The real story about the 1966 F1 season
In 1966, a new 3 litre formula was created. It proved to be a
transitional year for most teams. While Ferrari and BRM
struggled with their new engines —and Lotus struggled just to
find a reliable powerplant— the big winner was the Brabham team,
which took victory two years in a row with the stock-derived
Repco unit. With no more than 310bhp, the Repco was by far the
least powerful of the new 3 litre engines but unlike the others
it was frugal, light and compact. Also unlike the others it
was reliable and Jack Brabham, the 1959 and 1960 World Champion,
won his third title in 1966 and became the first and only driver
to win the Formula One World Championship in a car that carried
his own name. (cf Surtees, Hill and Fittipaldi)
built a new H 16 engine (3.0 litres) but in the 1966 season BRM
used two cars: the P83 with the newly build BRM H16 (3.0L)
engine and the P261 with the V8 (1.9L).
The new P83 was difficult to handle and unreliable so BRM
decided to use the P261 in this season too. The best result for
BRM was in Monaco where Jackie Stewart won in a BRM P261 and
Graham Hill finished 3rd in his P83.
The Lotus 43 was designed for the 1966 season by Colin Chapman.
The 1966 season was the first season where 3 litre engines were
permitted. As a result, Chapman and Lotus made a deal for use of
BRM's new H 16 engine as well as
using new, wider tyres better able to put the power of the
engine down on to the track.
The engine on paper was technically advanced and powerful, and
Chapman had hopes that it would power his cars to another
successful season. Alas, it was not to be. The first sign of
trouble was when the new engine arrived and it required four men
to lift it from the truck. The engine proved to be overweight,
unreliable and was unable to produce the promised power. Jim
Clark didn't score any points until mid season. Clark was able
to turn his fortunes around and won the American GP at Watkins
Glen at the end of the season, thereby winning the H 16's only
race. In 1967 the 43 made its final start in the South African
GP at the Kyalami circuit, where Clark again retired the car.
The 43 chassis was an excellent design let down by a poor
powerplant, and Chapman was left to rue his choice as he had
been offered Repco engines for 1966, which went on to take the
world championship that year for Brabham.
In the early days of the 3-liter engine formula,
Maserati-powered Coopers would win the '66 Mexican Grand Prix in
hands of John Surtees, and their final victory would be achieved
with Pedro Rodriguez at the wheel, at the 1967 South African
Development of an all-new engine and chassis for the 1966 season
began immediately after
break-through F1 victory in Mexico. Having considered both V12
and V16 layouts to meet the new 3-litre regulations, Honda's
engineers opted for the 12-cylinder alternative.
Once again the engine boasted more power than its rivals but the
new machine was handicapped by being considerably overweight.
Despite this Ginther ran second on its debut in Italy until a
tyre burst and was looking good for a comfortable third in
America before gearbox gremlins prevented a podium finish.
Eagle T1G, powered by an obsolete Climax engine debuted at the
1966 Belgian Grand Prix and scored its first points with a fifth
place three weeks later at the French Grand Prix.
Ferrari developed the Tipo 312 for the new Formula 1. Victories
in 1966: Belgian Grand Prix
in Spa (driver: John Surtees from England) as well as
Italian Grand Prix in Monza (driver: Lodovico Scarfiotti from