The 1967 British Grand Prix, officially known as the XX R.A.C. British Grand Prix, was the sixth round of the 1967 FIA Formula One World Championship, staged at Silverstone on the 15th of July, 1967. The race, which marked the end of the first half of the season with regards to points, would be remembered for a dominant display by Team Lotus, although only one of their cars would make it to the flag.
The Lotus 49 had quickly established itself as the best car in the field since its debut in the Netherlands, but fragility from the Ford Cosworth engine was hampering their ability to finish. It was therefore no surprise when Jim Clark and Graham Hill swept to pole and second during qualifying, the Scot the quicker of the pair, only for Hill to suffer a suspension failure that wrote off the car and engine.
At the start it was another all Lotus affair, with Clark sprinting away with Hill right behind, although he would fall behind Jack Brabham as the Englishman had to get used to the new car. That move prompted Clark to push on and steadily build a gap, while Hill launched a series of attacks at the back of the Australian to try and get back up.
Denny Hulme, meanwhile, was making up ground after a poor start, picking his way through the order to sit in fourth, just after Hill finally nudged his way past Brabham. The two Lotuses were then seen streaking away from the rest, swapped positions on lap 26, before Hill retired with engine issues, almost identical to his run in France.
The Cosworth mechanics were then holding their breath for the rest of the race, the tension in the Lotus garage exploding once Clark crossed the line to record his second win of the season. Hulme eventually finished in second when Brabham dropped off the pace, the Australian being denied a podium after a late move by Chris Amon.
As per the agreement between the R.A.C., Brands Hatch and Silverstone, it was the latter circuit's turn to host the British Grand Prix, although almost any circuit would have been a welcome sight after the French debacle. The entry list would be comprised of invitational entries for the manufacturers and the major privateers, before the entries were opened to more local racers as usual. Silverstone would also serve as the end of the first part of the season in terms of points scoring, as new rules meant that only five of best six finishes from the first half of the season were counted, along with four of the last five results.
The entry list would be impressive to say the least, as Brabham-Repco and Lotus-Ford Cosworth came to Silverstone to do battle. The Championship laid in the hands of the Anglo-Australian effort, with Denny Hulme leading the charge as they prepared two new BT24s for him and owner/driver Jack Brabham. Team Lotus arrived with Jim Clark and Graham Hill and their pair of 49s, which had had their gearboxes strengthened since the French failures.
Cooper-Maserati and BRM had taken similar approaches to their home race, with both effectively running a third car. For BRM, Jackie Stewart had the newest of the H16 cars while Mike Spence would race the development car, leaving Reg Parnell Racing to use the spare H16 and a Tasman Championship car for their drivers Chris Irwin and Piers Courage. Cooper-Maserati would field the new T86 for Jochen Rindt, featuring the updated Maserati engine, while also deploying Pedro Rodríguez and local racer Alan Rees.
Elsewhere, Eagle-Climax had Dan Gurney and Bruce McLaren armed for the weekend, the latter struggling to find funding for his own F1 project. Ferrari still only had one and one driver to field, that being Chris Amon as Ludovico Scarfiotti continued to question his desire to race, while Honda had several updates for John Surtees to exploit, all poured into the engine. That rounded out the factory efforts, leaving the rest of the field to be made up of privateers.
By far the most popular combination of chassis/engine would be the Cooper-Maseratis, as Jo Siffert, Jo Bonnier and Guy Ligier joined the factory efforts to create a half squadron of Cooper T81s, until Ligier arrived with a Brabham BT20. A seventh Cooper chassis would be entered for Silvio Moser, which was to use a modified ATS engine, a project devised by Alf Francis. Completing the field was the familiar sight of Bob Anderson and his Brabham-Climax, while David Hobbs had a privately owned BRM to do battle with.
Brabham had become the fifth different winner in the first five races by taking the honours in France, with the defending World Champion now propelled into second in the Championship. His teammate Hulme still lead the way with a six point advantage, holding a ten point gap over third placed Pedro Rodríguez. Amon was a point ahead of Clark and Stewart, the two Scots level on ten points, before another point back to the other winner of 1967, Gurney.
Brabham-Repco were ten points clear at the top of the Intercontinental Cup for Manufacturers standings, having only failed to record points one in 1967. Their closest challengers were Cooper-Maserati, who were six points ahead of Ferrari and BRM, the British squad ahead with a second place. Lotus-Ford Cosworth were fifth ahead of Eagle-Climax, with Honda and McLaren-BRM still behind two privateer efforts.
The full entry list for the 1967 British Grand Prix is outlined below:
Practice/qualifying were to be staged over two days before the Saturday race, with two sessions on Thursday followed by a run on Friday. Rather odd scheduling meant that the first session ran from 11:30am to 1:00pm, before the afternoon session on Thursday would run from 4:50pm to 5:50pm, before a two hour session on Friday from 11:00am to 1:00pm. The circuit record set by Jack Brabham would be the target time for the top drivers, the Australian having recorded a 1:29.8 on his way to victory at the XVIII BRDC International Trophy in 1966.
Most of the teams had spent time testing at Silverstone before the weekend, meaning most observers believed that they would be up to speed straight away. For BRM, however, this was not the case as lead driver Jackie Stewart kept swapping between cars as he complained of handling problems. Jochen Rindt would sit out most of the first session while waiting for work to be completed on the new Cooper-Maserati, while Team Lotus were struggling with misfires once again, leaving Keith Duckworth (Cosworth) and Colin Chapman (Lotus) scratching their heads.
Elsewhere, the first session would be a mixture of success and failure for most, although almost all of the contented faces were at Brabham-Repco. Denny Hulme and Jack Brabham no worries during the session, the Aussie owner/driver ending the session fastest, but did end up on the sidelines when a fuel pump failed in the final minutes. Elsewhere, Eagle-Weslake had a split session, Dan Gurney an outsider for pole while Bruce McLaren struggled with multiple issues, John Surtees was having to battle a rough running Honda, while Mike Spence was the fastest of the BRMs, until a suspension failure at Copse sent his car barrelling into the grass.
Like the morning session, Thursday afternoon proved to be an hour of trial and error for most of the teams as they sorted out issues. Team Lotus, for instance, managed to get Clark's car to run better than it had in the morning so that the Scot could go fastest, but the engine was still not performing at its best. McLaren got a lap in before the end of the day after a rebuild of the drivetrain, while Rindt was sent out with an old car to get some laps in, Cooper abandoning any hope of getting the new car running before Friday morning.
A threat of rain materialised on Friday morning, prompting most of the teams to send their cars out early for a battle for pole. The earliest runners were the two Lotuses to see if Duckworth had cured the misfiring issues, the solution thought to have been to plug a minute bleed hole in the injection system. The engines sounded sweet straight away so Chapman dragged the cars back in for setup work, with the programme eventually getting Clark onto pole with a 1:25.3, while Graham Hill finished second with a 1:26.0. Unfortunately, the latter's prospect of starting was put in doubt after a huge accident caused by a suspension failure, Hill's car demolishing itself on a bank and advertising hoarding.
For everyone else, the session would be a case of trying to keep up with the Lotuses, although the only team on a par would be the Brabhams, with Brabham and Hulme the only other drivers within a second of Clark. Gurney was up there, just a fraction of a second off a front row start in fifth, while Chris Amon had a quiet session for Ferrari to grab sixth. Surtees, Rindt and McLaren all got some proper running in to complete the top ten, while Spence would end practice/qualifying as the best placed BRM driver, beating his frustrated Scottish teammate.
The full qualifying results for the 1967 British Grand Prix are outlined below:
|1||5||Jim Clark||Lotus-Ford Cosworth||1:27.8||1:26.5||1:25.3||—|
|2||6||Graham Hill||Lotus-Ford Cosworth||1:28.7||1:29.2||1:26.0||+0.7s|
|8||11||Jochen Rindt||Cooper-Maserati||No Time||1:29.0||1:27.4||+2.1s|
|17||19||Bob Anderson||Brabham-Climax||1:30.7||No Time||1:30.8||+5.4s|
|19||23||Jo Bonnier||Cooper-Maserati||1:32.0||No Time||No Time||+6.7s|
- * Courage was unable to start as Irwin used his car.
Saturday would see the Grand Prix pencilled in for 3:00pm, allowing plenty of time for the fans to stream into the circuit to watch. They would also get to witness an extensive support programme featuring Formula 3, sportscars and the British Saloon Car Championship, as well as a parade of old cars and faces, such as Juan Manuel Fangio and Stirling Moss. Once they were all cleared away, the twenty Grand Prix cars were wheeled out for the start, the only non-starter being Piers Courage as his car was handed to teammate Chris Irwin.
When the flag dropped at the start there was a distinct blur of green and yellow amid the tyre smoke, with Jim Clark and Graham Hill sprinting ahead of the rest. They went into Copse with Clark ahead of Hill, leaving Jack Brabham to lead the rest of the field through the opening lap. His closest challenger was Chris Amon for Ferrari, with Dan Gurney and Jackie Stewart also making strong starts to get ahead of the Australian's teammate Denny Hulme.
The second lap saw Clark pull clear of teammate Hill, with the Englishman having to get used to the freshly built Lotus 49, leaving him as a perfect target for Brabham. It was not long before the Aussie came blasting past for second once Amon began to battle with the cars behind, leaving Hill to stalk him in the second Lotus. As this was going on, Jo Bonnier went out with a engine failure on the opening lap, while Mike Spence came in with his electrical circuits ablaze, although the BRM mechanics were quick to extinguish and then change the (literally) fried circuits.
There was little doubt in the early stages who had the best chance of winning the race, as Clark stretched out his lead with every lap, although he was aided by the battle for second. Brabham was unable to escape from Hill, and the constant threat from the Englishman was slowing the pair of them down, allowing Amon, Gurney and Hulme to catch up. This quintet then had a fair gap back to the next bunch, being led by Stewart whose pace could not match his quick start.
Hulme proved to be the man on the move as the field began to space out into bunches, with the New Zealander taking Gurney and Amon in successive laps. The latter of those two moves seemed to provide extra impetus to Hill, who finally managed to wrestle second back off of Brabham as the field started the tenth lap. Stewart meanwhile, had fallen to Pedro Rodríguez and Bruce McLaren, while Jochen Rindt became the latest driver to visit the pits with an engine issue.
With Rindt and Spence rejoining after long visits to the pits, Hill began to make a push for the lead, steadily pulling clear of Brabham while also gaining ground on teammate Clark. The leading pair were beginning to lap the back markers, Silvio Moser the first to lose a lap, while Brabham and Hulme were working together to escape Amon and Gurney, with the track still dirty from the support races. To aid their bid to take a podium, Brabham decided to allow Hulme to go past and roar away, the Australian content to fight off the other two and let the New Zealander hunt down the Lotuses.
Unfortunately for Hulme, his chances of taking a win seemed very remote, for the two Lotuses of Clark and Hill were formation flying at the front of the field and cruising. He had, however, managed to drop Brabham and co., whose job was made easier as Gurney's Eagle-Weslake began to struggle with a clutch issue. He was looking close to joining a growing casualty list featuring teammate McLaren, out with a ruined engine, Stewart (transmission), Moser and Rindt, the latter having set very impressive times with the new Cooper-Maserati until the Austrian decided to stop the car after hearing a potentially terminal noise.
Clark and Hill were continuing to round the circuit no faster than they wished to go, but on lap 26 it was the latter who decided to start pushing, with Hill going through into the lead at Copse. The Scot's response was to simply follow the Englishman, staying around three seconds off the back of the sister car, with both continuing to pull clear of Hulme. The New Zealander was also beginning to fall back into the sights of teammate Brabham and Amon's Ferrari, while Gurney finally dropped out with an incurable clutch slip.
The race was calm at the halfway point, the only entertainment really proving to be Amon, as the scarlet Ferrari tried to provoke a three-way fight between the Antipodean contingent. Brabham was doing everything he could to keep Amon behind, dropping wheels onto the grass to kick up dust and stones, while also using back-markers as roadblocks to baulk the Ferrari. The lapping of John Surtees proved this, as Brabham decided to dive down the inside of the Honda into Copse, while Amon got caught behind the ex-Ferrari driver through until the exit of the corner.
Suddenly, there were announcements over the circuit speakers of a car stranded at Becketts, and when Clark came round on his own the news was confirmed. Hill had suffered an identical failure on the rear suspension to that which had written off his first car in practice, although this time the Englishman had room to get the car back under control. He would lose a lap limping to the pits before another lap was lost to diagnose and fix the problem, a missing screw spotted by Colin Chapman, leaving Hill to streak out of the pits two laps down and out of the fight for victory.
It would be a further ten laps before Hill's race was ended, with the Englishman going out with an engine failure while passing the pits on lap 64. Clark, meanwhile, was continuing to pound round at a cruise, well clear of Hulme as the New Zealander finally escaped the battle behind, where Amon began to give as good as he was getting from Brabham. Their battle continued to involve grass, back-markers and dust, with Amon sniffing around for any advantage to get by in the closing stages.
Finally, just five laps from the end, Amon resolved that only a do or die move would earn him a podium, with the scarlet Ferrari sent slithering up the inside of Brabham at Woodcote Corner. The Australian had to give room and allow Amon to hold the inside line, with the two coming pas the pits side-by-side before the braking zone for Copse. Because Woodcote was a right handed corner, Amon would also have the inside line into Copse, so when the New Zealander surged into third and pushed Brabham wide, the Ferrari pits exploded in joy as Amon moved onto the podium.
Retaliation from Brabham would be non-existent, because Amon was already sprinting off to try and catch Hulme for second. Unfortunately time was against him, and when Clark crossed the line to earn a second victory of the season, Amon was just four seconds off the back of his countryman. Brabham finished a further five seconds up the road as the only other man on the lead lap, while Pedro Rodríguez and a frustrated Surtees completed the points scorers.
The full results for the 1967 British Grand Prix are outlined below:
|1||5||Jim Clark||Lotus-Ford Cosworth||80||1:59:25.6||1||9|
|5||12||Pedro Rodríguez||Cooper-Maserati||79||+1 lap||9||2|
|6||7||John Surtees||Honda||78||+2 laps||7||1|
|7||15||Chris Irwin||BRM||77||+3 laps||13|
|8||20||David Hobbs||BRM||77||+3 laps||14|
|9||14||Alan Rees||Cooper-Maserati||76||+4 laps||15|
|10||18||Guy Ligier||Brabham-Repco||76||+4 laps||21|
|Ret||6||Graham Hill||Lotus-Ford Cosworth||64||Engine||2|
|Ret||22||Silvio Moser||Cooper-ATS||29||Oil pressure||20|
- First race for future F1 entrant Alan Rees (March).
- First start for David Hobbs.
- 35th pole position for Lotus.
- Jim Clark claimed his 22nd career win.
- Second triumph for Ford Cosworth.
- Repco secured their fourth and final fastest lap.
With Jim Clark becoming the first repeat winner of the season at the sixth race, the first half of the season was over, with the drivers only carrying over their best five results from the first six races. Fortunately, the picture was not muddied by this fact because no one had managed to score points across all six races, leaving Denny Hulme atop the standings with 28 points. Clark was nine points behind in second, level on points with Jack Brabham, while Chris Amon stubbornly held onto a top five spot ahead of Pedro Rodríguez as the only man in the leading quintet without a race win.
Brabham-Repco were leading the charge in the Intercontinental Cup for Manufacturers standings, a comparatively huge fourteen point lead having opened up to the rest. Lotus-Ford Cosworth had leapt up to second with Clark's second win, going level on points with Cooper-Maserati but ahead on wins. Elsewhere, Ferrari remained in fourth thanks to Amon's podium, while BRM fell to fifth, as all of the manufacturers avoided dropping points from the first half of the season.
Images and Videos:
- 'GRAND PRIX RESULTS: BRITISH GP, 1967', grandprix.com, (Inside F1 Inc., 2016), http://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr156.html, (Accessed 16/08/2016)
- D.S.J., 'THE 19TH BRITISH GRAND PRIX: Team Lotus Dominate', motorsportmagazine.com, (MotorSport Magazine, 01/08/1967), http://www.motorsportmagazine.com/archive/article/august-1967/13/19th-british-grand-prix, (Accessed 17/08/2016)
- 'Britain 1967: Entrants', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1967/grande-bretagne/engages.aspx, (Accessed 16/08/2016)
- 'Britain 1967: Qualifications', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1967/grande-bretagne/qualification.aspx, (Accessed 15/08/2016)
- 'Britain 1967: Result', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1967/grande-bretagne/classement.aspx, (Accessed 16/08/2016)
|V T E||British Grand Prix|
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