It was Taruffi, not me

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Sir,

Congratulations to Nick Harley, who remembered that I drove a Ferrari Super Squalo in the Monte Carlo GP of 1955. Until a few weeks ago, even the organising club did not know! The reason is that my name does not figure in the official results, as I drove in only the second part of the race, relieving Piero Taruffi around half distance after the car spent about 15 minutes in the pit to sort out a gear selection problem. As we finished last, I am not sorry.

By the way, in the photo you published, it is Taruffi, not me driving the car.

The problem with the Super Squalo in Monaco was not oversteer but massive understeer, the last thing you would want on that circuit. It was so bad that after having completed a number of practice laps, I stopped at the pit and ventured to ask if I could not try the car with the front anti-roll bar disconnected. Thereupon, the engineer responsible for track operations, Mino Amorotti, stared at me, as if I had come straight from Mars and, obviously shocked, said: “Listen, the anti-roll bar is part of the design, we can’t touch it!” I don’t think the Englebert tyres had anything to do with it.

Later in the year, the car was improved and was very good on the fast curves of the Spa circuit, where, in practice, I was given a chance to choose between it and a 625 that was less stable. In that race, the Mercedes of Fangio and Moss took the first two places with Farina and me third and fourth. I was delighted to finish just behind the team leader in my second race for Ferrari. However, when Farina came back to the pits after the slowing-down lap, he was furious that his car was utterly unable to match the speed of the Mercedes. He threw his helmet into the pit and yelled: “This is the last time I drive that b….. car.”

He stuck to it and it was the last time he was seen in a World Championship Grand Prix.

I am, yours, etc

Paul Frere, Monaco