The 1966 Monaco Grand Prix, officially known as the XXIV Grand Prix Automobile de Monaco, was the opening round of the 1966 FIA Formula One World Championship, held on the Circuit de Monaco on the 22nd of May, 1966. The race, which saw Team Lotus and Jim Clark arrive to open the defence of their 1965, was the first race of the three litre era of Formula One, introduced for the 1966 season.
The new engine regulations caused chaos during the off-season, despite the fact they had been announced back in 1964. Team Lotus, for instance, arrived with two different engines, Clark using a customised Climax 2.0 litre V8 engine, while Peter Arundell was handed an experimental BRM 3.0 litre H16 powered car.
It would be the Scot, however, who danced his way to pole, joined by John Surtees on the front row, the Englishman having almost completely recovered from a horrendous CanAm crash back in 1965. Off the line, Surtees snatched the lead as Clark got caught out by gearbox problems, with Jackie Stewart and Graham Hill joining the Ferrari at the front of the field.
Clark began to drive round his gearbox failure, and when Surtees retired on the fifteenth lap, the World Champion was up to fifth, as Stewart inherited the lead. Jochen Rindt and Lorenzo Bandini were surprise contenders in second and third, the Austrian putting Cooper back in the sun, until he went out with engine failure.
Rindt's retirement meant that half of the sixteen starters had retired before the final third of the race, with Clark joining him with suspension failure. Richie Ginther also retired before the final stages, and with debutante Guy Ligier and veteran Jo Bonnier not classified, only four drivers were registered as finishers, a record for Formula One.
As for the survivors, Stewart took the flag to claim a second career win, beating Bandini by over forty seconds. Hill claimed third, a lap off of his Scottish team mate, while Bob Bondurant made it to the flag five laps down to claim a maiden points finish in a privately entered BRM.
The race was also notable as the first appearance of future F1 Champions McLaren Racing, using their own chassis with an adapted Sports Car engine. It was also the first time that Firestone tyres were used in a World Championship Grand Prix.
After a pre-season of non-Championship rounds featuring 1965 equipment, the first World Championship round around the streets of Monte Carlo was anticipated as the first bout for the new 1966 designs. There had been an deadline implemented by the FIA for teams to submit a working version of their 1966 cars, which fell on the same weekend as the Monaco Grand Prix, and all but two of the teams would arrive in the Principality with at least one example of their 66 designs.
Of the two failed projects, one was an all new effort by popular New York born racer Dan Gurney, who had formed Anglo-American Racers over the winter, partnering with engineer, and former racer, Carroll Shelby. Their Eagle-Weslake missed the deadline although the Len Terry design would be ready for the Belgian Grand Prix. The other failed project for the Monaco deadline originated from Team Lotus, who had designed a new car for Peter Arundell, returning for the first time since his horror crash back in 1964, featuring the experimental BRM H16 engine.
The British effort would have Jim Clark back in their Lotus 33 as usual, the defending Champion using a modified Climax FWMV engine, which had been expanded to two litres. They had arranged for Ford to fund a project by Cosworth engineer Keith Duckworth to build a 3.0 litre V8, but delays in the start of the project meant new engines had to be sourced. The reason for the switch was due to the decision of usual engine partner Climax to withdraw from Formula One, as projected expenses for their 3.0 litre engines were too high.
Into the partially completed realm of the Manufacturers entries, and Bruce McLaren had caused a stir late in 1965 by announcing his entry into Formula One as an owner/driver. The new Bruce McLaren Motor Racing team had commissioned Robin Herd to design their effort, named as the McLaren M2B, although one car would be ready in time for the Monaco battle. The New Zealander had signed up countryman Chris Amon as his team mate for the season, and had secured modified versions of the Ford 406 engine, reduced in size from the version fitted into the back of the Ford GT40.
Another partially completed project came out of the Brabham team, with owner/driver Jack Brabham signing up Denny Hulme to partner him when Gurney left. The intended car for 1966 was the BT19, powered by a Repco 620 engine from Australia. Yet, like fellow Antipodean entrant McLaren, only Brabham would drive the 66 car, meaning Hulme would run a BT22, featuring a heavily modified version of the Climax FPF engine which had been expanded to 2.8 litres.
For the Cooper Car Company, 1966 would need to be a successful season, having lost lead driver McLaren, while also needing to source a new engine partner. John Cooper had agreed a deal to bring Maserati back to Grand Prix racing, the Italian engine manufacturer having built a 3.0 litre engine for their two new T81 chassis. They also decided to bring in Richie Ginther from Honda to partner impressive rookie Jochen Rindt, who was to start his second full season.
Ferrari arrived as one of the strongest looking efforts having built two 3.0 litre V12 engined cars for the new season, although they had a developmental version of a Dino V6 car from the Tasman Championship in reserve. As for their drivers, Lorenzo Bandini was resigned for another season after a few strong performances, while John Surtees made a miraculous recovery from his life-threatening accident in a CanAm race back in 1965. The Englishman would race with some pain, his legs still not fully recovered, but he was determined to perform on the streets of Monte Carlo.
Finally came the BRM team, with Graham Hill, and breakthrough talent of 1965 Jackie Stewart returning to battle for them once again. They had one new H16 engined car for the opening round of the season, but would choose to use their two 1965 cars, featuring expanded capacity engines, around the streets. Their engineers would work on the H16 throughout the weekend, hoping that Hill could at least get a few laps in the experimental car with an outside shot of racing it.
Into the privateer field, and Reg Parnell Racing were using two ex-factory cars once again, and old Lotus 25 and a P61, both using expanded capacity BRM engines. Their two drivers were Richard Attwood, back from 1965, and Mike Spence, who had been released by Team Lotus and so replaced Innes Ireland, who had been fired from the team back in Mexico. The RRC Walker Racing Team were also back, but they had had to downsize to just one car, back with Swiss racer Jo Siffert in a Brabham-BRM.
The downsizing at RRC Walker had meant that Jo Bonnier was forced out of the team, so the Swede revived his Ecurie Bonnier outfit, renamed as the Joakim Bonnier Racing Team. Bob Anderson was back with DW Racing Enterprises, while French privateer Guy Ligier would make his Grand Prix bow with a privately owned Cooper-Maserati. The final entry was American Bob Bondurant, who had secured the backing of an American backed, British based team to run an ex-factory BRM.
The full entry list for the 1966 Monaco Grand Prix is outlined below:
Thursday afternoon saw the first session of 1966 season open for the combined qualifying/practice session, which would last for two hours. This was then followed by an hour long session on Friday morning, at 8:00 am (although the Formula 3 cars had woken up the entire south coast of France at 5:30 am) lasting for an hour. A third session was then held on Saturday, with the best of the field hoping, and expected, to beat Graham Hill's fastest lap from 1965, a 1:31.7.
First out for a blast at the start of the new season was Bruce McLaren, with the heavy American V8 engine in the back of the new McLaren M2B producing a glorious roar that echoed around the city streets. The car had arrived in the New Zealand national racing colours of green, silver and black, but a hasty re-paint was required when McLaren accepted an offer from a film company to use shots of their cars in the upcoming film Grand Prix. In a predominantly green field, the McLaren was repainted a white colour, with a distinct green and silver strip, and appeared almost too big for the streets.
The weather on Thursday had been dull and disappointing, and as the session started rain began to tumble from the skies. The pace setter for the first session turned out to be Jackie Stewart in the 65 BRM, who got under Hill's circuit record by a tenth before the end of the session, as the rest of the field set about getting their creations running. As for Hill, the Englishman got out with the H16 car and set a smooth lap of 1:40.9, while Ferrari and Brabham failed to arrive in time for the session.
A warm and dry Friday morning saw the field get the chance to go for some seriously quick times now that the cars had been bedded in to a certain degree. It was the first time that Brabham and Ferrari both got on circuit, and both were soon up to speed, although problems for Lorenzo Bandini meant he was in the reserve V6 car. Although the Italian was ultimately able to go quicker than his English team mate, he could not match Jim Clark, who recorded a 1:30.8 to take provisional pole late in the final moments.
The final two hour session of the weekend would be held in perfect conditions, the sun keeping the skies bright without causing temperatures to spiral upwards. Phil Hill was back in action for this session, although the former Champion was driving a camera car as part of the film crew for the upcoming film. Once he was out of the way, the times really tumbled, although it would be Clark on pole with a 1:29.9, sharing the front row with John Surtees, while Stewart and Hill claimed an all BRM second row, all within half a second of the Scot.
The full qualifying results for the 1966 Monaco Grand Prix are outlined below:
- Bold indicates a driver's best/qualifying time.
- T Indicates a driver used their test/spare car to set their best time in that session.
- * Phil Hill could not take the start on the grid.
A 3:00 pm start for the Grand Prix was scheduled for Sunday, and with a hazy sunshine, the conditions were perfect for racing. After a parade of older Grand Prix machinery, driven by a number of ex-F1 and pre-F1 racers, the field of 66 was wheeled onto the dummy grid. The sixteen cars were then fired up and dragged themselves onto the grid proper just before the start, creating a glorious echo around the streets of Monte Carlo.
When the flag dropped the echo was lost in the scream of tyres and high revs, as the pole sitter Jim Clark leapt away, only to get stuck in first gear. That allowed John Surtees to surge ahead, and after swatting away Jackie Stewart, who slithered past Clark, the Englishman took the young Scot with him to build a first lap lead. Clark would eventually get into second gear before Sainte Devote, but he had been dumped to the back of the field with fifteenth placed Bob Bondurant disappearing through Massanet at the top of the hill as Clark began the climb.
At the end of the first lap Surtees and Stewart were already a second ahead of third placed Graham Hill, who was at the head of a long stream of cars. Right with him were Denny Hulme, Jochen Rindt, Bob Anderson, Lorenzo Bandini, Bruce McLaren et al., with Clark tagging onto the back of the train for third as he began to recover from his terrible start. The leading pair were clearly the quickest cars in the field, lapping a second quicker again on lap two, and with the only man capable of matching their pace stuck at the back, currently passing Bondurant, they looked set to battle for victory alone.
Methodical work from Clark saw him pick off a position a lap over the first ten laps, making numerous passes into the Gasworks Hairpin at the end of the circuit. He was up to seventh on lap ten, although that was after the benefit of seeing Anderson and McLaren retire with mechanical issues. The only other car on the move in these early stages was Rindt, who put two stunning moves on Hulme and Hill ahead to get into third, although the aggressive nature of his move on the latter did not go down well.
By this stage the Austrian was the full length of the harbour behind the two leaders, and it was Surtees who held the advantage over Stewart, making the Scot work hard just to keep up. That was, until the Englishman waved the Scot through at the end of lap thirteen when something on the back of the Ferrari broke. After another tour Surtees came in to have the problem diagnosed, found to be a broken differential, leaving the ex-World Champion out of the race after a second attempt at getting round.
With Surtees out, Stewart was on his own, a ten second gap now opened to second placed Rindt, who now had a small gap back to Hill. The Englishman was losing time due to having to fend off an oncoming Bandini, who suddenly upped his pace as Surtees hit trouble, while Clark was up to fifth when Hulme dropped out with a driveshaft failure. The race seemed to be swinging in favour of the Team Lotus racer, as without the raw power of the Ferrari, Stewart's pace began to tumble, while Rindt, Hill and Bandini's times stalled as they entered a stalemate.
Once Bandini cleared Hill, aided by the lapping of Jo Bonnier, who was seriously struggling for pace with a recurring fuel starvation problem, it was Rindt's turn to endure some harassment. On lap 20 the Italian finally elbowed his way through at Sainte Devote, the Austrian just keeping Hill from slithering past too, while Clark drew ominously closer. Yet, just as the Scot got onto the exhaust of Hill, the Englishman suddenly burst into life, caught Rindt sleeping into the Gasworks Hairpin, and began to challenge Bandini.
Bandini, for his part, had managed to scamper a little further up the road before Hill got by Rindt, and once Clark forced his way past the Austrian too, the Englishman had to focus on defending. The Italian, however, could not escape the Scot's pace which was also prompting Hill to raise his game again, leaving Stewart with a 37 second lead. Elsewhere, Brabham was out with a gearbox failure, while Jo Siffert and Mike Spence were out within a lap of each other meaning there were just nine cars running at the halfway point.
Rindt, meanwhile, was falling away from the second place scrap with an increasingly poor sounding engine, with the Maserati until finally expiring on lap 56. The gap between leader Stewart and fourth place Clark at this point was down to 27 seconds, reducing by around half a second each lap, with the latter Scot's pace pushing Bandini and Hill on too. Eventually, on lap 60, Clark finally forced his way past Hill for third into Sainte Devote, although when the Lotus made its way through the Gasworks Hairpin at the end of the lap a hub carrier failed, leaving Clark out of the running.
Clark's retirement left the field down to just seven cars, and although it was Stewart's biggest challenger who dropped out, Bandini and Hill were still closing in. The leading Scot was having to take risks to maintain his lead, particularly when he got baulked, accidentally, by Bonnier who was well out of the running. He then set heart rates through the roof with a dive down the inside of Richie Ginther through Tabac, which caused the Californian to get into a huge slide.
Bandini, meanwhile, was able to drop Hill once Clark disappeared leaving the Englishman to fall a lap behind as the Italian inched up to just twelve seconds behind the leading Scot. When Ginther disappeared with transmission failure there were just six cars running, and with debutante Guy Ligier and Bonnier making frequent pit visits, there were just four cars in the running. That said, American Bondurant was not a contender, four laps back as the race entered the final ten laps, and with Hill a lap down, the fight was on between Bandini and Stewart.
The final laps were set to be an epic battle, with Bandini lapping a second a lap quicker with a nine second gap ahead and just ten laps to go. On lap 90 he set a new lap record, a 1:29.8, but that seemed to be the end of his charge, with the gap plateauing thereafter. Stewart, meanwhile, pushed on and when Bandini eased off, the gap ballooned out to over forty seconds when the chequered flag was thrown after 100 laps. Bandini claimed a happy second with Hill easing well of his best pace to claim third, while the final classified finisher was Bondurant, who had stayed out of trouble throughout.
The full results for the 1966 Monaco Grand Prix are outlined below:
|3||11||Graham Hill||BRM||99||+1 lap||4||4|
|4||19||Bob Bondurant||BRM||95||+5 laps||16||3|
|NC†||21||Guy Ligier||Cooper-Maserati||75||+15 laps||15|
|NC†||18||Jo Bonnier||Cooper-Maserati||73||+17 laps||14|
|Ret||2||Bruce McLaren||McLaren-Ford||9||Oil leak||10|
- * Previously, Ginther would have been classified as a finisher but under the new rules he could not be awarded points as he had not completed the final lap.
- † Under the new rules, Ligier and Bonnier were not eligible for points as they had not completed 90% of the race distance.
- First race of the 3.0 litre era of Formula One (1966 - 1986).
- Debut for French racer Guy Ligier.
- McLaren Racing made their Grand Prix bow as a Constructor.
- Repco made their maiden World Championship start.
- First time that Firestone tyres were used in a World Championship race.
- Fiftieth start for John Surtees.
- Thirtieth pole position for Team Lotus.
- Also the twenty-fifth pole start for Jim Clark.
- Second career win for Jackie Stewart.
- Thirteenth victory for BRM.
- First fastest lap for Lorenzo Bandini.
- Record for the fewest number of classified finishers (4).
- This was unofficially beaten at the 1996 Monaco Grand Prix, where only three drivers took the chequered flag.
- First (and only) points finish for Bob Bondurant.
Due to the stunningly poor mechanical reliability, even for an era where half a field would be expected to retire, only four drivers scored points in the Principality. Unsurprisingly, Jackie Stewart left Monaco in the lead after his second career victory, with Lorenzo Bandini in second. Graham Hill and Bob Bondurant completed the tiny list of scorers.
Much like the Drivers' Championship, the Intercontinental Cup for Manufacturers table was an incredibly short list after the opening round, as only two manufacturers finished. It was BRM, thanks to Stewart, who led the way on nine (with only the best placed driver's scores counting), with Ferrari in second.
Images and Videos:
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 'GRAND PRIX RESULTS: MONACO GP, 1966', grandprix.com, (Inside F1 Inc., 2016), http://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr142.html, (Accessed 30/07/2016)
- ↑ 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 2.21 2.22 2.23 2.24 2.25 2.26 2.27 2.28 2.29 2.30 2.31 2.32 2.33 2.34 2.35 2.36 2.37 2.38 2.39 2.40 2.41 2.42 2.43 2.44 2.45 2.46 2.47 2.48 2.49 2.50 2.51 2.52 2.53 2.54 2.55 2.56 2.57 2.58 2.59 2.60 2.61 2.62 2.63 2.64 2.65 2.66 2.67 2.68 2.69 2.70 2.71 2.72 2.73 2.74 2.75 2.76 2.77 2.78 2.79 2.80 2.81 2.82 D.S.J., 'XXIV Monaco Grand Prix: The Wee Scot Wins', motorsportmagazine.com, (Motor Sport Magazine, 01/06/1966), http://www.motorsportmagazine.com/archive/article/june-1966/18/xxiv-monaco-grand-prix, (Accessed 30/07/2016)
- ↑ 'Monaco 1966: Entrants', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1966/monaco/engages.aspx, (Accessed 29/07/2016)
- ↑ 'Monaco 1966: Qualifications', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1966/monaco/qualification.aspx, (Accessed 30/07/2016)
- ↑ 'Monaco 1966: Result', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1966/monaco/classement.aspx, (Accessed 30/07/2016)
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