Notes from Monaco

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52

The course, the cars and the men

This year Op most important newcomers Were the Mercedes-Benz team. The cars were of course the same as those which had been so successful last year on the road and track Circuits, but this was the first time they had taken part in a Round the Town race. Unfortunately none of their protagonists, the Auto-Unions, had been entered, as it was considered that their long wheelbase and low build would make them too difficult to handle. This was doubly disappointing, for it meant that Varzi, who can get a car round the Monaco circuit a good deal quicker than most people, was for once

an absentee. During the -six years in which the Grand Prix of Monaco has been held the circuit has remained the same, though the corners have been slightly eased and the surface much improved, notably in 1932, when the tramlines running up the Avenue de Monte Carlo were removed. This year the course was slightly modified. Instead of entering the Quai de Plaisance through the fast Chicane of S-bend halfway down, the cars continued straight on for another 200 yards, where barriers and sandbags had been arranged to give a more abrupt S-bend than before. This

ensured that all cars should brake for the obstacle, and lessened their chances of turning round or shooting into the harbour. The circuit measures 3.18 km., and the length of the race is one hundred laps. Now as to the cars and drivers. First on the list come the three Merce.des7Benz driven by Fagioli, Caracciola and Von Brauchitsch. Fagioli had been second in 1929 and thirdin 1932, while Caracciola was third in 1929 and second in 1932. Von Brauchitsch of course was new to the circuit. A fourth car had been brought

The Alfa-Romeos driven by Nuvolari and Chiron were fitted with tubular front axles, and suspension of the Dubonnet pattern, and also hydraulic brakes, as this picture shows. The external friction shock-absorber

is seen behind the steering arm.

from Stuttgart in case of accidents, and was driven during the practices by Geier and Lang, the latter a new discovery. The cars had the 4-litre eight-cylinder engines with two overhead camshafts, and were identical as far as could be learnt with those raced last year. An interesting point we noticed was that some yellowish fluid was used to replenish the radiators, probably ethyline glycol

or some other substance with a high boiling point.

Lord Howe was driving his new 3.3-litre Bugatti and found it very much easier to handle than the Maserati. He only used third and top gears the whole time and said the engine was so flexible that it would have made the whole run on top alone if he had wanted.

There were four Monoposto Al faRomeos entered by the Scuderia Ferrari Those driven by Chiron and Brivio had the 2.9-litre engines, while those of Dreyfus and Nuvolari were bored out to 3,160 c.c. All four were fitted with reversed quartereliptic springs, a la Bugatti, and had double hydraulic shock-absorbers of a simple piston type. This lay-out is claimed to give the effect of independent springing and all the drivers considered it a definite advantage over the conventional arrangement. In addition, the cars of Nuvolari and Chiron were fitted with tubular front axles and independent springing of the Dubonnet type. They were also fitted with the new Ariston hydraulic brakes, made by the firm of Farina, but these were so fierce that they threw the cars about badly when applied.

Two Maseratis were entered by the Scuderia Subalpina. Etancelin’s car was one of the new six-cylinder cars with a capacity of 3,724 c.c., developed it appears from the four-cylinder car driven at Monte Carlo last year by Taruffi and with the same bore and stroke. The car which Farina drove was of the same type, and actually belonged to Rovere. Zehender’s car was fitted with torsion rod front suspension, the bars for each wheel running outside the chassis, with arms at right angles to support the wheel pivots and friction shock-absorbers transversely mounted and connected to the forward extremities of the bars. Normal

half-eliptic springs were used at the rear. The engine of Zehender’s car was an eight-cylinder, bored out to 3.2 litres. The remaining Maseratis were of the normal eight-cylinder three-litre type. The S.E.F.A.C: entered by Lehoux was was a non-starter, and it is believed that the car is not yet completed.

The first day of practising opened fairly quietly, the fastest time being made by Nuvolari with 2 mins. 2 secs. ; Dreyfus lapped in 2 mins. 3 sees.; von Brauchitsch equalled this, though this was his first time on the course. The second day the German cars really got going, and Fagioli equalled the lap record of 1 min. 59 secs. ; von Brauchitch again whipped up the horses and at the end of the session put up the record to 1 mm. 57 secs., but was definitely dangerous on all the corners and swung wickedly once opposite the pits. This was not the limit of the car’s capacity, for on the last day of practice, while Fagioli improved to 1 min. 57.3 secs.,Caracciola raised the record higher to 1 min. 56.6 secs., without looking nearly so disturbing. The next fastest laps were those of Dreyfus and Nuvolari in 1 min. 59 secs., and this meant that the three MercedesBenzes would be placed in the front row at the start.

Herr Neubauer, the Mercedes racing manager, was a little disappointed with the circuit, which did not give his cars a chance to show their full speed, while it was so well surfaced that independent springing was of less importance than on normal roads. In spite of this, on paper the German cars were likely to finish in the first three places if the drivers kept their heads. How far the indications of the practise runs were carried out may be seen from the account of the race itself.