Page 1 of 3 Next >> By raising the Formula 1 displacement limit from 1.5 to 3 litre in 1966 space was created to revive the once popular Formula 2 class. With many of the contemporary Grand Prix manufacturers and drivers interested in entering the new for 1967 European Championship, F2 looked like such a promising prospect that even Ferrari considered making a comeback. The Italian manufacturer had been quite successful in the early 1950s. They eventually lost the edge to the mid-engined Coopers and concentrated solely on F1. Problem was that Ferrari did not have an engine that would meet the F2 homologation requirements, which dictated a production figure of 5000 units in one year. They did have an engine that met all other requirements like a maximum of six cylinders and displacement limit of 1.6 litre; the Dino V6 that had been so successful in Grand Prix and sports car racing.
Ferrari solved the problem by teaming up with Fiat, who were more than happy to build a new coupe and convertible sports car for the Ferrari engine. The fruits of the collaboration were presented at the 1966 Turin Show in the shape of the Bertone styled Fiat Dino Coupe and Pininfarina penned Fiat Dino Spider. These were the most exotic Fiats in decades and used a two litre version of the quad-cam Dino V6 engine. Detuned for street use the all-alloy unit was still good for a hefty 160 bhp. Powered by an engine that could trace its roots back to the 1958 and 1961 F1 World Championship winners and bodied by the two greatest 'carrozzerias', the Fiat Dino was not surprisingly a big hit with the press and public alike. Ferrari had succeeded in homologating the Dino engine and quickly started work on constructing the new Formula 2 car.
While the regulations were very strict on the homologation of the engine block, they set very few limitations to the heads used. So after bringing the displacement back down to the 1600 cc limit, Ferrari's engineers fitted heads with three valves per cylinder, which were also used on the company's latest sports car and F1 engines. At an ear-splitting 10,000 rpm, the Formula 2 spec Dino engine was good for around 200 bhp. The V6 engine was fitted in the 'Aero' type chassis used in the final years of the 1.5-litre F1 era. This featured a semi-monocoque constructed of a tubular spaceframe reinforced by alloy sheets. Like the chassis, the suspension was also very familiar, clearly sourced from the Ferrari parts bin.
Although first shown during the February 1967 Turin racing show, the Dino 166 F2 did not make its racing debut until July of that year. Ferrari's new signing Jonathan Williams faced stiff competition. Both Lotus and Brabham had developed new machines around the new Cosworth FVA engine, which like the Dino V6 was basically half of the company's Formula 1 engine. Lining up to race these machines were some of the most accomplished drivers including Jim Clark, Graham Hill and Jack Brabham, who were all world champions. Pole at the Rouen race was set by a very young Jochen Rindt in a Brabham. Williams could do no better than 13th, nearly five seconds behind the Austrian. After only a few laps, engine problems put Williams out of the race. Page 1 of 3 Next >>