#7 1950 Italian Grand Prix

2021-03-29 00:00

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#1950, Fulvio Conti, Giulia Pea,

#7 1950 Italian Grand Prix

When in 1947 the Automobile Club launched the first edition of the Bari Grand Prix on the straight roads of the Fiera del Levante, the people of Apuli


When in 1947 the Automobile Club launched the first edition of the Bari Grand Prix on the straight roads of the Fiera del Levante, the people of Apulia flocked to the region's capital in large numbers because they had never seen a car race on their streets. Thanks to the enthusiasm of the people, every record in terms of revenue and public attendance was broken. Achille Varzi won the first edition, fiercely competing for victory with his Alfa teammate Consalvo Sanesi until the last moment. The following year, Achille Varzi was again the protagonist of the Grand Prix, in what turned out to be his last race before the tragedy at Bremgarten. However, the first place witnessed an unforgettable battle, concluding only at the finish line, among the winner Landi, Giuseppe Farina in a Ferrari, and Bonetto in a Cisitalia. The fourth edition seemed unlikely to take place due to various difficulties. Francesco Chieco, the president of the Bari Automobile Club and the race's creator, fought to ensure the race could happen. The response from car manufacturers and drivers seemed like a popular show of understanding and friendship. Seven nations – Italy, Argentina, Switzerland, France, Belgium, England, and Siam (with Prince Bira) – would bring the best mechanical gems from European manufacturers to the starting line. It would be the rematch of Reims, primarily a chance for Giuseppe Farina to overcome the misfortune he experienced in the French race. The new Alfa Romeos, led by Juan Manuel Fangio, the new Maserati 1500s, the still unknown Talbots (although Etancelin would be absent due to injury), the Ferraris driven by Ascari and Villoresi, and the three HWMs of the unfortunate but audacious twenty-year-old Moss, who thrilled the crowd at the Caracalla circuit on Sunday, July 9, 1950, would all compete fiercely under the tropical sun of Bari (with reports announcing 38 °C in the shade). Bari was already buzzing with excitement, reminiscent of the days of its September Fair. Hotels were fully booked, the streets were bustling with activity, and there were expectations of a massive and enthusiastic crowd, typical of Apulia, responding eagerly to every major sporting event. The capital of Apulia was experiencing its great eve, with a kind of totalizer and Giuseppe Farina enjoying the favor of predictions. Seven nations brought their mechanical gems to the track. 


It was the rematch of Reims, primarily for Giuseppe Farina to overcome the misfortune he had in the French race. The new Alfas, led by Fangio, the new Maserati 1500s, the unknown Talbots, the 3300 Ferraris with DD chassis driven by Ascari and Villoresi, and Moss's three HWMs raced on the fast circuit along the waterfront. Giuseppe Farina left his opponents behind at the start and led his Alfa to victory, followed by his teammate Fangio. Farina set a new official lap record, previously held by Ascari. The overall race average speed was also surpassed. At the end of the race, Alfa's direct competitors were lapped twice, and Farina crossed the finish line with a 45-second lead over Fangio, who had stopped at the pits on the penultimate lap due to a misunderstanding with the mechanics' signals. Farina won without pushing his car to the limit, as the slippery road surface called for caution. The battle for the podium between the Ferraris of Villoresi and Cortese, Moss's HWM, Bira's Maserati, and Levegh's Talbot was more thrilling. On the Thursday before the race, Ferrari had called to withdraw from the competition due to disagreements about contracts, and since the team had not yet perfected the new cars, they seized the opportunity to announce their abstention. Until Saturday morning, the organizers were on the phone with Enzo Ferrari, and in the end, the drivers departed at the last minute, arriving in Bari at 6:00 a.m. on Sunday, five hours before the start of the Grand Prix. After averting this danger, the organizers faced the withdrawal of the Talbot. The Grand Prix was initially set for a total of 70 laps, but on Saturday night, the Bari police chief requested a reduction to sixty laps, fearing excessive fatigue for the service agents due to the high temperature and their prolonged exposure to the sun, as shade was not available on the circuit. After animated discussions, the Bari Automobile Club accepted the request and communicated the decision to the teams only on Sunday morning. Talbot vigorously protested, threatening to withdraw because the shorter duration compromised the performance of its cars in the last kilometers of the race. The French car needed a longer route, as the hotter the engine, the faster it ran. Secondly, the reduction would have allowed Alfa Romeo only one pit stop, while the French were counting on the two mandatory stops for their rivals. In the end, Talbot decided to line up on the starting grid anyway. However, Grignard, who had the fastest car, had to retire after only two hundred meters due to a broken oil pump. 


Talbot's mechanics then kept the car of Belgian driver Claes, far behind due to candle problems, to test and check the new engine. A week later, precisely on Sunday, July 16, 1950, the drivers arrived on equal terms in Albi, France. Alfa Romeo did not register its cars that had dominated all the races they participated in during 1950. However, Farina and Fangio were allowed to race with cars of another brand. Both drivers participated in the Grand Prix with a 1500 cc Maserati, with a twin supercharger. Ascari and Villoresi had two Ferraris with the same displacement as the Maserati, also with twin superchargers. The Grand Prix took place on the Platani circuit on the outskirts of Albi. In World Championship races, Giuseppe Farina and Juan Manuel Fangio had always raced with cars of the same brand, the same type, practically identical vehicles. The audience hoped that there would be no mechanical failures or inconveniences in Albi, allowing for an anticipated showdown more between men than machines. The other drivers entered in the Grand Prix were: Sommer, Rosler, Levegh, and Claes in Talbot, Gonzalez, Chiron, Bira, De Graffenried, and possibly Rol in Maserati. The participation of motorcycle ace Nello Pagani, also in a Maserati, was uncertain. Bonetto and Comotti were driving the cars of the Milan racing team. The fastest driver in practice was Raimondo Sommer, who, behind the wheel of his Talbot-Lago, set the fastest lap at 3'10"0 with an average speed of 178 km/h. Despite his brilliant performance, Italian cars were once again favored for victory in the Albi Grand Prix. There were two races, and the winner would be the driver with the best total time. Each race covered a distance of 151 kilometers, equivalent to 17 laps. Eighteen drivers participated. The absence of Alfa Romeo opened the door to victory for other brands, and the battle seemed interesting between Maserati and Ferrari, the former driven by Fangio and Farina, the latter by Villoresi and Ascari. The balance in the power of the cars gave hope for a battle among these four great rivals. Talbots started, as usual, confined to the role of outsiders, the third wheel in the fight for victory. It did not seem that, despite the drivers, they could prevent another Italian victory. At the start of the race, 60.000 people were ready to witness the prestigious spectacle of the most famous drivers of the moment. However, the outcome of the race differed from predictions. 


Indeed, all the favorites, for various reasons, were forced to abandon the race; only Giuseppe Farina managed to continue and finish. In the first race, there was a duel between Fangio and Sommer, but a few laps from the end, the Argentine driver had to retire due to an oil pipe rupture. Fangio and Sommer did not show up for the start of the second race because their cars were unusable. Thanks to these two withdrawals, Rosier, who finished third in the first race, claims the first position in the overall ranking of the two races. Rosier finishes second in the second race after a long battle with the South American Gonzalez, who precedes him by about twenty seconds. Villoresi did not take part in the competition, and Alberto Ascari was also forced to retire due to a mechanical failure. For the drivers, there is no respite: on Sunday, July 23, 1950, the Dutch Grand Prix is held at the Zandvoort circuit. Alfa Romeo is not present for this competition either, which is expected to be a rematch of the Albi Grand Prix held the previous week in France. On this occasion, Juan Manuel Fangio returns to race with Maserati, as in Albi, and Ascari and Villoresi will drive the Ferrari 1500 cc. In Zandvoort, Gonzalez, Ghiro, Etra, de Graffenried, and Parnell are also present with Maserati, and the Talbot team composed of Sommer, Etancelin, Rosier, Claes, Giraud-Cabantous. Not listed among the participants is the name of Giuseppe Farina. Louis Rosier wins with his Talbot 4500 cc, without a supercharger, beating the two Ferraris of Luigi Villoresi and Alberto Ascari. The victory is clear and indisputable, confirming the result of Albi. Among the many retirees is Juan Manuel Fangio, who stops during lap 23. Gonzalez's car catches fire during lap 32, but the mechanics and the driver manage to control the flames, and the Argentine driver continues the race. At the end of lap 55, only nine drivers remain in the race. Villoresi tries to catch up with Rosier, while Ascari in fourth place approaches Etancelin, who is then forced to retire. On Sunday, July 30, 1950, the Nations Grand Prix takes place in Geneva, sparking protests from almost all the drivers, who, thanks to the right observations made by numerous Swiss and foreign technicians, obtain a reduction in the length of the circuit. Unfortunately, six laps from the end, a very serious accident occurs, which not only removes the technical interest from the race but also gives it a mournful ending. 


The technical interest may not be complete because the circuit does not adapt well as a testing ground for new cars, but there has been an exciting battle between Alfa Romeo and the new Ferraris of Ascari. Not ready at the start was Villoresi, who, after retiring from the morning race, was eager to make up for it in the Nations Grand Prix. Once again, however, luck did not smile on the Milanese driver. Ascari arrives at the pit and declares that he must retire due to a fault, probably due to an oil pipeline. During the second race, one or more cars, already lapped, lose some oil in the middle of the curve in front of the International Labour Organization building. On lap 61, Villoresi, approaching very quickly, swerves dangerously and violently collides with two straw walls dividing the road in two. The car is thrown from one side to the other and crashes into the fences behind which there is a dense crowd. In its leap, the car throws out the driver, who ends up on the right side of the road and remains lifeless on the ground. At that moment, Farina arrives, and seeing his companion on the ground, deliberately throws himself against the straw wall. Villoresi is rescued and taken to the hospital, where an X-ray reveals an open fracture of one leg, a fracture of the right clavicle, wounds to three fingers of the right hand, and a long and deep laceration to the forehead. Despite the serious injuries, Villoresi is not in danger of losing his life. His car, on the other hand, spreads death among the crowd. Deprived of the driver, the Ferrari crashes into the fence, mowing down numerous spectators. Three of them are killed almost instantly, while about thirty are taken to the hospital. Of these, eight are in serious condition. The health service was a bit slow to organize, but blame is also partly attributed to the spectators themselves, who were caught in a wave of panic. Villoresi and the other drivers are not blamed for the serious incident that occurred. Despite Villoresi's involvement in the accident, the race continues, and Fangio wins the Nations Grand Prix. The Argentine driver has been in the lead since the first lap, setting the fastest laps, ensuring a gap that allows him to be calm and not be attacked by his opponents. Ascari maintains the second position, and the new Ferrari demonstrates excellent road holding qualities. De Graffenried drives the Alfa 158 for the first time, with which he is not yet familiar. The day after the race, the organizing committee issues an official statement on the accident. The Ferrari driver had an oil leak, which caused his car to swerve. The official statement confirms that Giuseppe Farina did the impossible, risking even his own life to avoid hitting Luigi Villoresi. Farina states:


"It's a real shame because the race, despite the difficulties of the course, went smoothly and very smoothly. I had the impression that the new Ferraris have magnificent qualities, and that was a source of satisfaction for me because it would make the battles in the upcoming races more intense and fierce. I felt very good in third place, and at the time of the incident, I still didn't know about Ascari's retirement. But I was determined to take the car to the end, especially since it had responded fully to my every appeal. I express the hope that Villoresi, who is really unlucky on this circuit, can recover soon because with him, I have always had the most sporting and pleasant battles. I regret that all these good organizers have had such a hard blow of fate, and on behalf of all Italian drivers, I want to express to the families of the victims the deepest condolences".


A race official who quickly jumped into the middle of the track saved the lives of Farina, Villoresi, and probably some spectators at the Geneva circuit, where unfortunately there had already been three deaths and several injuries. Giuseppe Farina, before leaving the Swiss city, visits Villoresi twice. The Ferrari driver is still under the influence of anesthesia: he is suffering but is no longer in danger of losing his life. The head blow, too, did not have the complications feared at first. Serious injuries were ruled out by X-rays. After saying goodbye to his colleague and friend, Giuseppe Farina arrives in Turin in a few hours from Geneva. His wife is with him, who on the edge of the track had experienced two minutes of terrifying anguish, fearing for her husband's fate. Giuseppe Farina recalls the frightening adventure shortly after arriving from Switzerland:


"I was 400 meters behind Villoresi when I entered the tragic hairpin, which is faced at about 180 km/h. Suddenly I noticed a marshal waving the yellow flag frantically outside the curve, an order to slow down. At that moment, my view was still missing, and without yet seeing the tragic scene, I promptly obeyed". 


And he adds:


"A moment later, I saw a red car sideways on the track, and the lifeless body of a colleague on the ground: the road surface was completely blocked. There was nothing else to do but try the impossible, stop but stop without braking because in the meantime, I had plunged into the oil lake produced by other cars, and touching the brakes in such conditions means abandoning the car to its fate. I promptly switched to third, then to second, and at the same time, I directed the car towards the wall of straw bales on the right. I was able to slow down the speed of the car. The impact made me swerve to the opposite side of the road, and my Alfa came to a final stop against the straw on the inside, with only slight damage to the front suspension. At that point, less than 80 meters separated me from Villoresi. The rest you know".


The reconstruction of the Villoresi accident can be summarized as follows: a car that had passed just before the Milanese driver left a large oil slick that had spread across the entire road surface. Villoresi, who had entered the high-speed turn, lost control of the car. The car skidded violently and crashed into the protections inside the curve, against which the unfortunate spectators were leaning. On Sunday, August 6, 1950, the Aosta-Gran San Bernardo race took place, featuring greater difficulties than the Susa race. A first section of about 25 km consisted of a narrow, gravel-covered dirt road with hairpin turns and treacherous curves, reaching slopes exceeding ten percent in some places. It was a very tough test, challenging both the riders and their vehicles. The time achieved in 1948 by Von Stuck, who climbed to the Hospice at over 83 km/h on average, was remarkable. The attempt to break this record would be made by drivers leading Formula 2 cars, especially Giovanni Bracco, the Moncenisio victor and a great uphill specialist. Bracco had a Ferrari 2000 without a supercharger, as dictated by the Aosta race regulations. However, the Biella driver was expected to improve the 1948 record not only because of his skills but also due to the efficiency of the 2-liter Maranello engine-equipped car. In the sports category, the competition among the most titled drivers of various classes would be intense, providing an opportunity for those defeated in the Susa-Moncenisio race to seek redemption in the specific characteristics of the San Bernardo course. The number and quality of participants confirmed the enduring popularity of hill climb races among enthusiasts. For spectators, the Aosta-Gran San Bernardo offered unique opportunities to follow a large stretch of the course, as the rocky natural terraces near the finish extended over the valley, providing a panoramic view up to St. Rhémy-adding to the spectacle of the event. The race from Aosta to the famous 


Hospice at 2.473 meters, built by St. Bernard around 1000 AD and hosting Napoleon 800 years later, presented a singular terrain with increasing natural difficulties proportional to the altitude. The landscape varied from the vineyards surrounding ancient Augusta Praetoria to the lush fir forests of Etroubles and St. Rhémy, culminating in the grand terminal circus leading to the renowned pass. These factors contributed to the classic status of the Aosta-Gran San Bernardo, whose first edition took place in 1920, won by the Turin Count Caberto Conelli driving a now-extinct Fast. In 1921, the era's ace Ferdinando Minoia won with a Mercedes, followed in 1922 and 1923 by Alfieri Maserati, the founder of the famous namesake workshops, driving Isotta, Fratellini, and Diatto. Berta D'Argentina on Spa set the record in 1924, followed by De Sterlich on Diatto. After a long hiatus, the race resumed in 1947, with Bracco establishing himself as a hill climb specialist, winning in his Maserati with a record time of 26'43"0. In 1948, the Austrian ace Hans von Stuck achieved an exceptional feat, bringing his small Cisitalia 1100 to the Colle in 24'26"0, averaging 83 km/h. In 1949, Tara on Cisitalia was the fastest, though his time remained well above Von Stuck's. This brief history covers the first eleven editions of the Aosta-Gran San Bernardo. On Friday, August 4, 1950, the official race trials took place, generating great anticipation for Bracco's attempt to break Von Stuck's 1948 record. The popular Biella driver was expected to win this race as well, given his uphill superiority demonstrated on the Moncenisio ramps, and his car, the Ferrari 2-liter single-seater, had no rivals in the Formula 2 category. His main competitor was Franco Cortese, who, despite having a similar car, perhaps slightly more powerful than Stuck's in '48, seemed unlikely to pose a serious challenge to Bracco's feat. Bracco's victory was considered certain, but the focus was on whether he could improve the existing record of 24'26". 


Another point of interest was the revengeful spirit of those defeated in the Susa-Moncenisio race, especially in the sports classes. The competition among Leonardi, Valenzano, Scala, and Bordoni in the 750 sport category, Puma, Scotti, and Sighinolfi in another, and Bertone, Stagnoli, and the Englishman Warburton in the over 1100 class was expected to be fierce. To succeed in the traditional Aosta race, meticulous preparation of both man and machine was required. The technical and competitive aspects of this Aosta-Gran San Bernardo justified the heightened anticipation in the days leading up to the race, not only in the Vallée but also beyond. During the race, Giovanni Bracco was in the lead with a slight advantage over the Swiss driver Tony Branca. At the finish on the Colle, the news reached the official race timers in an instant through the perfect system of telephone and radio connections, and it did not come as a surprise; Bracco's lead was only 3 seconds. In the morning, Bracco had expressed his intention to push hard, especially on the gravel section, where strength and style miracles were needed to avoid losing precious seconds. The low protective walls and frightening cliffs overlooking the valley seemed to encourage caution rather than provoke acceleration. Bracco asserted:


"The race is won and the record is beaten in the last 11 kilometers." 


Spectators eagerly awaited Bracco's arrival, clinging to the rocky slopes dominating the valley to catch a glimpse of the popular champion's style on the final ramps. Instead, the chilling announcement of Bracco's withdrawal a few kilometers before the finish arrived. Later, it was revealed that the fuel tank of his Ferrari had hit a ditch, damaging it and causing the precious liquid to drain suddenly. During the trials, the champion had already had to raise the oil radiator due to a similar issue: in certain parts of the course, the deep grooves on the road surface left the center of the road dangerously close to the underbelly of the cars and some vital organs. Thus, due to one of the most ordinary accidents, this highly anticipated 12th edition of the Aosta-Gran San Bernardo suddenly lost all its technical and sporting content. In reality, Bracco's mechanical mishap fell into the category of those unpredictable events that enjoy subverting predictions, and even though it seemed to lower the tone of the Aosta event based on the name of the actor, the race revealed a new name - Swiss driver Tony Branca - who had a beautiful and secure race, aided by his efficient car. Branca finished the race in a respectable time, significantly distancing the second-place finisher, Cortese. In the international sports category, there were fiercely contested battles in all classes. Roberto Scala continued his magnificent form, beating his opponents in the 750 cc class again and setting the class record on the course. Leonardi finished second, and the favorite Valenzano came in third. As expected, Sighinolfi defeated all rivals in the 1100 sport class. Scotti and Comirato followed behind Sighinolfi, while Moncenisio winner Puma was seriously delayed due to a dust cloud raised by a competitor preparing to overtake. In the over 1100 class, Bresciano Stagnoli won, driving a prepared Ferrari. 


Bertone, with a Ferrari, and the Englishman Warburton followed in the standings. Warburton experienced an incident a few dozen meters after the finish: the car skidded outside against straw bales, spun around, and finally hit a guardrail that held it, tilted at 45°, right wheels in the air, preventing a fearful plunge into the Colle lake. The car was broken, but the pilot remained unharmed. The most significant point of interest in the Aosta-Gran San Bernardo was the assault that Giovanni Bracco would make on Von Stuck's famous record, which had stood since 1948. Both the driver and the car seemed particularly suited to achieve this feat. A not overly frequent mechanical incident, the gasoline tank breaking against a road ditch, thwarted the attempt that was heading towards complete success. While the second favorite, Cortese, fell short of the potential of his car, a young Italo-Swiss driver, Tony Branca, seized victory, skillfully exploiting the excellent mechanical means at his disposal. The sports classes provided a more lively technical perspective. Scala reaffirmed his current excellent form and the outstanding qualities of his small N.D. 750 cc. Modenese Sighinolfi secured victory with the powerful and well-prepared Fiat-Stanguellini 1100 cc, which seems unrivaled this season. In the larger displacements, Stagnoli prevailed with the Ferrari 2000. Even on this occasion, lighter and smaller cars, though less powerful, achieved comparatively more interesting results than larger ones, which on very rugged paths are seriously hampered by the handicap of weight. 


Bracco's failure did not diminish much from this traditional uphill race, which is certainly one of the most challenging of its kind. The mechanical mishap to the favorite and the spectacular yet fortunately non-fatal road accident of the Englishman Warburton confirmed it. Once, the Germans were dominant in motor racing. Then came the war, and Mercedes and Auto Union, often Grand Prix winners, disappeared from the scene. Germany was banned from international sports, and little or nothing was known about the German drivers and cars. On Sunday, August 20, 1950, at the famous Nürburgring circuit in the Bonn area, a significant event occurred: the German Grand Prix was held again, marking the return of German motor racing to the international stage. After the war, many motor races had already taken place in Germany, but never with drivers from other nations because the FIA prohibited it. This time, Italian, French, and English drivers accepted the invitation. The Germans currently do not have cars like the Alfa 158, the French Talbot, and the Maserati and Ferrari 1500 cc. Over 100.000 people gathered around the circuit, attracted by the event. Unfortunately, the joy of the return of races to Germany was marred by a fatal accident. The cars of the German driver Guenther Schlichter and William Lucas were closely following each other at high speed. At one point, they touched. Schlichter's car skidded, going off the track, fortunately at a point where few spectators were standing. A boy was hit and killed. The German driver, seriously injured, lost his life while onlookers tried to extricate him from the wreckage of his car. The American driver Lucas suffered a fractured leg and various injuries, being in a state of shock. Swiss driver Tony Branca, the recent winner of the Aosta-Gran San Bernardo, also found himself in the midst of an accident. The Swiss driver's car went off the road due to a skid, overturning. Branca had it lifted to continue the race. But the accident had affected his nerves so much that he hit a guardrail. The car disintegrated, and this time the Swiss realized that it was an unlucky day for him. Ascari emerged as the winner, setting a very fast pace and not allowing anyone to get close. A few days later, at Silverstone, the trials for the BRDC International Trophy took place. 


Farina and Claes set the best lap times. Juan Manuel Fangio, in an Alfa, and Whitehead, in a Ferrari, both clocked 1'64"0, Alberto Ascari, in a Ferrari, and the Englishman Harrison recorded a time of 1'55"0. The new British 16-cylinder B.R.M. did not participate in the qualifying trials. According to the race regulations, competitors are disqualified if they do not participate in the qualifying trials; however, the organizers point out that if a competitor knows the circuit, he might be allowed to race even without participating in the trials. The B.R.M. must still undergo practice sessions before the race and are ordered to appear on the track between 9:45 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 26. For this reason, mechanics have to work all night to address the mechanical difficulties that would hinder the proper functioning of the British cars, whose debut is eagerly awaited by the British public, eager to see them compete against Alfa and Ferrari. The inconveniences of the B.R.M. seem to be twofold: Mays' muscle tear and gearbox troubles. Mays is the man who, since 1937, has tirelessly fought for the creation of a British car that strives to achieve the absolute supremacy in the world of racing for England. After countless disappointments and numerous tests, the cars have finally been prepared. Mays was supposed to drive one, but just before, a muscle tear in an arm, if not putting Mays out of the race, at least left him in difficult physical conditions. The gearbox problem is significant. Mechanics worked all night, and a few hours before the start, the repairs were still not complete. The route is modified and faster than the recent European Grand Prix, eliminating, on Fangio's advice, some tight and too dangerous corners. Villoresi's accident in Geneva begins to make the organizers more cautious. Before the race, a competition for less powerful cars is held, in which Nuvolari also enrolls with a Jaguar. Unfortunately, the Italian driver declares forfeit because the exhaust gases again cause unbearable nausea. Amidst a violent storm of wind and rain, Giuseppe Farina wins again behind the wheel of an Alfa Romeo 158 on the same challenging English circuit of Silverstone, as he did last May during the European Grand Prix. The race is divided into two heats, each of 15 laps, equivalent to 72 km, and a final of 35 laps, equivalent to 161 km. In the first heat, Farina easily prevails, beating the Englishman Parnell in a Maserati by 17 seconds; Whitehead, in a Ferrari, finishes third. In the second heat, easily won by the Argentine ace Fangio, also in an Alfa, an episode between comedy and tragedy occurs. 


Over 100.000 people had gathered from all parts of England to witness the debut of the famous British B.R.M. cars, designed and built with the ambitious intention of wresting the world speed record from Italian industry. One of these B.R.M. had been prepared by working the mechanics all night after the gearbox problems of the new cars the day before. But at the start, the B.R.M. did not move. When the other competitors, after completing the first lap, passed in front of the stands, the car the English were eagerly awaiting was still motionless, oblivious to the busy technicians and mechanics trying to start it. Unfortunately, to avoid the obstruction of the B.R.M. and the group of people, Belgian Claes had to touch the opposite margin of the road with his large Talbot, so that in the curve immediately after the straight, a slight skid made his car hit the safety barrier. Claes was forced to retire. Fortunately, the driver suffered only minor bruises. In this second heat, Ascari, driving a special Ferrari, retired due to a skid in the curve, caused by the slippery road. The final was interesting for the fierce duel between Farina and Fangio; evenly matched, they fought side by side throughout the race, overtaking each other several times and providing an unforgettable spectacle of courage and high skill. In the end, during lap 31, the Turin champion took the lead. Fangio tried to attack, but Farina resisted with manifest superiority, crossing the finish line ahead of his rival. Farina, in this Grand Prix against Fangio, demonstrated the measure of his class. Ascari won, aboard a Ferrari, ahead of Serafini, his teammate in the race for cars up to 2000 cc without a supercharger. The English competitors were again defeated here. The race for 500 cc cars saw a new victory for the Englishman Stirling Moss on Norton, at an average speed of 127 km/h. The presence of the new Ferraris adds excitement to the Italian Grand Prix. The eagerly anticipated, though not yet confirmed, decision of Ferrari to officially participate in the Grand Prix with two of the brand-new 4600 cc cars without a supercharger has suddenly given a new dimension to the premier Italian automotive event. Not much is known about this new car yet, apart from its general configuration, which follows the characteristic Ferrari style - namely, a 12-cylinder V engine with a capacity of around 4500 cc, representing the displacement limit allowed by Formula 1 for naturally aspirated engines. It is not far from the truth to assume that the power developed by this new engine approaches 350 horsepower. 


The chassis is not entirely new, rather a refinement of the one already tested with the old 1500 cc supercharged engine. The times achieved by the car during the testing carried out by Alberto Ascari suggest that a new victory for the Milanese brand is no longer so categorically assured and guarantees a fierce competition over the entire 504-kilometer race. The only doubt that may exist concerns the stability of the new Ferrari. From a sporting perspective, the focus of the race is also on the still undecided awarding of the 1950 World Champion title, with the three Alfa Romeo aces, Fangio, Fagioli, and Farina, in contention with 26, 24, and 22 points respectively. The finishing order at Monza will decide who will be proclaimed champion. It should be noted that, out of the seven championship races, the four best placements are selected for scoring purposes. Therefore, for Fagioli, who already has four second places, to become World Champion, he should win at Monza and set the fastest lap, with Fangio retiring and Farina finishing no higher than third. If Farina wins and sets the fastest lap, only if the Argentine does not finish third, he would secure the title. It is clear that of the three, Fangio is in the most favorable position, with fairly high chances of winning the World Championship. Maserati, Talbot, Era, Sinica, and the best European aces complete the worthy lineup of participants in the highly anticipated event. Dozens of other cars, driven by the best pilots of the moment and representing the cream of European automotive technology, will battle around the cars of the two giants on the Monza asphalt. The race for 1100 cc cars without a supercharger, the Gran Criterium, which has attracted many entries, precedes the Grand Prix. Monza is a magical name, and every racer, big or small, feels its profound allure. In this race, the competition may be even more intense than in the subsequent one, given the significant mechanical parity among at least a dozen participants. The lightning-fast English Cooper cars will be the protagonists of this interesting race that opens the Monza day. Famous names such as Sommer, Von Stuck, and Bonetto will be at the wheel of these agile cars. On Friday, September 1, 1950, at Monza, the official trials of the competitors begin, providing some preliminary insights into the technical landscape of the major race. The Alfas immediately take to the track to test the new engine. 


It is evident that, after the unofficial debut of the new Ferrari, the Alfa executives do not intend to take risks, ensuring, on the same track, meticulous preparation. It seems that the technicians of the Milanese brand have managed to increase the already very high power of the engine by another twenty horsepower, so today, the 158 should have 360 HP. Adding that one of the chassis of these unbeaten cars appears absolutely perfect from every point of view, it is clear that the glorious Italian brand retains its usual role as the great favorite. What remains to be seen is what Ferrari can do with the two new 4.5-liter naturally aspirated cars. That the new engines are satisfactory in terms of maximum power has been confirmed in Alberto Ascari's brief but eloquent test the Tuesday before the race. But power is not everything on a racing car. The stability of various components counts equally. The Italian Grand Prix, with its 504 km and the average speeds that will be maintained on the circuit, appears extremely demanding in this regard, and the stability, braking, recovery, and weight of the car matter, in addition to the driver factor, which still has decisive importance. It is also necessary to consider a specific fact: while the Alfas, like all other supercharged machines, will have to refuel twice during the race, the Ferraris will not have the concern of stopping for refueling since the consumption of naturally aspirated engines is significantly lower, even with triple the displacement, than that of the supercharged engines in Formula 1. The anticipated duel between Maserati and the French Talbot will be repeated here as well, where the supercharged Maserati engines will be opposed to the naturally aspirated ones of the blue Parisian cars. It is the theme proposed by Formula 1, which perhaps only now, after several years of experience, finds exhaustive technical documentation. From this technical perspective, the 21st Italian Grand Prix truly lives up to its traditional role. Alfa Romeo now deserves the diploma for the World Champion mark, having already won all five Grand Prix races held in Europe in 1950. The mechanical and functional superiority of Alfa Romeo is, however, seriously threatened this time by the presence of the new cars built by Enzo Ferrari according to the hitherto almost overlooked solution of the naturally aspirated engine, brought to the displacement limit allowed by Formula 1. 


Monza offers more than one opportunity to capture the attention of motorsport enthusiasts. The best solutions arising from these technical comparisons are then reworked and transferred to automotive production. And the function of races, beyond the purely sporting significance, is ultimately to contribute to the arduous progress of technology. The times from the first day of official trials confirm that the possibilities of the new Ferrari are not just a propaganda setup. The general expectation is that Alfa will immediately send someone to the front to set a blistering pace, trying to tire out the formidable opponents. And it is possible that to stay within mechanical safety margins, Ascari and Serafini will limit themselves to monitoring the tails of the Alfas in the first third of the race. A furious storm delays the afternoon trials, making the track slippery and dangerous. This is probably the cause of an incident involving German Von Stuck, who is practicing at the wheel of a Cisitalia 1100 and who in the morning, on a dry road, had set the best time among the small displacement cars. The car, entering the Grande Curve at the end of the grandstand straight, sways frighteningly from side to side, rears up, throwing the driver out and crashing, shattering beyond the roadside. Stuck is picked up shortly afterward in a state of severe nervous shock and immediately taken to the hospital in Monza, where fortunately only mild contusions are detected. The fastest on the first day of trials is Ascari with the new Ferrari, lapping at 2'01"0 corresponding to an average of 187.438 km/h. Many years have passed since anyone remembers the eve of a race as lively and intense as this one preceding the Italian Grand Prix. The quiet town, proud of its famous racetrack, seems to relive in these hours the nostalgic times of the great automotive battles. Enthusiasts, fans, and technical circles appear more excited than ever in anticipation of the open confrontation; the atmosphere is tense in the two opposing camps, where hopes and fears are nurtured, but there is no intention of holding back from giving a thorough battle. The trials, concluding on Saturday, September 2, 1950, reaffirm the significant parity of mechanical means between Alfa Romeo and Ferrari, which, during the trials, engage in an exciting preliminary duel against the clock to achieve the best lap time: it is a matter of prestige, especially for the Milanese brand, which is accustomed to occupying the entire front row of the starting grid with its cars. 


Thus, after Ascari manages to further improve his time, Alfa technicians send Fangio back onto the track, setting the record at 1'58"3, corresponding to an average of 191.231 km/h. Once the trials are over, the front row lineup consists of Fangio, Ascari, Farina, and Sanesi. The Ferrari threat and the likely developments of the race make the matter of the World Championship somewhat secondary, especially since it is believed that Alfa will no longer give a free pass to the three title contenders, preferring to manage the race of its drivers from the pits to face the capabilities of the magnificent new car, built with great sacrifices and immense passion by Enzo Ferrari. On Sunday, September 3, 1950, as is expected, the powerful supercharged Alfa Romeo beats the non-supercharged Ferrari's off the start. Farina takes the lead from third on the grid, with Fangio going second and Sanesi in third. Ascari's Ferrari is slower off the line than the Alfa Romeo's; however, by the end of the first lap, Ascari is back past both Sanesi and Fangio. Paul Pietsch, who is starting from last, fails to even make it off the line; his car shuts down with engine troubles. Ascari then begins to give chase to race leader Farina, while Fangio and Sanesi begin to drop back. Behind them, Fagioli is in fifth, while Serafini in the second Ferrari is lapping faster than the slowest Alfa of Taruffi in sixth. The top seven are all in range of each other. Shortly after the start, the cars behind the Talbot-Lago of Sommer in eighth have dropped back drastically in the race. Rol in ninth is the fastest Maserati ahead of Manzon, who is doing another promising job for Simca-Gordini in tenth. Bira becomes the next to retire after a lap; he too is out of the race with engine failure. Manzon's promising run is then brought to an end on lap seven with transmission failure. Sanesi's promising first world championship drive for Alfa Romeo is brought to an end when he retires on lap 11 with engine failure. On lap 14, Ascari moves ahead of Farina's Alfa Romeo to take the lead of the race but loses it again when Farina retakes the lead two laps later. Maserati is embarrassed by another engine failure on home turf when Chiron retires his works car. Trintignant's engine also gives out; both of the little Simca-Gordini's retire from the race. Comotti, having begrudgingly returned to grand prix racing, brings his Maserati in to retire on lap 15. 


He is unwilling to race uncompetitively in a category that has seen so many of his friends killed in the past. The circuit then claims Louveau's Talbot-Lago with brake failure. The bizarre Ferrari-Jaguar sportscar of Biondetti then falls out of the race with engine failure on lap 17. Meanwhile, at the front, Ascari continues to hold onto the rear of Farina's Alfa Romeo. It is the first time in 1950 that the Alfa Romeo's have been truly threatened. However, on lap 21, to the dismay of Ferrari, Ascari retires with engine failure. Ascari, however, calls in the second Ferrari of Serafini, who is now running fifth, into the pits. Serafini gives up his car to allow the team leader to get back into the race. Ascari then returns to the track in sixth, the Alfa Romeo of Taruffi getting past due to the pit-stop. Fangio is taking the race easy in second, trying to manage the car's pace; he still remains the championship leader in second place and is not taking any risks in challenging Farina for the lead. However, only two laps after Ascari's first retirement, Fangio suffers his own engine failure. He returns to the pits and takes the right to take over the car of Taruffi's Alfa, who is running fifth. As Fangio has dropped into Taruffi's car and exited the pits, he has lost fifth to the Ascari-occupied car of Serafini. The world championship has swung in the favor of Farina, who only has to ensure Fangio does not return to second place and for himself to win the race to take the title. Behind Farina comes Fagioli, whose only hope of taking the title is for Farina and Fangio to break down. Pierre Levegh goes out of the race on lap 29 with gearbox problems. But more significantly, the Taruffi car being now raced by Fangio then retires with engine problems. With no cars left to take over, Fangio is out for good this time. His only hope for taking the title is that neither Farina nor Fagioli win this race. With the recent retirements, now in fourth place a long way behind the top three is Sommer's Talbot-Lago ahead of Étancelin and Rosier. At the front, Farina needs to simply maintain his lead and the car to the finish to win the title. With almost a minute lead to Fagioli in second, Farina could take it easy to the finish to take the title. Fagioli is not quick, and in the second pit stop phase, the Alfa Romeo drops behind Ascari, losing second to the Ferrari. Fagioli, like Fangio, now has little hope of the title. Franco Rol has pulled out of the race on lap 39, giving up out of frustration of the Maserati's lack of competitiveness. Mairesse then retires on lap 42 with a cracked oil pipe. 


Sommer, who is doing his best in fourth, then goes out on lap 48 with gearbox trouble. This therefore puts Rosier and Étancelin into the final points positions with their Talbot-Lago's. The final retirements see the lone British constructor of ERA, Cuth Harrison, retire with radiator troubles. David Murray, another British driver, then goes out of the race on lap 56. The final part of the race is uneventful as Farina cruises to victory and in doing so becomes the first World Drivers' Champion of Formula One. On the podium are the two drivers of the shared car between Serafini and Ascari; in third place is Fagioli, like Fangio, gracious in defeat. Alfa Romeo has won again to take a clean sweep of the opposition once again in 1950. However, the mighty supercharged 159's have now met their match with the Ferrari 375. While Alfa Romeo has dominated 1950, it is now being seriously threatened by the Ferrari 375 that is looking continually more competitive. In their third official confrontation with Italian cars, the green British B.R.M. 1500 cc supercharged beasts that represent the efforts and hopes of British Industry cash in on a defeat that, for now, cuts short all discussion and comparisons. The 4500 cc Ferraris without a supercharger are the triumphants across the board, placing in the top three places and taking the lap record as well as the one over the flying kilometer at the Pena Rhin circuit held in Barcelona on Sunday, October 29, 1950. Italian industry thus closed the motoring season magnificently, in front of a crowd that organizers estimate at no less than 300.000 people. At Silverstone, the B.R.M. failed to even start; at Goodwood, it won in the face of very modest opponents. At Barcelona, the British had taken the field after a British preparation certain of a long-awaited victory. The fast start of the Ferraris, whose leading driver was always the ace Ascari, forced the B.R.M.'s to chase, causing the desired effects much sooner than could be logically supposed: in fact, on the second lap, the first driver of the green beasts, Reginald Parnell, was put out of the race by a compressor failure. This episode causes everyone present to get the impression that the race is virtually won by the Italian cars, which, separated by short intervals, hold the lead in the race. The first laps are regularly covered by Ascari on the basis of 2'26"2 per lap. 


After ten laps, Walker, the victim of starting troubles that cause him to lose about twenty seconds, is behind Ascari by 2'25"0, and at the beginning of the eleventh lap, he is lapped right in front of the main grandstand to the amazement of the public who expects much more from the English cars, after the colossal claim made on the eve of the race to the B.R.M.'s, and their four hundred horsepower engines. These cars, in short, still need long and patient preparation. The seventh lap is covered by Ascari in 2'24"2, setting an average of 157.897 km/h; a new official record. Also on the flying kilometer, the Ferraris set, evidently without forcing, the best time of the day at an average of 263.600 km/h. In the meantime, Manzon's Simca-Gordini, which started without excessive pretensions and with a regular pace, moved up to fourth position, however clearly detached from Ascari, Serafini, and Taruffi, who preceded it in that order. Walker was still fifth on lap twenty-five and that is halfway through the race when he had to stop at the pit for refueling, an operation in which he took 1'37"0: this allowed Etancelin in his Talbot 4500 to overtake him and bring himself close to Manzon. On lap 31, the Englishman pitted again to replace a wheel and was also overtaken by de Graffenried's Maserati. On the next lap, the surviving B.R.M. driver was forced to make another stop during which his mechanics quickly rummaged through his car's engine, restarting him after about forty seconds, by then in seventh position. But the fate of the last British car is now sealed, as it shows obvious signs of not running normally. At the end of the thirty-third lap, Walker, who in the meantime had also been overtaken by other competitors, abandoned, thus completing the disaster for his colors. With the field now free of competitors who could, even in the slightest, disturb him, Ascari, turning regularly in 2'30"0-2'31"0, continues his triumphant march followed at about 1'30"0 by teammate Serafini, who is the only one not lapped by the winner. It is obvious to sing the praises of Ascari, whose gifts as a driver of great class emerge luminously, despite the fact that he did not have to work hard, and of Serafini and Taruffi, who complete the brilliant Italian achievement. Etancelin, with a very regular race and not asking more of his Talbot than it could give, achieves an honorable fourth place ahead of de Graffenried. A painful accident bedevils the race in its early stages: during its fifth lap, following, it seems, a sudden locking of the brakes, the car of the Turinese Rol runs over some 20 spectators.


Three of them lose their lives and a fourth is in desperate condition, while the remainder suffer injuries of some severity. The driver remains miraculously unharmed. At the end of the race, General Moscardo, the protagonist of the siege of the Alcazar of Toledo, presents Ascari with the traditional bouquet of flowers. Excellent in every respect was the organization, taken care of by the Pena Rhln. The Italian Grand Prix manages to satisfy everyone: the pure sports enthusiast, who sees reflected in the race order a ranking of merit and not a result of strokes of luck, is finally rewarded with the highest recognition for the Piedmontese ace who had long reached the full maturity of his form but until last year had been too often sacrificed in the mechanical midst. The technician is also satisfied, having finally seen a naturally aspirated 1500 cc compete on equal terms with the supercharged 1500 cc, and at times threaten to overpower, thanks to Ferrari adding a brand-new trophy to its merits, demonstrating that the flaw was not in the formula but in the constructors. Finally, the organizers are satisfied, even if they couldn't record an exceptionally dense audience, they can at least boast of perfect regularity in the uneventful conduct of the two events. Giuseppe Farina's victory at Monza was the affirmation of the man before the mechanical means: the Alfa Romeos, for the first time fully engaged by the threatening opponent, almost all suffered the strain, revealing themselves now at the limit of exploitation. Only Farina managed to demand the maximum from his car compatible with mechanical safety. Farina's title was singularly hard-fought for those who, in addition to the exciting technical comparison between Alfa Romeo and Ferrari, followed with no less interest the sports story that would designate the World Champion. 


With the Italian Grand Prix, the World Championship ends, but certainly not the sports season, which continues the following week, on Sunday, September 10, 1950, at the Cadours circuit, where the Grand Prix of Haute-Garonne is held. On this occasion, the French driver Raymond Sommer falls victim to an accident in which he loses his life. The fatal accident occurs during the ninth lap of the twenty-five scheduled for the race, while Sommer is leading the race in a Cooper 1100. The French driver, aboard his Cooper, has just overtaken another driver when, for reasons not well established, he loses control of the car. The car, launched at a very high speed, overturns, crashing against a barrier in the ditch parallel to the road. Sommer is catapulted out of the single-seater and after a frightening flight, he crashes heavily onto the track. It seems that the car of the French driver had some irregularity in a rear wheel, and he had turned to check its functioning a moment before the accident. Raymond Sommer was considered one of the greatest drivers in the world. An excellent stylist, tenacious and combative in racing like few others, he was very popular in France and also in Italy, where he was not absent from a race. Sommer represented the typical gentleman of that category of pure sportsmen that is now disappearing. The son of an aviation pioneer, he must have inherited from his father the same passion for risk and engines that had become the very reason for his life. He had confided this to Italian friends eight days ago, in Monza, between one test and another. A man of considerable financial means, he dedicated all his time and ample resources to motor racing.


"The unique one in my life".


He was the best French driver and one of the strongest in the world. In temperament and driving style, he belonged to that characteristic French school that had produced the Benos, the Chirons. That school, under a seemingly carefree, light appearance, was essentially made of tenacity, continuity, and composure. Many times Sommer had brought victorious Italian cars into racing, of which he was a sincere admirer. To race, the late French ace did not disdain to take the wheel of cars of any type and displacement, even at the cost of compromising his prestige as a champion made for 300 HP cars. The Sunday before the incident, in Monza, before the Italian Grand Prix, he had raced with the small Osca 1100, fighting until the finish, beaten only by Bonetto. The racing season closes on Sunday, October 29, 1950, on the occasion of the Penya Rhin Grand Prix. The most attractive technical reason is the expected battle between the new British B.R.M. cars and the equally recent Italian Ferraris. According to Italian driver Taruffi, the anxiety for the great Spanish race is very much alive even in England, where there is a pronounced optimism in this regard. Giuseppe Farina gives up participation. 


With the announced absence of Alfa Romeo, the Spanish organizers would have at least wanted the World Champion at their event, driving his own Maserati. The insistence to have him in the race was numerous, as the presence of the World Champion would have been the number one attraction of the competition. The agreement, however, was not reached because the Italian ace has commitments in London, where he will exhibit his custom cars in the capital's showroom. With a 1500 cc Maserati with a double supercharger of the same type that Giuseppe Farina was supposed to drive, Franco Rol will race. During the free practice sessions, Ascari, on a non-supercharged 4500 cc Ferrari, is the fastest of the nine competitors on the track. The Italian driver is leading the car destined for Serafini, while the mechanics work on the car marked with #2, which Ascari will drive during the race. After Ascari, the fastest is the British driver Parnell, to whom one of the two B.R.M. cars is entrusted, the machines on which all the hopes of the British industry are concentrated. A quantity of British technicians and journalists has arrived in Barcelona; their presence shows how much the British circles are eagerly awaiting the outcome of this race. After the unfortunate debut of B.R.M. at Silverstone, British motorsport aspires to a rematch, in the absence of Alfa, against the Ferraris. Parnell's car completes a lap in 2'32"0. The other B.R.M., driven by Walker, does not record noteworthy times and, after covering no more than ten laps at a non-exceptional pace, stops at the pits; his car gives technicians the impression of imperfect preparation. Taruffi and Serafini, on Ferraris, train without giving the impression of wanting to push hard, completing several laps in 2'34"0 and 2'35"0. A crowd of over 50.000 people attends the practice sessions, which take place in excellent weather conditions. On Sunday, October 29, 1950, at the Pedralbes circuit, there will be, for the first time, a challenging confrontation for B.R.M., which will face the improved 4500 cc Ferraris after the experience of the Italian Grand Prix, driven by Ascari, Serafini, and Taruffi. Just when there is talk of the decline of the supercharged engine in the face of the more recent naturally aspirated one built by Ferrari, the entry of the British with a car with a 1500 cc engine, divided into sixteen cylinders, supercharged by a centrifugal compressor, comes in handy to reopen the issue of supremacy in the Formula 1 field on the vague ground of uncertainty. 


For this reason, the Penya Rhin Grand Prix, the official closing race of the racing season, takes on an importance this year that it partially lacked in the recent past. During the second round of practice, Ascari and Taruffi set the new unofficial lap record at 2'23"8, almost 3 seconds faster than Ascari's time the previous day. Meanwhile, the British B.R.M. cars, one of which has been subject to revisions by mechanics throughout the night, take to the track. The British cars show to be very fast on the straight now but lap in 2'31"0 and 2'32"0 respectively with Parnell and Walker. With these premises, the 4500 cc Ferraris without supercharger win the Penya Rhin Grand Prix, placing at the top three positions and setting the lap record. The Italian industry thus closes the automotive season beautifully, in front of a crowd that the organizers estimate to be no less than 300.000 people. The fast start of the Ferraris, whose lead driver is always Ascari, forces the B.R.M. drivers to chase them until the moment of retirement: in fact, in the second lap, the first driver of the British cars, Reg Parnell, retires due to a compressor failure. The first laps are regularly covered by Ascari based on lap times of 2'26"0-2'27"0. After 10 laps, Peter Walker, who had already had problems at the start, losing about twenty seconds, is behind Ascari by 2'25"0 and is lapped right in front of the main grandstand, to the surprise of the audience which expected more competitiveness from the British cars. However, it is evident that the British cars still need long and patient preparation. The seventh lap is covered by Ascari in 2'24"0, establishing an average of 157.897 km/h and the new official record. Meanwhile, Manzon's Simca-Gordini, starting without excessive pretensions and with a regular pace, climbs to fourth place, clearly behind Ascari, Serafini, and Taruffi, who precede it in that order. Walker is still fifth at lap 25, when he has to stop at the pits for refueling. An operation that takes 1'37"0: this allows Philippe Etancelin with his 4500 cc Talbot to overtake him and move close to Robert Manzon. During lap 31, the Englishman stops again at the pits to replace a wheel and is also overtaken by Toulo de Graffenried's Maserati. During the next lap, the surviving B.R.M. driver is forced to make another stop during which his mechanics quickly check the engine of his car, restarting it after forty seconds, now in seventh position. But the fate of the last British car is now sealed. This last one shows evident signs of not working normally. 


And, in fact, at the end of lap 33, Walker, who in the meantime has been overtaken by other competitors, abandons the race due to a problem with an oil pipe. With the field now clear, Ascari, consistently lapping in 2'30"0 and 2'31"0, continues his triumphant march followed at a distance of about 1'30"0 by teammate Dorino Serafini, who is the only driver to reach the finish without being lapped by the winner. Meanwhile, during lap 24, Piero Taruffi had been overtaken by Robert Manzon, Philippe Etancelin, and Peter Walker, but during lap 28, he managed to regain the third position after a brilliant chase, maintaining the position until the end. Etancelin, with a regular race and not asking his Talbot for more than it could give, achieves an honorable fourth place, preceding de Graffenried. A frightening incident mars the race in its initial phase: during his fifth lap, following a sudden brake blockage, the car of Turin-born Franco Rol falls onto a group of spectators, hitting twenty of them. Three of them lose their lives, and a fourth is in desperate condition, while the remaining suffer injuries of a certain severity. The driver, however, is unharmed. Thus, with the victory of Alberto Ascari and the Ferrari team, the 1950 season concludes.


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