At Valentino, practically all contenders mounted a Ferrari, and precisely for this reason, the comparison succeeded at the highest level of sporting purity. Finally, note how the Italian drivers were hospitable: after Milanese Villoresi and Roman Taruffi, the other four classified are all foreigners: two on Ferrari, two on Talbot. On Tuesday, April 8, 1952, the large vans transporting the Ferrari team's cars from one circuit to another in Europe move from Turin to Monza. Ascari, Villoresi, and the test driver Taruffi are testing the cars that dominated the scene in the Valentino Grand Prix on the straight stretches of the famous racetrack. Villoresi's victorious car, the latest product from the Modena workshops, is subjected to all those experiments that ensure its peak performance. Meanwhile, the date of the great adventure in Indianapolis is approaching: the mammoth American race is scheduled for Friday, May 30, 1952. It has never been won by an Italian driver, although some attempted the adventure. The racetrack in the capital of the state of Indiana is a huge bowl about a kilometer long, composed of two straight stretches and two elevated curves. No brakes allowed; you go at two hundred kilometers per hour for four straight hours, and after an hour, it feels like racing on soap because the imperceptible oil particles escaping from the engines form a slippery film. Sharp eyes are needed to find the least slippery path. Of the thirty admitted to the test, only about ten usually make it to the end. Ascari and Farina, the two designated drivers for the American race, will make only one pit stop in the 800-kilometer race. They don't expect to win on their debut in the grueling marathon; they just want to get a feel for the environment to try their luck again in 1953. On Wednesday, April 9, the Ferrari caravan will return to Modena to load other cars onto trucks, the two liters without a supercharger, and immediately set off for Pau. Ascari, Villoresi, and Taruffi will race in the circuit of the beautiful French town. Farina was supposed to be present, but the Turin ace won't be able to resume racing before the Marseille Grand Prix, which will take place on Sunday, April 20, 1952. Meanwhile, a group of journalists goes to Giuseppe Farina's house. The driver is semi-reclined motionless on a sofa, patiently awaiting the healing of the three fractured ribs from the overturning of the car during the Valentino Grand Prix.
There were rumors that the Turin driver intended to retire from racing, but the news is simply the product of fantasies. Farina hardly breathes in fear that it might delay the welding of the broken bones even by a single day. Before moving to Monza, Taruffi also visited him, and the two teammates reconstructed the rapid phases of the incident together. They agreed that it was due to unfortunate circumstances, also because at that terrible moment, in addition to Farina and Ascari's two cars, the Talbot #28 was passing through the Belle Arti curve. Guidotti, the sports director of Alfa Romeo, also goes to see Farina and brings him the best wishes of the World Champion team for which the Turin ace raced last year. In Pau, the Formula 2 cars (engine displacement up to 2000 cc and without a supercharger or up to 500 cc with a supercharger) will be on stage. Ferrari is again the favorite according to predictions. The Modena-based company is in a clear advantage: it has a volcanic designer, the just over thirty Lampredi, a Tuscan who draws continuously, always in search of something new; curiously, Lampredi is not even an engineer. He comes from the ranks and is studying to graduate in engineering in Fribourg. In the evening, after spending the day around the projects of the famous machines he designed, he picks up the books and prepares for exams, along with Oberdan Golfieri, another one from the ranks who is the designer of the Fiat-Stanguellini by Casella, victorious in the Michelin-Turin race for small cars held last Saturday. Two technicians who will have a great future, also because they have two exceptional masters by their side: Lampredi lives in the fervent orbit of Commendatore Ferrari, and Golfieri has the magician Stanguellini as a supervisor. The Fiat 8V car, which has been very successful at the Geneva Motor Show and will also be presented at the Turin Motor Show along with other novelties, has been tested on the road by the Ferrari aces, Ascari, Taruffi, and Villoresi, who declared themselves enthusiastic about the car. It is likely that some copies of this brand-new model will be present at the upcoming Mille Miglia. The difficult automotive carousel of Pau will be the first of the eight races of the French Grand Prix established this year. Eighteen drivers are allowed, and Formula 2 cars (up to 2000 cc without a supercharger or up to 500 cc with a supercharger) will participate; each race will last three hours. Ascari and Villoresi, who will drive the 4-cylinder Ferraris, are the great favorites; Farina will be replaced by the Frenchman Simon.
The most dangerous opponent for Ferrari seems to be Robert Manzon with the brand-new Gordini 2000 cc, 6 cylinders, 160 horsepower at six thousand revolutions, 876 kilograms in weight with fuel and driver, and 266 km/h. On Tuesday, April 15, 1952, the race in Pau takes place; seventeen competitors start, including the new Gordini 2000 cc that was supposed to be driven by Manzon but is missing. He takes the place of Prince Bira, driving a Gordini 1500 cc. The race lasts three hours, and Ascari's dominance, along with his teammate Villoresi, becomes immediately evident. After two hours, Ascari is in first place with a lap ahead of Villoresi, who in turn has a two-lap lead over Rosier (Ferrari), three over Behra (Gordini), four over Bayol (Osca). The others follow, with even stronger gaps. During lap 78, Villoresi is forced to retire due to a trivial problem, so Ascari remains undisturbed as the dominator until the end of the race. The winner's average speed is remarkable, 91 km/h on the extremely difficult city circuit of Pau. Alberto Ascari says:
"On this occasion, I hope to have the world champion Fangio as a direct opponent".
Meanwhile, at Goodwood, Fangio, driving a Cooper-Bristol, finishes sixth in the advantage race; the World Champion, in an interview with the Daily Herald, says that he will never drive an Italian car again because the Italians treated him very badly. In the same meeting, his compatriot Gonzalez wins the Richmond Trophy with a Ferrari. On Sunday, April 27, 1952, the second race of the French championship takes place in Marseille. The eighteen cars start at 3:02 p.m. with a simultaneous roar, in the presence of a crowd of thirty thousand spectators. Perfect weather conditions. Ascari jumps into the lead at the start, followed by Farina and the Frenchman Manzon. But the two Italian aces immediately attract the attention of the crowd with an exciting duel that lasts two and a half hours. For the first half-hour, Farina sticks to the rear wheels of Ascari's superb Ferrari, even managing to take the lead. The infernal pace immediately begins to take its toll; on the third lap, the Frenchman Martin retires due to engine troubles, and on the seventh, Giraud-Cabantous gets stuck in a curve, and Gigi Villoresi has to retire due to the rupture of the oil line. The new Gordini of the Frenchman Manzon stops, so Prince Bira gives him his car. The Ascari-Farina battle continues tightly until Ascari is forced to stop to change a tire; Farina jumps into the lead, with a 45-second advantage. He remains there for three laps, then his Ferrari goes off the road in a curve at a speed of about one hundred fifty kilometers per hour. Farina remains unharmed in the impressive adventure. The car, suddenly stopping, made three or four U-turns, and the driver, after the sensational adventure, explains that the incident, which could have cost him his life, was caused by a sudden failure of the rear axle while he was approaching the curve before the grandstand straight. Farina explains to the journalists:
"I was going at full speed, and when the accident happened, I realized in a fraction of a second that I couldn't do anything. Guys, am I not lucky?"
Driving a Ferrari 2000 cc, Alberto Ascari wins again, increasing his lead in the overall standings for the French Grand Prix, which consists of eight races. During the three-hour race, Ascari covers the distance of 959.560 kilometers at an average speed of 119.853 km/h. The best lap time comes from Farina, with an average speed of 125.811 km/h. Alberto Ascari says at the end of the race:
"I'm sorry that some of the best opponents had bad luck. I am very happy, of course, to have won this race, the second consecutive one after Pau, and I hope to do just as well in the third Grand Prix event on May 25 in Paris".
However, before participating in the Paris Grand Prix, on Tuesday, April 29, 1952, the official lineup of the nineteenth Mille Miglia is defined in Italy, after the extraction of the starting order for the 600 participants in the race, a figure that exceeds the 1950 record by more than a hundred cars. The starts will begin on Saturday, May 3, 1952, at 9:01 a.m., and the four military category cars will be the first to start: two Fiat-Campagnola and two Alfa Matta. It will be a great Mille Miglia on Sunday, May 5, 1952, full of big questions.
The first comes from the number of participants: it can be calculated that at least 500 cars will crowd the vast road ring of the route, in the span of about ten hours, starting one minute apart. The major problem will be the crowd, especially on the roads of Veneto and Emilia, where the public leans to the edges of the asphalt in a double, very long human hedge. A nerve-wracking task awaits the pilots of the fastest cars, who, starting last, will have to overtake a multitude of small-displacement cars and lower-power categories. The aces will have to deal with amateurs, some of whom cannot count on experience equal to commendable sports passion. The nature of the Mille Miglia, with its sixteen groups among categories and displacements, will put all industrial products open to the public into play, from the small utility gem that is the normal Topolino, to the exuberant grand touring cars, to the racing cars, very close relatives to real racing bolides. The 1564 kilometers of the race are equivalent to a very severe test, and many of the enthusiasts who debut are destined to pay their tribute to experience, but for many who fail, a small minority will be able to stand out. This is one of the tasks of the Mille Miglia, to reveal new men, to mark the time between the declining generation and another advancing. Two reasons, in the end, particularly polarize attention: the battle among the latest national products in the 2000 cc grand touring category. The comparison will take place among the Aurelio, the Alfa 1900, the Ferrari 2000, and the very recent Fiat Ottava in the hands of private owners. The balance is such that under normal race conditions, the result seems to depend on the skills of the driver. The other passion-inducing theme that will electrify the race is the massive presence of German cars in Italy, although this does not underestimate the importance of the rest of the foreign participation: Aston Martin, Jaguar, Dina Panhard, Renault, etc., constitute a sector of undeniable interest.
But the strongest foreign contingent, the one directly aiming for victory and that has been preparing on the course for two months, is the Mercedes team of Kling, Lang, and Caracciola, the winner of the 1951 Mille Miglia with a seven-liter Mercedes. The new cars are of the 300 BL type, 3000 cc, 175 HP, and their comparison with the Italian production, especially with the Ferraris of Marzotto, Bracco, Biondetti, Taruffi, perhaps Villoresi or his substitute (Ascari), will dominate the scene. The ultimate goal: Biondetti's record of 135.391 km/h in 1948 with a supercharged Alfa. On Thursday, May 1, with the start of the car verification operations, the Mille Miglia enters the full swing of its fervor. Throughout the day, seventy cars are already presented in the control commission's enclosures; the German Porsche drivers appear in full force, followed by the English of Aston Martin, Jaguar, and Healey; and finally, Meyer has also appeared, who will drive an H.W.M. Several other foreigners quickly complete the formalities: Mann, Parnell, Abecassis, Wisdom, Stirling Moss; the latter, paired with Dewis, will drive a powerful Jaguar. The two Healeys, father and son, also ensure their participation, while among the foreign competitors, the German Merkel on Dyna-Veritas and the French Yvette Simon are also present. Among the Italians who have their cars stamped, the most notable presence is that of Carini with the Alfa Romeo 1900 of the national touring type. The two Fiat Campagnola vehicles, which will compete in the military vehicles category and will start the race on Friday, also generate great interest. Meanwhile, the participation of the World Champion, Juan Manuel Fangio, with the Alfa 1900 sprint (International Grand Touring category), is confirmed. The news is greeted with great enthusiasm as Fangio's high class adds a strong dose to the prestige of the Brescia race and the uncertainty of its outcome. Giannino Marzotto, the winner of the Mille Miglia two years ago, will not start. Instead, his brothers, Vittorio, Umberto, and Paolo, will be in the race. Giannino explains the reasons for his non-participation in the race:
"I leave my heart, I participate with the spirit, but I feel the duty to strengthen myself. Races are like cocaine, and I don't want to intoxicate myself. In 4 years of racing, I only went off the road once, and it was when the sporting passion in me was overwhelmed by the competitive spirit, which pushed me to force nerves and engine, to beat Villoresi at all costs. But it went wrong. Races are beautiful if you run for pleasure and with a certain sporting detachment. Danger begins when one allows oneself to be dominated by ambition. It is then that one must know how to control oneself".
Marzotto, however, has not definitively said goodbye to car races: he will return when his doubts are resolved from within.
For now, he awaits the tuning of the cars from his team that will participate in the Brescia race. At the starts, which begin on Viale Rebuffone at 9:01 p.m. on Saturday and continue until 6:29 a.m. on Sunday, 502 cars are presented. The night is cool and windy but dry, although the weather forecasts from various provinces do not appear reassuring. The so-called military vehicles, the two Fiat Campagnola and the two similar Alfa cars, start in the lead. Their lead over the fast cars is such that no one can catch them, and after a very regular race, three of them return brilliantly to the Brescia finish. The Alfas (more powerful and faster) are naturally in the lead. The ranking of the other cars is, on the other hand, very agitated and constantly changing from checkpoint to checkpoint. The first reports from Verona and then from Ferrara leave spectators astonished, due to averages reaching up to 160 km/h and 155 km/h. But already in the early morning, the first accidents occur, particularly numerous and serious in the initial stretch. In Pontelagoscuro, the victim is a well-known sportsman from Turin, the young Avalle, crushed in the overturning of the car. Later, it is learned that Grazzoni, the second driver on Manfredini's car, was extracted in critical condition from the shattered vehicle. Numerous, as it is learned, are the non-serious injuries in a long series of collisions, road exits, and overturns. Inevitable consequences, statistically speaking, of the number. In Florence, among the Ferrari men, Bracco and Paolo Marzotto remain, while Fagioli stays in a strong fourth position ahead of Moss's Jaguar. So, Biondetti has also disappeared, and it will later be known that the car caught fire and was destroyed. Now, the Mercedes, an original German car that has two hatches on the roof instead of side doors (for this particular feature, which translates into a significant weight saving, there were debates and doubts about its regulatory admission to the race), is considered out of danger. But the indomitable Bracco does not forgive: he is perfectly at ease in the Apennines, especially since it has started to rain. The Tuscan-Emilian Apennines, from Florence to Bologna, are indeed Bracco's favorite terrain: the difficult uphill and downhill stretches at full throttle are his strong suit. His mechanic claims to close his eyes in the stretch from Florence to Bologna to avoid witnessing that mad race, but it is precisely here that Bracco shows his class and wins the most beautiful Mille Miglia. The Italian pilot did not even imagine that he had returned to the race for the absolute lead after the initial misadventures. In Bologna, at the checkpoint, they told him:
"Come on, you're in the lead".
Bracco shouts, incredulous:
"Go, you're first. You're ahead of Kling by a few seconds".
So, with a furious roar, the Ferrari of the wool industrialist from Biella launches onto the long straight of Via Emilia. Bracco puts body and soul into the fight, repeating to himself:
"This time or never".
While the news from Modena, Parma, and Piacenza makes the crowd gathered at the Brescia finish line go wild with enthusiasm. When the loudspeaker announces the passage from Cremona, there are still fifty kilometers of race to go, and the Italian gains more ground on Kling. The Mille Miglia ends with the arrival at top speed, the return on foot to the finish line, the embrace of his wife, the crowd lifting the winner in triumph, and never getting tired of cheering him. Bracco cries and laughs. His eyes are teary as if he had a fever.
"It's the best day of my life, and the engine has never missed a beat. Magnificent".
It is the victory of a true ace, who has dignifiedly replaced Villoresi, unable to participate in the Mille Miglia due to a recent road accident. The nineteenth Mille Miglia will remain in the history of the great Brescia race precisely for Bracco's triumph over the formidable German expedition in Italy. He has achieved his dream: to win a Mille Miglia. And he did it at over forty years of age, in a fiercely fought race from start to finish, under a scourge of bad weather, defeating the German squadron of Mercedes, which had been training in Italy for two months. Giannino Marzotto, the renunciant, might have been right, although his abstention initially seemed weak. It was instead a gesture of excessive prudence for a driver who had proved to be a champion precisely in the Mille Miglia by winning the 1950 edition. The facts have shown that the great Brescia competition has become too dangerous and too crowded with participants. It is necessary to simplify, thin out, limit participation to those who offer the guarantee of sporting titles attesting to the suitability for such a long and fast competition. Without renewal, the Mille Miglia risks aging despite the dizzying increase in the number of drivers. With all those divisions of categories and classes, the public ends up getting disoriented, while the only thread of the skein remains the race report concerning the absolute lead. No one will ever be able to orient themselves sufficiently in the other events, except for the names of the winners. The only clear list, apart from the overall ranking, becomes that of the accidents, which speaks a terrible, impressive, negative language for motorsport. Sixteen races cannot be forced into the same competition. It is not lawful to grant the right to the most unknown participants to run headlong, in tight platoons, on roads open to the public. This is certainly not a discovery, but it is essential to insist on the request for a general renewal of a race that risks being abolished in bulk, causing a painful loss to Italian sports. Foreigners envy it and come in increasingly large numbers, aware of the commercial importance of its results. The Mille Miglia was a great disappointment for the Germans. It was seen from the behavior of the Mercedes headquarters in Brescia during the race how confident the Stuttgart house was of success. The highly prepared German team had not accounted for Bracco's resources, who had said before starting:
"I either win or kill myself".
Death and victory followed his race like two slaves. The exuberant Ace Blellese owes a good part of his success to the care and advice of his wife, who put him to bed like a child on Saturday night, convincing him not to wait on his feet in the exhausting orgasm of the last hours, the moment of the start. Bracco left at six minutes past eleven, rested, calm, fueled by the nervous energy stored during the night's sleep. The pilots' wives are worth more than ten mechanics; they must smile even if they want to sob and stoically accept their fate. During the race, while their men navigate in the midst of the fierce storm at 200 km/h, they wander like lost souls from the finish line to the press office, to a café to listen to the radio, to the groups where news is commented on, and often distorted. They strain their ears at every word, at every clue, shivering at every phone ring, in fear and hope that the call is for them. Not even Mrs. Caracciola, who has accepted her fate, could hide the anxiety. She must have smoked a hundred cigarettes while her husband went from Brescia to Rome and back to Brescia. After the Mille Miglia, the trials for Indianapolis will start soon, and the World Championship will begin in Bern. There are three races scheduled between Saturday, May 10, and Sunday, May 11, 1952: Silverstone, Naples, and Helsinki. Farina and Taruffi will race at the Posillipo circuit, while the new English Cooper cars and the French Simca-Gordini have chosen the classic British track for their test. Stirling Moss has chosen Finland and will drive a Jaguar. The division of forces on the triple front does not allow for a united and consistent lineup, especially since Ascari is already in America waiting for the 600-mile trials that will start on Friday and gradually reduce the 68 entrants to 33 for the colossal track race on May 30, 1952. Villoresi is resting and must be patient, given that the road accident in Susa is less minor than it seemed at first. Fangio is on the ground, in the literal sense of the word: he has no car - at least for the moment - to be present at the Formula Two races. He will have to wait for the Formula 1 races to enter the field with the B.R.M., and the first opportunity will be in Albi on Sunday, June 1, 1952. The Argentine pilot has announced his intention to return to Argentina in the meantime.
Farina's last training before moving to Bern serves as a test for the physical condition of the Turin ace, after fate reserved two accidents in fifteen days, first in Turin and then in Marseille. However, the two impressive adventures have not shaken the nervous system of the former World Champion, who will test himself on the Naples circuit. The battle should be limited to Farina himself, Taruffi, and Simon, the trio of 4-cylinders fielded by Ferrari. The Silverstone race will be closely watched for the results of the Simca-Gordini, a type of car that already showed promising signs in Marseille for the interest of Formula Two races, threatened by too massive a predominance of Ferraris. For Helsinki, there is talk of the participation of an unspecified Mercedes. The Finnish race is in free formula, so it could be one of the cars that debuted in the Mille Miglia and will also race in Bern, in the sports sector, along with - perhaps - a couple of Fiat 8 V from the Ambrosiana team. Now, all eyes are on the Posillipo circuit, where all records will be in danger on Sunday, May 11, 1952. The assertion is not reckless, considering the times achieved in the trials by the race favorites Farina, Taruffi, and Simon. The three Ferrari drivers have completed the 4100 meters of the challenging circuit at an average speed of 104.680 km/h for Farina, 102.642 km/h for Taruffi, and 99.320 km/h for the Frenchman Simon. Farina's time already surpasses the best time set in the race last year by Cortese (2'21"5 at an average speed of 101.618 km/h). Asked about the difficulties of the circuit, Farina says:
"It's a very tough course. You have to be very careful at the curbs that line much of the road and the trees. Today, however, I didn't push".
Farina's impressions regarding the difficulties of the circuit are reiterated by Taruffi. All three Ferrari drivers want to emphasize that each will race on their own, and there will be no team play. The battle over the 60 laps of the Grand Prix seems to focus on Taruffi's attempt to surpass the great favorite. The Turin ace has only one concern: his right leg, which hurts him due to the fall in Turin. On Saturday, in addition to the second round of trials, the race reserved for the sports category will take place, where Neapolitan Bellucci is favored in predictions. It is indeed the former World Champion, Giuseppe Farina, who achieves a magnificent success, winning the Naples Grand Prix as a dominant force. Victory in the class, but also made of courage, tenacity, and will; he could have led the race without excitement and contented himself with monitoring the opponents, thus achieving an easy victory. Instead, the Turin ace preferred to entertain, breaking the race records and staying ahead from start to finish: a true triumph. According to Farina himself, the Ferrari 4-cylinder of the winner worked fantastically. A lively battle for second place unfolded behind Farina: Taruffi (Ferrari 4-cylinder), who started in the wake of the Turin driver, found himself in second position. Then the Frenchman Simon (Ferrari 4-cylinder) engaged in a feverish duel with Taruffi. Several times, Simon was almost side by side with Taruffi, but he was always pushed back. Finally, the Frenchman had to give up because a sudden skid took him out of the race. Rosier (Ferrari) suffered a similar fate due to the breakage of the rear axle, seven laps from the end. The Neapolitan crowd applauds Farina for a long time, whose success is proof that the two recent incidents in Turin and Marseille have not at all affected the morale and class of the former World Champion. At the end of the Grand Prix, journalists approach Farina, who is particularly satisfied with the course:
"The Posillipo circuit, besides being one of the most picturesque in Italy, is also one of the most difficult and challenging. Its hairpin turns have tested the endurance of both cars and us drivers. For this reason, I am even happier with my Neapolitan success".
Even the sports director of Ferrari, Maestro Ugolini, comments with satisfaction on the brilliant double success of the Maranello team. Unfortunately, there was also an accident in Naples. While approaching the most difficult curve of the circuit, immediately following the finish straight, Sighinolfi's car hit the curb, spun to the other side of the road, broke through the safety barriers, and ended up on a dirt promontory. At that point, there was a spectator who was hit by the oil, water, and fuel scattered by the car at the moment of overturning. An ambulance took Sighinolfi and the spectator to the hospital: the pilot had multiple contusions and a suspected left rib injury, but he was judged recoverable in ten days. In the evening, Sighinolfi was transferred to a private clinic.
The spectator suffered first and second-degree burns on his hands, neck, and face. On Saturday, May 15, 1952, in the presence of a few thousand spectators, the trials for the Swiss Grand Prix begin on the Bremgarten circuit (7280 meters). Following the withdrawals of Alfa Romeo and Talbot-Lago from the World Championship and the end of the collaboration between Simca and Gordini, as a competitive team under Formula 1 regulations, only the Scuderia Ferrari remains. The FIA decides to switch to Formula 2 regulations for the 1952 season, which involve cars with naturally aspirated 2-liter engines - except for the Indy 500, which still runs under the regulations of previous seasons - with the intention of increasing the number of participants in the race. From this season onwards, the use of helmets has also been made mandatory, but limits regarding the weight of the cars have not yet been established. The Enrico Platé team raced the first two seasons with Maserati 4CLT-48, which, however, had a supercharged 1500 cc engine, following the outdated Formula 1 regulations. To adapt it to Formula 2 regulations, it was necessary to remove the compressor from the engine and increase its displacement to 2000 cc. Following these massive modifications made to the Maserati engine by the Swiss team, Enrico Platé, with the permission granted by the Modena-based company, wanted to register the cars of his team as Maserati-Platé instead of Maserati. These changes make the Enrico Platé team the only producer of Formula 1 engines in Switzerland. German driver Hans Stuck participates in the race with an AFM, a debutant constructor, powered by Küchen, which is the first V8 engine in Formula 1. The Grand Prix, in its third edition, represents the inaugural race of the Formula 1 season, the first of eight events established in the World Championship calendar. Taking place for the second time in May and at the beginning of the season, it is the thirteenth race of the season in total, considering the first six races off the calendar of Formula Libre, Formula 1, and Formula 2, held between January 20 and May 11, in which the dominance of Ferrari was already evident. These races include the Rio de Janeiro Grand Prix, the Siracusa Grand Prix, the Valentino Grand Prix, the Richmond Trophy, the Lavant Cup, the Pau Grand Prix, the Ibsley Grand Prix, the Marseille Grand Prix, the Aston Martin Owners Club Formula 2 Race, the International Trophy, the Eläintarhanajot, and the Naples Grand Prix.
Among the official teams, the Scuderia Ferrari is registered with three 500s driven by Giuseppe Farina, Piero Taruffi, and André Simon, the Alex von Falkenhausen Motorenbau with the German Hans Von Stuck driving an AFM 50 powered by Küchen, the Equipe Gordini with two Gordini T16s driven by Robert Manzon and Jean Behra and a Simca-Gordini T15 driven by Prince Bira, and the HW Motors with four HWM 52s driven by the British George Abecassis, Peter Collins, Lance Macklin, and Stirling Moss. Among the private teams, there are Écurie Espadon with Rudi Fischer and Peter Hirt respectively driving a Ferrari 500 and a 212, Ecurie Richmond with two Cooper T20s driven by Eric Brandon and Alan Brown, Écurie Rosier with the French Louis Rosier and Maurice Trintignant respectively driving a Ferrari 500 and a 166, Scuderia Franera with Ken Wharton driving a Frazer-Nash FN48, and Scuderia Enrico Platé with two Maserati 4CLT-48s driven by Toulo de Graffenried and Harry Schell. Among the private drivers, there are only the German Toni Ulmen on Veritas Meteor and the Swiss Max de Terra on Simca-Gordini T11 powered by Simca. The Italian Alberto Ascari of Scuderia Ferrari is not present at the race due to his participation in the concurrent Indianapolis 500, and the Argentines Juan Manuel Fangio and José Froilán González of Officine Alfieri Maserati are absent because their car, the new Maserati A6GCM, is not yet ready. On Saturday, May 17, 1952: Farina is easily the fastest driver in practice, however, his best time in the Formula 2 car remains eleven seconds off the pole time set by Fangio's Alfa Romeo the previous year. Taruffi, who is second on the grid, is two and a half seconds off the pace of Farina's best time. A further two seconds adrift is Manzon's Gordini, the team well impressed with their progress in the off-season. André Simon, who is deputizing for Ascari, puts his Ferrari fourth on the grid ahead of an impressive Rudolf Fischer in the privately entered Ecurie Espadon Ferrari 500. The 21-year-old Peter Collins is also impressing; he puts his HWM-Alta sixth on the grid. Behra, another rising talent for Gordini, sits seventh on the grid. The Formula Two regulations give the Maserati 4CLT/48 a chance to be competitive again; De Graffenried puts his Enrico Platé entered car eighth, directly ahead of the two HWM's of Moss and Abecassis. Prince Bira can only manage eleventh ahead of the slowest HWM of Macklin.
Wharton in the little Frazer Nash is thirteenth alongside Stuck's AFM. Brown is the fastest Cooper in fifteenth, while Brandon sits seventeenth on the grid. In between the pair of T20's is the Veritas car of Toni Ulmen. Schell is a disappointing eighteenth in his Maserati, while Peter Hirt is slowest in his Ferrari 212 sportscar. The Ecurie Rosier Ferrari's of Rosier and Trintignant and the private Gordini of De Terra are all late to practice and therefore ineligible to partake. The three drivers are permitted race entry; however, they will be forced to start from the back of the grid. On Sunday, May 18, 1952, unlike the previous year, the race is held in warm and sunny conditions. Nonetheless, the drivers will not easily forget the challenge and the threat of the Bremgarten Circuit. In the motorcycle support race, two riders are killed in the lead-up to the Grand Prix. In addition to this, the sportscar support race sees the famous pre-war German racer, Rudolf Caracciola, seriously injured while participating in Mercedes's new sportscar program. These are some grim prospects ahead of the Grand Prix; nonetheless, the drivers line up on the starting grid, ready to compete. Maurice Trintignant, however, will not get the opportunity to start. The engine in his old Ferrari 166 is not getting started, the Frenchman therefore wasting a journey to Bremgarten, having failed to take part in practice as well. Farina takes an immediate lead at the start while Behra gets an excellent start to move into third position behind Taruffi's Ferrari. Simon is fourth ahead of Manzon, who has dropped his Gordini down to fifth at the start. The debut for De Terra does not go to plan; his older model Gordini pulls into the pits after only a single lap. Rosier will also join his teammate in retirement after a nasty accident. Rosier is lucky to escape with only cuts and bruises after being thrown from his car after making a mistake on lap two. The two German manufacturers of Veritas and AFM are both out when their drivers Ulmen and Stuck retire on lap four. Farina, meanwhile, is opening up a huge lead at the front of the field. Moss in the little HWM is the man on the move; he quickly establishes himself as a front-runner, having moved into third place after climbing the ranks of the midfield. However, it is not to last; Moss begins to develop a misfire which forces him into the pits for new spark plugs after three laps.
The HWM's remain competitive; Abecassis has taken up the chase, moving past Manzon's Gordini to take fifth position. However, it is not to last; on the thirteenth lap, Abecassis has a halfshaft failure which spins his car out of control and into an earth bank. Abecassis is badly bruised but otherwise unhurt. At the same time, his teammate Collins will also retire with an identical problem but luckily in less dramatic circumstances. HWM manager John Heath, concerned with the simultaneous failure, will then go onto retire his remaining two cars of Moss and Macklin on the grounds of safety. Manzon then drops out of the lead running; his Gordini requires extensive repairs in the pits to replace a broken radiator. However, most significantly, Farina loses his dominant lead when he pulls into the pits to retire his car with magneto failure. This means Taruffi now leads the race ahead of Behra's Gordini and the Ferrari of Simon. However, Farina wastes no time in calling Simon into the pits, a lap after his own retirement, to take control of his teammate's car. A broken exhaust is causing overheating and driver discomfort to second-placed man Jean Behra. The Gordini driver pulls into the pits for repairs; however, in doing so, he has allowed Farina to take second position. Farina once again is the fastest driver on the circuit; however, the new race leader Taruffi has an extensive lead over Farina now in second. Behra will eventually return to the track; however, Fischer in the private Ferrari is driving very well at his home grand prix and is now in third position. Behra is now pushing hard, slowly closing the gap to Fischer's third position in the race. Behind Behra sits Bira in the older model Gordini who has a huge gap to Wharton's Frazer Nash in sixth position. Wharton rounds out the final runners ahead of the Coopers of Brown and Brandon, De Graffenried's Maserati, and the Ferrari sportscar of Hirt. Schell has become another to depart the race when his old Maserati suffers a blown engine. Farina, who has been gradually closing on Taruffi, will go out of the race for a second and final time when another magneto failure brings Simon's car to a halt. Bira then sees his engine explode, leaving a cloud of smoke trailing the circuit. This puts Wharton's Frazer Nash into fifth and in for a chance for points in the constructor's first grand prix. Brandon's Cooper then has to pit for repairs, dropping him down to the last position. The remainder of the race is quiet and processional; Taruffi takes a solid victory following the dropout of Farina in the race. Fischer is elated with a second position; the Swiss driver is delighted with a podium at his home grand prix. Equally impressive is Jean Behra in third.
The Gordini driver has finished on the podium at his first grand prix, an impressive feat. Ken Wharton is also happy to give the Frazer Nash points in its first running outside the United Kingdom. The final points position goes to the Cooper of Alan Brown, who, like Wharton, scores points on his championship debut. The misfortune of Farina is truly becoming something incredible and proverbial. In Bern, right at the start of the Grand Prix, the Italian leaps into first place, distancing all his opponents. By the seventeenth lap, he already had about forty-five seconds of advantage over his teammate Taruffi. Suddenly, the magnets in Farina's Ferrari refuse to function, and the Turin ace is forced to retire. Taruffi takes the lead, followed closely by Simon from the same team and Behra in the Gordini. On the twenty-second lap, Simon hands over his Ferrari to Farina, and the team manager of the Modena-based squad impulsively sets off in pursuit of Behra and Taruffi. However, the magnets in the car received from Simon also fail to work properly. The former World Champion manages to close the half-minute gap lost while taking over the French colleague's car. He catches up with and overtakes Behra, reducing his gap from Taruffi to twenty seconds, but evidently, the car is not able to withstand the effort, and on the fifty-first lap, Farina retires definitively. Taruffi had a very regular and timed race, deserving the victory for the skill with which he managed to distribute his forces in a race of over 460 kilometers. Of the twenty-one starters, very few reached the final finish. Fischer also owes the satisfaction of second place to the wise race plan and the resistance of his Ferrari. The hero of the day, however, is the Frenchman Behra, a former motorcycle racer. He cleverly fought with the two Italian aces, enduring the scorching temperature inside his car due to the overheating of the exhaust components. Behra stopped several times at the pits to be abundantly watered on the left side, semi-scorched by the nearby exhaust pipe. The Gordini he piloted demonstrated excellent capabilities.