The 1971 Grand Prix race circuit got under way March 6 with the running of the South African Grand Prix at Kyalami near Johannesburg.
The 1971 Grand Prix race circuit got under way March 6 with the running of the South African Grand Prix at Kyalami near Johannesburg. Grand Prix racing may be the most glamorous of all motor racing events, as these races alone decide the World Championship of Drivers. This year twelve races will decide who is to succeed the late Jochen Rindt as World Champion. Usually the top name drivers are associated with a group or factory team such as Lotus, Ferrari, or BRM. These teams also become champions, if one of their drivers wins the world title. Oil companies, tyre companies, and auto factories all stand to profit by the success of their product on the Grand Prix circuit. For this reason, many thousands of pound sterling are expended each year in research and design work for new, faster, and better handling Grand Prix cars.
The International Automobile Federation (Federation Internationals de L'Automobile) or FIA is the governing body for international motor racing. The FIA classifies races and entries according to strict specifications, which are modified as new developments warrant. Formula I is the classification assigned to Grand Prix race events. Since the first Grand Prix, held in France in 1906, the design of Grand Prix race cars has changed radically. Utilizing the extensive Visnews Film Library, we have traced the development and changes in design of the Formula I race cars up to their present shape. Although some of the film clips include shots of the great Tazio Nuvolari winning the 1935 Grand Prix of France, most of the story concentrates on developments since the second World War.
SYNOPSIS: The Grand Prix Formula one race car may represent investments of two hundred thousand pounds sterling or more. Cars like this one take part in the twelve race Grand Prix circuit in which their drivers compete for the World Championship of Drivers. Since the first Grand Prix, held in France in 1906, the cars have undergone many changes in design.
In the 1930's one of the great names in racing was Alfa Romeo and their chief driver, Tazio Nuvolari. In this 1935 Grand Prix of France, Nuvolari was the victor for the Alfa Romeo team.
It was after World War Two that several new cars were developed for the Grand Prix circuit. Many resembled cars of the pre-war era, but some were beginning to pay more attention to aerodynamics in design.
In 1951 Mercedes-Benz unveiled this new racer. With its low lines and sculptured front end, the driver sat comparatively low in the cockpit.
British Racing Motors (BRM) developed a new car in 1952, and was fortunate in signing World Champion racing driver Juan Manuel Fangio to test and drive the car in the 1952 Grand Prix season.
In 1954 Connaught was one of the first to use a form of airfoil that created less wind resistance and made handling easier.
The high cost of racing can cause some teams to withdraw, such as Mercedes-Benz in 1955.
The late 1950's saw a dramatic change in design. The powerplants were placed over the rear axle, with the driver sitting in front of the engine.
At the 1966 racing car show in London, this Cooper-Maserati was typical of Formula one design. Engine placement, shape of body, and size of tyres were the most notable changes from the earlier cars. The rear engine allowed more weight to be placed over the traction wheels. It also enables the front of the car to be built very low for less wind resistance. The wide tyres make for increased traction around the course.
The 1971 racing car show in London shows the Lotus 72, with little change from the car the late Jochen Rindt drove to the World Championship in 1970.
The first race of the 1971 season has been run. Mario Andretti was the winner on the South African Grand Prix in a Ferrari. The major controversy of recent years was the question of wing style stabilizers. Air rushing over the wing forced the rear of the car down. A wing has been allowed over the engine, while small wings at the nose of the car help hold the front of the car down. With eleven more Grand Prix races to be run this year, small fortunes are riding with these great cars, their designers, and drivers.