GENTLEMEN, START YOUR ENGINES – 1951 Historic Formula de solitaire season Race #1 of 7 – Bremgarten

Posted: June 10, 2013 in Formula de, wargames, wargames chrome
Tags: , , , , , , ,

After recently completing the inaugural 1950 F1 season, its now time to turn attention to the next.  1951 kicking off in the picturesque Swiss town of Bremgarten in the canton of Aargau.  The previous World Champion Italy’s Giuseppe Farina is likely to find stiffer competition from the likes of Fangio, Ascari and Gonzalez. Alfa Romeo still look like the make of choice, although Ferrari have made strides.  The French Talbot-Lago‘s and Gordini‘s look to be off the pace and sadly although Britain’s ERA and new boys BRM and HWM (Hersham & Walton Motors) have registered, no places are available for this race.  Britains only hopes are, like last season Reg Parnell & Peter Whitehead both privateer Ferrari entrants.

Front row, Ascari – Ferrari, Sanesi – Alfa Romeo, de Graffenreid – Alfa Romeo

QUALIFYING – As all 20 entrants have to qualify having no points at this stage to earn a bye it means that the starting grid bears little resemblance to the true cars abilities.  Only Ascari (Ferrari) of the favourites manages to get on the 1st row. Farina (Alfa) starts from the 2nd row, Fangio (Alfa) 4th row & Gonzalez (Ferrari) back on the 7th row.

LAP 1 – An incident right at the start as the cars pull away in first gear Luigi Fagioli (Alfa) starting in 9th drives into the back of Robert Manzon‘s Gordini eliminating the pair. Fortunately the speeds were low enough not to cause any driver injuries.

IMG_1728 IMG_1729

After this incident, the drivers settle down jockeying for position.  Bremgarten (actually in this case zandvoort no.2 board owing to lack of an alternative) is a high speed circuit with lots of 6th gear opportunities. As such the chance of engine failures is high especially with a 20 car line up. Before the 1st lap is completed the following drivers retire with just that, Philippe Etancelin (Talbot), Louis Chiron (Talbot), Emmanuel de Graffenreid (Alfa Romeo), Reg Parnell (Ferrari), Peter Whitehead (Ferrari) & Froilan Gonzalez (Ferrari).  Whiteheads crash is a nasty one that sees him lose control and drive into the hay bales at 150mph.  His injuries bad enough to make him miss the next 3 races.  Worse still for one of the pre race favourites, Argentina’s Froilan Gonzalez. His engine explodes in 6th gear showering the driver with oil and petrol. By the time the marshal’s reach his car it is a burning wreck and dragging the unconscious driver to safety it is evident he has suffered horrendous burns to his entire body.  Although not known immediately after the accident, the injuries sustained are enough to prematurely end his career for good.

Top 5 positions at end of lap. 1st – Ascari (Ferrari), 2nd – Consalvo Sanesi (Alfa Romeo), 3rd – Pierro Taruffi (Ferrari), 4th Maurice Trintignant (Gordini), 5th – Farina (Alfa Romeo)

LAP 2 – 12 cars remain, Ascari being 1st at the end of the first lap pockets the bonus point and looks comfortable as he extends his lead over the course of the lap. Trintignant in an unfancied Gordini does well to head the chasing pack. but Fangio & Farina get caught up in traffic and slip down the order. Only Andre Simon’s Gordini breaks down this lap leaving 11 cars to contest the final lap.

Top 5 positions at end of lap. 1st – Ascari (Ferrari), 2nd – Trintignant (Gordini), 3rd – Sanesi (Alfa Romeo), 4th Louis Rosier (Talbot), 5th – Taruffi (Ferrari)

LAP 3 – With points only available for the top 5 finishers the drivers that have been careful with their cars start taking extra risks as they try to move up the field or fend off their rivals. Halfway round the lap Ascari makes a mistake going too fast into the longest corner.  He is caught and passed by Sanesi & Rosier. The popular Belgian Johnny Claes (Talbot) retires from last place as his engine gives out. A much higher profile retirement is Taruffi whose engine also expires when pushing hard and moving into 3rd place.   Fangio begins his charge and overtakes Felice Bonetto (Alfa) & Luigi Villoresi (Ferrari) at the penultimate corner.

Then the key moment as Rosier in his Talbot shifts up to 6th gear in  a bid to reach the final corner in one go. A 30 is rolled and not only does he make the corner but flies out the other end barely in control. After all the smoke has cleared he finds himself stationary looking down the home straight and having to select 1st gear.  Sanesi lands in the corner in the perfect position immediately behind while Trintignant overshoots in 4th gear but keeps the car under control. Fangio then carries out the textbook move that Rosier was attempting and moves into position to blast down the home straight. Villoresi & Bonetto follow past Ascari who is having a final lap to forget.

IMG_1734 The chequered flag is comfortably taken by Sanesi and Alfa Romeo continue their winning form from the previous season, but behind no less than 6 drivers enter the home straight very close to each other.  2nd place is taken by Fangio (impressively as he was lying 7th at the start of the lap) 3rd goes to Villoresi & 4th to Bonetto rewarded by taking some risky 6th gear rolls. The last point paying place goes to Ascari disappointed after leading for 75% of the race.  Trintignant & Rosier miss out on any points finishing 6th & 7th respectively, both drivers rueing poor last corner exit moves.  Farina comes in a distant 8th with Yves Giraud Cabantous (Talbot) bringing up the rear.

Championship standings after 1 race

1st Consalvo Sanesi IT (Alfa) – 8 points

2nd – Juan Manuel Fangio ARG (Alfa) – 6 points

3rd – Luigi Villoresi IT (Ferrari) – 4 points

4th= – Felice Bonetto IT (Alfa) & Alberto Ascari IT (Ferrari) – 3 points each

NEXT – BELGIUM – Spa Francorchamps

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