With the introduction of the 3 litre / 183 cui Formula One regulations in 1966 Ferrari not only found themselves unprepared they were also desperately underfunded in part due to Enzo’s withdrawal from a deal with Ford and in part because Ferrari had to spend a lot of money on his sports car programme to try in vane to stop a Ford steamroller from whipping him off the Le Mans scoreboard.
In order to maintain a presence in Formula One under the new 3 litre rules a 24 valve 3.3 litre 201 cui V12 design from the Ferrari 275P2 sports car programme was modified to the meet lower 3 litre / 183 cui engine capacity regulations and installed into the first of a long line of Grand Prix Ferrari’s designed by Mauro Forghieri.
Despite the heavy old sports car engine in the back Ferrari were one of the few teams to have an engine of the correct size when the 1966 season got under way many teams were giving away between 45 cui and 90 cui in engine capacity just to make the grid.
1964 World Champion John Surtees started and 1966 as Ferrari’s team leader but he fell out with Ferrari’s management after winning the Belgian Grand Prix and before starting the Le Mans 24 hours, however Ferrari still finished the season a respectable 2nd in the Constructors Championship thanks to a win in Italy and a couple of second place finishes, beating John Surtees new Cooper Maserati team by a single point despite missing a couple of races.
For 1967 the 1966 cars were improved and chassis 0007, seen here recently at the Donington Grand Prix collection, was the last of 4 new Grand Prix cars Ferrari built in 1967, Chris Amon was hired to drive alongside Lorenzo Bandini, at Monaco Bandini qualified 2nd but an fiery accident during the race proved fatal and Chris Amon could only manage a string of four seasons best 3rd place finishes on the way to fifth in the championship for himself and his team, before taking over chassis #0007 towards the end of the season.
In 1968 0007 was used again by Chris Amon and he won pole positions in Belgium and Holland with it but the season was a disaster for the driver who only succeeded in cementing his reputation as the unluckiest driver in Grand Prix racing with a seasons best 2nd place finish, in a newer ’68 spec 312, and a string of 7 retirements from 11 starts.
1966 Le Mans winner, with Bruce McLaren in a Ford, Chris Amon never did win a Grand Prix despite starting 5 of his 108 Grand Prix from pole position, he has always maintained that he was lucky simply to have survived what is generally considered to have been the most dangerous period in racing, a point starkly backed up by the stat that 8 of the 24 starters in the 1963 Belgian Grand Prix where Chris made his debut did not see out the decade thanks to accidents at the wheel of racing cars.
The last person to drive 0007 in period was future sports car giant Derek Bell who started the non Championship Gold Cup and championship United States Grand Prix in this chassis but did not finish either event.
Thanks for joining me on the ‘On Luck’ edition of ‘Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres’, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !