Historic Formula 1: Delane reigns in Spain and takes 2011 Championship
Maximum points from two class wins coupled with a remarkable third place overall ensured that John Delane will be the FIA Historic Formula One Champion for 2011. The enthusiastic American, who has annually competed in every HFO event, has amassed enough points to ensure that he rightly gains the prestigious title for 2011.
Driving the Hall & Hall prepared Tyrrell 002 he has won class A at all ten rounds. His success is a timely tribute to his beloved Tyrrell brand as 40 years ago this month Tyrrell clinched their first Manufacturers title and carried Jackie Stewart to his second World Championship victory. John’s result was confirmed at this weekend’s Jarama Historic Festival.
Jarama, on the outskirts of a sun drenched Madrid, brought out one of the biggest crowds of the season for the Vintage Festival, the Last Lap promotions company developing a glorious classic car and motorcycle event along the lines of the Goodwood pageant. Although a small grid, HFO was clearly the star of the four wheel show whilst the likes of Giacomo Agostini and his famous MV Agusta celebrated the two-wheel enthusiasm of Spanish race fans.
Fresh from the Algarve meeting just a week before, the HFO grid featured Bobby Verdon-Roe and his McLaren MP4 still wanting to prove that the team had got rid of the fuel pressure problems. Joaquin Folch was taking another run in the Ecclestone owned Brabham BT49 and Hubertus Bahlsen brought his Arrows A4 but a cracked rear upright after the Saturday qualifying forced the car into an early retirement. Nico Bindels was running his Lotus 87 and Michel Baudoin with his Shadow DN9 completed the class C entry. In class B Luciano Quaggia was running his Theodore, Philippe Bonny had repaired the Trojan on the way from Portimao and Scott Walker was again present with the Hunt McLaren M23. The ever-green Terry Sayles was the sole entrant in class D with the pretty Osella and also in the title hunt starting the weekend in second place overall.
The front row came to the line for the first race after the green flag lap and Folch was waving his hands in the air in panic as the drive shaft had broken on the BT49. Race Director John Felix flashed up the “start delayed” sign and waved the rest off on another green flag lap as the Brabham was wheeled away. When the lights did go out Verdon-Roe flew away and within two laps had a 20second lead which he extended to 44 seconds as he lapped the back markers in the nine lap Saturday sprint. Bindells collected a well deserved second overall and Delane his wonderful third overall. Terry Sayles battled Michel Baudoin from the start and grabbed fourth on the penultimate lap. Luciano Quaggia took his first class B victory of the season ahead of Philippe Bonny whose Trojan had a badly buckled rear wheel following contact with Scott Walker’s M23 which bent the front top wishbone on the McLaren.
Delane’s points meant that if BVR took another maximum on Sunday and John did not score at all they would be equal at the end of the weekend but Delane would win as he had driven the older car. As it seemed likely the Tyrrell would maintain it’s solid reliability he would score 5 more points to take the title cleanly.
Race 2 Sunday
Another mighty crowd swamped the Jarama circuit for the Sunday show and this time Folch and BVR were set for some form of showdown. Overnight Freddy Kumschick’s mechanics had changed both inner drive shafts to make sure the Brabham was sound and the MP4 seemed to be running sweetly. Both Walker’s and Bonny’s cars had been fettled and Delane was as determined as ever top complete the last few miles of his richly deserved championship season.
From the start Folch got the jump on the McLaren and the pair raced side by side for 10 laps until BVR put in the fastest lap of the day at 1minute 26.765 to take the lead which he expanded to six seconds at the finish of the 19 lap main race of the weekend. Nico Bindels again drove to an impressive third overall but this time he was followed home by Scott Walker in the McLaren M23, Terry Sayles Osella and Philippe Bonny who had a much better race in the Trojan. Luciano Quaggia chased hard for maximum class B points and by finishing second in class took his total to match that of Peter Weunch but as the Theodore is the older car he took the season’s class B title. Michel Baudoin had spun on lap 16 and dropped to eigth just ahead of John Delane who was ever more delighted to have completed the miles to the end of his Championship season.
Jarama proved a solid spectacle to conclude the season, certainly the biggest crowd of any Historic Festival this year and this bodes well for the 2012 event which will probably be moved to June to attract the strong tourist fraternity from this pleasant part of Spain.
The FIA Historic Formula One Champion for 2011 is John Delane, who of course also wins class A. Peter Weunch had lead class B coming into Jarama although he had to pull out of the series after Monza but his Wolf WR1 had collected strong points in the first half of the season. Luciano Quaggia earned enough points in Madrid to equal Peter’s tally but using the older car the Italian took the class B title. For the second consecutive year Bobby Verdon-Roe has won class C and finished second overall and no doubt rues the missed points whilst the MP4 struggled with technical problems. Terry Sayles drove as strongly as ever throughout the year to take class D and third overall. Nico Bindell’s had one of his most rewarding seasons of HFO racing with equal second place in the highly competitive class C, just managing to equal Richard Eyre on the last race. The awards will be presented at the annual lunch at the RAC Club in Pall Mall, London in December and the FIA Trophies in early 2012 when the strong programme of events will be confirmed.