The 1964 Monaco Grand Prix, officially known as the XXII Grand Prix Automobile de Monaco, was the opening round of the 1964 FIA Formula One World Championship. Held on the 10th of May 1964 on the Circuit de Monaco, the race would be remembered for an exciting display by defending World Champion Jim Clark, although it would be his major rival who ultimately claimed the Monaco honours.
The Scot, whom had a new team mate at Team Lotus in the form of Peter Arundell, arrived in Monaco intending to continue his dominant form from 1963. And so he did, with Clark claiming pole for the opening race, sharing the front row with Jack Brabham while John Surtees and Graham Hill shared the second row. The all conquering Scot immediately roared off the line to lead the race from the start, as Brabham battled for second.
Yet, the Lotus 25 was not in a healthy state, trailing an anti-roll bar which had come lose shortly after the start, prompting the race officials to discuss the possibility of black flagging the Scot. Colin Chapman called in his lead driver before they could do so, with the semi-enforced stop forcing Clark down the order, with Dan Gurney and Hill inheriting the lead. Yet the repair was swift to leave Clark in third, with Gurney and Hill about to enter a duel for the lead.
The New Yorker had jumped up the order at the start to inherit Clark's lead, but a fuel leak just after half distance saw the Brabham-Climax slip back towards Hill. The battle was fierce but short, the Englishman soon able to dispose of the hindered Gurney before disappearing up the road. Gurney was out soon after with an unrelated gearbox failure, while Clark never got the chance to take Hill, the Scot suffering an engine failure a few laps from the end. Hill duly won the Monaco Grand Prix for the second year in succession, while Richie Ginther completed a BRM one-two, ahead of debutante Arundell.
After the dominance of Team Lotus with the Lotus 25 throughout 1963, many constructors used the winter and pre-season to develop their own "monocoque" chassis, some simply attempting to refine designs already produced by the end of the previous season. BRM and Brabham-Climax would arrive in Monaco in the best position with their new designs, both of which had been run in at least one non-Championship race before the start of the season. They also featured unchanged driver line-ups, and would both give minor support to customer teams.
Elsewhere, BRP had been the earliest to follow the Lotus lead, debuting the BRP Mk1 the previous season, and so had spent the winter trying to improve their design. They had also endured a driver change, Trevor Taylor joining Innes Ireland having been ousted from Team Lotus. Jim Hall, meanwhile, had returned to his native America in order to race in domestic Championships.
Ferrari came to the principality in a similar position to BRP, albeit with a brand new car for lead driver John Surtees. The new car dubbed the Ferrari 158 was heavily based on the last variant of the venerable 156, which the Scuderia had gradually evolved into a monocoque design. Lorenzo Bandini would have to make do with an "Aero"-spec 156 for the opening round, the Ferrari racing team busy preparing for the 24 Hours of Le Mans to be held in mid-June which, at the time, was a higher priority.
Ferrari would also return to being the only Italian constructor in the field, with ATS forced to close their doors at the end of 1963 due to financial failure. Phil Hill's career looked to be in pieces after their demise, but the ex-World Champion received a call from Ken Tyrrell during the break and so joined the Cooper team. He joined Bruce McLaren to debut their new "monocoque", although the American's car was so new that it had not been run before the Monaco weekend.
Their two former team mates: Giancarlo Baghetti and Tony Maggs respectively, found themselves together at Scuderia Centro Sud. The Italian outfit was one of a number of privateer teams fielding the older BRM P57, which also featured a range of Lotus 24s, 25s and even one of the largely unsuccessful Scirocco SPs. RRC Walker Racing Team returned with Jo Bonnier and an ex-works Cooper, while Jo Siffert returned for the new season with his "Siffert Special".
Team Lotus themselves, meanwhile, had also been busy over the winter, selling off several 25s to privateers while also shuffling their drivers. The ousting of Taylor allowed them to draft leading Formula Junior racer Peter Arundell into the F1 squad while Mike Spence became their lead driver in the F1 support series. They had also built a new car for Jim Clark, the Lotus 33 intended to replace the 25, only for the Scot to write off the only chassis in existence at Aintree. His 25 was therefore fitted with parts from the 33 to test, while Arundell made his debut with a handful of new parts.
The full entry list for the 1964 Monaco Grand Prix is outlined below:
Practice and qualifying were combined into one as usual for the opening round of the season, while the tradition in Monaco ensured that the session opened on Thursday afternoon. A second session was held on Friday morning, before the market opened, with a third and final session on Saturday, all held in glorious sunshine. The top drivers would be chasing down the qualifying record set by Jim Clark, the Scot recording a pole time of 1:34.3 for the 1963 Monaco Grand Prix a year earlier.
Clark, however, would miss the opening practice session, a fate shared by Dan Gurney with the pair arriving to the circuit late after taking part in qualifying week for the Indianapolis 500. They would not get into their F1 cars before the start of the Friday session, although their team mates did manage to test their cars on their behalf. Peter Arundell, making his World Championship debut around Monte Carlo, managed to set identical times in his and Clark's cars, while Jack Brabham made sure that Gurney's car was ready to run before his own car was prepared.
Most of Thursday would be remembered for dust, for the circuit was very dirty after hosting the Monte Carlo Rally leaving large amounts of cement powder all around the circuit. Times improved throughout the first session, Graham Hill, John Surtees and Brabham setting the pace, although there was a nasty accident in the slippery conditions. Phil Hill also impressed, running consistently quicker than team mate Bruce McLaren, the New Zealander forced to revert to an older Cooper-Climax after a series of issues.
Innes Ireland was having a difficult six months, an accident in America leaving the Englishman with a smashed hip that meant he missed the end of the 1963 season, before writing off the new BRP-BRM at Silverstone a week before the opening round. Now using a Lotus-BRM, Ireland was suffering from brake problems, with the Englishman locking up into the chicane, clipping the corner post and being sent tumbling into the air. Shaken and bruised, Ireland was lucky not to have sustained a serious injury, but the car was too badly damaged to be repaired for the start.
Friday saw Clark and Gurney enter the fray, and the two were immediately on the pace of their rivals. Clark ran Arundell's car for a time before switching to his own and smashing Surtees' best time from Thursday early one, before joining a group of cars orbiting together. This group, including Gurney, Lorenzo Bandini, Graham Hill and Brabham, were improving lap after lap, with all bar Bandini getting well under 1:35.0.
Saturday proved to be a session for getting the cars race prepared, meaning the times on Friday ultimately formed the grid. At the end of the Friday session, Brabham entered the circuit and matched Clark's impressive time of 1:34.1, only to see the Scot flash past the pits a few moments later. With a new record at 1:34.0, Clark put the Lotus on pole ahead of Brabham, with Hill and Surtees ending the session on the second row.
The full qualifying results for the 1964 Monaco Grand Prix are outlined below:
- * Ireland was unable to start after his accident, meaning Siffert was promoted to the start grid.
Sunday dawned dry and warm, with Prince Rainier of Monaco opening the circuit just before the Grand Prix cars were wheeled onto the grid for the 3:15 pm start. They were initially put onto a dummy grid for the engines to be started, before the drivers slowly crawled to the proper grid with no one left behind.
A trouble free start for the entire field saw pole sitter Jim Clark rocket into the lead, the Scot already a car length ahead before the cars reached Sainte Devote. Jack Brabham also had a good start to hold second through the opening lap, although Graham Hill and Dan Gurney challenged early on. Trevor Taylor was also underway, but the BRP-BRM was dropping fuel onto the circuit, a result of a soon to be terminal fuel leak.
Aside from a brush against the bales at the chicane, Clark was off and away as the field completed the first lap, with Brabham leading a five way tussle for second. John Surtees and Richie Ginther, the latter jumping forward an entire row at the start, had joined the break away group chasing Clark, leaving a distinct gap already to those behind. Bruce McLaren led the rest of the runners in his older Cooper-Climax, with team mate Phil Hill attempting to find a way past in the newer machine.
The leading group remained stable through the opening phases of the race, with Ginther slowly falling away due to the relentless pace, while a determined Brabham was powerless to prevent Clark from pulling out a fair lead. Behind came McLaren as usual, Phil Hill still attempting to find his way through, while their privateer train saw a constant shuffle amongst itself, Jo Siffert entertaining the Monaco Royalty with a series of good moves. Yet, that was short lived for the "Siffert Special", which had developed a mechanical issue and so had to withdraw to the pits for some time.
Things at the front of the field, however, were about to change, for an increasingly racey Gurney was causing trouble. The New Yorker had been frustrated in his attempts to qualify for the Indy 500 during the week, and he decided to take that frustration out on his F1 rivals. Successive moves on lap twelve saw the Brabham-Climax take Hill and the sister car of Brabham in short order, leaving Gurney to cut two seconds off of Clark's lead. As he did so, Surtees began to struggle with an increasingly damaging gearbox problem, the Englishman dropping out at the end of lap 15 having allowed Ginther to roar past.
The second group was also looking interesting, Phil Hill managing to take Lorenzo Bandini, Peter Arundell and team mate McLaren in short order having slipped down the order. The American racer seemed to have found his rhythm for the first time in a long time, but the leaders were already too far ahead for the ex-Champion to do anything. As Hill pulled clear McLaren succumbed to an oil leak, while Arundell began to struggle with a set of problems to make his debut uncomfortable at best.
Clark began to respond to the Gurney charge in quick order, and soon the lead was a stable six seconds, with Graham Hill shadowing the New Yorker in third. Brabham was next a short while later, although the likelihood of this being maintained looked slim, for his Climax was sounding rough with Ginther chewing the back of the Australian. Yet, the attention was soon back on Clark, who suddenly came past the pits with a broken anti-roll bar, although the Scot's pace was unaffected as he began to stretch his lead once again.
By lap 30 Clark's pace was strong enough for him to establish a ten second lead, despite having to drive round his suspension problem, with Gurney still holding off Hill. Brabham opted to retire once Ginther surged past, the fuel injectors in his engine later revealed to be the cause of his troubles, promoting Phil Hill and Bandini into the points. The top six were also the only members of the field still on the lead lap due to the leaders' relentless pace, as the race organisers began preparations to disqualify one of the cars.
The rumour in the pits was that it was race leader Clark who was in danger, his broken anti-roll bar looking increasingly likely to come off the Lotus 25 entirely. Colin Chapman acted quickly, calling the Scot in before the organisers decided for him, although just before Clark slithered in on lap 37, the bar broke away and slid harmlessly off the circuit. Only one part of the bar remained on the car, and the mechanics had the new one on in record time, but the stop was long enough for Gurney and Graham Hill to roar into Casino Square before Clark rejoined.
A thirty second gap in Gurney and Hill's favour was the result, although it was not long before Clark was up to speed and clawing his way back to the leaders. Gurney also had a three second gap back to Hill, although that was also being removed. By lap 40 the entire field bar the top four had been lapped due to the relentless pace, with Clark setting a new lap record by matching his pole time as he gained by almost two seconds a lap.
At half distance it was anyone's race, with Clark now right on the tail of Hill, which forced the Englishman to apply even more pressure on Gurney. The leading trio now ran as one, just a second covering all three of them as Ginther ran round almost a lap down and on his own. Phil Hill had been forced to ease his pace, the Cooper overheating and so allowed Bandini to catch him, while Arundell was overcoming his issues to run a few seconds off the back of the Italian.
The pace at the front was ramping up even higher, and a few laps after the halfway point, Hill set a new lap record at 1:33.9 as he finally took Gurney. A late dive on the brakes into the Gasworks Hairpin simultaneously earned the Englishman the lead while denying the Scot second, who had been setting up a move on the BRM earlier on in the lap. Gurney, for his part, was beginning to struggle with a gearbox issue, the result of the seriously hard going, although the top three were left in a stalemate once Hill got in front.
It was not long after that the truel became a duel, for the gearbox in the back of Gurney's car finally failed on lap 62, leaving the New Yorker to limp into retirement. That left the Scot in the wake of his friend and rival, with Ginther going a lap down to leave the leading duo as the only ones still on the lead lap. Attrition was also deciding things further down, with Bandini battling past Phil Hill for fifth only to see his gearbox fail once he had been promoted to fourth. The American's joy was short lived, however, as his day came to an early end when the Cooper's suspension collapsed a few laps later.
Back with the leaders, and as the race came to its final throes all was not well with Clark's Climax, with the engine audibly "fluffing" (losing power) at high revs. Given the full out pace at which he and Hill had been running, the reduced power of the Climax meant Hill's healthy BRM was able to pull away. On lap 92 Hill appeared on his own, Ginther running a few seconds behind, with Clark crawling into the pits with no oil pressure. The Climax had decided to burn or spill all of the oil left in the engine in the closing stages, and with a few laps to go the strain finally told.
Ginther was now in second to ease his car home for a BRM one-two, while Chapman told Clark to go back out an nurse the car to the finish. New for 1964 rules meant that oil could not be replaced during the race, and so the Scot would have to crawl to the flag to prevent a total engine failure. He re-emerged on the penultimate lap, just moments after Arundell inherited third, although the Englishman's sister car was suffering from the same issue.
Untroubled, Hill and Ginther came across the line together to complete an excellent one-two for BRM, their second in Monaco in two years. Arundell limped home in third, the Englishman repeating the feat of ex-Team Lotus racer Taylor and claiming a maiden podium on his debut. Clark, however, would not cross the line on the final lap, his Climax completely seizing on the final run up to Casino Square as he was denied a victory in Monte Carlo once again. The Scot did get classified in fourth place, as Jo Bonnier and Mike Hailwood swept to the line to complete the scorers, both having enjoyed quiet runs throughout the race.
The full results for the 1964 Monaco Grand Prix are outlined below:
|2||7||Richie Ginther||BRM||99||+1 lap||8||6|
|3||11||Peter Arundell||Lotus-Climax||97||+3 laps||6||4|
|5||19||Jo Bonnier||Cooper-Climax||96||+4 laps||11||2|
|6||18||Mike Hailwood||Lotus-BRM||96||+4 laps||15||1|
|8||24||Jo Siffert||Lotus-BRM||78||+22 laps||16|
|Ret||5||Jack Brabham||Brabham-Climax||29||Fuel Injection||2|
|Ret||10||Bruce McLaren||Cooper-Climax||17||Oil leak||10|
|Ret||15||Trevor Taylor||BRP-BRM||8||Fuel leak||14|
- * Clark, Anderson, P. Hill and Bandini were judged to have completed enough of the race distance to still be classified.
- Debut for Peter Arundell.
- Climax claimed their 30th pole position.
- 25th podium for BRM.
- Maiden podium for Arundell.
- Mike Hailwood earned his first World Championship point.
For the third season in succession, Graham Hill left the opening round of the season in the lead of the World Championship, three ahead of team mate Richie Ginther. It was also the third season in a row in which Jim Clark would leave the first race of the season behind a team mate who simply could not match his pace, with Peter Arundell in third with the Scot in fourth. Jo Bonnier was a happy fifth in the year old Cooper-Climax, while Mike Hailwood claimed his first points to leave in sixth place.
The BRM one-two did not mean that the British outfit left with fifteen points, for the rules in the Intercontinental Cup for Manufacturers meant that only the best placed driver's result counted to the standings. Ginther's second place did, however, deny six points for second, meaning Lotus-Climax were five points behind after the opening race. Team Lotus were on the board for a second time as Lotus-BRM thanks to privateers Reg Parnell Racing and Hailwood, split by Cooper-Climax who had Bonnier's points to reward them after the opening round.
Images and Videos:
- 'GRAND PRIX RESULTS: MONACO GP, 1964', grandprix.com, (Inside F1 Inc., 2016), http://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr122.html, (Accessed 19/06/2016)
- D.S.J., 'XXII MONACO GRAND PRIX: B.R.M. Sweeps the Board', motorsportmagazine.com, (MotorSport Magazine, 01/06/1964), http://www.motorsportmagazine.com/archive/article/june-1964/11/xxii-monaco-grand-prix, (Accessed 19/06/2016)
- 'Monaco 1964: Entrants', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1964/monaco/engages.aspx, (Accessed 19/06/2016)
- 'Monaco 1964: Qualifications', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1964/monaco/qualification.aspx, (Accessed 20/06/2016)
- 'Monaco 1964: Result', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1964/monaco/classement.aspx, (Accessed 21/06/2016)
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