“HERE AND THERE!”
It was a_ most extraordinary coincidence that a pile-up of cars should have occurred in both of the races at Monaco, and that in each case the cause was a huge pool of oil thrown on the ground by one of the competing cars. Fortunately the cars are never travelling really fast at Monaco, otherwise a repetition of the disaster at Monza, when Campari and Borzacchini were killed, might have occured. As it is the drivers involved in the melees were lucky to escape uninjured. Both accidents altered the complexion of their respective races. Without detracting from the magnificence of ” Bira’s ” victory, it is certain that he would have been closely pressed by Lehoux all the way. Fairfield and Mays would also have been in the picture, and their disqualification came as a great surprise. Several times in recent years drivers have been reported for having a push-start at the pits, instead of using the starting handle, and in every case the offending driver has been penalised by means of a fine—never by disqualification. At Monaco the circumstances were all in favour of the drivers concerned, for the
accident had damaged the front of the cars and rendered the starting-handles unusable.
The complaints of the British contingent at Monaco were strengthened by the rumour that a French driver was seen to have a push-start in full view of the officials, who looked firmly in the other direction ! We must not forget, however, that Mr. Anthony Eden has reminded us that the French are a friendly nation. Reverting to the accident, it was a thousand pities that the oil was spilt so early in the race, when the cars were all bunched together. Later cin, with the cars strung out all round the circuit, it might have been possible for flag marshals to have slowed the
field down as soon as the oil was discovered, but the chances are all against this saving grace. When you come to review the prospects of Grand Prix racing this season you find yourself brought up with a jerk by the political situation. Italy won’t play with sanctionist countries, but is ready to find
any loophole to race all the same. France would apparently prefer the foreign entrants in her races to come from Russia, while Germany is charming to everybody and wipes up all the prizes. Politics apart, it will be most interesting to see whether the new Alfas can hold the German cars on a fast road circuit, like Spa, for example. The Alfas are not “easy on the eyes,” as Fats Waller would put it, although they are more than “a little bit indepen
dent” in their springing. For sheer good looks there has never been a racing
car to equal the lowered, sleeker Mercedes-Benz, and its performance is exactly what one would expect fripm its appearance. A classic racing car, which seems all set for another season of repeated victories. The Auto-Union has proved itself to be more suited to round the houses” racing
than most people thought, although it is only fair to remember that the rest of the ” Mercs. ” and a couple of Alfas were wrecked in that oily smash.
And then Etancelin will no doubt have something to say, and do, about Grand Prix races with the big Maserati, so that taking it altogether it seems we shall have another first-class season, after all. In the ” Race for the Million,” the Tripoli G.P., which takes place next month, conditions are diametrically opposite to those at Monte Carlo. Will the brute force of the Auto-Union, the eagerly awaited ‘2-cylinder
Alfa or the yet unrivalled Mercedes prevail ?
Letters from Readers, July 1948
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