#48 1955 Italian Grand Prix

2021-04-18 01:00

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#1955, Fulvio Conti, Translated by Nicola Carriero, Luca Saitta, Translated by Greta Carrara,

#48 1955 Italian Grand Prix

Sunday, August 7, 1955, the Swedish Auto Grand Prix, reserved for Sports cars, results in an easy affirmation of the Mercedes which, led by the two ac


Sunday, August 7, 1955, the Swedish Auto Grand Prix, reserved for Sports cars, results in an easy affirmation of the Mercedes which, led by the two aces Juan Manuel Fangio and Stirling Moss, are classified in the first two places beating the four-litre Ferrari of the brave Eugenio Castellotti, who nevertheless crossed the finish line with a gap of about 1'40"0, conquering third place. Fangio and Moss arrive at the finish line separated from each other by a few meters, exactly like at the Italian Grand Prix, where, however, the Argentine had left the first place to the Englishman. It should be noted that, during the race, Moss was hit in the face by a stone splashed by the wheels of another car and nevertheless managed to continue to the finish line. Out of nine cars that started, eight completed the race, and only Castellotti and the Frenchman Jean Behra, who is at the wheel of a Maserati, managed not to be lapped by the two Mercedes champions. The Swede John Kvarnetrom, on an Alfa Romeo, has to give up the fight towards the eighteenth lap (shortly after halfway through the race) due to mechanical problems. Over 100.000 people attended the event, which was also attended by the Crown Prince of Sweden, who, honoured by the leaders of the Swedish AC, took his place in the stands of honour. The Krinstianstadt circuit is 6.527 kilometres long, and is located about one hundred kilometres from Malmoe: it is a difficult route with narrow roads and in some places with ups and downs. Given the narrowness of the runway, the safety measures are exceptionally strict. A continuous barrier keeps the crowd at least twenty-five meters away from the road, and very strict policemen take care to keep the prudential alignment of the public unchanged. During the race, an unauthorized photographer who tries to approach a curve to portray a passage is even arrested. In the meantime, like every summer, Enzo Ferrari spends most of his time in the factory in Maranello, while his wife and son spend a few weeks on the Romagna Riviera, in the modest villa that Enzo bought a few years earlier in Viserbella and in which he rarely goes, never for more than twenty-four hours, except in mid-August.


In August, away from the factory, but always immersed in those technical issues to which his father encouraged him years earlier, in a handwriting that the disease is making more and more uncertain, Dino gives his father written advice on the new engines under study. Wednesday 17 August 1955, in Modena, Ferrari begins testing ahead of the Monza Grand Prix. On the track of the aerodrome, in addition to the sharks of the Maranello company, for the first time there are the Lancia recently donated to Ferrari by the Turin manufacturer. The results of the first day of testing, which will continue almost uninterrupted in the next few days until the eve of the Italian Grand Prix, are satisfactory, even if the three Scuderia Ferrari drivers are missing. Farina, Castellotti and Trintignant - perhaps in homage to the superstition that would harm anyone who starts a business on the 17th - do not show up, despite having been summoned by telegraph. At the wheel of the Ferrari shark, the test driver Sighinolfi first spins for a long time. It is a question of verifying the tightness of the new organs, with the contribution of which the Modenese car is strengthened, of the engine and of the bodywork, especially in regard to the suspensions. The line of the new shark is more streamlined due to the reduction in volume and shape of the characteristic built-in side tanks and the addition of a third tank in the tail. Sighinolfi makes a series of laps at a slow pace, with the aim of checking the tightness of the engine after long inactivity. The result is excellent, therefore in the presence of the entire staff of the House, including Commander Jano from Lancia, the new Ferrari technical consultant, Sighinolfi drives the car at very high speed, setting times very close to track records. The surprise of the day comes a little later, when the young Perdisa, former Maserati driver, arrives, enthusiastically accepting Ferrari's invitation, first on the shark and then on the Lancia, driving both cars with confidence and setting remarkable times. The conclusion drawn from this first day of preliminary testing is optimistic. In the evening, when tests were forcibly suspended due to the dark, Ferrari and Commander Jano are visibly satisfied.


"Making plans is premature. In Monza we will participate with different cars: I can’t say which ones yet, because we should decide in the next few days. Tests will be done at an intensive pace until Christmas Eve".

It is expected that both Lancia and the single-seaters from Maranello will probably be present at the Italian Grand Prix, racing under the same colours for the first time. On Tuesday, 23 August 1955, the Fangio and Moss’s Mercedes are on stage on the renewed Monza track, to carry out tests on the track that is defined as the new Indianapolis. The racetrack, which was inaugurated in 1922, is now completely transformed and the average speeds obtained by the Maserati of Jean Behra, Sergio Mantovani and Bertocchi, Thursday, 18 August 1955, of about 225 km/h, are precisely a demonstration that, on the ring of Monza, it will be possible to reach times and average speeds of exceptional value. As is known, the speed track comprising the two large north and south curves is added to the old Monza road layout. The work was created by the engineers Antonino Berti and Aldo Di Rienzo, to reproduce almost faithfully the previous oval characterized by two banked curves and a cemented floor, obviously to be covered in full. During the day of Thursday, 18 August 1955, the track had already undergone a first unofficial test, carried out by the president of the Automobile Club of Milan Luigi Bertett, aboard a Ferrari 3000, from Comaggia on Maserati 2000, and by the motorcyclists Kavanagh and Lorenzetti, on Guzzi. The Mercedes tests begin at 10:00 a.m., when the test driver descends on the sunny Monza ring, who runs a few laps at moderate speed before giving way to Moss. Neither of them force, since the team orders do not allow today to touch points of considerable size; Neubauer instructs the drivers not to go beyond 6.000 rpm, taking into account that the Mercedes reach 8.500 rpm. At 10:10 a.m. it’s Kling’s turn, and just before 11:00 a.m. Fangio is also on the track; even the Argentine ace runs a few laps always at a not exceptional pace. Set-up tests are also carried out, which are needed to get to know the new Monza track, especially as regards the engagement of the new elevated curves. The tests also continue in the afternoon. On Wednesday 24 August 1955 Ferrari, with the Super-sharks and the Lancia, experiments with the new ring for the first time. The results are positive for both cars, which improve the official records set by Behra on Maserati in circuit testing. On the full 10.000-metre circuit, Kling, who drives a faired Mercedes, gets the best time in 2'49"0, equal to the hourly average of 218.017 km/h. 


Fangio approaches him with 2'51"0. Still on the complete circuit, the Turinese Farina prevails among the drivers of the Ferrari House, at the wheel of one of the Lancia cars, with 2'52"0. attempts, in 1'04"2, equal to an average speed of 240 km/h; on this same track, Behra had lapped in 1'06"0 and Kling in the morning practice in 1'05"0. Thursday 25 August 1955, Fangio further lowers the time that had been obtained by the German Kling: the world champion scores an excellent 2’48”4, a time which corresponds, on the ten kilometres of the complete lap of the track, to the average of 213.270 km/h. Both of these drivers race in the faired Mercedes. Later, Taruffi, on the other hand, in a non-faired Mercedes, achieved a time of 2'53"4. The best overall time of the Lancia-Ferraris was marked by Castellotti with 2'56"2. The Milanese Villoresi also trains on a Ferrari and equals Castellotti's time, while Farina and Maglioli, both on Ferrari, set the times 2'57"7 and 3'00"7 respectively. Meanwhile, the organizers of the Italian Grand Prix receive the official registrations of the Gordini: the French car ensures the presence of three 2500 cc cars. In addition to the two six-cylinder models already known, the French manufacturer will make its new eight-cylinder, already tested in training, debut on the Monza track. Stirling Moss, who left for Great Britain, is absent from the Mercedes drivers. On Tuesday, 6 September 1955, the activity, albeit reduced, continues on the Monza racetrack, in view of the Italian Grand Prix. On the circuit there is only the Ferrari team, whose drivers Farina, Hawthorn, Trintignant and Maglioli take turns at the wheel of the Super Squalo, without setting exceptional times. The tests are still mainly dedicated to the study of the most convenient ratios and section of tires. At the end of the tests, one has the feeling that, in this regard, the technicians of the Modena manufacturer have perfectly solved these problems of fundamental importance, given the new configuration of the Monza circuit, which obviously lacks any experience. In the early morning, the rain falls on the Monza circuit, so only after 10:00 a.m. can the drivers start to lap, without ever dropping below 2'55"0 on the ten kilometres of the track. Later, with the perfectly dry track, Hawthorn tried a fast lap. At the end of the tests, Giuseppe Farina says:


"The Monza track is beautiful. The junctions are perfectly guessed. The overhead curves, however, are tremendous. On the first day of unofficial practice, I found Mike Hawthorn wanting to go home. Mike is a typical Englishman: blond hair, pipe in the mouth and above all phlegm, a lot of phlegm. Yet the vertical wall impressed him. Fangio, another ace, just said to me: Did you see that stuff? The difficult thing is to resist the tremendous jolts you feel when you are launched. Make a mistake of an inch or two and you fly away. The first time, I thought I was being thrown out of the car. Then, there is a complication. Since the four wheels do not all jump at the same time, the car tends to get sideways. In fact, in the corners, the car is subjected to a frightening centrifugal force which the track contrasts. When the car makes a leap, the balance breaks down and the mechanical vehicle swerves like a horse. It is necessary to calculate everything and keep the route. You have to go up to the maximum along the almost vertical wall to face the curve at the highest possible speed, but, at the same time, you have to be very careful not to end up against the external wall from which you have to pass a metre, a metre and a half, half away. I don't know how overtaking will take place in such conditions. Despite these difficulties, I will race in Monza, because this is my job. As of now, however, I’ll say that Sunday will be a very tough race. Of all the tracks with banked curves, the current Monza one impressed me the most. It will be the novelties, it will be the jumps, it will be the tremendous difficulties, I don't know. Anyway, I repeat, my job is to run; and on Sunday I will well defend the possibilities of the Lancia that Scuderia Ferrari has entrusted to me. I'll have number 2, the same one with which I won the World Championship. Coincidence makes me happy".


As far as we know, on the new Monza circuit, every driver has to solve small problems. The rear-view mirror suitable for straights and flat curves is not needed in the Theatine; it is necessary to apply a second one adjusted for the slopes. Then there are the questions of the seats, to be conveniently padded and adjusted to the millimetre, of the steering wheel to be held in a certain way rather than another, so as not to repeat the basic problem of the suspensions. During the day, a first group of the Mercedes team appears - two vans with as many single-seaters and a dozen mechanics - driven by Neubauer, while the Maserati, expected in the afternoon, do not arrive in Monza as the Modenese company tests on the track of the Autodromo di Monza. Modena, the brand-new aerodynamic car, which came out after a very intense work from the workshops; the test takes place shortly after 7:00 p.m., when the shadows of the evening have now descended on the Modena track. At the wheel is Jean Behra, who, despite the darkness, achieves times around one minute and five seconds, considered excellent. The new and revolutionary car, created especially for the brand-new high-speed track of the Monza circuit, uses the classic 2500 cc six-cylinder engine. The bodywork is completely enveloping: flattened and receding nose, a semi-dome in aeronautical-type plastic that covers the cockpit, so that the driver is completely protected from the air, stabilizing rear fins; of the tires - which are otherwise entirely faired - only the upper faces appear. At the end of the short test, when the darkness definitively arrives interrupts the thrilling sprint, Behra expresses to the manufacturer Orsi his full satisfaction for the new creation, which he defines as very easy to drive. 


On Wednesday 7 September 1955, the branching of the official list of entrants to the XXVI Italian Grand Prix resolves the unknowns regarding the number of cars entered by the Ferrari team, as well as the distribution of the drivers on the two types of cars available to the Modena organization: the official Ferrari and Lancia cars offered by the Turin-based company after retiring from racing. Therefore, three Ferrari and three Lancia will race the Grand Prix, respectively with Hawthorn, Trintignant, Maglloli, and with Farina, Castellotti, Villoresi. The unprecedented Turin Farina-Lancia duo and the return of the elderly Villoresi at the wheel of the car that was last driven in the race by his brotherly friend Alberto Ascari, constitute the two facts most favourably commented on in the racing circles. The unexpected presentation of the new fully faired Maserati arouses a great deal of sensation, which - if the outcome of these days' tests is favourable - will be entrusted to the team chief of the Modena manufacturer Jean Behra. Meanwhile, while the Scuderia Ferrari prefers to give its drivers a little rest and complete the tuning of the cars in the peace of Arcore - as soon as the track dries up from the great water that fell in the morning - the men of the Mercedes run for a long time: Fangio, Moss, Taruffi and Kling, with stunning results. The World Champion has in fact established the new record on the complete lap of ten kilometres, obtaining a time of 2'45"4, at an average of 217.129 km/h.


Taruffi for his part achieves the 4,250 meters of the speed track once of 1'00"3 (Fangio 1'01"2), at 252.475 km/h, and 2'49"1 on the lap. Less fast Moss (2'42"2) and Kling (2'51"3). All these times are obtained with the faired car, while the so-called cigar does not satisfy and in all likelihood will not be used in racing. The Maserati drivers, after a brief test of the new aerodynamic machine, which raised some complaints for the sliding in the corners of the lower part, rode on the usual model, limiting themselves, however, to a work of harmony continued later with the two-litre sport. The day after, Thursday 8 September 1955, during the tests in Monza, Giuseppe Farina goes to meet one of the most frightening experiences of his career, which is anything but devoid of emotions: while he is completing a lap on the so-called fast ring and is launched at over 250 km/h, at 4:30 p.m., a rear wheel of his car suddenly comes off the tread. Only the exceptional cold blood of the pilot and his unparalleled experience prevent the accident from having tragic consequences. Giuseppe Farina, in fact, instead of slowing down, as it would be instinctive, limits himself to detaching. The car then spins two or three times in a whirlwind and then stops against the elastic protective barrier, specially built on the state-of-the-art racetrack. After the Farina accident, the technicians are rather worried about the feared problem of tyre grip, which in the event of high temperatures could have a decisive role in the performance and result of the race. The machine suffered quite significant damage, but luckily Farina came out unscathed:


"On board a brand new Lancia-Ferrari, I had just completed the ten regulatory test laps, which are mandatory for all competitors, when I was invited to take a taste of full speed on the reduced ring with banked corners. of momentum and in the first lap I scored a time of 1'01"3 corresponding to about 250 km/h of average speed: just over the record time of the Mercedes. So, I decided to try the test again with a second lap: everything went very well until the moment I was about to exit the bend next to the pits. At that point, the left rear tire suddenly came off and the car went sideways on the track. I was driving at around 260 kilometres/hour and, as a result, the skidding turned into a couple of whirling spins. Two or three spins, I don't know exactly. It was hard to count them at such a time. Nothing serious, fortunately. The elastic protective barrier turned out to be truly providential. I have not done anything. The car has suffered some damage, but in the morning, I will have another one and I will resume the tests".


Later, the popular Turin racer leaves for his city to reassure his wife:


"But tomorrow morning I will be in Monza very soon".


A similar accident happened to Trintignant, but luckily, while the car was passing in front of the pits, the mechanics noticed that the tread of a tyre was peeling off, so the French driver was promptly notified and promptly slowed down. A few words about the other tests, during which the drivers, in compliance with the provisions of the organizers, limit themselves to running on the high-speed ring, in order to deepen their knowledge with the two raised corners. The Ferrari, Mercedes, Gordini and Vanwall teams were fully present, while the five Maserati drivers did not show up on the track. The Gordini also brings the new and elegant eight-cylinder with partially faired bodywork to Monza, which will be driven by Frenchman Robert Manzon. The beautiful lap record of 4.250 metres set by Taruffi in a Mercedes is improved by a tenth of a second by Fangio, who records a time of 1'00"2 at the stopwatches, at an average of 254.152 km/h; the World Champion completes the prowess with the aerodynamic Mercedes. On Friday 9 September 1955, the official practice for the XXVI Italian Grand Prix begins, which takes place from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. The tests take place with the utmost regularity and there are no tyre accidents, as the technicians had predicted because of the lower stresses and the greater possibility of cooling the tyres on the complete track, than on the acrobatic track where there is not a moment of stopping at speed. In qualifying, Fangio is the fastest behind the wheel of the aerodynamic Mercedes, retouched at the front by an elongated and extremely sharp nose. 


The world champion achieves a 2'46"5 on lap at over 216 km/h of average speed and Kling, even on a faired Mercedes, sets a 0.9-second slower time. The Lancias of the Ferrari team are the most competitive Italian cars with Castellotti and Farina. Behra tried the beautiful Maserati with its aerodynamic body, setting a better time compared to its teammates. On Saturday 10 September 1955, the second round of tests from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. for the XXVI Italian Gran Prix is not challenged due to the pouring rain which lasted until late noon. On the wet track only three pilots are able to drive: Taruffi and Kling with the Mercedes and Musso with the Maserati. Certainly, the times that they set are better than the ones of Friday, but it turned out that even with the rain, the cars keep a high and perfect bond on the raised curve. Anyway, this has nothing to do with the famous hops that makes the drivers worried. In the afternoon, the weather gets better with a warm sun that dries the track in two hours, allowing to continue the tests, which finish half an hour beyond the established time. Of course, all the drivers run on the track, except for Fangio who stays in the box watching his teammates, due to his record time set on Friday which stayed the same even at the end of the last round. Mercedes opts for four different models of its direct injection eight-cylinder car: the usual faired car, the one with the forward lengthened part, the undressed type with a short frame and the one with the medium frame, because the German technicians want to test all the possible conditions of their cars. Therefore, if it rains, the race will start with the four most manoeuvrable but also slower cars; on the other hand, if it is sunny, the faired car will start and consequently, the expected average speed will be higher than 200 km/h. The faired cars worry a bit due to the behaviours of their tyres, which are less refrigerated as they are included in the car body. It is interesting to underline that Farina, Castellotti and Villoresi, who drive Lancia, the fastest Italian car, make nearly the same performance. Maglioli goes down by a second compared to Friday, Trintignant and Hawthorn prefer not to force instead. Even the men of Maserati remain within modest limits of commitment, so as not to achieve sensational results. On the other side, the Gordini drivers push themselves, as they set irrelevant times compared to others. 


Among the French drivers, Lucas will replace Manzon driving the new eight-cylinder car, as he is staying in France because of a bereavement in his family. Even the two Vanwall are not giving their best. In the prior estimate of the race, many observations give uncertainty and allure. The first and most important one concern the tyres and their performance. The second one is about the distance, which need a resistance in drivers that is impossible to foresee. In the morning, the medical commission of the CSAI denies Sergio Mantovani, at the last moment, the authorization to line up among the competitors of the great world competition. The measure, determined by the difficulties that the famous ace of the steering wheel could encounter for the amputated leg, comes above all from the demands of the high speed that characterizes the race and produces in him the most painful impression. On Saturday evening, the World Champion Manuel Fangio goes from Monza to Turbigo to spend the evening with some friends. During the stop, some thieves remove a leather bag from the sample car containing French francs, pounds sterling and Italian currency for over 20.000 Italian lire. Sunday 11 September 1955, when exactly at 3:00 p.m. the official procession with the cars of the President of the Republic and the Archbishop of Milan, Monsignor Montini, enters the Monza racetrack, there is a wonderful glance. A crowd of over 100.000 people is lined up along the course, in the grandstands and even at the large elevated curves. In the sky, which has turned blue after an uncertain morning, a summer sun shines, while the flags of the nations flutter high on the masts. Shortly before the start, the public in Monza is aware of a sensational update: the Lancia cars would not start. Farina and Villoresi are forced to give up the race due to an extremely important issue concerning tyres. In the previous days on Giuseppe Farina's Lancia, tread detachments had been reported, and for this reason, some of the drivers had expressed explicit reservations about the functionality of the ring with banked corners. For their part, the tyre technicians, who like most car manufacturers and drivers certainly could not have had experience of the new Monza track, worked on tire inflation pressures, in the belief that they would find the optimal tyre that eliminated any danger.


Then on Saturday, after the last tests, it was understood that the problem to be faced was different: it was necessary to increase the diameter of the wheels and lower, at the same speed, the number of revolutions of the wheels themselves, in order to achieve complete peace of mind regarding the grip of tyres. But the obstacle was unbeatable, since there was no possibility of supplying wheel rims of the suitable diameter (17 inches). Given the attitude of the drivers, none of the managers of the Ferrari team felt like taking the responsibility of letting the Lancias start with the rims of the same diameter (and therefore the tyre size) experienced in the tests. Hence the disappointment of Castellotti and that of Farina, who at the last moment declared himself willing to leave in any condition. But Commander Jano and Maestro Ugolini made their decision, which was fully justified, especially considering that motor racing takes place in the atmosphere of psychosis that everyone knows. However, the Scuderia Ferrari mechanics, during the night, had replaced the engine on the test car with another new one, so that the Ferrari super sharks lined up in the race were four, just to put the eager Castellotti in a position to participate in his first Italian Grand Prix. Already while the Intereuropa Cup was still being disputed, from the enclosure of the garages where technicians, managers and racers meet when the cars are not on the track, the rumour that the Ferrari team would have decided to give up on deploying the three Grand Prix Lancia cars, began to leak. Near the large vans of the Modenese house, Commander Jano wanders with his chin on his chest, Giuseppe Farina is frowning, in a bad mood, Castellotti jumps as if bitten by a tarantula and is repeating right and left that he knows the super shark Ferrari and begs that they make him leave with the faithful Lancia. The news of the resignation of the Ferrari-Lancia, thus released at the last moment, aroused the most disparate comments in the crowd. But it is a matter of moments, since very soon the go-ahead is given and, from this moment, the roar of the engines overwhelms, symbolically at least, any speech of a polemical flavour. Jean Lucas, on the other hand, makes his debut on Gordini, the only race in his career for the Frenchman, and the American driver John Fitch returns to Monza two years after his debut in Formula 1: it is his second career Grand Prix, and it will also be the last officer. 


An Italian private team powered by Maserati, the Arzani Volpini, which entrusts its car to Luigi Piotti, should make its debut; however, an engine problem stops Piotti, who cannot even qualify with the Arzani Volpini, and the story does not come true. Shortly before departure, the twenty participants in the Grand Prix are presented to Congressman Giovanni Gronchi and Monsignor Montini by Prince Caracciolo himself. The President of the Republic warmly shakes hands with each of them and then gets into a sports car, bright red, to complete a lap of the road track and then the speed ring. In another car - a grey car, also uncovered - Monsignor Montini takes his place. The crowd greets the Head of State and the Archbishop of Milan for a long time with thunderous applause when they take their places at about 3:50 p.m. in the grandstand together with the other authorities. A solemn and festive show, a worthy inauguration for this ultra-modern racetrack which, according to the words pronounced by Prince Caracciolo, president of the Automobile Club of Italy in the official address, is a national pride. It is time to go. The Mercedes take off very well. Piero Taruffi, at the end of the first lap, is even third, followed by Kling; the ideal condition for the Stuttgart company to plan the escape and celebrate the farewell to Formula 1 racing with another domination. Castellotti heroically tries to keep up by making the most of the trails of the high-speed section; however, the superiority of the Mercedes is evident. Fangio, while being first, gives the top of the race to Moss for just one lap, the eighth, but promptly, the Argentine regains the lead and sets the pace. Kling grabs third place overtaking Taruffi. Stable situation in the early stages but an amazing Musso is sixth, after starting from the tenth place and dropping to sixteenth place in the opening lap. After seven laps, Vanwall’s adventure ends: Wharton is even unable to leave due to some trouble at the petrol pump, while a suspension betrays Schell. The twenty cars line up in rows of three-two-three, with Fangio, Moss and Kling in the front, Castellotti in row two on his own in the Ferrari, despite not having practiced in the car, and the Maserati of Behra and Mieres behind, with a space beside them where the missing Villoresi should have been. 


Once again, Schell is the main British hope, having got his Vanwall placed among the red cars. Of the German cars, Fangio has the new long-chassis streamlined car, with inboard brakes, Moss has a similar one with last year’s bodywork, Kling a new non-streamlined long-chassis one with inboard brakes and Taruffi a medium-length one with outboard brakes. Behra is on the streamlined Maserati, while the Ferrari team are more or less identical. Musso goes off with the pack and then the car falters and he is passed on all sides. With the new circuit, the start leads into the Curva Grande and at the half-lap the field pass the grandstands on the pits side, before taking the North banking, and it is Moss who leads comfortably from Fangio, Taruffi, Kling and Castellotti. However, orders are orders if you want to stay in the team, and at the end of the lap Fangio is in his usual position, followed by the rest of his team and Castellotti. Already the rest of the field is falling behind and Wharton stops at the pits and retires with a broken injection-pump mounting. After only two laps, the four Mercedes-Benz cars are comfortably in line-ahead formation but Castellotti is doing everything he knows to hang on to them, while the Italian crowd screams with joy at this terrific display of tenacity. The few British people present are amused by watching the effervescent Schell in the thick of a six-car battle with two Ferrari, two Gordini and a Maserati, the green car giving as good as it can. Castellotti wears himself out after four laps and begins to drop back a bit, but he is still way out in front of the rest of the runners, while Schell has the Vanwall’s nose in front of Maglioli, Trintignant, Silva Ramos, Pollet and Menditeguy. Although this bunch is striving for 12th place, it is a proper exhibition of real motor racing, the likes of which have not been seen for a long time. Mieres and Hawthorn are locked in the battle for sixth position but Musso is closing on them, having passed Gould, Behra and then Collins in quick succession. Lapping at 2'53"0, against the 2'46"0 of practice, Fangio leads the triumphant Mercedes-Benz procession more and more into the lead, while poor Castellotti is having no one to back him up in his lone battle. Musso is in great form and gets into sixth place by lap seven, while Maglioli begins to leave a gap from his  group, Schell dropping out with a broken de Dion tube, the hammering of the bankings being more than it can stand. 


Once out on his own, Maglioli catches up with Gould and elbows his way past the Maserati, but the burly Englishman is getting the hang of Grand Prix tactics and soon elbows his way back again, eventually teasing Maglioli into making a mistake, who falls behind. Collins has been running steadily in the middle of the field but has to make a brief call at the pits to have some bits screwed back on and this puts him right out of the picture, while Trintignant suffers the same fate. Lap after lap, the German procession continues, Moss always in Fangio’s shadow with Kling and Taruffi a little way behind, there being only 4 sec between the first and the fourth. Halfway round the 17th lap, Musso closes on Castellotti and these two start a very close battle that will last for a long time, the two red cars being only inches apart at times. Behra’s streamlined Maserati is not proving as fast as expected and is behind Mieres’s normal type of Maserati, although the Argentinian eventually drops right back when he stops to have a look at his engine. Everything seems set for another German victory, as at Aintree, but on the half-lap of lap 19, Moss suddenly draws into his pit with a shattered windscreen, it not being possible to stand a 170mph wind-pressure on his face. In a mere 1'40"0, the German mechanics remove the broken screen and frame and fit a complete new one, the forethought of having a spare screen in the pits being so typical. This makes Moss drop to eighth place, which indicates that everyone is trying hard, but now, with a clear run in front of him, Moss is able to have a real go and soon sets up a new lap record and gallops past Gould, closing on Hawthorn very rapidly. Meanwhile, the race between Castellotti and Musso is going on unabated, with them passing and repassing each other continuously. By lap 25, which is half-distance, Musso has won his battle and Moss is closing on Behra, while Mieres is making up for his pit stop and gaining ground. Collins retires, as does Silva Ramos, and Gould stops to change a back tyre, while the first three positions are still Fangio, Kling and Taruffi in that order. The next one to drop out of this gruelling race is Pollet, and shortly after starting his 28th lap, Moss feels something break in the Mercedes-Benz engine, and he coasts to a standstill on the far side of the circuit, so that puts paid to all his efforts, the Monza track once more claiming the unhappy young Englishman as a victim. 


The Mercedes-Benz demonstration is now looking rather sick and at the end of lap 32 it becomes positively ill when Kling comes to rest with a broken gearbox. However, Fangio and Taruffi are holding the fort and providing no more mechanical bits break due to the hammering of the track; a German victory seems certain, especially as Musso has broken his car and only Castellotti and Behra remain on the same lap as the leaders. Gould also goes out when he rubs a hole in the bottom of the crankcase of his Maserati, due to bottoming on the banking, and Fitch appears on the leader board, running regularly with Moss’s Maserati. Behra laps Menditeguy, and the Argentine driver tucks in behind and refuses to be shaken off, while, a little later, Hawthorn is lapped by Taruffi and does the same thing, getting a useful tow along the straights, though finding his Ferrari handling much better than the Mercedes-Benz on the bankings, and actually being able to overtake the Italian at times. These efforts are unrewarded as the gearbox of the Ferrari breaks its mountings and after fighting against the terrific vibration for a time Hawthorn eventually gives up on the 39th lap. At this point the engine of Mieres’s Maserati goes very rough but manages to keep going, though he loses a place to Menditeguy, who is profiting by his tow from Behra with the streamlined Maserati. For the last 10 laps there are only nine cars left running, Fangio, Taruffi, Castellotti and Behra being on the same lap, with Menditeguy, Maglioli, Mieres, Trintignant and Fitch a lot behind. Mercedes-Benz have two cars left out of four, Maserati four cars out of seven and Ferrari three out of four, Castellotti’s car sounding very healthy in spite of having been taken to 8,200 rpm in the opening dice. Due to the arrangement of the track, the cars passing on the outside of the finishing straight are very highly wound-up in top, having come off the south banking, while those on the inside are still accelerating out of the flat south corner. The result is the odd sight of a comparatively slow Ferrari or Maserati on the outside rushing past Fangio and Taruffi, who are on the slow inside straight, this phenomenon giving many drivers their only chance to experience the joy of overtaking a Mercedes-Benz. 


Round and round goes Fangio, very tired and bruised from the hard strain imposed by the new circuit, for apart from the bumps on the bankings the average speed was well over 200 kph (125 mph), and he once more proved his claim to World Champion; Taruffi is a worthy second, having driven a splendid race for one who is no longer a young man. Hero of the day is undoubtedly Castellotti, who has proved himself Italy’s real hope, while Behra is following him in fourth place in the pretty streamlined Maserati. As the Frenchman starts on his 50th lap, the Maserati engine makes a ghastly noise and smoke pours out. When he comes by the pits on the half lap, the car can hardly drag itself along, the noise and smoke being horrible to witness, but the determined Behra nurses it along and just manages to limp over the finishing line, to stop a few yards beyond in a cloud of smoke and oil, the engine a total wreck. The W196 Mercedes-Benz cars race their last race and unless Daimler-Benz changes their mind, or further alterations are made to the Calendar before the end of the season, the Italian Grand Prix sees the last appearance of these formidable Grand Prix cars. It is worth recording that, from their first appearance in July, 1954, to their last appearance in September, 1955, they won ten races, were only beaten three times, and failed to finish any cars at all on one occasion, and that was the only time Fangio did not finish a Grand Prix all the time he has led the team. Although the Lancia do not start in the race, they prove in practice to be the most serious opponents to the German cars and it is nice to know that these very fine Italian cars are going to continue to race. The new Gordini is still a bit too new and never really shows any form, while the Vanwall shows that it still has possibilities when driven by an enthusiastic driver like Schell. That Grand Prix racing is still the most popular and certainly the safest form of racing, as is proved by the enormous crowds that flocked to Monza and the complete lack of incidents in this very high-speed race. At the finish line, Fangio is welcomed and celebrated by the team followed by a Piero Taruffi, with a gloomy face due to the exhaust fumes, which highlights the smile and satisfaction of the Roman driver. Noteworthy are the valiant performances of two young Italians with great hopes: Castellotti and Musso. Technicians, Mercedes executives, photographers, journalists and sportsmen run to meet the Argentine ace. Fangio gulps down a good sip of mineral water and then speaks in a voice broken by emotion:


"Magnificent track, even if the banked corners need to be revised. The Mercedes is a great car, docile and powerful. My teammate Taruffi was very good and didn't give me breath".


Giuseppe Farina and Luigi Villoresi, who remained forcibly in the role of spectators, are also surrounded by the interviewers:


"I am very sorry for what happened: but there was nothing else to do. At the last moment it was not possible to find tyres of the right size to replace those that had proved dangerous on the dry track. These are not things that can be improvised. Too bad. Without suitable cars it is useless to fight against Mercedes: the race is lost at the start".


The former Turin World Champion admits. The race is not thrilling in the sense that is commonly given to the word, as - as is clear from the news - the epilogue is looming from the first laps, however, for the public, there is never a lack of reason for a passionate interest. Every spectator knows that the drivers in the race are launched at record speed, that at every corner their audacity borders on temerity. And every spectator remains in suspense from the beginning to the end. But luckily, despite the staggering average set by the winner, nothing happens: the Italian Grand Prix beats a record in this too: that there are no significant incidents. Only in the morning during the Intereuropa Cup, the competitor # 34, Gaboardi, as a result of a slip, touches two officers on duty for the participants in the Grand Prix. Despite this, Dr. Keser, head of the press office of the Stuttgart company, affirms during the evening that the decision to withdraw from the World Championship races - but not from the sports ones - is confirmed, asserting that the measure was taken solely for corporate organizational reasons, being no longer able to divert technicians and personnel from the branch of production of such high capacities. Regarding the dispelled concerns, it must be said that when everything goes well, especially in this moment when motorsport is viewed with a suspicious eye, one is naturally inclined to optimism. However, there are not a few experts who invite to consider the question coldly, not to be carried away by excessive euphoria. The problems of the unknowns of high speeds still exist: the new Monza track has proved to be technically successful, but to say that running at almost 210 km/h on average does not present ideal track dangers means at least thinking lightly. However, the new circuit needs improvements, already perfectly identified, which will be made in the spring, when it will be possible to see the behaviour of the road surface under the action of winter frost. Monday, 12 September 1955, Giuseppe Farina returns to Turin with no little bitterness for not having been able to participate in the Italian Grand Prix:


"Commendatore Ferrari has announced an official statement to clarify the whole issue and it would be incorrect to intervene earlier. I can only say one thing: if the Lancia had been able to race, probably there would have been some surprises. Yesterday it was clearly seen that the Moss's Mercedes gave up as soon as she was forced to force".


The Modenese comments on the results of the Italian Grand Prix, raced in Monza, are in tune with a resigned sadness. The superiority of the Stuttgart cars is unanimously recognized. However, a lot was counted on the Lancia-Ferrari, whose unexpected forfeit still arouses comments and controversy today. No official comments of any kind are produced by the staff of the two Modena houses. Ferrari looks with some satisfaction at the excellent result obtained by Castellotti with the modified super shark, which reveals once again, even if squeezed to the maximum of its power by the brave driver, uncommon qualities of stability and grip. On the other hand, it is forbidden to talk about the Lancia tyres issue, on which the reserve is absolute. On Monday, 12 September 1955, Enzo Ferrari spent the whole day in the Maranello workshops, and during the evening he retired to his country villa, thus avoiding the journalists who await him in Modena. Similar confidentiality at Maserati too: the test of Behra's faired car, set up only on the eve of the race (they also want the engine to be replaced on the night between Friday and Saturday due to an imperfection that had been revealed in the last hours), experimental, and fourth place did not entirely disappoint. The beautiful, albeit fortunate test of Musso should be highlighted, who won the official driver's chevrons of the Scuderia Maserati and today was included as number two immediately after Behra in the list of drivers who will compete for the colours of the trident in the Tourist Trophy, reserved for sports cars, which will take place next Sunday in Belfast. In London, on September 17, 1955, a tragic chain of fatal accidents the Tourist Trophy at the Dundrod circuit, near Belfast, in Northern Ireland. Three British drivers lose their lives, while Frenchman Jean Behra lies in the hospital torn apart by terrible injuries to the abdomen and head that could prove fatal.


Six other drivers and two race inspectors are seriously injured. Only a miracle prevents today's Trofeo - where Mercedes takes first, second and third places, and a Maserati, driven by Musso, fifth - from transforming into a terrifying second Le Mans. Fifty runners of various nationalities participate in the race. Italy is represented by Ferrari and Maserati; Germany from Porsche and Mercedes, whose team includes forty-four mechanics and technicians. There was a strong public competition, around 150.000 people, fortunately distributed in the least dangerous points of the route, and kept at a prudent distance from the road by means of high stands. The machines start at 10:30 a.m., and after just half an hour, the first disaster occurs: the most serious, the bloodiest. Londoner Jim Mayres is taking the corner known as Cochrane's corner at high speed when, with a deafening roar, the engine of his car - a Cooper - explodes. The car breaks apart and the horribly mutilated driver loses his life as a river of burning petrol floods the road. Behind Mayers is Kretschman, whose Porsche at full speed enters this hell, getting trapped in the remains of Mayres's car. The same happens moments later to the Frazer Nash driven by Ken Wharton, and to the Cooper driven by Russell. The wall of flames flares up rapidly and spreads out until it occupies the whole street, preventing the oncoming runners from any possibility of manoeuvring. In a few seconds, three other cars then swoop down on the pile of incandescent debris, colliding with each other, spilling over to the sides of the track, bouncing off the road and into the flames. Two of these cars are driven by the British Smith and Rippon, the third by another Englishman, Lance Macklin, who had already touched a tragic end at Le Mans, when Levegh had narrowly avoided him, just before the accident. In this horrendous disaster, Mayres and Smith lose their lives; the other five drivers lie at the Belfast hospital, mangled by injuries and burns of alarming severity. Bill Smith was only nineteen, and this was the second car race he had ever entered. He was serving in the military and had received special clearance from the Ministry of Defense to run to Dundrod. His parents are present in the stands. They were not witnesses of the accident, but as soon as they heard the news, they tried to rush to the scene of the accident. The two will first be detained and then led out of the circuit by force.


It does not take a lot of imagination to imagine what would have happened if spectators had been around Cochrane's corner. As in Le Mans, they would have been mowed down by the shreds of the Mayres racing car and dozens of people would have been hit by gasoline and turned into human torches. However, the tragedy arouses a lot of panic among the public and thousands of people immediately head for the exits. The police have a hard time maintaining order and organizing rescue operations at the same time. The race directors, after a moment of understandable perplexity, decide to continue the race. A questionable decision that will raise justified controversy. And in fact, perhaps as a result of the psychosis created among the competitors, three other accidents, one of which unfortunately fatal will occur in the afternoon. About halfway through the race, the car driven by the Englishman Mainwaring collides at 150 km/h against a side wall, then overturns several times and catches fire. Mainwaring gets stuck under the car. It was impossible to help him: the driver is caught in a frightening trap. Some brave people who despite everything try to get close to the stake are turned away by the crackling flames. When, finally, some firefighters equipped with a protective asbestos suit manage to reach the carcass of the car, they extract the body of the unlucky dying driver and transport him to the hospital. But here Mainwaring passes away after a few minutes due to the fracture of the spine and the burns reported. Around 4:00 p.m., another accident kills a very well-known driver in the international field: the French Jean Behra who is on board a Maserati. As he approaches a bend near Leathemstown, the French skids and goes off the road, crashing into a protective barrier; he will be collected lifeless. At the hospital, doctors found in him multiple fractures and internal injuries; the doctors say nothing about the state of the popular champion. Behra will have to undergo surgery, after which a precise prognosis can be formulated. In the last phase of this mournful race, even the English Hawthorn (the same who after Le Mans was at the center of much controversy about the responsibility of the disaster and who was even questioned by the magistrate) goes off the road with his Jaguar with which he had attempted to thwart the victory of the Mercedes. However, he reports simple bruises. Few words remain to be said about the news: Mercedes conquers the first three places, thanks to the victory of Stirling Moss, the second place of Fangio, and the third place of von Trips. Musso on Maserati is fifth, Taruffi on Ferrari is sixth, Maglioli eighth.

The 39th edition of the Targa Florio takes place on Sunday 16 October 1955, on the now definitive track of the small circuit of the Madonie. A sacred name to the memories of motor racing, the oldest race among those still disputed in the world. Born in 1906 for the passion of the pure sport that is Vincenzo Florio, the Targa, despite the inevitable vicissitudes, ups and downs of popularity, has remained one of the most classic speed races. Drivers such as Nazzaro, Mosetti, Nuvolari, Antonio Ascari, Bordino, Campari, Boillot, Materassi, Brilli Peri, Costantini, Varzi, Chiron, Borzacchini, Brivio, Villoresi, and many others have passed along the impervious roads of the Madonie. Through its fifty years of existence, the route of the Targa Florio has undergone several changes, passing from the so-called great circuit of the Madonie, to the medium one and finally, from 1932, to the small one, except for a few editions disputed on the route of the Giro della Sicilia or in the Parco della Favorita in Palermo. This year, and for the first time, the Targa is the test of the world championship for sports cars. Indeed, the last test, after the suppression of the Carrera Panamericana, is decisive for the effects of the awarding of the title. In fact, the situation today is this: at the top of the standings, Ferrari with 19 points, then Mercedes and Jaguar with 16, Maserati with 13. By regulation, 8 points are assigned to the brand to which the first classified car belongs, 6 to the second one, then 4, 3, 2 and 1 to the others. But each manufacturer is only entitled to the score deriving from the car that has obtained the best place in the general classification, that is, it will not be able to accumulate points for several cars of the same manufacturer classified in each test. This year, the race will take place over thirteen laps, equal to 936 kilometres: a tremendous distance, considering the harshness of the track. For this reason, Mercedes has decided to take part in the Targa Florio with a team comprising all its aces as first drives (crews of two drivers who will take turns at the wheel are enrolled in the race). Since they can still conquer the Sport title after that of drivers in Formula 1, it would be enough for them to take one of her 300 SLRs to victory, but at the same time it would be necessary for Ferrari not to get that second place that would allow her, for just one point, to win for the third consecutive championship. In short, the German manufacturer must aim for the conquest of the first two positions in the standings, while a less ambitious program is sufficient for Ferrari. 


All this regardless of the value of the overall victory in the Targa, which - championship or not - is always a wonderful laurel. The thirty-ninth edition of the Palermo race will therefore be focused on the direct comparison between Mercedes and Ferrari, with the outsider Maserati, whose victory would not surprise at all (the three-litre brand of the trident will be entrusted to the Villoresi-Musso couple) and which in this case could blow up all the estimates on the assignment of the title. One wonders why, after all the measures taken against the carrying out of road races, the Targa Florio can take place regularly, with also the admission of cars of smaller displacement. Regardless of particular local situations, if the authorization has been granted, it means that the prescribed safety measures have been respected; not to mention that the Sicilian public is traditionally among the most disciplined in motor racing. As for the danger represented by the overtaking of slower cars, it can be said that it is practically reduced to a minimum, since the laps to be completed are only thirteen, and the competitors come to find themselves divided over seventy-two kilometres. Not to mention that the start is not given in line but individually, in gaps. The Targa Florio begins on Sunday 16 October 1955. Moss takes the lead, closely followed by Castellotti. Then, however, in the middle of the fourth lap, when taking the Bonfornello straight, the Briton goes off the road, damaging the right side of the car. With the help of some spectators, the Mercedes driver manages to get the car back on track and resume the race. But in the accident, he loses about five minutes. So, the classification on the fourth lap is largely changed: in the lead is Castellotti, followed almost a minute by Fangio; Moss is now third almost four minutes behind, and Musso in the Maserati 2000 is fourth. On the fifth lap, the Maserati 3000 definitively disappears from the scene: Villoresi, who has taken the place of Musso, accuses the bridge breaking and is forced to retire, so Titterington's Mercedes takes fourth place. The positions change on the sixth lap: Castellotti is forced to stop in the pits to change the tyres and Fangio leaps into the lead gaining a few seconds on Ferrari. Moss is still third but, on lap eight, he manages again to overtake his opponents by quickly taking a lead of a good minute. The finale is a triumph for Mercedes. First is Moss, second is Fangio, five seconds behind, third is Castellotti, fourth is Titterington. Maglioli's car does not finish, as he retired due to an engine failure at the end of the eleventh lap. And so, even this World Championship is won by Mercedes, which launched a real army of technicians and mechanics on the Madonie circuit.


The triumph of the German manufacturer in this thirty-ninth edition of the Targa Florio was once again indisputable and complete. The three Mercedes matches have regularly come to an end, confirming the well-known sealing qualities. Eugenio Castellotti's desperate generosity was not enough to defend Ferrari's sporting world title in the Targa Florio from the vehement, highly organized offensive of Mercedes. There is only one regret: that Castellotti was not joined by Taruffi, who knows the Madonie track as well as few. Piero Taruffi's absence from the Sicilian race provoked comments that were not at all tender. As is well known, the Roman driver has raced most of the races at the wheel of Ferrari Sport (only in Montecarlo with Formula 1) and two Grand Prix - England and Italy - with Mercedes. Evidently the contract that binds him to Ferrari for the 1956 season only concerns sport tests, with possible other races to be examined case by case; it would therefore be interesting to know if in the contract itself there is any clause for which the rider can renounce this or that race. Ferrari claims that Taruffi had to show up at the Targa, but the person concerned is convinced of his right by virtue of the interpretation of a certain code. In any case, sport has come out mortified, and it is sorry for Taruffi that there are those who have drawn some not very nice inferences, to be rejected outright, but the crowd loves the generous, those who still believe in a flag to defend. Rhetoric, perhaps. But always better than the quibbles about the interpretation of a contract. On Sunday 23 October 1955, the Connaught victory in Syracuse alarmed the Italian car manufacturers, as a swarm of Maserati (Ferrari was absent) was beaten by the English Connaught, driven by the English Brooks, two names almost unknown to non-initiated. There are still steps for the car, which some appearances on the continental circuits had made, but Brooks is a real unknown. The only thing that is known about him is that he is in his early twenties, and that he comes from the school of racers, Formula 3 racing cars powered by motorcycle engines. In the race, the young man beat drivers like Musso and Villoresi, as well as all the records of the fast Syracusan circuit. So, one wonders if it was a simple exploit with no sequel (in motorsports the case is quite rare but by no means impossible) or has a new champion and a bogey machine sprung up?


It is too early to say, but it will be good not to underestimate the importance of what must be considered a warning for the future, that is, that technical skills in the sports construction sector are not a privilege of Italians and Germans. The fact remains that the Italian defeat, which the absence of the Mercedes makes absolutely unexpected, constitutes a warning. The Connaught is built in a small workshop in Surrey by a handful of enthusiasts. The Formula 1 model is equipped with an Alta engine, itself produced in a specialized factory, with four cylinders with indirect mechanical injection fuel system, not to be confused with the device adopted by Mercedes, which is direct injection into the chamber. outbreak; the power is 240 HP and the curb weight of 720 kg. Among the Connaught's interesting innovations are disc brakes and electromagnetic preselection gearbox. The car that won in Syracuse is equipped with an orthodox bodywork, but the Mercedes-type integral aerodynamic fairing type also competed with less luck. On Saturday 22 October 1955, the general management of Mercedes-Benz, after having decided to abstain from the Grand Prix for the next few years, leaving the door open for a possible return on the occasion of the renewal of Formula 1, scheduled for 1958, announces that the Stuttgart manufacturer will also give up for some time the races held with sports cars. The news of the abandonment, albeit temporary, of the activity in the Sport formula surprises the same drivers of the House, aware of the creation of a new three-litre car that is already confirmed even tested on the Solitude circuit, as well as of an unprecedented two litres that should have invaded a displacement in which Italians are, by long tradition, masters. Fangio seems to be linked by a compromise with Alfa Romeo, but since a competitive return of the Milan manufacturer is unlikely in the short term, it is easy for the Argentine to make an agreement with Maserati, to which he is linked by an ancient friendship. On the other hand, Stirling Moss declares that he wants to be an opponent, and not a partner, of Fangio. Perhaps Kling will remain on the sidelines, whose class - outside Germany - is discussed, while the passage of Musso to Ferrari and Trintignant to Bugatti is given for certain. Speaking of the latter car manufacturer with the glorious name, the testing on the Monza track of the new revolutionary car (apparently with a rear engine) designed by Gioachino Colombo, the former Alfa Romeo and Ferrari technician, continues to be postponed.


It is said that the postponement of the tests - initially scheduled for September - is due to difficulties in setting up the engine, for which another highly experienced Italian technician was called to Molsheim: Meazza, former Ferrari chief mechanic. The Italian-American billionaire Tony Parravano, an Apulian who emigrated as a bricklayer in 1933 to the United States, who in 1955 is the owner of sixty-two construction companies, who arrives at the beginning of November in Modena with the intent to buy cars of the various formulas of Maserati and Ferrari, to strengthen its team of racing cars. Parravano buys three Ferrari, a 121 LM, a 750 Monza and a 410 Sport, a pair of Maserati, namely a 300 S and a 150 S, and a Mercedes 300 with SL Gullwing alloy body, plus other cars for a total of twenty-two units, paying out a large sum of money. Then, on Friday 18 November, the Italian-American arrives at the Modena airfield with the new racing cars in the company of an exceptional trio of steering wheel aces: Stirling Moss, Peter Collins and the German baron Von Frankenberg. The tests of these three drivers follow one another for the whole day: the first to take to the track is Moss, alternating on single-seater and formula cars, and then Collins and Von Frankenberg take his place. During the day, there was even an exciting duel between Moss and Collins, for the joy and enthusiasm of the hundreds of fans who came to see the two, while Parravano, in the garage, very satisfied, claps his hands for joy. Towards evening, some indiscretions begin to circulate: it is learned that Parravano has succeeded, with millions, in what was the intent of many owners of car teams, that is, to hire the strongest drivers of the moment. The Italian-American secured the adhesions of the Italians Scarlatti, Mancini, Perdisa, the Americans Gregory and Shelby, and the German Von Frankenberg. At the same time, Ferrari also began a test cycle of the new eight-cylinder which uses as many exhaust manifolds, and which from the first laps on the track gives the feeling of being able to lower every record, as Musso laps in a time of 1'06"0, once considered even astonishing. During the evening, a meeting will take place between all the drivers present in Modena, including Moss, Collins, Brooks and Castellotti, during which Parravano will offer them an engagement; the smiling and seraphic Tony proposes to Moss an engagement contract with an initial prize of 20.000 dollars and participation in the competition prizes. 


Faced with this proposal, the English ace does not say yes or no, but in Modena it is certain that he will accept, because no one else at this moment could offer him such advantageous conditions. Saturday, November 19th, Tony Parravano announces that he has offered Eugenio Castellotti $ 25.000 as an engagement for his team of sports cars, leaving him free to run the Formula 1 races for other manufacturers. Castellotti's answer is not known, but in Modena it is said that it is very likely that the popular racer will accept the offer, as is rumoured to be has accepted Stirling Moss, about which Parravano emphasizes that the millions offered are the same ones proposed to Castellotti. But this is not the only surprise of the day: the always smiling billionaire also announces that he has hired numerous German technicians in Stuttgart, and that he intends to make important changes to both the chassis and the engines to the Maserati and Ferrari cars - which he purchased in recent days. Parravano wants to transform the engines of the Modena cars by installing direct power, so happily used by Mercedes. In Stuttgart, during his visit about ten days earlier, Parravano also bought the patent for a new gearbox that he says he wants to adopt for his machines. Never, in the automotive field, had such figures been raced: not even Fangio had such treatment from Mercedes, since the contracts of the Stuttgart company with its drivers provided for leaving them the total starting salaries and the prizes won for each race, plus a fixed allowance of about seven dollars a day for the whole year. The environment is stunned by these money trips. Because it is true that the Parravano Scuderia intends to devote itself exclusively to Sport racing, and that therefore its drivers are theoretically free to agree with other manufacturers for the Formula 1 tests, but it is also true that with such ties it is difficult to have it both ways. Stirrups and Ferrari, as well as Maserati, are unable to offer anyone similar figures. Furthermore, this unexpected patron of racing has in the meantime exposed and immediately put into effect a torrent of ideas. His idea was to transform the cars purchased to make them go faster: he thought about the injection and the particular distribution system of the Mercedes, and without wasting a moment, he rushed to Stuttgart to buy patents and secure the technical assistance of German specialists, has made arrangements for the supply of special Porsche gearboxes, and plans to build a car for Indianapolis by pairing a Ferrari 4600 engine with the American Kurtiss chassis.


In short, he is a volcano of ideas. How will it end? In the following days, the initial enthusiasm deflated, one gets the impression that Parravano was in too much of a hurry, and that his technical concepts are quite approximate, not to say amateurish. This presumption of being able to drastically modify machines designed and built by specialized people, can reserve bitter surprises, as the experience made by many earners before Tony Parravano teaches. And in fact, the aces of the steering wheel will not match Parravano. The Italian-American will return to the US, where he will remain until in 1957 the IRS discovers that the Parravano building empire has been lucky because the latter has never paid practically any corporate tax. So, after a successful start to the year for his racing team, in June 1957, Parravano suddenly flees to Mexico, and tries to smuggle nine Ferrari and Maserati racing cars, as well as trucks loaded with spare parts. Five cars will be hijacked at the border, but the remaining four will be able to pass. The confiscated 121 LM, 750 Monza, 250 GT Berlinetta, 150 S and 450 S plus trucks, trailers and spare parts will be auctioned in an IRS-authorized sale in June 1958. Parravano will spontaneously surrender in February 1960, but will flee again on Friday 8 April 1960, as the Italian-American is expected in court the following Monday to file a tax evasion request. The FBI will try to find him, but Tony Parravano will never be found again. On Tuesday 6 December 1955, at the Valentino Park, the Turin Automobile Club remembers Alberto Ascari. In the silence of the morning, the presidents of the Automobile Clubs of Turin and Milan are present, Pasquarelli, Cagno, Jano, Farina, Gino Valenzano who is thinking of Piero, his brother who also disappeared in the car, Mrs. Luisa Lancia, Castellotti, who before he signed for Ferrari, Ammendola, Giusti, Rabezzana, Macchieraldo, Piodi, Amoretti, Gatta, Daco, Unterrichter, Marsaglia, Jappelli, Carraroli, Carlo and Rodolfo Biscaretti di Ruffia, Chriettillin, Della Chiesa, Carli, the managers of the Turin Automobile Club. And many flowers, donated by Fiat, Lancia, Ferrari, the City of Turin, the AC Milanese and Turin, the ANFIAA, the U. S. Italian motorists, Racing 10, Gianni Lancia and Panigadi, Piodi, Shell, La Stampa, the Moto Club Torino. And a young woman crying, Mrs. Ascari, supported by Mrs. Farina; one understands the other, without words the anguish of so many terrible moments is renewed. The engineer Trevisani of the Turin Automobile Club and Pevron, mayor of the city. Then a minute of silence, broken by a car passing on the course at full speed. And an excruciating cold shiver passes over the group. The Marquis Alfonso De Portago is not present, since on Sunday 11 December 1955 he participates and wins the Governor's Trophy reserved for sports cars in Nassau, aboard a Ferrari type Monza. Second place is also the prerogative of another Ferrari, the latter driven by the American Phil Hill. De Portago's victory is undoubtedly spectacular and at times unexpected, given that on the sixteenth lap the Spaniard's car collides with the Jaguar of the American Johnston and makes three impressive spin while the English car also turns like a top in the opposite direction. The incident took place right in front of the main grandstand, where the Governor General of the Island, the Earl of Kanfurly, and Lady Banfurly are present. Despite this incident, the Marquis manages to put the car back on line and set off in pursuit of the other competitors who had taken advantage of the favourable circumstance to overtake him. De Portago crosses the finish line first, while the British ace Stirling Moss has never managed to seriously threaten the Ferrari and Jaguar, more powerful and faster than his Austin Healey. On Wednesday 14 December 1955, Giuseppe Farina confesses to the newspaper La Stampa that he has decided to participate in the Indy 500 for the 1956 vintage:


"This time, perhaps, there are. Ferrari wrote to me just today, the terms of my participation would be these: in Modena, since last year, there is a Kurtis Kraft chassis. Already in 1955, we had to race in Indianapolis, but the expedition failed for various reasons. Now an American company, which to tell the truth I don't know what state Bardati is from, has decided to participate with a Ferrari engine, mounted on the chassis that is already in the Maranello workshops. I'm from Ferrari myself. I'm enthusiastic, I've always wanted to try the adventure that Varzi, Villoresi and Ascari ran before me. The first didn't even manage to enter the top thirty in the test laps, and was therefore unable to participate in the final. Villoresi finished seventh and poor and dear Alberto went off the track, due to the breakdown of a mechanical part. And he was that ace we all know. These details are enough to give an idea of ​​the difficulties of competition for a European driver, and cynically it could be observed that the winner of Indianapolis, cashing in over fifty million lire, earns more in a race than the World Champion receives by risking a whole season. But the rain of dollars is not enough to explain the desire to compete there. There is the pleasure of facing a new way of running. Every European competitor, even if he is a super-established sportsman, must be educated in a kind of driving school for Indianapolis. It involves starting to run at a certain average speed and then gradually increasing the speed. There is a stubbornness to compete with US competitors. In short, there are many factors. The conclusion is this: as far as I am concerned, I am very willing to line up at the start on May 30th. I even got the most difficult authorization, from my wife. I can imagine the anxiety of those at home. But, without rhetoric, I live for racing”.


In the meantime, however, Giuseppe Farina will soon go to the mountains to prepare for the new car season and, in the meantime, he will perfect the agreements. He does not need training at high speeds. In Monza, although he had remained three months away from the races, he set the second-best time in the “Brickyard” in the practice, just a few tenths of a second from Fangio, without having made any special preparation. At Indianapolis he will just have to get used to the track. For this reason, as soon as everything is decided, Giuseppe will not be long in leaving for Indianapolis: the dream of his entire career as an out-of-class driver. In the meantime, the activity of the Modena team is increasing in view of the Argentine storm that will take place towards the end of January, inaugurating the traditional car season. Initially, there were doubts about the running of the Buenos Aires races, but on Tuesday, 20 December 1955, the overseas authorities confirm that the races will take place according to the program. On January 22, 1956, the Grand Prix of the Republic for Formula 1 cars will be disputed: Ferrari and Maserati, that is to say the strongest manufacturers at the moment, are entered into this competition. The Argentine Fangio, the Italian Musso, the Belgian Gendebien, the French Trintignant and the English Collins will race in the Scuderia Ferrari cars. Maserati should enter the English Moss, the French Behra, the Italians Fiotti, Gerini and Cornacchia, and other drivers. However, the line-ups are not final because on Tuesday, 20 December, in Modena, Giuseppe Farina, Luigi Villoresi and Piero Taruffi held a series of talks with both Maserati and Ferrari managers.


As a result, the rumour spread that the Turin driver could move to the Orsi brothers' house, but, in reality, nothing is decided on this, since Farina's primary aim is to participate in the Indianapolis race with cars from the American Bardhal company, chassis Kurtis- Kraft and Ferrari engine. Farina, who in the meantime also receives proposals from England, returns from his trip to Emilia and Tuscany on Thursday, 22 December 1955, and attends the press conference in Turin where the program of the Rally del Sestriere, the great event of automotive regularity, is exhibited, waiting, like every year, with great interest not only in Italy, but also abroad. Farina is very satisfied with the talks held in Modena, Bologna and Florence. In Modena, Farina talks to Enzo Ferrari, and obtains confirmation of participation in the Indianapolis race with a car that is powered by a six-cylinder Ferrari 4900 engine on a Curtis Kraft chassis. The car has only two gears, the first and the second, and is fitted with special tyres: these, in fact, have an inverted curvature, roughly comparable to the French sharpening of the skates. That is, the edges are higher than the centre, so that as the tread wears out, the wheel touches the ground, increasing adhesion. The engine, placed all the way to the left, and the transmission are also special. In short, it is the first time in Europe that a car has been prepared so carefully for Indianapolis. The former world champion is subsequently invited to Maserati, where he talks with engineer Orsi; proposals are made to the Turin driver for the upcoming racing season, but Farina declines the offer, as his focus is only on Indianapolis.


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