(LEFT) Rudolf Caracciola
was the favored Mercedes
driver in a successful, but
political 1937 season.
ingested grit from a blower that sucked.
In 1978, Lotus engineered a huge
performance leap via its harnessing of
ground effect. That same pioneering spirit,
however, caused it to overreach in ’ 79.
The spoils in 1923 and ’ 79 were won
by a rival’s “homage,” that is to say a more
resolved facsimile of what had gone before.
Technical advantages can be difficult
to manage and are often short lived.
Ditto personnel advantages. Success and
loyalty are uncomfortable bedfellows in
F1, being very easily disturbed by
financial and political considerations.
Jim Clark’s Lotus and Jackie Stewart’s
GREATNESS WOULD HAVE TO WAIT...
(ABOVE) Neil Oatley and Ross Brawn are among the Team Haas (USA) tech
guys mulling over last-row qualifier Alan Jones at the 1985 Italian GP.
Both would move on to hugely successful F1 careers, with Brawn’s technical
director’s résumé including seven championships with Michael Schumacher.
“Winning in Formula 1 is a
moving target, always much
easier to miss than to hit”
and Cosworth, a much bigger and less
flexible company than when genius Keith
Duckworth designed its game-changing
DFV V8 in the 1960s, underestimated the
pace of F1’s turbocharged arms race.
Using a stop-gap engine from Hart, the
team arrived late and off the pace in 1985.
In ’ 86, with the Ford V6 now installed, it
scored just six points before a boardroom
coup and an aggressive leveraged buyout
of Beatrice – at the time the largest in
history – caused the plug to be pulled.
To be honest, it was a blessing.
But even successful, well-established
teams have shot themselves in the foot.
Fiat, whose small, neat and nimble
design set the template for the 1920s,
introduced supercharging to GP racing
in 1923. Whereupon its boast that it “did
not copy, it taught after having created”
fell on stony ground when its engine
OPTIMUM ACES IN A TEAM? ONE...
(LEFT) Colin Chapman’s decision to concentrate
on his undisputed number one driver, Jim Clark,
paid off in spades in 1963. Clark took his Lotus
25-Climax to seven wins from 10 grands prix,
securing the title in Monza with three races to
go. (FAR LEFT) The DFV-powered Lotus 49 was
the class of the field in 1967. But Chapman’s
signing of Graham Hill, a genuine threat to
Clark’s top-dog status, diluted the focus. Clark
finished third in the final points, behind the
near-bulletproof, but nowhere near as quick
Brabhams of Denny Hulme and Jack Brabham.