Ferrari 312

Ferrari 312

by Luca Dal Monte

With the 312 F1 model, Ferrari participated in four different campaigns of the Formula 1 World Championship, from 1966 to 1969. For a car used for such a long time, the 312 F1 achieved very little in terms of results. Three victories in total, one in the debut year, 1966, and two in the penultimate season of activity, 1968. The 312 F1 is fast but fragile. Over the course of four seasons, it competed in a total of 38 Grand Prix races, winning three – Belgium and Italy in 1966; France in 1968. It secured seven pole positions and collected four fastest laps during races.

Designed by Mauro Forghieri, the 312 F1 features a 60-degree V12 engine with a displacement of three litres. At the debut, the engine power was 360 hp, but it increased during the season, reaching 375 hp at Monza. The last evolution, in 1969, had a power of 436 hp.

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John Surtees: The 1964 World Champion wins the 1966 Belgian Grand Prix with the 312 F1, upsetting the plans of Enzo Ferrari, who intended to dismiss him at the end of the race weekend. This decision is effectively only postponed, and Surtees is let go shortly afterward. The final straw is a quarrel with Ferrari’s sports director, Eugenio Dragoni. The reality is however quite different, even though the directly involved parties have never clarified what actually happened.

Mike Parkes: In place of Surtees, Enzo Ferrari introduces the Englishman Mike Parkes to Formula 1. His career in the top series will be very brief. However, in the mere six races he competes in (four in 1966 and two in 1967), Parkes will step onto the podium’s second step twice – both times in 1966, at the French Grand Prix, his debut race, and at the Italian Grand Prix.

Lorenzo Bandini: The Italian driver achieves the best results of the season before getting behind the wheel of the new 312 F1. With the previous year’s car, he finishes second in Monaco and third in Spa. Then, with the 312 F1, he experiences three retirements and two sixth-place finishes at Zandvoort and the Nürburgring. However, in the French Grand Prix, he secures pole position and sets the fastest lap during the race.

Ludovico Scarfiotti: Only one race in the season for the Italian driver. However, it’s an extraordinary success in the Italian Grand Prix. At Monza that day, he also sets the fastest lap during the race. He is the last Italian driver to win the Italian Grand Prix behind the wheel of a Ferrari.

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The 1966 season for Ferrari was quite complicated. First of all, there was the dismissal of the lead driver, the 1964 World Champion John Surtees, under circumstances never entirely clarified. Then there was the change in tire supply, with the 312 F1 initially using Dunlop tires and later switching to Firestone. Finally, there were labour strikes that forced the factory to stop for several weeks in the summer, preventing them from participating in the British Grand Prix. Ultimately, Enzo Ferrari chose not to participate in the last championship race, the Mexican Grand Prix, which was now inconsequential for the World Championship, to avoid the expenses of such a long trip.

But the 1966 season also experienced an extraordinary moment of glory when Ludovico Scarfiotti triumphed at Monza behind the wheel of the 312 F1.

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