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#93 1960 European and Italian Grand Prix

2021-10-07 00:00

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#1960,

#93 1960 European and Italian Grand Prix

Domenica 4 Settembre 1960 si disputa a Monza il Gran Premio d’Italia, che per quest’occasione prende il nome di Gran Premio d’Europa. Gli organizzator

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Sunday, September 4, 1960 the Italian Grand Prix is held in Monza, which for this occasion takes the name of European Grand Prix. The organizers opted for the layout that includes elevated curves, used in 1955 and 1956. In 1955 Fangio won with a Mercedes-Benz over a distance of 500 kilometers with an average speed of 206,791 km/h, after the German manufacturer had carried out numerous tests and worked on the suspension geometry to adapt the machine to the very high speeds of the elevated curves. In 1956 Moss won the race of the same distance with an average speed of 208.787 km/h in a new model of Maserati 250F with blocks under the springs useful to slightly lift the car to avoid that the tank was damaged by the bumps on the elevated.

 

One of the biggest problems to solve to adapt the car to the characteristics of the track concerns the tires, as the models of the tread and the pressure suitable for the sectors of the road circuit are different from those suitable for the elevated curves and vice-versa. The solution is to find a compromise, a balance between the two extremes. On the 10 km circuit the pit stops for changing tires will be essential. Since 1956 the situation has changed a lot: among the teams that took part in the race, so Ferrari, Maserati, Vanwall, Connaught and Gordini, only Ferrari will compete this year, while the other teams have long since abandoned Formula 1. The new entries Lotus, Cooper and B.R.M. are not willing to participate because of the characteristics of the mixed track, and met to announce their absence in the event that the same was not changed.

 

The British argue that the characteristics of the Monzese track are not suitable for their light machines, designed for flat curved circuits, where much less stress is on the chassis, and in particular on the suspensions. In such conditions, they say, the very fast elevated corners could represent a danger for the drivers. The organizers of the Automobile Club of Milan reacted firmly. First of all, claiming that the Monza track is the safest one known; then that the British had been informed of the change of route compared to the past since April, while only invitations issued had raised these exceptions; Finally, if across the Channel they could not compete in Monza with the Ferrari, they were also at home. To change the path would not even be the case to talk. Actually, Cooper, Lotus and B.R.M. are designed with special criteria of lightness and structure that make them unsuitable for certain uses, so the concerns of manufacturers can also be legitimate, but technically this was not considered sufficient.

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The complaint is in contrast with the same spirit of motor sport: the races are held - they must be held - in the most different tracks, precisely to give the opportunity to judge the mechanical means from the complex of their seasonal performance. To increase the number of participants, the Italian Automobile Club opened the competition also to Formula 2 single-seaters, allowing the fast Ferrari and Porsche to experiment waiting for the 1961 season, which will see the advent of the new 1.5-liter single-seater. Scuderia Ferrari presents its cars under the acronym SEFAC, the official name of the Ferrari industry since it was made a public company. The Modena team will take part with three F1 V6 Dino 246 with front engine, driven by Phil Hill, Richie Ginther and Willy Mairesse, including that of Ginther with a longer wheelbase. Wolfgang von Trips will instead be at the wheel of the F2 V6 Dino 156 with rear engine. A week before the race Ferrari had tried the new rear-engined F1 and the results were satisfactory, but racing it at the Monza Grand Prix without a direct competitor would have been counterproductive.

 

It was then up to decide which of the four drivers would occupy the seat. But since Porsche will also participate with two F2, driven by Hermann and Barth, Ferrari decides to support him von Trips, to make the three Germans compete directly. The two classic 1960 Porsche is joined by a third, the ex-Behra Colotti Special that Camoradi is trying to sell to the American Roy Colet, then driven by Camoradi driver Fred Gamble. The Scuderia Eugenio Castellotti participates with two Cooper-Ferraris, with 1959 Cooper chassis, four-cylinder engine derived from the old Ferrari SuperSqualo and five-speed gearbox Colotti. At the wheel of the two cars there will be the Italians Cabianca and Munaron. The other Italian Scuderia, Centro-Sud, with the main purpose of introducing new young drivers into the sport, will participate with two Cooper-Maserati driven by Scarlatti and Alfonso Thiele, with the latter for the first time driving a single-seater but with great experience on the Monzese circuit driving the Ferrari and Abarth GTs.

 

The rest of the grid is occupied by private owners, including Naylor with his JBW Maserati, Arthur Owen with his 2.2-liter Cooper-Climax green color, and Gould with his old Maserati 250F. To complete the list of participants other private single-seater F2: Seidel with his Cooper-Climax (set aside the idea of participating with his Porsche), Piero Drogo with the Cooper-Climax owned by von Trips and his Scuderia Colonia, and finally Wilson with the Cooper-Climax of Gibson.  Ferrari should have no difficulty in imposing themselves (and they would certainly have had excellent chances even in front of the official single-seaters of the English Houses); it will be interesting the comparison between the Cooper of Scuderia Castellotti, which have Ferrari engines, and those of the Scuderia Centro-Sud, powered by Maserati; above all, the fight between the six Formula 2 cars will be exciting. Drivers will have to cover 50 laps of the circuit, for a total of 500 exact kilometers. The race is valid for the World Championship, but in this respect it no longer has any importance, since Jack Brabham has now largely secured, for the second time in a row, the title of World Champion.

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As it was imaginable the tests do not tell us anything new and the result of both sessions on Friday and Saturday is the same as everyone had planned. The Ferrari F1 helps the homonymous F2 offering their wake and helping them to record the fastest laps of those results from the performance of the Porsche. The Center-South participate only in the Saturday tests and so also Naylor, while Gould is forced to give up the whole weekend due to problems on his Maserati, which is not intended to light up. In the box Ferrari raises a wave of complaints and the cars of Modena resume to turn only after accepting the apologies of senior officers. Of course, the three Ferrari F1 cars are the fastest and they earn the top positions on the grid for the start, while the two Centro-Sud cars fight each other for the second row.

 

On Sunday the sky is covered by clouds and a cold breeze overwhelms the many spectators on the stands, while the track condition is ideal for drivers. The sixteen cars line up on the grid, organized differently than usual: in rows of 3-2-3 instead of 4-3-4, given the decision to use only half the width of the track on the starting straight. When the national flag drops, fourteen cars start, while Cabianca and Munaron stand still having installed the Ferrari engine of their Cooper. The mechanics manage to push the cars and to start the race of the two drivers only when the rest of the participants has already reached the Lesmo curve.

 

As the cars roll past the pits at the end of the first lap, Ginther is in charge, followed by Phil Hill, Scarlatti, and Mairesse, ready to slow down to help Trips, stuck behind the two Porsches. Munaron and Cabianca have already recovered ground, while Owen crashes into the barriers due to the malfunction of the brakes, being catapulted from the seat but fortunately coming out unscathed. On the elevated curves Ginther and Hill gain a foothold from the rest of the group. Mairesse is passed by Naylor in fourth position while trying to respect the plan established within the Ferrari team the night before: the two Americans should have kept the lead, while the Belgian should have slowed down to give way to the Ferrari F2; Midway through the race, Ginther and Mairesse were expected to switch positions and Phil Hill was expected to take the lead of the Grand Prix, with Ginther pulling out of the F2 and Mairesse ready to take back any positions he had previously lost.

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If the plan had worked, the Ferraris would have finished in first, second, third and fourth position; a hypothetical extraordinary result for the Maranello team. The Porsche team could have foreseen the rivals' plan, but did not expect the four drivers to be willing to cooperate for the good of the team. On the second lap Trips passes Herrmann and Bart, Mairesse gives him the wake and the first part of the strategy is successfully implemented. For half lap the two Porsches hold the pace of the two Ferraris respectively in fourth and fifth position, but slowly lose seconds until they can no longer enjoy the wake. On the fourth lap Scarlatti stopped at the pits for a pedal problem at the ccelerator. Mairesse and Trips passed Naylor in third, and so did Munaron in his Cooper-Ferrari after having already gained position on the two Porsches.

 

The Ferraris covered the first four positions, followed by Munaron, Naylor, Herrmann, Barth and Cabianca. On the fifth lap Cabianca passes the two Porsches, which once again without a wake can not keep up with the competition. Munaron prevails to ruin Ferrari’s strategy, overtaking Mairesse and Trips and earning third place. The battle between the three continues for a few laps and only on the seventh Munaron manages to review the two Ferrari drivers and gain a good gap that can ensure, for the moment, the third position, despite the numerous attempts of Mairesse to keep up without stopping to offer the trail to the companion. Meanwhile Ginther and Hill are already rounding the cars in the queue. Scarlatti is back in the race but is late one lap after the long pit stop.

 

Around lap 10, Ginther and Hill were separated by just one second and had a 75-second lead from Cabianca, who was 9 seconds ahead of Mairesse and Trips, who had gone over Munaron in the meantime. Mairesse is still forced to slow down behind Cooper-Ferrari to allow his team-mate to take advantage of his trail, but the strategy proves, at least for now, successful, given the great gap gained on the two Porsches, surpassed also by Thiele. Already voiced instead Drogo, Seidel, Gamble, Scarlatti and Wilson, with Seidel and Gamble engaged in a wonderful battle. During the sixteenth lap Munaron placed between Mairesse and Trips, with the Belgian forced to slow down to respect the strategy of Scuderia Ferrari and to leave more space to Cooper-Ferrari, now in fourth position. Ginther returns to the pits and in a very fast pit stop new rear tires are fitted.

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Back on track he finds himself in second place, but only for a lap, because in the next also Hill returns to the pit lane to change the rear tires and the front right. Hill is now 25 seconds from Ginther, time accumulated also because of the mistake made by the American in the restart from the pit lane that led him to stall the engine of his Ferrari. Ginther is almost engaged in the dubbing of Trips, in fifth position. Mairesse stops at the pits for a tyre change. The two Ferrari F2 cars thus remain open on the track but are far from the two Porsches, engaged in a continuous exchange of positions. On the twenty-first lap the order of the ranking sees in the lead Richie Ginther, followed by Phil Hill, Giulio Cabianca, Gino Munaron and Wolfgang von Trips; then, with a lap of delay follow Bryan Naylor, Alfonso Thiele, Edgar Barth, Hans Herrmann and Willy Mairesse.

 

On the next lap Cabianca stops to refuel and change the rear tires, but the pit stop is too long. Mairesse passes the two Porsches. On lap 23 Ginther double also Trips but leaves to the teammate the opportunity to enjoy his wake; also Hill approaches the two and is ready to pass them to take the leadership of the Grand Prix, as was established by Scuderia Ferrari’s strategy. On the same lap, Munaron stopped to refuel and replace a rear tyre. On lap 25, mid-race, the order of the standings sees Ginther in the lead, followed by Hill, then the dubbed Trips, Naylor, Mairesse, and the two Porsches of Herrmann and Barth attacked by Cabianca. Scarlatti had reached the ninth position but was then forced to stop at the pits to refuel. The Italian driver, returning to the track, is immediately involved in a battle with the other two private F2.

 

So far there has been only one other withdrawal other than Owen’s initial one, involved in an accident during the first lap, and it was up to Wilson on the Cooper F2, during the twenty-third lap due to the engine failure, but in the next eight laps three more cars will be forced to leave the race: Munaron due to a loss of oil, during the twenty-seventh lap, and the two Cooper-Maserati Thiele - during the thirty-second lap, due to the breakage of the gearbox - and Scarlatti, during lap 26 due to engine failure. On lap 26, Phil Hill took the lead of the race and Ginther continued to offer a wake to the Ferrari F2, despite having a lap ahead of his teammates. Mairesse is in fourth position and is gaining second. Cabianca also gains ground, and during the twenty-eighth lap he manages to pass Mairesse, who makes a mistake and goes a long way.

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Ginther waits for him to give him the trail, leaving Trips uncovered and helpless. On lap thirty-two, Ginther went back to the pits for a tyre change, and on lap thirty-three, Barth imitated him to refuel his Porsche. The mechanics are quick and both manage to maintain their position. Two laps later Herrmann also went back into the pits and the team was just as fast. On the thirty-fifth lap it was Hill’s turn to change the front and rear left tire: even the Ferrari mechanics proved impeccable and Hill returned to the track keeping the first position. The next lap is Mairesse’s turn. Naylor stops in turn to refuel and so does Gamble, but shortly after their return to the track both find themselves in trouble. Seven laps later, only nine laps to go, the Maserati gearbox of Naylor broke and forced the driver to retire. Gamble stops instead for a problem at the gas pump; returning to the pits, however, he manages to solve the problem and finish the race.

 

Meanwhile, the pit lane is still chaotic: on lap 38 the pit stop is up to Drogo to fill up the petrol and the 39th to Trips to solve an uncertainty on the condition of the rear wheels: these are still considered in good condition and the German driver is given the green light to finish the race. The short stop of the Ferrari driver, however, allows Cabianca to take the fourth position, ruining the plan of the Maranello team. On lap 42, Mairesse stopped unexpectedly, causing transmission problems, but the mechanics sent him back to the track to finish the race with a lap behind his team-mate and leader of the Grand Prix, Phil Hill. The American driver completed the 50 laps in a new time and with a new average speed record (212,534 km/h), becoming the first American to win an official Grand Prix in Europe after Jimmy Murphy. Ginther comes second: two Americans are ranked in the first two places, never successful in the history of the Italian Grand Prix.

 

Following in order of arrival Mairesse, Cabianca and Trips, first among the single-seaters of F2. With a lap of delay arrive the two Porsche F2 of Herrmann and Barth, who cross the finish line at the same time, but the lead is given to the first of the two German drivers. The three private F2 followed, with Drogo in the lead after driving an excellent race at his first presence at a Grand Prix. Seidel and Gamble then closed. As was not difficult to predict, the machines produced in Maranello have largely dominated: they went very well without having the slightest difficulty, but having to proceed, at regular intervals, to the double change of the rear wheels, whose tires had suffered a strong wear, caused and speed (the double circuit of Monza allows higher averages than any other existing) and the violent friction on the elevated curves, which are covered at no less than 240 km/h.

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In the lack of comparison with the British Formula 1 cars, these forced stops would have had a considerable weight, provided that Cooper, Lotus and B.R.M. were not in the same conditions. But these are theoretical hypotheses advanced out of the scruple of objectivity, certainly not to diminish the demonstration of efficiency offered by Italian machines, the progress of which should not have escaped the watchful observers. Even in that kind of race in the race run by the smallest Formula 2 cars, the Maranello single-seater had the better. Italian cars have improved a lot, after the unhappy performances in the first Grands Prix of the season. On the other hand, the average of Phil Hill, although very high, does not improve that achieved in 1956 by just four kilometers. Now, there is no doubt that the average would have been without another higher if there had been a fight and if the Ferrari drivers had not stopped twice each at the boxes for the change of the rear wheels.

 

It was a shame, however, because this was the occasion of the last direct confrontation of Formula 1 cars, given the imminent change of regulation. Other positive notes of the day concern the behavior of Italian drivers, finally in the race in front of their audience: first Giulio Cabianca, fourth classified on the Cooper-Castellotti; then the brave, even if the showdown very unlucky, test of Gino Munaron and Giorgio Scarlatti, animators of the early stages of the Grand Prix of Europe and Italy. In many respects, greater interest has presented the Inter-Europe Cup, held by GT cars before the European Grand Prix and Italian. Many well-known runners were involved in the race, and in the various classes very high averages were achieved.

 

Among all, the young Carlo Mario Abate from Turin, a rider not new to the claims, stood out, but perhaps he had never given so clear demonstration of his skill, which is made of authentic class, style, full mastery of the mechanical vehicle. The Ferrari 3000 GT is certainly not a car for everyone, but Abate has shown how you can exploit it to the limit of possibilities without putting it out of use or risking beyond the limits. Very good, even if less fortunate, the tests of Miro Toselli, who lost the second place due to the sudden drop in the engine, and the always admirable Ada Pace, who after leading for a long time to the UDO class, He saw his efforts undone by a simple failure of the accelerator pedal.

 

Modena, the capital of racing cars, also has a racetrack that, small and compact as it is, offers spectacular features of the first order, being able to follow from the stands and from any other location the entire development of the track. Unfortunately, after a very promising start and the organization of interesting Grand Prix, particular local situations have determined a progressive decay of the plant, so much so that at a certain moment the conditions of the asphalt have not allowed even the test pilots of the Modena Houses to use it without danger. Finally, the crisis has been overcome, and the circuit of the city of Ghirlandina, after the decisive restoration works is now perfectly suited to host a long-distance race.

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Sunday, October 2, 1960 is held the sixth edition of the Modena Grand Prix, valid for the Formula 2 championship, and for the first time the field of competitors will be dominated by foreign participation. In the scheduled competition, in fact, of the twelve cars in the race, only one will be Italian: precisely the Ferrari of Wolfgang von Trips, already winner of the two most accredited Formula 2 races. The other eleven cars will represent the sports industry across the border: will be in the race the two official Porsches, the two official Lotus, the special Lotus of Stirling Moss, the Cooper-Climax of the Belgian national team and the cars of the team Center-South. Equally, for the first time in the history of the race there will be only one Italian driver on the track: it is Giorgio Scarlatti. The task of Scarlatti will be very hard as it will be faced with champions such as Moss, Ireland, Bonnier, Gendebien, Trintignant and the multiple world champion of motorcycling John Surtees.

 

The first two editions of the Modena Grand Prix were won by Ferrari, both by Alberto Ascari. The third Grand Prix of Modena saw another Italian success, that of Luigi Villoresi still on Ferrari. The other two successes went to Maserati, first with Juan Manuel Fangio and then with Jean Behra. It was thought that the European and Italian Grand Prix, held in Monza, had practically ended the international car season, and instead it will have a quite interesting appendix also on the renewed Modena Autodrome, with a comparison of cars and drivers at the highest level. Ferrari, Lotus, Cooper, Porsche will be racing on the spectacular Modena track (finally refurbished after a period of decay, and improved safety, a time not entirely satisfactory), driven by a team of aces. Starting with Stirling Moss, who comes to Italy preceded by a bad press, after the well-known events that led to the defection of the British at the Italian Grand Prix: Moss was on that occasion harshly attacked as alleged responsible for the incident.

 

It is not difficult to imagine that in Modena the London ace will fight with particular polemical commitment, also determined to conclude by his part a particularly unlucky season, also known his serious accident in June in Belgium. If Stirling Moss will be the target of all, at least as much responsibility falls to Ferrari, which after several years returns to compete on the home track, where his cars are tested for some time. The 1500 Ferrari with rear engine is perhaps the most successful F2 of the moment: he demonstrated it at Monza and especially at the Solitude circuit. He will have Trips as drivers, the most close-knit of the Scuderia Ferrari drivers with this car, and the American Ginther, who from the Maranello team has also become the official test driver. The patrol of the participants (twelve in all, as wisely prescribes the rules of the race: those in supernumerary will think the tests to eliminate), also includes John Surtees, the great ace of motorcycling that in the transition to the four wheels has proven to be at the height of the strongest; the young decided Ireland and Tony Marsh.

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All three of these British drivers will be at the wheel of the Lotus. Then Trintignant, Seidel and the Portuguese Cabrai on Cooper-Climax; Giorgio Scarlatti on Cooper-Maserati; Burgess on Lotus-Maserati; Bonnier, Herrmann and Barth on Porsche, cars less powerful than the Italian and English liters and half, but very maneuverable. The track of the Modena Autodrome is just 2366 meters long: a serpentine of extreme commitment, where the resources of the driver perhaps count more than the efficiency of the mechanical vehicle. The Grand Prix of Modena is held on a distance of 100 laps, equivalent to 236,600 kilometers. The start of the race sees the dominance of Bonnier, while behind him are the men of the highest class or in possession of the most efficient cars: Ginther, Trips, Barth and Stirling Moss, at the wheel of Lotus. Then Moss went on the offensive and managed to climb up to third position after the two Ferraris, but immediately paid the price of this exploit with the withdrawal, caused by an irreparable failure to the valves. This is the 21st round.

 

Then Ginther, the second Ferrari driver, driving a conventional front-engine car, takes the lead with very strong action, while Trips contains the attacks (apparently with ease) of Bonnier. We are beginning to think that the race must go on ragged, despite the fact that the average continues to rise (from the initial 137 km/h passes, after a third race, to over 139 km/h), when Trips overtakes Ginther, and almost simultaneously also Bonnier starts the attack and beats the American, engaging a violent fight with Trips. At first he resists, then the bearded Joakim Bonnier manages to put the wheels of his Porsche in front of those delta Ferrari, with a overtaking to remove the flate. The electrifying phase of the race begins at this point. The two drivers give a high school test and now one hour the other leads, repeatedly beating the lap record, until both reach the limit of 59 seconds net to cover the 2366 meters of the track, time corresponding to the average of 144.365 km/ h (Trips to the seventy-eighth and Bonnier to the eighty-seventh lap).

 

At the eighty-seventh lap you have the feeling that the German is in trouble due to a malfunction of the brakes: Bonnier has so-called green light, and Trips must give up even on the return of his teammate Ginther. Polarized the general attention on the events for the leading positions, the race of the other competitors goes almost unnoticed, and moreover none of the compamari never manages to shine, except, at times, the other two Porsche drivers Herrmann and Barth, ranked fourth and fifth, but respectively with one and two laps behind. Unlucky, as for too long now, Giorgio Scarlatti. In short, it was a splendid Grand Prix, organized in an impeccable way, and which should be a prelude to a full resumption of competitive activity on the harvest, spectacular Autodromo of the city capital of Italian motor sport.

 

The Swede Joakim Bonnier on Porsche thus earned the victory of the Modena Grand Prix for Formula 2 cars, after a race as rarely seen: heated, uncertain, full of alternatives and highly exciting phases. Between the fiftieth and eighty-seventh of the hundred laps scheduled on the renewed, much smoother and safer track of the Modena Autodrome, Bonnier and the rear-engined Ferrari driver, Wolfgang von Trips, are exceeded at least twenty times, and almost always cornering, taking advantage of the limit of risk the braking of the respective mechanical means, gnawing from time to time the meter and even less, while the crowd of spectators (more than twenty thousand, enthusiastic and competent as only in Modena can be) passes from one emotion to another, holds his breath, explodes in shouts of admired wonder. Von Trips appears agile in braking, but it is above all Bonnier to show an exceptional coolness and timing in the difficult stages of overcoming, while the German appears more impetuous and reckless. This is the most interesting phase of the Grand Prix.

 

Martina Marastoni

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