#23 1952 Italian Grand Prix

2021-04-06 00:00

Array() no author 82025

#1952, Fulvio Conti, Nicoletta Zuppardo,

#23 1952 Italian Grand Prix

The Italian Grand Prix at Monza will be the centrepiece for the finale of the championship season in 1952. Scuderia Ferrari and Alberto Ascari have al


On Sunday, August 24, 1952, the La Baule Grand Prix, consisting of eight races, took place in front of 35,000 spectators. The eighth race, held on the La Baule circuit, marked the victory of Ascari and the Ferrari two-liter without a supercharger driven by him. The race, for cars and not for drivers, awarded the first prize of two million francs to the Italian Ferrari team. The second place was secured by another Ferrari of the same type, driven by Farina, earning one million francs. Third was Villoresi's Ferrari, and fourth was the French Gordini, a two-liter non-supercharged car driven by the French pilot Behra. Ascari led the race from start to finish, distancing himself by over a lap from almost all competitors. Farina and the Frenchman Manzon, driving a Gordini, went off the track on the second lap, almost at the same point on the circuit. The cars suffered severe damage, but the drivers were unharmed and walked back to their respective pits. The incident appeared to be caused by a collision between the two cars at high speed. On lap 25, the Gordini car of the American Schell lost a front wheel, but the driver managed to stop without any damage. Ascari's dominance, pursued in vain by his valiant teammate Villoresi, was such that after a few laps, the audience turned its attention not to the race of the Milanese ace but to the duel between Behra and Rosier, upon which the French champion title depended. On lap 56, Behra was closely followed by Rosier, but a mechanical failure on lap 58 forced Behra to retire. Trintignant also retired on lap 25 due to a broken rear axle. 


On Sunday, September 7, 1952, at Monza, the Italian Grand Prix was scheduled, valid for the already-won World Championship by Ascari. For Farina, it could be an opportunity for a chivalrous revenge on a terrain he favored. For Gordini and Maserati, a demonstration of vitality. A surprise could come from the new Maseratis of Gonzalez and Bonetto. The race was reserved for Formula 2 cars, i.e., with a displacement of two liters without a supercharger. The race would cover a distance of 500 kilometers, equivalent to 80 laps. The Italian Grand Prix is traditionally the most important national race on a closed circuit, always held at the Monza circuit, except for the first edition in Brescia in 1921. In the field of motor racing, the fame of the beautiful former royal park track is almost entirely derived from the events and feats of the Italian Grands Prix hosted there. Millions of spectators have flocked to Monza over these thirty years. In 1922, the great Bordino won on a Fiat, covering eight hundred kilometers at an average speed of almost 140. In 1923, Salamano triumphed again on a Fiat, breaking the record. The following year, a name relevant today for his son's exploits, Antonio Ascari (Alfa Romeo), came out on top. In 1925, Brilli Peri, on an Alfa Romeo; 1926: Charavel (Bugatti); 1927: Benolst (Delage). Then a series of aces, leading to Giuseppe Farina, who became the World Champion in 1950. As for Ascari, Farina himself is the first to declare that today the Milanese driver is in the best shape of all. But is it true that Farina intends to retire soon from racing?


"It's very possible. That's my mood today. I might change my mind, but it's possible that from next year, I'll decide to put an end to my long and adventurous racing career. I will honor my commitments with Ferrari throughout 1952. And on Sunday, I will be in Monza".


Among the participants, aside from Ferrari, there are illustrious names: three Connaughts and two Coopers. The list of isolated participations includes HMV-Alta and OSCA. If all start, Monza's racetrack would witness such an international assortment of cars. The tests continue on the Monza track. In the meantime, journalists ask Franco Rol how the test of the new car at Monza went.


"Quite well, especially in terms of stability and braking".


And speed? What lap times were recorded?


"Oh, very high times. These are the very first tests, and the car won't be in full efficiency until next year. The engine is a B.P.M. from a speedboat".


How do you hope to place in the Italian Grand Prix?


"For now, I hope to be admitted to the Italian Grand Prix".


Indeed, among the 35 entries, only the fastest 24 will start in the Friday and Saturday trials. Official training sessions, with 150.000 lire at stake for the two fastest, will start on Friday afternoon. On Sunday morning, the Inter-European Cup will take place for Gran Turismo cars, including Milanese Diego Capelli with his Fiat 8V, victorious in the recent Stella Alpina fast touring race. In the afternoon, the race of the racing cars will be held. The Italian Grand Prix at Monza is the centrepiece for the finale of the 1952 championship season. Scuderia Ferrari and Alberto Ascari have already secured the title two rounds ago at the Nürburgring. With the exception of the Indianapolis 500, Ferrari wins every round of the championship. Alberto Ascari, likewise, wins all the rounds he participates in, except for the Indianapolis 500. To complete its clean sweep of the opposition, Ferrari is required to win in front of its home crowd for the final race of the season. Scuderia Ferrari will notably enter five works cars for its home race to ensure victory. As usual, Alberto Ascari is the leading favorite for the race. However, he expects fierce opposition from his teammates Giuseppe Farina, Luigi Villoresi, Piero Taruffi, and participating for the first time since Bremgarten is André Simon. There are also a number of private Ferrari entries. Peter Whitehead is back in his old 125 chassis, while Louis Rosier, Rudolf Fischer, and Charles de Tornaco all enter the newer 500 model. Competing alongside Fischer at Ecurie Espadon, Hans Stuck enters a Ferrari 212 sportscar. Ferrari has seen little opposition throughout the year, but there is hope that a reformed Maserati and its new A6GCM chassis will be capable of challenging Ferrari once ready. The chassis has already had a low-key debut with Escuderia Bandeirantes and one works entry; however, the manufacturer has not begun its true challenge. Juan Manuel Fangio remains injured from his neck injuries earlier in the season, but José Froilán González returns for his first championship race of the season with Maserati. Felice Bonetto, who has already done one race with the team, continues to cover for Fangio, while a third car is entered for their test driver, Franco Rol. Escuderia Bandeirantes will continue to enter its A6GCMs for drivers Chico Landi, Gino Bianco, and Eitel Cantoni. 


Enrico Platé will continue to enter the old 4CLT/48 cars for Emmanuel de Graffenried and Alberto Crespo, an Argentine rookie who is impressing in non-championship races. The usual trio of Robert Manzon, Maurice Trintignant, and Jean Behra are entered for the leading French cars. Johnny Claes also enters one of the older T15, sponsored by a Belgian noblewoman, the Vicomtesse de Walckiers. Previously, she has helped sponsor Antonio Branca's efforts in the Grand Prix. The HWM team has cut down to only a two-car entry for the final race of the season. Peter Collins returns to the seat after missing the Dutch round, while Lance Macklin once again joins him as teammate. Tony Gaze, the Australian privateer, will also enter his privately owned HWM car. Four cars are entered by British privateers with the Cooper T20, one of the most successful F2 constructors of the year. Mike Hawthorn, despite racing independently in a small team financed by his father, has regularly given chase to the Ferrari cars throughout the year. Hawthorn once again returns with his T20; however, he is also joined by other regular Cooper privateers such as Eric Brandon and Alan Brown of the Ecurie Richmond team. Ken Wharton, who usually races for Frazer Nash, has switched to a Cooper T20 for the first time, although he still remains with his Scuderia Franera racing team. Connaught has been another small British constructor that has been able to punch above its weight in 1952. Their cars, only entering the championship late in the season, have proven capable of challenging the Cooper cars in the midfield. The team, for the first time, will enter a works team for the world championship. Regular Connaught drivers Kenneth McAlpine and Dennis Poore are in attendance in Italy while Stirling Moss, who has been released from his ERA contract after the car's poor performance, also joins the Connaught line-up for Italy. Bill Aston will make a return in his little Aston Butterworth chassis. The car is not expected to run particularly highly, but entering the race remains an achievement for the little Aston car. A team created by the Maserati brothers, the original Maserati constructor founders have so far unsuccessfully tried to get their OSCA 20 chassis to work effectively. 


The team has labored throughout 1951 to make a competitive car to no avail; however, in the hands of French privateer Élie Bayol, the car will make a return in 1952. Another obscure constructor to enter the race, Italian veteran Piero Dusio, will attempt to enter a Cisitalia sportscar into the race despite it having very little competitive advantage in the race. A record 35 cars will attempt to make their entrance into the final race of the season at Monza. However, the organizers decreed that the 35-car entry list is too big for what can be handled on the racing circuit at Monza. Instead, only 24 cars will be allowed to enter for the race. It is, therefore, imperative to the drivers that they are not among the eleven slowest to make it to the race. The need to qualify is nothing that concerns the Ferraris; Alberto Ascari continues to dominate the sessions, with his fastest time of 2'05"7 still being a second clear of Luigi Villoresi's second fastest time. A further second behind Villoresi is Giuseppe Farina in third, while a good effort from Maurice Trintignant's Gordini means he will start from fourth on the grid. The Maserati car does not provide the challenge to Ferrari that they would have hoped; González, the fastest of their cars, is only fifth, two seconds down on Ascari. Taruffi is disappointed that his best time could only grant him sixth place on the grid. He is ahead of Manzon and the final works Ferrari entrant of Simon. Stirling Moss is the fastest of the British cars; he puts in an inspiring time to put him ninth fastest, after having used the slipstream of Ascari on his fastest lap. Bayol, in his debut race, also does an unexpectedly strong performance by putting the OSCA car tenth on the grid. Behra is disappointed to be a lowly eleventh for Gordini, while regular breakages on his Bristol engine means the Cooper car of Hawthorn can manage twelfth. Bonetto is seriously off the pace of his teammate González; however, despite only being thirteenth, he remains faster than the final works Maserati of Rol in sixteenth. Ahead of Rol sits Fischer's Ferrari and Wharton, entering a Cooper for the first time. Rosier's Ferrari is seventeenth ahead of Landi, the fastest non-works Maserati. The final Connaughts and Coopers of Poore, Brandon, Brown, and McAlpine are rounding out the back whilst the slowest qualifiers are the Maseratis of Cantoni and Bianco. Dusio and his bizarre Cisitalia fail to make it on track due to technical difficulties. Like Claes, whose Simca-Gordini also fails to make it on track, the same is for the non-qualifiers. 


The HWM cars of Collins, Macklin, and Gaze, are all among the non-qualifiers; their Alta engine simply does not have the power to compete on Monza's long straights. De Tornaco is frustrated not to qualify his Ferrari 375, whilst the outdated Maserati 4CLTs of De Graffenried and Crespo are unsurprisingly amongst the non-qualifiers. The old Ferrari cars of Whitehead and Stuck are also eliminated as is the little Aston Butterworth of Bill Aston. It has been one of the closest and most competitive practice sessions in history; the slowest qualifier of Bianco is only twelve seconds off the leading time. Despite a serious challenge from his opponents, Ascari will once again start the race from pole position. Having dominated the season, Ferrari is determined to enforce its dominant reputation by winning its home Grand Prix. However, both Trintignant's Gordini and González's Maserati have proven to be capable of challenging Ferrari's pace. On Sunday, September 7, 1952, interestingly, the leading Ferraris all get terrible starts; both González and Trintignant shoot off the line from the second row. González takes the lead, while Ascari is forced to settle for second as he desperately fends off Trintignant. Manzon and Behra have also started well, moving into fourth and fifth place, while Bonetto achieves an incredible start to move to sixth in his Maserati from thirteenth. It has been a terrible start for Ferrari; only Ascari remains at the front after the first lap. Villoresi, Farina, Taruffi, and Simon are all languishing in the lower half of the top ten, with the leading British cars of Hawthorn and Moss chasing on their rear. Elie Bayol, driving his OSCA, retires on the first lap, an unfortunate result after an impressive performance in practice. González immediately begins pulling out a lead; however, his A6GCM Maserati is not as fuel-efficient as the Ferrari 375 of Ascari behind him. He will have to pit for fuel at some stage during the race. Nonetheless, his outright pace advantage in the early stages is concerning for Ferrari. Fischer's privateer Ferrari retires on the third lap with engine problems; he is then followed out of the race by McAlpine's Connaught with suspension problems. Hawthorn's Cooper, who is running well in eighth, is then forced to pull into the pits with ignition trouble. It will take a full hour for his mechanics to repair his car and send him back on track, bringing him well out of contention. Trintignant, who has been chasing Ascari in the opening laps, is then forced to retire on lap five with an engine failure. 


Ascari is not running to his usual form; although Trintignant has retired, González has continued to open his lead by a second a lap. Meanwhile, behind him, his teammate Villoresi has made it past Behra's Gordini, and on lap nine, has taken second place away from Ascari as well. However, he will not give up second place easily; he remains locked in the slipstream of Villoresi, and the two Ferraris frantically push to catch González's Maserati. Behind the top three, Behra remains the leading Gordini, sitting slightly ahead of the Ferraris of Taruffi and Simon. However, both Behra and Taruffi will encounter mechanical troubles forcing them to head to the pits for repairs. Simon then encounters a sudden drop in pace and drops behind Manzon, Farina, and Bonetto. González continues to lead; however, halfway through the race, the Maseratis will be forced to come in for their inevitable fuel stops. There is also a reliability concern; the final works Maserati of Franco Rol is forced to retire on lap 24 with engine troubles. Bonetto is the first Maserati into the pits, dropping him out of the battle for fourth place. A couple of laps later, González then pits from the lead, allowing Ascari to return in first place. Villoresi has previously dropped behind his teammate; in his desperation to keep second place, he has worn down his tires, and like the Maseratis, he will be forced to pit. The Gordini challenge is now well and truly over; Behra, who has already dropped out of the lead race, then retires on lap 42 with engine troubles. Manzon then loses fourth place when he is forced to pit for new spark plugs. By the time he rejoins the track, he will be multiple laps down on the leaders. Farina has therefore taken second place; however, he is quickly being hunted down by González and Villoresi behind him. There are further concerns for Maserati; the privateer car of Bianco retires on lap 46 with engine troubles. Nonetheless, the lead Maseratis are running well; González has retaken second place from Farina and is hunting down Ascari, matching the world champion's best time. The second car of Bonetto, whilst sitting in fifth and having been lapped by Ascari, is also demonstrating impressive speed. He has even managed to unlap himself, as his Maserati power proves the equal to the Ferrari. 


The Connaught car of Moss has been topping the midfield; he has run consistently in eighth place throughout the race, but gear valve troubles have prevented him from challenging higher up the field. On lap 60, a strong drive is brought to an end when a suspension failure forces him into the pits. His teammate Poore has taken up eighth place, having followed Moss throughout the race; however, a long fuel stop drops him well down the field. The final laps are fairly processional; Ascari will go on to take the victory to complete one of the most dominant Grand Prix seasons by a single driver and team in Grand Prix history. Nonetheless, like the Alfa Romeo domination before them, it is not expected to last for long. The impressive display from the Maserati cars in which González claims second and Bonetto fifth will mean the Ferraris will be expected to have a much greater challenge in 1953. Villoresi with his new tires has managed to retake third place from Farina, the last of the drivers not to be lapped by Ascari. Villoresi has somewhat quashed rumors that he is no longer capable of competing among the top after his early season injuries. So concludes a Grand Prix full of surprises. Ascari's victory, though well-deserved and expected, is, in a sense, surprising. He had not yet stopped to refuel his Ferrari. About 50 seconds behind, Gonzalez held the second position, having already refueled his Maserati. Fifty seconds, roughly the time it would take Ascari to slow down, refuel, and accelerate again at full speed. An exciting finale was anticipated, expecting that in the final laps, Gonzalez and Ascari, neck and neck due to the latter's pit stop, would vie for victory in the 500-kilometer race. However, Ascari completed all 500 kilometers without stopping, without the need for refueling, and his teammates Villoresi, Farina, Simon, and Taruffi, finished in the top seven positions without refueling. In this phenomenal autonomy, achieved by sacrificing a bit of power to reduce consumption, lies the surprise of Ferrari and its young engineer Lampredi. A secret card, prepared for a while and played with perfect timing. It was necessary because the new Maseratis, especially Gonzalez's, performed better than expected. The Argentine, with a fiery and determined race, managed to be beaten only by Ascari and to precede the other four Ferrari cars. In the world of motor racing, a Grand Prix has not vibrated with so much interest for a long time. The result remained uncertain, keeping the audience in suspense until the end. The race of the Maseratis brings a breath of fresh air and promises equally uncertain and interesting technical themes for future competitions, almost a revolutionary interpretation of Grands Prix: is it worth reducing consumption, sacrificing some speed and acceleration, to save the time of refueling, as Ferrari did? 


Or is it better to demand from the car a blazing start, a rapid acceleration, pushing the engine to its limit and reducing the weight of the car by carrying less fuel, only to stop later for refueling? Both solutions offer advantages and hide risks, also in relation to tire needs. The theme is full of a new charm. Regardless, Ascari triumphed in Monza as well, after already securing the World Champion title. He won to confirm and convince that the title was well-deserved. Without the commitment of the great ace, Ferrari would have lost to reward the new product of Maserati, closely pursued by Gonzalez. The stopwatch's verdict gives the winner a slightly larger gap than the time saved on the opponent's refueling. In second place is the amount of fuel taken on board by Ascari to cover the 500 kilometers without stopping, which, in return, resulted in a noticeable loss of competitiveness for the overloaded car in the first half of the race. A hundred kilograms more is a considerable burden, especially considering that, even empty, the Maserati was already lighter than the Ferrari. In the first half of the race, Gonzalez gained about a second per lap on Ascari, who only began to go faster when the car was lightened. Therefore, the perfect tuning of the renewed six-cylinder Maserati is a pleasant surprise, one of the most interesting technical details of this highly interesting Italian Grand Prix. Still, nothing justifies, on a technical level, a resurgence of old and now dormant disputes over the engine displacement formula. Ferrari's long race is the result of long and patient fuel consumption tests and has precedents, even in competitions. In Bern in May, at the Swiss Grand Prix, the winner Taruffi's refueling was done only for caution. The race lasted about 480 kilometers. The excellent Swiss Fischer, with his four-cylinder Ferrari, skipped the refueling and was a pioneer in this regard. After Bern, the Ferrari team attempted and completed the autonomy test in various races lasting three hours, accumulating experience and perfecting the strategic plan implemented in Monza over the 600 kilometers to the general surprise. It was not a sudden decision but a methodically studied plan. It is believed that Ferrari foresaw a major showdown with Maserati in Monza and that he and his technicians understood the danger of a defeat by the newest and fastest rivals. Time had to be gained intelligently because Ferrari's new cars were not ready for Monza. 


According to Engineer Taruffi, a driver and tester for Ferrari, Maseratis have better acceleration and about ten kilometers more top speed on straight stretches. Ferraris have better braking, regaining some time in corner entry. Foreign cars were somewhat disappointing, especially the Cordinis, after the unexpected bold performance at Reims. But it was practically impossible to resist the Italian onslaught, as the English drivers understood, giving up any ambitions for the lead and fighting in support positions with their Cooper Bristols and Connaughts. In the following days, the Modena motoring circles are abuzz with the development and conclusion of the latest Italian Grand Prix. Commendatore Ferrari has disappeared from the scene, as is his custom when the atmosphere heats up, and has retired to Maranello. In his workshops, it is learned that under the direction of the builder himself and Engineer Lampredi, what is called the new secret weapon is in preparation. This is likely to be tested at the Modena racetrack. Apparently, it is a new engine, a four-cylinder model, with direct cylinder injection. However, even at Maserati, there is no rest after Gonzalez's excellent performance. First and foremost, a tank capable of holding a larger quantity of fuel is under study to increase racing autonomy and avoid, at least on short courses, stops for refueling. In Modena, where the third Grand Prix will take place on Sunday, September 14, 1952, confirmation of Maserati's new capabilities is awaited. The factor of uncertainty will be even greater here. The start will be a rolling start, and the track will be only 231.600 km long. To encourage Gonzalez in the trials taking place on Saturday, September 13, 1952 (it was the first time the Maserati appeared to the public, having tested in great secrecy in the preceding days), fifty families of workers, whose hiring at the Maserati plants depends on the race's outcome and the consequent grand reopening of Maserati's activities in racing cars, are present. Official trials begin at 1:00 p.m., opened by HWM and Ferrari. A novelty regarding the latter. Behind the wheel of his third car is Sergio Sighinolfi, a Modenese who is trying the Ferrari 4-cylinder for the first time. Only in the late afternoon do the Maseratis and Gordinis arrive. On Sunday, September 14, 1952, at the start of the Modena Grand Prix, Ascari takes the lead, followed in order by Villoresi, Gonzalez, Manzon, and Sighinolfi. However, during lap 18, Ascari arrives at the pits at a walking pace. While the mechanics work around his car, Sighinolfi is signaled to stop. 


Ascari takes his place at the wheel of the car to start a furious chase, but the efforts of the brave driver are not rewarded. Villoresi takes the lead in the race. During lap 75, Gonzalez unleashes his attack, and the gap between him and Villoresi begins to decrease lap by lap. At the end of lap 90, the gap is reduced to a few meters. From this moment, the most dramatic phase of the race begins, continuously emphasized by the applause of the audience captivated by the exciting uncertainty of the duel. During lap 91, the Argentine completes his persistent chase, overtaking the rival when the race seemed already decided. Seven laps from the finish, however, the two cars speed at over 127 km/h on average when, at the entrance to the Stanguellini variant, Gonzalez finds himself in front of Carini's H.V.M. lagging behind. In this phase, Carini sways dangerously, and Gonzalez is forced to make a sudden stop. Villoresi, approaching, manages to reach Gonzalez, and at the exit of the turn, the two cars are side by side. But Villoresi's car is going faster and prevails over the rival. Gonzalez desperately tries to recover in the last laps, but his effort is in vain. After the race, an unofficial rumor spreads about a protest filed by Maserati for an alleged damage caused by Carini to Gonzalez at the entrance to the Stanguellini variant. According to the Maserati team's opinion, Carini, who was about to be overtaken by the rapidly advancing Gonzalez in the lead, would have intentionally swerved, forcing the Argentine into a sudden stop that would have cost him being overtaken by Villoresi. However, the appeal is not accepted. The races for Formula 1 cars are concluded. On Wednesday, November 19, 1952, the Carrera Panamericana will start in Mexico City. Only 94 cars are registered for this year's race. Through the mountains and deserts of Mexico, the top names in European and American motorsport will battle along 1938 miles of road. The interest from experts and the public has been intense since the race was inaugurated in 1950. It is not excluded that last-minute entries may be admitted to the competition, although the official deadline for registration has already passed. However, the field promises an exciting race. Dozens of drivers from Europe, the United States, South America, and Mexico are testing the road from Tuxtia-Gutierrez, near the Guatemala border, to Ciudad Juarez, near the United States border. 


For the first time in its young history, the third Carrera Panamericana this year will feature two distinct categories: standard cars and sports cars, with the latter being a stronghold for Europeans. In the standard category, there seems to be a slight American dominance on paper. Twenty-nine cars are registered in the sports category, mostly high-performance vehicles from Italian and German workshops, while the rest belong to the standard class. Perhaps not even half of the cars will reach the finish line, as daring drivers will face mechanical incidents, weather difficulties, and unfortunately, as the three victims from last year teach, even fatalities. The standard cars, built with an annual production of over five thousand units, will compete not only for category supremacy but also to rival sports cars for the final ranking. In the sports category, the performance of Mercedes cars driven by Hermann Lang and Karl Kling is eagerly awaited. Names like Giovanni Bracco, Luigi Villoresi, Luigi Chinotti, and Alberto Ascari promise a great race in this category as well. The Cordinis of Manzon and Jean Behra, as well as the Porsches of Count Von Berckheim and Prince Metternich, should not be forgotten. The fight for supremacy seems to narrow down to a Ferrari-Mercedes duel. Taruffi, the winner of the 1959 race, will drive an Oldsmobile in the standard category this year. The winner of the 1951 Carrera, Hershell Ma Griff, aims to repeat his triumph with an Oldsmobile from 1950. William Sterling of El Paso in a Cadillac and Marshall Teague of Daytona Beach in a Hudson are the American hopefuls. In the standard category, the winner of the Indianapolis 500, Ruttman, was supposed to compete, but due to an arm injury, he will be replaced by Chuck Stevenson. Several cars have already arrived in Tuxtia Gutierrez. The Mercedes drivers and mechanics were the first to arrive, followed by Chuck Stevenson, the champion of the American Automobile Association, and the Ferraris of Ascari, Villoresi, Bracco, and Bonetto. The Cordinis of Robert Manzon and Jean Behra are expected shortly. About twenty Mexican and American standard cars are testing the route of the first stage between Tuxtla Gutierrez and Oaxaca. However, all cars must be present at the starting point for engine inspection by tomorrow. The race begins the day after tomorrow. For five days, the traffic on the major roads will be quite busy between Tuxtia and Ciudad Juarez. There will be eight stages, and the prizes offered by the organizers amount to around 50.000.000 lire; with special prizes, this figure will be exceeded by a considerable margin. However, it should not be forgotten that participating in the Carrera costs the drivers a substantial amount. 


The registration alone requires 375.000 lire. It is estimated that the entire expedition, including round trip, fuel, accommodation expenses, training, and car wear, will cost at least 3.000.000 lire for a European. Ascari, Villoresi, Chinetti will have equally fast but challenging-to-control Ferrari cars due to their significant power, especially in rainy conditions. A fourth Ferrari with a 4100 cc engine will be driven by an adventurous American billionaire. Bracco will drive a Ferrari 3000 cc in the sports category, the same vehicle with which he won the 1952 Mille Miglia, beating the German Mercedes team. The German team aims to avenge the Mille Miglia defeat in an equally grand competition, the Carrera. The drivers are Kling and Long, along with the American Fitch. The race will take place on the Mexican section of the Pan-American Highway coming from Alaska. The road conditions have deteriorated since last year when Taruffi and Chinetti finished first overall, and Ascari-Villoresi second with Ferrari cars. The Aurelio of Cabianca, Mugliali, and Bonetto may not perform well due to the limited time for on-site preparation. Their arrival in Mexico was delayed by the vicissitudes of the ocean crossing. Today, the puncturing operations took place. At the last moment, even a woman registered; she is an exceptional competitor. Her name is Jacqueline Evans, the English film diva. In the United States, the race generates immense interest, and journalists, radio commentators, cinematographers, and television operators have gathered to describe or capture the Carrera from its early stages. At the start, the Mercedes Benz cars truly appear to be the ones to beat. The super-light 300s driven by John Pitch, the 1951 American sports champion, Hermann Lang, and Karl Kling have started from Tuxtia Outierrez with all the honor and risks befitting the top favorites. Jean Behra, the daring French driver who brings the same fearless style from motorcycle racing, has achieved the feat of beating the Germans in the first stage. Similarly, the Italian Giovanni Bracco finished second. The record for the first stage from Tuxtia Gutierrez to Oaxaca was set last year by the Frenchman Trevoux in 4 hours and 11 minutes. Well, the current winner, Jean Behra, with his Gordini sport 9300 cc, beats it by about half an hour: his time is 3 hours and 13 minutes. Karl Kling's Mercedes was in the lead halfway through the race and seemed to want to confirm the predictions, but Behra wanted to make it clear immediately that if Mercedes wanted to win, they would have to work hard. 


Giovanni Bracco, a mountain specialist, felt at ease on a winding and rugged road. The World Champion Alberto Ascari, driving a Ferrari, withdrew due to an accident during the stage. It was a strange, very dangerous incident: his Ferrari 4100 cc collided head-on with a large wild animal that suddenly leaped onto the road from a bush. In the impact, the car flipped, shattering. The driver and his mechanic miraculously survived. Villoresi and Chinetti, with two identical Ferrari 4100 cc cars like Ascari's, were also unlucky. On Tuesday night, on the eve of the race, the gearbox of Villoresi's car broke during a training session. Chinetti and his second driver Lucas agreed with Villoresi, giving him the gearbox of their Ferrari. Mechanics had to work feverishly on both cars, especially on Chinetti-Lucas's car. The winner's average speed over the 530 kilometers from Tuxtia-Gutierrez to Oaxaca is 91 miles per hour. The poor road surface, the continuous twists, climbs, and descents, test the capabilities of the cars and all their components. High-power cars, combined with agility, had the upper hand. The record set by Trevoux was also beaten by six other drivers, including the Italian Maglioli, who finished fourth with a Lancia-Aurelia equipped with a special compressor. Chinetti, with the Ferrari 4100 cc, is sixth; Villoresi, with the other Ferrari 4100 cc, is eleventh. On Thursday, November 20, 1952, two stages are scheduled: Oaxaca-Puebla (413 kilometers) and Puebla-Mexico (130 kilometers). The route winds through the mountains, especially in the first part. The road climbs up to 8300 meters, with an endless, exhausting series of curves, counter-curves, and ups and downs. It should be Giovanni Bracco's day. The second stage of the Mexican Carrera concludes with a double Italian victory. Luigi Villoresi wins this challenging stage, finishing in 3 hours, 3 minutes, and 17 seconds, 13 minutes less than the record set last year by Villoresi himself, paired with Ascari, on the same Oaxaca-Puebla stretch. The Milanese ace recovers much of the significant delay he suffered in the first stage. In second place is the American Fitch, driving a Mercedes, in 3 hours, 5 minutes, and 55 seconds. Following in third place is another Mercedes, driven by the German Kling. Bracco, driving a Ferrari 3000, finishes fourth, allowing him to take the lead in the overall standings. From initial calculations, the German Kling (Mercedes) is second in the standings after the first two stages. 


The Frenchman Behra, the winner of the first stage Tuxtia-Gutierrez-Oaxaca, retired due to an accident with his Gordini sport 2300 cc. The car went off the road in a curve and crashed. It seems that the unfortunate French driver's injuries are not severe; he would be in a state of shock in the hospital ward. The accident happened 75 kilometers from the finish line. Behra was in the lead. However, Ascari and Bonetto, who retired in the first stage, remained unscathed. They are preparing to return to Italy by plane. Upon arrival in Mexico City, the third stage of the Carrera, the timekeepers mistakenly declare the American Mc Afee as the winner, but this is an error. The time table checks reveal Villoresi as the authentic stage winner. Bracco is second and maintains the first position in the overall standings. Kling is third. On Friday, November 21, 1952, the fourth stage of the Carrera Panamericana is held, from Mexico City to Leon, and the fifth, from Leon to Durango (537 kilometers). Villoresi wins the fourth stage as well, achieving his third consecutive victory. However, during the fifth stage, perhaps trying desperately to recover the disadvantage in the standings, Villoresi forces his car too much. The Italian driver is forced to retire due to a mechanical failure. Meanwhile, Bracco, nicknamed the flying Italian by the Mexicans, increases his lead over the German team. The day would be won, according to preliminary calculations, by Kling. Bracco finishes second twice in the semi-stages (sixth and seventh) of the Mexican Carrera and solidly maintains the lead in the overall standings. That Bracco is a specialist in long-distance car races was already seen in his victorious Mille Miglia, but what the Biella driver is doing in this Carrera is truly astonishing. He now has an advantage of over seven minutes over the German Kling, and his total time in the 1896 kilometers covered so far is remarkable. His immediate pursuer boasts the victory in the stage at Durango. After winning three consecutive semi-stages, namely Oaxaca-Puebla, Puebla-Mexico, and Mexico-Leon, Villoresi lagged behind in the second part of the route. The gray fox, as the American radio commentators call him, was delayed by a trivial mechanical incident, preventing his car from exceeding 50 km/h. Villoresi can, if he wishes, resume the fight with another Ferrari car, but it is unknown whether he intends to use this regulation clause. 


The Italian ace is interviewed on the radio and declares feeling in excellent condition, quite different from the state of his vehicle. On Saturday, November 22, 1952, Giovanni Bracco is also forced to retire from the Carrera. This year, the Italian expedition to Mexico for the grand race, an eight-stage road race, has been extremely unlucky. The clutch of Bracco's Ferrari 3000 cc has irreparably failed, bidding farewell to the last hopes of victory for the Italians. Now the final victory and even second place overall should no longer escape the Mercedes team, which entered Mexico with three cars, two drivers, thirty-six mechanics, and a host of engineers and technicians. The American Fitch had been hired as the third driver. Bracco was bravely keeping up with the Germans, and in all likelihood, he would have finished tomorrow evening as the absolute winner of the Carrera, at the final finish line in Ciudad Juarez, if not for today's unfortunate inconvenience. Forty-six of the 92 cars that started last Wednesday from Tuxtia-Gutierrez are still in the race. On Sunday, November 30, 1952, the third Carrera is won by the German Karl Kling, driving a Mercedes 3000 cc. The same car and the same driver finished second in the May Mille Miglia behind the Ferrari 2713 cc driven by Giovanni Bracco from Biella, who prevailed by 4 minutes and 32 seconds. The Germans get their revenge, but it has been facilitated by Bracco's misfortune. He had come to Mexico a month before the start of the Carrera with his Ferrari from the Mille Miglia, enlarged to a displacement of 3000 cc to achieve greater speed. Bracco was beating the Germans. Leading the standings since the second stage, he had to give in on Saturday during the penultimate effort due to a clutch failure. Similar setbacks have not spared the meticulous Germans. They faced more severe issues, yet ultimately were less unfortunate. For instance, the engine of Kling's Mercedes broke down right at the end of the penultimate stage. With a feverish overnight effort, the German mechanics managed to repair the damage. The Mercedes of American Fitch, the third driver in the German team, encountered a problem just after the start of the final stage yesterday. Fitch returned to Chihuahua, where he had started, and was assisted by his team's mechanics. This violated the regulations, and despite winning the last stage with a few seconds ahead of Kling, Fitch was disqualified. 


Thus, Kling won the stage, and as the overall winner of the Carrera, he claimed the first prize of 11.500.000 lire. The Carrera Panamericana effectively concludes the 1952 season, which saw Ferrari triumph on every battlefield. Meanwhile, the other Modena-based team, Scuderia Maserati, is gearing up for the challenge and officially announces the lineup for the 1953 World Championship Grand Prix races. The team includes Argentine Juan Manuel Fangio as the lead driver, his compatriot Froilan Gonzalez, and Felice Bonetto. The Maserati team will kick off their activities with the Argentine Grand Prix, the first race of the World Championship, scheduled for January in Buenos Aires. Fangio has been in Buenos Aires for two weeks, while Gonzalez and Bonetto will depart from Rome by plane on January 10, 1963. Ferrari will participate in the Argentine Grand Prix with Alberto Ascari, Giuseppe Farina, Luigi Villoresi, and Mike Hawthorn. Both Maserati and Ferrari are fielding 2000 cc cars without a supercharger, in compliance with the current Formula Two regulations.


©​ 2024 Osservatore Sportivo


Contact us


Create Website with | Free and Easy Website Builder