29th November 2012

UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX

BROOKS ENDS THE SEASON ON TOP

CONFIRMING THE EXCELLENT PERFORMANCE OF THE 1960 FERRARI, TONY BROOKS WON HIS SECOND RACE IN SUCCESSION WITH A CONTROLLED BUT DOMINANT FLAG TO FLAG VICTORY IN THE FINAL RACE OF THE 1959 SEASON.

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ENTRY

The entry for the final round of the 1959 World Championsip and the last race of the season looked rather different from the standard group of cars that have contested most of the season's races. Gone were the Aston Martin team and the B.R.Ms; there was no Cooper for Masten Gregory, just two for Brabham and McLaren. Graham Hill has left Lotus for B.R.M so the second works Sixteen would be driven by Alan Stacey.

Ferrari brought four cars; one 1960 car for Brooks, fresh from his Monza victory in this car, plus Cliff Allison, Phil Hill and Wolfgang von Trips all in 1959 cars with Hill's being repainted blue with a white nose in a rather inaccurate attempt to honour the American by using the U.S. racing colous - which they weren't! Rob Walker brought the usual two T.51 Coopers for Moss and Trintignant while Roy Salvadori was present with Tommy Atkins' Maserati-powered T.45 Cooper.

The remainder of the seventeen car entry was a strange, motley group of vehicles. Admittedly Harry Schell and George Constantine had ordinary Coopers, Schell's a T.51 while George's was a T.45, but the other four were all unusual. Brazilian Fritz d'Orey arrived to drive the odd-looking Tec Mec following its unsuccessful debut at Monza; Harry Blanchard brought a cental-seat Porsche RSK sports car; Bob Said had rustled up a 1957 C-type Connaught from somewhere and Argentine Alessandro de Tomaso had a Cooper T.43 in Argentine colours, but powered by an OSCA engine. In the case of these last four, one had to admire their optimism.

PRACTICE

As the three practice session came and went, every car went progressively quicker and by a considerable margin but none of this troubled Tony Brooks who was much quicker than anyone else in the first two practice periods. Surprisingly it was Roy Salvadori who took second place in both these sessions, ahead of McLaren in session 1 and Brabham in session 2. However, in the final, fastest session, Brooks was able to retain top spot but not by anything like as much as he had earlier and found himself just able to pip his American team-mate for pole position, with the Cooper twins ending up in 3rd and 4th places with McLaren ahead of Brabham this time.

Less than a second covered these four but Salvadori, who had slipped to 5th fastest was over two seconds slower than Brooks but it must be remembered that Sebring is a long circuit with a three minute lap time, so Roy's effort was very commendable. Von Trips, Trintignant and Stacey made up row three of the grid with the latter two out-qualifying their more illustrious team-mates, who ended up sharing row four. Once again, Stirling Moss was finding the handling of his Cooper to be well off what it should be. There was a thought that he might swap cars with Maurice but given that the Championship was settled in Brabham's favour at Monza, he decided to stick with what he had as it was quicker in a straight line. Maybe an option would have been to put his engine in the other chassis but at this stage in the season it did not seem worth it.

Allison complained that his engine felt as though it was about to seize but as there was no spare he had to soldier on. D'Orey had the Tec Mec going very well and he was ahead of all the odds and sods at the bottom end of the grid, including Harry Schell who expected to be in amongst the regular runners, but wasn't. Blanchard was going very well in the little Porsche, while at the back the Connaught was quicker than the OSCA-powered Cooper, both being almost a quarter of a minute behind Brooks' pole time.

HERE IS THE FULL GRID ORDER FOR THE 42 LAP RACE:

   1.
2
T. BROOKS FERRARI Dino 246
3.00'01
   2.
5
P. HILL FERRARI Dino 246
3.00'33
   3.
9
B. MCLAREN COOPER CLIMAX T.51
3.00'49
   4.
8
J. BRABHAM COOPER CLIMAX T.51
3.00'98
   5.
12
R. SALVADORI COOPER MASERATI T.45
3.02'11
   6.
4
W. von TRIPS FERRARI Dino 246
3.02'43
   7.
6
M. TRINTIGNANT COOPER CLIMAX T.51
3.03'40
   8.
11
A. STACEY LOTUS CLIMAX 16
3.04'21
   9.
10
I. IRELAND LOTUS CLIMAX 16
3.05'02
 10.
7
S. MOSS COOPER CLIMAX T.51
3.05'18
 11.
3
C. ALLISON FERRARI Dino 246
3.05'21
 12.
15
F. d'OREY TEC MEC MASERATI
3.07'45
 13.
19
H. SCHELL COOPER CLIMAX T.51
3.08'42
 14.
17
H. BLANCHARD PORSCHE RSK
3.09'13
 15.
16
G. CONSTANTINE COOPER CLIMAX T.45
3.12'14
 16.
18
B. SAID CONNAUGHT C-type
3.13'01
 17.
14
A. de TOMASO COOPER OSCA T.43
3.14'56

THE RACE

Tony Brooks must have wished that Ferrari had introduced their 1960 car a little earlier in 1959 than they actually did. The ease with which the slim Englishman was able to control and ultimately win the first United States Grand Prix was a joy to behold for Ferrari fans. Ten laps into the race the lead was 10 seconds and thereafter, Brooks kept the rest of the field at bay without ever appearing to be hurrying. Stirling Moss made a meteoric start from row 4 and held second place for the first 8 laps but then the handling gremlins began to reappear and the blue Cooper started to slip back, so badly that by lap 15 he was down in 5th place where he remained through to the end. His place as chief chaser behind Brooks was taken by Bruce McLaren, who drove a beautiful race into second, 26 seconds behind the Ferrari. Once Moss had been passed by McLaren, then Phil Hill and Jack Brabham, the top five remained virtually unchanged for the rest of the race. The only other change was Brabham passing Hill on lap 15.

Allison's Ferrari seized it's tight engine on lap 2 while his team-mate von Trips, running in a steady 6th place, lost a wheel 0n lap 31, leaving just two Ferraris in the race. Salvadori led Stacey for almost the entire race but the Lotus driver passed the Cooper when Salvadori's gearbox began to fail towards the end allowing Stacey the opportunity to slip by into 6th place. Innes Ireland never really got going and retired his Lotus quite early, which left d'Orey in the unique Tec Mec to finish an excellent 8th ahead of the remaining local entries which finished in the order Blanchard, Constantine and Said. Schell and Trintignant both failed to finish in their Coopers, as did de Tomaso in the OSCA-powered car.

HERE IS THE RESULT OF THE THE 42 LAP RACE:

   1.
2
T. BROOKS FERRARI Dino 246
2. 05. 55'87
   2.
9
B. MCLAREN COOPER CLIMAX T.51
2. 07. 02'90
   3.
8
J. BRABHAM COOPER CLIMAX T.51
2. 07. 04'67
   4.
5
P. HILL FERRARI Dino 246
2. 07. 11'72
   5.
7
S. MOSS COOPER CLIMAX T.51
2. 07. 19'36
   6.
11
A. STACEY LOTUS CLIMAX 16
2. 07. 35'68
   7.
12
R. SALVADORI COOPER MASERATI T.45
71 laps
   8.
15
F. d'OREY TEC MEC MASERATI
71 laps
   9.
17
H. BLANCHARD PORSCHE RSK
71 laps
  10.
16
G. CONSTANTINE COOPER CLIMAX T.45
70 laps
  11.
18
B. SAID CONNAUGHT C-type
70 laps
Fastest lap:   T. BROOKS, FERRARI Dino 246,   on lap 17,   3.02'27

Retired:
10
M. GREGORY COOPER CLIMAX T.51
54 laps
16
M. TRINTIGNANT COOPER CLIMAX T.51
46 laps
    2 H. SCHELL B.R.M Type 25
43 laps
44
G. SCARLATTI TEC MEC MASERATI
33 laps
38
O. GENDEBIEN FERRARI Dino 246
27 laps
    4 R. FLOCKHART B.R.M Type 25
19 laps
18
G. HILL LOTUS CLIMAX 16
16 laps
24
R. SALVADORI ASTON MARTIN DBR4/250
12 laps
34
C. ALLISON FERRARI Dino 246
8 laps

SEBRING SURMISING

  • Brooks finished the season in 3rd place, 21 points behind Brabham. Had he got his hands on that Ferrari 3 races earlier, it could have been so different.
  • McLaren has had an excellent second half of the season - thoroughly justifying his place in a two-car Cooper team in 1960.
  • The Rob Walker team has announced that they plan to run one of the new Lotus 18s next season, rather than a Cooper.
  • Graham Hill has left Lotus and will join Jo Bonnier and ex-Ferrari driver Dan Gurney at B.R.M in 1960.
  • After a poorish run at Monza the Tec Mec ran smoothly and quite quickly at Sebring.
  • Harry Blanchard had a splendid race in the Porsche. The little sports car bodied car ran perfectly all day.
  • It seemed very strange to see a blue Ferrari and also a Grand Prix grid without B.R.Ms.
  • Next season we will see an American F.1 car for the first time - the Scarab.
  • The 1960 season will get under way with a World Championship race in Argentina. Watch this space.

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