#88 1960 Netherlands Grand Prix

2021-10-12 01:00

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#1960, Fulvio Conti, Translated by Carola Buzio,

#88 1960 Netherlands Grand Prix

The driver Giuseppe Farina will appear for trial before the Court of Ivrea to answer, together with the miller Giovanni Sado, a resident of Cascine Ro


The driver Giuseppe Farina will appear for trial before the Court of Ivrea to answer, together with the miller Giovanni Sado, a resident of Cascine Romano, for involuntary manslaughter against engineer Domenico Montagnani, director of Anfia. The indictment, after a request made by the Public Prosecutor, was ordered on Friday 3rd June 1960, by the investigating judge Dr. Gervasi. The accident that provoked the court case, occurred last October on the highway from Turin to Ivrea near Strambino. Giuseppe Farina and the Anfia director, the engineer Montagnani, were travelling toward Ivrea in a 1100 car. Just before the junction for Cascine Romano, the 1100, in order to avoid the truck driven by Giovanni Sado, which was turning left, moved to the right but still hit the vehicle and ended up against the railing of a bridge. Engineer Montagnani died shortly after in the hospital in Ivrea, while the driver from Turin was seriously injured. Giuseppe Farina always denied that it was him who was driving the car when the disaster occurred: the investigating judge, however, came to a different conclusion and sent him to trial, Giovanni Sado will appear in court for dangerous maneuvers, along with the former World Champion. For some reason, the FIA breaks one of their own rules when they sanction the Dutch Grand Prix, which will be held just one week after the Monaco Grand Prix, as international rules say there should be at least two weeks between major races. Luckily the Dutch race is scheduled for Whit Monday and practice are scheduled for the previous Saturday and Sunday but, bearing in mind the misfortune after the race in Monte-Carlo and the fact that the two circuits are nearly 1000 miles apart, there is a lot of overtime put in by the mechanics of the different teams. Most of the contestants from Monaco are in Zandvoort, with the addition of Aston Martin, making their first Continental appearance this season. Brabham’s Cooper has to return to Surbiton, B.R.M. bring a brand-new car to replace the one crashed by Graham Hill, while all three cars need to have the rear suspension reinforced and the engines changed, there being a considerable number of B.R.M. engines, new ones to put in the cars and spare ones just in case. Lotus does all their work in Monte Carlo before leaving, having to straighten the chassis on Ireland’s car because it was bent by the curb, new engine has to be fitted on Stacey’s car, and the gearbox rebuilt on the third car. Ferrari inspect their front-engined cars and dismantle the rear-engined car to analyze everything, after their first race. 


The front-engined cars are fitted with anti-roll bars on the rear suspension. The Scarab arrive early and are ready to go, once the axle ratios had been settled, and Aston Martin have their 1960 car ready and a spare 1959 one. The Yeoman Credit Team repair Bristow’s car and have three Formula One cars, and a spare 2-litre car, for in this race they are giving Henry Taylor a try-out as well as retaining Brooks and Bristow. Scuderia Centro Sud have only two of their Cooper-Maseratis, for Trintignant and Gregory, while the entry list is made by 21 cars with the Dutchman de Beaufort with a brand new F2 Cooper-Climax, with the cockpit extended by 4 inches to make him comfortable. The Dutchman decides to have qualifying conditions for the entry and, though 21 cars are invited, only 15 will start, these being the fastest 15 in practice. Instead of counting the fastest practice lap, the three fastest laps by each driver are to be taken and added together. On a track such as Zandvoort, where 25 cars could race easily, it is difficult to see why only 15 are going to be accepted if, as suggested, the total amount of money is limited then why not divide it by 20 instead of 15, so that more people can take part in the race, and not give the stars so much money. With Allison still at the hospital, Ferrari counts on Phil Hill, von Trips and Ginther; Lotus lost Surtees, as he has gone to the Isle of Man to do some serious motorcycle racing, so now they have Ireland, Stacey and Clark, the latter being a worthy back-up driver; Moss is still driving for RRC Walker; Yeoman Credit have Brooks, Bristow and Taylor; Cooper with Brabham and McLaren; B.R.M. have Bonnier, Gurney and Graham Hill; Aston Martin only have one entry, with Salvadori; Trintignant and Gregory are driving for Scuderia Centro Sud, de Beaufort for himself; and Reventlow and Daigh are again on the Scarab. With nearly everyone coming from Monte Carlo there isn’t much to be seen on the technical aspect, except for Aston Martin using again the de Dion axle, after it was deemed dead and buried in Monaco, and they are also stuck with front-engine, the new six-cylinder having its inlets and exhausts reversed from last year and using the Lucas low-pressure fuel-injection with a battery-driven electric pump supplying pressure. This new car has reverted to torsion-bar front suspension, though now running lengthways and paired to a strong I-section arm which forms, effectively, a lower wishbone of the front suspension, there being a normal top one.


At the rear the de Dion tube now runs across the car ahead of the gearbox, guided by a pad running in a slot at the front of the unit, and at its ends by double radius rods. As the final drive unit is a 1957 design Maserati 250F, this re-positioning of the de Dion is understandable; longitudinal torsion bars are paired to the hub carriers by short links and, at the front, telescopic shock-absorbers are used. Since the track in Zandvoort is permanent and open at all times, an unofficial practice session is allowed on Friday evening, during which the bottom gear pinion on Clark’s Lotus falls off, the B.R.M. with rear engine seems well suited to the circuit as the old front-engined cars did, Aston Martin are showing that their fuel-injection gives beautifully clean pick-up out of corners, especially compared to Lotus’ tuning, but the 1960 car is not as stable as the older and heavier car, and McLaren is working hard with the 1960 Cooper, which doesn’t looking as easy to drive as last year’s car. On Saturday morning the official practice session begins and the race against time starts, with Moss being easily the fastest of all, with 1'33"8, which makes sense against last year’s fastest practice lap of 1'36"0, remembering the progress in technical development, if not in design, since last year. The Ferrari drivers are not happy with their handling (but they rarely are) and the rear anti-roll bars altering the handling to the opposite extreme. Yeoman Credit give Henry Taylor a run in their 2-liter car before letting him drive one of the Formula 1 cars, and Lotus are performing better than the standard expected after their performance in Goodwood and Silverstone. The Scarab are still slow, but as bad as they thought. With the regulations taking the three best times by each driver there is no way of following the progress of practice until it’s all over, and this is something the organizers have overlooked, because it meant that it will not be possible to choose the 15 lucky starters until all practice is over, so there won’t be any last-minute attempt to qualify. Before the next practice session takes place, on Saturday afternoon, the organizers receive a deputation from the participants, this matter is then analyzed, and they decide to cancel the rule and take only the fastest lap set by each driver to count it for qualifying. They also agreed that a maximum of 20 cars will be allowed to start, but it won’t be possible to pay in order to make five extra cars start. 


These are very reasonable decisions made by the Dutch organizers, unlike some organizers who won’t even listen to the participants’ complaints, let alone change the regulations, but it’s not enough for the participants because they all want starting money, whether they are in the first 15 or not, but quite reasonably the organizers turn that request down. The afternoon practice sees everyone out again except for Bonnier, who broke his B.R.M.’s gearbox in the morning, and anyone who considers himself a driver, or a car that can be considered as a Grand Prix car, is well below 1'40"0. Once again Moss is the fastest by far, with 1'33"6, his closest rival being Brabham with 1'34"5. The Scarabs are improving, Daigh getting down to 1'42"7, but Reventlow can’t even beat de Beaufort with his Formula 2 Cooper. Aston Martin aren’t happy, lacking power because of their weight as usual, and Salvadori not sure about the handling, thinks it didn’t look too bad around the circuit. In the morning he sets a time of 1'37"8, but it never approaches that again, being unable to go faster than 1'40"0. Gurney doesn’t look happy at all in the rear-engined B.R.M., correcting unnecessarily rear-wheel movements that don’t really exist, whereas Graham Hill looks completely relaxed and almost bored while he sets a time of 1'35"1. Taylor is enjoying himself in the Yeoman Credit car and, although he puts a lot of effort into his driving, he is going well and ahead of him is Ginther in a front-engined Ferrari, finally catching him, but meanwhile Phil Hill in another front-engined car catches and overtakes both of them, going very fast and setting a time of 1'36"4. Bristow is driving very fast indeed, catches and passes his teammate Brooks, although by the end of the afternoon they have both set 1'37"6, which is slower than they had done in the morning. The Scuderia Centro Sud cars are going quite well and Gregory looks excited, continuously on opposite lock but, nevertheless, Trintignant is faster. When this second practice session finishes there is still a lot of dissatisfaction among the defeated drivers, saying they won’t start without being paid, even though the organizers agreed to let 26 cars participate to the race. The next day, Sunday, there is one practice session in the afternoon, and once again Moss sets the pace with 1'33"8, but he is not so secure this time, for Brabham is out there really working with the new Cooper, and after driving to the limit, he sets 1'33"4.


This doesn’t please Moss, especially as Ireland set 1'33"9, also working at a high pressure, so he goes out again, first with very worn rear tyres and, then on mildly worn ones, and finally sets 1'33"2. Most people are working hard, but few get close to the times of the first three drivers, there being a substantial gap between them and the rest. Yeoman Credit are content with the times of their two official drivers, but let Taylor do a lot of practice as he’s improving, and he finally sets 1'36"4, but then he has an accident. It doesn’t occur while trying to improve this time; but on his slowing-down lap, since he’s been concentrating so hard that he relaxes too much and goes right off track. Luckily, he’s uninjured and the car is undamaged, and while Bristow goes on track to see if everything is all right, Yeoman Credit send Taylor out again in the 2-litre car before he gets frightened, which is very clever of the Yeoman Credit Team’s organization, and something you don’t see often in these days. Aston Martin can’t go below 1'40"0 and Reg Parnell let Moss have a go, but he is obviously unimpressed and doesn’t even try very hard. Scarab are sprinting towards the end of the pits to try and make some sort of impression and Chuck Daigh is beginning to get the hang of Grand Prix racing, showing immense courage and determination. After being overtaken by Brabham, while the Australian is busy in the 1'34"0 time window, Daigh gets well under 1'40"0 and begins some consistent 1'38"0 laps. Ferrari are about as happy as they are and brought the rear-engined car along for this last session, von Trips doing all the driving this time, while Ginther is doing a huge number of laps in a front-engined car and thoroughly enjoying his second Grand Prix race meeting. When the lap times are finally computed there are some very obvious errors, as Daigh has been assigned a time of 1'36"7, to which none of his staff agreed, and Reventlow a time of 1'38"8, which he knows is incorrect for sure, and Ginther is said to be the fastest Ferrari; so, as in Monte Carlo, the timekeepers misused their power. In the past, practice lap times have never been so important, as everyone would start and would get paid, the timekeeping and computing was rarely questioned, but since the organizers started this qualifying business, everyone naturally starts checking on things, and many of them are wrong. The final list of best times is published and it looks like von Trips, Gregory, Salvadori, Trintignant, Reventlow and de Beaufort are the unlucky ones, the first five being allowed to start without getting paid. 


Reventlow covers his two cars and refuses to take part in the race even though Daigh has qualified, talking about fair play and sportsmanship, two words which exist in American amateur racing but disappeared from the European racing vocabulary many, many years ago. Poor Mr. Dei of the Scuderia Centro Sud badly wants his cars to race but, since they won’t receive starting money, they can’t afford a mechanical failure; however, with a bit of diplomacy he reaches an agreement with the organizers and Trintignant is an official starter. Aston Martin, just like Reventlow, pack everything up and lose interest in the race, while Ferrari are embarrassed to find out that von Trips has been ruled out but relieved to know that Daigh’s withdrawal, wanted by Reventlow, allows von Trips to move up a place. The other withdrawals allow de Beaufort to move in, which he does with great pleasure. Until now the weather has been wonderful but on Monday morning it rains heavily, and the conditions look dangerous, but by the time the race takes place, at 3:15 p.m., the warm, dry weather is back again and everyone is happy. 17 cars line up and set off on a warming-up lap; this is a sensible arrangement. Hill and von Trips are using small aero screens on their Ferrari, while Ginther has a wrap-around screen, all three cars are all-independent front-engined models. Moss has mudflaps on his Lotus, but they were removed when the rain threat disappeared. As Bristow is on his warming-up lap his Yeoman Credit Cooper breaks down, luckily just behind the pits, but a long time passes by before his mechanics realize this, as they are waiting for him on the grid with the other 16 cars and are looking for him on the long straight. With only a few minutes to go they run to help him, to find that a pivot in the throttle linkage has worn right through and fractured. While the rest of the holds are being assembled on the grid the Yeoman Credit mechanics work at high-speed fitting a completely new throttle linkage assembly, which they have in the pits, and Bristow deserves every praise for standing quietly by while they get on with the job. Many more experienced drivers would have been jumping up and down and yelling in such a situation. Finally, the car was ready but there is no time to complete the warm-up lap as the grid was ready to go, so the light green car is pushed through the straw bales on the edge of the track and put into its place in the third row, the organizers waited very kindly to give the starting signal. 


As the flag is raised, Brooks starts creeping from the fourth row until he’s on his team-mate’s side in the third row, while at the back Trintignant is more than ready to go. It’s a first-class start, clearly given with no fuss and bother, and all 17 cars sprint towards the first corner. Having crept forward, Brooks is right behind Graham Hill but the B.R.M. makes a hesitant start compared to the rest and Brooks was badly overtaken. As he tries to turn left towards the outside of the track Trintignant goes by like a rocket and frightens Brooks back into his place. The little Frenchman was told that if he could get into the first two positions in the opening stages of the race he would get paid starting money, so the Cooper-Maserati is placed on the grid with only a gallon of fuel in the tank and Trintignant is out to do a sprint-race, unbeknown to the rest of the field. Phil Hill has made a terrific start from the fifth row and at the end of the first lap he is in fifth place, behind Brabham, Moss, Ireland and Stacey. Trintignant is already in 13th place. It needs only three laps of the 75 scheduled, for a pattern to form, and that is Brabham out in front with Moss sitting quietly behind him, then a short gap and Ireland and Stacey running head to head, passing and re-passing, obviously without receiving any team order, then McLaren on his own and, already further back, Phil Hill, Gurney, Bristow, Ginther, Bonnier, Graham Hill, Brooks, Clark and Trintignant running nose-to-tail and waiting for an opportunity to sort things out. Taylor and de Beaufort quietly bring up the rear. On the fifth lap Brooks stops before the pits with a broken gearbox, while Trintignant is overtaken by Clark and von Trips. On the next lap Gurney, Bristow and Phil Hill get away from the others and formed a race on their own. Clark roars by Bonnier and just lets Graham Hill by, while Trintignant passes von Trips and Bonnier and takes 12th place, as it’s obvious that the Swedish driver’s B.R.M. engine isn’t working properly. At the end of only eight laps McLaren’s Cooper breaks the inboard universal joint on its left-hand drive shaft as he passes the pits, and he stops at the Tarzanbocht, so Trintignant is now 11th. By 10 laps Brabham and Moss are 17 seconds ahead of the two Lotus. Ireland and Stacey are still running wheel-to-wheel, so we have to understand if Ireland isn’t driving well or if Stacey is driving brilliantly. They are both driving fast while they are holding on to the third and fourth position, well ahead of Gurney, who is 30 seconds behind the leaders, in fifth position. 


Bristow disappears from the B.R.M.’s wake when his engine stopped working and then Gurney disappears, quite literally, from the race. As he comes down the straight past the pits at 140mph and brakes at the Tarzanbocht a pipe on the rear brakes broke, and his front wheels locked making him go straight over the bank and down in a considerable fall, being very lucky to escape with only minor abrasions. Bristow retired and Trintignant moves up to 10th place, but von Trips is almost beside him and has to drive like a maniac to ensure the 10th place but having done so he stops on lap 12 to fill-up and starts the race seriously. On the 16th lap Brabham and Moss are still nose-to-tail, the Lotus obviously waiting before overtaking the Cooper, and as they go through the woods on the far side of the circuit on their 17th lap, Brabham put his wheels on the inside of a turn on the edge of the track, as he has been doing all along, but one of the large flat granite squares which are sunk into the sand to mark the edge of the track, breaks in half and the Cooper’s rear wheel picks a piece up, about the size of a book, and throws it at the Lotus. This happens on a left-hand turn and Moss is leaning on his outside front tire when there is a crash and this huge lump of granite destroys the wheel rim and bursts the tyre. He limps back to the pits while Brabham goes his way. The pit stop is complicated. First the jack would not go under the front suspension, with the car sitting on one side, and then the mechanics have to dismantle the hub and roller races in order to get the wheel off and put another one on; Lotus’ design, just like Cooper’s, doesn’t work well with changing wheels rapidly. Of course, while all this is going on everyone storms past and Brabham appears for the second time when Moss goes back on track. There are thirteen cars still left in the race and Moss is 12th; but it’s obvious that he isn’t going to stay there for long, and he starts to drive in an outstanding way, and against impossible odds he refuses to give in and fights every for inch of the track. Brabham is safely in front, 27 seconds ahead of Ireland, who is still playing games with Stacey, while further back Clark is doing a splendid job attacking Graham Hill’s B.R.M. 


Then come the three Ferrari, with Ginther leading, and then Brabham shows up again, having lapped the rest of the field, which consists of Bonnier, Trintignant, Taylor and de Beaufort. Moss is gaining 2 seconds each lap on Brabham but there is no need for the Australian to hurry unduly as there is no possible chance for Moss to catch him, unless of course, the Cooper gets in trouble, but the rest of the drivers aren’t so comfortable. Although Brabham is leading the race, he now gets ignored as he is driving quietly and consistently on his own but, behind, Ireland and Stacey still appear to be dueling privately, though in fact they are just keeping each other company, but Clark is giving Graham Hill a hard time and on lap 29 he overtakes the B.R.M. as they pass the pits, but the Lotus then runs wide at the hairpin braking and the B.R.M. gets back in fourth place. The same thing happens on the next lap but then the Lotus begins to have some troubles with its transmission and Clark has to drop back a bit. Brabham laps all the Ferrari, Phil Hill slowing down due to erratic throttles, and Ginther has given the sixth place to von Trips but is still close behind him. On lap 40 Trintignant fails to complete the lap, as the transfer gears between engine and gearbox break, and on the next lap Phil Hill comes in to have his carburetors looked at. Clark is making despairing signs at his gear-lever and on lap 43 he retires as something broke between the engine and the rear wheels. There are now only four drivers on the same lap, Brabham, Ireland, Stacey and Graham Hill, respectively driving Cooper, Lotus, Lotus, B.R.M. Moss is still going as fast as ever, lapping in 1'34"4 on lap 39 to set a new record, and he is in sixth place between the Ferraris of von Trips and Ginther, and is soon going to be fifth. He is also just behind the two Lotus, about to be on the same lap as them, but not yet back on the same lap as Brabham. The dark blue Lotus roars past the two green ones, and as their pit staff never told them who was leading the race, only telling them they are second and third, they assume Moss is in the lead and are disappointed when he laps them. Phil Hill is still in trouble, with an issue which now looks electrical and the engine cutting in and out violently, he finally gives in. On lap 58 Ireland comes by on his own and Stacey comes slowly into the pits, with something broken in his transmission, as happened to Clark, so Graham Hill is now third, and as Moss overtakes von Trips he is now fourth, 46 seconds behind the B.R.M. Bonnier has been drifting aimlessly at the back of the field until he is lapped by von Trips, who he seems to wake up and starts going quite fast again, but then the oil-filter bowl breaks and before he knows the oil spills over his rear wheels; the engine breaks and he spins off track, bending the B.R.M. but escaping any injury.


With 15 laps to go the only possible thing that Moss might achieve is fourth place since Graham Hill, and many drivers in his position would have given up trying, but not the golden boy. He is still pushing as hard as the Lotus would go and recovering the seconds between himself and the B.R.M. and, in the process, he catches and passes Brabham, who is touring along in the lead. This puts him on the same lap as Brabham but 1'34"5 behind him. B.R.M. are signaling Hill the closing gap in seconds and giving him the faster signal, as Graham is doing the math in his head quietly and peacefully, driving a very fast and smooth race, refusing to let Moss’ pressure and the excitement of the spectators disturb him. Moss is catching the B.R.M. gaining about 4 seconds each lap and when Brabham completes his 75th lap no one seems very interested, nor do they when Ireland arrives second. Meanwhile the B.R.M. and the Lotus are at the back of the circuit and within one another’s sight. All eyes are focused on the long final straight, but as the two cars arrive the outcome is settled, Moss failed, or should one say Graham Hill has succeeded. Whichever way you see it, this is an amazing race finish and Moss’ last lap time is 1'33"8, which is another new lap record. The World Champion Jack Brabham, driving a Cooper, wins the Dutch Grand Prix on the fast track in Zandvoort. Behind him came three British drivers, respectively: Ireland in a Lotus, Graham Hill in a B.R.M. and Stirling Moss in a Lotus. The race was unfortunately marked by a serious accident that killed an 18-year-old spectator and lightly injured five others. It was still in the early stages of the race when the American Dan Gurney's B.R.M. went off track in a rather difficult corner and stopped in one of the sand dunes surrounding the circuit, running over a group of six spectators. Of the six injured spectators, the young man appeared to be in a desperate condition right after and died on the ambulance which was taking him to the hospital. His name hasn’t been released yet, since the authorities had to notify the family. The driver, having recovered from severe shock, later made his appearance in the pits. Two bandages on his wrists cover the injuries Gurney sustained when he crashed against the dashboard. The American driver explained the accident caused by a sudden brake failure, which didn’t allow him to reduce the speed at the entrance of the corner. The race was very fast and saw Brabham’s absolute domain, who jumped into the lead at the start and didn’t allow any rival to take the first position away from him.


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