Lotus and Clark triumph again
After retirements had robbed him during 1964, Jim Clark bounced back to win the 1965 title - and the Indy 500 - for Lotus. Once again a change of engine regulations at the end of the year signalled the passing of an era.
The British teams struck back against Ferrari in 1965, with Lotus and Brabham using a new, 32-valve version of the Climax V8. Clark was joined by another new team-mate in the form of Mike Spence, who had driven at Monza for the team the previous year. Brabham and Gurney were joined by a newcomer from New Zealand called Denny Hulme, while Rob Walker entered Brabhams for Bonnier and Siffert.
Ferrari continued with Surtees and Bandini, and there was new competition, too, from Honda, who launched a full effort with Ginther and the little-known Ronnie Bucknum. Ginther's departure from BRM left a seat open alongside Graham Hill, and it was very ably filled by a promising young Scot who had never driven in a grand prix; his name was Jackie Stewart. Talented Austrian Jochen Rindt joined McLaren at Cooper.
South Africa became the first race of the season rather than last, and Clark, still using the older Climax engine, scored a runaway win. Surtees continued his championship form with second, ahead of Hill. Debutant Stewart finished sixth.
Lotus was missing from the second race at Monaco. The team was competing instead at Indianapolis, where Clark notched up a historic first win for a rear-engined car. In his absence Hill scored a wonderful victory in the street classic, recovering from an early incident to pass Surtees and Bandini. Clark came back with a win at Spa in the wet, ahead of Stewart and McLaren, while Ginther picked up a point in the improving Honda. Clark and Stewart then repeated their double act in the French Grand Prix, held this year on the mountainous Clermont-Ferrand track.
Clark won the British Grand Prix at Silverstone for the fourth consecutive time. Clark continued his winning ways at Zandvoort, and for the third time countryman Stewart followed him home. The big surprise was the performance of Ginther, who led for two laps in the Honda. At the Nurburgring Clark scored his sixth win of the year and his first on the daunting German track. With only six scores counting, he had reached maximum points, and the championship was his.
He was in the lead pack at Monza and, after he retired with fuel pump trouble, Stewart scored a marvellous maiden win, fractionally ahead of Hill and Gurney. However, with the title sewn up, Clark's luck seemed to have deserted him. At Watkins Glen he retired with engine problems, and Hill scored BRM's third win of the year.
The season had a twist in the tail. In Mexico City Ginther gave Honda (and tyre maker Goodyear) a first win, leading from start to finish. It was the Californian's only win. The race also marked the end of the 1.5-litre formula after four seasons.