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Formula One History: Birth of the Monocoque

Discussion in 'Motors Archive' started by Lopéz, 18 Oct 2002.

  1. Lopéz

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 17 Oct 2002

    Posts: 27,558

    Location: Leicestershire

    New regulations set for the 1961 season saw a reduction in engine size for F1 cars - just 1.5 litres. This meant that for any car to be competitive it also had to be light.
    [​IMG]
    The Lotus Type 25 was the first Grand Prix car to successfully use what is known as a monocoque chassis - comprising of two basic box sections either side of the driver. Attached to this base structure were tubular beams at either end of the chassis. These held the engine and gearbox at the rear of the car. The radiator and other components (such as the suspension arms) were mounted on the front "extension". The lightweight steel monocoque chassis was a revolution which would change F1 cars forever.
    [​IMG]
    The benefits of the design were obvious to all - much smaller frontal area (so less drag) and an increased torsional rigidity. This extra stiffness allowed Colin Chapman (the Lotus designer) to use softer damping which enabled thecar to remain stable on twisty bumpy tracks.
    Colin Chapman was a very unorthadox designer - he tended to ignore convention and rely on designs that "evolved" and "felt right" rather than those that worked mathematically.
    It is said that he tested the Lotus 25 for size and found he had a couple of inches elbow room - and promptly ordered his mechanics to lop 2 inches out of the width of the chassis!
    A mechanic who helped construct the prototype commented that "None of us really knew what we were doing, but it all took shape very nicely and it certainly looked right." :eek:
    Powered by a modest Coventry-Climax engine, the car went on to great success - and monocoque design is still used in Formula One today.
    [​IMG]

    Results:

    The Lotus 25 made its debut at the 1962 Dutch Grand Prix in Zandvoort.
    Jim Clark qualified 3rd,managing 11 laps before clutch failure forced him to retire.
    Clark won 3 races in 1962 came second in the World Championship behind Graham Hill. Lotus came second in the Constructors Championship.

    1963 was even better. Jim Clark became Champion, completely dominating the season with 7 wins from 10 races started.
    Clark’s teammate however, only had one top 6 finish all season.
    Lotus also lifted the trophy for Constructors Championship that year.

    Lotus continued using the 25 in 1964, alongside the newer type 33. Clark won 3 out of the first 5 races with the 25. Peter Arundell drove the other Lotus for the first 4 races of the season, gaining 11 points.
    Arundell was replaced by Mike Spence for the last 6 races of the season. Clark finished 3rd in the Drivers Championship that year.
    Lotus also slipped to 3rd in the Constructors Championship, but they would be back.

    Jim Clark also used a 25 for the final time in the 1965 at the French Grand Prix. The car won the race from Pole position and set the fastest lap along the way in a fitting swansong.

    GP Starts: 39

    Wins: 14

    Pole Positions: 18

    Points Scored: 162

    Drivers:

    Jim Clark: 27 Starts, 14 Wins, 142 Points
    Peter Arundell: 4 Starts, 11 Points
    Mike Spence: 6 Starts, 3 Points
    Trevor Taylor: 13 Starts, 1 Point
     
  2. Juz

    Hitman

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 622

    Location: Barnsley

    Another great read, very interesting =)
     
  3. SDK^

    Capodecina

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 18,683

    Thanks Lopez, a good read :)
     
  4. GJ

    PermaBanned

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 279

    Location: Nottingham

    wow lots of info in there.

    thanks you Lopéz

    Jonny
     
  5. Chabsy

    Hitman

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 655

    Location: London

    another great read, thanks

    i wonder if in 40 years time we'll be remembering back to the Williams of the early 90s Mclarens of the late 90s and Ferraris of the 00s
     
  6. Paul

    PermaBanned

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 96

    Location: I've Forgotten

    IMO formula one is becoming very boring,not like the old days,
    even martin brundel said to the news papers that F1 has taken a turn for the worst with some of these team orders and all theses new regulations and rules

    after what happend with schui and barichello fixing the race so schui got the points i thought that was just pathetic and havent watched a race propley since :rolleyes:

    on another note. good post mr Lopez :)
     
  7. Lopéz

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 17 Oct 2002

    Posts: 27,558

    Location: Leicestershire

    We could well be.
    The 1992 Williams FW 14B was a technical tour-de-force which will inevitably be remembered as a classic in years to come, as will the current Ferrari. :)
     
  8. bitboy

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 17 Oct 2002

    Posts: 962

    Cheers mate, brushed up my F1 history nicely:cool:
     
  9. Grad

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 1,421

    Location: Swansea

    Thanks Lopez - time to dig out my copy of GPL i think:)
     
  10. Lopéz

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 17 Oct 2002

    Posts: 27,558

    Location: Leicestershire

    Come and join the OCUK GPL league - it's great fun. :)

    Details here

    I'll be doing more random trivia posts over the coming weeks if anyone's interested. :)