Posts Tagged ‘Juan Manuel Fangio’


1953 sees almost as much upheaval and change to teams as the previous season. With the announcement of Alfa-Romeo and Talbot pulling out of F1, Maserati were given 5 berths at the expense of all the British teams who were only given a single berth each, Gordini despite last seasons victories were also given less than their required places. ERA and Frazer-Nash declined to enter on these terms. Italian team OSCA who had attempted to field a team in 1951 were given a reserve place but the other newcomer, Germany’s AFM were declined entry. In personnel terms the big news is that Fangio is returning after his season long sabbatical. As Ferrari had had the pick of existing drivers and filled all their places, Fangio plumped for a rejuvenated Maserati team bringing with him a couple of Argentine debutants. Mike Hawthorn chose not to stay at Cooper but aiming for immediate success took up with Ferrari. Stirling Moss filled his place at Cooper. Despite only having a single entrant at the start of the season, all 3 remaining British teams entering were given priority for reserve places should slots become available in season.  

The season will increase to eight races with Buenos-Aires added to the calendar after a surge in interest in South America following news of Fangio’s return. Rheims (FRA) returns to replace Rouen Les Essarts (Fra)

Team details

ferrariFERRARI (IT) – Now the undisputed Italian no.1 team following Alfa-Romeo’s demise, this time they can expect a much stiffer challenge compared to last season. Line-up features the two World Champions past and present and the impressive Mike Hawthorn from Cooper.

Drivers:-

#1 Alberto Ascari (IT)

#2 Giuseppe Farina (IT)

#3 Mike Hawthorn (GB)

#21 Luigi Villoresi (IT) 

maseratiMASERATI (IT) – Returning with their strongest team to date, led this time by the exceptional Fangio but with Ferrari having the pick of the Italian drivers having to settle on some untested debutants. Huge funds have been piled into the car and engine development. Team principal hinted that nothing less than the championship will do, failure could result in bankruptcy.

Driver:-

#8 Juan Manuel Fangio (ARG)

#9 Felice Bonetto (IT)

#10 Onofre Marimon (ARG) debutant

#24 Oscar-Alfredo Galvez (ARG) debutant

#25 Hermann Lang (W. GER) debutant

GordiniGORDINI (FR) – Now solely representing French interests following Talbot’s decision to pull out. Hoping to improve on last season and targeting podiums. The only real competition to the Italian teams but may struggle as investment has been cut.

Drivers:-

#11 Maurice Trintignant (FR)

#12 Harry Schell (USA)

#27 Jean Behra (FR)

HWMHWM (GB) –  Along with other British teams, only permitted a single car entry although 3 more drivers are on the reserve list. Hoping to continue where they left off and upset the applecart but unlikely to reproduce last season’s heroics.

Driver:-

#28 Lance Macklin (GB)

 

Cooper (GB) – Entering an official team after last seasons impressive privateer entry in Hawthorn’s hands had socooper impressed. Talented youngster Stirling Moss replaces him but don’t expect miracles.

Driver:-

#13 Stirling Moss (GB)

 

connaughtConnaught (GB) – Have struggled following injuries to their drivers last season. Hoping to improve reliability issues but unlikely to trouble the rest of the field

Driver:-

#19 Roy Salvadori (GB) debutant

The remainder are made up of 5 Privateer entrants comprising 2 Maserati’s, 1 Ferrari, Cooper & Connaught respectively.

Privateer Entrants:-

#26 Emmanuel de Graffenreid (SWI) Maserati

#22 Louis Rosier (FR) Ferrari

#14 Ken Wharton (GB) Cooper

#30 Johnny Claes (BEL) Connaught

#23 Prince B Bira (THAI) Maserati

Reserve Team:-

OSCA (IT) – Mention also goes to OSCA who following an aborted attempt to enter in 1951 have been granted a single reserve slot.

Attached below season template:-

F1 Results 1953


IMG_2884 (1024x768)

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.

IMG_2886 (1024x768)

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)

IMG_2887 (1024x768)

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


1952 and the third season of the historic Formula de is about to commence. This season sees big changes on the team front with a change in formula to engine size (aspirated and supercharged). Lacking government subsides to redesign their cars, both Alfa Romeo and Talbot have withdrawn with just a few privately entered cars potentially appearing later in the season.  Someone’s loss is another’s gain and this time its the turn of the British Garagista’s to swamp the field with a whole host of new and old marques. 

The season will once more comprise seven race’s. New circuits will include Rouen Les Essarts (Fra) for Rheims (Fra), and the daunting Zandvoort (Ned) replacing Pedrables (Spa).

Teams details

ferrariFERRARI (IT) – Clear favourites owing to Alfa-Romeo’s withdrawal.  If a Ferrari driver fails to lift the World Championship this season, expect a National Inquiry.

Drivers:-

#1 Alberto Ascari (IT)

#2 Giuseppe Farina (IT)

#3 Pierro Taruffi (IT)

#21 Luigi Villoresi (IT) 

Gordini

GORDINI (FR) – The only French entrant, a lot more than National pride lies with this team this season.  Expect occasional lower place podiums at best.

Drivers:-

#11 Robert Manzon (FR)

#12 Jean Behra (FR) debutant

#27 Maurice Trintignant (FR)

#7 Johnny Claes (BEL)

maseratiMASERATI (IT) – A shadow of the original team with financial issues affecting car development and driver acquisition

Driver:-

#8 Felice Bonetto (IT)

ERAERA (English Racing Automobiles) (GB) – Founder memebers in 1950, the first British team to try their hand at F1. Also rans who will do well to improve on their previous best place of 9th.

Driver:-

#29 Stirling Moss (GB) debutant

HWMHWM (Hersham & Walton Motors) (GB) –  Despite entering a one driver team last season there were no spare places available to race. However a season in the background will have provided some vital experience in logistics and management although translating this into points may be too much of an ask.

Drivers:-

#28 Paul Frere (BEL) debutant

#15 Lance Macklin (GB) debutant

#16 Peter Collins (GB) debutant

connaughtConnaught (GB) – Debut team. In pre-season tests they looked more impressive than their slightly more experienced countrymen.  But don’t expect points or miracles.

Drivers:-

#19 Dennis Poore (GB) debutant

#20 Eric Thompson (GB) debutant

frazer-nashFrazer-Nash (GB) – Single entrant debut team. Showed some promise in winter tests. Outside chance of picking up a minor points place.

Driver:-

#30 Ken Wharton (GB) debutant

There are also 4 Privateer entrants comprising a single Ferrari and 3 Coopers (another British marque new to F1) that was in the hands of Mike Hawthorn at times impressive and perhaps the most capable of competing on occasion with the Ferrari’s:-

#23 Rudi Fischer (Swi) Ferrari

cooper#13 Mike Hawthorn (GB) debutant

#14 Alan Brown (GB) debutant

#17 Eric Brandon (GB) debutant


IMG_2564

DON’T STAND SO CLOSE TO ME – Lap 1 and the first ever 4 car width grid lines up at Pedralbes

The season finale, Pedralbes (ed Docks fans circuit used to represent owing to length of original course) and just the 2 big guns were left.  Alfa-Romeo’s Juan Manuel Fangio verses Ferrari’s Alberto Ascari. The permutations were simple. With a 2 point advantage for Fangio, Ascari would have to win the race and claim the 1st lap leader bonus point to overturn the score and claim the Championship, irrespective of Fangio’s result.  Winning without the bonus point would only gain him the championship if Fangio did not finish in the top three.  Joining the final race and taking the place of the injured Johnny Claes (Talbot privateer), Luigi Fagioli (Alfa-Romeo) and Gus Mairesse (Talbot privateer) were Harry Schell (Maserati privateer), and debutants Duncan Hamilton and Andre Pilette both Talbot privateer entrants. There was thus no room on the grid all season for British F1 new boys BRM, HWM and the veteran ERA team.

Qualifying was uneventful, the grid lined up using a unique 4-3-4 set up allowing the drivers to be a lot more closely packed.  The weather was glorious sunshine.

LAP 1 – There were 3 stallers including the hapless Schell (2nd consecutive race) at the start but thankfully all the drivers eventually got away.  Going into the very tight first chicane (of no less than 16 corners per lap) debutant Hamilton collided with Philippe Etancelin’s privateer Talbot who was then propelled into the air coming down on top of Maurice Trintignant’s Gordini.  Bad luck continued to haunt the improving Gordini team as Andre Simon’s mount retired shortly after with a suspension issue. Further first lap retirements included Andre Pilette (Talbot privateer) engine, Felice Bonetto (Alfa-Romeo) puncture.

IMG_2567

FOLLOW THE LEADERS – Lap 1 and confusion all around trying to identify who is actually in the lead

As numerous drivers spun early on, the pace became more conservative than usual as drivers attempted to preserve their tyres. Pierro Taruffi (Ferrari) set the early pace and it wasn’t until the end of the 2nd loop section when he was eventually caught by Ascari, Giuseppe Farina (Alfa-Romeo) and further back Fangio. Farina then began to  pull ahead with a masterful entry and exit at Tetris Bend. He then extended his lead and was the first to begin the 2nd lap after pitting for tyres.  Ascari’s hopes of the bonus point had gone making his task that much more difficult.

Top 5 at end of lap. 1st – Farina (Alfa-Romeo), 2nd – Luigi Villoresi (Ferrari), 3rd – Fangio (Alfa-Romeo), 4th – Ascari (Ferrari), 5th – Taruffi (Ferrari)

LAP 2 – Farina commenced the 2nd lap very conservatively allowing Villoresi (who had stormed up the field at the end of the previous lap), Fangio and Ascari to close the gap and negate his advantage.  The brutal nature of the circuit began to tell on the 2nd lap with over 9 incidences of cars spinning out of corners, their tyres shot.  The highest profile was Farina who lost control and was injured in the crash thankfully not fatally. Also to retire were  Yves Giraud-Cabantous (Talbot privateer) tyres, Rudi Fischer (Ferrari privateer) suspension and Schell (Maserati privateer) colliding with Pierre Levegh’s privately entered Talbot. Farina’s retirement and Villoresi’s double spin allowed a hitherto lacklustre Fangio to move up the field into 3rd place, just enough to ensure the championship would be his regardless of Ascari’s final position. Meanwhile, further ahead it was left to Taruffi to take the lead once more following his text book entry/exit at Tetris bend despite damage caused by earlier contact with Farina. Ascari however managed to keep in touch keeping his championship aspirations very much alive into the final lap. 

IMG_2600

AND THEN THERE WERE TWO – Lap 2/3 – Taruffi’s and Ascari’s Ferrari’s begin the third lap with Fangio (Alfa) just visible a distant 3rd and about to pit for tyres

Top 5 at end of lap. 1st – Taruffi (Ferrari), 2nd – Ascari (Ferrari), 3rd – Villoresi (Ferrari), 4th – Fangio (Alfa-Romeo), 5th – Emmanuel de Graffenreid (Alfa-Romeo)

LAP 3 – Taruffi with Ascari in close contact had opened up a sizable gap to the next group featuring Fangio, his task of finishing at the head of that group in 3rd if he was to take the championship looking more perilous as Villoresi pulled clear relegating Fangio to 4th while Ascari shadowed Taruffi with a car in a decidedly better condition. Then Taruffi spun and Ascari was past in a shot.  An imperious move in 5th gear into Pipeline Drive allowed him to move up to 6th into the next corner and beyond.  Fangio was forced to take a more aggressive approach and he hit his next corner perfectly in 5th gear then, De Graffenreid slipstreamed past him but as he entered Pipeline Drive his suspension gave out,  just ahead Villoresi spun letting Fangio back into 3rd place, enough for the Championship title!  But just as he pulled away, Louis Rosier (Talbot privateer) who had been way off the pace blasted past an incredulous Fangio in 6th gear out. Rosier then made the next corner in 6th gear while Fangio was only moving up to 4th gear.

IMG_2602

WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH – LAP 3 – Contrasting fortunes, Ascari (left) takes the chequered flag and the Championship by virtue of more podiums. Fangio (right) meanwhile spins and limps home in 4th

As his championship hopes began to fade Fangio was forced to take even greater risks. Eventually it proved his undoing going into the 3rd last corner, trying to stay in contact with Rosier he lost control and spun. Restarting in first gear his quarry disappeared into the distance. At the same moment, Ascari took the chequered flag. Despite a herculean effort to try to haul himself back into contention he crossed the line in 4th place and as such lost the World Championship. For the second successive season Fangio had ended up as bridesmaid.  The spoils this time went to a jubilant Ascari and Ferrari.        

RESULT

1st – Alberto Ascari (IT) Ferrari – 2 points (8 minus 6 dropped points)

2nd – Pierro Taruffi (IT) Ferrari – 6 points 

3rd – Louis Rosier (FRA) Talbot-privateer – 4 points 

4th – Juan Manuel Fangio (ARG) Alfa-Romeo – 0 points (3 minus 3 dropped points)

5th – Luigi Villoresi (IT) Ferrari – 2 points 

Bonus Point – Giuseppe Farina (IT) Alfa-Romeo

Both the top 2 drivers ended up on 32 points. By virtue of the most podiums (6 to 5) Ascari took the Championship by the narrowest of margins in what will in future always be regarded as a true classic.   

Final Championship placings after 7 races

1st Ascari (IT) Ferrari – 32 points (3 wins, 6 podiums)

2nd Fangio (ARG) Alfa-Romeo – 32 points (3 wins, 5 podiums)

3rd Sanesi (IT) Alfa-Romeo – 16 points (1 win, 3 podiums)

4th Farina (IT) Alfa-Romeo – 14 points (0 wins, 1 podium)

5th= Claes (BEL) Talbot-Lago privateer – 12 points (0 wins, 2 podiums)

5th= Villoresi (IT) Ferrari – 12 points (0 wins, 1 podium)

Link to full results table HERE! F1 Results 1951

NEXT – 1952 – THE BRITISH ARE COMING!


IMG_2498

“IT’S RAINING AGAIN WHOH” – Starting grid at Monza, Schell in his Maserati in 19th place stalls & is forced to retire as the lights go out

Returning to Monza and the scene of Giuseppe Farina’s 1950 title winning victory for Alfa-Romeo, this time it was up to Juan Manuel Fangio to lead the Alfa challenge.  Alberto Ascari in the works Ferrari was 1 point ahead so both drivers knew that victory here AND their opponent failing to finish in the top three would win the championship with a race to spare.  There was also the rank outsider and privateer entrant Johnny Claes in his Talbot who still had a mathematical chance of taking the title if he won both remaining races.

Qualifying was notable for the return of the US’s Harry Schell in his privately entered Maserati.  He qualified 19th of 20 cars over 12 seconds off the leading time.  This was to prove his high point as his car stalled on a wet grid before the lights went out.  Gunning his engine perhaps too vigorously, he was unable to restart and was forced to retire ignominiously having failed to move from the starting grid.

LAP 1 – Claes got a flying start ahead of the rest of the field but was caught by Fangio at Rettifilo. As well as Schells retirement, in the wet conditions a number of drivers came to grief on the opening straight, Peter Whitehead (Ferrari privateer) lost a wheel hitting another driver.  Reg Parnell (Ferrari privateer) collided with Jacques Swaters (Talbot privateer) and Andre Simon (Gordini) also retired following another collision. The debris on the track accounted for a number of retirements from suspension failure. Philippe Etancelin (Talbot privateer), Pierre Levegh (Talbot privateer) and Rudi Fischer (Ferrari privateer) all succumbed.

WHATEVER YOU DO, DON’T BLINK – Lap 1 nearside Ascari (Ferrari), farside Fangio (Alfa-Romeo) just edge Claes (Talbot-Lago)

WHATEVER YOU DO, DON’T BLINK – Lap 1 nearside Ascari (Ferrari), farside Fangio (Alfa-Romeo) just edge Claes (Talbot-Lago)

Ahead of all this carnage the lead changed hands amongst a number of drivers, First Ascari (Ferrari) took the lead at Roggia, then Claes recaptured it at Lesmo only for Ascari to retake it appropriately at Ascari chicane. As the leaders approached the Parabolica curve, Pierro Taruffi (Ferrari) and Maurice Trintignant (Gordini) joined the fray but both were forced to enter the pits due to tyre wear.  This allowed Fangio to retake the lead and claim the 1st Lap leader bonus point. Further back Luigi Villoresi (Ferrari) collected Gus Mairesse (Talbot privateer) at Lesmo prematurely ending the latters season due to a broken wrist. This meant that the field had reduced at the end of the first lap from 20 to 10 runners.

Top 5 at end of lap. 1st – Fangio (Alfa-Romeo), 2nd – Felice Bonetto (Alfa-Romeo), 3rd – Farina (Alfa-Romeo) 4th – Trintignant (Gordini), 5th – Claes (Talbot-Lago privateer)

LAP 2 – Felice Bonetto (Alfa-Romeo) who had been lurking just behind the lead pack timed his exit from Parabolica perfectly to catch Fangio and take the lead going into Rettifilo for the 2nd time. The same could not be said for Ascari who slipped a gear and suddenly found himself back in 6th place. Bonetto gambled entering Ascari chicane in 5th gear but Fangio took a more conservative line allowing Bonetto to open up a good lead. At this point the 3 championship  contenders became 2 as Claes who had been slipping back through the field made a mistake going wide into Lesmo. Driving over debris on the edge of the track his suspension gave out and his car skidded 90 degrees then flipped over exiting the corner.  Knocked unconscious he was lucky to survive the crash as his cork helmet afforded little protection while sat upside down in a rolling Talbot.  Hopefully he will have recovered for next season but will certainly miss this seasons finale.

IMG_2506

JUST ONE BONETTO – Lap 2 Felice Bonetto (Alfa) storms ahead of Fangio having had time to pit for a fresh set of tyres. Ascari lies in a distant 5th

Bonetto extended his lead arriving at the Parabolica curve and decided to pit for fresh tyres.  The move worked well as he managed to exit the pits still ahead of Fangio who decided to continue with his worn tyres in a bid to close the gap. Ascari was now someway distant and and losing touch, his only real hope being if Bonetto could hold on and win the race limiting Fangio’s points haul.

Top 5 at end of lap. 1st – Bonetto (Alfa-Romeo), 2nd – Fangio (Alfa-Romeo), 3rd – Trintignant (Gordini), 4th Farina (Alfa-Romeo), 5th – Ascari (Ferrari)

LAP 3 – Entering Rettifilo in the lead this time it was Bonetto’s turn to negotiate the chicane carefully. Sensing his an opportunity Fangio threw caution to the wind and drove masterfully through the chicane passing Bonetto at the Curva Grande but dangerously wearing his tyres.  There was no such problem for Ascari who had no choice but to attack the chicane if he was to have any chance of keeping in touch. A near perfect manoeuvre saw him move up the field to 3rd just behind the leaders at Roggia. Luigi Fagioli (Alfa-Romeo) lying in 7th crashed badly at Lesmo in a near identical fashion to Claes reducing the field to just 8 runners.  With Ascari moving up to 2nd, Bonetto slipped back and settled for 3rd and a first ever podium. Exiting the final Parabolica curve almost neck and neck both lead drivers surged towards the finish line where Fangio just took the chequered flag by no more than a cars length from Ascari.

IMG_2509

FORZA ITALIA – Lap 3 #4 Fangio’s Alfa-Romeo just edges #1 Ascari’s Ferrari exiting Parabolica curve and taking the chequered flag. Just behind is #9 Bonetto’s Alfa-Romeo and out of shot Farina’s Alfa-Romeo.

RESULT

1st – Juan Manuel Fangio (ARG) Alfa-Romeo – 5 points (8+1 bonus point minus 4 dropped points)

2nd – Alberto Ascari (IT) Ferrari – 2 points (6 minus 4 dropped points)

3rd – Felice Bonetto (IT) Alfa-Romeo – 4 points

4th – Giuseppe Farina (IT) Alfa-Romeo – 3 points

5th – Maurice Trintignant (FRA) Gordini – 2 points

The win gives Fangio 5 points (including the bonus point) taking his total to 32 and 2 points ahead of Ascari who picked up 2 for 2nd place.  Both drivers dropped points from a maximum haul as only their best 4 results count. And so everything is set for a mouth watering finale at the debut and daunting circuit of Pedralbes Spain. 

Championship placings after 6 races

1st Fangio (ARG) Alfa-Romeo – 32 points

2nd Ascari (IT) Ferrari – 30 points

3rd Sanesi (IT) Alfa-Romeo – 16 points

4th Farina (IT) Alfa-Romeo – 13 points

5th Claes (BEL) Talbot-Lago privateer – 12 points

NEXT – SEASON FINALE – SPAIN – Pedralbes


Race 5 visited a new circuit, the picturesque Nürburgring Nordschliefe. As only the drivers best 4 results counted in the championship, points earnt from this race onwards would be at a premium for the leaders. Juan Manuel Fangio needed to finish higher than 4th to earn any points and Alberto Ascari better than 5th.  Peter Whitehead returned from injury but Luigi Fagioli was absent. Qualifying was uneventful. On race day, the weather began dry but conditions were changeable.

Lap 1 - AND THEY'RE OFF. Fangio stalls & is passed by Ascari & Sanesi, behind Farina & Claes pass the stalled Villoresi.

Lap 1 – AND THE RABBIT IS LOOSE. Fangio stalls & is passed by Ascari & Sanesi, behind Farina & Claes pass the stalled Villoresi.

LAP 1 – As the flag went down Fangio (Alfa-Romeo) stalled and was immediately passed by Ascari (Ferrari) and Consalvo Sanesi (Alfa Romeo). 3 other drivers stalled Luigi Villoresi (Ferrari), Peter Whitehead (Ferrari privateer), and Philippe Etancelin (Talbot-Lago privateer).  Whitehead took 3 rounds to get going and was swamped by faster moving cars all around him one of which driven by Maurice Trintignant (Gordini) he came into contact with resulting in both drivers immediate retirement and almost collecting Reg Parnell’s Ferrari as well. Other 1st lap retirements were Louis Rosier (Talbot privateer) who collected Robert Manzon (Gordini) and Andre Simon’s Gordini who sufferered a collapsed suspension.  Then Jacques Swaters (Talbot privateer) and Philippe Levegh (Talbot privateer) took each other out at the Ford Kurve. Shortly after this, rain began to fall on the circuit but miraculously the 13 remaining cars made it round to complete the first lap by which time the short shower had stopped.

Top 5 at end of lap. 1st – Giuseppe Farina (Alfa-Romeo), 2nd – Sanesi (Alfa-Romeo), 3rd – Ascari (Ferrari) 4th – Johnny Claes (Talbot-Lago privateer), 5th – Fangio (Alfa-Romeo)

Lap 2 - "BE SEEING YA" Johnny Claes' Talbot blasts past Sanesi in the pits with Farina about to enter.  Fangio can just be made out a long way back in the distance.

Lap 2 – “BE SEEING YA” Johnny Claes’ Talbot blasts past Sanesi in the pits with Farina about to enter. Fangio can just be made out a long way back in the distance.

LAP 2 – Farina led out Sanesi who soon passed him by some masterful driving. Ascari had a poor pit exit and was caught by Johnny Claes (Talbot privateer). Claes then went on to catch and pass Farina at Dunlop Kehre.  Fangio perhaps pushing too hard made a number of critical mistakes resulting him in slipping down the order and out of the points.  Gus Mairesse (Talbot privateer) crashed out(suspension failure) at the Castrol-S chicane followed shortly after by Yves Giraud-Cabantous (Talbot privateer) whose suspension gave way crossing track debris at Ford Kurve.  At the end of the lap, the leaders once more pitted for fresh “boots” and a stellar tyre change from Claes’ pit crew allowed him to jump Sanesi and go into the final lap in the lead. Ascari decided not to pit in an attempt to close the gap on the leaders.

Top 5 positions at end of lap. 1st – Claes (Talbot), 2nd – Sanesi (Alfa-Romeo), 3rd – Ascari (Ferrari), 4th – Farina (Alfa-Romeo),  5th – Villoresi (Ferrari)

Lap 3 - DON'T STAND SO CLOSE TO ME - The moment Farina's hope of retaining the championship faded. Braking too late his Alfa-Romeo slams into the back of Sanesi's Alfa taking both out at the last corner. In the distance, Ascari prepares to pass Claes for the victory.

Lap 3 – DON’T STAND SO CLOSE TO ME – The moment Farina’s hope of retaining the championship faded. Braking too late his Alfa-Romeo slams into the back of Sanesi’s Alfa taking both out at the last corner. In the distance, Ascari prepares to pass Claes for the victory.

LAP 3 – Events took a dramatic turn on the final lap.  Claes overshot at Castrol-S just holding the car on the racing line but shredding his tyres with almost a whole lap to complete. It could have been worse for him if Sanesi hadn’t damaged his own cars suspension at the same spot as well as Ascari straining his engine braking far too late to enter the chicane but managing to overtake Sanesi with the same move. 2nd, 3rd and 4th places changed throughout the lap until at the entrance to the final corner (Veedol-S into Coca-Cola Kurve) Claes was still hanging on with Ascari, Sanesi and Farina in hot pursuit. Then Farina made his move, attempting to pass Sanesi he misjudged his overtaking speed and rammed Sanesi’s Alfa with such force as to flip him into the air. Farina’s own Alfa was also hors de combat and he pulled up immediately. Worryingly Sanesi needed medical assistance to extricate him from his striken motor and it appears likely that he will miss the rest of the season.  The drama continued further ahead as Claes once more eeking out every possible ounce of abilty out of a worn out and underpowered car exited the corner just ahead of Ascari. As both drivers put the pedal to the mettle it was Ascari with the Ferrari’s superior speed and handling that took the chequered flag and Claes the ex jazz band  trumpeter had to settle for being bridesmaid once more. Then in a final twist Villoresi and Bonetto appeared to have 3rd and 4th sewn up (being newly promoted owing to Farina’s incident) when Fangio lying in 5th threw caution to the wind and gambled on the famed reliability of his Alfa-Romeo blasting out of Coca-Cola curve at an insane pace to pass ahead of the two and take the final podium and perhaps more critically a single championship point after a dropped score. The minor non points places went to Fischer (Ferrari privateer), Taruffi (Ferrari), Parnell (Ferrari privateer) and Etancelin (Talbot-privateer).

Result

1st – Alberto Ascari (IT) Ferrari – 6 points (8 minus 2 dropped points)

2nd – Johnny Claes (BEL) Talbot-Lago – 6 points

3rd – Juan Manuel Fangio (ARG) Alfa-Romeo – 1 point (4 minus 3 dropped points)

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

5th – Felice Bonetto (IT) Alfa-Romeo – 2 points

Lap Leader bonus point – Giuseppe Farina (IT) Alfa-Romeo

So with just 2 races to go, Ascari moves ahead of Fangio by a single point, Sanesi lying in 3rd is out for the rest of the season so the only other driver in contention is Claes in 4th place. Reigning champion Farina lies in a distant 5th, 18 points adrift and unable to catch the leader 

Championship placings after 5 races

1st Ascari (IT) Ferrari – 28 points

2nd Fangio (ARG) Alfa-Romeo – 27 points

3rd Sanesi (IT) Alfa-Romeo – 16 points

4th Claes (BEL) Talbot-Lago privateer – 12 points

NEXT – ITALY – Monza


Following the Summer break Formula de moved to Silverstone GB.  Piero Taruffi returned but Baron Emmanuel de Graffenried who was injured at Rheims was absent. Qualifying in the wet passed uneventfully. On race day, rain continued.

Exiting Club on Lap 1, Bonetto comes in too hot allowing the rest of the field to prepare to overtake

Exiting Club on Lap 1, Bonetto comes in too hot allowing the rest of the field to prepare to overtake

LAP 1 – With wet conditions and more importantly 3 cars starting abreast on each of the grids it was always likely that there would be a coming together which is exactly what happened when Luigi Fagioli (Alfa Romeo) clipped Jacques Swaters (Talbot-Lago privateer) and further back Reg Parnell (Ferrari privateer and the only British entrant who qualified a disastrous 19th) shunted a slow moving Rudi Fischer (Ferrari privateer). All 4 cars failed to pass the start line with Fagioli unlikely to be able to make the next race owing to injury. Gus Mairesse (Talbot-Lago privateer) in just his 2nd race, stalled and was unable to restart thus retiring from the race without moving.  The field slowly spread as most drivers drove conservatively in the conditions keen not to collide with each other. At Club corner Felice Bonetto (Alfa Romeo) and Johnny Claes (Talbot-Lago privateer) paid the price going into the corner too fast which allowed the rest of the lead pack to move up to higher gears and pass them as they charged into Abbey straight.  Even the more experienced drivers had difficulty here as Alberto Ascari‘s Ferrari clipped Juan Manuel Fangio‘ s Alfa Romeo who luckily just managed to avoid going into a spin. Giuseppe Farina in his Alfa Romeo crossed the line first to take the bonus point but his cars suspension had collapsed driving over the debris left from the start of the race forcing him to pull after crossing the line.
Sanesi leads, Farina and Fangio take opposite lines while Ascari tries to force his way through and comes into contact with Fangio. Bonetto takes evasive action behind while Claes tries to catch up

Lap 1 – Abbey Straight – Sanesi leads, Farina & Fangio are neck and neck while Ascari tries to force his way through and comes into contact with Fangio. Bonetto immediately behind takes evasive action with Claes in the distance.

Top 5 at end of lap. 1st – Farina (Alfa-Romeo) retired immediately after crossing line,  2nd – Consalvo Sanesi (Alfa-Romeo), 3rd – Fangio (Alfa-Romeo), 4th – Ascari (Ferrari) 5th – Louis Rosier (Talbot-Lago)

LAP 2 – With Farina’s retirement Fangio moved up to Sanesi and passed him without incident, Ascari followed suit after a quick splash ‘n dash pit stop. As the lap wore on the lead 2 cars extended their lead with Ascari finding it increasingly difficult to stay in touch with the leader. Further back Yves Giraud-Cabantous (Talbot) also came to grief at the same spot as Farina, other retirements were Maurice Trintignant (Gordini) collision, Philippe Etancelin (Talbot) puncture leaving a field of 11 from the 20 starters. At the end of the lap at Luffield a number of cars struggled with worn tyres and grip (see photo inset).

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

Lap 2 - Drivers fail to take heed of gloomy skies at Luffield. Rosier & Simon spin ahead of Trintignants stricken Gordini, Bonetto & Villoresi check their speed while Claes struggles to slow in the wet.

Lap 2 – Drivers fail to take heed of gloomy skies at Luffield. Rosier & Simon spin ahead of Trintignants stricken Gordini, Bonetto & Villoresi check their speed while Claes struggles to slow in the wet.

LAP 3 – The final lap became somewhat processional as Fangio extended his lead over Ascari who in turn pulled ahead of the chasing pack with these positions staying the same to the chequered flag.  The remaining 3 points paying places were fought over in a battle royale by no less than 5 drivers who changed positions right to the end. Sanesi eventually took the last podium place from Luigi Villoresi (Ferrari), Taruffi (Ferrari), Rosier (Talbot) and Bonetto (Alfa-Romeo). Claes and Andre Simon (Gordini) were the final retirees.

Result

1st – Juan Manuel Fangio (ARG) Alfa Romeo – 8 points

2nd – Alberto Ascari (IT) Ferrari – 6 points

3rd – Consalvo Sanesi (IT) Alfa Romeo – 4 points

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

5th – Piero Taruffi (IT) Ferrari – 2 points

Lap Leader bonus point – Giuseppe Farina (IT) Alfa Romeo

The result means that Fangio extends his lead to 4 points over nearest rival Ascari.

Championship placings after 4 races

1st Fangio (ARG) Alfa Romeo – 26 points

2nd Ascari (IT) Ferrari – 22 points

3rd Sanesi (IT) Alfa Romeo – 16 points

4th Farina (IT) Alfa Romeo – 9 points

5th Villoresi (IT) Ferrari – 7 points

NEXT – WEST GERMANY – Nurburgring


Rheims, (ed – masquerading as the Monterrey board for lack of suitable alternative) the champagne region of France, and host for the 2nd year running to the French Grand Prix.  Following the Spa injuries to Chiron & Taruffi, Frenchman Gus Mairesse & Belgian Jacques Swaters are given berths entering as privateers in Talbot-Lago‘s.  The Qualifying is uneventful and dry but come race day the heavens open setting the scene more reminiscent of Spa.

IMG_1867LAP 1 – This time Claes (Talbot) got the jump on the leaders and led into the first corner, Villoresi (Ferrari) & Fangio (Alfa-Romeo) in hot pursuit.  Further back Pierre Levegh stalled for the 2nd consecutive time but fortunately got away next round. Etancelin, de Graffenreid and Giraud-Cabantous also had poor getaways.  This led to a very congested first corner (ed – a 2 stopper in formula de speak) and inevitably there was a coming together. Andre Simon and Levegh took each other off followed shortly after by Rudi Fischer and Mairesse.  The damage didn’t stop there as debris was littered in piles all over the corner accounting for Sanesi, Etancelin, Manzon, Trintignant and Swaters. 9 drivers out all in the first corner of the lap!  Claes then made one mistake too many and spun allowing Fangio and the drivers that had avoided the pile up to catch and pass.
Just before the pile up Claes, Villoresi and Fangio lead the others away blissfully unaware of the carnage about to follow

Just before the pile up Claes, Villoresi and Fangio lead the others away blissfully unaware of the carnage about to follow

Top 5 at end of lap. 1st – Fangio (Alfa-Romeo), 2nd – Farina (Alfa-Romeo), 3rd – Ascari (Ferrari), 4th – Parnell (Ferrari) 5th – Claes  (Talbot)

LAP 2 – Fangio pulled further ahead foregoing a pit-stop for tyre change. Farina was obliged to follow suit but most of the other drivers came in for a precautionary stop for fuel and tyres.  Again the 1st corner did for more drivers, this time Claes & Parnell who were in 4th and 5th respectively and further back Villoresi & Cabantous. Just 7 cars completed the 2nd lap making this the most attritional race of the season so far.

Top 5 positions at end of lap. 1st – Fangio (Alfa-Romeo), 2nd – Farina (Alfa-Romeo), 3rd – Ascari (Ferrari), 4th – Bonetto (Alfa-Romeo),  5th – Rosier (Talbot)

LAP 3 – The final lap became for the most part a processional one with the top 3 well ahead but with no chance of catching each other.  Fagioli & de Graffenreid were the final 1st corner victims, de Graffenreids crash being nasty enough to rule him out of the next two races. The order remained the same for the top three taking the chequered flag with just Bonetto and Rosier exchanging places continually up to the final corner where Rosier just pipped Bonetto to 4th.  With only 5 finishers this race has become the one with the least finishers in Formula de history albeit just one and a half seasons old, beating last seasons previous worst…………..also Rheims where in changeable conditions 6 managed to finish that time.

Result

1st – Juan Manuel Fangio ARG (Alfa-Romeo) – 8 points +1 1st Lap Leader

2nd – Giuseppe Farina IT (Alfa-Romeo) – 6 points

3rd – Alberto Ascari (Ferrari) – 4 points

4th – Louis Rosier FRA (Talbot) – 3 points

5th – Felice Bonetto IT (Alfa Romeo) – 2 points

Fangio moves into the lead in the championship with 18 points, Ascari 2nd with 16 and Sanesi not scoring drops to 3rd with 12 points. Last years champion Farina after a slow start moves up to 4th with 8 points.

NEXT – GREAT BRITAIN – Silverstone


Spa-Francorchamps, that most demanding of circuits welcomed the F1 circus for a sunny 2nd race of the 1951 season. After the horrific injury to Gonzalez and with Whitehead also absent through injury their places were taken by Pierre Levegh & Swiss newcomer Rudi Fischer, both privateer entrants driving Talbots. The top 5 drivers having collected points in the previous race received byes for qualification and occupied the first 5 slots on the grid. Fastest of the qualifiers were Parnell and Fagioli. Last years champion Farina still somewhat out of sorts qualified on the grid in 10th place.

Sanesi (Alfa Romeo), Fangio (Alfa Romeo) & Villoresi (Ferrari) occupy the front rowLAP 1 – Just as at Bremgarten before, an incident right at the start put paid to 2 drivers races. This time Manzon (who had been eliminated by Fagioli in that accident at Bremgarten) collided with Maurice Trintignant‘s Gordini, prematurely ending both drivers races. Etancelin & Levegh stalled on the starting grid, Etancelin getting away the next round but Levegh’s Talbot engine had expired and his car was wheeled off without having gotten started.

Other first lap retirements were Andre Simon (Gordini) engine, Fischer (Talbot) engine, Etancelin (Talbot) suspension & Cabantous (Talbot) suspension.

Ascari as at Bremgarten got away well, of the pursuers local boy Johnny Claes, picked his way through the field to lead the chase.

Top 5 positions at end of lap. 1st – Ascari (Ferrari), 2nd – Claes (Talbot), Bonetto (Alfa Romeo), 4th Sanesi (Alfa Romeo) 5th – Rosier (Talbot)

IMG_1744LAP 2 – 13 cars were left. Most of the drivers had pitted for fresh tyres (Fangio & Farina 2 notable exceptions).  Ascari having pocketed the lap leader bonus point was caught at Eau Rouge by Claes to the delight of the locals. Fangio who had had a poor start began to move up the field as did Farina who nevertheless was still out of the points paying places. A number of near misses left debris around the track but thankfully there were no retirements. As the lap was concluded a number of drivers were nervously looking at their cars condition and no doubt wondering whether they would have to nurse them home and lose places or take risks

Top 5 positions at end of lap. 1st – Claes (Talbot), 2nd – Ascari (Ferrari), 3rd – Sanesi (Alfa Romeo), 4th Fangio (Alfa Romeo), 5th – Bonetto (Alfa Romeo)

IMG_1752LAP 3 – Claes led out but with no fuel points to use he knew he would be under extreme pressure from the chasing pack.  He was caught at Kemmel by Ascari but refused to give up the place and retook the lead at Les Combes.

Behind them Fangio began to move up and passed Sanesi. Louis Chiron (Talbot) collided with Pierro Taruffi (Ferrari) exiting Pouhon. Both drivers were injured and taken to hospital. Chirons injuries and broken bones ending his season but thankfully not his career.

At the front, Claes using all his local knowledge and guile managed to hold Ascari at bay until Blanchimont where the Ferrari’s superior speed and handling finally told. Exiting the Bus stop chicane Ascari powered over the line breaking Belgian hearts as Claes had to settle for 2nd. This result however was Ferrari’s first win since the championship began. Fangio pushing perhaps too hard made a mistake entering the Bus Stop which Sanesi capitalised on to grab 3rd and the last podium spot.  Further drama entailed behind as Bonetto spun and let in Farina for the last points position and the Champions grateful first point haul

IMG_1753 Result

1st Alberto Ascari IT (Ferrari) – 8 points +1 1st Lap Leader

2nd – Johnny Claes BEL (Talbot) – 6 points

3rd – Consalvo Sanesi IT (Alfa Romeo) – 4 points

4th – Juan Manuel Fangio ARG (Alfa Romeo) – 3 points

5th – Giuseppe Farina IT (Alfa Romeo) – 2 points

The lead in the championship was now shared between Sanesi & Ascari with 12 points each, with Fangio staying in touch with 9 points.

NEXT – FRANCE – Rheims


IMG_1679 I’ve been playing historical solitaire seasons for a few years now and as my original campaign began at 1958, I decided to start over back to the inaugural F1 season.

I used the historical drivers and cars of the time, using an arbitrary simple seeding system by way of available wear points depending on how they actually performed during that season. For example Farina in his Alfa Romeo had 20WP’s to allocate whereas Harrison in his uncompetitive ERA just 8WP’s. No more science than that as I needed to keep the game simple.

Where possible I used the actual circuits of the time. Having a full set of boards helped as well as the online BGG resources for some of the unpublished circuits. Where none were available I used an alternative that seemed most appropriate to use whether geographical or approximate course similarity. Grids were based on historical ones also thus some courses had 3 cars next to each other on each starting grid.

The scoring system was based on the historical one, 1st = 8pts, 2nd = 6, 3rd = 4, 4th= 3 & 5th = 2. To cater for the fastest lap point without resorting to a stop watch, I gave the bonus point to the lap leader on the 1st lap. Only the best 4 results count in the 6 race campaign. US Indianapolis was not used as most drivers did not enter.

All races were of 3 laps and the field was limited to 20 cars. All standard & advanced formula de rules except time trials and soft tyres were used. The following link takes you to the speadsheet beauty I use for this game.

F1 Results 1950

Silverstone – The Alfa Romeo’s only qualify mid position and get slowed by avoiding an accident and debris at the first corner. Louis Chiron pulls ahead and earns the lap leader point by being in first place after the 1st lap. Luigi Fagioli is the big name retirement early on. Surprisingly as the weather changes mid race to rain there are no more serious accidents and just privateer Cuth Harrison in his ERA is the only injury to add to that of Eugene Chaboud during qualifying. 14 cars finish with Louis Rosier taking the win in his Talbot from unfancied Dorino Serafini’s Ferrari and Chiron’s Maserati. No points for any of the Alfa Romeo drivers.

Monte-Carlo – A sunny race, I expected high driver attrition but it didn’t materialise and 14 finished. The Alfa’s must have been smarting from the previous race as despite modest qualifying positions all 4 locked out the top 4 positions, joint favourite Giuseppe Farina taking the win and bonus point, Juan Manuel Fangio 2nd, Reg Parnell 3rd and Fagioli 4th. Serafini’s Ferrari picked up the last points paying place.

Bremgarten – Changeable conditions including rain and the nature of the course with lots of 5th and 6th gear opportunities saw the field reduced from 20 starters to just 11 cars starting the 2nd lap. 5 of the 11 drivers picked up injuries, which were serious enough for Chaboud, Emmanuel de Graffenried & replacement Pierre Levegh to rule them out for the rest of the season. Car failures continued into the 2nd lap with race leader Farina coming to grief after his engine gave out. Rival Fangio took full advantage of his misfortune to take his first win. Rosier took 2nd and Alberto Ascari claimed his first points of the campaign finishing 3rd.

Spa-Francorchamps – Anyone who has raced this classic circuit knows what a challenge it can be so spare a thought for some drivers who lined up with just 8 WP’s for a 3 lap race, (2 tyres, 2 brakes and just 1 point of everything else.) I expected carnage especially with changeable conditions again and 5 replacement drivers in 8WP cars but despite some spectacular DNF’s 8 cars managed to get round. Unsurprisingly the top 3 seeded Alfa Romeo’s all finished in the points, Ascari’s Ferrari was unable to hold off 2 of them after the first lap and he had to settle for 3rd behind Fangio winning again & Farina bouncing back to take 2nd .

So after the 4th race just 8 drivers still stood a chance of taking the championship.

8th Reg Parnell – Alfa Romeo – 4pts
7th Luigi Fagioli – Alfa Romeo – 7pts
6th Dorino Serafini – Ferrari – 8pts
5th Alberto Ascari – Ferrari – 9pts
4th Louis Chiron – Maserati – 11pts
3rd Louis Rosier – Talbot – 14pts
2nd Giuseppe Farina – Alfa Romeo – 16 pts
1st Juan Manuel Fangio – Alfa Romeo – 22pts

Rheims – This race separated the men from the boys with just 6 finishers. Only 3 of the top 8 completed 3 laps. Once more the changeable conditions and rain played havoc with tyre management especially early on. Fagioli was well ahead at the start but couldn’t sustain his push after pitting on the 3rd lap. Rosier had a horrific crash on the 2nd lap that he was fortunate to survive but that ruled him out of the final race. The first privateer driver scored points in this race, Johnny Claes in a Talbot took 5th but the real news was at the front where Farina had taken his 2nd win ahead of Fangio to set up a final 2 car shoot out.

Monza – In front of a partisan crowd just the top 2 drivers had the chance of lifting the trophy. The maths could be complicated with Fangio on 28 points and Farina on 24. As only counting your top 4 results, Fangio could only add to his score if he won the race. For Farina to overhaul him though, he would have to finish ahead of Fangio in at least 2nd place unless he could secure the bonus point when 3rd would do. So with a circuit that really punishes you if you pit and your opponent doesn’t, the race began. At the end of the first lap Farina had indeed secured the bonus point but was followed closely by Fangio. If it ended this way, the laurel wreath would go to Farina. With no concerns about the weather the course favoured cars that could push hard and not worry so much about overshooting tyre wear. But at the start of the 2nd lap at the 2 stop Retifilio chicane debris was covering all 3 lanes making suspension damage a concern to all drivers. Farina and Fangio successfully negotiated the corner but Fangio picked up suspension damage and overshot the corner badly, behind him more cars added to the debris on this corner. Farina must have sensed this was his chance as a series of spectacular dice rolls saw him land in each corner direct from the last one while Fangio began to slip and had to downshift on 2 corners. The 3rd lap was more of a victory lap for Farina as Fangio had to pit to repair his car. So in the end Farina won by a very big margin from a despondent Fangio in 2nd who failed to collect any points. Final score Farina 33, Fangio 28.

So history repeated itself but in a satisfyingly different way in the end. Next the 1951 season with new circuits and new drivers, Stirling Moss commencing his career in a very dodgy HWM and Froilan Gonzalez joining Ascari to lead the Ferrari challenge. Farina although the reigning champion will find that 3 other drivers have more WP’s than him and that holding onto his title might prove even harder than winning this one.