Posts Tagged ‘Ferrari 156 Aero’

Ferrari 156 F1 1963, red Lotus Climax FPF and at left Lotus 18 Climax FPF and Lotus 33 Climax FWMV (M Bisset)

The Ferrari 156/63 holding centre stage at the Musee National de l’Automobile, Mulhouse, France July 2019…

I’ve never thought too much about the Ferraris between the 1961-2 156 and the 1964-5 158.

The 156 went from World Champ in 1961 to World Chump the following year and then along came the ‘Aero-framed’ semi-monocoque 1.5 litre V8 engined 158 with which John Surtees won the 1964 championship title in a great year battling Jim Clark’s Lotus 33 Climax and Graham Hill’s BRM P261.

Not so fast…

The cars in between the ‘156’ and ‘158’ are the T56, 156, 156/63, 156 F1-63 and ‘Aero 156’ depending upon your source as to the name. Given the confusion, to be consistent throughout this piece I am referring to Forghieri’s 1963 156 spaceframe machine as ‘156/63’ and his later in 1963 156 semi-monocoque as ‘156 Aero’. Even Ferrari are confused- their formula1.ferrari.com site provides specifications for the Aero with a drawing of the spaceframe 156/63 so go figure…

In any event, it is the 156/63 which looked oh-so-sweet at Mulhouse and piqued my interest in the subject.

Whilst still powered by the trusty Tipo 178 1.5 litre, twelve valve V6, by then Bosch direct fuel injected- well trumped by the British Coventry Climax FWMV and BRM P56 V8’s, the Mauro Forghieri designed chassis was a much nicer modern thingy than the 1961 156 which was ‘made’ by its engine and the lack of preparedness of its opposition.

Forghieri stepped up when others left during the Scuderia’s 1962 ‘Winter of Discontent Palace Coup’. His chassis solution was a neat multitubular spaceframe of small gauge tubes, an evolution of the existing V6 was bolted to a new six-speed gearbox with lightweight magnesium alloy Campagnolo wheels part of an attractive package.

Ludovico Scarfiotti, Ferrari 156/63 from Jim Clark at Zandvoort during the 1963 Dutch Grand Prix- the young Italian was 6th in his first championship GP, Jim won in his Lotus 25 Climax- the track at which this paradigm shifter first raced 12 months before. It is a lovely photo but I have included it to show the relative size and frontal area of the Ferrari challenger to the dominant car/driver combination of the day. Ferrari would of course bridge the gap with the 156 Aero which raced at Monza that September and the 158 Aero which followed- not to forget the 1512…(unattributed)

 

 

Ferrari 156/63 cutaway, technical specifications as per text (Vic Berris)

 

John Surtees on the way to a win, in the Karussell, Nürburgring 1963, Ferrari 156/63

In 1963 specification the two-valve, DOHC V6 was fuel injected and gave a claimed 205bhp. Michael May worked hard to adapt Bosch direct injection to the motor, by the end of 1963 F1 was ‘fuel injected’ by Lucas and Bosch. There were still some downdraft Webers to be seen on customer V8’s but up front fuel injection had finally taken over.

The gearbox had six speeds, front suspension was the usual outboard fare of upper and lower wishbones and coil spring/shocks- at the rear the regime was again period typical- single upper link, a lower inverted wishbone and twin radius rods with coil spring/shocks and adjustable roll bars front and rear, rack and pinion steering and magnesium ally wheels too- the Borrani wires of the 156 were left behind.  Brakes were Dunlop disc, inboard at the rear.

Real progress was made too.

Only three of these 156/63 machines were built- ‘0001’, ‘0002’ and ‘0003’, Surtees achieved the best results of the four Ferrari drivers- Willy Mairesse, Ludovico Scarfiotti and Lorenzo Bandini were also on the squad that year. He won at the Nürburgring, was second at Silverstone, third at Zandvoort and fourth at Monaco. His points haul of 22 placed him fourth in the 1963 drivers championship behind Clark, Lotus 25 Climax, Hill G and Richie Ginther aboard BRM P57’s.

Surtees also won the non-championship GP del Mediterraneo at Enna in August from Peter Arundell’s works Lotus 25 Climax.

Bandini, beautiful Ferrari 158 Aero during the 1964 Belgian GP, Nürburgring. DNF engine, race won by Clark’s Lotus 25 Climax (B Cahier)

Better was to come in 1964 of course with the ‘Aero semi-monocoque chassis’ 158 and 1512 but even there the venerable 156 V6 played an important role. With development of the V8 behind schedule, a 120 degree V6 was adapted to Forghieri’s new chassis to allow its debut at Monza in September 1963.

The chassis, christened ‘Aero’ by Ferrari was based on a simple un-triangulated tubular internal frame to which were riveted stress bearing aluminium skins. This hybrid monocoque was quite unlike that pioneered by Len Terry and Colin Chapman at Lotus but served Ferrari very well for many years to come.

’Two parallel fuel tank pontoons, each of which was fabricated and riveted aircraft style over a sketchy framework of two tube longerons staggered slightly in the vertical plane’ wrote Doug Nye.

‘These tubes doubled as water and oil feeds between engine and coolers. The completed pontoons were then united laterally throughout their length by a stressed floor panel with angle stiffening plates, and at each end were riveted to transverse bulkheads.’

‘That at the front was doubled to sandwich inboard coil spring damper units operated by top rocker arms like Lotus’s, while the entire hybrid monocoque terminated behind the cockpit in a hefty fabricated rear bulkhead.’

Look carefully at the Aero chassis at Monza and you can see the rivet lines where the aluminium skin is attached to the tubes underneath, visible also is the ‘boom’ extension to the tub on this side to support the engine. Rags and things are a pest but you can see the twin-plugs and Bosch injection- the metering unit is between the Vee. Fuel tank forms the seat, note also the inboard Dunlop discs.

 

Ferrari 156 Aero cutaway. Not so easy to quickly pick the spaceframe 156 from the semi-monocoque Aero- easiest difference to pick after the chassis is top rocker front suspension on this car as against wishbones on the earlier 156 F1-63 racer (unattributed sadly but perhaps Cavara)

 

Aero front end detail at Monza 1963. Top rocker and hat of coil spring/Koni- note the bulkheads upon which the rocker pivots, water radiator/cap and oil tank behind, master cylinders for brakes times two and clutch, under these is the steering rack and arm attached to a cast magnesium upright. Mechanics do need nimble limbs and hands ideally the size of a Gynaecologist, do they not?

 

Lorenzo at Monaco in 1964- 156 Aero, nice overhead shot shows the key elements of the car, DNF gearbox. Race won by Graham Hill’s BRM P261

What was radical at the time was that the design of the intended V8 and Flat-12 engines was such that their structures would form stress bearing components of the car rather than the engine being attached to pontoons/booms or an A-frame. That is the motors would bolt to the rear chassis bulkhead and accept suspension loads.

The notion of using the engine structurally to this point was rare- Vittorio Jano took this approach with the 2.5 litre, quad-cam V8 of his front-engined Lancia D50 in 1954. BRM would achieve it with ‘Big Bertha’- the 1966 BRM P83 H16, so too would the similarly engined Lotus 43 but Forghieri and the Ferrari team did so in 1964 with the Flat-12 Ferrari 1512- they never did persevere long enough with the crankcase/block design of the V8 to achieve the feat with the 158. Lets not forget that Jano was one of the consultants still retained by Ferrari during this period, this path was perhaps suggested by him to Forghieri and the design team..

The new V8 engine was running late in its development in the summer of 1963, as related earlier, so the 120 degree V6 was adapted for the purpose to allow testing and racing of the Aero chassis. Support trusses were added to the rear of the chassis to carry the engine which was not designed to be a stressed member, although some references have it as ‘partially stressed’.

The Aero’s front and rear suspension was very much contemporary ‘standard British design practice’, something John Surtees brought with him to Ferrari- in Mauro Forghieri Surtees found a wonderful ally to bring the great marque quickly up to snuff. In Surtees’ short four wheel racing career he had Cooper, Lotus and Lola race and test experience, together with great mechanical understanding and interest he had clear views about what was needed for success, and was forthright in communicating same…

Bandini on his way to victory on the Zeltweg Airfield circuit, Ferrari 156 Aero in August 1964- he is passing Trevor Taylor’s abandoned BRP Mk1 BRM, broken suspension (unattributed)

The 156 Aero made its Monza debut that September and the cars raced on into 1964 in Bandini’s hands, as the definitive 158 V8 was made competitive and reliable by Surtees and Forghieri. When the 158 was race ready Lorenzo also drove it but the 156 was reasonably kind to him.

Whilst ‘Il Grande John’ won the German GP in a 158, Bandini popped the 156 on the outside of the front row and finished third- he went two better at Zeltweg winning the race run on a rough as guts broken concrete airfield surface as other cars, including Surtees’ 158 were shaken to bits! It was the last win for a V6 engine in F1 until the turbo-charged Renault V6’s a decade or so hence.

It was rather a nice last hurrah for a series of engines which had delivered so much for so long since 1957- and was adapted for the 3 litre Formula 246 F1 car for Bandini in 1966 and the Tasman 2.5 Formula for Chris Amon, Derek Bell and Graeme Lawrence when fitted in multiple different specifications to 246T chassis from 1968 to 1971…

Etcetera: Back to the 1963 Ferrari 156/63, the non-Aero design that is…

Giulio Borsari tops up the Ferrari 156/63 125 litre fuel tank, with a dose of Shell’s finest Avgas, at Monaco in 1963.

What a marvellous shot and oh to have a pair of those overalls!

It looks like Surtees car, #21, he was fourth in the race won by Graham Hill’s BRM P57. Note the leather bound steering wheel and chassis cockpit bracing tubes.

What sort of Dunlop in 1963- R5 perhaps?

(B Cahier)

Hill chasing Surtees at Monaco in 1963- Ferrari 156/63 and BRM P57 or P578 depending upon your preference. Graham won from Richie Ginther in the other Owen Racing Organisation entry from Bruce McLaren’s Cooper T66 Climax and then Surtees.

They are such pretty little cars these 1.5 litre GP machines? Mighty fast of course.

(unattributed)

Surtees 156 failed to finish with an inert fuel-pump, perhaps he is seeking to diagnose or rectify the problem- concentration not so easy on this high speed part of Reims.

Clark won from Tony Maggs and Graham Hill- Lotus 25 Climax, Cooper T66 Climax and BRM P61.

(LAT)

At first glance I thought it was Surtees at the Nürburgring in 1963 but its 1964 aboard a Ferrari 158- he won the German GP in both years. Its a Cooper T73 Climax behind- either Bruce McLaren or Phil Hill. Surtees won from pole ahead of Graham Hill’s BRM P261…and Lorenzo Bandini in a Ferrari 156 Aero was third.

A magnificent shot of great majesty, innit like?

Credits…

Getty Images, Sutton Images, LAT, Bernard Cahier, Ferrari website, grandprix.com, racing-reference.info, ‘The History of The Grand Prix Car’ Doug Nye

Tailpiece…

(unattributed)

Pretty as a picture at Silverstone, British GP 1963- driver looks to sit quite far forward, or is it an optical trick?

Surtees 156/63 amongst the Silverstone fields with perhaps not quite enough mumbo to really challenge Clark’s winning Lotus 25 Climax- the BRM duo of Graham Hill and Richie Ginther completed the V8 sandwich for John, in P56 V8 engined P57’s.

Finito…