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Formula Two - the iconic proving ground


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#1 Twin Window

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Posted 01 September 2006 - 23:13

Formula Two was a brilliant catagory, and so - as a result of enjoying the current Formula Atlantic thread - I thought I'd trawl my pics and see what I'd taken at F2 races over the years. I always relished F2 races, especially after I'd *crossed the line* and found a job in the sport, not least because I'd made good friends in those unaffected paddocks back then. I remember all the events with great affection - even the really cold and wet ones!

I'll kick-off with what I've found amongst the pics I took duing the early 1970s. Unfortunately there aren't too many - something I was surprised and disappointed to discover...

Oulton Park, early 1972;

Niki Lauda, who won the race, in his factory March 722...

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...Gerry Birrell's similar - private - entry.

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Oulton later that year in September; the F2 cars readying to take to the circuit for the race...

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...Wattie in the works Chevron...

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Mallory Park in March 1973;

James Hunt's Hesketh Surtees in the paddock. The white E-Type Jag in the background was Roger Williamson's...

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...Mike Hailwood wearing a Premier motorcycle helmet, as his regular Bell had been buggered when helping save Clay Regazzoni during the South African GP a week or so earlier...

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...Dave McConnell's Surtees. Who was he?...

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...Beltoise in the new, BMW-powered works March 732 on the chassis' debut...

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...Vittorio Brambilla winds his way through the paddock...

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...Jochen Mass in the other works Surtees...

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...Peter Gethin DNQd the factory Chevron entry due to engine probs...

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...the [rather small] field departs, as seen from my *naughty* position on the bridge!

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So, did we like F2 as much as we did Atlantics? I know I did. :D

:up:

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#2 David M. Kane

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Posted 02 September 2006 - 00:06

Awesome, how would you compare the Surtees chassis to the March?

#3 RTH

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Posted 02 September 2006 - 05:27

We didn't realise it at the time but this period was a golden age of motor sport in all its forms and contrasts sharply with the dismal and worsening scene we are presented with today.

#4 BT 35-8

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Posted 02 September 2006 - 06:36

Twin Window,

Many thanks again , and as Richard states , we simply didn't know what we had when we had it .
Consider me firmly implanted in a permanent 1970's time warp.

Bryan.

#5 cosworth bdg

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Posted 02 September 2006 - 07:47

Originally posted by BT 35-8
Twin Window,

Many thanks again , and as Richard states , we simply didn't know what we had when we had it .
Consider me firmly implanted in a permanent 1970's time warp.

Bryan.

Here Here, we nearly had the right formula [euro F2] downunder but the powers to be [CAMS] made sure in their wisdom ? that we went F5000 instead even though we had our own home bred power plant for F2 , Waggot ,what a brilliant engineer in his time...

#6 cosworth bdg

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Posted 02 September 2006 - 07:51

Originally posted by RTH
We didn't realise it at the time but this period was a golden age of motor sport in all its forms and contrasts sharply with the dismal and worsening scene we are presented with today.

How very very true.....

#7 xbgs351

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Posted 02 September 2006 - 09:16

Originally posted by cosworth bdg
Here Here, we nearly had the right formula [euro F2] downunder but the powers to be [CAMS] made sure in their wisdom ? that we went F5000 instead even though we had our own home bred power plant for F2 , Waggot ,what a brilliant engineer in his time...


Atleast AF2 is affordable, althought the Waggot motor does make me weak in the knees. I have a few AF2 photos of my car and others complements of Hugh Gartley, but I'm not sure if AF2 would be off topic?

#8 Rockford

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Posted 02 September 2006 - 09:31

Great pictures! :love:

I've really enjoyed GP2 this season

#9 Allen Brown

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Posted 02 September 2006 - 11:03

Originally posted by xbgs351


Atleast AF2 is affordable, althought the Waggot motor does make me weak in the knees. I have a few AF2 photos of my car and others complements of Hugh Gartley, but I'm not sure if AF2 would be off topic?

AF2 isn't off topic. Go for it.

#10 xbgs351

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Posted 02 September 2006 - 12:02

I have no idea of where these photos were taken, but they were in Australian in the early 80's.

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#11 Catalina Park

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Posted 02 September 2006 - 12:23

That looks like Winton with Hugh Gartley leading Graham Blee, both in Cheetahs. (I am only guessing)

#12 Huw Jadvantich

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Posted 02 September 2006 - 13:05

Dave McConnell was a Canadian who regularly did the Tasman Series in using a Lotus 69, then a GRD, and Subsequently a Surtees, probably the same one shown here.
F2 was good then, but to fair we have hit a seam with GP2

#13 David M. Kane

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Posted 02 September 2006 - 13:31

GP2 ain't bad, but again what were the strong and weak points of the various chassis?

#14 Twin Window

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Posted 02 September 2006 - 15:32

Some more of my F2 pics - I'm sorry, but most of them are cockpit shots!

Thruxton, 1979

The late Markus Hottinger standing behind his Bob Salisbury prepared March 792. Bob still has one of the spare noses hanging-up in his workshops...

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Rad Dougall in the Toleman March 782

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Thruxton, 1980

Arturo Merzario in the Merzario M1 chassis he built - nothing more than a 'start-money special'...

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Andrea de Cesaris in the Ron Dennis run Project Four Marlboro March 802

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Mike Thackwell in one of the ICI March 802s

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Teo Fabi got grit in his eye, so Stefan Johansson - there for the F3 race - practiced his car

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Manfred Winkelhock, still much-missed...

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Spa-Francorchamps, 1981 (the weather was horrific...)

I roomed with Alan Docking, and when we arrived at the circuit we set off on a lap or two of the new track layout (it was the international debut of the revised - ie current - layout) in a VW Camper! Once we got bored, we went off round the *proper* circuit for a reality-check... Stefan's car caught fire in practice, so I stayed on to help with the repairs which proved a very late night with some frayed tempers, largely caused by a bloke from 'Down Under' who Alan referred to a 'Ratchet Jaw'! Stefan spent most of the race with a sidepod hanging off...

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Eje Elgh gets plumbed-in to the Maurer

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I first met Jo Gartner at this race, and we became great friends thereafter

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Thierry Boutsen's front-row grid slot was carpeted with a great big rug made by his sponsor Louis de Poortere!

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Patrick Gaillard was a great and sadly overlooked talent, IMO

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Mantorp Park, 1981

Stefan making a daft face as usual!

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Johnny Cecotto, who proved something of a revelation the following year

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Corrado Fabi in one of the works Marches

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This was Kenneth Acheson's comeback after his near-fatal shunt at Pau. The nuts on the pins in his leg gradually loosened over the weekend causing his intense pain as they rubbed against the inside of the tub. After the race - when everyone was celebrating the Docking-Spitzley 1-3 under the awning - KA nearly died from delayed shock in the transporter as he couldn't breathe. It was very scary indeed... I travelled to Mantorp with Kenneth, and we remain good pals twenty-five years on!

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Boutsen was the championship bridesmaid

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Christian Danner drove the fabulous, pin-striped BOSS March 802

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Roberto Guerrero in the Maurer. First he ruined my chances with Katie in Monaco, and then he went and married her...

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The Swedish TV crews were all over Stefan and Eje the entire weekend

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Fabi the younger again

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Thack in his last drive for Ralt-Honda - or so it seemed...

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Hockenheim, 1982

Jo playing silly buggers in the pitlane. He really hated driving for Merzario, as he regarded him as a bit weird (the permanent dufflecoat) and rather incompetent as a team principal. That given, he found it hilarious that Arturo was a former *hero* of mine...!

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Ian Phillips, Barry Briggs and Ray Thackwell (plus, to an extent, myself) tried to keep Mike's career afloat throughout 1982. Here Tony Briggs (recovering from partial paralysis after a speedway crash), Barry, Mike, Ray and Gary Briggs [and me behind the lens] are having a laugh after christening Mike 'Thack'. We removed the 'well' from his name on the cockpit sides of his Maurer a little later, but I can't find those pics...

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Another race, another face from Stefan!

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:up:

#15 RTH

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Posted 02 September 2006 - 15:43

Originally posted by David M. Kane
GP2 ain't bad, but again what were the strong and weak points of the various chassis?


It's nil interest to me when everyone is in the same car.

#16 MCS

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Posted 02 September 2006 - 19:01

Originally posted by Twin Window
Some more of my F2 pics - I'm sorry, but most of them are cockpit shots!


Fantastic - particularly like the Acheson and Gartner pics. :)

#17 MCS

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Posted 02 September 2006 - 19:04

Originally posted by RTH
It's nil interest to me when everyone is in the same car.


Couldn't agree more, Richard. It totally devalues the formula as far as I'm concerned.

The shots from the early seventies are wonderful. What a period for racing. I'm so deeply grateful I was able to see some of it.

#18 ensign14

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Posted 02 September 2006 - 20:51

Originally posted by MCS


Couldn't agree more, Richard. It totally devalues the formula as far as I'm concerned.

I prefer it to the time when if you weren't in whatever the flavour du jour was you were metaphorically dead in the water. Especially the Ralt-Honda days as you couldn't even buy one.

#19 MCS

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Posted 02 September 2006 - 21:00

No, I'm talking (and obviously not making myself clear - apologies) about the early seventies.

When a Brabham, Chevron, GRD, Lola, Lotus, March, Pygmee, Surtees, Tecno, etc., were all in evidence at some time or other at the head of the field.

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#20 David M. Kane

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Posted 02 September 2006 - 21:04

Being American I never got to see these races, only read about. Tell me about the differences in the chassis if possible...

#21 Twin Window

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Posted 02 September 2006 - 21:06

I've just captioned my last lot of pics (and added a couple of anecdotes) as I didn't have time earlier - sorry 'bout that. :)

#22 Alan Cox

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Posted 02 September 2006 - 22:01

Another great array of pictures. Thanks, Stuart. Great times, indeed.

#23 Vicuna

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Posted 03 September 2006 - 00:22

I know we've had this before but what was the connection between Gaillard's hemet and Joneseys again?

#24 cosworth bdg

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Posted 03 September 2006 - 00:38

Originally posted by MCS


Couldn't agree more, Richard. It totally devalues the formula as far as I'm concerned.

The shots from the early seventies are wonderful. What a period for racing. I'm so deeply grateful I was able to see some of it.

Yes the late sixties and the early seventies downunder were the premier decades especially the TASMAN series with the selection of cars and drivers that ventured downunder.. Sorry about being of topic.........cheers to all..

#25 Twin Window

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Posted 03 September 2006 - 08:59

Another from Mallory 1973; Jean-Pierre Jarier's race-winning March 732 in the paddock

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Alan - surely you've taken some F2 pics?

#26 Wolfgang Mathai

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Posted 03 September 2006 - 10:15

Hello Twin Window,

great pics!! :love:

May you have some pics from 1976 of the TOJ driven by Keke Rosberg?

Wolfgang

A pic of the car from Truxton 1976: http://www.racecar-c...6/Truxton76.jpg

#27 Alan Cox

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Posted 03 September 2006 - 17:19

Yes, Twinny, I have a few F2 photos from the final John Player round at Oulton, September 1972, of variable quality...

Posted Image Niki Lauda/ March 722
Posted Image G Hill/Brabham BT38
Posted Image Tim Schenken/Rondel BT38
Posted Image John Watson/Chevron B20
Posted Image Peterson leads Scheckter
Posted Image Peter Gethin/ Chevron B20


#28 FerrariV12

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Posted 03 September 2006 - 21:23

Great thread this, I was too young to remember F2, indeed "proper" F3000 only lasted for a few years after I first discovered motorsport. Post '95 F3000 and "GP2" (ermmm isn't that a computer game?) do absolutely nothing for me whatsoever. Especially the double-header reverse-grid format of GP2 (I know old F2 used to have heats and stuff but at least it was proper good old-fashioned competition).

I've been heartened by Formula Nippon's decision to use both Honda and Toyota engines this season, even though it's still single-chassis and the engine competition is managed somewhat, it's still a step back in the right direction.

I guess in an ideal world GP2, WSbR, FNippon and the various F3000s would merge into a single worldwide open Formula 2 category (even if there was say a separate Japanese championship like there used to be, and other regional series as well as a major International/European F2 series), but I've probably more chance of winning the lottery and being hit by lightning three times all on the same day ):

What I don't understand is if we can have an open Formula 1 (for now), and an open-ish Formula 3 (although I have nothing against Dallara's monopolisation by competition, as opposed to "tendering") by on earth why can't we have an open category in between them like we used to?

#29 petefenelon

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Posted 03 September 2006 - 21:50

Stuart,

Amazing early-80s pics there. Thanks.

#30 cosworth bdg

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Posted 04 September 2006 - 04:35

Originally posted by Catalina Park
That looks like Winton with Hugh Gartley leading Graham Blee, both in Cheetahs. (I am only guessing)

You are correct with your identification on all fronts, cheers PN

#31 BRG

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Posted 04 September 2006 - 09:28

Originally posted by RTH
It's nil interest to me when everyone is in the same car.

I seem to remember that F2 and F3 were pretty well all Marches for many years.

I loved F2 in the 1970s - I reckoned it was as good or even better than F1 at the time (with a lot of the same drivers of course!). But it was spoilt, as ever, by the heavy hadn of the manufacturers - thanks, Renault and Honda! :(

#32 Allen Brown

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Posted 04 September 2006 - 10:49

Originally posted by BRG
I seem to remember that F2 and F3 were pretty well all Marches for many years.

Huh? March won the F2 series only in 1971, 1973, 1974, 1978, 1979 and 1982. In 1971, Lotus, Tecno and Brabham also won races; in 1973 Motul, GRD, Elf and Surtees won races; in 1974 just Elf; in 1978 just Chevron; in 1979 Osella and Ralt and in 1982 Maurer and Spirit. Only 1974 and 1978, when March had both the best car and an outstanding driver lineup, could it be said to be domination but even then another constructor was able to win the odd race.

Please don't make me go through the same process for F3 but I'm sure the answer will be much the same: Chevron GRD, Modus, Ralt, etc.

Allen

#33 eldougo

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Posted 04 September 2006 - 10:51

To my mind ,I would say that March was the best overall Chassis in F2 they where good straight out of the factory over a good many years. they had a good feel about them and part where easy to get for the price in the 70's.
Chevron where a good car but needed sorting out to get the best from the chassis, they had some good driver on the up and that helped them ,same as Lola they took a good driver to set them up to be a top runner.Ralt only made a few F2 and never had the numbers to give March to much trouble .until the had the power plant to make up for the chassis.
F2 was the BEST formula we used to have such a great time at meeting and the social scene was teriffic fun both of and on the track right across europe ,made me very sad when it all came to an end.brought about Bernie and his bullshit road show people. :up:

#34 ian senior

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Posted 04 September 2006 - 14:04

Originally posted by RTH


It's nil interest to me when everyone is in the same car.


But, to me at any rate, it doesn't matter so much when most of the cars use the same or similar engine. I'm all in favour of variety, but wasn't some of the best racing at F2 and F3 level when there was effectively only one engine to choose? You'd need an FVA if you wanted to do 1600cc F2 properly, but apart from the occasional and welcome intrusion from the likes of Ferrari, the racing didn't suffer did it? Same for early 2-litre F2, late 1-litre F3, 1600cc F3, etc etc. There were other engines, but you'd always stand a good chance if you went with the default choice.

#35 philippe7

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Posted 04 September 2006 - 14:30

Originally posted by BRG
I seem to remember that F2 and F3 were pretty well all Marches for many years (......)
But it was spoilt, as ever, by the heavy hadn of the manufacturers - thanks, Renault and Honda! :(



Hmmm....March was "the obvious choice" in 73 and 74 ( at least ) not so much because of the chassis' exceptional quality , but because of the exclusivity deal signed with BMW which meant that if you wanted to run a proper, "unbeatable" factory BMW engine you had no choice but to buy a March chassis.....the other manufacturers such as Martini, GRD, Chevron, Alpine etc being left with the choice of either unreliable Schnitzer-style BMW's , or overbored and underpowered 1600cc BDA derivatives.....

So, it's all fine to blame Renault and Honda as fun-spoilers....but what about also pointing at Bicester or Munich for unfair play to start off with .....

#36 ian senior

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Posted 04 September 2006 - 14:44

Originally posted by philippe7



So, it's all fine to blame Renault and Honda as fun-spoilers....but what about also pointing at Bicester or Munich for unfair play to start off with .....


Agreed, but if you were as wealthy as Bob Harper, and you were fed up with the lack of customer service from the guys at Bicester, all you had to do was throw away your Marches, keep the engines, and stick 'em in the back of some nice new Chevrons.

#37 Paul Parker

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Posted 04 September 2006 - 14:52

I recall the earlier F2 from 1964/5 and as with the later stuff the appeal (for me) was that you had pukka GP drivers in small, rapid cars without the pressures of what was rapidly becoming F1.

As a result the racing was absolutely ballistic at times and you could rely upon just about everybody giving of their best with at least 4 or more cars capable of winning any given race. The competitiveness was phenomenal. Crystal Palace was just fantastic for this.

Today there is no equivalent formula where the best/fastest drivers can let rip in more or less equal cars without heavy handed political and financial interference and liabilities. Of course Honda did spoil the fun in 1966 but generally speaking F2 allowed us all to see our heroes more often and the racing was proper.

#38 Dave Ware

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Posted 05 September 2006 - 12:27

I remember Canadian David McConnell finishing third in his first F2 race at Hockenheim, then quitting, saying that he would never be a success in F2. (Looked like a pretty good start to me.)

Previously he had run FF and FB in Canada. He was a disciple of Jacques Couture, who ran the Jim Russell school at St. Jovite.

Oh, and great photos, guys!

#39 petefenelon

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Posted 05 September 2006 - 15:37

[QUOTE]Originally posted by eldougo
To my mind ,I would say that March was the best overall Chassis in F2 they where good straight out of the factory over a good many years. they had a good feel about them and part where easy to get for the price in the 70's.



Hm, results don't really back that up. Marches were intermittently superb then they'd get stuck into a particular theme of development and the cars would peter out (e.g. the 722 not being as good as 712; the 742 being better than the 75-77 cars...).

And as for "straight out of the factory" the number of tales of customers being fobbed off with parts that just didn't fit... and for that matter the sagging monocoques one year in the early 80s...? Oh and the '74 works cars turning up with a completely different rads/aero package to the customer ones....!

Customer Marches seem, unless the team running them was really good, to have been only a token threat to anyone's works cars.

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#40 RTH

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Posted 05 September 2006 - 16:49

[QUOTE]Originally posted by ian senior


But, to me at any rate, it doesn't matter so much when most of the cars use the same or similar engine. I'm all in favour of variety, but wasn't some of the best racing at F2 and F3 level when there was effectively only one engine to choose? You'd need an FVA if you wanted to do 1600cc F2 properly, but apart from the occasional and welcome intrusion from the likes of Ferrari, the racing didn't suffer did it? Same for early 2-litre F2, late 1-litre F3, 1600cc F3, etc etc. There were other engines, but you'd always stand a good chance if you went with the default choice.
[/QUOTE

I do agree with that.

We could easily get back to just that position in the lower formulae now.

.......Or better yet Fomula 2 with mandatory BTCC engines i.e any manufacturers unit to the regs producing approx 250 BHP, free chassis and wheels but no wings at all and 4 " ground clearance at all times

#41 ReWind

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Posted 05 September 2006 - 17:21

Originally posted by Dave Ware
I remember Canadian David McConnell finishing third in his first F2 race at Hockenheim, then quitting, saying that he would never be a success in F2. (Looked like a pretty good start to me.)

Previously he had run FF and FB in Canada. He was a disciple of Jacques Couture, who ran the Jim Russell school at St. Jovite.

Oh, and great photos, guys!

If you click here, then scroll down to Jacques Couture you will find a short notice that David McConnell was/is from the McConnell family of "Montreal Star" fame.

#42 David M. Kane

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Posted 05 September 2006 - 17:46

Seems to work in GP2 too. Was was the Surtees so effective in there Championship year.

I congratulated Mike Hailwood in the pits at the USGP at Watkins Glen on his F2 championship and he just giggled. Was he being modest, as I believe, or was it something else. I always thought thre TS-10 was the prettiest Surtees next to the TS-7.

#43 petefenelon

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Posted 05 September 2006 - 18:28

[QUOTE]Originally posted by RTH
[QUOTE]Originally posted by ian senior
[B]

We could easily get back to just that position in the lower formulae now.

.......Or better yet Fomula 2 with mandatory BTCC engines i.e any manufacturers unit to the regs producing approx 250 BHP, free chassis and wheels but no wings at all and 4 " ground clearance at all times
[/QUOTE]

That's been my recipe for F3 ever since Super Touring appeared in the early nineties!

pete

#44 FerrariV12

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 14:25

Getting slightly off topic here but I've been of the opinion for while now that F3 should adopt Super 2000 engine regulations. F3 in its current state - in Europe anyway - is currently a Dallara-Mercedes benefit and sleepwalking into becoming a spec category :(

#45 petefenelon

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 15:10

Originally posted by FerrariV12
Getting slightly off topic here but I've been of the opinion for while now that F3 should adopt Super 2000 engine regulations. F3 in its current state - in Europe anyway - is currently a Dallara-Mercedes benefit and sleepwalking into becoming a spec category :(


No argument here. 300bhp and naff-all downforce would make a decent F3 that could sit between entry-level stuff like FFord/FBMW/FRenault 2000 and GP2/A1GP/Renault V6.

Of course, the "naff-all downforce" is the problem ;p

#46 RTH

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 15:33

It is allowing cornering speed capability to rise unrestrained in any meaningful way with 2000kgs of downforce at 150mph that has caused the circuits to be ruined with mickey mouse corners and chicanes all long straights and fast sweeping corners no longer accepted and the building of the Tilke like, featureless deadly dull venues that have appeared whenever something new is built.

The prohibition of the wing and ground hugging ride height right across the board, then the comprehensive restructuring of formulae in proportion from F1 downwards could transform the spectacle and allow back long straights and fast sweeping corners.

But of course the people running it all do not see any of that.

#47 petefenelon

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 16:11

Originally posted by RTH
It is allowing cornering speed capability to rise unrestrained in any meaningful way with 2000kgs of downforce at 150mph that has caused the circuits to be ruined with mickey mouse corners and chicanes all long straights and fast sweeping corners no longer accepted and the building of the Tilke like, featureless deadly dull venues that have appeared whenever something new is built.

The prohibition of the wing and ground hugging ride height right across the board, then the comprehensive restructuring of formulae in proportion from F1 downwards could transform the spectacle and allow back long straights and fast sweeping corners.

But of course the people running it all do not see any of that.


I think Max has dimly seen that with the CDG wing for 2008 (which is butt-ugly, making me wonder if its name bears any relation to the world's favourite eyesore of an airport ;P). Now, stop futtering around 10mm off the ground and get some suspension movement in and we might have some Racing in F1 again.

#48 Paul Parker

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 16:13

The problem being that the cars would be pro rata inherently less safe and would probably spin for longer especially if you reverted to the classic old style circuits. Due to the safety paranoia that suits bureaucracy and the lawyers this could never be sanctioned.

As I suggested elsewhere I would remove F1 from conventional racing tracks and run them instead on Indy style speedways where the accidents can be confined within the track margins. This would then stop the mutilation of current circuits, especially the older ones.

#49 RTH

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 17:24

A return to slicks and slightly wider rear tyres arrest the car wonderfully well as it goes in to a spin on tarmac harmlessly.
As a car spins, goes sideways and indeed backwards, all downforce instantly vanishes anyway, so I believe removal of ALL wings and the consequential halving of cornering speed would be a safety positive in a big way. No disturbed air to try to follow a lead car opperating in clean air with all its downforce. Removal of all aero downforce is a win win for every aspect .

Afterall we had over 70 years of motor racing without wings........and indeed as it turns out actually with positive lift !

Yes I would return to old tried and tested circuit layouts but with the safety proviso of big tarmac run off areas which are a huge safety positive.

The whole reason for existance of this forum is that you can learn from history and others past experience. Sadly the people currently involved in running the sport steadfastly refuse to learn from the past.

#50 Cirrus

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 18:06

Minimal downforce and grippy tyres is a proven recipe for great racing. If I ever need cheering up, I watch a recording of the 1970 Crystal Palace F3 race (you know the one - 3 wheels on my Lotus 59 - handbags at dawn) and reminisce....

Mind you, minimal downforce and low-grip tyres is pretty good as well - I've just been thinking about all the great 70s and 80s FF Festivals I've witnessed.