The 1960′s was a period of innovation and tragedy for Formula 1, and one of almost complete domination for the British drivers. It was Australia who reigned supreme at the start of the decade though, as Jack Brabham dominated in his trend-setting Cooper to take title number 2, his nearest challenger being his Kiwi team-mate Bruce McLaren. Only Stirling Moss and his privateer Lotus managed to break Cooper’s stranglehold, taking the marque’s 1st win at Monaco. American driver Phil Hill took the last ever win for the outdated front-engined machinery at Monza for Ferrari. 1960 saw the arrival of 2 future World Champions, British drivers John Surtees and Jim Clark, both driving for Lotus, and the last hurrah for the 2.5 litre rules that been in force since 1954. To prove that the 1960′s would be a highly tragic period, British drivers Alan Stacey and Chris Bristow perished in seperate accidents during the Belgian Grand Prix.
The arrival of 1.5 litre regulations for 1961 signalled the return of Ferrari, who dominated preceedings with their innovative 156 chassis. The season turned into a thrilling battle between Ferrari team-mates Phil Hill and Wolfgang Von Trips. Both drivers claimed 2 wins during the season, but dominated nonetheless. Once again, only Stirling Moss and his privateer Lotus could prevent the dominance, holding off the Ferrari team at Monaco and the Nurburgring in Germany. Even in private hands, Ferrari were hard to beat as Italian driver Giancarlo Baghetti proved on his debut at Reims in France, narrowly beating American driver Dan Gurney in a Porsche. There was to be tragedy at the Italian Grand Prix, Phil Hill won the race and with it, the title, but his German team-mate Wolfgang Von Trips perished along with 14 spectators after colliding with Jim Clark’s Lotus. Consequently, Ferrari withdrew from the United States Grand Prix, where Britain’s Innes Ireland scored the 1st win for the works Lotus team.
After being so unprepared for the arrival of the new formula in 1961, the British teams fought back in style in 1962, although Jack Brabham defected from Cooper to enter his own team. The season began on a low note when Stirling Moss crashed heavily at Goodwood that April, ending his career. The 1st race was the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort the following month, where Britain’s Graham Hill took his 1st win after 4 lean seasons with Lotus and BRM, the latter had just 1 win to their credit thanks to Swiss driver Jo Bonnier at the same circuit in 1959, until now. Graham would win 3 further races during the season and went on to win the title after his rival and compatriot Jim Clark retired his Lotus from the season-closing South African Grand Prix, held for the 1st and only time, in East London. There were no wins for Ferrari after their dominance of 1961, though Porsche got their 1st win before pulling out thanks to Dan Gurney at the French Grand Prix, now held at Rouen. Mexican driver Ricardo Rodriguez became F1′s youngest point scorer to date at Spa at the age of 20, only to die whilst competing in a non-championship race in his own backyard at the end of the season.
Jim Clark and Lotus came of age in 1963, with the innovative Lotus 25 monocoque that had made its debut the previous year. Although Graham Hill triumphed in the season-opening Monaco Grand Prix for BRM, Jim Clark was unstoppable, winning 7 races to waltz to his 1st World title. It was complete British domination as only Graham Hill and John Surtees managed to beat Clark all season. The latter was now with Ferrari and took his 1st win at the Nurburgring amidst a Ferrari team in chaos. The Italian marque had already lost many employees to the new ATS team which floundered miserably and totally destroyed the careers of Phil Hill and Giancarlo Baghetti.
The last 2 seasons had been highly turbulent and chaotic for Ferrari and 1964 didn’t bring about any immediate signs of improvement as the Brits dominated once more. Once again the 1st race at Monaco went to BRM’s Graham Hill, then Jim Clark dominated preceedings for Lotus, only Dan Gurney ending Clark’s run at the French Grand Prix, once again at Rouen, once again a 1st for his team, this time, it was Brabham. John Surtees took the 1st of 3 straight wins for Ferrari at the Nurburgring, with Italian team-mate Lorenzo Bandini doing likewise in the inaugural Austrian Grand Prix at Zeltweg, before Surtees triumphed once more at Monza. Surtees’ consistency ultimately won him the title after both Hill and Clark faltered in the final round in Mexico, where Surtees finished 2nd to Gurney. The former motorcycle champion was champion by a single point.
History would repeat itself in 1965, after another near miss, Jim Clark and Lotus dominated once again with the 33. There were only 6 wins for Clark this time, but he did also win the Indy 500 for Lotus, which meant missing the Monaco Grand Prix where Graham Hill triumphed for the 4th year in succession. Whilst one Scot was waltzing to his 2nd World title, another Scot was making his F1 bow, his name was Jackie Stewart who took his 1st win in a BRM at the Italian Grand Prix. Another 1st time winner in 1965 was the Honda team, scoring their 1st win in Mexico with American driver Richie Ginther, the only non-Brit to win a race all season. Sadly, there was to be no wins for Ferrari and John Surtees after their success of 1964.
After 5 years of 1.5 litre regulations, a new 3 litre formula was announced for 1966, for which Jack Brabham and his eponymous team were the most prepared. Jack had been in limbo since winning the 1959 and 1960 titles, he hadn’t even won a race since then, but 1966 would change all that. The promising Jackie Stewart triumphed for BRM at the curtain-raiser in Monaco, then John Surtees won his last race for Ferrari at Spa in Belgium before defecting to Cooper. At this point, Jack Brabham took over, winning 4 consecutive races. Italian driver Ludovico Scarfiotti took his 1st win in a Ferrari at Monza, with Jim Clark and John Surtees scoring the only wins of the season for Lotus and Cooper respectively in the United States and Mexico. This marked Cooper’s 1st win since 1962, and Jack Brabham’s 3rd World title as he finished 2nd, becoming the only driver to win the title in a car that bore his name. The French Grand Prix was sadly marred by the death of F1′s inaugural World Champion Giuseppe Farina in a car accident en route to the Grand Prix.
Brabham reigned supreme once more in 1967, although it was Jack’s team-mate Denny Hulme from New Zealand who ultimately won the title. Jim Clark’s Lotus nearly gave the Kiwi a run for his money, taking 4 wins to Hulme’s 2, but consistency was on Hulme’s side. Jack Brabham was the only other driver to win more than once in a season that was all about the new Ford Cosworth DFV engine. The season began with Mexican Pedro Rodriguez taking Cooper’s last win in the opening round at Kyalami, South Africa, narrowly beating local driver John Love in a privateer Cooper. There was also a 1st win for the Eagle team at Spa, thanks to their founder Dan Gurney, and a last win for Honda in their current guise at Monza, thanks to John Surtees. That race was memorable for a great comeback drive from Jim Clark from the tail of the field, only for the Scot to run out of fuel on the last lap, dropping to him to 3rd behind the hard-battling Surtees and Brabham. This season was sadly marred by the untimely death of Lorenzo Bandini at Monaco.
Dominating preceedings after near-misses was Jim Clark’s speciality and 1968 looked set to be another dominant season for himself and Lotus. Indeed, the Lotus 49 had been the car to beat in 1967 and cemented that reputation in the 1st race of the season at Kyalami, where Clark dominated. But then tragedy occured, as Jim Clark was killed whilst competing in a Formula 2 race at Hockenheim, Germany. Lotus were devastated, as was the rest of the motor racing world. It was up to Graham Hill, who had joined Lotus after 2 years in the wilderness with BRM, to fill the void left by Clark. The 1962 Champion quickly rose to the occasion, winning the next 2 races, the 1st of which in Spain saw the arrival of sponsorship in the form of tobacco brand Gold Leaf on the Lotuses. This would gradually become the norm in F1. There were 1st wins for McLaren after 2 seasons of competing thanks to its founder Bruce McLaren at Spa, and incoming Matra thanks to Jackie Stewart at Zandvoort. Belgian driver Jacky Ickx scored his 1st win in the British Grand Prix at Brands Hatch for Ferrari. The next 4 races were shared by Stewart and McLaren’s Denny Hulme, with the consistent Graham Hill winning the last race at Mexico to claim his 2nd World Title. The loss of Jim Clark was followed by the deaths of Britain’s Mike Spence, Ludovico Scarfiotti and French newcomer Jo Schlesser, the latter tragedy prompted the immediate withdrawal of Honda. 1968 also saw the departure of Eagle and Cooper, whilst a promising American driver named Mario Andretti made his debut in his home Grand Prix, taking pole position only to retire with clutch failure.
Sponsorship was not the only innovation to arrive in 1968, many teams started experimenting with front wings, rear spoilers, and 4 wheel drive cars and would continue to do so in 1969. With Matra entrusting their team entirely to Ken Tyrrell, who had entered Matras as privateers alongside the works team the previous year, it was up to his protege Jackie Stewart to build on the promise shown in 1968. The Scot promptly delivered, winning 6 races to claim his 1st World Title at a canter, the 4th Brit to win the title in the 1960′s and Britain’s 6th title of the decade. Belgium’s Jacky Ickx in the Brabham was the only other driver to win more than once all season, proving consistent enough to finish runner-up to Stewart. The other winners were Graham Hill, although his season was curtailed by a leg-breaking crash at Watkins Glen in the United States Grand Prix, and Austrian driver Jochen Rindt, both for Lotus, and Denny Hulme for McLaren. That year saw the arrival of Frank Williams, who ran British driver Piers Courage in a privateer Brabham.