The 1966 Italian Grand Prix, otherwise known as the XXXVII Gran Premio d'Italia, was the seventh round of the 1966 FIA Formula One World Championship, staged at Monza on the 4th of September 1966. The race would be remembered for a maiden Grand Prix winner, as well as a piece of motorsport history as the Driver's Championship was decided in favour of a double champion.
In a weekend of breakthroughs, sportscar regular and relatively new Ferrari racer Mike Parkes claimed pole position for the first time, beating Italian team mate Ludovico Scarfiotti. Third on the grid, and the final front row slot, went to Jim Clark, as Team Lotus gambled on using the BRM H16 engine as did the BRM team themselves.
When the flag dropped the field was led into Curva Grande by Lorenzo Bandini, Ferrari team leader, who got an electric start to jump up from fifth. Scarfiotti, in contrast, tumbled to seventh as Parkes dropped to second, although he would inherit the lead when Bandini fell on the second lap with a fuel pipe problem.
Parkes would only lead for a couple of laps, however, as first John Surtees, and then Championship leader Jack Brabham blasted past, with the Australian leading until lap eight with an oil leak. The lead fight was then staged between Surtees and a recovering Scarfiotti, while a nasty accident at Curva Grande caused by a tyre failure destroyed the brand new Honda in the hands of Richie Ginther, although the Californian was miraculously unhurt.
Surtees/Scarfiotti were joined in their lead battle by Denny Hulme and Parkes over time, although when the Cooper-Maserati dived into the pits to retire, the Championship was over. Surtees and Jackie Stewart were the only drivers who could deny Brabham, and with both out on the sidelines, the Australian became World Champion for a third time, and the first man to earn the crown while racing a car built and run by his own team.
As the partying partially began in the pits, Scarfiotti managed to slowly pull clear at the front of the field, building a six second gap by the end of the race to sweep home to a maiden win. Parkes and Hulme exchanged numerous blows for second, the Brit emerging on top by just a few car lengths, before a lap gap back to Jochen Rindt, Mike Spence and Bob Anderson, who completed the points.
It was a month since the Nürburgring and the horrendous accident for John Taylor, who was still fighting for his life in Koblenz hospital, although the field arrived in Monza without issue. There were no changes to the circuit, with the banking becoming a distant memory as the organisers opted for the road course once again, which had produced some epic scraps in previous years. The Italian organisers also decided to neglect the idea of using Formula 2 cars, a largely failed experiment and one which would have been unsafe at the flat out nature of Monza.
Headlining the Italian field were the home heroes, as Ferrari decided to throw their full weight at trying to win their home race. Three brand new V12 engines were built for Mike Parkes, Lorenzo Bandini and sportscar regular Ludovico Scarfiotti, while all three chassis had also had small touches to suit Monza. They would also allow Reg Parnell Racing to use one of the V6 Tasman Championship spec cars from earlier in the season, with former driver Giancarlo Baghetti getting a run out alongside Mike Spence in a Lotus.
Of Team Lotus, there had been some developments with the Lotus 43, which had been built around the BRM P75 H16 engine, a unit which had proved temperamental at best. The H16 had been destroying gearboxes with ease earlier in the season, and only after some serious work back at Bourne did the engine reappear, with Lotus getting one unit, while BRM fielded two of their own, set to power Graham Hill and Jackie Stewart. Jim Clark would be armed with the Lotus-BRM car, supported by two Lotus 33s for Peter Arundell and Giacomo "GEKI" Russo.
Brabham-Repco were in action in Monza too, fielding three chassis between their two drivers Jack Brabham and Denny Hulme. The new car would be for Brabham to use in order to bring him into spec with Hulme, although the Australian was happy with the original 3.0 litre prototype that he had been using all season. Cooper-Maserati were in a similar position, as Jochen Rindt and John Surtees arrived with three chassis to share, the two race cars destined to have new engines as Maserati tried to get a win in their home race.
The rest of the major manufacturers were headlined by two major developments from either-side of the Pacific Ocean. The first was from Dan Gurney and his Anglo American Racers effort, where the Eagle would finally get its Weslake engine, with the original car handed to Phil Hill should the V12 run without issue. The other was the return of Honda, where Richie Ginther arrived with their new V12 3.0 litre car, which had done a lot of work in Japan. Bruce McLaren had also entered two cars for himself and Chris Amon, but the New Zealander was forced to pull out when Serenissima had problems with their engines.
The privateer field was headlined by the Reg Parnell Racing pair, although there were several single car efforts from the usual suspects RRC Walker Racing Team and Jo Bonnier. Amon was among them once he got hold of a Brabham chassis, while fellow Antipodean Frank Gardner returned for the first time since 1965, using a Climax powered BRP run by John Willment Automobiles. Trevor Taylor was also back with the Shannon-Climax car, while Bob Bondurant and Bob Anderson were also out to do battle.
Despite the circumstances in Germany, victory for Brabham had left the Australian racer in complete command of the World Championship, now just a win away from scoring maximum points. Hill was in second but could not challenge because of the dropped score rule, meaning it was down to third placed Surtees, and fifth placed Stewart, with one win apiece, to try and deny Brabham a third World Championship. Rindt was level on points with pretender Surtees, but behind as he had not scored a win, while John Taylor was the last name on the list of scorers.
The Intercontinental Cup for Manufacturers Championship was also left undecided after the German Grand Prix, although Brabham-Repco were unlikely to be beaten. Their only possible challengers would be Ferrari and BRM, both of whom would have to get one of their drivers to win the final three races of the season without Brabham besting a fourth place. Elsewhere, Cooper-Maserati were in fourth and out of the hunt, but were significantly ten points clear of Lotus-Climax, with the Norfolk based squad now desperate to get their hands on a 3.0 litre engine.
The full entry list for the 1966 Italian Grand Prix is outlined below:
Practice/qualifying would begin at 3:00pm on Friday afternoon in perfect conditions, lasting for three hours, before an identical session on Saturday, which would also be extended to 6:30pm. M.G.M. were also out in full force having missed the Nordschleife entertainment, backing Chris Amon by mounting cameras onto the car he loaned from them, as he and the privateers tried to qualify in the top twenty due to grid size restrictions. The 3.0 litre cars, meanwhile, would be expected to smash through the circuit record of 1:35.9, set by Jim Clark in 1965 during his hunt for pole.
Unofficial testing in the week before the Italian Grand Prix weekend had seen Ferrari claim to have set a 1:31.7 while Cooper-Maserati and Honda stated that they had achieved sub-1:34.0s. Although some thought that the early running would be a run in phase, Ferrari proved that this was not the case, with Mike Parkes, Ludovico Scarfiotti and Lorenzo Bandini all getting under the circuit record on their second full lap. Elsewhere, Richie Ginther was armed with the Honda and was using Cooper replacement John Surtees as a live reference, while Jo Siffert's session was over when the engine expired after just half a lap.
Elsewhere, the H16 engined cars were being rather hit and miss, with Graham Hill wrecking his gearbox after just a couple of laps at BRM. In contrast, the Englishman's team mate Jackie Stewart was running without issue but was being outclassed by the Lotus-BRM combination in the hands of Jim Clark. The Lotus 43 with the wily Scot was dancing round the circuit at the top end of the field, completing 28 laps without a major issue, although it did drain most of its oil during its final tour on Friday.
BRM were to look a mess by the end of the session after the gearbox in the spare car imploded, so the team had to whisk away the Tasman Championship car from the demonstration stands to get Hill back on track. Brabham-Repco, meanwhile, were not hunting times and instead opting to test out tyres, as Jack Brabham tried out a new design from Goodyear, only to spin off at the Parabolica without damage. Dan Gurney was having issues with the new Eagle-Weslake combination, meaning he spent the session sharing the spare car with Phil Hill, causing a fair amount of chaos among the timekeepers.
After Ferrari dominated Friday's times the rest of the field were out to go and beat them, a feat first achieved by Surtees to beat former team mate Bandini. Clark then joined the fun, beating all three of them on their Saturday times, but could not best Parkes or Scarfiotti's efforts from Friday. Indeed, no one from the Italian firm would end the session with an improvement from Friday, leaving Parkes on pole with a 1:31.3, with a second eventually covering the top six.
Elsewhere, Gurney was struggling with the Eagle-Weslake just making the grade after another day of issues, something which temporary team mate Phil Hill failed to achieve. Giancarlo Baghetti, in the fourth Ferrari run by Reg Parnell Racing, was beaten by team mate Mike Spence, while Amon failed to make the grade in the M.G.M. run Brabham-BRM. It would be Peter Arundell who started as the best of the 65 runners down in thirteenth, while Ginther got the new Honda up into the top ten.
The full qualifying results for the 1966 Italian Grand Prix are outlined below:
|17||36||Jo Siffert||Cooper-Maserati||No Time||1:36.3||+5.0s|
- * Clark, Spence, and Geki would be switching car numbers in the race as they were using the same cars.
- † Gurney would be driving car #30 in the race.
There were a few changes just before the race, with Jo Bonnier needing to borrow an engine from old team RRC Walker Racing Team, while Mike Spence came under attack from the M.G.M. crews and so had to dress up as a fictional driver again. Otherwise, the field was ready to run, despite four cars missing the warm-up lap with last minute issues, and were on the dummy grid half an hour before the 3:30pm start time. The field were then allowed to pull onto the grid proper thirty seconds before, with all twenty cars pulling onto their starting slots without issue.
As the Italian tricolour fell it was an Italian racer, in an Italian car, who reacted fastest, as Ludovico Scarfiotti who shot into the lead, trailed by another Italian Ferrari driver in the form of Lorenzo Bandini. Jim Clark went backwards after his revs fell too far to leave the H16 Lotus crawling off the line, while Mike Parkes trailed his Italian colleagues from pole. However, the Ferrari triumvirate was short lived as Richie Ginther drafted through into third before the cars reached Curva Grande.
The Ferraris were then shuffled through the Lesmo Curves, where Bandini elbowed his way past Scarfiotti to send his team mate wide and onto the edge of the grass. Up the inside of the edged out Italian went the Honda of Ginther, who also had Parkes on his inside meaning it was the Englishman who emerged in second. Before Ginther could get back in the order he had also been passed by John Surtees in the Cooper-Maserati, while Jack Brabham got ahead of Scarfiotti before the Italian got back in the herd.
At the end of the opening lap it was Bandini leading from Parkes, both working to prevent Surtees from putting the Maserati engined Cooper in front on Ferrari turf. Ginther, Brabham and Scarfiotti were right behind as the slipstreaming battles began to take hold, as a gap opened back to Jochen Rindt and Jackie Stewart. Those two were fighting at the front of a group that contained the rest of the runners, with Clark tagged on just in front of the final car as his H16 engine refused to run properly, although he was thankful to still be running, as Graham Hill's engine failed spectacularly round the back of the circuit.
At the end of the second lap there was only one Ferrari at the front of the field, as Bandini limped into the pits at the back of the field with a fuel pipe issue. He left his British teammate Parkes at the head of a tight top six pack, as Surtees, Brabham, Denny Hulme, who had shot up from the Rindt/Stewart group, Ginther and Rindt himself. Clark, meanwhile, was slowly gaining ground as the H16 engine wound itself up to full speed, taking three of the back markers in front on the second lap.
On lap three there was a change for the lead as Surtees surged past Parkes through the Parabolica, prompting huge cheers from the Italian fans, who seemed to be favouring Maserati after Ferrari's woeful season across the board. He would then pull out a slight gap as Parkes had to defend from Brabham and co., while Clark continued to pick off the privateers to join the back of the leading pack. The rest of the field were still being led by Stewart in the sole surviving BRM H16, not wanting to risk a retirement, with a few changes behind him caused by the slipstream battles.
Brabham went out on lap seven, bad news for his hopes to take the title as Surtees remained in the lead, when his Repco engine expired. His fortunes, however, were changed when Surtees dropped down when Parkes escaped the Aussie's sights and charged into the wake of the Cooper, prompting another huge cheer from the crowd. Then, Hulme did an excellent job of supporting his fallen teammate by taking the Englishman, while Brabham hauled his car into the pits, the issue being not enough oil which under the 1966 rules could not be refilled.
At ten laps the order at the front was still shaping itself behind Parkes, with Hulme and Surtees right behind, while Scarfiotti had made some progress by taking Ginther. Also on the move was Clark, who picked off the Honda once he cleared Rindt, although the leading seven were swapping all around the circuit before returning to the same order when they crossed the line. Stewart was now out after a fuel leak, which had been the cause of his inability to complete the warmup, with Giancarlo Baghetti and Mike Spence running together in the mismatched Reg Parnell Racing cars.
A few laps later and the field was led across the line by Scarfiotti, who had dragged Ginther through the rest of the leaders over the course of the following three laps. Surtees, meanwhile, had used their charge to pass Parkes, while Clark disappeared into the pits with an unbalanced rear wheel. Bandini, meanwhile, was released from the pits into the middle of the leading pack after a long delay, with the Italian told to help Parkes and Scarfiotti as much as he could.
Rindt had long since fallen off the back of this pack, and on lap seventeen the lead group was further culled when Ginther disappeared at Curva Grande. The Honda had suffered a puncture on a rear tyre while entering the flat out turn, and despite the Californian's best efforts to control the snapping slide, the car was sliding off onto the grass. The trees on the outside of the circuit proved to be the American's final destination, with Ginther scrambling away from the accident with only minor injuries, despite the monocoque bending itself, banana-esque, around a tree.
The leading scrap was still intense despite the disappearance of Ginther, with Bandini causing some issues for Hulme and Surtees by blocking moves by them on Parkes and Scarfiotti. The order was never settled, however, with the order at lap 20 recorded as Scarfiotti, Surtees, Hulme and Parkes, with Bandini slipping to the back of the group. Then came Rindt on his own and well clear of the two Parnell cars, before Bob Anderson and Peter Arundell came across the line together as their wheel to wheel duel continued.
Clark, meanwhile, was back up and running after slipping a lap down, with the H16 running well and allowing him to take some of the lower placed cars, starting with temporary team mate Giacomo "GEKI" Russo. Dan Gurney had had constant headaches from the Eagle-Weslake throughout the weekend, finally calling time on his race when the oil temperature spiked after one quick lap. Other interesting developments were happening in the lower orders, with Jo Siffert and Bob Bondurant taking time out of their battle to get out of the way of the leading group.
By this stage, although it was likely the plan all along, Enzo Ferrari made it clear that an Italian driver was to win in one of his cars, so Parkes was signalled to do what he could to get in front of Surtees and Hulme, but not to take Scarfiotti. He and Bandini were doing all they could to held Scarfiotti maintain the lead, but they were powerless to prevent Surtees getting the occasional good exit out of Parabolica to lead, once in a while, across the line. On lap 27 Parkes managed to elbow the lot of them out of the way to lead across the line, but a lap later he was back in third when Scarfiotti was waved back through, dragging a canny Surtees with him.
On lap 32 the leading group was rocked again, this time caused by a puncture for Surtees who detected the issue before the tyre failed. He was in the pits at the end of that lap to get a replacement, joined a few moments later by Bandini, who, with his job done, retired from the race with an engine failure. Scarfiotti was left with a gap back to Parkes and Hulme, the Englishman having a much easier time of blocking moves when it was only one car attacking, although Hulme was often able to get ahead.
At half distance the race had settled into a pattern, with Scarfiotti consistently leading while Parkes and Hulme alternated in second and third. Rindt was on his own ahead of the formation flying Parnell cars, while Anderson and Arundell continued to exchange blows in their fight. Siffert and Bondurant were ossilating behind them, while Clark was constantly making visits to the pits as problems for the H16 continued to plague his race.
Bandini was now back in action when an ignition issue was cured, once again getting held until the leaders came through so he could harass Hulme. The ploy was working as Scarfiotti continued to escape, and the faults on Bandini's car finally put the team leader out of the race on the 47th lap, with Parkes and Hulme now ten seconds off the lead. The Englishman, who knew that he was not allowed to win the race due to the politics in the scarlet cars decided to let Hulme overtake and simply stay with him, on the off chance that Scarfiotti hit trouble.
The leading group was slowly coming back together once Hulme was setting the pace, and on lap 50 the gaps were cut in half when Scarfiotti came to lap Baghetti and Spence, who themselves were lapping the Anderson/Arundell scrap. By the time Scarfiotti had surged past the V6 Ferrari Hulme and Parkes were on the back of Arundell, meaning it was a seven car pack containing most of the top ten. Elsewhere, Clark was just about to drop out after another issue with the H16, briefly lapping at the pace of the leaders, even unlapping himself at one point, before the gearbox finally failed.
The gap at the front would suddenly balloon out to fifteen seconds for a time before gradually coming down as the Italian eased off in the closing stages. Parkes was still letting Hulme do the work, although on the final lap the Englishman decided it was time to pounce, and five seconds after Scarfiotti swept home to a maiden win, Parkes launched his car out of Parabolica to draft past Hulme on the line, taking second by three tenths. It was a Ferrari one-two with an Italian winner, just as Enzo wanted, although the party was on at Brabham, whose "guvnor" had been World Champion since Surtees retired.
Behind Hulme, and a lap down, came Rindt after another strong, run to fourth, although a deflating tyre had come off the rim as the Austrian exited the final corner to create a sparking finish for Cooper-Maserati. Elsewhere, a late issue for Baghetti sent him to the back of the pack from a certain fifth, meaning Spence had inherited the position with Anderson into sixth, although Arundell would only be inches behind at the line.
The full results for the 1966 Italian Grand Prix are outlined below:
|4||16||Jochen Rindt||Cooper-Maserati||67||+1 lap||8||3|
|5||32||Mike Spence||Lotus-BRM||67||+1 lap||14||2|
|6||40||Bob Anderson||Brabham-Climax||66||+2 laps||15||1|
|7||48||Bob Bondurant||BRM||65||+3 laps||18|
|9||20||Giacomo Russo||Lotus-Climax||63||+5 laps||20|
|NC†||44||Giancarlo Baghetti||Ferrari||59||+9 laps||16|
|Ret||14||John Surtees||Cooper-Maserati||31||Fuel leak||4|
|Ret||10||Jack Brabham||Brabham-Repco||7||Oil leak||6|
|Ret||28||Jackie Stewart||BRM||5||Fuel leak||9|
- * Arundell was adjudged to have completed enough of the race distance to still be classified.
- † In contrast, Baghetti did not complete 90% of the race distance so could not be classified.
- Maiden start for a Weslake engine.
- 50th Grand Prix start for Richie Ginther.
- First (and only) pole position for Mike Parkes.
- Ludovico Scarfiotti earned his maiden Grand Prix victory.
- Also the Italian's first and only visit to the podium.
- Scarfiotti also secured his one and only fastest lap.
- Second and final podium for Parkes.
- Jack Brabham earned his third World Championship Driver's title.
- The Australian also became the first (and only) driver to win the crown in a car built and run by his own team.
With victory going to Ludovico Scarfiotti, and no points going to the title pretenders John Surtees and Jackie Stewart, the Championship was settled in favour of Jack Brabham. The Australian became the first triple Champion since Juan Manuel Fangio earned his third title in 1955, and left Italy with a 21 point lead. Jochen Rindt was now second overall, leading the race to finish as runner up, with Graham Hill, Surtees, Stewart, Denny Hulme, Lorenzo Bandini, Mike Parkes and Scarfiotti all within nine points.
The Australian's team, Brabham-Repco, in contrast, were not yet able to claim the Intercontinental Cup for Manufacturers, as victory for Ferrari kept them just in the hunt. A nine point gap was separating the two with two rounds to go, and the Italian firm still needed to win the last two races without the Anglo-Aussie effort scoring better than third. BRM and Cooper-Maserati were circling closer together as they entered a private duel for third.
Images and Videos:
- 'GRAND PRIX RESULTS: ITALIAN GP, 1966', grandprix.com, (Inside F1 Inc., 2016), http://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr148.html, (Accessed 05/08/2016)
- D.S.J., 'ITALIAN GRAND PRIX: A REAL ITALIAN VICTORY', motorsportmagazine.com, (Motor Sport Magazine, 01/10/1966), http://www.motorsportmagazine.com/archive/article/october-1966/38/italian-grand-prix-real-italian-victory, (Accessed 05/08/2016)
- 'Italy 1966: Entrants', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1966/italie/engages.aspx, (Accessed 05/08/2016)
- 'Italy 1966: Qualifications', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1966/italie/qualification.aspx, (Accessed 05/08/2016)
- 'Italy 1966: Result', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1966/italie/classement.aspx, (Accessed 05/08/2016)
|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 • 2022|
|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|
|v·d·e||Nominate this page for Featured Article|