#34 1954 Indy 500

2021-04-11 00:00

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#1954, Fulvio Conti, Translated by Monica Bessi, Simone Pietro Zazza,

#34 1954 Indy 500

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 Ai


On Thursday, February 4, 1954, Maserati's aeroplane, with Musso and Giletti aboard, makes a stop in Rome. Farina did some excellent races in Buenos Aires, winning the 1000 km of January 24, finishing third in the unlucky race of January 31, and dominating on January 17, in his first competition for the Formula 1 World Championship. Friday, February 5, 1954, Farina reaffirms his conviction that Ferrari's complaint against Fangio cannot be accepted by the international sporting commission. Maglioli and Hawthorn, the other Ferrari drivers, stay in South Africa on holiday. The Englishman has another reason to delay his return to 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 on January 31, where everyone - apart from Farina and Trintignant - suffered from sunstroke caused by the weather. On that occasion, Farina had an issue with the car and took González’s place, stunned from the heat, driving the Ferrari of the Argentinian, and finished third, at the end of a beautiful chase. Trintignant does not join Ferrari immediately, but he will support Farina in some races, beginning with the 12h of Sebring on March 7. Meanwhile, it is confirmed that Ferrari will participate with a special car on the 500 Miles of Indianapolis, planned on May 30, with Karma, while Farina will be supported by Trintignant on the 12h of Sebring, which will take place in the USA on March 7. 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 to the commentator Orsi that he would not leave them), participating in few sports races with Lancia, while González has not officially joined Scuderia Ferrari yet. Regarding Mercedes, Farina thinks that the Stuttgart team will be limited for this year to test their newest cars on course, and that 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 his ring. Indianapolis is a magic dream for all of us".


As everybody knows, the World Champion in charge, Alberto Ascari, and his friend Luigi Villoresi did not 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. On Wednesday, February 10, 1954, Ascari and Villoresi are safe despite the terrifying incident. They were coming back from Sanremo (where they tested for the first time the Lancia sport cars with which they will participate on March 7 to 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 crashing. Later, the two continued to Milan, taking their seats in Castellotti's car - another Lancia driver - returning from the Sanremo testing. The crash does not shake at all the impassiveness of the two, who smile thinking about what happened. Furthermore, during the test on Monday evening, Villoresi is not sufficiently ready for the new car. He lets himself be betrayed by the impatience to go fast and goes off the road stopping on the edge of a cliff, after smoothing the corner of a wall. Everything finishes 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. On Thursday, February 11, 1954, the Sports Committee of Argentinian Automobile Club 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 they will meet in Lisbon in May. 


Five days later, on February 16, 1954, Ferrari declares that they have decided to withdraw from the participation in the 12h of Sebring, which will take place on March 7 in USA, despite being valid for the Sports World Championship and representing the second official race (the first, 1000 km long, was won by Farina and Maglioli, with a Ferrari 4500 on January 24 in Buenos Aires; the third will be the Mille Miglia on May 2, and in total there are 8 races 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 is not 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 could not 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 has not 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 February 28, 1954, at Agadir, Morocco, and on March 7, 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 on Friday, February 26, 1954, on the circuit of the Caselle airport, Alberto Ascari tests the new Lancia Gran Premio for a quarter of an hour. From the test, 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 towards Sebring, in the USA, where on March 7 and 8, 1954, the 12h of Sebring will take place. It will be valid as the second race of the World Championship of the 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 director of the Scuderia, Pasquarelli. 


The three cars are carried by sea, while Taruffi departs from Rome and Fangio from Argentina. Simultaneously, on February 28, 1954, Turinese driver Giuseppe Farina triumphantly begins the racing series Ferrari planned to compete in North Africa. After showing up as the favourite during the practises on the 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 Frenchman 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. On Thursday, March 4, 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 Genoa. 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 which is quite harsh. The track is composed of a half proper circuit with some high speed corners and two straights, both one and a half kilometre 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, March 5, 1954, is absolved in Brescia from suspicion of homicide following the incident during the 1951 Mille Miglia. Ascari, arrived on a corner between Lonato and Desenzano, blinded from the 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 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’s mechanic, Senesio Niccolini, and Lord Lurani, who confirm the dazzle suffered by Ascari on the entrance of the corner. Consequently, the Public minister, on the defendant's side, speaks considering his fact to be true and asking for the absolution of Ascari, because the event is not a criminal act. In the afternoon, advocate Genovesi of Mantua and advocate Aldo Farinelli of Turin speak in defence of Ascari. The first thinks that the Mille Miglia is a speed race and it is contradicting if someone blames the driver for high speed. Advocate Farinelli, excusing his absence from Ascari's courtroom due to his contract that links him to the participation in the 12 Hours of Sebring, which will take place on Sunday in Florida, describes the personality of Ascari. Referring to what the constructor Ferrari said about him, who described Ascari as meticulous as a bank accountant, the lawyer maintains 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 what 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 cannot 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. On Tuesday, March 23, 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 the 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, 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 the 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 tests in a secret location, because the former World Champion, who came back from the Africa races, 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 on April 4 or in the Siracusa Grand Prix on April 11, 1954, even though it cannot be ruled out that the cars of Maranello would participate in both competitions. It is known that on the afternoon of April 8, 1954, the organisers of the 500 Miles of Indianapolis announce that a Ferrari has entered the competition. The participation is sent by Marion Chinetti, from New York, on behalf of Filippo Teodoli, 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 is exactly why he also wants to face the classic international race, knowing as well all the difficulties. It is likely 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 April 4, 1954, Giuseppe Farina comes back to Turin from Sicily, where the previous Sunday participated and won the Siracusa Grand Prix. The driver tells how much tragic and remarkable was the incident happened to his teammate Hawthorn, whose car got burnt following a crash with the car of González:


"It is a miracle that Hawthorn was able to get by with a 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 Rome and he told me that he didn’t think to get away safely 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 that the Swiss managers are more willing to help him than the Italians. Farina comes back home following from Rome the Mille Miglia 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 are roads under repair, which represent a real danger for inexperienced drivers and will lead to a strong selection even among the most prepared ones. The major competitors of Ferrari will be the Lancia 3300s, which have already raced in Sebring; these cars are highly suitable to this kind of competition, as already seen in Sicily. Then Farina will leave for Pau on Thursday, April 15, 1954, where on Saturday and Sunday the practices on the circuit will take place for the race scheduled on Monday. After Pau, he will come back to Italy for the Mille Miglia and later he hopes to race in Indianapolis for the classic competition of the 500 Miles, race for which Ferrari has made steps forward to obtain a permission to race: the regulations do not 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 postal services of half of Italy on April 16, 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 the 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 take place, they limit themselves to a brief check. It is not known if the Maranello constructor 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, together with their drivers, Manuel Fangio, but he has not given any news of himself for a long time. 


Regarding this, the commissioner Orsi, on April 16, 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 in Pau, the leader of the team will be Marimon, the other Argentinian driver who showed up during the Siracusa Grand Prix contending for success with 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 was delayed and González was forced to retire. At the start of the race, Farina damages his car a lot and because of that, he is forced to pit a lot of times to fix all the failures. At the same time, on April 17, 1954, a heated controversy arises inside the 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. According to the British 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 on April 20, 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, April 15, 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 April 19, 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 go unanswered and so the Goodwood race began and ended without Ascari and any clarification having arrived. 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 the Lancia team from British circuits and a temporary prohibition for English drivers to participate in the 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 give 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, during the preparation for the Mille Miglia, Luigi Villoresi is the victim of an accident on April 20, 1954. The Italian driver, together with his mechanic Paganelli, is testing his car in 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, a Lancia engineer 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 fight between Ferrari and Lancia, although without the presence of Luigi Villoresi, continues in the Mille Miglia, the third round of the World Championship for sports cars, held on May 2, 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 rush 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 see 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 kerb, 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 May 3, 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 cannot 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 in 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 Mille Miglia 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 kerb 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 April 19, 1954, but, for reasons beyond his control, had been forced to give up the trip - comes to an end. It is even written that the reigning Formula 1 World Champion will no longer be able to race across the Channel. This happens because one of the fiercest accusers, Mr John Morgan of the British Automobile Racing Club, telegraphed Lancia a few days after the Mille Miglia victory and invited the winning car and Ascari to Aintree on May 29, 1954. 


The Turinese manufacturer, however, replied immediately revealing the inconsistency of the proposal, since that Mr. Morgan did not 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, May 11, 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 Mille Miglia with the 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 the 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 kilometres of the Mille Miglia. 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 the Targa Florio; on the other hand, Farina looks forward to return racing with his Ferrari, to which he suggested some adjustments. 


In Sicily, the thirty-eighth edition of the Targa Florio, which takes place on May 30, 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 arrives second, with a Maserati, in six hours and thirty-one minutes, with an average speed of 88 km/h. All that while, on May 31, on the 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 the Ferrari Supersqualo 555, equipped with lateral tanks, inside which on the left side there is the fuel, while on the right side 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 which is 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 qualifying. The car will also be driven by Danny Oakes, without obtaining better luck. For this reason, Ferrari will give up pursuing that journey.


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