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 1969 season.
The BRM P142 is a special one, a car that’s even more revolutionary than the actual build Ferrari Sigma. If the car was build, it would have been the first ground effect car on the grid. The idea came from Tony Rudd the technical chief. A newly graduated engineer, named Peter Wright, joined the BRM team in early 1969 and shared Rudd’s ideas about the wing concept. The idea was to make the car flatter and by adapting the wings in the bodywork generating a better airflow. As well the BRM P142 would be powered by the BRM V12 engine. Not many at BRM, not even the management, were aware of the secret BRM car. Eventually a scale-model of the car got tested in the wind tunnel.
The original plan was to debut the car during the Italian Grand Prix of 1969 held in September. However, the car would not be developed further. Sources state that John Surtees with the management were involved in the cancellation of the project. To keep up the development with the P138. Not long after both Tony Rudd and Peter Wright left the BRM team. Eventually both involved with the Lotus 78 and Lotus 79.The BRM P142 would probably keep the team alive and make them world champion in 1970.
Cooper – Alfa Romeo T86C
Cooper is well known in the Formula One, won championships and driver titles. However, at the end of the 1960s the team lost somehow the boat. Were they 3th in the constructor championship, in 1968 they ended as seventh. In 1968 the team raced with the T86B which was the evolution of the T86 from 1967. For 1969 Cooper built a special C specification of the T86. The car would be fitted with the Alfa Romeo V8 engine. Cooper was to ditch the BRM engines in the future. Lucien Bianchi was entered with the T86C at Brands Hatch and Monza. However, Lucien did not race in both races.
Alfa Romeo withdraw their support when they found out that the V8 engine was badly underpowered. It meant the end of Cooper in the Formula One as a works team. Antique Automobiles appeared with a Cooper powered by the Maserati V12 engine in Monaco with Vic Elford behind the wheel. He scored a decent seventh place.
For 1970 the Cooper T86C chassis was converted to an F5000 spec fitted with a 5-litre Ford V8 engine. The car was entered in 11 events in the 1970 Formula 5000 championship. Fred Place failed to score some decent results with the car. More info can be found at oldracingcars.com.
Cooper – Alfa Romeo T91 / Cooper – Cosworth T91
The original plans for the Cooper Team was to develop a brand-new Formula One car for the 1969 season. The Cooper T91 was to be fitted with the Alfa Romeo engine or with the Cosworth engine. While the team would continue developing as well the Cooper – Alfa Romeo T86C. Sadly, the company folded during the season and the Cooper T91 would never appear on the track. Some information is on the internet regarding the Cooper T91. Motorsportretro.com published an article related to it a few years ago.
The design of the Cosworth 4WD already started in early 1968. The idea behind the car was to design a four-wheel drive so the car had more traction on the tracks. However, during these days the Formula 1 cars started to “grow” wings on all places available. The wings were a much cheaper way to gain traction on the track as well. The car was designed and build by John Thompson in Northampton where Cosworth had their factory. However, the car was built in a shed behind the factory. The car had a radical shape for it’s time some similarities with the BRM P142 if you ask me. Eventually the Cosworth 4WD was tested. Both by Trevor Taylor and Mike Costin during the 1969 British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
Eagle – Cosworth
in the autumn of 1968 Tony Southgate started working on the new Eagle for 1969. The car had a magnesium monocoque and there was even the rumour a sister car would be built to be fitted with the Cosworth DFV. As there were reliability issues with the Westlake V12 engine. According to an interview with Tony that motorsport magazine had in June 2012, Tony said he worked on a radical F1 car. The car wa small with a late nose to gain downforce as well with a very low centre of gravity. While he was working on the Eagle, the company discontinued the F1 project. Eventually parts of the design would be used for the new Indy car.
Ferrari – Sigma
The 60s was well known for it’s space age and perhaps Pinifarina was one of the designers that brought that back in his designs. So did the studio with Paolo Martin . The Sigma was not intended to race. The car designed to give some glimpse in the future of the Formula One. Some innovations were shown such as a survival cell for the drivers, fire extinguisher system in the cockpit and a multi-layer fuel tank. Just some design features we seen in today Formula one.
Tecno – Cosworth
In late 1968 the plans were created by Tecno to build a Formula one car for 1969. This was three year ahead of their original debut in the Formula One. Nor am I not sure, if people are aware of the earlier attempt by Tecno. Tecno was already a successful manufacturer of customer F2 and F3 chassis. It was said that Tecno was to use the Cosworth DFV for their car in 1969. Pedro Rodríguez and Clay Regazzoni were already rumoured to race for the team. While Ron Harris was said to run the cars. Eventually Tecno did not debut in 1969.