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#34 500 Miles of Indianapolis 1954. Ferrari doesn’t take part in the race, even though...

2021-04-11 01:00

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#34 500 Miles of Indianapolis 1954. Ferrari doesn’t take part in the race, even though...

Giovedì 4 Febbraio 1954 l'aereo della Maserati, con a bordo Musso e Giletti, fa scalo a Roma. Farina, il quale si è ottimamente comportato nelle gare

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Thursday the 4th February 1954, Maserati's airplane, with Musso and Giletti aboard, makes a stop in Rome. Farina, who did excellent races in Buenos Aires, winning the 1000 km of the 24th January, classified third in the unlucky race of the 31st January, and dominated the 17th January on his first competition for Formula 1 World Championship. Friday the 5th February 1954 Farina reaffirms his conviction that Ferrari's complaint against Fangio can’t be accepted by the international sporting commission.

 

Maglioli and Hawthorn, the other Ferrari drivers, stayed instead in South Africa on holiday. The Brit has also a second reason to defect from the comeback in Europe, since he must present himself in the army to carry out his military service that, for two years, he postponed remaining abroad. For this reason, Enzo Ferrari starts thinking about a possible hiring of the French driver Maurice Trintignant, owner of a Ferrari and winner of the race held the 31st January, where everyone - apart from Farina and Trintignant - suffered from sunstroke caused by scorching sun. On that occasion, Farina had a car trouble and took González’s place, stunned from the heat, driving the Ferrari of the Argentinian, and arrived third, at the end of a beautiful chase.

 

Trintignant doesn't join Ferrari immediately, but he'll support Farina in some races, beginning with the 12h of Sebring on 7th March. Meanwhile, it is confirmed that Ferrari will participate with a special car on the 500 Miles of Indianapolis, planned for the 30th May, with Karma, while Farina will be supported by Trintignant on the 12h of Sebring, which will take place in the USA the 7th March.

Regarding Juan Manuel Fangio, latest news from Buenos Aires guarantee that he will stay at Maserati to compete in Formula 1 Grand Prix (the Argentinian would have sworn the commentator Orsi not to leave them), participating in few Sports races with Lancia, while González hasn’t already joined Scuderia Ferrari officially.

 

Regarding Mercedes, Farina thinks that the Stuttgart house will be limited for this year to test their newest cars on course, and in the future, they will recruit all the available hotshots worldwide. Then Farina adds:

 

“For now, I can’t complain about Enzo Ferrari. He’s a great man. And if he really gives me the car to win in Indianapolis, then I have to kiss the ring. Indianapolis is a magic dream of all of us”.

 

As everybody knows, the world champion in charge, Alberto Ascari, and his friend Luigi Villoresi didn’t take part in the first race of the Formula 1 World Championship, preferring to embrace the Lancia project, still not ready to debut with Grand Prix cars.

 

Wednesday 10th February 1954, Ascari and Villoresi are safe despite the terrifying incident. They were coming back from Sanremo (where they tested for the first time Lancia Sport cars with which they will have participated the 7th March on the 12h of Sebring, in the USA), when the car, driven by the World Champion in charge, slides on ice nearby Tortona and goes off the road smashing.

 

Later, the two have continued to Milan, taking their seats on Castellotti's car, he too Lancia driver, returning from Sanremo practices. The crash doesn’t shake at all the impassiveness of the two, but they smile thinking about what happened.

 

Furthermore, during the practices of Monday evening, Villoresi isn’t sufficiently ready for the new car. He lets himself be betrayed by the impatience to go fast and goes off road stopping on the edge of a cliff, after smoothing the corner of a wall. Everything has finished quite well, with just a few failures on the car. It is believed that the crash was caused by two children and a policeman, who were on the trajectory of the Lancia: it seems that Villoresi, to avoid the collision, has voluntarily swerved against the wall.

Thursday 11th February 1954, the Sports Committee of Argentinian Automobile Club, met in Buenos Aires, rejects the complaint of Ferrari against Fangio’s win and fines the Maserati of 1000 pesos for not keeping order while changing Fangio’s tyres, giving rise to critics, complaints, and discussions. But the committee also fines Ferrari of 1000 pesos for providing an incorrect report to Farina, warning him that the Argentine driver was out of the race, while it was not. This misrepresentation, the Commission added, created confusion among the public and among the runners themselves during the race. Possible complaints, for which Ferrari and Maserati have thirty days’ time to appeal against the verdict of the Committee, will have to be shown to the Sports Committee of the International Federation, which will meet in Lisboa in May.

 

Five days later, the 16th February 1954, Ferrari declares that they have decided to withdraw from the participation in the 12h of Sebring, which will take place the 7th March in USA, despite being valid for the Sports World Championship and representing the second race (the first, 1000 km long, was won by Farina and Maglioli, with Ferrari 4500, the 24th January in Buenos Aires; the third will be the 1,000 miles, the 2nd May, and in total 8 races are scheduled, with final sum of the score).

 

The withdrawal arises from the fact that, in contrast to what is provided for by the regulations, the Sebring race isn’t provided with prize money, but only with trophies. The participation of Ferrari, with three cars, will have involved an expense of ten millions lire. The Modenese constructor, as reluctantly, had to give up, because he couldn’t risk to shed that huge amount of money. But Ferrari has reported the downside to the International Sports Committee, since that also the French company Gordini and some English manufacturers will not go to Sebring, for the same reason.

 

Lancia hasn't changed, at least until now, his participation programme in the race. However, Ferrari does not remain idle: a 4500 cc sports car, driven by Farina, will compete in Africa on 28 February 1954 at Agadir, Morocco, and on 7 March 1954 at Dakar in the Senegal Grand Prix.

 

Meanwhile, completely unaware of Ferrari withdrawal from the participation in the 12h of Sebring, Maglioli and Hawthorn spend some time off in Mexico, travelling and having fun while waiting to move to Sebring. But a telegram from Modena arrives just when their address is known.

 

Ten days later, precisely Friday 26th February 1954, on the circuit of Caselle airport, Alberto Ascari tries the new Lancia Gran Premio for a quarter of an hour. From the practices, it is noted that the car is provided with two long lateral tanks for the fuel, which constantly guarantees balance and road holding; the preselector gearbox is hydraulic.

 

The next day, Lancia departs to Sebring, in the USA, where on the 7th and 8th March 1954 the 12h of Sebring will take place. It will be valid as the second race of the World Championship on Sports category. Ascari, Villoresi, Castelletti, Manzon and Gino Valenzano are part of the group, together with engineer Gianni Lancia and engineer Gatta, advocate Panigadi, test driver Gillio and the scuderia director Pasquarelli. The three cars are delivered by sea, while Taruffi departs from Rome and Fangio from Argentina.

 

Simultaneously, the 28th February 1954 Turinese driver Giuseppe Farina triumphantly begins the racing series Ferrari planned to compete in North Africa. After showing up as the most favourite on the practiced on Agadir circuit, setting a new record with 96 km/h as average speed, Farina outperforms all his competitors clearly ahead of the Gordini cars that were fully lined up at the start, even improving the overall average speed to 101 km/h. Farina beats the Frenchman Behra and the Italian Scotti to the finish line. Meanwhile, Lancia drivers Alberto Ascari, Gigi Villoresi, Eugenio Castelletti, Luigi Valenzano and the French Robert Manzon arrive in New York, on Monday evening. The group departs later to West Palm Beach, in Florida, on the same evening. From the USA to Africa, Italy watches both races carefully.

Thursday 4th March 1954, at Dakar, Italian consul Terracini receives the mayor and numerous local authorities, handing in two beautiful silver trophies, gifted by the Italian Automobile Club and by the city of Genova. Trophies which Farina hopes to bring back in Italy.

 

In the meantime, at Sebring Lancia drivers get ready for the 12 Hours, a race taking place on a circuit quite harsh. The track is composed of a half proper circuit with some high speed corners and two straights, both one and a half kilometer long; the remaining circuit is composed by a normal road surface with a very tight U corner, delimited by a succession of steel barrels one next to the other.

For 12 hours long, seventy-five Sports cars built in Europe and in the USA will produce a hell of a race for the second round of the World Championship.

 

As already said, in the Lancia racing team there is also Alberto Ascari, who on Friday the 5th March 1954 is absolved in Brescia from suspicion of homicide following the incident during the 1,000 miles of 1951. Ascari, arrived on a corner between Lonato and Desenzano, blinded from headlights of a stopped car on the edges of a road, was forced to hard braking, but the heel forced him to go out of the roadway, running over a group of people. On this sad occasion, Umberto Felicianti of Montichiari has lost his life.

The absolution of Ascari is important, not only because it involves delicate matters such as those of racing incidents on roads, but also because the verdict is the first of its kind. In the opening discussion, the advocate Quaglia (civil party) raises a procedural issue concerning the notification of the second technical report, which - according to the advocate - was sent out of time.

 

The recess favours the conclusion of the agreement between colleagues of civil party and defence concerning compensation, therefore, following the agreement, the civil party steps down from the lawsuit. Then, it begins the witnesses’ testimony, among them: Ascari mechanic, Senesio Niccolini, and Lord Lurani, who confirm the dazzle suffered by Ascari on the entrance of the corner. Consequently the P.M., on the defendant's side, speaks considering his fact to be true and asking for the absolution of Ascari, because the event isn’t a criminal act.

 

In the afternoon, the advocate Genovesi of Mantova and the advocate Aldo Farinelli of Torino speak in defence of Ascari. The first thinks that the 1,000 Miles is a speed race and it is contradicting if someone blames the driver of high speed. The advocate Farinelli, excusing his absence from Ascari's courtroom due to his contract, which links him to the participation in the 12 Hours of Sebring, which will take place on Sunday in Florida, has described the personality of Ascari.

 

Referring to what the constructor Ferrari said about him, who described Ascari as being meticulous as a bank accountant, the lawyer maintained that the driver could not be accused of either imprudence or inexperience. Farinelli then goes on to make a detailed technical analysis of both the race regulations and the way the accident occurred. The lawyer, who is on his fourth case for accidents that occurred during the Mille Miglia, states that there has always been a misunderstanding between speed races and races open to traffic, and therefore the organisation, in the broadest sense of the term, needs to be reviewed in order to put an end to the drip-feed that has been going on for years, and finally concludes his argument by asking the court to acquit Alberto Ascari completely. And in this sense, as said, the judges ruled.

 

Whilst Ascari can celebrate an excellent result, in Sebring he can’t do the same since, together with his friend Villoresi, he is forced to retire during the race. Farina is also not very lucky, since he is forced to retire in Dakar, even if a Ferrari driven by Scotti won.

 

Tuesday 23 March 1954, after the news that Enzo Ferrari expressed his intention of registering his company with the Swiss Automobile Club and competing in the next races in Swiss colours, another worrying piece of news begins to circulate in national motoring circles, namely that the planned transfer would not only take place in theory, with a simple change of flag, but that the entire Maranello factory would be transferred to Switzerland and most of the workers would be transferred.

 

However, the sensational news has not been confirmed by the Modenese company's management. In fact, the president of the ACI has been making reassuring statements after talks with the Modenese manufacturer, although the company's management maintains absolute secrecy.

 

Switzerland, which admires Ferrari and courts him for a long time now with other offers, has asked the Modenese constructor to open a branch in Lugano for assisting Ferrari cars and, if necessary, for building Sports cars. This would be a detachment of the Maranello company beyond its borders and, reading between the lines, a kind of compromise to justify the possible future presentation of Ferrari cars in Swiss colours in motorsport.

 

This request to open a branch in Lugano has been confirmed by Enzo Ferrari, but the company has declared that it has not yet taken a decision on the matter. Discussions and contacts with representatives of Swiss motoring have not created any obstacles or delays in Ferrari's planned sporting activities. Meanwhile, Giuseppe Farina with Maglioli and Hawthorn are asked to go to Modena for some practices at a secret location, because the former World Champion, who came back from races in Africa, has proposed to Ferrari to change some parts of the car.

 

The team will go later in Sicily, where they will participate in the regional tour the 4th April or in the Siracusa Grand Prix the 11th April 1954, even though it can not be ruled out that the cars of Maranello would participate in both competitions.

 

It is known that on the afternoon of 8th April 1954 the organisers of the 500 Miles of Indianapolis announces that a Ferrari has entered the competition. The participation is sent by Marion Chinetti, of New York, on behalf of Selippo Theodoll, representative of Ferrari in the USA. The name of the driver is unknown, but it is known that Giuseppe Farina, friend of Chinetti, has repeatedly asked to participate in the American competition.

 

The former World Champion has never raced in Indianapolis, but that’s exactly why he also wants to face the classic international race, knowing as well all the difficulties. It is not improbable that among the Turinese competitors there will also be Fangio with Lancia. In 1952 the World Champion Ascari participated in the Indianapolis race, but he was forced to retire for mechanical troubles. On Wednesday afternoon of the 4th April 1954, Giuseppe Farina came back to Turin from Sicily, where on previous Sunday participated and won the Siracusa Grand Prix. The driver told how much tragic and remarkable was the incident happened to his teammate Hawthorn, whose car got burnt following a crash with González car:

 

“It is a miracle that Hawthorn was able to get by with few burns. When, on the fifth lap, I saw the pyre of his car, I thought he was doomed. I was worried that my car would have got burnt, but on the contrary it passed without any damage on the rivulet of fire that crossed the track. The drivers behind me had to slow down, thus I took advantage and gained twenty seconds. I visited Hawthorn yesterday in Roma and neither did he think to get away safe from that crash: he will recover in one month. Unfortunately, he can’t race in Pau, where only González, Trintignant and myself will participate, but in May he will race again”.

 

The Siracusa crash deeply upsets Enzo Ferrari, who dedicated many months to build the car for the British driver. The damage goes around forty millions lire, an outrageous amount of money for the possibilities of a modest industrial complex such as Maranello. But what pains Ferrari the most is having worked so many months and with so much passion only to see everything burn down in a blaze of petrol. So the controversy with the CSAI is back in the news more than ever and the Modenese constructor seems to have decided to race with the Swiss colours, hoping the Swiss managers are more willing to help him than the Italians.

 

Farina comes back home following from Rome the 1,000 Miles track with his car: this is the third time in two weeks that Farina studies the track of the best italian cross-country competition and he has already made important deductions of what will be the difficulties of the race. In many places, there were roads under repair, which represent a real danger for unexpert drivers and will lead to a strong selection even among the most prepared drivers. Major competitors of Ferraris will be the Lancia 3300s, which have already raced in Sebring; cars highly suitable, as already seen in Sicily, to this kind of competition. Then Farina will leave for Turn of Pau on Thursday the 15th April 1954, where on Saturday and Sunday will take place the practices for the circuit planned on Monday.

 

After Pau, he will come back to Italy for the 1,000 Miles and later he hopes to race in Indianapolis for the classic competition of 500 Miles, race for which Ferrari has made steps forward to obtain a permission to race: the rules don’t allow the participation of cars with a very short chassis and Ferrari is under the fixed size. However, the manufacturer of Maranello has asked the American directors to allow, exceptionally, the Turinese driver to race with a car slightly below the fixed size.

 

The program of Ferrari, and of Giuseppe Farina, is threatened by a particular condition, which sees Enzo Ferrari forced to storm of telegrams the posts of half of Italy during the day of 16th April 1954. He is looking desperately for a truck containing two cars shipped to Siracusa right after the Grand Prix of the previous Sunday, since only the truck with remains of González and Hawthorn burnt cars came back to Modena, following the well known race incident.

 

The other two cars had been blocked because of bureaucratic difficulties, so that on the international circuit of Pau, where practices took place, they limited themselves to a brief check. It is not known if the Maranello manufacturer will manage to line up at the start the three cars as planned or only two. One will be for sure driven by Giuseppe Farina, who arrived during the night in the little city, while the other driver is yet to be confirmed. The driver will be one between González or Trintignant. The preparation of the Maserati team was not less hectic in the last few hours, which consisted of Marimon, Mieres and Schell. The Modenese team hoped to line up with their drivers Manuel Fangio, but he has not given any news of himself for a long time.

 

Regarding this, the commissar Orsi, the 16th April 1954, announces that he will soon travel to Argentina to meet Fangio and define his participation in the future races with the Maserati team. Meanwhile at Pau, the leader of the team will be Marimon, the other Argentinian driver who showed up during the Siracusa Grand Prix contending success at Farina. The battle between Farina and Marimon will be the main highlight of the Pau race, while there will be few opportunities for Behra, Bayol Martin and Pillet, drivers of Gordini. But it is known that the French manufacturer has more chances on national circuits. In fact, Behra with a Gordini is the first to cross the finish line, followed by Trintignant with Ferrari, though Farina delayed and González was forced to retire. At the start of the race, Farina damages his car a lot and because of that, he’s forced to pit a lot of times to fix all the failures.

 

At the same time, the 17th April 1954 a heated controversy arises in British motorsport involving Ascari and Lancia, who will no longer be allowed to take part in motorsport competitions in Britain for a certain period of years, while no British racer will be allowed to take part in motorsport competitions on Italian soil. For English people, all arose following the contract signed by Alberto Ascari, who agreed to drive two race cars for a fee of 700£ plus expenses in the Goodwood competition, which took place the 20th April 1954. The two cars were: the new english car model Vanwall of the millionaire Tony Vandervell and a Ferrari with some upgrades made by english technicians.

 

Ascari was supposed to arrive in London on the evening of Thursday, 15 April 1954, but he did not appear or make any news of himself. The British organisers waited all the next day but Ascari did not show up. On Saturday morning, worried, (the absence of the Italian racer meant not only a breach of contract but also a serious blow to the prestige of the competition) John Morgan, secretary general of the British Automobile Racing Club, sent a telegram to Italy to Ascari requesting information and reminding him of his commitments. This telegram, according to a statement made by Morgan, goes unanswered until the morning of 19 April 1954 when he sends a further telegram to Lancia and one to the president of the Automobile Club of Italy highlighting the seriousness of what was happening. These two telegrams, reports John Morgan, also goes unanswered and so the Goodwood race began and ended without Ascari and any clarification having arrived.

 

Now the directors of the British Automobile Racing Club affirm that this kind of attitude represents not only breach of contracts but also a proper offence, which requires drastic actions: these actions, according to british newspapers, consist in a lifelong expulsion of Ascari and Lancia team from British circuits and a temporary prohibition for English drivers to participate in Italian competitions. This reaction becomes even more acute when it is learned that a fourth person did not reply to a telegram sent from London: he was Giuseppe Farina, who did not reply to an urgent message sent to him by Vandervell asking the Italian driver to take Alberto Ascari's place. In the following days, neither Lancia nor Ascari have given any details about the episode. This is because, on closer inspection, it will be discovered that Ascari was not on the list of participants and, above all, he would have participated as a driver invited by Vandervell, and not by the British Racing Club. Meanwhile, in preparation for the Mille Miglia, Luigi Villoresi is the victim of an accident on 20 April 1954.

 

The Italian driver, together with his mechanic Paganelli, is testing his car on Via Flaminia at around 1:30 p.m. when, while overtaking a Topolino, the car suddenly spins, forcing Villoresi to make an emergency brake and ending up in the ditch next to the road. Reached by the news, the engineer Lancia rushes to the bedside of the two, who are meanwhile transported to Rimini, as well as Alberto Ascari, who joins them during the evening. Villoresi's condition will improve over the night, and Paganelli will also see a slight improvement, although his condition remains more of a concern. The two injured drivers will spend the night quite calmly. The challenge between Ferrari and Lancia, although without the presence of Luigi Villoresi, continues in the 1,000 Miles, the third round of the World Championship for Sports cars, held on 2 May 1954. The race is won by Alberto Ascari, at an average speed of 139 km/h, ahead of Vittorio Marzotto's Ferrari, while Giuseppe Farina, on board of his Ferrari, near Peschiera, just forty kilometres from the start goes off the road at a speed of about 200 km/h, ending his race against a plane tree.

 

Immediately after the crash, several people rushed to intervene. So Farina and his mechanic Parenti are taken by car to a nearby clinic. In the meantime, the journalists arrive urgently in a taxi and meet Farina's car as it is being driven away by a breakdown truck: the front end is dented, the rear end smashed in and one side bears the obvious signs of a very heavy blow. The police indicate the place of the accident, then bring them to the Pederzoli Surgical Clinic, two hundred metres further on: here Farina and Parenti, the mechanic who was racing alongside the former World Champion, are hospitalised. In the corridor a small crowd led by Bracco and Professor Pederzoli himself take stock of the situation with a double diagnosis: nothing too serious.

 

Farina fractured his right forearm and suffered a large horizontal wound on his face, while Parenti complained of a fractured pelvis and a dislocation with fracture of the left elbow. The driver from Turin, seated on an operating table, is quite calm:

 

"I was betrayed perhaps by the anchoring of the wheels. It's a good system for water, but when the ground is a bit dry it presents some risk. Or maybe I was going a bit fast. I hit a curb, then a tree. I didn't pass out, despite the fact that the rain visor cut my face and crushed my nose. Now I just hope they get me fixed quickly. Why? To start running again, right? All I can say about today's crash is that it went really well: a blessing in disgrace”.

 

The driver from Turin will leave the clinic in the afternoon of 3 May 1954, and will return to his home in Turin after having made the trip in a Ferrari, but, for once, not at the wheel; driving the car under the watchful eye of the former World Champion is Professor Re, who is treating him and continually begging him in vain not to tire himself out.

 

Farina can't sit still in his armchair: he sits down for a moment, then gets up and walks nervously to the fireplace to return to his armchair, before examining the X-ray of his fractured arm, although he is in a good mood, although his face is still swollen and his arm in plaster is aching.

 

In his flat, the driver from Turin welcomes the journalists who have come to his bedside to check on his state of health. Giuseppe speaks willingly, not without a certain eagerness that hints at a slight state of shock.

 

"In a week's time I should be racing in Naples and in a fortnight's time at Silverstone, and in my opinion I would race even in these conditions. But they tell me I'll have to rest for another twenty days. This accident was not wanted. I wanted to push too hard in the first few kilometres of the 1.000 Miles and it went badly. At Peschiera there was a rather difficult bend, and I had to take it outwards because there was a group of spectators on the other side. I was racing at 120 km/h. At that point a tramway track passes, which was perhaps a little damp from the recent rain, or the car skidded. I tried to brake, but I was even lifted off the ground, so my car went off the road, broke a curb and crashed into a tree. I don't know how my arm broke, I just remember hitting my face against the dashboard and then tasting blood in my mouth. My helmet had a glass visor, which shattered on impact, injuring my nose and even my gums. I can say that I was quite lucky in my misfortune. It could have been worse. In the end it was my fault. I made a plan that was too risky in the hope of winning: I wanted to catch up with Ascari, who had started four minutes before me, and then drive behind him up to Brescia. After ten minutes of racing I had caught up, racing at an average speed of 190 km/h. At Peschiera I lost everything at once”.

 

Shortly after the story of the accident, Farina is visited by Professor Re, who decides to have him undergo surgery in an attempt to hasten the healing of his fractured right forearm.

 

In the meantime, the well-known controversy concerning Ascari, who should have raced in England on 19 April 1954 but, for reasons beyond his control, he had been forced to give up the trip, comes to an end. It was even written that the reigning Formula 1 World Champion would no longer be able to race across the Channel.

 

This happened because one of the fiercest accusers, Mr John Morgan of the British Automobile Racing Club, telegraphes Lancia a few days after the 1,000 Miles victory and invites the winning car and Ascari to Aintree on 29th May 1954. The Turinese manufacturer, however, replied immediately revealing the inconsistency of the proposal, since that Mr. Morgan didn’t mind to deny, in due time, the groundless accusations stated against Ascari and, instead, he had manifested his indignation in public statements, affirming - in contrast to the truth - that the driver and the manufacturer had reneged on their commitments.

 

An invitation that does not even include an apology seems inappropriate. A letter of this kind was sent to the BARC manager, pointing out that the British Racing Drivers Club, the drivers' association of which the Duke of Edinburgh is honorary president, has always declared itself clearly opposed to the controversy, inviting Ascari and Lancia to England for a race or a trip as guests of honour. However, it is not known when the interested parties will be able to accept the proposal, which nevertheless has a flattering significance for the Italian car industry, bringing to an end a questionable episode, to the general satisfaction of the managers and racers unjustly brought into play in the Goodwood affair.

 

Satisfaction expressed during the meeting held on Tuesday 11th May in the Turin Sporting Club, where Ascari takes part with Taruffi, Castellotti and Gigi Villoresi. On this occasion, a gold trophy is given to the World Champion in charge from the journalists, after the win at the 1,000 Miles with Lancia 3300 manufactured in Turin, while the Sports Group director awards him with an honorary card and a gold plaque. After the meeting, Ascari, Villoresi and Castellori rush (regardless of the fine) to go to Giuseppe Farina in Maria Vittoria Hospital. The Turinese driver, who is recovering from the surgery due to an arm fracture, tells about the dramatic adventure which forced him to retire on the first kilometers of the 1.000 Miles.

 

The next day, Ascari will move to Monza to test the Lancia Grand Prix hoping to use it as soon as it can, while Castellotti and Taruffi will go to Sicily to participate in Targa Florio; on the other hand, Farina look forward to return racing with his Ferrari, to which he suggested some adjustments. In Sicily, the thirty-eighth edition of Targa Florio, which takes place the 30th May 1954 on the tortuous circuit of Madonie, is won by Piero Taruffi, who has for the first time his name written on the winners’ list of the glorious plaque. On a Lancia 3000, Taruffi does 576 km of the distance in six hours and twenty-four minutes, with an average speed of 89 km/h. Luigi Musso arrived second, with a Maserati, in six hours and thirty-one minutes, with an average speed of 88 km/h.

 

All that, meanwhile the 31st May, on Indianapolis Motor Speedway, takes place the 500 Miles of Indianapolis, which should represent the second race of the 1954 Formula 1 World Championship. The race is won by Bill Vukovich with Kurtis Kraft, followed by Jimmy Bryan with Kuzma and Jack McGrath with Kurtis Kraft. On this race, as already said, Scuderia Ferrari should have participated with a car similar to Ferrari Supersqualo 555, equipped with lateral tanks, inside which on the left side there is the fuel, while on the right side there it is placed an additional radiator for cooling the lubricating oil and the engine 375.

 

With this particular arrangement of the tanks, Ferrari tries to redistribute the weights for a better management of the car on ovals. The car is tested by the American Fred Agabashian and Bobby Ball, who previously attempted to qualify for a 375 in 1952, but both drivers point out that the car is undrivable and has a maximum speed too low. Nevertheless, some sponsors join from the american magazine Car Live and the car is carried on the circuit, showing up only a few days before the last day of qualifying, registered in the name of Luigi Chinetti’s wife, Marion.

 

A mechanic, who has familiarity with the 375, is sent from Maranello to Indianapolis by plane, to help assemble the car. But the loss of experience with the circuit will be the main reason why the Ferrari number 47 will not manage to secure a good result during the qualifying. The car will also be driven by Danny Oakes, without obtaining better luck. For this reason, Ferrari will give up pursuing that journey.

 

Simone Pietro Zazza

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