The 1965 Italian Grand Prix, officially known as the XXXVI Gran Premio d'Italia, was the eighth round of the 1965 FIA Formula One World Championship, staged at the Monza circuit on the 12th of September. The race served as a prime example of the power of slipstream, with a race long battle for the leading involving four different drivers.
Freshly re-crowned World Champion Jim Clark arrived in Monza looking to take a seventh win of the season to match his record from 1963. The Scot duly set pole on the Monza road course, sharing the front row with Ferrari leader John Surtees and impressive rookie Jackie Stewart of BRM.
A strong start for Clark and Stewart saw the launch into the lead of the race in front of Graham Hill and Lorenzo Bandini, while Surtees plummeted. Before the end of the opening lap, Hill broke away from Bandini and joined Clark and Stewart in a slipstreaming battle for the lead, which saw no-one lead for more than a couple of laps.
Surtees soon recovered to make the lead trio a quartet, although the Englishman would only lead for a lap before his Ferrari destroyed the remains of its clutch. Still the lead battle continued, with the two BRMs still battling with Clark's Lotus, until the World Champion dropped out a few laps from the end with a fuel pump failure. Hill managed to get ahead of Stewart consistently until the penultimate lap, when a huge slide through Parabolica allowed the rookie Stewart to slip through and take a maiden Grand Prix victory.
It was six weeks between the German and Italian Grand Prix, and with only one non-Championship race, the IV Gran Premio del Mediterraneo, there was almost a month of non-race action. That gave the entire F1 circus plenty of time to prepare for the punishing flat-out test that was a Grand Prix at Monza, which demanded a strong, reliable engine. The road course was once again picked over the banked circuit, which despite a wave of fresh investment in safety, remained simply too dangerous for the Grand Prix cars to use.
The team with arguably the best position to be in, mechanically wise, were the home heroes Ferrari who had a short trip up from Maranello to their home race. They had an expanded effort, entering four drivers, Nino Vaccarella and Ludovico Scarfiotti being called up to join John Surtees and Lorenzo Bandini. Scarfiotti would not arrive, although he, Surtees and Bandini were allocated the three F12 chassis, the last one only just built in time for the race. Vaccarella was handed the last V8 car, while Surtees was given use of the brand new car as a spare.
Brabham-Climax and Team Lotus had had similar ideas ahead of the Italian Grand Prix, with Jack Brabham and Colin Chapman both getting clearance to run a third car, provided that an Italian driver was put in the drivers seat. For Brabham, Giancarlo Baghetti would be called upon, joining up with Dan Gurney and Denny Hulme to be the third runner, using Brabham's own BT7 car. At Lotus, meanwhile, Chapman got hold of Formula Three front runner Giacomo "GEKI" Russo, who would run the old Lotus 25 alongside Jim Clark and Mike Spence.
BRM had gone differently, deciding to enter just their usual partnership of Graham Hill and Jackie Stewart, with a third car held in reserve. The spare was actually the chassis written off by Hill at the French Grand Prix, replacing the development car which had been run into the ground. Cooper-Climax were in a similar position, with three cars at the disposal of their two drivers Bruce McLaren and youngster Jochen Rindt.
Completing the manufacturer entries were Honda, returning after some ten weeks of development having skipped the German Grand Prix. Their three cars had all been revised during an extensive test programme back in Japan, with Ronnie Bucknum brought back to Europe with them to partner Richie Ginther. The cars were basically the same as before, but the engine had been mounted three inches lower, lowering the centre of gravity and vastly improving the handling, while revised positioning of air ducts, exhaust pipes and a slight tilt to the engine worked together to marginally boost the power output.
Italy always produced a strong turn out among the privateer field through invitations alone, and 1965 proved to be no different as the top teams brought their equipment over to Italy. Leading the way were the RRC Walker Racing Team and their mismatched Brabhams, Jo Bonnier and Jo Siffert to pilot them as usual, while Reg Parnell Racing had Innes Ireland back to partner Richard Attwood. Scuderia Centro Sud, meanwhile, were out for a home blast, fielding three ex-factory BRMs for Masten Gregory, Roberto Bussinello and Giogio Bassi.
Completing the entry list were the single car efforts of John Willment Automobiles, DW Racing Enterprises and Ian Raby Racing. Of these, however, only Frank Gardner in JWA's Brabham would arrive in Italy, with Anderson deciding that his Nürburgring accident was enough to total his car, while Raby sold his Brabham-BRM after several recurring problems.
Six wins from seven rounds meant Clark was World Champion with maximum points for the second time in three years before the Italian Grand Prix weekend started. His tally of 54 could not be beaten as only six results counted to the Championship, so it was now impossible for second placed Hill and co. to catch him. The Englishman would therefore have to battle with rookie team mate Stewart and Ferrari leader Surtees for the runner-up spot, while Gurney led the non-British charge from fifth.
Clark's sixth victory of the year in Germany also meant that Team Lotus were the winners of the Intercontinental Cup for Manufacturers once again, with BRM now unable to challenge. They looked set to finish second, however, with Ferrari some eighteen points back with just three races to go. The Italian firm were therefore left to look over the shoulders, with Brabham-Climax finally getting some representative finishes to match their pace.
The full entry list for the 1965 Italian Grand Prix is outlined below:
Practice and qualifying were run together once again, with a total of three and a half hours of running scheduled over two days before the race. Both Friday and Saturday played host to a session each, with 200,000 lire up for grabs for the fastest driver at the end of either session, with a further prize of 100,000 lire for the second fastest. As for target times, the top runners would be attempting to beat John Surtees' circuit record of 1:37.3 from 1963.
The Friday session saw most of the teams set about getting their cars and drivers up to speed for the blast around the flat-out Moza circuit, although the productive running was cut short by rain half way through. For the three car efforts, Ferrari were forced to switch Surtees to the reserve car when he destroyed his engine early on, meaning Nino Vaccarella would have to run the V8 machine. Team Lotus had all three cars up and running, but Giacomo Russo had to sit around and wait for much of the day as Jim Clark and Mike Spence spent the day switching between their own 33s and the Lotus 25.
All was not well at Brabham-Climax, who had all three cars on circuit, but only for a brief period before they were struck by mechanical issues, severely hampering the running of Dan Gurney and Giancarlo Baghetti. BRM were confident after a couple of long runs, Graham Hill and Jackie Stewart not going for stellar pace early on, while Honda had Ronnie Bucknum running strongly although Richie Ginther had to put up with a rough running V12. The afternoon rain denied most of the field a chance at beating Surtees' early pace setting time of 1:37.0, meaning he collected the first 200,000 lire prize.
With Saturday dawning bright and warm, the entire field was out early for the afternoon running, as the leaders went to beat Surtees' new record and claim the new 200,000 lire prize. Ultimately though, the serious times would not be set until the last hour of running, when Jim Clark broke the 1:37.0 barrier and began to close in on a 1:36.0 time. The Scot ultimately claimed pole with a stunning 1:35.9, some two tenths ahead of Surtees, who had to set a strong lap late in the day to deny BRM a double front row start, with Stewart beating Hill by half a second for third.
For the privateers, the Italian Motorsports Association had decided to drop the maximum number of starters, but retained a rule that to qualify, a driver hand to get a time within 115% of the second fastest time. It was therefore as important for the privateers to speed up as it was for the pace setters, with them having to effectively find more time to stay in the window each time Clark and co. found a few tenths. Ultimately, everyone made the cut with the Scuderia Centro Sud challenge claiming the back row all to themselves, all within 110% despite their old, race worn BRMs.
The full qualifying results for the 1965 Italian Grand Prix are outlined below:
Sunday dawned wet and windy, meaning there were several damp faces among the teams and drivers when they arrived at the circuit. Yet, the skies cleared before midday, and by the time the Grand Prix cars were pushed onto the dummy grid, an hour or so before the 3:30pm start time, the sun had cleared all the water off the circuit. Brabham and Ferrari were the only teams to have issues before the start, with the former having to put an older Climax engine in the back of Dan Gurney's car, while John Surtees would have to start with a damaged clutch.
When the flag dropped all eyes were on the front of the field, where Jim Clark lit up his rear tyres to smoke off the line, while the scarlet Ferrari of Surtees crawled away. Graham Hill immediately dived between the two of, narrowly avoiding the back of the Ferrari, just as Clark's rears suddenly found grip and launched the Lotus into the lead. Jackie Stewart got away well, slithering ahead of team mate Hill before the cars got through the Curva Grande, as the entire 23 strong field shot away from the grid.
At the end of the first lap, Clark and Stewart came slithering through Parabolica side-by-side, crossing the line with the Champion only a couple of inches ahead of the rookie. Flashing through less than a car length back was Hill, with Lorenzo Bandini, Jo Siffert, Mike Spence and Dan Gurney all tucked in behind the duel for the lead. Then came Bruce McLaren, leading the rest of the field, where the #8 Ferrari of Surtees could be found, the Englishman having completely lost the use of his clutch at the start to leave him down in fourteenth.
As the field streamed past the pits to complete lap two there were two distinct groups, with Clark leading Hill, Stewart, Bandini, Siffert, Spence and Gurney in a long line. Then came McLaren with Ireland and Ginther on his tail, with the rest of the field, including Surtees, fanning out along the main straight to try and claim some space. It was the usual scene at Monza when the Grand Prix was in town, as the glorious roar of the V8 engines going to battle with screaming V12 and F12 products of Honda and Ferrari.
The early stages saw Clark lead through Parabolica, often with one or both of the BRMs alongside before the field crossed the line, before being beaten into Curva Grande with the Climax's power deficit to the BRMs. Gurney was next, a psychological threat for the time being, while Bandini, Spence and Siffert were only just hanging on thanks to the slip stream effect. Surtees, meanwhile, was steadily picking his way through to the back of the lead group, methodically taking places from McLaren's group, before bridging the small gap to the leaders as the race hit its sixth lap.
The pace among the leaders was such, that Siffert as the non-works interloper in the first group had to relent when Surtees charge past, but he was under no threat from the McLaren effort after just a few laps. Indeed, Surtees was showing just how he had become World Champion the previous year, taking Bandini and Spence with ease, before joining the third placed duel between Hill and Gurney. Clark and Stewart had managed to pull a couple of car lengths over Hill and co. to engage in a private scrap for the lead, although they were hardly free from the rest.
On the tenth lap Clark and Stewart once again crossed the line with the former just inches ahead, while Surtees had managed to slip past Hill through Parabolica. Next time through and the crowd erupted in a huge cheer, as Surtees emerged from the tricky final corner in the lead, after Clark got elbowed wide at Lesmo. Stewart was then overhauled on the run to Parabolica, but he was able to recover the lead before the cars crossed the line, with Clark just a few inches behind in third.
Further down, Honda and Cooper were in a titanic battle for control of the second group, neither being helped by the strong performance of Reg Parnell Racing privateers Innes Ireland and Richard Attwood. As Stewart began a six lap stint in the lead, Ronnie Bucknum managed to draw his Honda a nose length ahead of McLaren across the line. Sadly, the American's engine was feeling the strain, and a couple of laps later he was forced on the sidelines, joining early casualties Giorgio Bassi, Masten Gregory (both for Scuderia Centro Sud) and Giancarlo Baghetti (Brabham).
The demise of Bucknum put Ireland in the hot seat as controller of the second group, fending off a challenge from McLaren through Parabolica. Giacomo "GEKI" Russo was enjoying his run out in the third Lotus, scrapping with McLaren once Ireland had swatted him out of the way. The intense battles of the group meant that their pace was far higher than most of them could have hoped to have achieved on their own, shown by the rate at which they were reeling in Siffert.
Back with the leaders and Hill was clear of Gurney and so joined the lead trio, the New Yorker left to sit in the slipstream of the rest and get towed along just ahead of Bandini, while Spence began to fall away. Stewart led more often than not from Hill, with Surtees squeezing through to lead for a lap, before falling to the back of the quartet as Clark challenged once again. Indeed, as the leaders approached half distance Surtees was showing signs of having a power issue, as he slipped behind Gurney and Bandini, as they too dropped ever so slightly further back from the lead trio.
It was just before the halfway point when the leaders finally hit traffic, coming onto the back of an intense three way scrap between Nino Vaccarella, Jo Bonnier and Frank Gardner. They had fallen of the second group early on and had been left to fend for themselves at the back, with the leaders charging through the middle of their scrap to cause some minor chaos. The big winner was Clark, who danced around the three of them, and the two BRMs, to snatch the lead, while Surtees almost caused an accident when his clutch slipped, slowing his Ferrari to a terminal crawl.
The traffic also allowed Gurney and Bandini to catch back up, but as Gurney set about scraping with Hill again, Bandini ease off the strain on his engine having seen Surtees' car buck out of the race. He would almost be guaranteed fifth if he avoided a mechanical issue, Spence having fallen so far off that he was no longer a threat. Once they were all clear of the traffic, normal service was resumed among the top four, with Stewart, Hill and Clark once again taking turns to lead, while Gurney needed their combined tow just to keep up.
A few laps later, the leading quartet were now on the back of the second group, currently led by Siffert, who was back up to speed as he fought with Ireland, McLaren, Ginther, Attwood and Hulme for control. Once again, the flurry of action was to the benefit of Clark as the Scot cunningly used the tow from the lapped cars to full effect to gain the lead of the race before Stewart and Hill cleared the group. There was almost an accident when Siffert's race ended with a shattered gearbox, the Swiss racer's Brabham-BRM suddenly losing speed at the front of the group, causing the rest to scatter in avoidance.
The leading quartet now became a trio in the wake of the lapping phase, as Gurney got distracted by McLaren and Ireland, who used the Brabham as a means to escape the rest. The slight loss of attention cost him a fraction of his pace, enough to cost him the tow from the leading trio, ending his hopes of an on-track victory. For McLaren and Ireland the ploy did not work out, as they remained under threat from the group behind, but had gained a small amount of space around them.
The lead battle became a tense stalemate for a few laps after the lapping chaos ended, with Stewart and Hill working to keep Clark at bay who was taking a breather before a final assault over the final laps. Gurney was too far back to challenge, a fate shared by Bandini and Spence, while McLaren, Ireland and Attwood continued to battle for control over what remained of the second group. Just after the leaders charged through, the group had been affected by numerous retirements, with Ginther, Hulme and Spence retiring, while Rindt lost ground.
Suddenly, the all was not well at Lotus, as Clark failed to appear on the start/finish straight on time, just moments after news of a retirement for the second car of Spence. The Scot had just taken his familiar lead through the Lesmo curves when the fuel pump on his Climax engine failed, leaving him stranded at the back of the circuit. The lead battle was now down to the two BRMs, and as the chequered flag loomed, Hill just began to pull clear of the rookie Stewart.
On the penultimate lap, Stewart suddenly appeared through Parabolica on his own, with Hill a short way back after a mistake into the final corner. Furious with himself after getting onto the grass and causing his car to snap sideways, the Englishman set about chasing down his less experienced team mate. For him, however, time was too short, and so Stewart duly collected a maiden Grand Prix win in only his eighth race, beating Hill by three seconds in a race in which they had rarely been more than a car length apart. Gurney was frustrated in third after getting caught out in the lapping chaos, with Bandini, McLaren and Attwood completing the points after Ireland lost time when his fuel pump partially failed.
The full results for the 1965 Italian Grand Prix are outlined below:
|5||16||Bruce McLaren||Cooper-Climax||75||+1 lap||11||2|
|6||40||Richard Attwood||Lotus-BRM||75||+1 lap||13||1|
|7||42||Jo Bonnier||Brabham-Climax||74||+2 laps||14|
|8||18||Jochen Rindt||Cooper-Climax||74||+2 laps||7|
|9||38||Innes Ireland||Lotus-BRM||74||+2 laps||18|
|10*||24||Jim Clark||Lotus-Climax||63||Fuel pump||1|
|13*||50||Roberto Bussinello||BRM||58||Oil pressure||21|
|Ret||10||Giancarlo Baghetti||Brabham-Climax||12||Connecting rod||19|
- Fiftieth World Championship start for Jim Clark.
- Maiden Grand Prix victory for Jackie Stewart.
- Eleventh victory for BRM as both a constructor and engine manufacturer.
With the World Championship already settled, the focus was on who would finish runner-up, and Jackie Stewart's maiden victory meant that he was just a single point off of team mate Graham Hill. With two races to go those two were set for a private inter-team scrap for the position, as John Surtees could only finish second if both retired in the next two rounds with the Englishman winning. Dan Gurney completed the top five, while Richard Attwood was the latest man to add his name to scorers list.
Like their driver Jim Clark, Team Lotus had already swept to victory in the Intercontinental Cup for Manufacturers with maximum points. BRM were also sorted out for the year, finishing second regardless of whether Ferrari could win both of the final two races, while Brabham-Climax were too far back. Cooper-Climax were six points away from the Australian owned team in fifth, while Brabham-BRM, Honda and Lotus-BRM rounded out the table.
Images and Videos:
- 'GRAND PRIX RESULTS: ITALIAN GP, 1965', grandprix.com, (Inside F1 Inc., 2016), http://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr139.html, (Accessed 26/07/2016)
- D.S.J., '36th Italian Grand Prix: That Apprentice from Scotland', motorsportmagazine.com, (Motor Sport Magazine, 01/10/1965), http://www.motorsportmagazine.com/archive/article/october-1965/19/36th-italian-grand-prix, (Accessed 26/07/2016)
- 'Italy 1965: Entrants', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1965/italie/engages.aspx, (Accessed 26/07/2016)
- 'Italy 1965: Qualifications', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1965/italie/qualification.aspx, (Accessed 27/07/2016)
- 'Italy 1965: Result', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1965/italie/classement.aspx, (Accessed 27/07/2016)
|V T E||Italian Grand Prix|
|Circuits||Monza (1950 - 1979, 1981 - Present), Imola (1980)|
|Races||1950 • 1951 • 1952 • 1953 • 1954 • 1955 • 1956 • 1957 • 1958 • 1959 • 1960 • 1961 • 1962 • 1963 • 1964 • 1965 • 1966 • 1967 • 1968 • 1969 • 1970 • 1971 • 1972 • 1973 • 1974 • 1975 • 1976 • 1977 • 1978 • 1979 • 1980 • 1981 • 1982 • 1983 • 1984 • 1985 • 1986 • 1987 • 1988 • 1989 • 1990 • 1991 • 1992 • 1993 • 1994 • 1995 • 1996 • 1997 • 1998 • 1999 • 2000 • 2001 • 2002 • 2003 • 2004 • 2005 • 2006 • 2007 • 2008 • 2009 • 2010 • 2011 • 2012 • 2013 • 2014 • 2015 • 2016 • 2017 • 2018 • 2019 • 2020 • 2021|
|European Championship Races||1931 • 1932 • 1935 • 1936 • 1937 • 1938|
|Non-Championship Races||1921 • 1922 • 1923 • 1924 • 1925 • 1926 • 1927 • 1928 • 1933 • 1934 • 1947 • 1948 • 1949|
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