How BRM’s engine overreach hindered a pioneering F1 Lotus

In the pantheon of great Lotus racing cars – and there were plenty of them – there is no pedestal reserved for the 43, despite its status as a grand prix winner. Indeed, earlier this year GP Racing’s sister magazine Autosport placed it third in a list of the 10 worst GP-winning racers. Rather a harsh judgement on a car which had so much in common with its successor, the seminal 49, including the then-radical use of the engine as a stressed element of the chassis – it’s just that there’s no getting past the reputation of that engine.

There’s a popular dictum among engineers that there’s no such thing as a problem, merely a solution waiting to be found. When Formula 1 made its much-vaunted ‘return to power’ in 1966 it left teams and manufacturers scrambling for any answer within reach – and BRM’s proposition arrived with a container load of further solutions required. But Lotus, freshly in receipt of the 1965 drivers’ and constructors’ championships, desperately needed an engine for the new 3-litre era.

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