Wednesday, October 27, 2010

1960: The Year Ferrari Seemed Out of Date

Throughout the 1950s Ferrari dominated with a succession of bullying, bellowing engines. The British marques had seemed anemic and alarmingly fragile by comparison. By 1959 the tables had turned. The British answered the Italian hysteria for speed with a cool and calculated efficiency. The engineers at Cooper and BRM had produced a new species of Grand Prix cars with the engine moved from front to rear. In the 1960 Belgian Grand Prix, Hill chased Jack Brabham's rounded little Cooper (above) for lap after lap. The pace was too much for Hill's Ferrari. On lap 29 the engine ignited. Hill jumped out and patted down his burning coveralls and doused the engine fire with a tiny extinguisher. He took off again, but there was no catching Brabham. A Ferrari in flames fed the impression that Ferraris were straining to keep up, and they were. 

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