The XXVI Grosser Preis von Deutschland, otherwise known as the 1964 German Grand Prix, was the sixth round of the 1964 FIA Formula One World Championship held at the Nürburgring on the 2nd of August. The race itself would be a dramatic display of attrition, but would ultimately overshadowed by a fatal accident for popular Dutch privateer Carel Godin de Beaufort during practice.
John Surtees pressed on for pole with Ferrari, defeating Jim Clark and Dan Gurney whom had shared pole between themselves throughout the rest of the season. Their pole battle, however, would be distracted by a huge accident at Bergwerk for de Beaufort, the ageing Porsche 718 flying off the circuit at high speed and slamming into a tree. The Dutchman was flown to a local hospital before going to Cologne to be treated by trauma specialists, although he would succumb to his injuries the day after the race.
Despite a fallen comrade in hospital, the Formula One drivers were set to do battle with the Nurburgring on Sunday, and it was Lorenzo Bandini who streaked into the lead from the start. His joy, however, would be short lived as Clark elbowed his way past in a move which also opened the door for Gurney and the sister car of Surtees. The leading Scot then began to build a gap, leaving Surtees to muscle his way past Gurney and hunt down the leading Lotus.
Soon, the scarlet car was up with the Lotus, and a quick battle saw the Englishman come charging past the pits in the lead at the end of the second lap, before the order shuffled. Clark suddenly tumbled with an engine issue that proved ultimately terminal while the two Brabham-Climaxes fell with unrelated mechanical failures. That left Surtees to win at a cruise, while Graham Hill nursed his BRM to the flag ahead of Bandini in the second Ferrari.
Almost a whole month had passed since the battle at Brands, with the Formula One field up to full strength ahead of the Nürburgring meeting. The only absentees were to be BRP, whom were arguing with the organisers over appearance fees, despite having gone to the effort of rebuilding both of their cars. Richard Attwood also failed to appear with the experimental 4WD BRM, while Austrian youngster Jochen Rindt failed to get to the Eifel circuit in time for the weekend.
The break had given many teams time to improve and perfect their new cars, and it was Team Lotus who appeared to have busiest. Despite having to field Mike Spence in place of Peter Arundell, whose recovery from a huge Formula Two crash in France was ongoing, the Lotus team arrived with two shiny new Lotus 33s for the weekend. The heavily developed new car was now deemed race ready, although the team still opted to field a Lotus 25 for local racer Gerhard Mitter as a banker.
Brabham-Climax and BRM were in similar positions ahead of the German race, both British manufacturers having to work on repairs rather than updates. The Brabham operation was slightly more major, team owner Jack Brabham having to have a new rear end put onto his car after a heavy accident at the XIV Solitude Grand Prix. BRM opted to replace the gearboxes with new models in their two cars, and without Attwood to support, their full weight was behind Graham Hill and Richie Ginther as usual.
Elsewhere, Ferrari opted to field two different cars, John Surtees given a choice of new 158s while Lorenzo Bandini was stuck with an older 156 Aero. Cooper-Climax, meanwhile, arrived with their regular factory efforts with new bodywork, although their cars were decidedly off the pace of their rivals. Another factory effort was to be found in the form of Honda, who brought their new RA271 to debut a Japanese car at a World Championship race for the first time, with American Ronnie Bucknum at the wheel.
Reg Parnell Racing and Scuderia Centro Sud headlined the privateer teams, going to battle with a pair of ex-factory Lotuses, and ex-factory BRMs respectively as usual. They would also face competition from an expanded effort from the RRC Walker Racing Team, who fielded Edgar Barth in an ex-factory Cooper-Climax alongside regular runner Jo Bonnier. Then came the single car owner/drivers, headlined by Bob Anderson and Jo Siffert. Other notable entrants included the return of Carel Godin de Beaufort with his four year old Porsche 718, and veteran racer Maurice Trintignant.
The Championship standings after Brands Hatch confirmed that Jim Clark was on target to defend his title, although his lead only stood at four points. Graham Hill was his closest challenger as the season entered its second half, and the thirteen point gap behind the Englishman suggested they would be fighting between themselves. Richie Ginther led a narrow battle for third which saw five drivers separated by a single point.
Team Lotus led the way in the Intercontinental Cup for Manufacturers, with a fair advantage of seven seconds over BRM. Brabham were happy in third, and should have been in the title fight if retirements earlier in the season had not befallen them, with Ferrari their nearest challengers. Cooper sat level with the Italian firm on ten points in fifth, behind because of earlier podium finishes, with Reg Parnell Racing on the board with their customer Lotus-BRMs.
The full entry list for the 1964 German Grand Prix is outlined below:
Qualifying and practice were rolled into one as usual for the German Grand Prix, with sessions on Friday and Saturday with a couple of hours running in each. Friday saw an entire day of dry running, while Saturday dawned cool, with rain over lunch affecting both sessions that day. Regardless of the weather, the top drivers would be hunting down the circuit record of 8:45.8, set by Jim Clark on his way to pole in 1963.
As it turned out, the circuit record was broken almost instantaneously on Friday morning, after resurfacing to much of the Eifel circuit allowed the drivers to push even harder than before. It was Graham Hill who got under the mark quickest, a series of stunning times see him record a 8:44.4 before the end of the first hour of practice. Other early chargers were John Surtees and Dan Gurney who were in the same realm of time early on, while the former record holder Clark set about breaking in his new car.
Several drivers had problems in the early session, including the new Honda which boiled all of its water before it completed a lap, keeping Ronnie Bucknum in the pits for most of the session. Fellow countryman Peter Revson, meanwhile, managed to remove the front end off of his loaned Lotus by slamming a tree. The Antipodean contingent also encountered strife as Chris Amon had an ignition problem while Jack Brabham destroyed his engine.
It was the Friday afternoon runs, and the Saturday sessions, where the fastest times were posted by most of the field, with three drivers getting under the 8:40.0 mark. First blood went to Surtees, the Ferrari driver the first man under the mark, with Gurney joining him on Saturday morning, before both went even faster in the afternoon, Surtees stunning the rest with an 8:38.4 to take pole. Early pace setter Hill simply could not match their times, losing out to the second Ferrari of Lorenzo Bandini, while Clark finally pushed his Lotus to the limit to record a time just half a second off of Surtees' incredible lap.
Yet, overshadowing an incredible practice/qualifying session was the accident which claimed the life of popular Dutchman Carel Godin de Beaufort. As Clark was winding up for another hot lap to challenge for pole, de Beaufort's old Porsche 718, now well out of its depth, flew off the circuit at Bergwerk. The Dutchman was thrown into a tree as the car destroyed itself in the impact, with marshals swarming to the incident to try to give aid to him. de Beaufort was diagnosed with critical injuries at the local hospital, with a helicopter taking him off to Cologne before the end of the day.
The full qualifying results for the 1964 German Grand Prix are outlined below:
|DNQ||29||Carel Godin de Beaufort||Porsche||9:37.9||+59.5s|
|WD||24||Innes Ireland||BRP-BRM||Starting money|
|WD||25||Trevor Taylor||BRP-BRM||Starting money|
Sunday dawned bright and warm, and rarely for the Nürburgring there was no threat of rain, with the Grand Prix scheduled for 2:00 pm in the afternoon. After a busy morning feature a GT support race, and a five lap bicycle race around the entire Eifel circuit, just as the clouds closed around the circuit to take the edge off the temperatures. The inexperienced starter opted not to use the new "dummy" grid system, so the field was assembled on the full grid to await the start.
After Jim Clark almost jumped the start and had to re-engage the clutch, the starter dropped the flag to cause a cloud of tyre smoke to fly into the air. The entire front row had their rear wheels spinning, and it looked as if John Surtees would get away best from pole as they drew past the end of the pits. Yet, it was not to be as team mate Lorenzo Bandini suddenly got traction to leap into the lead before the entry to the Sud Kehre, with Clark slotting neatly into second.
The chaos of the opening lap at Brands Hatch was not repeated at the Eifel, although there were early casualties in the mid-pack as Jo Bonnier and Mike Hailwood disappeared with engine issues. As they did so, Clark managed to elbow his way past Bandini on the run to Flugplatz, with the move also allowing Dan Gurney and Surtees to get by. At the back of the field, meanwhile, the Honda in the hands of Ronnie Bucknum was underway, the American opting to cautiously pull away and avoid any first corner carnage.
Before the end of the opening lap there was another change amongst the leaders, with Gurney losing out to Surtees in the run back to the pits. The Englishman roared on to catch the Scot with the two flashing past the pits nose-to-tail, with a couple of car lengths back to Gurney. Graham Hill sat a small way back at the head of a pack featuring Jack Brabham, Phil Hill, a disappointed Bandini, Bruce McLaren, Richie Ginther and a strong running Chris Amon.
The changes were fast and furious on the second lap too, with Surtees diving down the inside of Clark in the Sud Kehre to open the lap. Despite an attempt to fight back, Clark had to concede the lead on the exit and attempt to go with the man who had taken pole as the scarlet Ferrari attempted to break away. Further down, the distinctive whine of the new Honda could be heard, with Bucknum taking Edgar Barth, Mike Spence, Maurice Trintignant and Giancarlo Baghetti as he climbed up from the back.
Across the line to complete lap three and Surtees remained stubbornly in the lead, although Clark, Gurney and Graham Hill were with him. All of them were off their first lap pace, after Hailwood's engine failure had released all of his car's oil onto the circuit. Yet, although they were off the pace, Gurney was still feeling brave, managing to take Clark through the rise at Fuchsrohre, to claim second in the tight fight for the lead.
All was not well with the Team Lotus car, however, with Clark waving furiously at his pitcrew as the leaders flashed past the pits at the end of lap three. His problems may well have been caused by his engine, as the Climaxes in the back of both Phil Hill and McLaren's Coopers put both of them on the sidelines. Clark continued on however, but his problems were causing him to fall away from Gurney and Surtees, leaving the Scot in a fight with Graham Hill.
A brave move through Bergwerk on lap four saw Gurney surge into the lead of the race, scything past the scarlet car of Surtees having got alongside the Ferrari several times during that lap. Yet, as Surtees could not shake Gurney, the New Yorker was unable to pull clear of the Englishman once he grabbed the lead. A few inches was all that separated the Brabham-Climax from the Ferrari at the end of the lap, with a gap back to Clark and Hill as the Scot battled with an as yet undiagnosed problem.
The leading pair began exchanging the lead between themselves throughout the following laps, with Surtees often crossing the line in the lead before losing out to Gurney on the run onto the Nordschlife, only to retake the American through the return leg to the pits. It was difficult to tear attention elsewhere, although the fatal problems for the Climaxes in the Coopers put both Bob Anderson and Jo Siffert within striking distance of the points. Bandini was harassing Brabham but to no avail just up the road from the two privateers, while the Honda in the hands of Bucknum was a healthy runner in the top half of the field.
Around 366,000 people were spread around the Eifel circuit and all were enjoying an incredible dice for the lead, which was now beginning to see fastest lap times approach the lap record of 1963. Yet, all was not as it appeared, for Gurney's engine temperature was going through the roof due to the hard going, and by lap seven the American was forced to ease off and allow the water pressure to drop. Surtees made good his escape, setting a new lap record at 8:45.1 as he began to pull clear, before plunging into the back markers with half distance flashing past.
As all this was going on, Hill managed to deal with Clark, before the ailing Lotus crawled over Tiergarten and into the pits well over due. A catastrophic failure of a valve caused the Scot's Climax engine to lose a cylinder bank, and although the engine may have been repaired, a broken gearbox ended any chance of him returning to the fray. He joined a growing list of retirements which looked set to have another name added to it, as the Scot's biggest rival Hill came by a lap later with a misfire.
The Brabham team's day was not going to plan either, with Gurney forced to stop to take on water and have his car analysed, although there was little that could be done. His team mate Brabham, meanwhile, had managed to shake Bandini before opting to ease off to nurse his car to the end after the issues for Gurney. At one point the Australian saw a red dot appear in his mirror, and duly pulled over to one side to allow Surtees by and go a lap down. Only, it was not Surtees but the #8 car of Bandini that cruised by, and so the visibly annoyed Aussie went off after the Italian, hustling his car through every turn to try and retake fourth.
Back with the leaders, and Surtees was exchanging fastest laps with Gurney despite the large gap between them. On lap eleven, Surtees recorded an 8:39.0 to set an incredible lap record, while Gurney had to surrender second as his water temperatures continued to climb. With Brabham elbowing his way back past Bandini, Gurney made two more pointless stops to see if anything could be done, although on both occasions he was told that there was little that could be done.
With a minute lead, and Gurney dropping down a lap, Surtees eased off the pace as the race wound to its conclusion with the scarlet car in total control. This was a wise move, for the strain of the race was once again claiming victims with Brabham disappearing with a broken wheel. He was quickly joined on the side lines by Amon after a suspension failure, while Bucknum crashed at the Karussell with the Honda just outside the top ten.
By this stage, only a complete and catastrophic failure for Surtees would deny him victory, and with the Ferrari still sounding sweet there was little chance of that happening. The Englishman duly cruised through Tiergarten on lap fifteen to earn his second career win, over a minute ahead of the hobbled BRM of Hill. Bandini was a respectable third almost half a lap down, thirty seconds ahead of a delighted Siffert who survived well. Maurice Trintignant was classified a shock fifth having kept out of trouble, although he could not complete the final lap after a battery failure, while Tony Maggs came home in sixth for Scuderia Centro Sud.
The full results for the 1964 German Grand Prix are outlined below:
|6||26||Tony Maggs||BRM||14||+1 Lap||16||1|
|7||4||Richie Ginther||BRM||14||+1 Lap||11|
|8||2||Mike Spence||Lotus-Climax||14||+1 Lap||17|
|9||23||Gerhard Mitter||Lotus-Climax||14||+1 Lap||19|
|10||5||Dan Gurney||Brabham-Climax||14||+1 Lap||3|
|DNQ||29||Carel Godin de Beaufort||Porsche|
- * Trintignant, Amon, Brabham, Bucknum and Revson were all still classified despite not completing the final lap.
- First entry for future Austrian ace Jochen Rindt.
- Last entry for a Porsche chassis.
- First start for Honda.
- Ferrari claimed their fortieth pole position.
- John Surtees earned his second career win.
- His fastest lap was also the fortieth for the Italian manufacturer.
- Last points score for Maurice Trintignant.
A retirement for Jim Clark, and second place for Graham Hill meant it was the Englishman who led the Championship as the F1 circus left the Nürburgring, taking a two point advantage over the Scot with him. John Surtees' victory carried him into the top three, although he would need an incredibly strong run to the end of the season to catch the leaders, with an eight point gap back to fourth. At the head of a four driver group separated by a point was Richie Ginther, with Peter Arundell and Jack Brabham level with him on eleven, while Dan Gurney sat on ten.
Although their driver had lost the lead, Lotus-Climax clung on to a narrow one point advantage over BRM in the Intercontinental Cup for Manufacturers table, with those two still looking set for a battle to the end of the year. Ferrari had Surtees to thank as they returned to the top three of the standings, overtaking Brabham-Climax, with Cooper-Climax the only other manufacturer in double figures. Brabham and Team Lotus then had BRM powered outfits at the tail end of the scorers table, both holding three points.
Images and Videos:
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 'GRAND PRIX RESULTS: GERMAN GP, 1964', grandprix.com, (Inside F1 Inc., 2016), http://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr127.html, (Accessed 29/06/2016)
- ↑ 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 2.35 2.36 2.37 2.38 2.39 2.40 2.41 2.42 2.43 2.44 2.45 2.46 2.47 2.48 2.49 2.50 2.51 2.52 2.53 2.54 2.55 2.56 2.57 2.58 2.59 2.60 2.61 2.62 2.63 2.64 2.65 2.66 2.67 2.68 2.69 2.70 2.71 2.72 2.73 2.74 2.75 2.76 2.77 2.78 D.S.J., '26th GERMAN GRAND PRIX: Surtees (Ferrari) Wins Again', motorsportmagazine.com, (Motor Sport Magazine, 01/09/2016), http://www.motorsportmagazine.com/archive/article/september-1964/29/26th-german-grand-prix, (Accessed 29/06/2016)
- ↑ 'Germany 1964: Entrants', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1964/allemagne/engages.aspx, (Accessed 29/06/2016)
- ↑ 'Germany 1964: Qualifications', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1964/allemagne/qualification.aspx, (Accessed 30/06/2016)
- ↑ 'Germany 1964: Result', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1964/allemagne/classement.aspx, (Accessed 30/06/2016)
|V T E||German Grand Prix|
|Circuits||Nürburgring (1951–1954, 1956–1958, 1960–1969, 1970–1976, 1985, 2007–2013*), AVUS (1959), Hockenheimring (1970, 1977–1984, 1986–2006, 2007–2014*, 2016, 2018)|
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|* Nürburgring and Hockenheimring alternated between each other during these years.|
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