The First Wing

Ferrari, Spa-Francorchamps, Chris Amon

In 1968 wings began to sprout on Formula 1 cars. One of the very first to appear was on the Ferrari 312F1 during practice for the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps on Friday, June 7, 1968. Here is Ferrari’s brilliant chief engineer Mauro Forghieri (left) making an adjustment to the rear wing of Chris Amon’s car. Amon is standing behind the car on the right with the New Zealand Kiwi bird on his helmet. The wing struts look rather insubstantial and so they were, as was discovered in due course.

Amon was a somewhat under-rated driver, primarily because he was so unlucky, often failing to finish, and often from a leading position, through no fault of his own. In Belgium he took pole position with this Ferrari and was some 3.5 seconds faster than second spot man Jackie Stewart with the Matra MS10 and almost six seconds faster than his teammate, a wingless Jacky Ickx. On Sunday, Amon led at the start and then followed John Surtees’ Honda RA301 for several laps until his bad luck returned when a stone holed his Ferrari’s radiator. After some further retirements, and with Stewart running low on fuel on the penultimate lap, the win went to Bruce McLaren which was the first F1 victory for his new firm.

Early in the next year at the Spanish Grand Prix at Barcelona, the failure of these lightly-constructed rear wings, now fitted to the front as well, would cause serious crashes.

Photo by Nigel Snowdon ©The Klemantaski Collection –


One comment

  1. markewing2014 · · Reply

    I had forgotten you picked up Snowden’s archive. Such an instructive photo.


    Mark Ewing 562-822-3073, Cell


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