#14 1951 Italian Grand Prix

2021-04-07 00:00

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#1951, Fulvio Conti, Nicoletta Zuppardo,

#14 1951 Italian Grand Prix

On Wednesday, August 15, 1951, the giants of motorsport gathered in Pescara. All the racing aces challenged the fast Abruzzo circuit, with huge crowds


On Wednesday, August 15, 1951, the giants of motorsport gathered in Pescara. All the racing aces challenged the fast Abruzzo circuit, with huge crowds in attendance, especially in the pre-war era when the silver and impressive cars of the German brands Mercedes and Auto-Union attracted numerous spectators. Last year, Fangio's Alfa Romeo sped at 310 km/h on the straight kilometer, but this year it seems that the Milanese brand will not be present. Ferrari, on the other hand, has entered with its new 4500 cc cars without a supercharger, which have won the two most recent World Championship races at Silverstone with Gonzalez and at the Nurburgring with Ascari. If Alfa Romeo does not change its mind, the lineup for the Pescara race will reflect the new and unexpected situation created in the automotive world due to Ferrari's consecutive victories. The dominance of Alfa seemed absolute and eternal. Now it appears that the World Champion brand needs a break from racing to better prepare for a comeback, as the 1951 season still offers opportunities for the races in Bari, Monza, and Peña Rhin. However, the Pescara Grand Prix promises good technical and sporting interest, not only for the race where Ferraris will compete against the Talbots of Rosier, Chiron, Etancelin, and Claes, and the Maseratis of De Graffenried and Schell but also for the six-hour race scheduled for Sunday with around sixty entries from national series and national gran turismo categories. On Saturday, August 11, newspapers reported that Alfa Romeo was not listed in the entries for the six-hour race, even though initial reports from Pescara had announced the telegraphic confirmation of Bonetto, Fangio, and Grolla with three Alfa 1900cc cars. However, a telegram from Alfa Romeo arrived the night before at the organizers, dashing the expected duel between Milanese cars and Aurelias in the gran turismo category. Nevertheless, the six-hour race still held interest due to the presence of Valenzano, Bernabel, Ammendola, Bellucci, Anselmi, and possibly Bracco - all in Aurelias - who would face Cornacchia in a Ferrari. The six-hour race took place on the magnificent Pescara circuit from 6:00 PM to midnight on Sunday, August 12, and attracted entries from national series and national gran turismo categories. 


The duel between Cornacchia (Ferrari 2560) and the Biellese Bracco's Aurelia unfolded immediately. Cornacchia took a 12-second lead, but at the end of the first hour, Bracco took the lead as Cornacchia, who had set the fastest lap time (12'21"4/5 at an average of 123.950), retired after going off the track at Cappelle, sliding on an oil slick, with no consequences but damaging his Ferrari. Cornacchia's withdrawal gave Bracco a clear path, and he continued his excellent race, maintaining the lead over Valenzano, Amendola, and Anselmi, all in Aurelias. With the evening approaching, special lighting systems came on, and an orchestra invited the audience to dance. Bracco, however, wanted a decisive victory, persistently widening the gap between him and the pursuers. He improved his lap time to 12'12"1 at an average of 124.669 km/h. After the sixth hour of racing, the cars were stopped; Bracco received much applause, and so did Mrs. Piazza, who completed a courageous race. On Sunday, August 12, the seventh sports car race in Senigallia took place. The first five laps were of great interest, with Villoresi and Marzotto racing closely, fighting for the lead. The 25-year-old winner of the 1950 Mille Miglia managed to compete with a champion like Villoresi, creating excitement among the numerous spectators. However, in the heat of the race, Marzotto may have taken too many risks; at the curve of Via Annibal Caro, his car skidded and crashed into the protective barriers made of straw bales. Screams of fright echoed from the crowd: the car was destroyed, and Marzotto's face was covered in blood. People rushed to the scene, but the driver emerged from the cockpit on his own, reaching the stands on foot. His family awaited him anxiously, and a warm applause greeted the unlucky driver, who seemed to downplay the injuries to his nose and chin sustained in the off-road incident. However, in the evening, hospitalization at the Senigallia civil hospital became necessary, where Dr. Pironi applied some stitches to his face and kept him under observation. The injured driver's condition, however, did not raise concerns. With Marzotto's withdrawal, the race became easy for Villoresi, who won undisturbed at an average of 150.788 km/h, beating Scotti by over half a minute. Stagnoli finished third, over three minutes behind. On Monday, August 13, 1951, preparations began for the Pescara Grand Prix, scheduled for Wednesday, August 15. The first to take to the circuit were the drivers of the official Ferrari team: Ascari, the Argentine Gonzalez, and Gigi Villoresi. The French drivers who would race on Talbot cars also arrived: Chiron, Levegh, Etancelin, and Mairesse, who replaced the Belgian Claes. 


After the initial test laps, Ascari was the fastest, consistently improving his lap time and finally setting an excellent 10'46"4, at an average of 143.099 km/h. Villoresi also marked a good time after some practice laps: 11'13"4. Gonzalez, not familiar with the circuit, recorded a time of 12'03"1. Etancelin clocked a time of 12'19"0. The lap distance was 25.800 meters, with two additional artificial variants beyond the normal one before the stands, introduced as speed reducers upon request from a tire manufacturer. Fangio's participation in this Grand Prix, announced during the six-hour race, fell through. Fangio was present as a simple spectator and companion to his compatriot Gonzalez. Alfa Romeo would indeed be absent from the Grand Prix, as was the case with the six-hour race. The success of the Ferrari team seemed certain. Never before had there been only two Italian drivers at the Pescara Grand Prix. In addition to Ascari and Villoresi, the other twelve competitors in the race were all foreigners. Alfa Romeo would be absent, and consequently, Farina, Taruffi, and Sanesi would not participate. There was hope that, given the absence of the Milanese team, the Turin world champion could exceptionally drive the new English B.R.M., but this did not happen. Nevertheless, the Pescara Grand Prix retained significant technical and spectacular interest, especially with the participation of the 4500 cc Ferraris without a supercharger, which were the most modern and powerful cars and currently the most sought after, having won the two recent World Championship races at Silverstone and the Nurburgring. The three drivers from the Maranello team, Ascari, Villoresi, and Gonzalez, trained extensively, showing that Ferrari took this race seriously, where its large cars played the role of absolute dominators. The result was a foregone conclusion, but Pescara provided Ferrari with an excellent opportunity for new tests. However, it cannot be said that the tests did not interest the French and other competitors. They also started testing on the circuit with Chiron, Rosier, Etancelin, Mairesse, and Levegh, all of whom had Talbot cars. This year, two new curves were added to the permanent variant to slow down the speed of the cars, reaching about 300 km/h on the two long straights. Therefore, it would be impossible to compare the results with those obtained by the German cars in the pre-war period and Fangio's results in 1950 on the Alfa Romeo 158. These new variants were requested by tire manufacturers, probably to prevent dangers regarding tire grip. 


On Tuesday, August 14, 1951, the tests for the Pescara Grand Prix confirmed the superiority of the 4500 cc Ferrari cars without a supercharger over the Talbot cars and Alberto Ascari's dominance over the other thirteen competitors. Ascari further improved his lap time from the previous day, setting it at 10'43"3. This time was slightly higher than the average dreamt of by Fangio on the Alfa Romeo 158 the previous year, which was 145.671 km/h, but at that time, the circuit had only one variant and not three as this year. Therefore, Ascari's performance was of considerable significance. Villoresi also improved his time from the previous day, completing a lap in 10'49"1. After the two main representatives of the Ferrari team, Chiron on Talbot distinguished himself, recording a good 11'23"2, while Gonzalez, the third driver of the Ferrari team, despite improving his average, could not surpass the Frenchman, clocking a time of 11'41"2. The Argentine driver complained about gearbox issues and could not train adequately. Rosier (Talbot) recorded a time of 11'57"0. Among the Maserati drivers (private entries with personal cars), the best time was set by the usual Swiss driver De Graffenried, at 13'13"2. On Wednesday, August 15, 1951, the Pescara Grand Prix began. At the start, Villoresi brilliantly took the lead, followed closely by Gonzalez. The Talbot cars remained behind from the start, with both Rosier and Chiron losing 50 to 55 seconds each lap systematically, eventually having a delay of over seven minutes. All the other drivers raced for positions behind them. Villoresi led for three laps, but on the fourth, he stopped for the change of rear tires, handing over the lead of his car to Ascari, who had reached the pits along with Bracco. Ascari accelerated like a rocket, dragging the car lifting device with him and had to stop to allow the mechanics to disentangle it. Obviously, misfortune pursued Ferrari's number one driver because he could only complete half a lap on this car, subsequently retiring due to a mechanical failure. Thus, the only two Italians in the race disappeared from the competition, and Gonzalez had a clear path to victory. In fact, only an accident or a break in an essential part of his car could prevent him from seizing victory because neither Rosier, Chiron, nor Etancelin were able to threaten him. Meanwhile, De Graffenried retired due to issues with the gearbox of his Maserati, and Giraud-Cabantous and Mairesse also disappeared from the race on Talbot cars. The refueling of the remaining Maseratis in the race continues in the next two laps, the only cars that have to stop to refuel, as the others (Ferrari and Talbot) can complete the entire race without refueling. 


Gonzalez, continuing his fast race, pushes on even without competitors and overtakes numerous opponents. Then he stops, losing 27 seconds for the change of the rear tires. In the midfield positions, Whithead stands out, climbing to fifth place by overtaking Schell and Branca. In the final phase, Chiron, proceeding cautiously due to brake issues, encounters the straw protective barriers at the variant just before the grandstands and is overtaken by Etancelin, while Branca prevails over Schell, who had overtaken him during the pit stop. Applauded, Gonzalez crosses the finish line where he is embraced by his wife and celebrated by his friend and compatriot Fangio, as well as by numerous Argentinians present. He writes his name in the golden book of the Pescara Grand Prix, after a tumultuous race that saw him as the sole survivor of the three drivers of the new Ferrari 4500. The Argentine driver has also improved the overall average speed of the course, which was set by compatriot Fangio last year on an Alfa Romeo, increasing it from 135.378 km/h to 131.603 km/h. On Sunday, September 2, for the first time in 1951, the cars of the two bitter rivals, Alfa Romeo and Ferrari, will confront each other at the Bari circuit on Italian soil. The Grand Prix of the season has taken place entirely abroad, and the last two races, at Silverstone and the Nurburgring, have reversed the situation, breaking the long dominance of Alfa and revealing Gonzalez as an ace capable of fighting on par with the best. The World Championship will resume on Sunday, September 16, at Monza: the double defeat has not brought down Alfa, but it has had the effect of two hard blows to the pride of the reigning World Champion. To better prepare, the team abstained from the August race in Pescara, where the retirements of Ascari and Villoresi allowed Gonzalez another victory. Meanwhile, Alfa's technicians have worked to squeeze every ounce of energy from the old and glorious 1500 cc cars with compressors, perfecting and improving them as much as possible. During this week, Farina and Fangio have tested the new cars at Monza; any dissension between the world champion and the Argentine ace seems to have been resolved with the agreement to draw lots for the race cars. The Bari race will be a dress rehearsal for September 16, and the training sessions at the circuit have already unofficially broken Farina's lap record set last year. The record was about 180 km/h, and Ascari and Gonzalez have exceeded 140 km/h, while Farina reached 137 km/h.


On Sunday, September 2, 1951, during the first lap, Fangio takes the lead, followed immediately by Ascari, with Villoresi and Farina a few seconds behind. Gonzalez, after going off the track shortly after the start, and the Brazilian Landi are at the tail end of the roaring carousel. During the sixth lap, Ascari brakes suddenly to avoid a late French car, makes several U-turns, loses time, and drops to fourth place. During the ninth lap, Farina retires due to a valve failure. Fangio, Villoresi, Ascari, and Gonzalez continue the race in the top positions, followed by the Brazilian Landi and the Frenchman Rosier. Not far behind is Taruffi. Ascari's pursuit is daring, but on lap 18, after taking the track record, the Milanese ace no longer passes due to a fire that broke out in the tail of the car. At the end of lap 20, Fangio leads Villoresi, who is chasing him tenaciously at 32 seconds, while Gonzalez is about 2 minutes behind, and Taruffi and Rosier have already been lapped. Shortly after, it is learned that Fangio's car has a gearbox problem; the driver cannot engage the third gear but manages miraculously nonetheless. When, on lap 28, Fangio is forced to refuel, Villoresi, who has recovered 2 seconds per lap against his rival, takes the lead in the race. It is the most exciting moment of the race, but only for a short time because Fangio, after refueling in record time, starts the chase again and after one lap finds the opponent irrevocably stopped at the third curve due to a broken oil pipe. For Ferrari, there is no choice but to rely on Gonzalez, who takes risks, gaining a lot of ground. At the end of lap 35, only 15 seconds separate the two Argentine drivers from Alfa and Ferrari. At the end of lap 40, after the twists and turns, the cars are reduced to nine, and among the retirees is also the Brazilian Landi due to a gearbox failure in his Maserati. Fifteen laps before the end of the race, the positions stabilize, and Fangio's victory is assured because Gonzalez not only fails to catch up but also loses more precious seconds. The Alfa Romeo cars entered in the Italian Grand Prix, which will take place on Sunday, September 16, 1951, at the Monza circuit over a distance of 504 kilometers, will have as their direct opponents the 4500 cc Ferraris and the 1500 cc English B.R.M. with centrifugal compressors. The performance of the 2560 cc Ferrari built according to the formula planned for 1954 is also eagerly awaited. 


The completely new Osca of the Maserati brothers, a product of craftsmanship rather than industry, is also awaited with curiosity. The Italian Grand Prix will serve as the penultimate round of the World Championship and will be preceded in the morning by the voiturette Grand Prix, reserved for racing cars up to 1100 cc without a compressor. The prizes amount to 12.000.000 lire, in addition to those from the manufacturers, and the competitors will be covered by insurance, provided by the organizing committee, for significant amounts (100.000.000 lire in the event of a disaster, 10.000.000 per damaged person, 5.000.000 for damage to third-party property). In the afternoon of Wednesday, September 12, 1951, during unofficial tests at the Monza circuit, the Alfa Romeo of test driver Consalvo Sanesi catches fire during a pit stop while the mechanics are refueling it. It is presumed that the abundant fuel stream caught fire, touching some part of the car heated during the previous test laps. The driver and three mechanics remain engulfed in flames, despite the immediate use of many fire extinguishers. Sanesi and two mechanics suffer non-serious burns and are hospitalized in Monza; the driver will recover in seven days, one mechanic is immediately discharged after treatment, while another is kept in the ward, but his condition is not a cause for concern. Sanesi's participation in the race is thus ruled out, and it is likely that Alfa Romeo will replace him with Chiron, while another great name that comes to mind instinctively is Luigi Fagioli, who is already familiar with Alfa for having participated in the World Championship last year. The inconvenience could also weigh on the performance of the team of mechanics because two men trained for the special task of races cannot be easily replaced. During the morning, Fangio and Farina test; the Argentine laps in 1'55"4, almost breaking the unofficial record. Official trials with recorded times for the allocation of starting positions will take place on Friday and Saturday. Farina has completed several laps at a pace of 1'58"0-1'59"0. In evaluating the times recorded at Monza, it must be considered that the tests carried out by the Milanese team were aimed at studying the endurance of the tires for the long race on Sunday. Fangio's task was to reach high speeds, and it was seen that they cannot be maintained over the 500 kilometers of the Italian Grand Prix without frequent stops to replace the tires. The World Champion, on the other hand, worked to find the right pace, less wearing for the tires and therefore more logical. 


Meanwhile, the German ace Von Stuck has arrived in Milan. It seems that he arrives as an observer for a well-known German team that is preparing to return to racing. Others interpret Von Stuck's arrival as a possibility of his participation in the Italian Grand Prix at the wheel of an Italian car. In theory, Alfa and Ferrari have equal chances of winning the race, which is decisive for the assignment of the world champion title. Alfa Romeo lines up four drivers for their home event. Fangio looks set to take his first title for the team, while the reigning champion, Giuseppe Farina, still has a faint hope of reclaiming his title after an unreliable season. Felice Bonetto and Consalvo Sanesi are called in to occupy the third and fourth Alfa Romeo cars. There are rumors that the team's designer, Gioacchino Colombo, is developing a Tipo 160 model to replace the 159 ahead of 1952 to stay ahead in the development race. In their efforts to beat Alfa Romeo on home turf, Ferrari prepares more cars for both their works and privateer drivers than they have ever done before. For the first time, Ferrari makes the majority of the field with the team having seven cars in Monza. Ferrari arrives with its usual four-man lineup of Ascari, Luigi Villoresi, José Froilán González, and Piero Taruffi. The team plans also to enter young Gianni Marzotto, a Ferrari driver from their sportscar program; however, the team withdraws his entry. Peter Whitehead, Ferrari's regular privateer, is back competing in his old 125 model. Rudolf Fischer is back entering his Ferrari 212 sports car, while Chico Landi, Brazil's best driver, plans his first grand prix entry to start in a new privately-owned 375 Ferrari model. Nonetheless, for Monza, the Alfa Romeo drivers will receive the all-new updated 159M chassis, a move they hope will end the threats to their authority. B.R.M. manages to save their public face after their points finish at Silverstone, the team suffering disastrously slow development of their P15 challenger. Nonetheless, the British constructor will make their second world championship appearance at Monza. Reg Parnell, who powered B.R.M. to points on their race debut, is again representing the squad alongside the team's test driver, Ken Richardson. Simca-Gordini is becoming the leading French constructor in grand prix racing. The team, as usual, brought its standard lineup of Robert Manzon, Maurice Trintignant, and André Simon. The team is now consistently starting to break into the top ten finishers in the field, providing its cars actually make it to the finish.


The OSCA constructor will at long last make its debut at Monza. Following their departure from the Maserati factory in 1947, the surviving Maserati brothers of Bindo, Ettore, and Ernesto founded the OSCA company as a rival to Maserati. At the end of 1950, the team employed many of the now disbanded Maserati team personnel for their OSCA Formula 1 venture of 1951. The team employs Prince Bira of Siam and Franco Rol, both former Maserati drivers, to spearhead the project. Despite a victory for an OSCA-engined Maserati driven by Bira earlier in the season at the Goodwood Trophy, the project is having little success. It is surprising to see Bira resign from the project, similarly to the way he did with the B.R.M. project earlier in the year on the verge of the team's debut. Franco Rol, participating in his first grand prix of the season, will be the lone driver representing the OSCA squad on their debut. Notably, there is not a single Maserati taking the start of the Italian Grand Prix, the remaining cars consisting of the private Talbot-Lago entries. Louis Rosier and Louis Chiron represent Ecurie Rosier, whilst Claes, Levegh, Giraud-Cabantous, and Swaters are the final representatives of the Talbot-Lago marque. The new Alfa Romeo 159M is working exceptionally well, and the Alfa Romeo's are back on top following qualifying. Fangio takes another pole position, eight tenths faster than teammate Farina's best time in second place. Ascari, the fastest Ferrari, is frustrated to be two seconds off the pace compared to Fangio's best practice lap time. De Graffenried takes Sanesi's car for the remainder of the weekend, in which he puts his Alfa Romeo seventh on the grid, one place behind teammate Bonetto. On Friday, September 14, the official trials begin at Monza. The B.R.M.s have also arrived, two new English machines paid for with half a billion lire raised in a national subscription and built through the collaboration of over 150 British industries that have divided the tasks. These B.R.M.s have already generated much discussion among technicians and sports enthusiasts. The construction criteria appear to be the most modern: a 1500 cc engine prepared by Rolls Royce with a double centrifugal compressor of the same brand, which also runs at four times the engine speed. The number of revolutions has a limit of 12 thousand, while the maximum power is declared to be 450 HP. The engine has 16 cylinders, in 4 blocks of four cylinders in a V shape at 135°. However, sports enthusiasts wonder:


"How fast do they go, and what is their maximum speed?"


Around 320 km/h, perhaps even more. British technicians have been working for two years to fine-tune these streamlined racing cars, especially the centrifugal compressor, which has given the testers a lot of work. However, there have been disappointments. Once, in the Daily Express Trophy, the B.R.M. failed to start, and the mishap gave rise to a series of humorous remarks, while in Barcelona, the new British cars were literally overwhelmed by the 4500 cc Ferraris without a compressor. Finally, in the last British Grand Prix, a B.R.M., driven by Parnell, finished the race in fifth place, ranking after Gonzalez, Fangio, Villoresi, and Bonetto: it was the first appreciable result. Continental drivers and technicians then said:


"Watch out for the B.R.M., because the day these machines are really ready, we might have a third foreigner between the two Italian rivals Alfa Romeo and Ferrari, surpassing us all".


Essentially, however, all drivers are pleased that new cars are entering the competition because it spurs other manufacturers to continuous improvements. In the first test laps at Monza, the British Racing Motors (B.R.M.) were driven by Parnell and Richardson. This was the test at Monza, and it should be noted that the two British drivers, though highly respectable, cannot be compared to Farina, Ascari, Villoresi, Fangio, and Gonzalez. The times of the B.R.M.s surprised everyone: average speeds of over 150 km/h, effortlessly, without effort from the drivers, without forcing the engines, and of course, without a minimum of experience on the very fast track. These elements should be kept in mind as reference points: Farina won last year with an average speed of 176.542 km/h; the lap record is held by Fangio, with an average of 189 km/h for the race, and by Ascari and Fangio themselves - with an average of over 197 km/h - in training.


Friday and Saturday, the B.R.M. will have to further reveal its competitiveness, and its contemporaneity with the training of Alfa and Ferrari will provide useful indications. Also, for Parnell and Richardson's cars, a big unknown will be the durability of the mechanical components. As for the tire consumption problem, the English claim to be very calm, unlike the Italians. British technicians claim that this concern is resolved for them. The sudden change in weather conditions changes the technical and spectacular prospects of the first day of official trials for the Italian Grand Prix. In the afternoon of Friday, the rain stops, but the track remains damp, so it is not possible to immediately push the cars at high speed. Bonetto (Alfa Romeo) records a time of 2'13"4; then Farina, with a special transparent spinner on his helmet against the rain, completes a few laps with Bonetto's car. Towards evening, with the track almost completely dry and the sun appearing, test laps intensify, and speeds reach noteworthy limits. The best time of the day is Ascari's, who completes the lap in 1'57"1, slightly lower than that of the World Champion, Giuseppe Farina, who completes it in 1'58"3. Other notable times are those of Taruffi and Villoresi, who complete the lap in 1'59"0 and 1'59"1, respectively, Fangio in 2'00"2, Gonzalez in 2'00"3, and Parnell in 2'02"2; later, the B.R.M. stops at the entrance to the straight, and there is no way to restart it. It has thus been necessary to push it by hand to the box, after the other B.R.M., driven by Richardson, collides with a straw bale in the Lesmo curve, sustaining a dent in the hood. In the field of small cars, the Swiss Claire Guldimann (Cisitalia 1100), the only woman enrolled in the Grand Prix, after Rita Rampinelli's withdrawal, arouses curiosity. The daring lady confidently laps in 2'59"0. Now it is no longer the case, as in the previous five Grand Prix, to talk about a simple duel between Alfa and Ferrari, because on Sunday, there will be the presence of other strong fighters, the possibilities of which even experience cannot offer reliable indications. Other novelties for the Monza track are the team of French Simcas of 1500 cc and the brand-new Osca of 4500 cc, which the Maserati brothers entrust for the official presentation to Turin's Rol: a car that has not revealed itself in the tests but has by now overcome the uncertainties of any initial setup. 


To complete the picture, add the 4500 cc Talbot, which certainly cannot compete in speed with the major Italian brands but is equipped with regularity and proven resistance, positioning itself relentlessly in the places of honor, ready to take advantage of every mishap of others to play the role of the third gainer between the two arguing parties. It will equip both the French team, centered on Rosier and Giraud Cabantous, and the Belgian team, with Claes and Swaters. However, the Alfa Romeo 159 squadron (that of last year, but which in this year's edition has added a few horses, reaching 400) has on its side names like Farina, Fangio, Bonetto, and a fourth that could be Chiron or de Graffenried. The car, as is known, follows the classic and original trend of Formula 1: the 1500 cc displacement and the two-stage compressor, which triples its power compared to an equal naturally aspirated engine. It is decidedly advantageous for acceleration, aggressiveness, and lightness, but on the other hand, it is more delicate and offers significantly higher consumption, with corresponding stops for refueling. The trend toward a large naturally aspirated engine (which already seemed outdated due to the limited success of French cars) has been taken up and evolved on clearly advanced bases by Ferrari, whose 4500 cc, with at least 380 horsepower, and perhaps more, does not yield to Alfa in pure speed and can have, at equal gasoline weight, greater autonomy due to lower consumption. However, it torments the tires at least as much, and perhaps more, which in essence will practically level the pit stop times. The Ferrari 4500 cc is equipped with Ascari and Villoresi, the Argentine Gonzalez, and the Brazilian Laudi. The official trials continue on Saturday, September 15, 1951, with a dry track and almost clear skies. Juan Manuel Fangio records a time of 1'53"3, at an average speed of 200.353 km/h, thus setting the new absolute record at the Monza racetrack. This exceptional record comes after the Argentine laps in 1'53"4 at an average of 200 km/h net. Villoresi (Ferrari 4500) laps in 1'57"9, while in the small car category, the best times are those of Cabianca (Osca 1100), Aston (Cooper 1100), with an average speed of 153.367 km/h, and Bordoni (Fiat-Stanguellini). Although the weather seems to have cleared up, the rain that fell in the morning opens up new prospects for the Italian Grand Prix: if the sun shines, as the organizers hope for financial reasons, the 4500 cc Ferraris will have to stop like other competitors for tire changes; if it rains, however, they can race for all 504 kilometers, not needing to stop like other cars for refueling.


In practical terms, the big race, valid for the World Championship, will, in fact, be only the continuation of the long-standing duel between the Alfa Romeo 1500 cc with a compressor and the Ferrari 4500 cc without a compressor, with some interesting indications for the new Osca built by the Maserati brothers based on the latest technical dictates, for the experimental 2500 cc Ferrari designed in anticipation of the formula that should come into force in three years, and for the two English B.R.M.s which, however, in the first day of official trials, have caused quite a few headaches, despite three gigantic vans, one for custody, one equipped for repairs, and one for use as a bar, being able to respond to all needs. The start sees Alfa Romeo taking the early advantage, with Fangio getting a clean getaway ahead of Farina's second Alfa Romeo. Ascari's Ferrari does not make the best of starts, dropping behind teammate González going into the first corner. However, it is immediately evident that Ascari has pace. By the end of the third lap, Ascari takes the lead after steadily progressing past González, Farina, and Fangio ahead of him. Chico Landi in the private Ferrari 375 has an unsuccessful debut, as his car fails to complete a single lap. A lap later, Whitehead's old 125 Ferrari and the fourth Alfa Romeo of De Graffenried also retire. Claes is also an early retirement on lap four with an oil pump failure. On lap five, Farina begins to drop back due to an engine misfire. After dropping to last place, Farina decides to come into the pits for repairs on lap eight. However, the mechanics find a terminal oil system problem, forcing the world champion out of the race. Ascari is left leading, while Fangio, once again being surrounded by the Ferraris, gives chase in second place. He retakes the lead; however, on lap 13, he develops a puncture, which forces him to drop behind Ascari, González, Villoresi, and Bonetto. Fangio pulls into the pits for new tires, as does Taruffi's Ferrari. Taruffi is also unfortunate to receive a puncture at the same time as Fangio; the Ferrari's tire disintegrates to the point there is barely any rubber left on the wheel rim when he returns to the pits. Fangio rejoins the race in fifth place but quickly becomes fourth as Villoresi also begins to encounter tire troubles and heads for the pits. Fangio, pushing hard, makes his way past Bonetto's Alfa Romeo, now being able to give chase to the leading Ferraris of Ascari and González, who now opens a big lead in the race. The high-speed circuit continues to dwindle the field; cars continually drop out with mechanical trouble. 


The Talbot-Lago's of Claes, Swaters, Levegh, and Chiron are all out of the race before the tenth lap. Manzon and Trintignant's Simca-Gordini retire at the same time on lap 29 with engine troubles. Fangio is brought into the pits for a fuel stop on lap 27, his progress on retaking the lead being temporarily halted. Two laps later, Bonetto is also into the pits for fuel. Bonetto exits the car to allow Farina, one of the lead drivers, to rejoin the race. Farina rejoins the race in fourth place, behind Fangio and the Ferraris of Ascari and González. Villoresi, meanwhile, is unlucky and sustains a second puncture, forcing him into the pits for a second time. A few laps after the Alfa Romeo’s, the lead Ferraris of Ascari and González make their pit-stops. Luckily for them, their stops go without drama, and they rejoin the track ahead of Fangio, who is chasing once again. However, Fangio's chase is halted when he begins to suffer an engine misfire. On lap 39, the misfire becomes terminal, and the lead Alfa Romeo is forced to retire. This means that Farina, who is driving Bonetto's car, becomes Alfa Romeo's last hope in the race. On lap 40, Farina is 40 seconds behind González in second place. However, after only fifteen laps, Farina, after a frantic chase, closes to within seven seconds of González. Farina is then hampered during his second pit-stop when a wheel fails to attach correctly. However, despite this mishap, Farina goes out of the pits and continues to give chase to González and Ascari ahead of him. However, on lap 70, only ten laps from the end, Farina's car unexpectedly suffers an engine cut while exiting the Parabolica. He coasts into the pits, where the mechanics quickly discover a cracked fuel tank. The mechanics fill his car's fuel tank, hoping the car will not lose that much fuel to make it to the finish. Farina returns to the track; however, his brilliant chase on the Ferraris is brought to an end. Ascari, meanwhile, is cruising out front; by the finish, he extends the gap to González by 24.6 seconds, taking a comfortable second victory of the season. Ferrari will, therefore, prove triumphant on home turf; Alfa Romeo is defeated, and only the shared car of Farina and Bonetto manages to limp home in third place. The final Ferraris of Villoresi and Taruffi round out the points following their own race troubles. Simon brings his Simca-Gordini home in sixth; the little Simca-Gordini squad defeats once again their established Talbot-Lago rivals. Rosier and Giraud-Cabantous are the sole Talbot-Lago's to make it to the finish in seventh and eighth place. 


The final classified finisher is the OSCA of Franco Rol. Rol completes the OSCA's first race, 13 laps down to the leaders. It was an unsuccessful debut for the team's Formula 1 project, which encountered troubles all year. The victory of Ferrari at Monza in the Italian Grand Prix is therefore significant: four cars started, and all four finished in the top five. The young Milanese driver, Alberto Ascari, after a brief duel with Fangio, held the first position from lap 14 to lap 80 with a stunning pace marked by authority and consistency. The World Champion, Giuseppe Farina, lost all hope of retaining the title. Although the final race of the championship, in Barcelona, is still pending, his gap has become insurmountable. The battle narrows down between Fangio and Ascari, separated by only two points. Farina did not fight against his opponents but rather against misfortune, which is the most formidable of enemies. He had to stop at the pits due to a mechanical failure when the race had just begun, and shortly after, he was already out of the race. On lap 89, he hopped onto Bonetto's teammate's car, and his pursuit thrilled the 100.000 spectators. Two more stops, one for the planned refueling and another accidental one, dashed any hope of catching up with Ascari and Gonzalez. Yet, he plunged back into the fight, risking everything and securing the lap record on the circuit. Farina emerges with dignity from a contest in which the aging Alfa Romeos are reluctantly relinquishing their ancient supremacy to the newer and more reliable Ferrari. Speeds are increasing, and Alfa Romeo remains the fastest cars, but the efforts of a 500-kilometer Grand Prix seem to weaken them. On the other hand, the Ferraris endure the pace, even imposing it on rival cars, relentlessly pressuring them. When they take control, the race is already won.


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