SEASON 3 Fischer delights home crowd as Ferrari (almost) single handedly eliminate themselves – 1952 Historic Formula de solitaire season Race #1 of 7 – Bremgarten

Posted: June 12, 2014 in Formula de, wargames, wargames chrome
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Lap 1 – AND THE RABBIT IS LOOSE – Stirling Moss (ERA #29) & Rudi Fischer (Ferrari privateer #23) pull away from the rest of the field negotiating the first corner with a hapless Macklin way off in the distance desperately attempting to restart his engine

The 3rd season began with a return to Switzerland’s Bremgarten circuit (ed. as no official or fans version exists,  Zandvoort 2 is used to represent this track). Owing to economic issues Alfa-Romeo and Talbot were absent and Maserati only had a single entrant paving the way for a host of  new small British teams to flood the entry list alongside out and out favourites Ferrari and Gordini. The number of teams entering totalled an unprecedented 8,  The most notable driver absence was Juan Manuel Fangio who had turned down an offer to drive for Ferrari.  Whether he returns in future is subject to paddock speculation

Qualifying was carried out in mixed conditions paving the way for an unusual grid with Ferrari’s expected dominance compromised by intermittent rain showers.  The front grid was occupied by 2 privateers and an unfancied British marque. Hawthorn (Cooper privateer) and Fischer (Ferrari privateer) alongside Moss (ERA). Ascari (Ferrari) found himself back in 13th and Farina (Ferrari) even worse in 16th.

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Lap 1 SHADDUP A YOUR FACE – Ferrari madness leaves Farina’s #2 Ferrari hitting the brakes as his route is blocked by Ascari’s broken #1 Ferrari and Wharton’s #30 Frazer-Nash. Further ahead Taruffi’s #3 & Villoresi’s #21 Ferrari’s come to a terminal halt

LAP 1 – The race began with a steady drizzle. All Mike Hawthorns hard won efforts in qualifying came to naught as he stalled his privately entered Cooper from pole position. Fortunately he managed to restart the motor but had dropped down the order.  The HWM’s of Peter Collins and Lance Macklin fared even worse as they also stalled. Macklin was unable to restart resulting in the first retirement of the race before even moving. Ascari and Farina in the works Ferrari’s immediately made up ground on their inexperienced rivals. Ascari moving up to 4th by the second corner, Farina to 7th. Stirling Moss (ERA) and home favourite Rudi Fischer (Ferrari privateer) got the best exit out of the sweeping 180 degree first corner to open up a slight lead.  They were blissfully unaware of the utter carnage that was about to take place behind them.  As many of the debutant drivers watched with incredulity the Ferrari’s of Ascari and Farina blast past them everyone began to concertina into the second corner. Then Pierro Taruffi (no doubt keen not to be left out of the expected Ferrari clean sweep) entered the corner too fast and clipped Ascari who was lying 4th.  Taruffi’s car spun wildly out of control leaving debris all over the track. Forced into taking avoiding action Luigi Villoresi in the 4th works Ferrari then ran out of space and hit with force Ascari leaving both cars complete wrecks. In a matter of seconds the works Ferrari team was down to a single runner as 3 of their 4 cars collided with each other.  As the rest of the field approached in a bunch most drivers had to drive over the debris deposited with the inevitable results. The following drivers all retired with suspension damage:- Wharton (Frazer-Nash), Claes (Gordini), Trintignant (Gordini), Brandon (Cooper privateer), Frere. Once the survivors had passed this corner, the race began to settle down. Moss and Fischer extended their lead but the ominous prescence of Farina not far behind kept them honest.  Moss elected not to pit and so the first ever point claimed by a British team (1st lap leader) went to the unfancied veteran ERA driven by a precocious new talent.

Top 5 at end of lap. 1st – Stirling Moss (ERA), 2nd – Rudi Fischer (Ferrari privateer), 3rd – Robert Manzon (Gordini), 4th – Giuseppe Farina (Ferrari), 5th – Dennis Poore (Connaught)

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Lap 2 THERE’S A (sic) (recte NO) FUTURE IN ENGLANDS DREAMING – The battle for third hots up as British trio fight it out. Dennis Poore (#19 Connaught) just edges ahead of Eric Thompson (#20 Connaught) & Mike Hawthorn (#13 Cooper privateer)

LAP 2 – Inevitably Moss’s good fortune could not last and entering the same corner that had done for so many drivers in the previous lap, his ERA went the same way adding another retirement from a collapsed suspension. Fischer now took over as leader with Farina steadily closing in on him.  Felice Bonetto’s misfiring Maserati was next to succumb at the same corner. Fortunately the other drivers managed to survive their 2nd encounter.  As the 2 remaining Ferrari’s began to pull away, the chasing pack of British Racing Green and French blue cars alternated position continually. Peter Collins driving the third works HWM put his atrocious start behind him and by keeping out of trouble managed to land in the final corner in 6th gear allowing him to pit before the rest of the chasing pack and exit in 3rd place.      

Top 5 at end of lap. 1st – Fischer (Ferrari privateer), 2nd – Farina (Ferrari), 3rd – Peter Collins (HWM) 4th – Poore (Connaught), 5th – Jean Behra (Gordini)

LAP 3 – Fischer managed to protect his advantage and soon built an unassailable lead. Farina leaving it perhaps a corner too late was in the end a spectator to the wild scenes of celebration as the home fans cheered their Swiss hero to the chequered flag. A relief of sorts for Ferrari who took the win albeit from a privately entered car from the only remaining works Ferrari of Farina. For the British, kudos of the first ever points for a British team (excepting ERA’s Stirling Moss 1st lap bonus point) and a first ever British podium went to Peter Collins’ HWM in 3rd proving the old adage that no matter how bad it looks at the start, you should never give up. In a strange reversal, pole sitter Mike Hawthorn came in 6th and last.

RESULT

1st – Rudi Fischer (SWI) Ferrari privateer – 8 points 

2nd – Giuseppe Farina (IT) Ferrari – 6 points 

3rd – Peter Collins (GB) HWM – 4 points 

4th –  Eric Thompson (GB) Connaught – 3 points 

5th –  Jean Behra (FRA) Gordini – 2 points

1st lap leader – Stirling Moss (GB) ERA – 1 Point 

Championship placings after 1 race

1st Fischer (SWI) Ferrari privateer – 8 points (1 win)

2nd Farina (IT) Ferrari – 6 points (0 wins)

3rd Collins (GB) HWM – 4 points (0 wins)

At the post race conference Ferrari confirmed that both Ascari and Villoresi had picked up injuries and while none were deemed too serious, both drivers would miss the next race. Thailands royal Prince B Bira and first ever Brazilian entrant Gino Branca both driving privately entered Maserati’s would take their places.

NEXT – Race #2 – BELGIUM – Spa-Francorchamps

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