By OUR CONTINENTAL CORRESPONDENT
I wonder how many spectators ‘at a Grand Prix realise the immense amount of preparation that has gone towards the perfection of the cars flashing past the trOunes? In this vital, yet often tedious, phase of motor racing none are more conscientious than the Germans, as witness a certain expedition across Switzerland to Italy last month by the Mercedes-Ben_z team.
Five lorries arrived at Monza, containing four racing cars, spares, and abont twenty mechanics. Three of the cars are the type seen at all the big races last year, while the fourth was the lowered, slimmer model seen in practice at Berne. Herr Neubauer, racing chief, was the next to turn up, followed by drivers Caracciola, Chiron, Fagioli and Lang. Brivio was an interested spectator. Monza was a depressing sight. Most of the track was thickly carpeted with leaves, which had to be cleared before work could begin. Neubauer fixed battery of ten brooms on the back of a
vate car and, after a few laps, the leaves were neatly swept away. Caracciola was the first to drive, and he did a score of laps, first on an ” old ” car and then on the new One, for the sake of comparison. The chicanes and bays of the 1935 Italian G.P. circuit were still in place, and this, coupled with the fact that t here a as no other apparent motive for the i e, an to travel to 1 taly for tests, led one to assume that Neubauer is already preparing for t lie Monaco Grand Prix. The circuit of sharp corners at NI tinza is not unlike Monte Carlo in severity, and the new 4.4
Mere. ” will probably be used there. Fagioli and Lang then did about a dozen laps apiece, and Chiron wound up the morning’s work with a few quiet laps, to hecome accustomed ti t he feel of the car. After lunch Chiron went out again, this time in earnest. I Ic’ got round in 3 mins. 2 secs., and then in 2 mins. 59 secs. Lang took over, and lapped at 2 mins. 57 secs. Nuvolari’s record was 2 mins. 49.8 secs. The IleN‘ car was being worked on by mechanics,
evidently incorporat ing inwliliiI has suggested by Caracciol i.
The next day Caracciola. Chiron and Fagioli took it in turn to drive. China, was most enthusiastic at the end. II said he had never driven a car so precise, so sure. Brakes, acceleration, roadholding, all perfect. He summed it up in a quaint phrase, ” C’est une veritable bicyclette ! ”
Half a Loaf The
The final clinching of the contract Chiron and Stuttgart received a mixed reception in France. The statement that the matter had been given the personal attention of Chancellor Hitler, who approved it as a gesture of Franco.G( rman accord, did not outweigh the fact that France’s acknowledged champion would drive for a German team in all the big races. Chiron ‘s friends, however, pointed out that it was better to
see him winning races on a German car that being beaten on an ItaJi an racer (a nasty one, that). Moreover, with Bugatti’s plans uncertain, it was better to sta,.: Chiron racing a foreign car than not racing at all.
Avoiding That Friction
The full Mercedes-Benz team next year will be Caracciola, von Brauchitsch, Chiron, Fagioli, Lang and two reserve drivers. The idea. is for von Brauchitsch to race mostly in German events, Chiron in French, Fagioli in Italian, with Caracciola as a sort of free lance. This tam her gives substance to the rumour that Caracciola would have a less strenuous programme next season, and seems. tp be :a -good, if expensive, way of avoiding the friction which marred tile ‘German team last year. Chiron, by the way, has gone to Switzerland for winter sports until the end of February, when the next Mere.” trials will take place. Before he left he
visited his people in Monte Carlo, where he was fi7aed by the Monaco G . P. officials, lie put an end to many rumours by saying that he is on the hest of tet-ms with the Scud fin Ferrari. It is not without interest that it is twent -01-W since a Frenchman drove in the Mercedes-Benz team, That was when I a ads Wagner drove in the
1914 French . P. at Lyons.
Before leaving M Han, Herr Neubauer ea pc, sse,1 the hope that the present international situation would not prevent the I talian racing teams from taking part in G. P. events next season. He said that the Italian cars were t he only worthy opposition for the German machines. He was also anxious to hear w
hither the It al ians would hold the Tripoli G. P., which last year lined the ‘4 Mere ‘ ‘ coffers with a very accept able sum of money.
The Italian case was outlined— as a personal opinion—by Signor Ca nest rini in the Gazoetta dello Sport. He pointed out that Italian drivers won more money abroad than was gained by foreign drivers in Italy, so that it seemed a pity to destroy this favourable balance. Germany, Austria, Hungary, Switzerland and America, by virtue of t heir abstention from sanctions, were still open 1.0 Italian participation, and vice versa. Even if motor racing were not openly affected by politics, sanctionist countries could still be excluded by Making Italian races ” by invitation.”
The Position of Ferrari
From the point of view of drivers, at any rate, the Scuderia Ferrari will not be particularly powerful next season. The drivers to date are Nuvolari, Farina. Pintacud a and Tadini, of whom Only Nuvolari, and possibly Tadini, is a force to be reckoned with. Brivio may join later. The cars will be four 3.8-litre
8-cylinder jobs, and four 12-cyl hider machines, according to the nature of the circui t on which they are engaged.
Changes have taken place on the administrative side of the Scu-deria. At the Annual Banquet, Count Trossi announced his resignation from the presidency owing to personal reasons. His place has been taken by Enzo Ferrari Iiim self.
Trossi, by the way, was involved in a very nasty smash recently at Morgues in Switzerland, a place -apparently well adapted, for such an event. Both cars Were badly damaged, and the passengers seriously injured. Trossi and the other driver escaped unhurt.
Italy’s Bob-Sleigh Team
For the Olympic Winter Games to be held at Garmisch-Partenkirchen next month, Italy is sending two bob-sleigh t earns. One of these will be manned en tirely by motor-racing drivers, namely, Varzi (captain), Trossi, Taruili and Cor
tese. Ought to be pretty fast.
Tho mention of Tart, fli reminds me that he made some very fine motor-cycle reeords last month in Italy. No less, indeed, than the world ‘s record for 500-c.c. machines, at 150 m.p.h. His mount was a new make, called a Rondine, and the work of aircraft manufacturers. It had a 4-cylinder supercharged, Nva ter-cooled engine, and tile Machine was remarkable for its very thorougli streamlining. With a bigger engine, he could probably beat Hen I117.! ‘s record, which stands at only a few m•p• h. higher.
Tarulli came to France last month and spent Several days at Molsheim, presuinably discussing future plans. NO (fticial announcement was forthcoming, however.
Bugatti is just as mysterious as ever. There has been a slump in tales about the new 5-litre G. P. Cars, and probably in their preparation, top. The rail-cars are going as strong as ever, and are being challenged by Renault. Ettore is keen on 1,500 C.c. racing, and actually building some cars for Monaco. Then t here is a rumour that he is constructing motor-cycles—and army tanks !
The Fund Distributed
Bugatti has received 100,000 francs from the organisers of the Fund for French Nati( >nal Racing Cars. t her el age-Del ah aye, beneficiar ies were D
75,000, and NI. Emil Petit (S. E. F. A. C. ), 50,000 francs. The total receipts for the first year of the Fund were 676,643 francs, of wliich 128,000 went in expeases. if present plans mature, the Fund is likely to receive a big impetus. M. La uren t-Eyn ac has proposed to the Chamber of Deputies that a tax of ten francs should be levied on every driving licence in France. This would bring in
the sum of 2,800,000 francs, half of which would be allocated to racing firms and half to ‘road development and maintenance. This motion has been read once, but it has yet to be passed.
For some reason or other, the A.C.F. is all against this tax, which certainly seems to be a good idea. They say that motorists are taxed to the limit already and that any extra tax, even if it is only half-a-crown, will have a bad effect on motoring. They also express doubts as to the allocation of the funds for racing purposes.
Sports Car Racing Goes Ahead
French manufacturers, freed from the necessity of building formula cars, are backing the efforts of the A.C.F. to make sports-car racing a success. The French Talbot concern has announced its intention of entering three cars for all races of this type. Thirty-one cars are being built, ultra high-efficiency jobs, and, within the limits of the rules, unblown racing cars equipped with touring equipment. . Models will be on sale to private owners. Rene Dreyfus has been engaged as No. I driver, assisted by the veteran, Andre Morel, and a third to be nominated later. Dreyfus was supposed to have signed up with Ferrari, but this was not so. He always wanted
to get back to Paris, anyway. Morel has been working at the Talbot works for some time. He is delighted at the thought of racing again. ” Makes me feel ten years younger,” was his remark. First trials of the car will take place in the middle of February.
Delahaye have already said that they will race two cars with Perrot and Divo as drivers. They have entered for the French G.P., and have been allotted numbers 1 and 2.
Added to this Delage, while expressing a .rooted dissatisfaction with most aspects of modern racing, has promised to enter two cars in all the big sports-car races. Drivers unspecified.
There is a chance of Alfa-Romeos being entered for the French Grand •Prix, I understand, in spite of II Duce forbidding Italian tourists to enter France. Apart from Delage, Delahaye and Talbot, however, none of the remaining
manufacturers seem disposed to race. Peugeot, Panhard and Derby have all turned it down.
Raymond Roche, who runs the Marne race, has promised to confine it to sports cars if he can get enough entries. There is also a rumour that he will hold a Grand Prix des Independents for racing cars. The A.C.F.. by the way, has now announced its formula for the fuel in the French Grand Prix. This will be com posed as follows : 64 per cent. straight petrol, 18 per cent. pure benzol, and 18 per cent. alcohol. The fuel will have an octane number of ao. The entry fees for the. race are thus : until February 29th, 1,000 francs per car ; until May 1st, 2,000 francs per car ; until June 1st, .4,000 francs per car. Twelve British makes
are reported to be interested in the race, and in any event the British entry is likely to be considerable.
The best news about Le Mans is that E. R. Hall has entered his 3i1–litre Bentley, thus marking the return of the famous marque to the Sarthe circuit, on which it has won so many laurels. His
was the first entry, and the second was that of John Carr, from Belfast, with car unspecified. There is every reason to believe that Alfa Romeos will be seen again at Le
Mans, headed by Nuvolari, and with promised entries from Talbot, Delage and Delahaye, the Grand Prix d’Endurance ought to be a glorious scrap.
a Mille Miglia To Be Held ?
With all this political trouble, wholesale shipments of men to Abyssinia, and an urgent shortage of petrol, the fate of the Mille Miglia would appear to tremble in the balance, as they say.
Plans for the race are going ahead. however, and the latest news is that the competitors will have to use home-grown alcohol fuel. There will be yet another award, given by the founder of the race, Franco Mazzotti, to the winner of a special class composed of drivers who took in the first Mille Miglia.
He Sailed Through The Air
The name of Mazzotti reminds me that this speed enthusiast has instructed Achille Varzi in the art of flying. Last month Varzi made his first successful flight, with Mazzotti and Brivio in the machine with him. Varzi is tremendously keen on flying, and says he is going to fly from race to race in future, in the same way that Nuvolari does.
Trossi and Brivio are both keen pilots and have flown for some time.
Wimille, too, is an enthusiastic aviator. At the moment he is en route to South Africa for the Grand Prix, flying a Farman 193 (Hispano engine) which he shares with Francois Sommer, the brother of race-driver Raymond. Wimille learned to fly during the same year that he first took up motor racing, using a Morane.
Swiss G.P. Aftermath
The organising committee of the Swiss Grand Prix has announced its financial report on the 1935 races. In spite of appalling weather, the accounts show a loss of only 5,000 Swiss francs. The rain caused the attendance for the Grand Prix to drop from 50,000 people to 42,000, but a further 11,000 paid to See the practising and the National Race, bringing the total to 53,000. The Berne section of the Swiss A.C. are asking for the arrangements to be altered for next season, so that they do not have to carry the whole burden of the risk, especially as so much of the work is done by their members in a purely honorary capacity. •
I hear that determined efforts are being made to revive the Mont Ventoux hillclimb next season. In 1935, it will be remembered, the event was cancelled. It is a’ thoroughly worth-while hillclimb, on which Whitney Straight made one of the finest performances of his alltoo-short racing career.
As I close these notes, I hear the news that Hans Ruesch, the Swiss Maserati driver, has bought an E.R.A. for 1,500 c.c. races this year. Ruesch got the worst of one or two scraps with E.R.A.s last season, hence his new purchase.
Not many people know, I believe, that Ruesch began his racing career with a British car, an M.G.
The Other Side Of The Picture