The XXXIII Gran Premio d'Italia, otherwise known as the 1962 Italian Grand Prix, was the seventh round of the 1962 FIA Formula One World Championship, held at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza on the 16th of September. It was the first visit of the World Championship to Monza since the tragic death of Wolfgang von Trips in 1961, with the race returning to use the circuit without the banking section on safety grounds.
There were no surprises in qualifying, as Jim Clark claimed another pole position, but in the process, and in conjunction with team mate Trevor Taylor, managed to go through Team Lotus' entire stock of gearboxes. There were concerns on the grid for the likelihood of Clark and Taylor finishing, and by lap 25 both were out with gearbox failures. Clark's retirement was excellent news for Championship leader Graham Hill, whose BRM continued to pound round Monza in the lead of the race.
Hill remained unchallenged at the front of the field to extend his Championship leader, with team mate Richie Ginther swinging his BRM into second after Clark's problems. The third podium spot looked set to go to Ferrari's Willy Mairesse in the closing stages, until Bruce McLaren snatched the position away through Curva Grande to rise to second in the Championship. Mairesse was left in a disappointed fourth, ahead of team mate Giancarlo Baghetti and the Porsche of Jo Bonnier.
There was yet another mistake for Ferrari in a miserable season, after an error while manufacturing their updated 156s (having copied the suspension design of the new Lotus 24) meant the three almost complete cars had to be rebuilt before they had even hit the track. They therefore had to bring their increasingly dated compliment of 156s, with five drivers running in the scarlet colours. Phil Hill led the line in front of the tifosi, with regular racers Lorenzo Bandini, Ricardo Rodríguez and Giancarlo Baghetti complimented with the addition of Willy Mairesse.
Formula One's other major car manufacturer Porsche would also arrive in Italy, fielding another brand new 804 in the hands of Dan Gurney. Their engineers spent time by attempting to streamline their cars, covering over the wheel hubs with aluminium disks and fairings covering the suspension. Lola-Climax were back too, with John Surtees set to use the updated Mk4 in Italy as they looked to continue their impressive form.
The major British constructors were also out in force once again, with BRM arriving a day earlier than everyone else (bar Ferrari) to get an unofficial practice session under their belts. Three identical P57s were on offer for their two drivers, with Cooper-Climax only bringing a pair of their T60s for the weekend. Team Lotus arrived with two 25s, the months break allowing them to build another "monocoque" machine for Trevor Taylor, while Jim Clark continued with his familiar challenger.
Several new Lotus 24s would also be on display in Italy too, with Team Lotus aiding the Rob Walker Racing Team to rebuild their car once again. UDT Laystall Racing Team were back with their two 24s, once again running with a BRM engine in Masten Gregory's car while Innes Ireland used a Climax. Jack Brabham, meanwhile, would not appear in Italy with the new Brabham BT3, the Australian opting to complete a development run in the car. The rest of the field would be made up of older machinery in private hands, although both De Tomaso, Emeryson and Gilby Engineering sent factory backed cars.
Ahead of the Italian Grand Prix of 1962 it was Graham Hill who led the World Championship standings, having left Germany with a seven point lead. The season was entering its final throes with a third of the races to go, and so Clark would need a strong run with Team Lotus in order to beat his friend and rival. Surtees came to Monza in an impressive third with Lola, ahead of Bruce McLaren and defending World Champion Phil Hill.
Drop scores were beginning to be enforced in the Intercontinental Cup for Manufacturers, with BRM coming to Italy four ahead of Team Lotus. Cooper were a further four behind in third, while Lola's first competitive season saw them in fourth, ahead of Porsche. Ferrari's poor attendance and even worse form left them down in sixth, last of the manufacturers to have scored.
The full entry list for the 1962 Italian Grand Prix is outlined below:
There were some adjustments to the qualifying rules in Italy, with 22 grid slots on offer as the room on the main straight had been reduce. In order to get onto the starting grid, a driver had to complete two laps within 110% of the second fastest driver's time, the idea being to prevent a large speed difference between the very fastest and the very slowest. The combined practice and qualifying sessions would run on Friday afternoon, with a second three hour session on Saturday.
The early phases of qualifying saw a fair amount of experimentation among the major teams, although there were varying levels of success. Team Lotus were among those to struggle early on, Jim Clark losing large amounts of time having a severely over-geared car adjusted throughout the afternoon while team mate Trevor Taylor suffered a suspension failure. Elsewhere Innes Ireland was swapping between UDT Laystall's compliment of Lotuses, although notably left Masten Gregory to run the BRM, engined car.
Ferrari had a mixed couple of days, all five of their cars suffering with severe understeer issues, leaving their drivers split between hopelessness and indifference. Willy Mairesse was the one leading their charge, as it turned out, with the Belgian making his return after his huge accident in Belgium. He was among the quickest times on Friday when he came across a slow Gregory in Curva Grande, and was unable to avoid hitting the Lotus square in the back. Fortunately the impact was not enough to cause an accident, but the lightweight Ferrari came off worse with a damaged nose.
Intense heat on Saturday greeted the field, and Clark was out early to get more running done until a third gearbox failure of the weekend. The Scot would not reappear again until late in the afternoon, with his penultimate run ended prematurely with an engine issue. In contrast, the BRM cars were running faultlessly, with Graham Hill and Richie Ginther currently sharing the two car wide front row, both well under the target time of 1:42.00. That was until Clark reappeared in Taylor's car, with a stunning series of laps as the sun began to drop below the trees enough to see the Scot equal the track record with a 1:40.4. Hill was back out to challenge, quickly finding a couple of hundredths of a second to match Clark's time, with the time keepers later declaring their times as 1:40.35 and 1:40.38, Clark snatching pole by just 0.03s.
With an incredible margin of just four seconds covering nineteen cars, there would only be two further qualifiers with the rest of the older equipped privateers failing to get within 110%. Carel Godin de Beaufort and Tony Settember could be pleased with their efforts, those two the only drivers to qualify with four cylinder engines. Failing to qualify was the Gilby in the hands of Keith Greene, the Brit just falling short of the qualifying time, with the De Tomaso completed a couple of slow demonstration runs, the Italian firm themselves recognising that their new cars was simply too under developed to be competitive for the time being.
The full qualifying results for the 1962 Italian Grand Prix are outlined below:
|20||32||Carel Godin de Beaufort||Porsche||1:47.4||1:46.8||+6.45s|
|110% Time: 1:50.42*|
|DNQ||50||Roberto Lippi||De Tomaso-OSCA||1:58.6||—||+18.25s|
|DNQ||34||Nasif Estéfano||De Tomaso||6:18.4||—||+4:38.05|
|WD||58||Kurt Kuhnke||Lotus-Borgward||Car unready|
- NP - No Practice.
- * Because of the high-speed nature of Monza, the FIA implemented a 110% rule, whereby to qualify a driver had to complete two laps within a 110% of the best time of the second fastest driver.
|______________||Carel Godin de Beaufort|
There had been high temperatures throughout the practice sessions, and so there was a certain relief among the teams as grey clouds covered the circuit. As the 3:00 start time approached the clouds remained with no threat of rain and no wind creating perfect conditions for the race. The main focus for the teams was on ensuring that the cars could carry enough fuel for the race, although the major issue for Team Lotus was gearboxes, with both Jim Clark and Trevor Taylor having to run the race with hastily rebuilt units from what was left from practice.
There was a long pause from the flag being raised to the sudden drop to signal the start, with Clark hooking up a perfect launch to leap into the lead, with Graham Hill just fractions of a second behind. It would be Hill who led into the Curva Grande courtesy of the slightly more powerful BRM engine, with Clark tucking neatly into second. Richie Ginther got a good getaway from third to hold his position, while John Surtees had to weave his way up to fourth in his Lola-Climax, catching the third row before the cars had cleared the end of the pit lane.
By the end of the first lap there were two distinct groups, the first encompassing Hill in first to Tony Maggs in eighth, which featured Bruce McLaren and the two factory Porsches. Masten Gregory led the second pack, immediately followed by three of the Ferrari quintet, Giancarlo Baghetti leading the Italian honours for both himself and his team. There was a lot the familiar Monza sensation of slip streaming going on, but Graham Hill was not to be held back by the pack, with the Englishman breaking away before the end of lap two as the order remained unchanged.
By the end of lap three there was a notable absentee from the lead group, as the green-gold Lotus 25 of Clark limped into the pits with a suspected gearbox issue. A little under a lap later and the Scot was back in the action, joined by former team mate Innes Ireland who had been in the pits since the first lap with an engine issue. Hill, meanwhile, was continuing to draw away, now being aided by some canny driving from team mate Ginther, as he managed to keep Surtees at bay while allowing Hill to scamper ahead.
Once Hill had lapped Clark the race saw little change, the Scot using the Englishman to help tow his limping Lotus for the time being. By lap ten Hill's lead stood at five seconds with Ginther and Surtees still duelling for second, with a further gap behind to a Cooper-Climax vs Porsche battle, although Maggs began to slip away from that group too. Ireland had rejoined just behind the group, and was now aiding team mate Gregory to catch the Cooper/Porsche battle ahead, although the American was still having to watch behind for the Ferrari threat, now led by Willy Mairesse.
On lap thirteen Clark was out with transmission failure, with Hill now well clear of Ginther and Surtees. McLaren, meanwhile, had fallen to Gurney in an intense battle which had seen Jo Bonnier drop back, while Ireland led his group up to the second Cooper of Maggs. He and Gregory were still working together although it was the Ferraris that looked particularly racey as they tried to take the three cars ahead. There had been casualties from this group, however, as Phil Hill and Lola interloper Roy Salvadori dropped away unable to maintain the pace.
The battles were continuing throughout the field as the race passed the one third distance mark, with Ginther having to work harder and harder to hold Surtees at bay, the two crossing the line side-by-side one more than one occasion. McLaren was back ahead of Gurney in a well mannered duel for fourth, while Gregory and Ireland had worked their way past Maggs and Bonnier, the two now running down the straights side-by-side to block anyone else making a move. Ireland's Lotus-Climax was proving to be faster down the straights and so Gregory tucked back behind the Englishman when they were not running line abreast, an ultimately costly routine as the Lotus-BRM finally overheated on lap 25, prompting Gregory to pull off to let his car cool in the pits.
Ireland remained ahead of the group with Gregory now out of contention, and his pace saw them draw in Gurney and McLaren soon after the American pulled aside. By half distance Ireland had pulled in front of the scrap between Gurney and McLaren with Maggs joining in their fun as the Ferrari's dropped away having got caught behind Bonnier. Salvadori retired with an engine problem a few laps later, having earlier had the unfortunate experience of having his on-board fire extinguisher explode.
Just after half distance Ireland was out of the race with a suspension failure, as Gurney took over the brewing battle for third, Bonnier having found more pace with his Ferrari tail gunners to re-catch the battle for the final podium spot. They should have been scrapping for fourth, but the Lola of Surtees had come to a rest at the back of the circuit, the Englishman's engine having given up the ghost. A handful of seconds covered the two groups in their entirety, with the third Ferrari of Ricardo Rodríguez suddenly dropping back from the rest after an engine issue developed.
Maggs was next to fall from the ongoing shuffle, the South African having to stop for fuel as his Cooper was not equipped with a long range fuel tank. The now five way scrap saw cars running side-by-side for much of the lap, with McLaren, Gurney, Mairesse, Bonnier and Baghetti each having turns in the lead, Baghetti's brief lead prompting huge roars from the home crowd. Yet, having just taken third on lap 60, the Italian made his first mistake of the race, for he carried too much speed into Curva Grande and so lost the rear of his car, spinning in the middle of the circuit as the rest flashed either side of the scarlet car.
The skies had steadily darkened above the circuit as the race had gone on, and on lap 63 a light drizzle began to fall on the circuit, the intensity gradually increasing as the race began to come to its conclusion. This prompted the scrap for third to ease off, with Gurney running in third ahead of McLaren and Mairesse, with a small gap to Bonnier and the recovering Baghetti. Another change was imminent, however, as Mairesse and McLaren reappeared on their own on lap 67, Gurney limping back to the pits a short while later with a transmission failure.
Mairesse and McLaren would scrap to the end of the race, while Graham Hill continued to pound round the circuit untroubled. Bandini had tagged onto the back for the scrap for third, using the tow to drag him onto Maggs in seventh, with the Italian flashing past as Mairesse and McLaren lapped the second Cooper. There were now four cars battling with a lap between them, as the rain stopped with ten laps still to run.
Bandini ultimately had to pit for fuel as the race came to its conclusion, and on the final lap Hill was over half a minute clear of Ginther in second. Mairesse looked set for third as the final tour began, only to see McLaren sweep up the inside of his Ferrari through Curva Grande. The New Zealander managed to prevent the Belgian from exacting revenge with the two separated by less than half a second at the finish, as BRM completed a quiet, but nonetheless stunning one-two.
The full results for the 1962 Italian Grand Prix are outlined below:
- * Gurney and Rodriguez were still counted as finishers despite retiring.
- Twentieth pole position for Climax.
- Last race entry for Gerry Ashmore (4)
- Last of four race starts for Ricardo Rodríguez
A second victory in a row for Graham Hill saw him pull fourteen points clear at the front of the Drivers' Championship, with just eighteen left to fight for. No points for Jim Clark saw him fall behind Bruce McLaren, the New Zealander's last lap heroics pushing him a point ahead of the Scot. John Surtees' scoring run was at an end by he stayed in the top five, ahead of the first Ferrari driver in the form of Phil Hill. Willy Mairesse was the latest driver to add his name to the score board, with sixteen scorers in 1962.
BRM surged ahead in the Intercontinental Cup for Manufacturers, their one-two denying valuable points to their competitors. Their corrected tally of 37 (with 41 points in total) was enough to put them ten clear of Lotus-Climax, who were two ahead of Cooper-Climax after the latter's score was corrected. Lola-Climax held onto fourth, while an increasingly rare points finish for Ferrari pushed them ahead of Porsche.
Images and Videos:
- 'GRAND PRIX RESULTS: ITALIAN GP, 1962', grandprix.com, (Inside F1 Inc, 2016), http://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr109.html, (Accessed 30/05/2016)
- 'XXXIII ITALIAN GRAND PRIX: Grand Slam for BRM', motorsportmagazine.com, (Motor Sport Magazine, 01/10/1962), http://www.motorsportmagazine.com/archive/article/october-1962/11/xxxiii-italian-grand-prix, (Accessed 30/05/2016)
- 'Italy 1962: Race Entrants', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1962/italie/engages.aspx, (Accessed 30/05/2016)
- 'Italy 1962: Qualifications', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1962/italie/qualification.aspx, (Accessed 30/05/2016)
- 'Italy 1962: Result', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1962/italie/classement.aspx, (Accessed 30/05/2016)
|V T E||Italian Grand Prix|
|Circuits||Monza (1950 - 1979, 1981 - Present), Imola (1980)|
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