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Ferrari 312 B2 of 1971/72
|Suspension (front)||Double wishbone, inboard spring/damper|
|Suspension (rear)||Double wishbone suspension|
|Engine||Ferrari 001 2,992 cc (182.6 cu in), Flat-12, naturally aspirated, mid-engine, longitudinally mounted|
|Transmission||Ferrari Type 621 5-speed manual|
|Notable entrants||Scuderia Ferrari|
|Notable drivers|| Mario Andretti|
|Debut||1970 South African Grand Prix (312B)|
1971 Monaco Grand Prix (312B2)
1973 Spanish Grand Prix (312B3)
|n.b. Unless otherwise stated, all data refer to|
Formula One World Championship Grands Prix only.
The Ferrari 312B was a Formula One racing car designed and built by Scuderia Ferrari. It was the successor to the Ferrari 312 and was used from 1970 until early 1975. The original 312B was developed into the 312B2 and 312B3.
The early 1970s saw the return of success to the Scuderia; the unlucky Chris Amon left, while Jacky Ickx returned and was joined by Clay Regazzoni. Under the direction of Mauro Forghieri, Ferrari developed a new Flat-12 engine, colloquially referred to as a "boxer" (although not a real boxer engine), giving a lower center of gravity and a clear airflow beneath the rear wing.
During the design's first season, in 1970, Ickx battled with Lotus's Jochen Rindt and won three Grands Prix, while the emotional Italian Grand Prix was won by Clay Regazzoni, following the death of Rindt in the week preceding the race. In the remaining races, Ickx could not pass Rindt's point score for the drivers title, and Lotus won the Constructors Championship ahead of Ferrari.
The 1971 started with a win by new signing Mario Andretti. Although being presented in January, the 312 B2 debuted only at the third round in Monaco, followed by the Dutch Grand Prix success for Ickx. However the B2 suffered with handling problems: the combination of the innovative rear suspension and the new Firestone tyres gave severe vibrations when driven close to the limit. Ferrari ultimately came second in the Constructors Championship, as Jackie Stewart and Tyrrell dominated the season.
In 1972 Ferrari fielded a revised B2 with a more conventional rear suspension, but could not keep up with the progress of the competition, dropping to fourth at the end of the year. Ickx won the 1972 German Grand Prix at his favorite track, the Nürburgring, but this was to be his last GP win. The sports cars season was a success for Ferrari though, with the Ferrari 312PB based on the F1 car.
During the season, Forghieri designed a radical new car featuring a square bodywork and full width nose on a very short wheelbase. This new 312 B3 was tested by Merzario and Ickx but never raced in a Grand Prix. The Italian press nicknamed it the spazzaneve (snowplow).
For 1973, FIAT executives imposed a new technical staff and Forghieri was transferred to the experimental department; his role was taken by Sandro Colombo, a former Gilera and Innocenti engineer. The spazzaneve project was discarded and replaced by a new design, still named 312 B3. A new full monocoque chassis was built by specialist English company TC Prototypes, under John Thompson's guidance, and the engine became a fully stressed member.
In the first races, Ferrari still used the old 312 B2: the car was no longer competitive, and Ickx only managed one fourth place at the opening GP of the season. The new 312 B3 debuted at the Spanish round, but proved to be slow and unreliable achieving even worse results. In addition to the sports cars, which were beaten by the French Matra, the F1 program of the Italian team was outclassed, and they even skipped some F1 races, notably the Nürburgring. This was not acceptable to Ickx, because the Nürburgring where the German Grand Prix was being held that year was his favorite race track. As a result, he left the team halfway through the season in order to contest the 1973 German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring in a McLaren, where he took 3rd place behind the Tyrrells of Stewart and François Cevert, despite being given an older-spec Ford Cosworth V8 and the hardest compound of tyres available.
During the summer Forghieri was recalled as technical director and set about revising the B3 incorporating some of the ideas used on his radical spazzaneve.
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Complete Formula One World Championship results
1 In 1975, 63.5 points were scored driving the Ferrari 312T.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ferrari 312 B.|
- article about 312B
- Tremayne, David & Hughes, Mark (1998). The Concise Encyclopedia Of Formula One, Paragon.