Much advertised racing car hoax

Posted on Author Keith Collantine

Jackie Stewart and Ken Tyrrell used March chassis in 1970
Jackie Stewart and Ken Tyrrell used March chassis in 1970

March is the latest outfit to reveal it has lodged a bid to compete in F1 in 2010.

The team has not been seen in Formula 1 since it optimistically sent two chassis to Kyalami for the 1993 South African Grand Prix, despite not being able to pay for a supply of engines.

That brought to an end the F1 involvement of a team whose origins lie with the man who is agitating for a surge of new entries to Formula 1 – Max Mosley.

In 1970 Mosley joined Graham Coaker, Robin Herd and Alan Rees in contributing ??2,500 each to get the team started.

At the season opener at Kyalami – scene of the final act in the team’s F1 history 33 years later – no fewer than five March chassis were present. One-fifth of the 25-strong entry.

The Tyrrell-entered March of world champion Jackie Stewart started from pole position and finished third. Chris Amon, in a March entered by the team that built it, started alongside Stewart on the front row having set an identical lap time in qualifying (to within one tenth of a second).

Stewart won the second race of the year at Jarama – underlining the promise of the new constructor. This is all somewhat ironic given the bitter enmity between Stewart and Mosley today.

However the team was also noteworthy for its chronic lack of funds, from which it acquired the sobriquet ‘Much Advertised Racing Car Hoax’. (March actually stood for Mosley, Alan Rees, Coaker and Herd.)

Then as now

The parallels between the state of Formula 1 in 1970 and the changes Mosley is advocating for 2010 are startling.

An abundance of relatively cheap Ford-Cosworth DFV engines made possible the existence of new teams like March and Surtees and, one year earlier, Frank Williams Racing Cars. Today it is Cosworth who, at the FIA’s behest, are standing by to provide cheap engines for any teams that need them in 2010.

Just as today, the new teams were derided by Ferrari, who railed against the ‘garagiste’ entries with their off-the-shelf engines, gearboxes and chassis.

Mosley sold his stake in March in 1977. Today it seems his sights are fixed on re-creating in 2010 the conditions that allowed March to enter five cars with comparatively little funds four decades earlier.

Will Mosley’s budget cap allow the like of March, Prodrive, Lola, Superfund, USF1, Litespeed, Epsilon Euskadi and Campos Meta1 to enter F1 in 2010?

Or will we find ourselves talking about another Much Advertised Racing Car Hoax?

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Image (C) Ford