1968

Formula One Legends: World Championship 1968

12 races composed the 19th Formula One World Championship season.

Lotus studied over the winter on how to best leverage the incredible power of his Cosworth engine, but although their optimal studies they lost the exclusivity in using this poweful engine, since also McLaren adopted it, together with the new entrant Tyrrell who built the car and the modified the engine in a joint venture with the French aeronautics company Matra and picked the flamboyant Jackie Stewart as driver.

Two main changes were applied to the Championship: from a sponsorship stand point, Formula One opened to any sponsor, without restriction, in order to compensate the withdraw of previous big funders such as BP, Shell and Firestone.

Lotus was the first cigarette sponsored car, thanks to Imperial Tobacco who colored the car of Red, Gold and White Colour.

From a technical stand point the biggest changes has been the introduction of the wings, which were augmenting car stability and performances, with an improved grip to the track. Ferrari and Brabham first leveraged this new technology, followed closely by Lotus.

Aerodynamic revolution was started and F1 will not ever been as it was before, also in terms of safety regulations. With 5 drivers losing their life during the championship, the Formula One organization decided to change and to oblige tracks to adopt safety modifications in order to avoid such tragedies in the future. Jim Clark death on April 7th , but also Spence, Schlesser and Scarfiotti fatal accidents couldn’t pass unobserved and Formula One was ready for changes.

The Nurburgring track, with its over 27 km of length was discussed heavily, because it wasn’t guaranteeing the needed safety.

Lotus showed immediately his superiority with a 1-2 in the opening South Africa GP, with Clark on Graham Hill; McLaren which was just one year old as car manufacturer surprised everyone and thanks to the two experienced driver, Hulme and the team owner Bruce McLaren were able to grab several victories.

Ford engined cars dominated the championship, which eventually went to Graham Hill in front of Jackie Stewart and Denny Hulme, with the Belgian Jacky Ickx able to grab only one single victory in the French GP.

Grand Prix Date Winning Driver Team Laps Time
South Africa 01/01/1968 Jim Clark Lotus-Ford 80 1:53’56.6
Spain 12/05/1968 Graham Hill Lotus-Ford 90 2:15’2.1
Monaco 26/05/1968 Graham Hill Lotus-Ford 80 2:00’32.3
Belgium 09/06/1968 Bruce McLaren McLaren-Ford 28 1:40’02.1
Netherlands 23/06/1968 Jackie Stewart Matra-Ford 90 2:46’11.26
France 07/07/1968 Jacky Ickx Ferrari 60 2:25’40.9
Great Britain 20/07/1968 Jo Siffert Lotus-Ford 80 2:01’20.3
Germany 04/08/1968 Jackie Stewart Matra-Ford 14 2:19’03.2
Italy 08/09/1968 Denny Hulme McLaren-Ford 68 1:40’14.8
Canada 22/09/1968 Denny Hulme McLaren-Ford 90 2:27’11.2
United States 06/10/1968 Jackie Stewart Matra-Ford 108 1:59’20.29
Mexico 03/11/1968 Graham Hill Lotus-Ford 65 1:56’43.95

Championship Overall Standing Points

1              Graham Hill         48

2              Jackie Stewart   36

3              Denny Hulme    33

4              Jacky Ickx 27

5              Bruce McLaren 22

6              Pedro Rodríguez              18

7              Jo Siffert              12

8              John Surtees      12

9              Jean-Pierre Beltoise       11

10           Chris Amon         10

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