70 and 170 for the Scuderia and Shell

Few sports like a landmark to the same extent as motor racing, so the S&G raises a glass to Shell and Scuderia Ferrari on the occasion of their 170th victory in the FIA Formula 1 World Championship. Sebastian Vettel’s victory in Monaco has given his title prospects a shot in the arm – and pushed both Ferrari and Shell further ahead in the history books.

When looked at in detail, these sorts of claims are always hard to pin down without a bit of leg-work. Atop this little piece, for example, is a picture of the ‘odd man out’: Giancarlo Baghetti, who famously took victory in the 1961 French Grand Prix at Reims.

This was the first of just 21 world championship appearances that Baghetti made between 1961 and 1967 – a record that is unlikely to ever be beaten. At least not until Formula 1 can go cold turkey on hiring newcomers based on their bank balance rather than their raw pace.

The car was a red Ferrari and it was prepared by Italians affiliated to Maranello… but it was not a Scuderia Ferrari entry. Rather, it was entered under the name of Federazione Italiana Scuderie Automobilistiche, which was a conglomerate of Italian teams such as Scuderia Dolomiti, Scuderia de Tomaso, Scuderia Pescara, Scuderia Settecoli, Scuderia Montegrappa, Scuderia Serenissima, Scuderia Sant’Ambroeus and one or two others (depending upon whom you’re asking).

Their aim was to promote a young Italian driver – and in this they duly succeeded with Baghetti’s record result at Reims.

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José Froilán Gonzáles takes Ferrari’s first world championship win in Formula 1 at the 1951 British GP

So, with Baghetti’s victory aside, today’s result for Sebastian Vettel stands as the 170th time that Shell and Scuderia Ferrari have taken the honours in a points-scoring round of the world championship. And it’s Ferrari’s 70th year as a constructor… which has a nice symmetry to it.

Of course, the history of Scuderia Ferrari dates back to the end of 1929 – as does Shell’s relationship with the team. Shell had partnered Alfa Romeo throughout the glory years of the 1920s and when Enzo Ferrari decided to establish a secondary team for customer drivers to compete using Alfa Romeo cars, Shell was an early investor. As a result, a Shell fuel pump was placed outside the Scuderia’s original workshops in Modena.

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Jacky Ickx scored the last win for Shell and Ferrari’s first years in partnership at the 1972 German GP

The partnership between Shell and Ferrari has only been broken twice ever since – once during World War 2 and again in 1973, when Shell decided to focus on sports car racing with Porsche, and its Formula 1 programme became something of a patchwork until returning with a wallop at the start of McLaren’s glory years with TAG-Porsche power.

In 1996, Shell and Ferrari were reunited – which was rather timely, for this was also when Michael Schumacher arrived at Maranello. Between 1951 and 1973, Shell and Ferrari had achieved 48 wins together. During the 11 seasons that the German maestro was in command, they took the total up to a thumping 135.

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The ‘Schumacher era’ brought Shell and Ferrari 87 wins over 11 seasons (not to mention the odd world championship title)

The 35 wins that have come after Schumacher have been spread across seasons of feast and famine, bringing two constructors’ titles, Kimi Räikkönen’s drivers’ title and Felipe Massa’s moral victory in 2008.

The 2017 season looks like being the first in which the Scuderia can string together a convincing title campaign since Massa’s final corner anguish in Sao Paulo. Of course, Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes will have a thing or two to say about it – but who knows, maybe Ferrari and Shell will celebrate ‘175 not out’ before the end of the year?

At least hitting the Shell partnership’s 170th points-scoring F1 win could hardly have been in a more fitting location than the storied streets of Monaco. One imagines that there will be a celebratory flute or two raised in hospitality to toast this landmark before the day is out.

One thing is for certain: very soon Shell will have achieved 300 wins in the FIA Formula 1 World Championship, to sit alongside the 60 wins in 84 runnings of the Le Mans 24 Hours to date (and virtually every world championship sports car race ever).

These are among the most significant landmarks to be found in Shell’s trophy cabinet, which is too often hidden away behind the other stuff: a unique legacy that should be jealously guarded.

Ferrari 312T now available in French

Some mornings offer a surprise or two, so you can imagine that the rafters were rattling at the S&G when the Ferrari 312T manual appeared on Amazon in French.

‘Nothing to worry about’, sayeth Steve, the wise man of Haynes. Apparently it’s a badge of honour for Michel to wish to translate someone’s work… so we’ll take it as such!

If anyone is interested in expanding their French vocabulary into the realms of ground-effect versus horsepower or low opinions of McLaren, as expressed by former Ferrari men, then you are in luck. Equally, anyone with a French friend who has a particular yen for Mauro Forghieri’s masterpiece can now read about it from the man himself in their mother tongue… so please visit Éditions du Palmier or pick one up on Amazon.

The English language version is also still available. Here’s what’s been said about it:

‘Riveting stuff.’
– Octane

Book of the Month: ‘…this is an excellent guide to one of the most charismatic series of Grand Prix cars.’
– Classic & Sports Car

‘For those who consider the ’70s as the golden era of Formula 1, this is the book for you.’
– Historic Racing Technology

And the winner is…

First of all thank you to everyone who took part in the first S&G readers’ competition. Hopefully it will not be the last.

The question was to name the three men credited with designing the Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5 and they were H.P. Folland, John Kenworthy and Major Frank Goodden.

In case of concern, there is method in the madness of such an apparently unrelated question to win a Haynes manual about Ferraris from the 1970s. At present the S&G is a hive of activity while yours truly finishes off the Haynes manual for the S.E.5, which will be available from early next year to mark the centenary of the type.

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The correct competition entries have been counted, shuffled, re-shuffled, placed in a hat and jiggled around a bit for good measure. After these preliminaries an independent body (well, the independent fingers of Miss Sonal Patel at least) produced the winner’s name. Step forward please, James Miers – one signed copy of the Ferrari 312T series manual will be heading your way.

James, if you could post a reply on this entry including an email address, I shall contact you directly to get your address and delete the blog reply immediately to maintain privacy.

Thank you once again to everyone for taking part, for visiting the S&G and offering to give a good home to the Ferrari book. If you haven’t seen the growing range of classic aircraft manuals by Haynes, please do feast your eyes on the array to date. The S.E.5 will be the second World War 1 title in the catalogue, following the Sopwith Camel published earlier this year.

Normal service will soon be resumed!

Advertisement feature: S&G’s book

Did you know that Ronnie Peterson agreed terms with Ferrari to fill Niki Lauda’s seat after the Austrian’s fiery crash in 1976?

Or that Lauda himself fully expected the whole field to pull into the pits behind him at Fuji?

Or that James Hunt’s deal to drive for Ferrari was scuppered by Vauxhall?

Or that one of Ferrari’s senior designers was kidnapped and, sadly, murdered in a story that could have been ripped from the pages of an Inspector Montalbano mystery?

Not for the first time, the S&G has written a book. It is the latest in the series of Haynes Manuals for enthusiasts of the most iconic cars in motor sport history – in this instance, the Ferrari 312T series. So if you like pretty red things and are looking for something to leaf through on holiday this summer, here’s the sales pitch:

This manual contains a guide to owning, restoring and enjoying one of these iconic 1970s Formula 1 cars.

If you happen to have a spare couple of million dollars that you don’t know what to do with, there is guidance on owning a 312T, T2, T3, T4 or T5. Even a T6, if you will… although not the fictional T8. There is also expert advice how to tackle an auction from the chaps at Bonhams and insights into ownership and maintainance from Hall & Hall.

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If you want to get under the skin of this little beast, there’s now a book for you

This book won’t follow Haynes tradition and give you a step-by-step guide to replacing the wiring loom but then we are talking about a Formula 1 car and not a Morris Ital. If you can afford a 312T then you’ve doubtless got a man in a mews garage with grubby fingernails who can handle that sort of thing.

Alternatively, you might want to give it back to Ferrari, where Gilles Villeneuve’s former crew chief, Pietro Corradini, will tend to its needs in the Corse Clienti workshops. He is also a prominent contributor to the book.

But for those who want to revel in the history of the 312T there is, we hope, plenty to enjoy. Lots of pictures. Quite a few words. Many of those words came from the mouth of Mauro Forghieri, designer of the breed and of pretty well all things Ferrari from 1962-82. That interview, ladies and gentlemen, was a good day’s work.

Forghieri also had plenty to say about the storied summer of 1976 and the epic battle for the Formula 1 world championship between Niki Lauda and James Hunt. And if Forghieri had plenty to say then the team manager from that fateful season, Daniele Audetto, was a positive Vesuvius of information that had been bubbling away unseen by anyone for decades.

Certainly unseen by anyone in the English speaking world. The story of that summer of ’76 is often told but much of Audetto’s version of events was news to your humble scribe as it will be to any of you in the English speaking world because, let’s face it, the coverage at the time was rather patriotic in tone.

Unsurprisingly the Italian version of events is significantly different to the ‘official story’ as told by the Anglo-Saxon contingent and benefits from a whole host of scandals and intrigues never before mentioned in polite society.

This was all somewhat exciting to be told, but then it was rather an exciting project to be given. The 312T belongs to an age of unalloyed heroism exemplified by Lauda’s return from the Nürburgring, the likes of Hunt, Scheckter and Reutemann wrestling with their considerable fears about surviving each and every race weekend and Gilles Villeneuve’s devastating speed. Revisiting those days with such expert guides was a joy.

The making of the movie Rush and the cars that starred in it is also a feature. So too are those vital ingredients to the true story of 1976 that Rush missed out like the British Grand Prix riots – as reported by someone who was there lobbing beer cans onto the track.

The Ferrari 312T Owners’ Manual marks the second time that Haynes has offered the S&G an opportunity to write about the red cars. Almost 14 years ago your scribe was allowed into the inner sanctum at Maranello to document Ferrari’s resurgence under Jean Todt, Ross Brawn and Michael Schumacher. This resulted in the book Cavallino Rampante, which was one of the few times when life offers the chance to create something that will last a good deal longer than you will.

It’s been a pleasure to revisit that sort of territory again and one hopes that some of that enjoyment is passed on to the reader. So if all that tickles your fancy, please do dive in with both feet.

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There are a few handy hints for those awkward plumbing and wiring jobs

Some special heritage moments

Few sports are as good at looking backwards as motor sport – but then few sports have attained such levels of bravery and skill as a matter of course. With so much to celebrate each year, there are always some highlights. Few of these fall within the S&G’s remit, but they’re fun nevertheless…

Sicily 2015: Dan Ricciardo drives the Targa Florio

Goodwood 2014: Marking 50 years since John Surtees became F1 champion – love the standing ovation!

Bahrain 2010: 60 years of Formula One – world champions gathering

Barcelona 2015: Alonso drives Senna’s McLaren

Ferrari 2012: Jacques Villeneuve marks his father’s memory 30 years on

And while it’s been on the S&G before, it’s always a pleasure to see Fernando Alonso at the wheel of the Ferrari 375 in 2011 – one lap behaving himself and then the blue touch paper is lit!

Ferrari’s most glamorous creations for 2015 Revival

You have permission to dribble: the racing sports cars created by Ferrari between 1950 and 1959 will be the stars of the show at this year’s Goodwood Revival. Following on from last year’s sensational celebrations for the Jaguar D-Type’s 60th anniversary, we can now look forward to a flood of rosso corsa gracing Goodwood for quite probably the most expensive one-make race in history.

Grand Prix racing may arguably have been Enzo’s greater passion, but the sales of his exotic road cars depended upon laying claim to the silverware at the world’s greatest road races – the Mille Miglia, the Targa Florio and the Le Mans 24 Hours chief among them. Thus his cars were not only built to succeed but also to inspire – with seductive bodywork that could rival the youthful Sofia Loren and the most intoxicating mechanical opera bursting from their exhaust pipes.

Everyone has a personal favourite. Mine is the low-slung 335 S which, while unable to match for the D-Types at la Sarthe, to my eye looks the hungriest of the classic front-engined prototypes to emerge from Maranello – although it’s a close-run thing.

What we can expect is up to 30 of the world’s most expensive cars, each capable of around 180mph on their narrow tyres and drum brakes, vying for the honour of winning the signature race at the world’s biggest weekend of automotive showbiz.

To set the scene, let’s enjoy this fabulous performance from a 1958 246 S at the 2004 Le Mans Classic – and hope to see plenty of the same tail-wagging, wheel-sawing bravado being applied in West Sussex this autumn.

 

Goodwood celebrates 60 years of the Jaguar D-Type

The 2014 Goodwood Revival on 12-14 September will have a treat in store for lovers of curvaceous cars from Coventry. To mark the 60th anniversary of the storied Jaguar D-Type, an unprecedented 30 surviving examples will be entered for the Lavant Cup race.

'Shortnose' D-Type as it appeared in 1954

‘Shortnose’ D-Type as it appeared in 1954

The D-Type’s importance is hard to overstate, not least because it utilised the first successful monocoque chassis design in motor sport history. An alloy ‘tub’ of elliptical shape and comparatively small cross-section provided an incredibly rigid yet lightweight structure. Sub-assemblies were then bolted to the front and rear – carrying the engine, steering assembly, and front suspension in front of the cockpit while the rear suspension and final drive were carried behind.

In many ways the D-Type was the road-going equivalent of the Hawker Hunter jet fighter and borrowed heavily from contemporary aeronautical design. The man behind the car was Malcolm Sayer, an aeronautical designer from the Bristol Aeroplane Company, had joined Jaguar in 1950 and brought with him the most advanced thinking available in the world. Sayer’s brilliance steered the Jaguar XK120 and its Le Mans-winning sister the C-Type, whose success cemented Jaguar’s reputation and paved the way for his 1954 masterpiece, the D-Type.

The Hawker Hunter jet also debuted in 1954 bearing many similarities to the D-Type

The Hawker Hunter jet also debuted in 1954 bearing many similarities to the D-Type

 

It is astonishing to think that Sayer’s work depended upon developing complex formulae for creating curves – exactly the same science that is replicated by today’s CAD software programmes. Back in the early ‘Fifties, however, the only tools that Sayer had to call upon were a slide rule and seven-figure log tables.

Sayer’s handiwork was tested in a wind tunnel. He was determined to minimise the frontal area of the car in order to decrease wind resistance and thereby increase speed on the Mulsanne Straight at Le Mans. This in turn required Jaguar’s Chief Engineer William Haynes and former Bentley engineer Walter Hassan to develop dry sump lubrication in order to cant the 3.4-litre straight-6 XK engine at 8½ degrees from the vertical in order to meet Sayer’s demands – creating the D-Type’s signature offset bonnet bulge in the process.

The canted XK engine installed in a D-Type

The canted XK engine installed in a D-Type

In addition to the structural similarities between the D-Type and contemporary fighter aircraft, several ancillaries were carried over from aircraft such as Dunlop disc brakes and a Marston Aviation Division bag to carry the fuel instead of a traditional rigid tank.

The dark green cars caused a sensation at Le Mans in 1954 and should have taken victory in the 24 Hours at a canter, but for fuel feed problems resulting from their revolutionary design. Nevertheless the superiority of these high-tech creations was clear to see when they achieved more than 172 mph on the Mulsanne Straight compared with the 160 mph reached by the instantly outdated (but ultimately victorious) 4.9 litre Ferrari V12.

Acclaimed artist Tim Layzell's print of the D-Type's unveiling www.timlayell.com

Acclaimed artist Tim Layzell’s print of the D-Type’s unveiling www.timlayzell.com

Ongoing development of the D-Types cured these gremlins and, with revised ‘long nose’ styling from 1955 onwards to further increase high speed efficiency and stability, duly conquered the world. Jaguar won Le Mans in 1955, 1956 and 1957 against the combined might of Mercedes-Benz, Ferrari, Maserati and Aston Martin. More important still, it set the template for every successful thoroughbred racing car to this day, both sports-prototype and single-seater.

Today the D-Type remains a popular choice for drivers and fans at historic events. Total D-Type production is thought to have included 18 factory team cars, 53 customer cars, and 16 road going XKSS versions. The Goodwood celebration will certainly be well deserved and undoubtedly a highlight of another spectacular race card.