The 1967 Mexican Grand Prix, officially known as the VI Gran Premio de Mexico, was the eleventh and final round of the 1967 FIA Formula One World Championship, staged at the Magdalena Mixhuca Circuit in Mexico City on the 22nd of October. The race would be won by Jim Clark as the World Championship went down to the wire, as teammates Jack Brabham and Denny Hulme went to battle for the overall honours.
The future of the Brabham-Repco partnership was up in the air after Jochen Rindt left Cooper-Maserati, and it was Hulme who looked set to be out on his laurels, holding a five point lead over the "gaffer". In qualifying it was advantage Brabham by almost half a second as the two Brabhams shared the third row, while Clark swept to another dominant pole position by the same margin.
A rather chaotic start saw Dan Gurney make the best getaway from third, only to run into the back of Clark whom had hesitated when the starter suddenly stopped waving the flag. Graham Hill therefore surged into the lead of the race with Chris Amon slipping into second, while Clark escaped the incident with relatively little damage.
Gurney would ultimately have to retire with a split radiator, and just after Clark took the lead away from Hill, it was the Englishman who was forced into retirement with a driveshaft failure. Clark was therefore left to dominate the race, despite having to cope without a clutch, while Hulme stalked Brabham, safe in the knowledge that he only had to stay on the back of the Australian to win the Championship.
Come race end Clark was a very dominant first place, the Scot sweeping home to a twenty fourth career win, leaving him level with the great Juan Manuel Fangio at the top of the all time winners list. A late misfire dumped Amon down from a certain second place to ninth, promoting Brabham into second and Hulme third, enough for the New Zealander to win the Championship. The official gap between them would be five points come season's end, having both scored two wins each, although the fourth win of the season for Clark suggested that a more reliable Lotus 49 would have seen given a third title.
Three weeks after the conclusion of the US Grand Prix and the field were assembling in an incredibly busy Sports Park in Mexico City, a stark contrast to the peace of Watkins Glen just a couple of weeks earlier. The reason for the organised chaos was the fact that the Olympic Games were on their way to the city in 1968, meaning alterations were being made to many of the facilities in Magdalena Mixhuca. The circuit itself was unchanged in 1967, while the entry list would be identical to that of the US GP, although there were a couple of minor alterations.
The most significant of the entry list changes was at Cooper-Maserati, as their factory efforts were modified after a starting money dispute. Jochen Rindt had demanded a larger fee for driving in Mexico City, and when the team refused to negotiate the issue further, the Austrian left the team to join Brabham-Repco. The factory effort was therefore reduced to a single car, which would be handed to a limping, but otherwise healthy, Pedro Rodríguez for his home race, with Jacky Ickx returning to Europe before the weekend.
BRM had had a very busy couple of weeks since the US race, with all four of their engines shipped back to Britain to be rebuilt. The rebuild work meant that the V12 engine they hoped to run was not ready in time for the season finale, so they would have to run the experimental H16s once again. Their three cars would be distributed in the familiar way, with works drivers Jackie Stewart and Mike Spence getting the newest efforts, while Reg Parnell Racing were handed the older car for Chris Irwin.
For Lotus-Ford Cosworth, the three week break in action had been useful in applying minor revisions to their cars, including reinforced gear linkages. Suspension components and joints had also been strengthened, and additional sets brought across the Atlantic, while Cosworth tested their fuel cooling system. High altitude meant that fuel vaporises at lower temperatures, meaning that it could cause vapour locks and stall the engine if it happened any where other than in the cylinders. Keith Duckworth's solution was to move the fuel system around so that all of the components were in the coolest part of the car, near the radiators.
Brabham-Repco had the usual pair of cars on offer for Jack Brabham and Denny Hulme as their two drivers went to battle for the World Championship. They were given equal cars with equal engines, with no major modifications at the season finale, although the future of the partnership was in doubt once Rindt announced his plans. Hulme looked as if he would be on his way at the end of the season, McLaren being a likely destination, while the "gaffer" would continue with driving duties for his team.
To complete the factory efforts, there would be single car entries for Eagle-Weslake, Honda and McLaren-BRM, as their usual drivers of Dan Gurney, John Surtees and Bruce McLaren all ready to race. Also out in Mexico were Ferrari, who finally added a second car to their entry by adding British racer Jonathan Williams to partner Chris Amon for the weekend. Williams had proven his talents in CanAm throughout 1967, battling well at Leguna Seca, so the team decided to give their North American specialist a run, so long as they could get their engines clear of customs before the weekend actually started.
To complete the entry list were a number of privateers, headlined by the two Cooper-Maseratis of Jo Bonnier and Jo Siffert, although the former's car was looking rather second hand. Guy Ligier was back with his privately owned Brabham-Repco, which had required a fresh engine, while Matra Sports entered Jean-Pierre Beltoise once again in a ballasted up MS7. Finally, there were entries for American racer Mike Fisher and Al Pease, both of whom had raced back in the 1967 Canadian Grand Prix.
If it had not been for constant mechanical failures, US Grand Prix winner Jim Clark would have been right in the fight for the Championship but, the Scot would have to settle for third. Hulme and Brabham were both out of reach for Clark, and it was the former who had a five point advantage going into the season finale in Mexico. Elsewhere, Amon sat in fourth ahead of the final round, still yet to win, while Surtees completed the top five.
Brabham-Repco saw their insurmountable lead slightly dented after the US Grand Prix, but the Anglo-Aussie effort had already secured the Intercontinental Cup for Manufacturers title back in Canada. Lotus-Ford Cosworth were set for second, providing that they finished fifth or better in Mexico, with Cooper-Maserati set for third. Ferrari, Honda, BRM and Eagle-Weslake completed the factory efforts, before McLaren-BRM found themselves among the privateers.
The full entry list for the 1967 Mexican Grand Prix is outlined below:
- * Beltoise ran with a modified Formula Two car, with addition ballast, so was classified as an F1 entrant.
There would be an ample amount of practice ahead of the season finale, with the first session on Friday accounting for four hours of available running time. This was done to accommodate fuel mixture changes, with weaker mixes required to combat the reduced amount of air at high altitude, with the second four hour session on Saturday aimed at getting the true pace established. The final target time of the season would be a 1:53.18, as set by John Surtees as he took pole back in 1966.
A delayed start to the Friday session saw the teams take time to send their cars onto the circuit, with final prep work taking longer than expected at Team Lotus, where an engine change was required for Moisés Solana. Bruce McLaren therefore had an empty track when he began the running a few minutes after the session opened to test the fresh BRM V12 in the back of his car. Eventually, Brabham-Repco released their two title pretenders alongside the two familiar Lotuses of Jim Clark and Graham Hill, although all would be in after only a couple of laps for fuel mixture adjustments.
After a few false starts it was Clark who finally set the ball rolling time wise, the Scot's first serious attempt levelling the lap record, before ending his first run with a sub-1:51.0. Brabham also began to push early on to get within a second of the Scot, before the running was put on a de facto hiatus as the annual report of stray dogs on the circuit came through. Mike Spence was the first to report an incident, stating their were two roaming around the back of the circuit, just as Jean-Pierre Beltoise went bouncing across the grass in front of the pits having avoided a third stray on the main straight.
Once the dogs were removed, the proper running began once again, with Clark and Hulme going to battle to try and set the fastest time of the day. Hulme was the first to dip under the 1:50.0 mark before Clark responded with a 1:49.80, only for the New Zealander to find a hundredth on the Scot to retake provisional pole. The times, however, were tumbling across the board as the temperatures began to fall, and a last gasp lap from Clark saw him end the session with a stunning lap of 1:48.97.
Saturday was far cooler, with Jonathan Williams and Pedro Rodríguez the first to get out onto the circuit, although it was not long before Williams was in with damage to a radiator. The Brit had smacked into a marker tyre while trying to get to grips with his new car, and after missing a whole days running on Friday, Williams looked set for another day on the sidelines. The other Ferrari of Chris Amon stopped out on circuit with a fuel leak, while Honda and Brabham-Repco had modified the radiators of their cars to cool the cars.
Times did not improve until the final hour, and it was only when Brabham and Hulme got below theirs times from Friday that the serious running really started. Team Lotus immediately scrambled Graham Hill and Clark to try and retake the initiative, and it was the Scot who put together the most impressive display. A series of quick laps saw the Scot take pole with a 1:47.56, despite an issue at the hairpin, and many suspected his following lap would have been in the 1:46.0s had he not lifted off at the exit of the Peraltada to deny Brabham a good slipstream.
Clark would not bother with the final ten minutes of the session, with Hill doing all he could to try and match his teammate. The best he could do was get just outside a second, with Amon and Gurney getting in between the two Lotuses, the former the only man within half a second of the Scot. Brabham bested Hulme with a late blast to form the third row, as the final grid of the season also saw Jean-Pierre Beltoise beat a fair number of proper Grand Prix cars in his modified Matra.
The full qualifying results for the 1967 Mexican Grand Prix are outlined below:
|1||5||Jim Clark||Lotus-Ford Cosworth||1:48.97||1:47.56||—|
|4||6||Graham Hill||Lotus-Ford Cosworth||1:50.63||1:48.74||+1.18s|
|9||18||Moisés Solana||Lotus-Ford Cosworth||1:52.82||1:50.52||+3.96s|
|14||22||Jean-Pierre Beltoise||Matra-Ford Cosworth||1:54.09||1:53.08||+5.52s|
|16||12||Jonathan Williams||Ferrari||No Time||1:54.80||+7.24s|
|WD||4||Jochen Rindt||Cooper-Maserati||Start money|
- * Fisher would not take the start of the race as he had a broken fuel injector.
A hectic night turned into a chaotic morning for most of the teams as temperatures soared over the course of race morning, with mechanics cutting holes in bodywork to promote more airflow. Team Lotus, meanwhile, had had to repair a number of cracks in the monocoque of Jim Clark's car, the oldest of the three 49s, although the pole sitter would join the rest of the eighteen starters for the 2:30pm. After a parade and warmup lap, the cars were assembled on the dummy grid, before rolling forward onto the proper grid for the start.
The starter waved two flags to signal the start, combining both the national flag and a green flag, causing some confusion among the drivers. One of those was the pole sitter Clark, who hesitated for just a fraction of a second, and suddenly found the back of his car getting reshaped. Dan Gurney had reacted quickest to the flag waving and jumped onto the throttle, only to hit the exhausts of a slow starting Scot, leading a set of bent exhausts on the Lotus, and a split radiator for the Eagle.
The rest of the starters were left to flood around a limping Gurney, who threw his hand straight into the air to signal that he had a problem. Chris Amon was left to take the lead away from the grid, although Graham Hill would draft past him into the first corner to take the lead. It was status quo for the rest of the field behind Clark, who got into third, while Gurney limped to the pits with water pouring from the front of his car to retire.
The second lap would see Clark prove that his hesitant start was just a mistake, as the Scot pulled a clean move on teammate Hill to take second. Unfortunately, just as Clark got his car slotted in front of the Englishman, the clutch of the #5 Lotus disappeared, leaving the Scot to battle without it for the rest of the race. Yet, it appeared to only be a minor problem for Clark, with the only noticeable loss of time coming at the first corner, where the Scot only tried to change gear at the entrance of the turn two chicane.
Elsewhere, Bruce McLaren was punished for his good start by being overtaken by Denny Hulme and John Surtees, the former attempting to get back on terms with teammate Jack Brabham. It was the Honda of Surtees that kept the two Antipodean title pretenders apart, with Hulme close enough to remain in charge of the World Championship battle without the need to challenge the Englishman. Gurney, meanwhile, decided to keep going at the end of the first lap and passed Guy Ligier, although it would only take a couple more laps for the Eagle-Weslake to expire without any water.
The opening stages saw Clark and Hill both streak past Amon with relative ease, before the Scot pushed on to build a lead over his teammate. At the back of the field, Mike Spence claimed a position from Pedro Rodríguez, while Chris Irwin lost a position to Jean-Pierre Beltoise as his BRM began to smoke badly. Yet, the Englishman would end the lap in the same position as he had started, as Beltoise dragged Irwin past a struggling Jo Bonnier in his rather beaten up Cooper-Maserati.
Moisés Solana was putting together a rather competent performance, putting together a good start to get into the top five, leaving the Mexican racer in between the two Brabham-Repcos. Those three, combined with Surtees who had lost out to Hulme, were part of a quartet hunting down Amon, who was slowly being cut adrift from Hill, but able to stay ahead of the group. Yet, this group was itself slowly drifting apart, and when Hulme finally managed to elbow Solana out of the way, the New Zealander was six seconds off the back of his teammate.
Sadly, Solana's race was run after that, as the Mexican stopped when his suspension collapsed through the flatout Esses a lap after Hulme went through. Jackie Stewart, meanwhile, was having trouble in the newest BRM, with the Scot losing out to the debuting Jonathan Williams and Beltoise. This, however, went unnoticed for Hill had stopped at the front of the field, the Englishman coming into the pits with a silent Cosworth engine after a driveshaft had failed.
For much of the race, the order was fairly stable with the only changes coming courtesy of retirements for Irwin and McLaren. The only on track entertainment was being produced by the inexperienced Williams and F2 powered Beltoise, with the lightweight Matra really harassing the V12 Ferrari through the corners, until the horsepower advantage kicked in and propelled the Brit down the straights. Elsewhere, a tiring Rodriguez was passed by Spence, the former having just avoided killing two spectators who had taken after the stray dogs of Mexico City and suddenly decided to wander across an active race track.
Into the closing stages, and Clark set a new lap record at 1:48.13, just as Jo Siffert began to suffer with an ultimately terminal engine problem. Then, Amon disappeared without any fuel, leaving the New Zealander to sit at the hairpin and watch as a guaranteed second place once again dematerialised in front of his eyes. That was, until Amon suddenly heard the fuel pump begin to pick up fuel again, allowing him to scramble back into the cockpit and continue, two laps after he had stopped.
Amon rejoined the action on the final lap and crossed the line fifth, some distance behind race winner Clark, who equalled Juan Manuel Fangio's record of 24 race victories. Second went to a relatively happy Brabham, the only man on the lead lap, but it would not be enough to secure him a fourth World title, as Hulme claimed third. The New Zealander became the 1967 Formula One World Champion by five points, a feat that also meant he became the tenth Champion, and the first from the small group of South Pacific islands.
Surtees claimed fourth ahead of Amon, while Spence bested Rodriguez to sixth, with Beltoise, Williams, Bonnier and Ligier all completing the race. After the race, the timekeepers decided to exclude Amon's last lap as they felt it had taken too long to effectively be recorded, dumping him down from fifth to ninth. Spence was therefore promoted to fifth, while Rodriguez completed a semi-successful return with a point, as the party got underway at Brabham-Repco as they celebrated their new World Champion.
The full results for the 1967 Mexican Grand Prix are outlined below:
|1||5||Jim Clark||Lotus-Ford Cosworth||65||1:59:28.70||1||9|
|3||2||Denny Hulme||Brabham-Repco||64||+1 lap||6||4|
|4||3||John Surtees||Honda||64||+1 lap||7||3|
|5||8||Mike Spence||BRM||63||+2 laps||11||2|
|6||21||Pedro Rodríguez||Cooper-Maserati||63||+2 laps||13||1|
|7||22||Jean-Pierre Beltoise||Matra-Ford Cosworth||63||+2 laps||14|
|8||12||Jonathan Williams||Ferrari||63||+2 laps||16|
|9||9||Chris Amon||Ferrari||62||+3 laps||2|
|10||16||Jo Bonnier||Cooper-Maserati||61||+4 laps||17|
|11||19||Guy Ligier||Brabham-Repco||61||+4 laps||19|
|Ret||14||Bruce McLaren||McLaren-BRM||45||Oil pressure||8|
|Ret||17||Chris Irwin||BRM||33||Oil leak||15|
|Ret||6||Graham Hill||Lotus-Ford Cosworth||18||Joint||4|
|Ret||18||Moisés Solana||Lotus-Ford Cosworth||12||Suspension||9|
- Maiden Grand Prix entry for Jonathan Williams.
- Also the Brit's only start in the World Championship.
- Jo Siffert started his fiftieth Grand Prix.
- Fortieth pole position for a Lotus built car.
- Jim Clark earned his twenty fourth career win, leaving him level with Juan Manuel Fangio at the top of the all time wins list.
- Denny Hulme declared as World Champion for the first (and only) time.
- Hulme was also the first (and so far only) driver from New Zealand to win the title.
- The New Zealander was also the tenth different driver to win the World Championship.
- Also the first time since 1959 that two teammates had contested the final round with a chance at the title.
Had Team Lotus and Ford Cosworth produced a more reliable car, Jim Clark may well have broken Juan Manuel Fangio's record in 1967, as well as taken his third crown. Ultimately, the Scot's fourth win of the season saw him finish the year in third, ten points off of the newest man to join the list of World Champions. Denny Hulme officially became the first man from New Zealand to win the World Championship by finishing third, ending the season two points ahead of teammate Jack Brabham as he became F1's tenth World Champion.
The Intercontinental Cup for Manufacturers had already been sewn up back in the Canadian summer, with Brabham-Repco finally able to receive their crown. Again, had Team Lotus been more reliable the destination of that honour would perhaps have been different, as the Norfolk squad ended the year nineteen points off of the Anglo-Aussies, after dropped scores were applied. Cooper-Maserati ended the season in third ahead of Honda, who went ahead of Ferrari at the final hurdle, the Italian giants having failed to record victory in 1967.
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 'GRAND PRIX RESULTS: MEXICAN GP, 1967', grandprix.com, (Inside F1 Inc., 2016), http://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr161.html, (Accessed 26/08/2016)
- ↑ 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 M.J.T., 'SIXTH GRAND PRIX OF MEXICO: Clark all the way', motorsportmagazine.com, (MotorSport Magazine, 01/12/1967), http://www.motorsportmagazine.com/archive/article/december-1967/34/sixth-grand-prix-mexico, (Accessed 27/08/2016)
- ↑ 'Mexico 1967: Entrants', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1967/mexique/engages.aspx, (Accessed 23/08/2016)
- ↑ 'Mexico 1967: Qualifications', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1967/mexique/qualification.aspx, (Accessed 27/08/2016)
- ↑ 'Mexico 1967: Result', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1967/mexique/classement.aspx, (Accessed 27/08/2016)
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