On Sunday, 30th August 1959, during the Sassi-Superga Hill Climb Race, cars with small engines do wonders on the wet, slippery asphalt. And so, a bit surprisingly, Nino Vaccarella, a twenty-six-year-old driver from Palermo, succeeds with his white Maserati 2000. On the eve of the race, Vaccarella was considered a threat in the expected fight among the most winning drivers, namely Cabianca, Govoni, Abate, Munaron and Lualdi. However, the last two haven’t shown up at the start (Munaron had suffered an engine failure on Saturday); Abate has found an insurmountable disadvantage in the wet and slippery road surface to the power of his Ferrari 3000 Gran Turismo; the other two have been properly beaten by the Sicilian driver’s vehemence and good driving style, who is sweeping the board in his second year of activity. The rain and, beyond a certain altitude, the fog, have hindered the improvement of the overall and class records (except for the 500 Touring class, whose competitors have managed to make it to the hill before the rain). In fact, some weird and surprising things have happened, so that in several cases the more lightweight cars have outperformed the high-powered ones. Clearly, the slippery asphalt has meant trouble particularly to the cars with higher power. Considering this, Nino Vaccarella’s unexpected success must be praised: his Maserati 2000 is a car that requires exceptional driving skills to be used at its full potential properly. Although everyone has been forced to drive carefully because of the rain, many have had their race come to a halt due to swerving and spinning. Luckily, no major accidents have taken place, besides more or less severe dents on the bodyworks. The most famous driver to have an accident was the courageous Italian Champion Ada Pace, whose Giulietta has spun around on all four wheels while tackling the first hairpin turn in the road.
Anyway, the fearless young girl from Turin, unimpressed, gets back down to the start line and at the wheel of the Osca she takes the win in the 1100 Sport class, also obtaining the ninth overall placement. As mentioned, the only ones to be spared from the rain, or at least from the wet asphalt, since it stopped raining as the high-powered cars departed, were the 500 class Touring drivers. In this class, the only record of the race has been beaten: the fastest was Giuseppe Lombardi, from Romagna, on a Fiat Puch, the Italian-Austrian car with Fiat bodywork and chassis and Puch engine. The following week, on Saturday, 5th September 1959, the Tourist Trophy is taking place at the Goodwood Circuit. It is the last round valid for the World Sportscar Championship in which - differently from the Formula 1 one - the points are given to the car brands instead of the drivers. The situation in both championships is the same, at least as far as the cars are concerned: Italian and English cars fight against each other. The Italians are represented by Ferrari in both, and their English direct opponents are Cooper in Formula 1 and Aston Martin in the Sports Car category. Ferrari and Aston Martin are facing each other at Goodwood in the last and decisive round, which they reach with 18 and 16 points respectively. Porsche, behind them with 15, doesn’t seem to have many chances to hope for the final success. The Goodwood Circuit, with its relatively slow speed (averages below 145 kph, so approximately 90 mph) with its 3682 metres of development and many different turns, seems to favour more grip and handling (both excellent on the Aston Martins) than the higher power of the Ferraris. Another element to consider is the mechanical resistance of the cars, which is crucial given that the race will last 6 hours and is no less than 850 km (528,165 miles) long. Also worth mentioning is the decisive contribution from the drivers.
Even here we can talk about balance: Scuderia Ferrari have a good team as a whole, with Brooks, Phil Hill, Gurney, Allison, Gendebien, to whom is now added Giulio Cabianca, all up against the Aston Martin team leader’s class, Stirling Moss, who, in the latest Portugal Grand Prix, has confirmed once again to be the best driver in the world currently. Moss partners up with Jack Fairman, just like in the successful Nürburgring 1000 km. If any surprises were to come, they would come none other than from Trips’, Bonnier’s, Maglioli’s and Barth’s Porsches, or from Brabham’s and McLaren’s 2-litre Cooper, these two drivers being the revelation of the year. The classical Tourist Trophy motor race will be very eventful, and some accidents will take place, luckily without severe consequences. This round is decisive for the Sports Car Manufacturers Championship rankings and, after its final results, on top of the forementioned rankings is Aston Martin, who win the race, with 24 total points, whereas Ferrari are second, with 22 points, tailed by Porsche, third with 21 points. Some accidents happen during the intense battle after the first laps, and the most impressive is the one in which Roy Salvadori, leading the race at the wheel of his Aston Martin, is involved. While he is pitting to fill the tank, two and a half hours into the race, the tank suddenly blows up and the car is engulfed in flames right away. The fire reaches the pits as well, that are made up of wood. Service personnel and firefighters intervene immediately and, thanks to a foam fire extinguisher, contain and put the fire out; Salvadori suffers some burns of a non-serious nature. Another accident involves the Jaguar of the American driver Masten Gregory, who collides against the protective barrier on the outer side of the track, making his car go up into flames. The driver, though injured, is able to get out of his car in time and is promptly assisted and taken to hospital, where it will be ascertained that his condition luckily doesn’t appear to be serious. As a matter of fact, he’s diagnosed with a possibly fractured rib and a dislocated shoulder.
After a brief lead by Trintignant, who drives an Aston Martin as well, Moss displays a rapid comeback behind the wheel of the same car, with which first he manages to match his own previous lap time record and then to definitely take the lead up until the end of the race. However, he has to switch cars due to the fire broken out in the car driven in collaboration with Salvadori (the race regulations provide for the possible change of driver). After the Brands Championship ends, the revelation driver that is Jack Brabham aims at the World Championship in Monza. The 30th Italian Grand Prix, to be held on Sunday, 13th September 1959, should close and decide the Constructors F1 Championship. Let’s say it should, since the international calendar also includes the United States Grand Prix, already postponed from March to December, but still not certain to be going ahead. The race in Monza is therefore more than likely to be the last round of the 1959 Championship and crown, at least formally, the best driver of the season, the successor of Farina, Ascari, Fangio and Hawthorn. After the past seven races, on top of the rankings is the Australian Jack Brabham on Cooper with 27 points, behind him by four points is the Englishman Tony Brooks, on Ferrari and then Stirling Moss with 18 points. Brabham is the real revelation of the season: solid, intelligent, very experienced, he has won the Monaco Grand Prix and the British Grand Prix. Brooks, who has switched from Vanwall to Ferrari, has earned himself the role of team leader of the Scuderia, after winning the French Grand Prix in Reims and the German Grand Prix in Avus. He’s had however some bad days and he couldn’t jump behind the wheel of his Ferrari at the British Grand Prix, due to the already known extra-sporting vicissitudes that prevent the Maranello-based team from being in Aintree. There’s still Moss, who isn’t however in contention for the title this year too.
The Briton, without a doubt the best driver in the world, is paying the price for the die-hard-fighter-like fury which fuels him: he is not in a ranking position that befits him, and not always his car can live up to his impetus. These three men are at the centre of attention at the Italian Grand Prix: the first two are title contenders, with Brooks who is in the absolute need to attack; Moss, at the wheel of the Cooper, is the candidate for a prestigious win which can mean, if not be formally worth a World Champion title. At this point, the discourse cannot but be shifted to the cars involved in the decisive race, those cars that represent the other fifty per cent in the expectations or in the hopes of success. Let’s put aside for a moment the cars not directly involved in the championship. As we know, Brooks races in Ferrari, Brabham and Moss drive for Cooper. These two cars have demonstrated a remarkable overall superiority, leaving their opponents with just a win as sop (to B.R.M., with Bonnier as the driver, at the Dutch Grand Prix). Considering the many different racetrack layouts, the Ferraris have seemed unbeatable on very fast tracks, thanks to their higher engine power; the Coopers, lightweight and quick, have instead dominated in tracks where the speed average was never above 160-165 kph (approximately 99.419-102.526 mph). Based on these elementary remarks, and also taking into account the characteristics of the Monza road circuit (from which the high-speed loop with banked curves is left out), where is almost normal to reach 200 kph (approximately 124.274 mph), it can be assumed that the Italian cars will have an easier task on Sunday.
Focusing on the World Championship deciding fight, Ferrari boast an engine power of around 280 hp, while Copper have about 60 hp less but, at the same time, the British car weights a good 120 kg (approximately 264.554 lbs) less compared to the Ferrari. However, let’s not delude ourselves: first of all because the factors that contribute to determine the premises of victory are the most diverse (grip, tyres, race strategy, environmental conditions), then because the Coppers, thanks to their thin and well-outlined bodywork, are anything but outdone in terms of pure speed. Hence, only a small margin of advantage can be attributed in advance to the Ferraris, even if the official practice sessions confirm their speed superiority. The B.R.M.s and the Aston Martins - the latter racing in Italy for the first time - don’t seem to be in the condition to aim for great achievements. Nor it’s possible to expect anything other than a respectable race from the two not very recent Maseratis of the only two Italian drivers entered, Cabianca and Scarlatti. The 30th Italian Grand Prix is made up of 74 laps, for a total 414 km (approximately 257.247 miles). The official programme includes timed practice sessions, to be held on Friday and Saturday prior to the Grand Prix. However, the Monza stage begins some days before with some drivers running some tests on track in order to not be unprepared in the crucial moments of the weekend. Aston Martin, Lotus, Cooper and especially B.R.M take part in these tests, the latter presenting a new car featuring a mid-engine to develop for 1960. The work done by Ferrari is milder, as the Maranello-based team limit themselves to a general check of the cars to avoid last-minute troubles.
Technical highlight of the meeting is the appearance of the new B.R.M. during practice, this car not only being a radical break from Bourne tradition but also a sign of the times for the future. Built in a remarkably short time more as an experiment than anything else as yet, it utilises many parts of the existing F1 car. The outstanding changes are the adoption of a mid-engine position instead of a front engine and of independent rear suspension in place of de Dion; in other words the following of Cooper and Porsche principles, with an eye on the 1961 Formula change. The track and wheelbase are identical to the present Formula 1 car as is the front suspension, this being fitted to a new chassis frame built on similar lines to the 1959 cars, using straight small-diameter tubes to form a torsionally rigid space-frame. The chassis frame ends in a strong cross member at its highest point, to the ends of which are attached the coil-spring/damper units similar to those used on the old cars. These have their lower ends attached to a hub carrier and the lower portion of this carrier is located sideways by a tubular triangular member, whose apex is pivoted on the chassis frame, and fore-and-aft by a radius rod running forward to a point on the chassis beside the engine. Thus each wheel is fully independently sprung on a principle that is a cross between Lotus and Porsche RSK. Drive to the rear wheels is through universally-jointed half-shafts with a sliding spline. With the driver sitting at the front, with his feet just behind the front axle centre-line the engine is in front of the rear axle centre line and the gearbox behind it.
The engine is the normal four-cylinder 102.8 by 74.9 mm 2½-litre unit, but instead of having the twin magnetos mounted on the front of the block they are mounted one on each side of the crankcase and are driven by exposed toothed-rubber belt drives, these being taken from the engine developed for the ill-fated Cooper-B.R.M. of the Moss/Walker team. The engine is attached directly to a gearbox as used on the front-engined cars, by means of a new bell-housing casting and the single disc brake on the end of the gearbox is retained. Fuel is carried in tanks on each side of the driving seat and the oil tank for the dry-sump lubrication system is mounted in the short nose, behind the radiator, while a slot on top of the radiator cowling gathers air which is ducted to the two double-choke Weber carburetters. By some clever pipe bending the four exhaust pipes are blended into a single tail pipe that does not stick out too far behind the short stumpy tail of the car. Wheels, brakes and steering gear are all as used on the normal F1 cars, and by this means the Bourne technicians have been able to produce a new project, well-made and of interesting potential in a very short space of time. In general appearance the car resembles the F2 single-seater Porsche rather than a Cooper. In addition to this interesting car there are three of the normal Formula 1 B.R.M. cars for the team of Bonnier, Schell and Flockhart. The Cooper transporter has not returned to England after the Lisbon race, journeying by easy stages to Monza and rebuilding the cars while the engine from the crashed car and another were flown home for revision. At Monza the remains of Brabham’s crashed car are still in the van and the engine is built into a spare chassis.
This car is fitted with a gearbox having a modified oiling system, whereby a gear type oil pump is driven off the rear of the gearbox. The other two cars have the earlier type of gearbox oil pump driven from skew gears on the side of the box, both systems using the old drip-feed oil tank as a reservoir for the circulating system. Of the private Coopers at Monza the Maserati-engined one of CT Atkins, driven by Fairman, has this latest Cooper gearbox and oiling system. With Gregory still convalescing after his TT crash, Brabham and McLaren are joined for this race by the Italian driver Scarlatti. The two Walker-Coopers are the same as used in Portugal by Moss and Trintignant, their transporter going direct to Italy, where the cars are prepared for the race. Aston Martin has three of their six-cylinder Formula 1 cars, the third one being a spare for training for Salvadori and Shelby, while Lotus has taken all the mechanical components off the car that Graham Hill crashed at Lisbon, and built them into an earlier Formula 1 chassis that they have used at the beginning of the season, which he has driven so well At Zandvoort, and Ireland retained his same car. Against this strong British entry are ranged five cars from the Scuderia Ferrari, all more or less identical and unchanged from previous races, with Brooks, Phil Hill, Gurney, Allison and Gendebien as drivers, while Centro-Sud enters their two Cooper-Maseratis for Colin Davis and Burgess, these two cars still having old type Cooper gearboxes now modified to the drip-feed oil system controlled by a cable, as used on the works cars at Zandvoort. To complete the entry the Swiss driver Volonteris enters his 250F Maserati for Cabianca to drive, and Scarlatti enters the recently completed Tec-Mec Maserati-engined Special, but it failed to materialise.
On Friday, 11th September 1959, during the first day of official practice at the Monza Circuit, Brabham, Brooks and Moss beat the road circuit record. Stirling Moss, with his Cooper-Climax, sets a lap time of 1'39"7 at the astonishing average speed of 207.622 kph (approximately 129.010 mph), establishing a new record on the road circuit; Tony Brooks sets a 1'40"1 at an average speed of 206.793 kph (approximately 128.495 mph) and the Australian Jack Brabham (Cooper) is a little below, with a 1'40"2 at the average speed of 206.586 kph (approximately 128.366 mph). Gendebien sets an excellent time with his Ferrari too, a 1’41"4. These fights against the clock are a blessing to all the fans, and especially a very important basis for the technicians of the several teams who, after the end of the practice sessions, can make adjustments to the mechanics of the cars, in order to allow their drivers to gain the necessary fractions of a second to keep the pace of their faster opponents. The three protagonists of the Grand Prix come up with exploits worthy of their fame. Jack Brabham, the leader of the ranking, starts, Moss responds by dropping exactly one second, and lastly the Ferrari ace matches his compatriot’s fastest lap. Afterwards, Stirling Moss displays a sensational feat. What surprises the most is the fact that if the British driver was already known to be great, what nobody thought is that the Cooper could be able to offer such extraordinary performances also in terms of pure speed. The practice sessions, as known, count for only so much, but on Friday evening, in the racing circles, only a few people dare to still swear that the Ferraris are uncatchable. It’s clear that the situation is a little bit different from the days before, when, even giving full credit to the British cars, they were considered unsuitable for 200 kph average speed tracks.
The progresses made by John Copper’s extraordinary single-seaters are, race after race, surprising. The title fight between Brabham and Brooks appears to be dependent on the possibilities of the mechanical means more than ever. These possibilities don’t concern only the speed qualities of the cars, but more than ever their resistance. To race for more than two hours at an average speed of 200 kph, without any mechanical failure, it’s a technical matter of fundamental importance. Once the race is over, it will be possible to say confidently that the winning car is truly the best of the whole season. No wonder that Brabham spends a lot of time in close contact with the men from Weber to fine-tune the carburettors of the Climax engine in the best possible way, while McLaren keeps on putting in a lap after another to learn the track. Among the other contenders, the Aston Martins run smoothly, but the stopwatch for David Brown’s team is merciless: they seem to be out of any aspiration to victory right from the start. The Lotus cars seem to have some difficulties too, just like in the rest of the season; however, Graham Hill takes advantage from the involuntary tow given by Gendebien on Ferrari, successfully reaching the top positions. With these premises, and while waiting for the last practice session of the day, the 30th Italian Grand Prix attracts an interest that has actually almost never been lacking in the long history of Europe's top competition. This time, there’s an Italian car brand that desperately defends itself from the massive attack carried out by the constructors from the other side of the Channel, while there were once Italian drivers in contention for the World title as well. This is the only reason for regret for some now distant Monza days.
On Saturday, 12th September 1959, the two practice sessions, ended at dusk, raise a problem which is not new, but that seemed to have been overcome already: that of the tyres. The exceptional speeds reached by the most successful drivers (with Moss who, at the wheel of the Cooper, repeats the feat made on Friday: average speed of 207.622 kph on a single lap, and a little lower time is set by Brooks with the Ferrari) are the causes for the engineers’ concerns, not so much about the tyre grip, but about the tyre tread wear which reveal very high degradation on all the fastest cars. By calculating the degree of abrasion of the tread rubber layer, it’s possible to predict the need to change at least the set of rear tyres, and maybe also the front left tyre, at mid-race or shortly afterwards. So, this situation doesn’t allow to base the predictions neither off the official lap times from the practice sessions - already relatively indicative - nor off all the other matters put forward in the previous days to try to identify the possibilities of the cars from various brands gathered in Monza for this perhaps decisive round (under consideration is, however, to carry out the United States Grand Prix, whose organisers wander around the pits). The expected pitstops to change tyres are going to turn into a speed race among the mechanics of rival teams, and the key to success can therefore lie in the arms of these dark, modest men in overalls. In addition, the tyre attachment system on the Cooper - the most fearsome of the British cars - doesn’t allow for as much tyre change speed as the one adopted by Ferrari. It’s a simple mechanical detail, which can however be determinant as things stand. As already mentioned, Moss repeats the extraordinary exploit made on the first day of practice, scoring a 1’39"7 lap time, for which, however, he pays a price: shortly afterwards, his Cooper breaks down (it’s said to be a broken gearbox, an engine failure). Overnight, the team’s mechanics will fix the car, but many question the resistance of the small British single-seater, when driven at such speed limits.
Positive notes come from Ferrari instead, with a brilliant Brooks who conquers the second place with a lap time of 1’39"8, while Gurney sets the fourth time (1'40"8) on the summary ranking of the two practice sessions, preceded by Jack Brabham, who finishes with a 1’40”2. During the second session scheduled for Saturday the Walker Team try out several technical solutions on Moss’ single-seater, especially related to the rear hubs, while B.R.M. continue to test their new car presented during the week. It’s a hot day, so in the central hours none of the drivers dares to challenge the burning hot Monza asphalt and they all wait for the last hour of practice to attempt an attack at the pole position. Taking turns, both Ferraris try to take away the first place from Stirling Moss: Gurney gets on track first, then Brooks, followed by Allison, Phil Hill and Gendebien, all of them scoring good lap times but not quite enough to start on pole. It needs to be highlighted that from this year, in Monza, the three-two-three line-up on the grid is used, instead of the previous four-three-four. The second row is made up of Gurney and Phil Hill. The two Ferrari drivers precede teammates Gendebien and Allison, respectively sixth and eighth, with Schell between the two being the first B.R.M. McLaren on Cooper and Hill on Lotus, both occupying the fourth row, then eleventh is Bonnier, followed by Scarlatti in twelfth, who in turn precedes Trintignant. Sixth row for Ireland and Flockhart, lagging behind their teammates: however, the real disappointment among the factory teams is Aston Martin, the recent winner of the Brands Championship, whose drivers qualify in seventeenth and nineteenth position, even behind single-seaters from private teams. Among these, it’s worth pointing out the satisfactory performance of Scuderia Centro Sud that with their two Cooper-Maseratis T51 qualify in sixteenth and eighteenth position with Burgess and Davis. At the back of the grid there are Fairman of the team High Efficiency Motors and Giulio Cabianca of Scuderia Ugolini, who drives an obsolete Maserati 250F, with almost a twelve-second gap to Moss.
On Sunday, 13th September 1959, the usual drivers parade, being in Italy, consists of several Piaggio Vespa coming from all around Europe. The event lasts more than expected, therefore the start of the race is delayed by about twenty minutes compared to the official scheduled time. For the 30th edition of the Italian Grand Prix there are seventy-two laps planned, two more than the previous year, to be sure to exceed the two-hour racing time, essential element for a World Championship race. After a long lunch period and a vast parade of Vespa Scooters from Vespa Clubs from all over Europe, including three stalwarts from Great Britain, the serious business of the Italian Grand Prix gets under way. The race should have started at 3 pm but it is nearly 20 minutes later before all is set and the cars are lined up in the order shown below in rows of three-two-three this year, whereas previously it has been four-three-four. In view of an anticipated increase in average speed the race length is extended from 70 laps to 72 laps, so that the total time will be certain to be longer than the two hours minimum laid down in the rules for Championship races. As the flag falls and the 21 cars surge forward a cloud of smoke comes from the back of Brooks’ Ferrari and the Coopers on each side of him shoots ahead. The Ferrari is accelerating, but slowly, and cars are passing poor Brooks on all sides, and while the field roars away towards the Curve Grande and Lesmo he comes to rest with a broken piston, and Ferrari’s main hope of victory is gone. He is not alone in trouble on this opening lap, for Fairman stalls and has to be restarted, and two more Coopers are in trouble, Trintignant with his throttle linkage come adrift and Scarlatti with his gear-lever connection broken, so that they both come into the pits at the end of the lap.
Out in front Moss is leading Phil Hill, Brabham and Gurney, followed by Schell, Gendebien, Ireland, Allison, Graham Hill and the rest, with McLaren way back after a poor start. On lap two Moss lets Hill to take the lead and is content to sit behind and lets the Ferrari set the pace, conserving his tyres by taking the corners gently and catching the Ferrari up again on acceleration. The race is already breaking up into groups, Hill, Moss, Gurney and Brabham in group one, followed by Gendebien, Schell, Ireland and Allison in the next group, then McLaren, Bonnier and Salvadori, and the rest already way behind with Trintignant and Scarlatti trying to make up for their pit stops, while Graham Hill retires the Lotus with clutch trouble. Fairman is soon in the pits with misfiring and then Ireland joined him, and meanwhile the four leaders are still nose-to-tail, Moss taking the lead on lap four and giving it back on lap five, weighing-up the Ferrari opposition as he does so. By lap eight Brabham decides to ease off and save his tyres, as well as to give his gearbox-change speed gears an easier time, and Allison and McLaren are moving up fast, after being hemmed in during the opening laps. Already the tail-enders are lapped and the average speed is well over 200kph (approximately 124mph), and the Ferrari-Cooper-Ferrari trio are still pressing on. From lap 10 to lap 20 the scene at the head of the race is unchanged, the distance covering the three cars being the same all the time, so that it is clear that the two American Ferrari drivers can do nothing about getting rid of Moss and the Walker-Cooper, and by the relaxed way he is driving it seems that Moss is content to run his race at the speed of Hill’s Ferrari and no more, banking on the fact that they are wearing their tyres out faster than he is.
Allison takes fourth place from Brabham and then McLaren catches his team-mate and the two of them are content to cruise round together and await developments, for the race is still young. Salvadori is going well, in spite of still being bandaged after the TT fire, and is closing his Aston Martin on Schell’s BRM, while Fairman and Ireland both retire after numerous pit stops. From lap 20 to lap 30 this cat-and-mouse game between the Cooper and the two Ferraris continues, and one feels that if it is going to develop into a battle of nerves and waiting for the other driver to make a mistake, Moss can’t fail to be victorious. On lap 23 McLaren disappears when a piston collapses and the rod comes through the side, so the order is Hill, Moss, Gurney, Allison, Brabham, Gendebien, Bonnier, Schell and Salvadori, the rest being lapped. At the end of lap 33 the Scuderia Ferrari throws away all hope of victory for Phil Hill is called in to change the rear wheels, which is done in a remarkably quick time so that he is off again in fourth place before Brabham appears. On the next lap Gurney is in and all four wheels are changed, so that Moss is now on his own, followed by Allison, who is not close enough to cause trouble, and when he goes into the pits for changing tyres on lap 36 it is all over. Within the space of three laps the Ferrari team removes all the pressure from Moss, leaving him way out on his own. Gendebien also changes his wheels, on lap 38, so that there is now no Ferrari within striking distance, and none of them has any hope of catching up for they have been unable to lap any faster than Moss during the opening stages. Of course, it is assumed that Moss will have to stop to change tyres, but he is conserving rubber during this opening phase of the race by letting Phil Hill set the pace and can now ease off just that small amount which will make all the difference to the tyre wear.
The order is now Moss, Hill, Brabham, Gurney, Allison, on the same lap, followed by Bonnier, Salvadori, Gendebien who is making up for his stop, Schell and Trintignant, the others being way behind. As a race the whole thing now developed into a farce, with the Ferrari team following helplessly in the wake of the Walker-Cooper, unable to do anything about it and realising, as lap after lap goes by, that they are stopping all their cars at the same time. It is obvious that Moss now has no intention of stopping for tyres and has led the entire Ferrari team into a trap, and they play right into his hands. It is a perfect case of Moss suiting the strategy and his decisions to the pattern of the race as it develops in the opening laps. With Brooks out on lap one his real danger is gone, and once Moss finds he can cope with Hill and Gurney without straining himself he can play his own game. The only unknown factor now is the reliability of the Cooper, but as it goes on lap after lap as regularly as a clock it is clear that Moss has victory in his grasp, and though Hill occasionally gains a second or two he has no hope of getting to grips with Moss again, while Gurney can’t catch Brabham. On lap 57 Moss laps Allison, who is in fifth place, but then lets him get ahead again and stays with him for a number of laps as if to relieve the boredom of touring round on his own, but on lap 66 he accelerates away from the Ferrari and carries on on his own. Apart from Gendebien passing Bonnier and Schell and getting back into sixth place, and Salvadori blowing his engine up, the procession lacks any real interest and Moss leads the field home at a new record average speed, still with ample tread left on his tyres, whereas Brabham in third place has worn his tyres dangerously thin. It is in such matters as the ability to go fast and conserve his tyres, and to plan the strategy of his actions while he is racing, that makes Moss the great artist that he is.
Stirling Moss, at the wheel of the English Cooper, wins the 30th Italian Grand Prix in Monza, with a record-breaking average speed of 200 kph. The success of the great British driver has basically been undisputed, mostly due to his very high class, but also largely due to a half expected, half unexpected factor, namely the tyres. Stirling Moss’ win is flawless, in a way even easy, but it leaves a sour taste in the mouth of tens of thousands of spectators who, in the absence of Italian champions in the race, have at least hoped for the win of an Italian car. Many, in the morning newspapers, had read that the tyres would be the decisive factor, in the sense that the fastest cars would be forced to pit to change two or more tyres from mid-race onwards, worn out by the dizzying 200 kph average pace. Thus, when the four Ferrari drivers still on track (except Brooks, unable to start due to a clutch failure) have pitted one after the other to change tyres, there was no concern about the fact that Stirling Moss was meanwhile leading all alone, and that Brabham had in the meantime also recovered the third place. They thought that the Cooper drivers would be forced to pit too, and at least things would balance themselves out. On the contrary, the tread wear of the tyres mounted on the light British cars has turned out to be far less than the one experienced by the Ferraris, and their drivers have been able to finish the race safely without the slightest worry and risk. Clearly, the engineers of the British teams had done their calculations during the practice sessions, as the ones in Ferrari had done as well, with the difference that the latter were quick to suggest that they had the same concerns about tyre grip.
From this the general mistake and the big surprise. Only the Ferraris have been forced to pit, while neither the Coopers nor the B.R.M.s and the Aston Martins have had such inconveniences, even though on all cars racing, without distinction, the tyre brand and measures were the same. The technical reasons behind the different behaviour have to be investigated not only in the greater weight of the Ferraris, but also in their suspension characteristics. And therefore, the second place obtained by Hill is not enough to avoid the first verdict of the season because, exactly in Italy, the Cooper-Climax is crowned Constructors World Champion with 38 valid points out of the 45 conquered. Vice-champion is the Scuderia from Maranello, with 32 valid points out of 34 obtained. The second defeat after the one got at the end of the Tourist Trophy. Behind them, in third place, B.R.M. with 18 points, fourth is Lotus, with only 3 points. For these two teams is not necessary to consider the discarded results (each team retained only the best five results obtained during the season). The Drivers Championship is a matter among three drivers: however, Brooks is now in third place with an eight-point gap to Brabham, and the hope of winning is only mathematically backed up, whereas Stirling Moss’ situation is far more interesting. The British driver, after switching several teams in the first part of the season, has found a certain stability from mid-July onwards after joining the Rob Walker Racing Team. From that moment on, Moss has become unstoppable: four races, two wins and a second place. Performances of absolute importance have boosted the quotations of the talented English driver, who now chases after Brabham, from whom he has a gap of 5.5. points.
As for Brabham, today third at the chequered flag, with the 4 points obtained in Monza rises to 31 points in the standings. A really exciting first part of the season allows him to manage the lead, remaining the number one candidate for the title, since there’s only one Grand Prix left - provided that it actually takes place – which is the United States Grand Prix, to be held in Sebring on 12th December 1959. So there are still many months ahead before the potential American round, therefore all the factors and the balances emerged from the last races can be overturn. And as already happened in some previous seasons, nothing is impossible for the three title contenders. In the meantime, while waiting for further developments, on Monday, 14th September 1959, lawyer Giacomo Cuoghi sends a long letter to the Deputy Public Prosecutor of Mantua Mario Luberto, in anticipation of the interrogation that the judge would conduct shortly with Enzo Ferrari related to the trial regarding the Guidizzolo tragedy. This is Ferrari’s defence memory, detailed, precise, accurate, aimed at proving his client’s non-involvement, that is to say, certain considerations, suggested to him by a meditated examination of the investigative acts, since he is convinced that from the answers to be given by Ferrari, as well as from the reflections summarised in this writing, he will be able to draw the reasons to give a definitive verdict in this trial, by means of a sentence of full acquittal. With abundance of information and attaching also a technical report signed by a professor from the Faculty of Science of the University of Genoa, Cuoghi tries to dismantle the entire indictment.
"Nothing more needs to be added, except to emphasise that Scuderia Ferrari has taken part in the 24th Mille Miglia with five cars. Of these (not considering the Marquis De Portago’s car) three have finished in the first three positions, by driving on track at a higher speed than any other competitor. None of these cars, despite the impressive distance covered and the speeds held, has suffered tread separations, even though three of them were of the same type and fitted with the same tyres with the same inflation pressures"”.
Translated by Chiara Cavina