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 The 1961 Italian Grand Prix was the penultimate round of the 1961 Formula One World Championship, held at Monza, home to Ferrari's passionate fans known as the tifosi. The race was expected to see the first of two battles for the title between drivers Phil Hill and Wolfgang von Trips, both of whom were running for the Italian manufacturer, themselves Constructors' Champions.[1]

Unfortunately, the title was decided in the most tragic of circumstances, as sixteen people were killed in an accident involving Jim Clark and von Trips.[1] Heading onto the Parabolica for the first time in the race, the Brit and the German made contact, throwing both across the circuit, with Clark skidding to a halt a few metres away.[1] For von Trips, however, the accident was infinitely more severe, as his car flew into the fencing at the edge of the circuit, before slamming into a group of spectators.[1] Fifteen people were killed by the flying Ferrari, while von Trips was catapulted from the car after it hit the fence, dying as he hit the ground.[1]

As von Trips became Formula One's latest casualty, Hill secured victory in the race and Championship, although his moment of glory was overshadowed by the tragedy.[1] The race had run without interruption despite the accident, and Ferrari had been running one-two-three-four until mechanical troubles affected the latter three cars.[1] That allowed Dan Gurney and Bruce McLaren to completed the podium on a day when von Trips became the first posthumous runner-up in F1 history.[1]

BackgroundEdit

Ahead of the weekend, the focus was, inevitably, on Ferrari after they secured the Constructors' Championship at the German Grand Prix a month earlier. Not only that, but both Hill and von Trips were in the title fight, with Hill needing to win both races to win the Championship to overcome his German team mate. Neither could be caught from the men behind them in the title hunt, although the Italian manufacturer still brought four factory backed cars to their home race.[1] Joining Hill and von Trips were American Richie Ginther (already an established factory driver for the team), and Mexican Ricardo Rodríguez, making his début for the Italian team.[1]

Elsewhere, engine builder Climax were set to unleash the latest update to their developmental V8 engine, handing their only functioning unit to outgoing Champion Jack Brabham in the lead Cooper.[1] Stirling Moss was to run his familiar Lotus 18 in the race, but problems in the opening stages of the weekend saw him swap with Innes Ireland in the factory backed team, meaning Moss would run the newer Lotus 21.[1]

Entry ListEdit

The full entry list for the 1961 Italian Grand Prix is outlined below:

No. Driver Entrant Constructor Chassis Engine Model Tyre
2 United States Phil Hill Italy Scuderia Ferrari SpA SEFAC Ferrari 156 Ferrari 178 V6 1.5 D
4 Germany Wolfgang von Trips Italy Scuderia Ferrari SpA SEFAC Ferrari 156 Ferrari 178 V6 1.5 D
6 United States Richie Ginther Italy Scuderia Ferrari SpA SEFAC Ferrari 156 Ferrari 178 V6 1.5 D
8 Mexico Ricardo Rodríguez Italy Scuderia Ferrari SpA SEFAC Ferrari 156 Ferrari 178 V6 1.5 D
10 Australia Jack Brabham United Kingdom Cooper Car Company Cooper T58 Climax FWMV V8 1.5 D
12 New Zealand Bruce McLaren United Kingdom Cooper Car Company Cooper T55 Climax FPF L4 1.5 D
14 United Kingdom Brian Naylor United Kingdom JBW Cars JBW 61 Climax FPF L4 1.5 D
16 United Kingdom Tim Parnell United Kingdom Privateer Lotus 18 Climax FPF L4 1.5 D
18 United Kingdom Gerry Ashmore United Kingdom Privateer Lotus 18 Climax FPF L4 1.5 D
20 United Kingdom Henry Taylor United Kingdom UDT Laystall Racing Team Lotus 18/21 Climax FPF L4 1.5 D
22 United States Masten Gregory United Kingdom UDT Laystall Racing Team Lotus 18/21 Climax FPF L4 1.5 D
24 United Kingdom Graham Hill United Kingdom Owen Racing Organisation BRM P48/57 Climax FPF L4 1.5 D
26 United Kingdom Tony Brooks United Kingdom Owen Racing Organisation BRM P48/57 Climax FPF L4 1.5 D
28 United Kingdom Stirling Moss United Kingdom R.R.C. Walker Racing Team Lotus 21 Climax FPF L4 1.5 D
30 United Kingdom Jack Fairman United Kingdom Privateer Cooper T45 Climax FPF L4 1.5 D
32 Italy Giancarlo Baghetti Italy Scuderia Sant Ambroeus Ferrari 156 Ferrari 178 V6 1.5 D
34 United States Alfonso Thiele Italy Scuderia Sant Ambroeus Cooper T45 Climax FPF L4 1.5 D
36 United Kingdom Jim Clark United Kingdom Team Lotus Lotus 21 Climax FPF L4 1.5 D
38 United Kingdom Innes Ireland United Kingdom Team Lotus Lotus 18/21 Climax FPF L4 1.5 D
40 United Kingdom Roy Salvadori United Kingdom Yeoman Credit Racing Team Cooper T53 Climax FPF L4 1.5 D
42 United Kingdom John Surtees United Kingdom Yeoman Credit Racing Team Cooper T53 Climax FPF L4 1.5 D
44 Sweden Jo Bonnier Germany Porsche System Engineering Porsche 718 Porsche 547/3 F4 1.5 D
46 United States Dan Gurney Germany Porsche System Engineering Porsche 718 Porsche 547/3 F4 1.5 D
46 Germany Edgar Barth Germany Porsche System Engineering Porsche 718 Porsche 547/3 F4 1.5 D
48 France Maurice Trintignant Italy Scuderia Serenissima Cooper T51 Maserati 6-1500 L4 1.5 D
50 Italy Nino Vaccarella Italy Scuderia Serenissima De Tomaso F1 Conrero Giulietta L4 1.5 D
52 Italy Roberto Lippi Italy Scuderia Settecolli De Tomaso F1 OSCA 372 L4 1.5 D
54 Italy Roberto Bussinello Italy Isobele de Tomaso De Tomaso F1 Conrero Giulietta L4 1.5 D
56 Germany Wolfgang Seidel Italy Scuderia Colonia Lotus 18 Climax FPF L4 1.5 D
58 Italy Renato Pirocchi Italy Pescara Racing Team Cooper T51 Maserati 6-1500 L4 1.5 D
58 Italy Massimo Natili Italy Scuderia Centro Sud Cooper T51 Maserati 6-1500 L4 1.5 D
60 United Kingdom Jackie Lewis United Kingdom Privateer Cooper T53 Climax FPF L4 1.5 D
62 Italy Lorenzo Bandini Italy Scuderia Centro Sud Cooper T53 Maserati 6-1500 L4 1.5 D
64 Italy Ernesto Prinoth Italy Scuderia Dolomiti Lotus 18 Climax FPF L4 1.5 D
66 Italy Mennato Boffa Italy Privateer Cooper T45 Climax FPF L4 1.5 D
68 Belgium André Pilette Belgium Equipe Nationale Belge Emeryson 61 Climax FPF L4 1.5 D
70 Switzerland Michael May Italy Scuderia Colonia Lotus 18 Climax FPF L4 1.5 D
72 Italy Gaetano Starrabba Italy Privateer Lotus 18 Maserati 6-1500 L4 1.5 D
74 Netherlands Carel Godin de Beaufort Netherlands Ecurie Maarsbergen Porsche 718 Porsche 547/3 L4 1.5 D

Practice OverviewEdit

QualifyingEdit

A dry couple of days before the race weekend played host to the combined practice and qualifying sessions, with warm temperatures sweeping the circuit too.[2] The sessions also saw the major British manufacturers compete, despite concerns of a repeat of their protest in 1960 over the use of the banking.[2]

ReportEdit

Evident immediately was that the sheer power of the Ferrari 1.5 litre V6 engine was enough to give the tifosi the pole position they desired for their favoured red coloured cars.[2] Wolfgang von Trips, Championship leader, claimed pole ahead of the débuting Ricardo Rodríguez, with Richie Ginther and Phil Hill completing the second row and a Ferrari quartet at the front of the field.[1] The fifth race-ready Ferrari in the hands of Giancarlo Baghetti sat in sixth, using an older specification engine.[2]

Climax, meanwhile, had brought their V8 engine to Monza, and although Jack Brabham was given priority to use it in the race, other V8s were used by several of the British teams.[2] Graham Hill was one of those, putting his BRM into fifth with the new engine, ahead of Jim Clark, the first of the Team Lotus drivers in seventh.[2] The other users of the new engine were Stirling Moss, who ended the session in eleventh but would use the familiar L4 engine in a Lotus 21 for the race after swapping with Innes Ireland,  and Brabham who found himself in tenth.[2]

As expected, the back of the field was populated by the privateer entries from Italy and Europe, with Lorenzo Bandini bringing a substantial following to see him qualify in 21st.[2] Otherwise, 32 drivers qualified for the race, André Pilette the only man to fail to qualify after setting a time, with four other withdrawals.[1]

Qualifying ResultsEdit

The full qualifying results for the 1961 Italian Grand Prix are outlined below:

Pos. No. Driver Constructor Time[3] Gap
1 4 Germany Wolfgang von Trips Ferrari 2:46.3
2 8 Mexico Ricardo Rodríguez Ferrari 2:46.4 +0.1s
3 6 United States Richie Ginther Ferrari 2:46.8 +0.5s
4 2 United States Phil Hill Ferrari 2:47.2 +0.9s
5 24 United Kingdom Graham Hill BRM-Climax 2:48.7 +2.4s
6 32 Italy Giancarlo Baghetti Ferrari 2:49.0 +2.7s
7 36 United Kingdom Jim Clark Lotus-Climax 2:49.2 +2.9s
8 44 Sweden Jo Bonnier Porsche 2:49.6 +3.3s
9 38 United Kingdom Innes Ireland Lotus-Climax 2:50.3 +4.0s
10 10 Australia Jack Brabham Cooper-Climax 2:51.6 +5.3s
11 28 United Kingdom Stirling Moss Lotus-Climax 2:51.8 +5.5s
12 46 United States Dan Gurney Porsche 2:52.0 +5.7s
13 26 United Kingdom Tony Brooks BRM-Climax 2:52.2 +5.9s
14 12 New Zealand Bruce McLaren Cooper-Climax 2:53.4 +7.1s
15 74 Netherlands Carel Godin de Beaufort Porsche 2:53.8 +7.5s
16 60 United Kingdom Jackie Lewis Cooper-Climax 2:54.0 +7.7s
17 22 United States Masten Gregory Lotus-Climax 2:55.2 +8.9s
18 40 United Kingdom Roy Salvadori Cooper-Climax 2:55.2 +8.9s
19 42 United Kingdom John Surtees Cooper-Climax 2:55.6 +9.3s
20 50 Italy Nino Vaccarella De Tomaso-Conrero 2:56.0 +9.7s
21 62 Italy Lorenzo Bandini Cooper-Maserati 2:57.7 +11.4s
22 48 France Maurice Trintignant Cooper-Maserati 2:58.7 +12.4s
23 20 United Kingdom Henry Taylor Lotus-Climax 3:00.6 +14.3s
24 54 Italy Roberto Bussinello De Tomaso-Conrero 3:01.7 +15.4s
25 18 United Kingdom Gerry Ashmore Lotus-Climax 3:03.0 +16.7s
26 30 United Kingdom Jack Fairman Cooper-Climax 3:04.8 +18.5s
27 16 United Kingdom Tim Parnell Lotus-Climax 3:05.7 +19.4s
28 56 Germany Wolfgang Seidel Lotus-Climax 3:06.0 +19.7s
29 58 Italy Renato Pirocchi Cooper-Maserati 3:06.5 +20.2s
30 72 Italy Gaetano Starrabba Lotus-Maserati 3:07.9 +21.6s
31 14 United Kingdom Brian Naylor JBW-Climax 3:08.1 +21.8s
32 52 Italy Roberto Lippi De Tomaso-OSCA 3:08.9 +22.6s
DNQ 68 Belgium André Pilette Emeryson-Climax 3:11.6 +25.3s
DNS 46 Germany Edgar Barth Porsche Practice only
DNS 58 Italy Massimo Natili Cooper-Maserati Driven by Pirocchi
WD 34 United States Alfonso Thiele Cooper-Climax Withdrawn
WD 64 Italy Ernesto Prinoth Lotus-Climax Withdrawn
WD 66 Italy Mennato Boffa Cooper-Climax Withdrawn
WD 70 Switzerland Michael May Lotus-Climax Withdrawn

GridEdit

Pos Pos
Driver Driver
______________
Row 1 1 ______________
Wolfgang von Trips 2
______________ Ricardo Rodríguez
Row 2 3 ______________
Richie Ginther 4
______________ Phil Hill
Row 3 5 ______________
Graham Hill 6
______________ Giancarlo Baghetti
Row 4 7 ______________
Jim Clark 8
______________ Jo Bonnier
Row 5 9 ______________
Innes Ireland 10
______________ Jack Brabham
Row 6 11 ______________
Stirling Moss 12
______________ Dan Gurney
Row 7 13 ______________
Tony Brooks 14
______________ Bruce McLaren
Row 8 15 ______________
Carel Godin de Beaufort 16
______________ Jackie Lewis
Row 9 17 ______________
Masten Gregory 18
______________ Roy Salvadori
Row 10 19 ______________
John Surtees 20
______________ Nino Vaccarella
Row 11 21 ______________
Lorenzo Bandini 22
______________ Maurice Trintignant
Row 12 23 ______________
Henry Taylor 24
______________ Roberto Bussinello
Row 13 25 ______________
Gerry Ashmore 26
______________ Jack Fairman
Row 14 27 ______________
Tim Parnell 28
______________ Wolfgang Seidel
Row 15 29 ______________
Renato Pirocchi 30
______________ Gaetano Starrabba
Row 16 31 ______________
Brian Naylor 32
______________ Roberto Lippi

RaceEdit

Sunday was another warm and bright day in Italy, with the cars being pushed from the pits to their grid positions across the wide start/finish straight that included the run into the banked section later in the lap.[2] There were also a number of famous faces on the grid, including Brooklands lap record holder Lord Howe, while there were discussions between the drivers as usual.[2] There was little doubt that a Ferrari would win the race, the question was which one.[2]

ReportEdit

The Ferrari's secret to their Monza speed was to use high gear ratios, which meant that they were slow, and difficult, to get off the line.[2] This proved to be significant as Graham Hill and Jim Clark pushed into the quartet of scarlet cars, with their order in complete reverse of their grid slots.[2] Phil Hill and Richie Ginther now led the race, the title contender ahead, while Ricardo Rodríguez, the youngest ever front row starter, ran in third, as Wolfgang von Trips fell to fifth behind Clark.[1]

The frantic first lap saw the Ferraris swap places amongst themselves as Clark defended from von Trips for fourth.[1] They continued to battle through the second lap, until a fateful accident that would resinate in F1 history. With the pair coming down the back straight to the banked bend that served as the final corner, von Trips pulled alongside Clark, before moving across the Lotus.[2] Clark's front right wheel rubbed against the rear left of the German's car, throwing both into slides, with Clark carried to the inside of the circuit and out.[1]

For von Trips, however, the slide proved fatal, as his car carried him across the circuit and into the fencing that protected the spectators.[2] The Ferrari flattened the fence, simultaneously catapulting the German from the car, while careening into the spectators behind, killing fourteen of them.[2] The accident was also fatal for von Trips, with the German killed when he hit the ground.[2] Clark, meanwhile, was shaken but unharmed.

The huge accident did not bring a stop to the race, with Phil Hill building a small gap to his team mates Rodriguez and Ginther, while Giancarlo Baghetti recovered from his poor start in the "privateer" Ferrari to make it a quartet of scarlet cars at the front.[2] Jack Brabham had also been busy, climbing to fifth ahead of Graham Hill, as the order swapped every time the cars made their way along Monza's long, wide straights.[2]

The following laps saw Jo Bonnier and John Surtees collide, with the Swede's Porsche put out of the race with damage, while Stirling Moss moved ever higher in the order.[2] By this stage there was no news of the tragedy emerging at the back of the circuit, as the Ferrari quartet pulled clear of the rest of the field bar Brabham, whose V8 Climax engine was able to keep pace.[2] It was not to last, however, as the Australian pulled the car in after eight laps with an overheating issue, leaving Ferrari untroubled at the front.[2]

An all Ferrari podium seemed an inevitability from that moment on, until the "Sharknose" revealed it's fatal weakness to leave Phil Hill as their sole runner.[2] Rodriguez and Baghetti were the first to fall, both out with engine failure on lap thirteen, with Ginther surviving another ten laps before his engine blew as well.[2] Hill now led by twenty seconds, nursing his engine as best he could, while Dan Gurney and Moss battled away for second.[2]

Moss and Gurney continued to battle until the closing stages, when the Brit's wheel bearings failed, leaving Gurney in a lonely second, while Bruce McLaren's quiet race saw him promoted to the podium.[2] The top three was now settled, although there was still interest in the points positions, as Jackie Lewis, in a privately entered Cooper, went to battle with Tony Brooks for BRM.[2] Lewis was defending resolutely in the final stages, and just held off Brooks for fourth, with Roy Salvadori a lap down in sixth.[2]

Shortly before the trophy presentation the drivers were informed of the death of their colleague von Trips and the fourteen spectators, meaning a subdued podium.[1] It also meant that Hill had won the Championship by a single point, although his greatest achievement would always be tinged by the death of his rival, team mate and friend.

ResultsEdit

The full results for the 1961 Italian Grand Prix are outlined below:

Pos. No. Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 2 United States Phil Hill Ferrari 43 2:03:13.0 4 9
2 46 United States Dan Gurney Porsche 43 +31.2s 12 6
3 12 New Zealand Bruce McLaren Cooper-Climax 43 +2:28.4s 14 4
4 60 United Kingdom Jackie Lewis Cooper-Climax 43 +2:40.4s 16 3
5 26 United Kingdom Tony Brooks BRM-Climax 43 +2:40.5s 13 2
6 40 United Kingdom Roy Salvadori Cooper-Climax 42 +1 lap 18 1
7 74 Netherlands Carel Godin de Beaufort Porsche 41 +2 laps 15
8 62 Italy Lorenzo Bandini Cooper-Maserati 41 +2 laps 21
9 48 France Maurice Trintignant Cooper-Maserati 41 +2 laps 22
10 16 United Kingdom Tim Parnell Lotus-Climax 40 +3 laps 27
11 20 United Kingdom Henry Taylor Lotus-Climax 39 +4 laps 23
12 58 Italy Renato Pirocchi Cooper-Maserati 38 +5 laps 29
Ret 28 United Kingdom Stirling Moss Lotus-Climax 36 Bearing 11
Ret 6 United States Richie Ginther Ferrari 23 Engine 3
Ret 72 Italy Gaetano Starrabba Lotus-Maserati 19 Engine 30
Ret 44 Sweden Jo Bonnier Porsche 14 Suspension 8
Ret 50 Italy Nino Vaccarella De Tomaso-Conrero 13 Engine 20
Ret 32 Italy Giancarlo Baghetti Ferrari 13 Engine 6
Ret 8 Mexico Ricardo Rodríguez Ferrari 13 Fuel Pump 2
Ret 22 United States Masten Gregory Lotus-Climax 11 Suspension 17
Ret 24 United Kingdom Graham Hill BRM-Climax 10 Engine 5
Ret 10 Australia Jack Brabham Cooper-Climax 8 Overheating 10
Ret 14 United Kingdom Brian Naylor JBW-Climax 6 Engine 31
Ret 30 United Kingdom Jack Fairman Cooper-Climax 5 Engine 26
Ret 38 United Kingdom Innes Ireland Lotus-Climax 5 Handling 9
Ret 42 United Kingdom John Surtees Cooper-Climax 2 Accident 19
Ret 56 West Germany Wolfgang Seidel Lotus-Climax 1 Engine 28
Ret 54 Italy Roberto Bussinello De Tomaso-Conrero 1 Engine 24
Ret 52 Italy Roberto Lippi De Tomaso-OSCA 1 Engine 32
Ret 36 United Kingdom Jim Clark Lotus-Climax 1 Accident 7
Ret 4 West Germany Wolfgang von Trips Ferrari 1 Accident 1
Ret 18 United Kingdom Gerry Ashmore Lotus-Climax 0 Accident 25
DNQ 68 Belgium André Pilette Emeryson-Climax
DNS 46 West Germany Edgar Barth Porsche
DNS 58 Italy Massimo Natili Cooper-Maserati
WD 34 United States Alfonso Thiele Cooper-Climax
WD 64 Italy Ernesto Prinoth Lotus-Climax
WD 66 Italy Mennato Boffa Cooper-Climax
WD 70 Switzerland Michael May Lotus-Climax

MilestonesEdit

  • Début for Pedro Rodríguez who became the youngest ever starter in Championship history, aged 19 years and 208 days.
  • Third and final win for Phil Hill.
    • Hill became the first American World Champion.
    • Wolfgang von Trips became the first man to be awarded the runner-up spot in the Championship posthumously.
  • First and only points finish for Jackie Lewis.
  • Final race to be held using the banked circuit at Monza.

StandingsEdit

With the death of Wolfgang von Trips hanging over the circuit, Phil Hill was declared the 1961 Formula One World Champion, beating von Trips by a solitary point after dropped scores were counted. Stirling Moss remained in third, a similar fate for Richie Ginther whom held onto fourth, while a podium for Dan Gurney saw him became the third America racer in the top five. Jim Clark was the man to make way for him, the Scot visibly shaken by his involvement in von Trips' demise, despite it being a freak accident.

Ferrari had already been declared Constructors' Champions before the race, and with Porsche needing to win the season finale in the United States without a single Lotus-Climax scoring, it seemed that the latter was set to finish the season in second. Cooper-Climax were enduring an awful season given they had won the previous two Championships, set to end the season in fourth, leaving BRM as the only other scorers.

Drivers' World Championship
Pos. Driver Pts +/-
1 United States Phil Hill 34 ▲1
2 West GermanyWolfgang von Trips 33 ▼1
3 United Kingdom Stirling Moss 21
4 United States Richie Ginther 16
5 United States Dan Gurney 15 ▲2
6 United Kingdom Jim Clark 11 ▼1
7 Italy Giancarlo Baghetti 9 ▼1
8 New Zealand Bruce McLaren 8 ▲2
9 Australia Jack Brabham 4 ▼1
10 United Kingdom John Surtees 4 ▼1
11 United Kingdom Jackie Lewis 3 ▲4
12 United Kingdom Innes Ireland 3 ▼1
13 Belgium Olivier Gendebien 3 ▼1
14 United Kingdom Tony Brooks 2 ▲2
15 Sweden Jo Bonnier 2 ▼2
16 United Kingdom Roy Salvadori 2 ▼2
17 United Kingdom Graham Hill 1 ▼2
Constructors' World Championship
Pos. Team Pts +/-
1 Italy Ferrari 40
2 United Kingdom Lotus-Climax 24
3 Germany Porsche 17
4 United Kingdom Cooper-Climax 13
5 United Kingdom BRM-Climax 3

ReferencesEdit

Images:

References:
  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 'GRAND PRIX RESULTS: ITALIAN GP, 1961', grandprix.com, (Inside F1 Inc., 2016), http://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr101.html, (Accessed 13/01/2016)
  2. 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 1958misterLotus1994, 'Italian G.P.(1961)Monza(race day)', youtube.com, (YouTube, 09/06/2011), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hbk3813WPZg, (Accessed 13/01/2016)
  3. '1961 Italian Grand Prix: Qualifying', statsf1.com, (StatsF1, 2015), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1961/italie/qualification.aspx, (Accessed 11/01/2016)
V T E Italy Italian Grand Prix
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