• Italian Grand Prix

Scarfiotti wins as Brabham is crowned champion

ESPNF1 Staff
September 4, 1966
Ludovico Scarfiotti leads Jim Clark, who would later retire © Sutton Images

A crowd of 60,000 was left in raptures as Ludovico Scarfiotti driving a Ferrari won the Italian Grand Prix, in Monza - the first Italian to win there since 1952 - but it was Jack Brabham who secured his third drivers' championship, in spite of retiring with engine trouble. Brabham became sure of the title when the other two contenders, John Surtees and Jackie Stewart dropped out of the race.

The practice sessions were dominated by Ferrari, although the headlines were made by Dan Gurney who drove into an official who tried to prevent him heading out for a last-minute lap. After much arguing, a diplomatic solution was found.

The weekend was also played out against the backdrop of cameras which had been filming for Grand Prix for much of the season. They caused confusion when Chris Amon, who they had been following, was declared a non-starter and so Mike Spence swapped numbers and dressed himself up to look as similar as possible.

The Ferraris of Michael Parkes and Scarfiotti were on the front row alongside Jim Clark in the Lotus BRM. But after initially leading, Brabham slowed as his car started to leak oil - under FIA rules he was not able to replace it - and when Surtees, who had led for much of the afternoon, quit with a ruptured fuel tank, the title was his.

Scarfiotti led the final stages with no real challengers, so much so that he was able to ease up and let his lead be cut from 15 to six seconds. Parkes held second from Hulme, and although the Brabham repeatedly overtook on bends, the Ferrari was able to surge ahead on the straights. Parkes took second by less than a second, Hulme's finish being the more spectacular as he crossed the line with his tyre disintegrating and he careered onto the grass seconds later.

Honda's return to Formula One with its three-litre engine mounted in a large and heavy car was not a happy one. Dogged by problems all weekend and blowing up several engines, Richie Ginther did impress in practice only for him to escape from a massive crash while lying second after 17 laps when his car hurtled off the track into trees.

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