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The 1961 United States Grand Prix, officially known as the IV United States Grand Prix, was the final round of the 1961 Formula One Championship which saw Phil Hill declared as World Champion, despite not competing in the race.[1] The race itself was held at Watkins Glen, which would become the permanent home of the United States Grand Prix after the 1961 edition of the Grand Prix became the first in the US to generate a profit.[2]

The race also proved to be one of firsts on the circuit too, as Innes Ireland claimed his, and Team Lotus', first race victory, although Lotus built cars had won before.[1] Also on the podium was American racer Dan Gurney, one of only two men not using a Climax engine, while Tony Brooks ended his career with a third place finish.[1] The legendary driver Stirling Moss would also race for the final time at "the Glen", although the Brit would retire from the race while leading.[1]

BackgroundEdit

The tragic events of the Italian Grand Prix still hung over the Formula One paddock as the teams arrived in the United States for the season finale. The death of Wolfgang von Trips and fifteen spectators had decided the title in favour of his Ferrari teammate Phil Hill, who became the first American World Champion.[1] Hill had hoped to race as the Champion at Watkins Glen, but Enzo Ferrari withdrew his teams' entry before the race (having already secured both Championships) as a mark of respect to their fallen German gladiator.[1]

The withdrawal of Ferrari was a potential problem for "the Glen" and its organisers, particularly given that the previous two US Grand Prix had been flops.[3] Sebring and Riverside had both hosted the race in the previous seasons, although low attendance, poor advertising and numerous other issues saw Alec Ulmann's dream of an established US Grand Prix almost disappear completely after the 1960 edition.[3] The end of F1's association with the Indianapolis 500 also came to an end that year, and 1961 saw no Grand Prix scheduled to be held outside of Europe when the FIA released their calendar.[2]

Cameron Argetsinger had picked up the bandwagon for the US Grand Prix after Ulmann's failures, and used his role as the Exective Director at Watkins Glen to push the FIA into running the US Grand Prix again.[2] The FIA were satisfied and "the Glen" was officially recognised as the final round of the 1961 Championship just six weeks before it was scheduled to host the race.[1] The circuit was well prepared for the Grand Prix machinery, while the location of the circuit had the added bonus of potentially drawing fans from Canada, only a couple of hours north of the circuit.[3]

Entries for the race, other than the absent Italian Champions, featured almost all of the entrants to the 1961 Championship, reinforced with a selection of American based drivers.[1] The major interest, however, laid in the fact that Jack Brabham and Stirling Moss were equipped with two new V8 Climax engines for the weekend (with the familiar L4 units in reserve).[1] Several familiar faces from the Indianapolis days would also make an appearance on the grid, while Phil Hill would act as Grand Marshall of the race.[1]

Entry ListEdit

The full entry list for the 1961 United States Grand Prix is outlined below, arranged by car number:

No. Driver Entrant Constructor Chassis Engine Model Tyre
1 Australia Jack Brabham United Kingdom Cooper Car Company Cooper T58 Climax FWMV V8 1.5 D
2 New Zealand Bruce McLaren United Kingdom Cooper Car Company Cooper T55 Climax FPF L4 1.5 D
3 United States Hap Sharp United StatesPrivateer Cooper T53 Climax FPF L4 1.5 D
4 United Kingdom Graham Hill United Kingdom Owen Racing Organisation BRM P48/57 Climax FPF L4 1.5 D
5 United Kingdom Tony Brooks United Kingdom Owen Racing Organisation BRM P48/57 Climax FPF L4 1.5 D
6 United States Roger Penske United StatesPrivateer Cooper T53 Climax FPF L4 1.5 D
7 United Kingdom Stirling Moss United Kingdom RRC Walker Racing Team Lotus 21 Climax FPF L4 1.5 D
8 United States Phil Hill Italy Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 156 Ferrari 178 V6 1.5 D
9 United States Richie Ginther Italy Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 156 Ferrari 178 V6 1.5 D
10 Mexico Ricardo Rodríguez Italy Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 156 Ferrari 178 V6 1.5 D
11 Sweden Jo Bonnier Germany Porsche System Engineering Porsche 718 Porsche 547/3 F4 1.5 D
12 United States Dan Gurney Germany Porsche System Engineering Porsche 718 Porsche 547/3 F4 1.5 D
14 United Kingdom Jim Clark United Kingdom Team Lotus Lotus 21 Climax FPF L4 1.5 D
15 United Kingdom Innes Ireland United Kingdom Team Lotus Lotus 21 Climax FPF L4 1.5 D
16 Canada Peter Ryan Canada J Wheeler Autosport Lotus 18/21 Climax FPF L4 1.5 D
17 United States Jim Hall United StatesPrivateer Lotus 18 Climax FPF L4 1.5 D
18 United Kingdom John Surtees United Kingdom Yeoman Credit Racing Team Cooper T53 Climax FPF L4 1.5 D
19 United Kingdom Roy Salvadori United Kingdom Yeoman Credit Racing Team Cooper T53 Climax FPF L4 1.5 D
21 Belgium Olivier Gendebien 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
23 United Kingdom Ken Miles United StatesPrivateer Lotus 18 Climax FPF L4 1.5 D
26 United States Lloyd Ruby United StatesPrivateer Lotus 18 Climax FPF L4 1.5 D
60 United States Walt Hansgen United States Momo Corporation Cooper T53 Climax FPF L4 1.5 D

Practice OverviewEdit

QualifyingEdit

Dry and warm in the late Autumn sun, Watkins Glen was in a picturesque state as the field began to set qualifying times. A large crowd had gathered for the joint practice and qualifying sessions, while there was intrigue among the teams as Coventry-Climax tested two new V8 engines, one given to Jack Brabham and the other to Stirling Moss.[1]

ReportEdit

Moss opted to try out both the V8 and the common L4 Climax engines during the session, with Moss setting the pace early on before switching to the new engine.[1] Brabham, on the other hand, decided to use his new engine throughout the session, beating Moss' best time with the older equipment by over a second.[1] The Brit then responded using the V8, but was unable to beat the Australian having lapped the circuit just 0.2 seconds slower.[2] After the session, Moss elected to use the older spec engine, claiming his Lotus 21 handled better with the lighter machinery, meaning his V8 times were wiped.[2]

That decision put Graham Hill onto the front row, who managed to beat his countryman's best time with the L4 engine almost unseen.[2] Moss was left to share row two with Bruce McLaren, whose best time was matched (to the nearest tenth) by both Jim Clark and Tony Brooks.[2] The best of the American racers was Dan Gurney, who pushed his Porsche to seventh, the only non-Climax in the top ten.[2] Innes Ireland suffered a steering failure on the Friday before having to have his gearbox replaced on Saturday, with his engineers expecting the replacement to fail during the race.[2]

Ken Miles' entry was withdrawn before the start of the session, while the back of the field was largely populated by American run machinery.[2] Roger Penske stood out among the runners, his bright yellow Cooper one of the first cars to feature sponsorship although the Indy car driver was not brighting the time sheets down in sixteenth.[2] Jim Hall, meanwhile, had made his debut at Riverside a year earlier and impressed, but struggled on his return almost five seconds down on Brabham.[2]

Qualifying ResultEdit

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

Pos. No. Driver Constructor Time[4] Gap
1 1 Australia Jack Brabham Cooper-Climax 1:17.0
2 4 United Kingdom Graham Hill BRM-Climax 1:18.1 +1.1s
3* 7 United Kingdom Stirling Moss Lotus-Climax 1:18.2 +1.2s
4 2 New Zealand Bruce McLaren Cooper-Climax 1:18.2 +1.3s
5 14 United Kingdom Jim Clark Lotus-Climax 1:18.3 +1.3s
6 5 United Kingdom Tony Brooks BRM-Climax 1:18.3 +1.3s
7 12 United States Dan Gurney Porsche 1:18.6 +1.6s
8 15 United Kingdom Innes Ireland Lotus-Climax 1:18.8 +1.8s
9 18 United Kingdom John Surtees Cooper-Climax 1:18.9 +1.9s
10 11 Sweden Jo Bonnier Porsche 1:18.9 +1.9s
11 22 United States Masten Gregory Lotus-Climax 1:19.1 +2.1s
12 19 United Kingdom Roy Salvadori Cooper-Climax 1:19.2 +2.2s
13 16 Canada Peter Ryan Lotus-Climax 1:20.0 +3.0s
14 60 United States Walt Hansgen Cooper-Climax 1:20.4 +3.4s
15 21 Belgium Olivier Gendebien Lotus-Climax 1:20.5 +3.5s
16 6 United States Roger Penske Cooper-Climax 1:20.6 +3.6s
17 3 United States Hap Sharp Cooper-Climax 1:21.0 +4.0s
18 17 United States Jim Hall Lotus-Climax 1:21.8 +4.8s
19 26 United States Lloyd Ruby Lotus-Climax 1:21.8 +4.8s
WD† 23 United Kingdom Ken Miles Lotus-Climax Withdrawn
WD‡ 8 United States Phil Hill Ferrari Withdrawn
WD‡ 9 United States Richie Ginther Ferrari Withdrawn
WD‡ 10 Mexico Pedro Rodriguez Ferrari Withdrawn
  • * Moss originally used both the V8 and L4 Climax engines, setting a time good enough for second with V8. However, his decision to use the L4 engine in the race saw him dropped to third based on his best time with that engine.[1]
  • Miles was withdrawn from the race before qualifying after missing the registration period.
  • Hill, Ginther and Rodriguez were all entered for the race weekend but were withdrawn before practice and qualifying.

GridEdit

Pos Pos
Driver Driver
______________
Row 1 ______________ 1
2 Jack Brabham
Graham Hill ______________
Row 2 ______________ 3
4 Stirling Moss
Bruce McLaren ______________
Row 3 ______________ 5
6 Jim Clark
Tony Brooks ______________
Row 4 ______________ 7
8 Dan Gurney
Innes Ireland ______________
Row 5 ______________ 9
10 John Surtees
Jo Bonnier ______________
Row 6 ______________ 11
12 Masten Gregory
Roy Salvadori ______________
Row 7 ______________ 13
14 Peter Ryan
Walter Hansgen ______________
Row 8 ______________ 15
16 Olivier Gendebien
Roger Penske ______________
Row 9 ______________ 17
18 Hap Sharp
Jim Hall ______________
Row 10 ______________ 19
20 Lloyd Ruby
______________

RaceEdit

Another warm day greeted the field at "the Glen", with over 60,000 people arriving at the circuit from Canada and the nearby city of New York.[2] 28,000 of those people had paid an entry fee to watch the race from the small stands scattered around the circuit, a higher figure than the total attendance of the previous two US Grand Prix which ensured that the 1961 edition of the race would be a financial success.[2]

ReportEdit

Jack Brabham proved to be the best driver off the line with his V8 Climax, although Stirling Moss' claim that the L4 engine promoted better handling was proved when he slithered past the Australian later in the lap.[2] A stunning start from Innes Ireland, meanwhile, had seen the Brit climb from eighth on the grid to third, while Graham Hill dropped to fourth.[2] Also making a good start was Masten Gregory, who ran in sixth despite starting in eleventh, and now found himself attacking the back of Dan Gurney as the full time F1 drivers pulled clear of the American Privateers.[2]

John Surtees had retired almost immediately when a connecting rod failed on his car on the opening lap, while Ireland almost joined him after spinning on the oil left behind.[2] The Brit, fortunately, was able to recover without damage, dropping from third to eleventh in the process, although his works Team Lotus machine was still in fighting condition.[2] Bruce McLaren was now running in third, as Moss pulled a small gap to Brabham whose team were concerned with overheating issues.[2]

Ireland proved to be in the form of his life at "the Glen", putting aside his spin to push himself back into the top ten, and by lap ten found himself running in the wake of McLaren in a battle for third.[2] Moss and Brabham, meanwhile, were pulling clear while battling for the lead, Brabham's cooling issues having receeded for the time being.[2] Further down there were issues for the Privateers in their older equipment, Walt Hansgen retiring on lap 14, while Masten Gregory pulled into the pits to retire his car.[2] Gregory, however, was able to get back into the race when his team pulled in team mate Olivier Gendebien a lap later and handed the Belgian's car to the American.[2]

Brabham and Moss were continuing to pull clear at the front of the field, although that was set to change when the Climax engine in Brabham's car began to leak water on lap 35.[2] By lap 56 the Cooper-Climax engine was empty of water and the Australian was out of the race, leaving Moss with a 40 second advantage over McLaren and Ireland.[2] A lap later, however, it was Ireland leading the race, as he simulataneously passed McLaren and saw Moss limp his car into the pits.[2] The blue Lotus 21 had developed an oil pressure fault and was forced to retire.[2]

Ireland was left leading from Hill after his countryman also found his way past McLaren, the New Zealander beginning to lose pace.[2] Ireland and Hill's scrap would last for fifteen laps, before Hill's car limped into the pits with a lose magneto wire, although he only lost a lap during the repair.[2] The next man to cruise up to the back of Ireland's car was Roy Salvadori, who was having a good day in his privately entered Cooper, while Dan Gurney and Tony Brooks also slipped by the tumbling McLaren.[2]

Salvadori was taking over four seconds a lap before his challenge ended in a cloud of smoke, the Brit having blown his engine, leaving Gurney as the only remaining challenger to Ireland.[2] Yet, the American had time against him, and as Ireland completed the final lap in his battered Lotus, Gurney closed the gap to five seconds to just fall short of a historic home victory.[2] But, it was Ireland's day, as he claimed a maiden win for himself and Team Lotus.[2] Brooks completed his final race by finishing third, his tenth visit to the F1 podium.[2]

ResultsEdit

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

Pos. No. Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 15 United Kingdom Innes Ireland Lotus-Climax 100 2:13:45.8 8 9
2 12 United States Dan Gurney Porsche 100 +4.3s 7 6
3 5 United Kingdom Tony Brooks BRM-Climax 100 +49.0s 6 4
4 2 New Zealand Bruce McLaren Cooper-Climax 100 +58.0s 4 3
5 4 United Kingdom Graham Hill BRM-Climax 99 +1 lap 2 2
6 11 Sweden Jo Bonnier Porsche 98 +2 laps 10 1
Ret 19 United Kingdom Roy Salvadori Cooper-Climax 96 Engine 12
7 14 United Kingdom Jim Clark Lotus-Climax 96 +4 laps 5
8 6 United States Roger Penske Cooper-Climax 96 +4 laps 16
9 16 Canada Peter Ryan Lotus-Climax 96 +4 laps 13
10 3 United States Hap Sharp Cooper-Climax 93 +7 laps 17
11* 21 Belgium Olivier Gendebien Lotus-Climax 92 +8 laps 15
Ret 26 United States Lloyd Ruby Lotus-Climax 76 Magneto 19
Ret 17 United States Jim Hall Lotus-Climax 76 Fuel Leak 18
Ret 7 United Kingdom Stirling Moss Lotus-Climax 58 Engine 3
Ret 1 Australia Jack Brabham Cooper-Climax 57 Overheating 1
Ret 22 United States Masten Gregory Lotus-Climax 23 Gearbox 11
Ret 60 United States Walt Hansgen Cooper-Climax 14 Accident 14
Ret 18 United Kingdom John Surtees Cooper-Climax 0 Connecting Rod 9
WD 23 United Kingdom Ken Miles Lotus-Climax
WD 8 United States Phil Hill Ferrari
WD 9 United States Richie Ginther Ferrari
WD 10 Mexico Pedro Rodriguez Ferrari
  • Gendebien shared his car with Gregory after the American's car retired on lap 23

MilestonesEdit

  • 10th pole position for Cooper.
  • Innes Ireland claimed his first, and only, World Championship Grand Prix win.
    • Also the fourth and final podium for Ireland.
  • Team Lotus won for the first time.
    • Fifth win for a Lotus built car.
  • Final race for Tony Brooks (38) and Stirling Moss (66).
    • Brooks' tenth and final podium finish.

Final StandingsEdit

Phil Hill and the tragically deceased Wolfgang von Trips were declared as Champion and runner up in the Championship, while Stirling Moss finished his final World Championship in third. Dan Gurney ended the season level on points with the legendary Brit but remained behind by virtue of Moss' win, while Richie Ginther completed the top five. The maiden win for Innes Ireland saw him move up to sixth, ahead of Bruce McLaren and Jim Clark, tied on 11 points.

Ferrari had won the Constructors' Championship for the first time in Monza, leaving a battle for second between two other teams. Ultimately, Team Lotus would end the season in second, beating Porsche courtesy of Ireland's win, while both pulled clear of Cooper-Climax at the finale. Concluding the point scoring constructors were BRM-Climax, with seven points to their name. 

Drivers' World Championship
Pos. Driver Pts +/-
1 United States Phil Hill 34
2 Germany Wolfgang von Trips 32
3 United Kingdom Stirling Moss 21
4 United States Dan Gurney 21 ▲1
5 United States Richie Ginther 16 ▼1
6 United Kingdom Innes Ireland 12 ▲6
7 United Kingdom Jim Clark 11 ▼1
8 New Zealand Bruce McLaren 11
9 Italy Giancarlo Baghetti 9 ▼2
10 United Kingdom Tony Brooks 6 ▲5
11 Australia Jack Brabham 4 ▼2
12 United Kingdom John Surtees 4 ▼2
13 Belgium Olivier Gendebien 3 ▼2
14 United Kingdom Jackie Lewis 3 ▼1
15 Sweden Jo Bonnier 3 ▲1
16 United Kingdom Graham Hill 3 ▲1
17 United Kingdom Roy Salvadori 2 ▼3
Constructors' World Championship
Pos. Team Pts +/-
1 Italy Ferrari 40
2 United Kingdom Lotus-Climax 32
3 Germany Porsche 22
4 United Kingdom Cooper-Climax 14
5 United Kingdom BRM-Climax 7

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 'GRAND PRIX RESULTS: UNITED STATES GP, 1961', grandprix.com, (Inside F1 Inc., 2015), http://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr102.html, (Accessed 05/01/2016)
  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 2.28 2.29 2.30 2.31 2.32 2.33 2.34 '1961 United States Grand Prix', wikipedia.org, (WikiMedia, 24/12/2015), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1961_United_States_Grand_Prix, (Accessed 05/01/2015)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Hamilton, Maurice, Grand Prix Circuits, (Glasgow: HarperCollins, 2015), pp.92-5
  4. '1961 United States Grand Prix: Qualifying', statsf1.com, (StatsF1, 2015), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1961/etats-unis/qualification.aspx, (Accessed 05/01/2016)
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See also United States Grand Prix West • Indianapolis 500 • Detroit Grand Prix • Caesars Palace Grand Prix • Dallas Grand Prix • Questor Grand Prix

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