After the world champion title won by Mike Hawthorn and the Dino 246 in 1958, development work continued for the 1959 season under Carlo Chiti direction. While its fabulous 2,4 l V6 engine was basically unchanged, the car received various improvements including Dunlop disc brakes and tires, a De Dion rear axle, a new five-speed gearbox, modified exhaust pipes emerging under the rear suspension, and a new body redesigned by Fantuzzi, with higher cockpit sides.
For the 1959 season, the Ferrari works team was rather plethoric, comprising no less than 5 drivers : Tony Brooks, Jean Behra and Cliff Allison had joined Phil Hill and Olivier Gendebien, already there. With no officially stated leader, there was a certain amount of rivalry between drivers…
Represented here is the car driven by Jean Behra in his home French GP in Reims (July 5, 1959). That day was exceptionally warm, a scorcher never seen since more than 80 years ! (I well remember that as I was lucky enough to be among spectators). The model maker should note that it did not have Cavallino Rampante stickers on the sides, as the other works cars.
At the start, the Frenchie was left behind the grid and lost a lot of precious seconds. He then drove a terrific comeback, overtaking Jack Brabham, now running in third place and chasing after Phil Hill. Unfortunately, the engine on his Ferrari did not resist and gave out with a piston failure. Victory went to his rival Tony Brooks. Back in the paddock, "Jeannot", most frustrated, had a hot discussion with Ferrari team manager Romolo Tavoni, in which he lost his temper and ended up throwing a punch, which costed him to be fired immediately. It was to be Jean's last race for Ferrari. He was killed one month later at the Avus circuit when he lost control of his Porsche RSK at high speed on the wet banking. A formidable competitor had gone.
The Dino 246 will remain as the last front-engined formula 1 Ferrari car. Increasingly outperformed by mid-rear engined cars, it will still be used for the 1960 season, although no longer competitive. Its career will end up however with a triumph in the ultimate GP in Monza, Phil Hill, Richie Ginther and willy Mairesse taking the first three places, but this was in the absence of British manufacturers who had refused to have their "frail" mid-engined cars running on the Monza banking.