1961 John Surtees in the Vanwall VW14 at the International Trophy ©Unknown

Unraced projects of the 1961 season

Projects 1946 - 1969

Since the early days of Grand Prix racing many attempts were made to enter the Formula One and pre-war Grand Prix era. The period 1885 – 2021 contains over 650 Unraced projects. Every now and then new projects appear on the surface. To share with you all the stories i decided to summarize the stories per year. Don’t you worry, all the stories will be researched and eventually published. This is the summarized overview of the 1961 season.

Drebbel F1 Team
In 1961 a group of Dutch auto sport enthusiasts came up with the plan to create an all Dutch F1 Team. At that time, the regulations for the engines changed. Did the Formula One use 2,5L engines, for 1961 they introduced the 1,5L engines to attract new teams. The team was to be built on the foundation of “Nederlandse Racewagen” nothing much can be found today about this foundation. Neither is there much known about the car nor the people behind it. A few years ago I covered this story, you can read it here.

MBM F1 Team
The MBM was the first Formula One car built by Peter Monteverdi at his home in Binningen in Switzerland. The cars origin goes back to the MBM Chassis 1, which was a Formula Junior car, designed to adapt as well a 1,5L engine.  For 1961, Monteverdi constructed two chassis. Both to be used in the Formula One. Both cars were fitted with the Porsche Flat-4 engine. The cars appeared at several hill climbs before Monteverdi entered one of the car for the 1961 Soltitude Grand Prix, which was a non-championship race.  He did start the race, however from the back of the grid after failing setting a reasonable time. After two rounds, the engine stopped working.

Eventually one of the chassis would be wrecked at Hockenheim and Peter decided to continue racing with Chassis 2. He entered one car for the 1961 German Grand Prix. However, the entry was denied after the accident a couple of weeks before.

Vanwall VW14
It is disputable if the Vanwall VW14 qualifies as an Unraced F1 project. In base the VW 14 was designed for the “International Formula”. This series was born due the fact of the introduction of the 1,5L engines in the Formula One. Several teams did not apply with this rule change and came up with their own series with 3L engines.

The story goes, I haven’t done my investigation in it yet, that the series only had five races in 1961. Resulting that the teams were not enthusiastic and left the series. Therefore, Vandervell decided to rebuild his 3L engine into a 1,5L Spec for the Formula One. The plan did not go ahead either. However, the car was entered for the International Trophy in 1961. With John Surtees behind the wheel the car finished fifth.