Clark

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Posted 30 May 2022 - 09:40

Returning briefly to the original question - has GregThomas got the year wrong?  I thought Hill didn't join the 1968 series until the Australian races.  He did race at Wigram in 1969 by which time he may have been wearing belts.

 

I think that if he had used such a technique in Europe we would have read about it, or seen it in one of the many films still freely available.  


Edited by Roger Clark, 30 May 2022 - 12:23.


#26 Ray Bell

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Posted 30 May 2022 - 12:05

Originally posted by Sterzo
In terms of what influenced the introduction of seat belts, they were of course being widely discussed for road car use through the sixties. Fitting them to road cars (though not wearing them!) was compulsory in the USA from 1/1/1968. It probably didn't need a specific accident to trigger their introduction to the racing rulebook.


It probably shouldn't have needed it...

But it is what happened.

And yes, all drivers in the '69 Tasman Cup races had them.

#27 MarkBisset

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Posted 30 May 2022 - 16:58

Very late to this party…

 

The FIA recommended belts in F1 in 1968 and mandated them from 1972, which was somewhat pointless given their use by all of the grid during 1969.

 

It would be interesting to know when the various FIA ACN’s followed suit, in Australia I have no idea, CAMS were never the first to do anything 



#28 GregThomas

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Posted 30 May 2022 - 18:11

Returning briefly to the original question - has GregThomas got the year wrong?  I thought Hill didn't join the 1968 series until the Australian races.  He did race at Wigram in 1969 by which time he may have been wearing belts.

 

I think that if he had used such a technique in Europe we would have read about it, or seen it in one of the many films still freely available.  

Thank you.  Yes, I have already admitted I got the year wrong - it was '69.

Races in Europe were much more heavily covered at that time so I think you're correct that he didn't try it there.

I suspect that if he had he would have been at least spoken to by officialdom.

The local officials of that meeting are now mostly dead so I'm unable to ask if they took any action at the time but I have no recollection of hearing about any.



#29 Glengavel

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Posted 30 May 2022 - 19:10

Some drivers were ahead of the game in 1963:

IMG_20220530_195024825.jpg?dl=0
IMG_20220530_195024825.jpg?dl=1



#30 Ray Bell

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Posted 30 May 2022 - 20:32

Mark, I can't quote chapter and verse, but they were mandated in Australia by January, 1969...

 

I'm away from home now, I can check when I get back.



#31 doc knutsen

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Posted 30 May 2022 - 21:25

Some drivers were ahead of the game in 1963:

IMG_20220530_195024825.jpg?dl=0
IMG_20220530_195024825.jpg?dl=1

When were seat belts introduced at Indianapolis? This would be from the 1963 Indy 500.


Edited by doc knutsen, 30 May 2022 - 21:25.


#32 Ardmore

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Posted 30 May 2022 - 21:42

From the 1969/70 MANZ Motorsport Year Book.

 

Extracts from Appendix "J" to the F.I.A International Sporting Code as applied in New Zealand.

 

296 - Prescriptions and Definitions Applicable to racing Cars of the 3 International Formulae.

 

(g) Attachment points for safety belt, the use of such a belt being optional.



#33 Collombin

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Posted 30 May 2022 - 21:51

When were seat belts introduced at Indianapolis? This would be from the 1963 Indy 500.


From hazy memory, I think they might have been introduced by Joie Chitwood in the 1940s - not as a safety measure but as a means of staying fully seated whilst navigating the bumpy surface, allowing him to maintain full throttle.

In terms of being used more widely, by the mid 1950s they seemed to be fairly commonplace. I will have a look for more info tomorrow if someone hasn't given you the full chapter and verse by then.

#34 Nick Planas

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Posted 31 May 2022 - 07:27

I can just imagine JC saying "Darn right, son!" - or maybe not... :rotfl:



#35 Ray Bell

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Posted 31 May 2022 - 10:34

A number of people used them at least as far back as the thirties...

 

Rough, cart-sprung cars tended to toss drivers about, they had big lap belts to keep them in their seat. Frank Kleinig was one such.



#36 BRG

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Posted 31 May 2022 - 11:04

I think Volvo (of course) were the first to introduce seatbelts as a standard fit in road cars, though static belts (i.e. non-inertia reel) were becoming quite common as after-market accessories in the UK during the early '60s, especially if you wanted your car to look 'serious'. My Mum's first Mini had very pukka Irvine belts, though whether their anchorage points were attached to anything solid is debatable ...

.

I bought a 1964 or 5 Sunbeam Rapier Series IV in the late 1960s and it had static seat belts fitted. Not sure if they were an optional extra or after market.  As a motorsport follower already, I thought I might as well use the belts, so I did and never looked back.  I have never had a road accident where belts saved me, but I might have one tomorrow....

 

But my mate's dad, who was an Institute of Advanced Motorists member scoffed at this and actually told me "Good drivers don't have accidents"  :eek:



#37 Glengavel

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Posted 31 May 2022 - 11:27

When were seat belts introduced at Indianapolis? This would be from the 1963 Indy 500.

 

Yes, it's from a Ford Fairlane advert, reproduced in Graeme Gauld's 'Jim Clark Remembered' and mentions his second place at Indy.

 

I can just imagine JC saying "Darn right, son!" - or maybe not... :rotfl:

 

In the book GG also comments along the same lines. At least the advert didn't have him saying "Och aye, son!".


Edited by Glengavel, 31 May 2022 - 11:28.


#38 10kDA

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Posted 31 May 2022 - 13:11

Slightly off topic, the pic of JS reminded me of his accident at Spa. I wonder when removable steering wheels first made their appearance?

As I recall there was a rule in US racing that stated something to the effect of "No part of the vehicle may be removed for driver access..." around that 60s - early 70s timeframe. Not sure if that was based on an FIA reg. But the rule was obviously deleted. No idea when.

 

Edit: This rule was applied to open wheel cars.


Edited by 10kDA, 31 May 2022 - 20:23.