It is early March 1961 and Ferrari is holding a test of their new rear-engined 156F1 at the Modena Aerautodromo. Here in the pits is the new car with its 65° 1.5 liter Dino V6. It seemed a far more aggressive shape than the ungainly-looking prototype which had appeared with the 246F1 motor in 1960. Sitting on the pit counter is Enzo Ferrari, probably knowing well that his car for the new 1.5 liter capacity rules likely would have the advantage over Cooper and Lotus, especially on power circuits. To Ferrari’s right is his chief technical man Carlo Chiti. Behind the pit counter is probably Ferrari’s head financial manager Ermanno Della Casa with their young technical whiz Mauro Forghieri bending over to take notes.
A few days before, in mid-February, Ferrari had held its annual press conference to display what the factory would be doing for the new season. Here in the Racing Department journalists are looking over two new 156F1 chassis being built up with a sports car, probably a new 250TRI/61, to the right, most probably being prepared for the Sebring 12 Hours where two TR61s out of Ferrari’s three entries (the third being a 246S) will finish first and second with a pair of year-old Testa Rossas in third and fourth.
The 156F1 would earn its first win at Syracusa in Sicily, a non-championship race where Enzo Ferrari took the popular option of giving the drive to the young Italian racer Giancarlo Baghetti – this being his first F1 race – against what turned out to be limited opposition, although Moss, Brabham, Gurney, Clark and other F1 regulars were all there. Ferrari also had Baghetti’s car entered by the Italian FISA organization which assisted young drivers to place any failure at a bit of a remove from the Scuderia.
Baghetti then went on to win his next F1 outing at Naples in May, again with the same rebodied prototype 156F1, before setting everyone’s hair on fire when, now as a member of the Scuderia, he just pipped Dan Gurney’s works Porsche at Reims to win the French Grand Prix. A Championship year was off to a good start.
Photos by Peter Coltrin ©The Klemantaski Collection – http://www.klemcoll.com
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