Motorsport enthusiasts will be satisfied with the two days of racing that will take place on August 21 and 22, 1954, on the picturesque and difficult Bremgarten circuit. The Swiss automobile and motorcycle Grand Prix will bring to the city of bears the best in terms of cars and drivers worldwide. The program is so vast that it is dizzying: after the official tests for the two and four-wheel drivers on Thursday and Friday, there will be the race for the motorcycles on Saturday and again the last tests of the Formula 1 cars; then, on Sunday morning, the 350, the sidecars and the 500 will compete; in the afternoon the cars for their Grand Prix. Apart from the grandeur and completeness of the double manifestation, there are a few elements of particular interest: the hoped-for debut of one or two new Ferraris (at least in the engine), and Fangio's latest effort to mathematically ensure the world title. But, given that the regulation counts the best four places out of the nine scheduled races, it will be enough for him not to let González win. The British Grand Prix raced at Silverstone had rekindled some hope, thanks to the double Ferrari podium signed by González and Hawthorn, but the Nurburgring has re-established the hierarchy, with the irrepressible supremacy of the new Mercedes W196 entrusted to the pure talent of Juan Manuel Fangio, a difficult combination to beat. With three Grand Prix left, González is called to a hat-trick to overturn the standings, also trusting that the Mercedes rival will score a measly number of points in three rounds, two aspects that make the feat impossible to say the least. The fourth resumption of the Italo-German battle will see the complete line-up of the Ferrari, Mercedes and Maserati teams (unfortunately Farina and Ascari will still be missing). The German manufacturer entered three winning cars at the Nurburgring, in consideration of the not excessively fast characteristics of the Bernese circuit, with the drivers Fangio, Kling and Hermann. Ferrari brings González, Hawthorn, Trintignant and Manzon to Switzerland, while Maserati presents itself with a quintet of drivers, other than the team leader Moss, the Modenese company brings Schell, Mieres, Mantovani, while the fifth car is driven by the British driver Ken Wharton. The latter officially competes with the B.R.M. team, which does not yet have a car of its own construction; however, it will not be long before Mr. Owen's team will be able to produce one, without having to rely on other teams.
The grid of the Swiss Grand Prix also features important absences, such as that of Giuseppe Farina, still suffering from burns, and those of Ascari and Villoresi, who are anxiously awaiting the official debut of the new Formula 1 Lancia. As usual, the official Gordinis taking part in the Grand Prix will be three, driven by Behra, Bucci and Wacker. To complete the grid, the Belgian driver Swaters, aboard a privately purchased Ferrari. However, before reaching the long-awaited Swiss Grand Prix, the two Modena car manufacturers take advantage of the invitation of the organisers of the Pescara Grand Prix, scheduled for Sunday, August 15, 1954, to continue the development of their cars. The Pescara ferragosto (August 15) is traditionally dedicated to motoring. There was a time when the circuit of this city in Abruzzo was considered the most important race of the summer: the racetrack was difficult and complete, there was a lot of participation from manufacturers, and enormous interest from passionate fans. Still today we remember the stories of the Pescara events between 1934 and 1939, with the great protagonists of the time: Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Mercedes, Auto Union, and drivers named such as Varzi, Nuvolari, Caracciola, Rosemeyer, Fagioli, Moll, Lang, Stuck. But these were years in which the races were not held every two to three Sundays, like today, and each race was of exceptional importance; among all, the Pescara circuit had unmistakable characteristics, determined above all by its layout: a very smooth road on the Pescara-Cappella-Montesilvano-Pescara triangle, where the long straight line of the finish line is followed by the mountain stretch and the very fast descent to return to Montesilvano. The side that connects this last town with the capital is a segment of about six kilometres perfectly straight and flat, only interrupted towards the end - before the stands - by a variant built artfully before the war to interrupt the enormous speeds they reach there (Fangio, on the double-stage compressor Alfa Romeo 1500, achieved 310 km/h on the running kilometre). From Pescara, the road climbs to Cappella through an exhausting succession of curves and dips, then returns to Montesilvano along a couple of steep descents.
They are, in total, 25.579 kilometres. After the war, the faithful organisers of Pescara resumed the race, subsequently with different formulas: Grand Prix for Formula 1 cars, lasting six or twelve hours with touring and sports cars. Each time with good success, but certainly not the return to the glories of the past, and that lustre to which it seems that the Pescara circuit is destined to return. This is the reason why the twenty-third edition has been organised again with Formula 1, whose developments for the next few years are outlined as exciting as ever. In short, it must be a test race, almost representing a bridge between the bright past and a promising future. As it was easy to predict, Mercedes will be missing on the Pescara circuit, but Ferrari, Maserati and Gordini are at the rendezvous, albeit in incomplete ranks. On the contrary, Ferrari entered a new car, the 154 model, which made its first appearance in Syracuse at the beginning of the season, and later in Reims, in order not to interrupt the severe preparation that engages the two manufacturers from Modena ahead of the Swiss Grand Prix in Bern. Modified in the chassis, with a new more powerful engine, tested for a long time at the Modenese aerodrome, the car on which the hopes of being able to validly oppose Mercedes in the last Grand Prix of the season has been entrusted for the occasion to the young Umberto Maglioli. This should be the final test, in view of Bern and above all Monza; however, it will be the most interesting technical reason for the Pescara race. The Ferrari of Maglioli presents new solutions in the engine, chassis and bodywork; the shark shape is characteristic, determined by the two fuel tanks placed laterally to replace the single one in the tail, in order to achieve a more correct weight distribution and therefore a different suspension set-up. In addition to the aforementioned Maglioli, Scuderia Ferrari will see the Frenchman Robert Manzon, who has recently been part of the Maranello team, Rosier and Swaters at the wheel of the Ferrari cars; Stirling Moss - currently team leader - will be present with Maserati with the Roman Luigi Musso, and the private individuals Biro, Shell and Daponte. Finally Behra, Bucci and Guelfi will race on the Gordini. On the other hand, Fangio will be missing because, despite having been invited, he preferred to give up to enjoy a holiday. Few big names, as we can see, but precisely for this there is the guarantee of an uncertain and lively struggle. The Pescara Grand Prix takes place over a total of sixteen laps, equal to 469,264 metres.
On Saturday, August 14, 1954, all the drivers entered in the 23rd Pescara circuit show up on time for the official practices. In total thirteen competitors instead of fourteen. After the first test with the asphalt ring, the drivers lower their times, in view of the starting grid for the race. The Englishman Stirling Moss makes a resounding exploit, and, despite racing for the first time in Pescara, progressively improves his times, finally breaking the record of the fastest lap that belongs to Tazio Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo), who lasted from 1932. The young British ace recorded a time of 10'23"0 at an average of 147.808 km/h. However, the new record cannot be recognized because it was not obtained in competition. The current favourite, Maglioli, with the experimental Ferrari, does a few laps, evidently because the car still needs to be adjusted. Maglioli still sets a good time, 10'53"0, at an average of 139.691 km/h from a standing start. But the second best time of the day is set by the privateer Manzon on a Ferrari, which was also built in the Maranello factory. The Frenchman records an excellent time of 10'66"1 at an average of 142.855 km/h. Another happy surprise of these interesting practices is the Argentine driver Bucci on Gordini: the young friend of Fangio (the latter present as a spectator in Pescara) gets a time of 10'46"0 at an average of 142.545 km/h. Behra is also among the fastest, recording a time of 10'57"1 at an average of 140.116 km/h. The other Maserati driver, Luigi Musso, also goes under 11'00"0, setting a time of 10'58"2 at an average of 139.860 km/h. On Sunday, August 15, 1954, in the midst of an ideal climate and an imposing crowd show offered by almost one hundred thousand people, including numerous tourists, along the roadsides and in the grandstands, at 9:30 a.m. the twenty-third edition of the Pescara Grand Prix comes to life. This indicates that the majority of sportsmen have taken an interest and have enjoyed this return to Formula 1, after the tests of the past years. Before the start, however, a sudden twist occurs in the last hours of the eve. The racer Umberto Maglioli, who was entrusted with the official Ferrari that will race next Sunday at the Bern Circuit and on which the forecasts of many were noted, is invited by a phone call from his father to urgently go to Biella at the bedside of his mother in serious conditions. Due to a sudden collapse, the conditions of the lady - already ill for some time - worsen further.
The return of her son raises the spirits of Mrs. Mariuccia, who is told that Umberto had returned because the new Ferrari was not yet on point and therefore could not participate in a demanding race like the one in Pescara. The Ferrari driver cannot therefore be present at the start. At the start, given by S. E. Ermini, Undersecretary for the Show, Manzon and Behra immediately take off. However, when they pass in front of the stands after the first lap the positions are as follows: in the lead the Maserati of Moss, closely followed by the Ferrari of Manzon. Bira, Bucci, Musso, Shell, Rosier, Daponte, Swaters and Guelfi follow in order at short intervals. Behra, who had sprinted second, is delayed by about six minutes as he appears to have hit the rear of Manzon's car along the Spoltore switchbacks. The first selection takes place in the second round. The competitor Guelfi, on Gordini, is forced to abandon the car due to a fire principle, from which he comes out slightly burned. Nothing serious, so it is considered useless to transport the racer to the hospital, who is treated on the spot. Meanwhile Manzon, lingering in Spoltore where the hardest uphill stretch ends, stops at the garage and withdraws. Taraschi also stops due to a repairable breakdown and loses two laps to Moss who continues to lead. On the fourth lap, a twist: Bira, Musso and Bucci pass in order, at close range. News of Moss are awaited and, through the radio link that radio amateurs have established free of charge among the main places of the route, we learn that the youngest competitor in the race - twenty-four years old - is stopped after Cappella, and will be forced to retire because his Maserati accuses the rupture of the oil pipe. At the same time, Bira records the fastest lap so far. Maserati now has three cars in the top four and is preparing to completely dominate the field. Nothing remarkable happens until the sixth lap, when Bira sets the fastest lap of the entire race in 10'48"39 at an average of 142.417 km/h. After the sixth step, another sensational twist: Prince Bira loses the lead of the race due to a trivial breakdown: the rupture of the exhaust manifold. Musso thus takes the lead, followed by Bucci. Bira however passes into third position after a brief stop in the garage, where he is overtaken by Shell. A long applause from the audience in the meantime greeting the World Champion Fangio entering on the circuit, accompanied by his wife. We are now halfway through the race, and the final classification is beginning to take shape.
Musso, who has taken the lead, will keep it until the end. From the eighth to the tenth lap Taraschi's retirement, Bira's reconquest of third position and the last retirement, that of Rosier, who reached the finish line on foot, are also worth mentioning. Bucci, a few minutes later, is also stopped by a breakdown, but he will still be able to classify having crossed the finish line of the tenth lap as required by the regulation. The positions of the eleventh lap, which will remain until the end of the race are therefore the following: in the lead Musso with 3'12"3 on Bira; in third position Shell, the most regular competitor, followed by Daponte and Behra, both lapped. Four Maserati in the first four places, with a slight decrease in the gap between Musso and Bira which drops to 2'41"0 on the thirteenth lap. The crowd, all standing, greets with a long applause the victorious arrival of the only Italian left in the race, while the notes of Mameli's hymn spread from the surrounding microphones. The public, very sporty, warmly applauds the other racers who remained in the race. Immediately after the conclusion, S. E. Ermini rewards the brilliant protagonists of the competition with numerous cups offered by the various Ministries. During the evening we learn that the conditions of the mother of the well-known runner Umberto Maglioli, Mrs. Mariuccia Maglioli Florio, remain very serious. The lady will be lovingly assisted by her husband, Professor Nicola, and her brother-in-law, Professor Vincenzo Maglioli, both talented doctors. The attention of motoring enthusiasts converges this week on the auto-motorcycle weekend in Bern, for the dispute of the Swiss Grand Prix. Competition theatre is the famous and difficult Bremgarten circuit, traced in the forest of the same name on the edge of the federal capital. On the afternoon of Sunday, August 22, 1954, the circuit will become the possession of the four-wheeled racing cars for the Swiss Grand Prix, the seventh round of Formula 1 valid for the World Championship. The line-up is that of the latest races: Mercedes with three cars of the Nurburgring model, with conventional bodywork, not faired, and the drivers Fangio, Kling and Hermann; Ferrari, which alongside the two old type cars presents as many almost new ones, namely with a new chassis and more powerful engine.
The choice of pairings with the drivers (Gonzalez, Hawthorn, Trintignant and Manzon) will depend on the outcome of the official tests. Finally, Maserati with its Moss, Shell, Mieres and Mantovani, the Gordini (three or four cars) and some private drivers on Italian cars complete the pictures of the participants in the Swiss Grand Prix, whose backbone is the new episode of the Mercedes-Ferrari fight. If many hopes can be placed in the new vehicles prepared by the tenacious Modenese manufacturer, the Stuttgart company has the great advantage of having a driver of the Fangio class at its disposal (while Farina, Ascari and Villoresi will still be missing), of a man that is able to solve the most difficult situations by virtue of their own. Finally, for Fangio, a whisker is enough to conquer the World Championship: winner of four races out of the six already disputed, the regulation mechanism and the classification situation mathematically guarantee him the title, except that his compatriot Gonzalez does not win. Unfortunately, this year, adverse circumstances have cut the Italian drivers out of the fight. On a happy note, the condition of the mother of well-known car racer Umberto Maglioli is improving significantly. Having overcome the crisis, Mrs. Mariuccia Maglioli Florio is now almost out of danger. Professor Nicola, her husband, who has been caring for her together with her brother Professor Vincenzo, revealed some optimism about the course of the disease. Umberto Maglioli will probably be able to take part in the race in Bremgarten, Switzerland, with the new Ferrari. Cold and damp weather is the chief factor at the Swiss Grand Prix, held over 66 laps of the Bremgarten Circuit on the edge of Berne. As is becoming more and more evident as the new Formula 1 gathers strength, big Grand Prix events are fast becoming the preserve of the factory teams, which, of course, is normal. Of the 16 starters only two are non-factory, these being the Belgian Swaters with his Ferrari and Wharton in the Rubery Owen Maserati, now very much modified. Since Silverstone, this last car has been fitted with Dunlop disc brakes and alloy wheels, similar to the Le Mans Jaguars, the oil tank has been removed from below the carburetters and placed on the left of the cockpit, the exhaust tail-pipes considerably shortened, and many other detail modifications made to the engine, while the bodywork has now turned olive green. Mercédès-Benz has three Nurburgring single-seaters driven by Fangio, Kling and Herrmann, ostensibly the same as at the previous race, though the rear suspension is strengthened at the point where Kling’s broke up in the German Grand Prix.
Ferrari enters two 1954 cars, now with new front brakes that are larger and wider, but in practice Manzon has a bad crash in one of these, while having his first try-out in the factory team. Gonzalez practices in the other one, but Maglioli drives it in the race. Hawthorn practices in a 1953/54 model fitted with a high tail fairing as on the 1954 cars, with a slightly larger fuel tank, and Trintignant has a normal 1953/54 car, both these last two cars having the new engines as at Nurburgring. With Manzon’s car out, Gonzalez takes the 1953/54 one with the headrest and another normal 1953/54 car is produced for Hawthorn. The full team of three Gordinis are running, Behra and Bucci on the five-speed models and the American driver Wacker being on the four-speed one. Mainstay of the Maserati team is naturally Moss, driving his own car, but having three others at his disposal should the need arise. Two of the other three cars are all fitted with the rear-mounted oil tank and handled by Mieres and Schell, the last named having his first drive with a de Dion car, this particular one being fitted with a right-hand accelerator pedal, similar to that of Moss, the idea being that the number one driver should have another car in reserve. Mantovani is on the fourth works entry. The first practice is damp but not raining and though times are good they cannot approach the long-standing record that Rosemeyer sets up in 1936 with an Auto-Union. This still stands at 2'34"5, and the best the 2.5-litres can do under the conditions is 2'39"5 by Gonzalez and 2'39"7 by Fangio, with Moss third fastest with 2'41"4. The second practice period - there are only two - is held in continuous rain and for a long time no one can get below three minutes, and by the end of the period the weather is so dull that, going through the wooded parts of the track, visibility is at a minimum for high-speed motoring. Nevertheless all three Mercédès-Benz drivers get below three minutes, as does Trintignant, while Moss is the fastest of the lot with 2'56"0, Kling being 0.1 sec. behind, followed by Herrmann at 2 sec. and Fangio at 2.7 sec. However, none of these times affect the grid position as they are slower than the previous day and on Sunday afternoon the front row sees Gonzalez, Fangio and Moss side by side, with Trintignant and Kling in row two, followed by Hawthorn, Herrmann and Wharton in the next row, Mantovani and Bucci in row four, Maglioli driving in place of Manzon in row five along with Mieres and Schell, and Behra, Wacker and Swaters bringing up the rear.
At the fall of the flag it is Fangio who goes into the lead, and Kling, also profiting by having a five-speed gearbox, nipped through from row two and Moss tucked in behind him. By the end of the lap Fangio has got clear of the pack and Gonzalez and Moss are nose to tail some three seconds behind him, they being followed by Kling, Trintignant, Wharton, Behra, Hawthorn, Herrmann and the rest. Only Bucci fails to complete the first lap, he stops shortly after half a lap. Fangio gains a few tenths on the next lap but Moss is still breathing on the tail of Gonzalez’ Ferrari, while Kling runs into the straw bales approaching the end of the lap and drops right to the back of the field, more than 30 seconds behind Swaters, who has already been left behind. There is no holding Fangio now and yard by yard he increases his lead, while Moss gets past Gonzalez though there is still only a few feet between them. Hawthorn makes a hesitant opening lap and runs in company with Trintignant and Herrmann, but after five laps he begins to put on speed and shakes these two off, at the same time closing rapidly on Moss and Gonzalez, who are now six seconds behind Fangio. On the fourth lap Wharton spins and drops almost to the back of the field and by lap eight, when Behra retires at the pits with no clutch, the race has been divided into two parts. The first six are Fangio, in complete command of the race, Moss, Gonzalez, Hawthorn, Trintignant and Herrmann; after them, there is already a long gap and then come Mantovani, Mieres, Wharton, making no ground on the two Maseratis in front of him, Schell, Maglioli and Kling, the Mercedes-Benz driver fairly making his way through the tail-enders. Completely outclassed are Wacker and Swaters, who bring up the tail. With the race having sorted itself out a bit, there now starts an absolute spate of fastest laps, Fangio being first on lap nine in 2'44"2, then again on lap 11 in 2'43"5. On lap 12 it is Hawthorn with 2'42"3, and the following lap Gonzalez does 2'42"0. This brings Hawthorn closer to Gonzalez and by lap 15 he is almost alongside, actually passing him on the next lap, and the lap after that he passes Moss, getting his own back for the Silverstone incident. Meanwhile Kling completes his job of working his way through the second half of the field and now sets about reducing the gap between himself and Herrmann, and starts this by setting a new fastest lap in 2'41"8.
By 20 laps, less than a third of the total distance of 480,480 kilometres, Fangio laps Wharton, who is lying in 10th place, and Wacker stops, the complete Gordini team now being out. Moss begins to lose ground rapidly and on lap 22 he comes to a sudden stop when his oil pressure fails, and on the same lap Hawthorn is overdue, all this letting Trintignant into third place. Hawthorn arrives at his pit at low speed with what appears to be a throttle that would not open but a few moments’ work under the bonnet has him back in the race again going as well as ever. Moss walks back to the pits and it has been arranged previously that if his car should fail he would take over Schell’s but by this time his second string has also retired with a loss of oil pressure, so Moss becomes a spectator yet again. The race now develops into a procession, the only interest being on the progress Kling is making, which is still very steady. Hawthorn’s fortunes does not last long for on lap 30, less than halfway through the race, he fails to appear and walks back later to report that the Ferrari has come to rest out on the circuit. Just after this, Kling overtakes Herrmann and a lap later, at half-distance, the order is Fangio leading comfortably, 20 sec. ahead of Gonzalez, with Trintignant a long way back in third place, followed by Kling and Herrmann, the remaining racers being a lap behind. No sooner has this point been reached than Trintignant coasts into the pits with a stream of oil pouring from the bottom of the engine and the car is immediately withdrawn. As if to make his lead even more convincing, Fangio sets up yet another fastest lap in 2'39"7 and, provided the Mercedes-Benz can keep going, he is a certain winner. On lap 39 Kling is firmly in third place when his engine just dies on him and he is forced out with suspected fuel feed trouble, and this leaves only eight cars still running. This year’s Swiss Grand Prix has been extended to 66 laps and the extra ones now tick slowly away, there being no hope of anyone catching the car in front of him and it is once more a question of endurance. Right from the start of the race the weather has been improving and the circuit has now dried out considerably, while for a very brief moment the sun shines. Mieres and Mantovani in the remaining factory-supported Maseratis have been running in close company throughout the race and now that Mieres is getting used to the de Dion tube car he begins to draw away a little.
Fangio laps in 2'43"0, having eased just a very small amount, while Gonzalez loses two seconds a lap on him. They have both lapped Herrmann, who is safely in third place, a lap ahead of the three Maseratis. Wharton being sixth, unable to make up any ground on the two red six-cylinder cars, even though the Rubery Owen Maserati sounds as healthy as at the start. With five laps to go a few spots of rain falls, just to prevent any feeling of confidence spreading as regards the 1954 weather, but by now everyone is motoring steadily to finish, and a few seconds after the three-hour mark is passed, Fangio is flagged home the winner of the Swiss Grand Prix, 50 seconds ahead of Gonzalez, having led the race from start to finish, not only proving his complete mastery as a driver, but proving for the third time out of four races that the new Mercédès-Benz is not such a bad racing car after all. Herrmann supports this theory by finishing third, one lap behind, and Mieres, Mantovani and Wharton finish in that order all on the same lap. Bringing up the rear is Maglioli with the 1954 Ferrari and, many laps behind, comes Swaters with his private Ferrari. What looked like being a battle royal has proved to be a procession, as it happened at the Nurburgring. English hopes are right out of luck, both Hawthorn and Moss having shown good form until they were forced out. The race has reserved a few surprises, showing a frightening show of strength by Fangio and his Mercedes: the Argentine comes to round all the drivers remaining in the race, including teammate Herrmann. Only González manages to finish the race with full laps, but the Ferrari driver pays for a delay of over a minute. The Argentine driver manages the race up to the chequered flag, triumphing in an exemplary manner and winning the second world title, closing the accounts with two races to spare. When Juan Manuel Fangio crosses the finish line of the Swiss Grand Prix, the big engineer Neubauer, sports director of Mercedes, indulges in a sort of not at all Teutonic fantasy, throwing his hat in the air and tracing frenetic squiggles in the void with the Rossoneri flag of the reports, while the laughing face is tinged with red.
The German engineer has a good right to show his enthusiasm so sensationally, given that Mercedes has behaved in such a way as to sweep away all those reservations that, perhaps wrongly, had accompanied the previous victories in Reims and the Nurburgring. Ferrari is second with González, but must count on two cars out of action and will therefore have to work hard not to lose further ground on a technical level, hoping to recover in a short time Giuseppe Farina, whose lack is increasingly felt. Once again, Fangio's Mercedes dominated from one end of the Grand Prix to the other, and the opposing defence by the Ferrari and Maserati drivers was in vain - even conceding all the extenuating circumstances. If Juan Manuel Fangio, with his fifth victory in the sequence of tests valid for the World Championship, mathematically secured the title for 1954, Mercedes-Benz has provided proof of having achieved a technical superiority that will be very difficult to break. The reserves that had accompanied Mercedes' previous victories in Reims and at the Nurburgring no longer have any reason to exist; rather, they worry about the lack of improvements that had been hoped for in the Ferraris. The new model of the Scuderia Ferrari itself still does not meet the expectations of the technicians: add the current unavailability of high-class men to oppose Fangio, and it must be concluded that the prospects for the future are not at all happy. At Bremgarten, González finished behind the World Champion after an honest but not exactly brilliant race, then Herrmann still in the Mercedes, while Hawthorn, Kling, Trintignant and Moss were put out of competition by mechanical accidents. The Swiss Grand Prix confirms the hypotheses put forward on the eve. Given the harsh reality of a Mercedes that grows from race to race without the Italian cars being able to follow its progress, many illusions are unfortunately collapsing, starting with the one that the small Ferrari and Maserati car factories can, with their only resources, face the offensive of the German colossus; it is no longer just a technical problem, but a problem of means and organisation. The return into the field of Lancia and Alfa Romeo will perhaps be able to restore at least the balance of forces, if not immediately regain a position of superiority. The future in this sector is full of clouds, especially if we recall the memory of what happened twenty years earlier, again by the German industry.