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  Ferrari 312/69 F1

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Country of origin:Italy
Produced in:1969
Numbers built:2
Predecessor:Ferrari 312/68 F1
Successor:Ferrari 312 B
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:November 20, 2006
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Click here to download printer friendly versionA mere five years after last drastically changing the regulations and for the fourth time in less than two decades, the sport's governing body (CSI) was at it again for the 1966 Formula 1 season; once more rendering all racers of the previous season (s) obsolete. This time round, the displacement limit was doubled from 1.5 litres to 3 litres for Naturally Aspirated engines and forced induction was allowed again with a maximum displacement of 1.5 litres. Although the company was known for its conservatism, the rule changes had worked well for Ferrari 1952 and 1961 and as the three litre regulations seemed perfectly suited to the Italian manufacturer, success was expected again.

While most of the British teams, or 'Garagists' as Enzo Ferrari used to call them, had to rely on their engine suppliers to get ready in time, Ferrari had the advantage of doing everything in house. Unfortunately there was not enough time and/or money available for chief engineer Mauro Forghieri to start from scratch, so he used the 3.3 litre engine from the 275 P2 sports racer as a base for the new V12 F1 engine. Much of the engine block was carried over, but the single overhead camshaft head was replaced by a modern dual overhead camshaft unit, but still with just two valves per cylinder. The 300 bhp engine was installed in a beefed up version of the chassis used in the previous season to create the Ferrari 312 F1.

Even though only two other teams had three litre engines at the start of the season, Ferrari failed miserably to make their mark in a championship that seemed theirs for the taking. The new V12 engine proved so unreliable that the team was forced to field updated V6-engined cars in some races. Considering all this, it was quite remarkable that John Surtees and Ludovico Scarfiotti managed to win a race each. Surtees finished second behind Jack Brabham in the driver's championship and Ferrari in the constructor's championship behind Brabham. These might look like quite an achievement, but it is mainly due to the even poorer performance from the likes of BRM and Lotus, who campaigned the overly complex BRM H16 engines.

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  Article Image gallery (33) Chassis (2) Specifications