The French Grand Prix was held at Rouen in 1961, and was the scene of a major sensation when Ferrari newcomer Giancario Baghetti led home the experienced Dan Gurney by fractions of a second in an epic slipstreaming battle. Baghetti, in his first Grand Prix, is pictured here leading Gurney and Jo Bonnier, both in Porsche's.
In 1961 a 1½
-liter Formula One was implemented and from 1966 a 3-liter Grand Prix formula was in force. By now the scoring system had been altered. From 1958 if more than one driver drove a car no points could be claimed. In 1960 the point for fastest lap was withdrawn and awarded to the sixth-place finisher instead and from 1961 the points for the race winner were increased from eight to nine.
The Indianapolis 500-mile race, which never really affected the outcome of the championship, was dropped from the series after the 1960 race as by now the bona fide Formula One United States Grand Prix had become established in the World Championship calendar.
Other new races to be added to the series were the South African and Mexican Grands Prix in the early 1960s, the Canadian Grand Prix in the late 1960s and South American interest was revitalised with the reintroduction of the Argentine Grand Prix and the new Brazilian Grand Prix in the early 1970s. Austria and Sweden were also added to the World Championship Grand Prix series, but a proposed Australian round fell through for financial reasons.
The change of formula in 1961 brought more than a change in the cars: it heralded a new heirarchy of drivers. The names which permeated the history of motor racing in the 1950s were gone and a new generation was born. The image of motor racing was changing and the sport's afficionados were finding a different breed of hero. The first season of the new formula saw the first American World Champion, 34-year-old Phil Hill from Santa Monica
. Hill, a member of the powerful Ferrari team, took the title when his German team mate, Wolfgang von Trips
, was killed at Monza. Hill won the Monza race, and also won at Spa - at 125.151 mph; von Trips had won at Zandvoort
and at Aintree and Ferrari's 'rookie' driver, Giancarlo Baghetti, scooped a sensational debut win at Reims.
The only break in Ferrari's monopoly came from the Lotuses of Moss - with Rob Walker's 18 - and Innes Ireland in the works 21. Moss scored spectacular victories, against the odds, in Monaco and Germany, through sheer driving skill; Ireland's first, and only, championship race win came at Watkins Glen, in the absence of the Ferraris. In the Principality, Moss led from lap fourteen onwards and had to use every ounce of his skill to fend off the works Ferraris of Hill and Ginther. He won by 3.6 seconds, at an average speed of 70.70 miles per hour, and shared fastest lap with second man Ginther, at 73.13mph.
In Germany, Moss gave everything to win by 21.8 seconds from von Trips, at 92.34 mph. The season was marred by the death of von Trips
and fourteen spectators at Monza when, on the second lap, his and Jim Clark's cars touched at Vedano and the talented German's Ferrari was launched into the crowd. A happier statistic came from the Dutch Grand Prix, the first ever world championship race at which every starter finished without incident.