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#42 1955 Argentine Grand Prix

2021-04-23 11:09

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#1955,

#42 1955 Argentine Grand Prix

A Buenos Aires il confronto italo-tedesco sarà acceso, perché se Ferrari, Maserati e specialmente Lancia, nella breve sosta invernale hanno intensamen

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In Buenos Aires the Italian-German comparison will be on, because if Ferrari, Maserati and especially Lancia, in the short winter break have worked intensively around the machines to improve their efficiency, Mercedes has even provided substantial remakes, increasing the power of the engines by 10%, reducing and lightening the chassis, modifying the suspensions. Because the stakes are large, invests, in addition to purely sporting and prestige reasons, also and above all considerations of a commercial and advertising, at a time when the industry - and not only the automotive - of West Germany is gradually regaining interesting markets.Against the giant Mercedes, strong of drivers such as the World Champion Fangio, the new purchase Stirltng Moss, Kling and Herrmann, the three Italian car manufacters Lancia, Ferrari and Maserati, form a kind of coalition in which each has valid cards to play. And if for Ferrari there are reasons for tranquility about its experienced four cylinders and its trio of drivers formed by the recovered Giuseppe Farina (for which there is however an unknown physical condition and form), by Gonzalez and Trintignant; if Maserati has found in the Frenchman Jean Behra the best substitute of Moss, to place side by side with the young Musso, Mantovani and Mieres, it is above all to the Lancia that it looks like to the hardest opponent of the Mercedes. After the debut - brilliant according to some, disappointing for others - of the Turin cars at the Spanish Grand Prix, very tenaciously and methodically worked in the racing department of via Monginevro for the development of the original eight cylinders they have in Ascari, Villoresi and Castellotti three drivers of great value. The only question about the possibilities of the Lancia concerns their endurance and resistance to fatigue, since the Argentine Grand Prix will be held with the formula of the three hours of racing. On the other hand, given the very bumpy characteristics of the circuit, not only is it predictable that the winner will cover about 400 km in the prescribed time - that is a hundred less than the classic distance of the Grand Prix - but to the machines, more than the absolute powers will be required qualities of maneuverability, resumption and braking.

 

And on this point the Turin cars seem perfectly successful. Apart from the technical reasons mentioned that the Argentine Grand Prix has, here is that from now on the title of World Champion that is in possession of Juan Manuel Fangio, but to which can legitimately aspire two men who have already worn the distinctive iridate, Alberto Ascari and Giuseppe Farina, to which can be added the names of Villoresi, González, Behra and Mass. Monday, January 3, 1955, a large four-engine transport takes off from Caselle to Argentina, bringing on board five cars Lancia, the pilots Ascari, Villoresi and Castellotti, managers, technicians and mechanics of the House of Turin. In a polar climate, many people arrive at the airport to bring greetings and wishes of Turin to the team that on January 16 will take part with three cars at the Grand Prix of Argentina, the first round of the World Championship Conductors for 1955. The plane carrying Ascari, Villoresi, Castellotti, the director Pasquarelli, the engineer Lancia with his wife, De Micheli, and the mechanics and testers Navone, Mosso, Mattei, Levizzari, Daniele, Canova, Beretta (which, by the way, is a former Italian champion of amateur cycling) and Peruzzi, along with the five racing cars, soars at 10:00 a.m. In Caselle are present to greet the many sporting starters, including the pilots Ammendola and Piodi, together with a group of authorities, including the Councillor Putaturo, who brings the best wishes of the Mayor. A slight snowfall falls from the sky, and this causes a delay of half an hour on the scheduled time of departure. The travel stories of Captain Botte, commander of the DC6, distract the drivers from the fatigue of the transfer and the thought of the great race that awaits them. Ascari and Villoresi - on their respective machines - took themselves from Milan to Turin during the evening of Sunday, January 2, 1955, and arrived around 00:00 a.m. rather tried. Even for the champions of the steering wheel the highway with fog and snow is not a fun. Castellotti wanted to leave at the last minute: he woke up at 2:00 a.m. on January 3, 1955 and left Lodi shortly after. One night almost in white, however, is not enough to curb his satisfaction:

 

"It’s the first time I race in a Formula 1, and the first time I go to Buenos Aires: no need to hide it, I’m happy".

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The commentator Vittorio Jano, designer of the Turin machines, tells him paternally about football:

 

"As a driver you have come to the A series. Be careful not to do as the Fanfulla plays in B".

 

But Castellotti answers, that the team of Lodi is almost an executive:

 

"Fanfulla will come back. There is a certain Camilloni goalkeeper that you will hear about. However, I do not feel like Fanfulla today. I am Milan".

 

Villoresi asks with peace of mind:

 

"By the way, what did it do with Juventus?"

 

The mechanics of the Lancia almost all Bianconeri fans look at him amazed. Gigi calm as always, continues:

 

"When I enter the racing season, all my attention is on the engines".

 

And Ascari steps in, saying:

 

"How I understand you".

 

The pilots are interrupted, as said, by the stories of Captain Botte, who among the many stories confesses:

 

"We often load monkeys from Asia. We deliver them to New York, where American scientists use them for their studies. They’re nice passengers, but they’re dangerous. One of them once turned inside the fuselage and opened all the doors it could find. So a snake got freedom. It was a rather awkward moment. On another occasion I had an elephant as a passenger. It was necessary to block his feet so that he did not move, unbalancing the apparatus".

 

Before leaving, the former World Champion Alberto Ascari is at the center of the not disinterested attention of journalists and photographers:

 

"Ascari, a smile - Alberto tell me - Would you please greet the crowd applauding him? - How will he dress in Buenos Aires, where it is so hot now?"

 

The ace of the steering wheel responds and lets himself be photographed. He is dressed in an elegant camel coat and challenges the cold and the snow with his bare head. It’s cheerful. In addition to everything Alberto, football fan, as well as his son Tonino, cheers for the Rossoneri Milan. But he thinks especially of the next car race.

 

"This time we are there. The car goes. If the devil doesn’t put his tail on it we will get a good result. Which opponent I fear more in Buenos Aires? Fangio, of course. He’s an ace and he runs to his homeland. I’m going to fight this chivalrous, even-handed pilot".

 

Lancia has carried out a meticulous series of tests. One car has completed lately around 880 km,  a competition average . At the end of the test everything was in place. The red Italian cars, with Italian drivers, should be able to look good. Even the team manager, Pasquarelli, said he was satisfied with the preparation. The Lancia plane follows the itinerary of Lisbon, Dakar, Recite, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires. Arrival at destination is scheduled for the afternoon of Wednesday 5 January 1955. As is well known, the Argentine temporada will take place in three episodes: the Grand Prix for Formula 1 cars, which participate, in addition to Lancia, Ferrari, Maserati, Mercedes and Gordini; then, on 23 January 1955, the 1000 Kilometers for Sport cars, valid for the World Championship title Marche (neither Lancia nor Mercedes will take part in it), and finally, on the last Sunday of January, the Buenos Aires Grand Prix, for formula racing cars pound, that is, without displacement limits for engines. At this last test it is not excluded that the Lancia with its 2500, previously engaged in the most important race of the temporada, will be again present: it will depend on considerations made on the spot. After the debut of Formula 1 in Turin in October 1954 in Barcelona - promising debut - in these two months the House technicians have worked intensively around the car, especially to ensure the qualities of endurance, and in that period the same pilots Ascari and Villoresi have actively collaborated in the preparation of the means. The machine has an eight-cylinder engine on two rows forming a V of 90# ; the exact displacement is 2487 cc, with a speed of 8000 rpm. The power output is about 260 horsepower.

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The car mounts a five-speed gearbox, and bridge type De Dion. The weight of the car is less than 600 kg, that is a further lightening compared to the models presented at the Spanish Grand Prix. Comparing this new construction in the field of racing cars, the tried and tested Ferrari and Maserati, and the bogeyman - even if he proved vulnerable - Mercedes, takes on a value and a technical importance of worldwide resonance. At the Argentine temporada will miss Mike Hawthorn, who learns Thursday 6 January 1955 did not renew his contract with Ferrari. Hawthorn will be engaged in all European Grands Prix that will be held this year with the new British racing car, the Vanwall Special, built at the initiative of millionaire Tony Vandervell. The contract stipulates that the pilot will receive the sum of 20,000 pounds. On Sunday, January 9, 1955, President Perón paid a visit to the box reserved for the Lancia, stopping for a long time at the machines and listening with interest to the explanations provided by the engineer Gianni Lancia himself. Then, as the heat fades, the Mercedes make their first outing. Fangio from the beginning turns in 1'46"8, but over time the German cars lower the time: Kling will get the time of 1'45"2, equalling the best performance provided by Ascari during the day on Saturday on Lancia, while Moss will turn in 1'45"3. The best time of the day, however, will be Fangio, who will set the unofficial record in 1'44"4 at an average of 134.908 km/h. The unofficial training of the drivers present in Buenos Aires will then be suspended due to the torrid temperature: will be an exception to the conductors of the Lancia, which descend on the circuit only to carry out some experiments of tightness of the different organs of the machine at high temperatures.

 

The experiments, according to the House’s technicians, are satisfactory. Monday, January 10, 1955 arrive in Buenos Aires the two riders of Maserati, Luigi Musco and Sergio Mantovani, departed from Rome because of the thick fog stagnant on the airport of Malpensa Sunday, January 9, and shortly after, a large part of the Ferrari team, consisting of drivers Giuseppe Farina, Maurice Trintignant and Umberto Maglioli, managers of Scuderia Ferrari, Ugolini and Amorotti, arrives on a four-engine Alitalia started from Ciampino. by test driver Meazza and some mechanics. The fourth driver José Froilán González has been living in Argentina for some time. With the arrival of Ferrari in Buenos Aires, Tuesday, January 11, 1955 at 3:20 p.m. There may be a fourth race that you would like to organize in Mar del Plata, but this seems unlikely. The most important race, that of Formula 1, has a line-up of cars and axles that has not happened for many years: three Ferrari, three Lancia, eight Maserati, four Mercedes and three Gordini. Leading them, among the novelties are the English Stirling Moss for Mercedes, and the French Jean Behra for Maserati, while the Lancia, alongside Ascari and Villoresi, makes the young Eugenio Castellotti debut in the Formula 1 tests. Ferrari, however, and this is the important absence, will no longer count on the Englishman Mike Hawthorn, that apart from the current unavailability as a result of a delicate surgery recently suffered, has just recently signed the contract that binds him for the current season to the British industrialist Tony Vandervell, the well-known manufacturer of bearings that has made a new grand prix car: at Vanwall, which should definitely debut during the summer, after having raced the first Grand Prix in Italy, in Monza.

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The official practice for the Argentine Grand Prix starts on Tuesday, January 11, to continue, with the interruption on Friday, until the day before the race. During the first day of official practice, the Mercedes drivers are the first to take to the track around 3:00 p.m. The Argentine Juan Manuel Fangio and the German Hans Herrmann run for a long time. In the first hour of practice, Fangio set a time of 1'45"0, still below his unofficial record, while Herrmann’s time was 1'47"0. Shortly after, the Frenchman Jean Behra, head of the Maserati team, who scored an excellent 1'44"8, equalling the official record of the track established by Giuseppe Farina over Ferrari during the tests for the Grand Prix of the previous year. During the first hour of practice only seven of the twenty-one competitors take to the track. Most of them however do not force, being content to carefully examine the path. The bishops of the Lancia Alberto Ascari, Luigi Villoresi and Eugenio Castellotti decide not to try, as well as Giuseppe Farina, Umberto Maglioli and Maurice Trintignant, just arrived in Buenos Aires. Also Wednesday, January 12, 1955, in the second day of practice for the Argentine Grand Prix, the headlines go to Mercedes, which has a trio of aces, Fangio, Moss and Kling, that manage to run on the track of the circuit at about the same speed, remaining constantly below the official record of the lap, marked the previous year by Giuseppe Farina. From the times so far recorded by Mercedes and Ascari's Lancia, it seems possible to deduce that the Argentine Grand Prix will see the collapse of the existing records on the lap and on the three hours.

 

During the last hour of practice Alberto Ascari also managed to equal the record of 1'44"8 Farina, record that had already been equaled on Tuesday by the Frenchman Jean Behra, team leader of Maserati. The Mercedes drivers, on the other hand, get slightly better times: Fangio drives in 1'44"3, thus bringing himself on a par with Moss, his teammate who had already scored such a time; Kling records a time of 1'44"4. During the day, shortly after 12:00 a.m. the temperature reaches 32 degrees, but around 2:00 p.m. the floodgates of the sky open to flood the track with water, dropping the temperature to 22 degrees. The rain falls hard until around 3:00 p.m., a moment when the tests should begin. Farina and Maglioli (the latter will not take part in the race for Formula 1, but will be reserved for the test of the thousand kilometers on Sunday, January 23, reserved for Sport cars) are among the first to get on track and run with caution because of the wet track. Time cannot therefore be taken as a benchmark for the efficiency of Ferraris. Among the first to turn there is also the young German Hans Herrmann, fourth driver of Mercedes, who gets a good time, given the track conditions. At the end of the first hour of the test the best time is that of the Frenchman Jean Behra, on Maserati, in 1'44"7, while Fangio recorded 1'45"8 and Kling 1'47"2. Later Herrmann improved his time to 1'45"3 and Ascari (veteran with Eng. Gianni Lancia and the other drivers of the House of Turin from a two-day stay in San Carlos de Bariloche, offered by President Perón who has made available to the Turin group his private plane for the return trip) begins to go around together with Villoresi and Castellotti. Ascari first scored 1'46"4, then an excellent 1'44"8, that is better than the 1'45"2 he had obtained in the very first unofficial tests last Saturday. Villoresi, for his part, turns 1'45"9, while no time is recorded for Castellotti.

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Among the drivers of Ferrari, Farina runs in 1'46"9, Trintignant in 1'51"3, the Argentine González in 1'46"2, while Maglioli does not continue in the second part of the tests his training and remains in the box to observe the preparation of his teammate. The American Harry Schell ended his training with a 1'49"8 at the wheel of a Maserati. In the last half hour of practice the Mercedes drivers are committed to the bottom and mark brilliant times. In the tests held Thursday, January 13, 1955, after three days of training Mercedes dominates the ranking of the best times with its three aces in the top three places, in the order Fangio, Moss and Kling. Fangio beats the unofficial track record with 1'44"1, improving by 0.2 seconds the time set by Moss on Tuesday. Fourth place went to the Frenchman Jean Behra, who recorded a time of 1'44"5. In fifth place is Alberto Ascari, who, like the other two Lancia delta drivers, Luigi Villoresi and Eugenio Castellotti, did not force. The day saw the three Ferrari drivers, Farina, González and Trintignant, busy for a long time. Farina, who on Wednesday could not do better than a 1'46"9, because of the imperfect carburetion, gets a good 1'45"3 that puts him in sixth place in the ranking of the best, on a par with the young German Herrmann, fourth driver of Mercedes. González also improved his performance, scoring first 1'46"5 and then 1'46"1 towards the end of the tests, while Trintignant came out of the gray zone of 1'50" getting a 1'46"7, which best meets the possibilities of the car entrusted to him and also his proven class. The performance that together with that of Fangio draws the most attention of the technicians is undoubtedly that of the Argentine Carlos Menditeguy, who runs with a Maserati in the unexpected time of 1'46"2.

 

Gordini has been out of the race since practice to win the Grand Prix. Its two drivers, the French Elle Bayol and the Argentine Fabio Birger, fall below 1'50"0 scored in the first tests of seven tenths and five tenths respectively, but the gap of four, five seconds per lap compared to Mercedes, and three seconds on average compared to Lancia and Ferrari, mean in the three hours of the competition on Sunday a gap of eight ten minutes, that is to say five or six laps. Meanwhile, we learn that the Argentine Giorgio Daponte, who was supposed to participate in the Argentine Grand Prix as an independent behind the wheel of a Maserati 1953 model, retired from the race after having sold his car to the Uruguayan Alfredo Uria, that will therefore take the place of Daponte in the competition. Although today was the last day of preparatory tests for the qualifying tests that will take place on Saturday, since the drivers will rest on Friday, the track activity appeared less intense than that seen on Wednesday. However, Friday, January 14, 1955 reserves the surprise of a full and absolute activity, despite the planned rest. The organizing committee of the Argentine Grand Prix reserves the right to keep the track closed, but in the morning the technical director of the Lancia, Attilio Pasquarelli, considers it appropriate that his men, rather short of training, take the field. The example of the Turin manufacturer was soon followed first by Mercedes, then, later, also by Maserati and Ferrari. Thus, Ascari and Villoresi recorded the best times, at the beginning of the tests, turning respectively in 1'45"1 and in 1'45"0, while the German Herrmann got a good 1'45"5. The Mercedes of the latter is without fairing and this confirmed the opinion that the Stuttgart brand will compete on Sunday with cars in fact not deficient.  For Maserati try Musso (time 1'47"2) and Mantovani 1'48"0), but the best result is obtained by the Ferrari drivers.

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During the evening of Thursday, January 13, 1955, the technical director Ugolini declares that he has managed to solve the problem of the mixture; In fact, during the day of Friday González and Farina immediately give a practical demonstration of their abilities and the goodness of the mechanical means entrusted to them. The Turin ace turned 1'44"5, while the Argentine managed to break the Fangio record, setting a time of 1'43"2, at an average of 136.477 km/h. Also as for the Gordini there is to be recorded in some way a surprise, due to the Argentine Birger who runs in 1'45"4. Saturday, January 15, 1955 take place the qualifying tests valid for the starting alignment. The times confirm the goodness of the work done by Ferrari, because González wins the pole position scoring a time of 1'43"1, new circuit record, at an average of 136.61 km/h, followed by Jean Behra on Maserati, Ascari on Lancia and Fangio with his Mercedes. Further back Farina, then Kling, Shell, Moss, Birger, Herrmann, Villoresi, Castellotti, Menditeguy, Trintignant, Bayol, Mieres, Iglesias, Musso, Mantovani, Bucci and Uria. The expectation of the athletes for the Argentine Grand Prix reaches in the following hours never known summits so far. The thing is explainable: for the first time down here we face five different brands - the usual three of the past years, Ferrari, Maseratl and Gordini, Mercedes and Lancia have been added - and, what matters most, in conditions of evident balance, as shown by the times achieved by the best drivers from the opposite Houses in this week of preparation for the Grand Prix. Sunday, January 16, 1955 at 9:00 a.m. are opened the gates of the circuit, which welcome about 400.000 spectators, a factor of which the public force is very concerned.

 

Indescribable enthusiasm that, as is logical, is poured out above all on the Argentine Fangio and González. The day is exceptionally hot: 33 degrees, which on the asphalt of the track, under the incessant lash of the sun, rises to 55 degrees. At 4:00 p.m. the President Peròn lowers the flag as a waver, and a choral scream of the immense crowd overwhelms the same roar of engines. The Mercedes of Juan Manuel Fangio is the quickest at the start and leads, followed by the Ferrari of Gonzalez and the Lancia of Ascari. During the first laps, when the drivers are still in normal physical conditions, the fight is unleashed with such vehemence as to reap in a few kilometers illustrious victims as Villoresi, who accuses the rupture of the fuel lines on his Lancia, the Frenchman Behra, foreman of the Maserati collided with another competitor on the second floor, and Kling. On the first lap Fangio is still in the lead, but Ascari joins him and during the third overtakes him. The bishop of the Lancia leads the race when the first accident occurs (none of which fortunately serious): the Frenchman Behra slightly bumps into another Maserati driven by Menditeguy and must stop. For a while, however, because it immediately gives the change to the companion Mantovani and resumes the chase. In the leading positions the fight is tight and González, with the impetus that is characteristic of him, in the fifth lap passes in front of the press stand. Ascari and Fangio are close to him and so remain until the tenth passage. Meanwhile, the  Lancia must record a first loss: as mentioned, Villoresi is stopped, and after losing a lot of precious time he gives the shift to Castellotti who already blames the consequences of the suffocating heat. After all, even the Mercedes of Kling on the sixth lap, is firm due to a carburetion defect. The great protagonists battle each other, but from this initial stage it is a race to attrition.

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At the eleventh lap, Ascari overtakes González and leads to the first place; meanwhile, on the sixteenth lap Eugenio Castellotti, victim of a sunstroke, fails to continue, stops at the pit and gives his car to Villoresi. It will be just one of the many changes of drivers driving a car: because of the heat, in fact, only Juan Manuel Fangio and Roberto Mieres will stoically manage to complete the Grand Prix without making changes. Ascari’s D50 managed with some difficulty to keep the head and the situation, at the end of the first twenty laps, sees him in first place with about two seconds of margin on González and thirteen on Fangio. But the fatal twenty-second lap arrives, when Ascari ends up off the road after a spin and ends up against the straw shelters. His skill avoids a misfortune, but the car is damaged. Ascari leaves the track unharmed, accompanied by the race director and some police service during the race. The race for Lancia is over because Villoresi who has resumed with the car of Castellotti is hopelessly delayed and at the thirty-seventh lap he must in turn leave because he goes off the track. His car flips over and the driver comes out miraculously unharmed. At just over a third of the race, all three Lancia are stopped. Then comes the tremendous psycho-physical wear determined by the exceptional heat of the day. The elimination of Ascari brings González in the lead but, suddenly, he is taken ill. The heat and the sun have numbed him. After a fearful skid, the Argentine approached the pits and asked to be replaced. On lap 27, the Ferrari men then make the ritual reports to Farina, but only with the loss of sixty-five seconds is able to stop and then to leave with the car of González. On Farina’s machine Maglioli jumps instead. On the thirty-third lap Fangio, who after the elimination of Ascari and González remained naturally in the lead, must stop. For the Mercedes executives there is a moment of thrill.

 

From the stands you can see the mechanics feverishly tinkering around the silvery car of the World Champion. The stop of Fangio lasts for over a minute, the time necessary for the replacement of the tires. But in the meantime, having stopped also the Mercedes of Moss, at the command of the race there is an unexpected figure: the American Shell on Maserati, followed by Mieres also on Maserati and by Farina on Ferrari. Fangio, who resumed the race, and Herrmann went into third and fourth position. These were the positions on lap 35. The very high temperature forces the cars and the drivers to an exceptional effort. Many are the retirements and many are the changes of drivers at the wheel: Kling replaces Herrmann, and Maglioli gives way to Trintignant. Then González, who had given the place to Farina, resumed the wheel on lap 41, and Behra in turn takes the vote of the best placed Maserati, that of Shell. On lap 45, only eight cars have now remained in the race: Fangio, who was the author of an overwhelming chase, is in the lead followed by González and Kling. In fourth place, Musso precedes Bucci and Trintignant. In the following laps the Frenchman Behra leaps to the fore who, recovering positions on positions, manages to slip between Fangio and González who appears again in difficulty. Next, González accelerates and on lap 63, with an angry sprint, he manages to overtake Behra, bringing himself into second position. The struggle is exciting but already the uncertainty is thinning out. At the seventieth lap the Argentine driver of Ferrari is still threatening with a gap of forty-five seconds, but he accuses the exceptionally hot atmosphere and the oppressive heat, and suddenly he almost loses control of his car that makes a chilling zigzag. On the seventy-third lap González surrendered: he approached the pits and definitively gave up the lead to Farina who had to start with a lap behind.The Turin ace throws himself vehemently in pursuit regaining the second position, while on the seventy-fourth lap another Maglioli replaces Trintignant driving the Ferrari on which Farina had started.

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The exhausting race is coming to an end. Fangio proceeds safely and slows down considerably, also because all the drivers in the race show the concern of not pushing to extreme wear the machines that have already suffered a tremendous effort. It is now late in the afternoon and the heat increases. Spectators must undergo a temperature that reaches even forty degrees. In the last laps the march of Fangio is a triumph, among the applauses of the very excited crowd. The others proceed regularly, except Behra who must slow down and save his car to the maximum with the obvious intention of reaching the finish line: in fact he will be classified penultimate, eight laps from Fangio. At the finish, Fangio precedes Farina and Maglioli, who drives the Ferrari with which Farina started, is two laps. Fourth is Moss, who replaced Kling, followed by Mieres, Behra and Musso on Maserati. When the Argentine arrives at the end of the ninety-sixth lap, the crowd invades the track. At the end of the three hours of competition, the huge crowd of 400,000 people who accompanied in an endless chorus of cheers the victorious march of his champion, regardless of the equatorial heat that stagnates low and heavy on Buenos Aires, climbing over the protective fences, and after easily breaking the even solid deployment of public force, rushes excited to the finish line area, to see closely the idol Fangio. The Argentine driver is suffocated by thousands of outstretched hands, and the police barely manage to make way for him. Fangio gets out of his car with an almost staggering step, then he recovers and approaches the stage of honor where he receives the embrace of Peròn. For Argentina it is a national holiday, but the public, very chivalrous, is not a park of applause with anyone and especially warmly greets Farina, the only competitor besides the winner who has completed the ninety-six laps planned. Between the riot of the crowd, between the irrepressible shouting of 400.000 people and the agitation of policemen, authorities, organizers, radio reporters, photographers, journalists are unleashed. Fangio, interviewed on the radio, has a word of praise for all his rivals, then whispers:

 

"Now leave me, I need a bath: I thought I was roasting in that pit".

 

Also Farina is interviewed by radio and declares himself satisfied with Ferrari. Rival of Fangio also as chivalrous spirit says that coming second behind the World Champion is an honor. And as the tide of crowds leaves the circuit, the notes of the Argentine anthem, followed by Mameli’s anthem, burst from the speakers. The Argentine Grand Prix has rededicated a champion: Manuel Fangio. This - first of all, despite the sporting day, held in a setting of incredible grandeur, was so rich in twists and turns that it does not lend itself to a synthetic definition. But above all, a man dominated: Fangio. He alone, among the twenty-one competitors, has continuously kept the lead of his Mercedes for the ninety-six laps of the race. This fact shows how the Argentine driver determined with his upper class the victory of Mercedes. Having said that, it is equally necessary to recognize that after Manuel, Fangio stands out another popular figure of champion: the Italian Giuseppe Farina. The Turin driver - back at the races after the fearful accident in Monza, in which he had risked to die in atrocious flames - performs a memorable feat, taking over twice the car of team-mate González, and with a final impetuous Fangio heel to the finish line, while arriving with a delay of a minute and a half, ensuring the second place that shows how for the Turin driver, the tremendous adventure of Monza is now just a memory. Farina and Ferrari leave the Argentine Grand Prix with increased honor. And we must not forget, finally, that the House of Maranello has kept up the good name of the Italian industry also securing the third place, which has also collaborated with the young Umberto Maglioli. This, briefly, is the summary of the performance of the Argentine Grand Prix, from which emerge some fairly precise considerations.

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First of all, the victory of the irresistible combination Fangio-Mercedes, without ignoring the regular and convincing test of the car, is essentially due to the great class - also athletic - of the driver. About the mechanical vehicles seen in the race, Ferrari, second and third massified, was the car that at a glance has more convinced: in normal environmental conditions, it would hardly have escaped Gonzalez victory, on the same circuit. Maserati has also had its hopes of success interrupted abruptly since Behra’s accident at the beginning. Difficult a judgment on the Lancia, not knowing whether to attribute to failed maneuvers of the pilots or to other causes of mechanical or dynamic nature the fortunately minor accidents occurred to Ascari and Villoresi. However, as long as he was in the race, the first proved  to be able to stand up to anyone. The first rematch to yesterday’s great race will take place in fifteen days, again in Buenos Aires, but the race will not be valid for the world title, which for now sees Fangio first. Engineer Alfred Neubauer, sports director of Mercedes-Benz, says at the end of the race he is satisfied, but not entirely happy. His statements reveal the disappointment at a finding that even the layman could not help but perceive: Mercedes did not provide a concrete proof of superiority over the Italian competitors, and the race was actually a fight of drivers, more than cars:

 

"Victory went to the man who was able to grab it. Fangio is without a doubt the strongest driver that can be seen today on the slopes".

 

Terse, Neubauer, yet very eloquent. Ferrari representatives claim that their cars appeared to be the fastest, and that their failure to win was attributable solely to the heat, while Lugo and Bettocchi of Maserati attribute the lack of success of their cars to bad luck:

 

"The car of our most valuable driver, Behra, was put out of action by an unfortunate accident, without which we could have said our word".

 

Declares Lugo. Serene atmosphere in the Lancia clan. Pasquarelli declares overall satisfied with the test of the cars, and says that the exit of the track of Ascari, which fortunately had no consequences for the driver, was caused by a big oil stain, while Castellotti and Villoresi were mostly victims of the intense heat, because the machines responded well.

 

Luca Saitta

 

Translated by Aurora Ricci

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