Hill takes title for the grieving Lotus team
Sponsorship and wings arrived on the Formula One scene, but the new developments were overshadowed by the death of Jim Clark in a Formula Two race. In the sad aftermath, Graham Hill bravely won his second title for the grieving Lotus team.
Several things happened in 1968 which were to have long-term effects on Formula One, but nothing shook the racing world quite as much as Jim Clark's death in a Formula Two race at Hockenheim. The season was perhaps most notable for the introduction of overt commercial sponsorship. The previously green and yellow Lotuses were now red, white and gold, thanks to backing from Gold Leaf cigarettes.
Early in the year Lotus, Brabham and Ferrari began to experiment with downforce-enhancing wings, which soon became standard equipment.
Other big news was the arrival of Ken Tyrrell to run Matra-Fords. He scooped up Stewart as his driver, and the partnership would blossom for the next six seasons. Meanwhile Matra's own team, with Henri Pescarolo and Jean-Pierre Beltoise, became a serious force. Talented Belgian youngster Jacky Ickx joined Amon at Ferrari, while Hulme moved to join Bruce McLaren.
Clark and Hill continued to lead the Lotus challenge, with Siffert in a private Rob Walker car. A sign of what might have been came at Kyalami, when Clark dominated the race, ahead of team-mate Hill. By the next race, at the new Jarama track in Spain, Clark was gone. Jackie Oliver replaced him, and Hill revived Lotus morale with his first win with the 49. Graham then scored another victory at Monaco.
At Spa McLaren gave his marque its first victory after Stewart ran out of fuel. It was also the first win for a DFV in something other than a Lotus 49. The next was not long in coming, for Stewart gave Tyrrell's Matra-Ford its first win at Zandvoort. At Rouen, young Ickx gave Ferrari its only win of the year in pouring rain. Surtees was second for Honda, but veteran team-mate Jo Schlesser was killed.
At Brands Hatch the popular Siffert gave Walker his first win in seven years with the private 49, heading home the Ferraris of Amon and Ickx after early leaders Hill and Oliver retired.
The Nurburgring saw one of the greatest drives of all time, Stewart winning with a virtuoso performance in atrocious conditions. Hulme showed that his 1967 crown was deserved by winning the next two events at Monza and the Mont Tremblant circuit in Canada. At Watkins Glen newcomer Mario Andretti earned a sensational pole for Lotus, but Stewart took his third win of the year. In the Mexico City finale Graham Hill scored his third win of the year. If the losses of Clark and Schlesser were not enough, BRM's Mike Spence was killed during practice at Indianapolis, and former Italian Grand Prix winner Ludovico Scarfiotti died in a hillclimb.