‘Wings Clipped’: Lotus 49: Monaco Grand Prix 1969…

Posted: July 12, 2015 in F1, Icons & Iconoclasts
Tags: , , , , ,

hill hi wing

Graham Hill in his hi-winged Lotus 49 during practice for the 1969 Monaco Grand Prix, he went on to win the last of his five Monaco victories on Sunday May 18 1969…

‘Twas his last Grand Prix win as well but his competitiveness was still there, wins were to come in F2 and in endurance racing. His ’72 Le Mans Matra victory with Henri Pescarolo made him unique in our sport as the only winner of ‘Motor Racing’s Triple Crown’; victories in the Drivers World Championship, (BRM 1962 Lotus 1968) Indy (Lola 1966) and Le Mans.

The story of the weekend was all about wings. There had been some big failures as engineers battled with forces they did not fully understand, notably the collisions, fortunately without serious injury to both Hill and Jochen Rindt at Barcelona on May 4, the race before Monaco.

Hill’s rear wing failed on lap 9 as he crested the rise after the Montjuic Park pits, he crashed heavily but was uninjured. Eleven laps later Rindt’s leading Lotus 49 suffered the same failure, collided with Hill’s abandoned car and overturned. He emerged with cuts, bruises and a broken nose. The wing on Ickx’ Brabham BT26 fell apart during the race as well.

There had been other failures in the recent past, the authorities needed to act before someone was killed.

rindt rooted lotus

Rindt’s rooted Lotus 49, Montjuic Park Barcelona 1969. Jochen was a very lucky boy to escape withour serious injury after a wing support failure, Hill’s car into which Rindt collided is just down the road. (unattributed)

The CSI met in Monaco and acted after first practice by banning high wings forthwith, times were scrapped and the process of qualifying recommenced.

The sport was made safer as a consequence, some remain of the view that wings should have been banned then. Full stop.

hill monaco interim

Wonderful overhead shot of Hill in qualifying post the wing ban; Chapman chose to keep the front wings, meanwhile the tin-snips were being put to work…3 litre Ford Cosworh DFV, big rear oil tank, external extinguisher the first thing to leave the car in the event of a major rear impact (handy for the driver in need of foam!), and Aeroquip brakelines running along the radius rods all clear to see. You can just about read the Smiths tach and chassis plate! (Automobile Year 16)

Stewart took an early lead from Amon’s Ferrari 312 in the race, Hill moved into third shortly after the start and after differential failures to both Amon and Stewart’s Matra MS80 Ford gained the lead he never lost. He took victory from Piers Courage’ Brabham BT26 Ford and  Jo Siffert’s Lotus 49B.

hill low level spoiler

By the time of the race’ start Chapman and his team had fashioned this neat spoiler…not as nice as the 49 used at Monaco in ’68 but that was built at the factory, this was not bad overnight and ‘ in the field’. (unattributed)

Winners are grinners, Hill ‘The Mayor of Monaco’ was always a popular victor in the Principality…

hill victory

Hill victorious in Lotus 49 ‘R10′, first debut’ by Jochen Rindt at Wigram NZ in January 1969. Victories in the Tasman Warwick Farm 100 in Rind’ts hands and Hill at Monaco. 49’s much raced by many drivers this chassis also raced by John Miles. Alex Soler-Roig and Emerson Fittipladi, Emmo raced it in its final GP, Austria in August 1970. Car still exists in the UK. (unattributed)

Etcetera…

montjuic

All those hi-wings in the Montjuic dummy grid, soon to be a thing of the past. #7 Jackie Stewart with teammate Jean Pierre-Beltoise behind, both Matra MS80 Ford, Graham Hill Lotus 49 Ford beside Stewart, #6 Bruce McLaren McLaren M7A Ford, #15 Chris Amons Ferrari 312 and #4 Jacky Ickx Brabham BT26A Ford (unattributed)

rindt barcelona

Rindt’s Lotus 49B and its broken wing supports clear in this shot of the ‘unguided missile’. Spectators and Rindt fortunate. Montjuic Park 1969. (unattributed)

rindt spain

49 ‘R9’ decidedly second-hand, Jochen was so lucky to ‘walk away’ from this accident (Getty Images)

rindts letter to chapman

Rindt’s 9 May 1969 letter post Spanish prang to Chapman is widely circulated and a classic! Prophetic sadly. (Jochen Rindt Archive)

Credits…

oldracingcars.com chassis research, Automobile Year 16, Getty Images

Comments
  1. […] ‘Wings Clipped’: Lotus 49: Monaco Grand Prix 1969… […]

  2. […] ‘Wings Clipped’: Click on this article for more detail on the events leading up to the CSI banning hi-wings at the ’69 Monaco GP…https://primotipo.com/2015/07/12/wings-clipped-lotus-49-monaco-grand-prix-1969/ […]

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