GRAN PREMIO DE ESPANA
Fangio (Alfa-Romeo) wins from Gonzalez (Ferrari) and becomes World Champion for 1951. Farina (Third), Ascari (Fourth).
The last Formula 1 Grand Prix of the 1951 season, the Gran Premio de Espana, run over 70 laps of the 3.9-mile circuit de Pcdralbes, on October 28th, promised to be a dramatic. It lived up to its promise! Only two points separated Ascari from Fangio as 1951 World Champion and clearly Alfa Romeo would be anxious to grasp this last chance of retrieving some of the prestige they have lost this year to Ferrari. B.R.M. although depicted on the cover of the race programme, were licking their wounds in Italy and did not enter, which no longer makes news, but Alfa Romeo put in Fangio, Farina, Bonetto and de Graffenried, and Ferrari entered Ascari, Gonzalez, Villoresi and Taruffi. The field was made up of three Wade-blown Simca-Gordinis, six Talbots, Jover’s and Godia’s Maseratis and Bira’s Osca. Whitehead’s 1½-litre Ferrari and Branca’s Maserati non-started.
Ascari, anxious no doubt to make up his deficiency in the championship, made fastest practice lap, in 2 min. 10.59 sec., whereas Fangio did not better 2 min. 12.27 sec., Gonzalez 2 min. 14.01 sec., or Farina 2 min. 14.94 sec. But, in spite of Ascari’s demonstration of speed, Ferrari were in trouble with tyres and Taruffi went off the course, a mishap matched by Bonetto, neither driver sustaining injury. Positions on the starling grid, which was situated some distance before the finishing line along the 1¾-miles Avenida Del Generalisimo Franco, were decided on practice times, and were:-
Padua 1?,.niaby, (Alfa-Romeo) ( Ferrari) I .1 la( Ferrari)
? m.19.9.1”. 21n. 11.111 2111 12 27.i, 2 fa. 110aell I “ra11,nri,q1 (A/./. Romeo)t .1/ fa I ((mow) Ferrari) 2 Ia. 21.50 s. 2111,111.41/s, 2 III. 111,3N S, Trilalg11;011 S?•?1•01 11:11r/t/t1 111,111110 (Simort melt (Alfa
( hworPti) (ittedoti) t:tot/ini) koniera 2111, 25.95s. 2uui.21 ;o:.1. 2 al. 23.51,4, 21u 21.Kih. i’aliaraoti, Chiron (Talbot) ) I To11,11 1» 21(1. 31,00 .li.ver 1 /olla I?rit ( 1 ((semi i) ( Alin(erali) inn ( ? In. 41.99s. 2111 :17.15 8. 2111, :111,51ss, 2 31.111, 11.1sier (Thlhol) ISIrui (l /,’l 2 at, 2 Hi. I:1,5111-, 2 at, .1i5,7<,, 2 Hi. I:1,5111-, )(Ira had 133`11 in I .0111/111 With the
Isc.a.s engine bearings. but NIttrra?-. Avlat Itail motored down through the snow of I It Pyrenees in his Jaguar Xl1211, Ilid Melt he could to kelp, ()pinion II tat all open rare would resttlt. and how right that proved to be ! After seribbling Si report of the Earls Court Slu/IV Wi in
taxi, an hotel WaS f0111111 for IIS.
Wert handed. Press passes and invited to a reeeption the following night, everyone rentainitia mic,erroi iatitongli. these format its were not completed 11111 i I 3.30 a.m.
There was no practice 011 Salitrday but hospitality of the most eharining and generous sort was forttworaing front Senor A. F. Nava, a well-known loyal enthusiast, and we went to look luver the splendid Pe?!aso faetory.—but that is 301)11 tin story ! Sunday dawned line and very warm and ill ((Ill • Of two most imposing Pegaso coaches we were driven the short distance Ii) the Press box. this Pena Rhin G.P. i’s rather as if we dosed the arterial istrt of in in Great West Road for a nwe, letting disinterested parties leave London
via Itounslow and (Acworth! The scene was as any other great motor race ill Enrope—very picturesque. Perhaps II ((In). So, by reason of the dusky troops who guarded the pit area, the mounted police, tlw trailer-trarns crammed and festoomd With humanity, and an occasional Hispano-Suiza! The stands, like those al Silverstone, are of steel scaffolding, but far Itetter disguised !
Alfa-Romeo were using a track-style Hilted front tyre on the ears of Bonctto and de Graffenried, treaded front tyres on the others, 5.50 -18 front, 7.00 18 rear. Ferrari used a blue edging to the nOse eowl to identify Aseari, silver for Villoresi, yellioe for GonzAlez. The Talbots all !tad horizontal carburetters, the air tunnel missing front (Iles% and Grignanrs Talbot. Itad large lightening holes in the brake back-plates.
‘flte lield was assembled on the grid. hiring or a nt1111011 indicated five minutes to /cm hour. Farina, bottle Ill Itand, ran to take his place, the red and yellow flag of Spain rose, till 501(51, flashed down, and they were off. Aseari fractionally ahead, Gonzalez on Itis tail. pursited by Farina and Fangio. As the. mechanics, led by excitable I tarry Settell, ran Intek to the pits, some trailing starter trolleys. till’ drivers jockeyed for position down the long straight. swung right-handed onto the (7arreterit. de Corfiella a ii ‘gas
Tonlera, taking the swerves at the end of it, negotiated the sharp hairpin onto the short Aveitidas de 151 Victoria, braked fin. the left-hand corner into the not-quitestraight Paseo de Nlimitel Girona. finally to Iwgidiate the twin right-hand corners connecting the brief Calle de Nuntaiwia straidtl. As they !weelerated past the pits at the close of the initial lap .ksari had a small advantage over Farina. with Fangio third, followed by Hoist to, Villoresi. Gonzilez, de Graffetwied. Simon in the first or the trim blue Simeas. Mtuizon behind hint, Ikon Chiron, Goilia in the red and yellow M’aserati with Itig :Lit intake oil the bonnet_ top, ‘Isrintignant,
Itira, Cabantons, Rosier, Grig’lard and (‘lies. Itira was already It 11%1111)1V 31111 01.1031. ()II the next lap Aseari (troy iLW:ty 1.1%1111 It’arilla and, bother back, ‘illoresi ‘1’arittli each piekvil up a plaee. Lap three sttw Fangio pass his team mate Farina and get up dose behind Ascari. Villoresi was fourth, ahead of Bonet to. On the twirl!). lap Fangio took the lead. and Villorcsi was passed Iry tlimetto. Two laps later Gorr,: )il’A also passed than-Bothe order was now Alfa, Ferrari, Aira, Ferrari. Ferrari, .1114. Alfa, Ferrari, the last two ears tIlltse of de Grallenried, whicIi was overheating. and Tana!). .)I1St as the race looked like developing into a line inter-marque struggle. &mita intervened. On this sixth lap, to a rustle and netrinur from the spectators. Tarittli 111•012 10 his pit With 1.1u! near-side rear tyre ill ri1/11011S, Simon’s Sinn.’a was )4011IV Way behind and the militcky Ferrari was able to resume without losing its place to the smaller car. I hit on the very next lap off-sitle rear tread broke up and Iii, too, was forced to 1.01Ilt` ill! By lap eight. the or: ten of cite leaders was Fangitt, Aseari, Farina. Gonzalez, Bottetto. de Graffettried, with Villoresi and TarttIli some way behind. lid. now prepared for tyre trouble, having been able to disisttelt hint before Tarulli tutu come by. Meanwhile, Simon Nvas
taken oil lap nine by both his teammites. Trintignant and Ilanzon. Ferrari leut eert.tinly itieked tlw Wri (119 lyres for this fast-run race in the heal, for on the ninth hip Aseari, while ill seeond place behind Fangio, hail trouble withi his near-side rear lyre. The leaders Wen. fairly 1.10Stly 1/11111.11.”11, SO Ills) 111,1•
unfortunate .%Ilierto dropped from sceond II) sixth place by Illf. end of the next (10th) lap. I fe NVIIS 11t1W behind Fangio, Farina. Gonzalez, Itimetto and de Graffenried. Chiron had retired on lap four, after suffering loss or oil pressure. On lap nine Trintignant slum iii Ilte Simea at the eorner ‘whore Ow long straight lad resumed .without being passed by Manzon. A.seari, with fresh, wheels, required four laps to get rad of sixth place. hut by the end or the 13th hip he was fourth. l’Ite nest 1:111 SOW the dreaded tyre trouble
strike Gonzalez Ills near-side eover threw its tread and as Ile came to his pit Aseari went into third position Iwhind Fang,io and Farina. Ilelkind hi111, eye!’ present, came Bonetto’s and de Graffenried’s Alf-Itomeos, although . the litter’s was not entirely happy.
Farina, liowever, was going as strongly as ever behind the leader. although he momentarily missed It change-up as he iweelerated past the pits on hip 1 2. So the meibegan to take shape. all four Ferraris unexpectedly delayi’d liv tyres which, suited to :t fast circuit, seemed unable to stand up to corners, while the Alfas would have to refuel. First to stop for essence was de Graffenried, who came in on lap 17 and, his engine being unduly hot. did not get away ror til0e. TO add to t lie excitement Aseari noide a loaf stop after
” corner-incident,but actually got away before the .1Ifa-lionwo driver, so that by the end of lap 18 the order had become Fangio, Farina. Ilmwtto, Villoresi, Gonz4lez. .‘seari, Tarulli. ile Graffenried. Behind, Trintignani led Nlanzon 1001 1’311100, 5(11.0 Were ill elOSe COOT:My. A lap later 11.1141 Trintignant was in dire trouble-the heat and the pace were certainly taking their hill. From laps IS to 26 .kseari ran sixth., !middy to regain Iris lost place, then Tarulli passed him, and II lap later Alberto’s blne-eowled Ferrari was again stationar? at its pit, although it soon resumed. still in seventh position. The back markers were growing ragged, frequent pit -calls making the order dillieult to follow, but the flying Fangio came round huiltlessly hip after lap. On his 211th. he canw in to refuel and was away in II very brief space of time. Wit 11.0111 a lyre (lounge. wide!’ Ferrari IOUS’ have found irkson W Ile retained Ids lead lad Farina, previonsly about three-quarters or a lap behind, was 11(4W
closer, and too, refuelled on the very next lap (1intli), also resuming before Girrizalez passed 1100. 1,1111 31 saw Itonetto refuelled and away liefore Ascari, still in seventh place. was due 10 appear, but Tarulli’s Ferrari ceased ” out in the country and he never re-appeared.
Interest was never lacking for the vast crowd, estimated it some 250,1100, for 1141 sooner were these refuelling stops over than Villoresi’s Ferrari commenced a series of stops with engine trouble. Ily half-distance Fangio led Farina by 511.26 see_ having averaged 99.0 m.p.h.. to his tenni-mate’s 98.4 m.p.h. Gonzeilez was third. Ferrari’s only Itope I10W and going like the wind. Villoresi was fourth, but he had to come in again, .seari’s Ferrari passing into this posit null as the Alfa-Romeo did so. Biro.. Cabantous, Chiron and Tartilli were mkt, de Graffenried’s Alfa-Romeo was still overheating and Simon’s Simea had a long stop, to resume after filet had been put in. :kfanzon. too. 10111111 his Simell unwilling to 111(41o1 at its fornwr speed. The rare 110W began to settle into 11 definite pattern. Front laps 36 to 41 the order of the leaders was unchanged. Fangio, Farina. Gonzalez, Ascari, about a hip behind. de Graffenried, a lap 11.W11 again. with Itmwt to following, then
silk Ferrari. Actually. de Graffenried had a brief pit-call on lap •1-1 and fell to seventh place. Fur-titer back tliere was trouble. Claes ran through. the straw lades at the corner before tlw tonne straight. lie drnve to his pit hut the yellow Talbotretired. Gotha’s Nlaserati had dropped further and further back but, after periodic attention to the machinery, its now lierinied driver went On. Sill1011 Sit1tea Was still running hut later kid to be pushed to its pit for ” serviring.” Fe010 laps 42 to •19 the leaders were Fangio. Farina. making mysterious gestures to his pit. the determined Gonzalez,
l’he 11.B..1/. Was going to be the am rut., of the century. To ravel at the speed of 1400 and practically leave the goal nil
hen travelling along the sirmight would go 11, Nadi Ii learf rate Thal all the rest. .with faces dropped.
would get out Ph them had stop poi. Ferraris. Alfas wottld i admitting that they couldn’t ((‘Iii 7’he /1 lLM. zetadd set the patT, and comfortably (11 14 the owe.
That’s trhat they thought. hat Was. things are al a !vary pass.
aanT r a pall With la hh.. aabOdy ere); gets a ride.
Fut breakages come fast and (hie*.
Mai erer !dimly* s feeling siek.
Too many cylinders I fear, too many ratios of gear.
l’oti Ma II pipes to the &f.. too many bearings to run stiff. The moral’s here to blazon forth, Too many rooks hare s !MUM the
broth ii, N. II. .‘seari. Itonetti, Villoresi and de Graffen
ried.klia, Ferrari. Ferrari, Ferrari, Alfa,but the Ferraris seemed unable to hold their initial speed on tlie treaded 7.50 -17 rear eovers they had now fitted, and Gonzalez could only catelt the t(eo .%Itas by a ininwle. However. Huey had lo refuel again and thus the intense interest of the struggle was full?maintained.
Refuel Fangio did. after his 52nd lap. and so quickly was he away that Farina remained behind him in seemal place. Then Farina carne in for his sevond refuel (still mu tyre elk:owes !) and as he did so Gonzalez took second placeit was as close as that ! lionetto likewise paused hut as Ite MIS nearly a lap ahead of rle Graffenried his place (fifth) was secure. Meanwhile, Villoresi’s Ferrari lord ecased for good after lap 49. Soon after. de Graftenried made another call at his pit. After Farina had refuelled Ite did his utmost to eatch (;onzillez. encouraged by signals from his pit, as was FangiO, he could make little impression 00 the flying .‘1*I21.111 illi;111. Hqtrally, t;orizalez
did not look like calelking Fangio. Eaelt lap the familiar 4a11, dark Italign mechanic held out a t,ig board, :Yoni the middle of the road, to give Fangio the lead Ike had clear of the oftiv a” r-etive
Ferrari chasing him. It Iva. “1.1 .sr*.
lap 59, 34 again on lap 60, !.. oe gap. narrowed to :12. 27, and then 214 s•.(.. Butt Fangio. driving impeccably. obviously C1011(1111 lw caught. As Gonzalez eased III) a bit, lilt hork,di ever wiitclultkl for Farina. Fangio’s lead, 111111 With. it the ‘VOI*111 (11;1111p1011811ip, lawante ever more Seellre. f;ittnely. Aseari held on in fourth plave, but whal a disappointed Irian 10! most have been ! Ito:let-to awl de Grallenricrl eorised their .Alfa-Romeos
along further behind, only laaneelin, Itosier, Nlanzon and Gotha were still motoring. Gratin damaged tIke front of I is Maserati (luring an ” ineident,” threw the bonnet into his pit and roared on, loudly applauded, as 11 loeal (leiVer Who lilliSiteS against great odds should be. So the race ran to its conclusion. Fangio unassailable. .‘lfa-lioineo had retrieved lost honours. bid with IL Ferrari preSSillg (lair leading car write hard ! Ilail 1″errari not 10411 tyre failures the result would probably have liven different. hut mite that two Ferraris retired to raw .1,1fa-Itonwo. The Pena Ithin race constituted it most uncertain and exciting finish. to an intense SettS011, 011(1 Fangio not only elinelked l(is Vorld Championship beyond question. brit gained an extra point (31 in :111) by breaking last year’s lIll) record of 97.7 m.p.h.. -which. he
elevated to 105.82 1(1.1 u. The race average was 4.79 M.p.h.. Itiglier than ill 1950, and was actually higher than the fastest lap in 193*), in spite of the distance increase or 78 miles (making just over ‘274 miles in (ill). It was a grand finale ! Results : 1st : .1. M. Fait:„.io (Alja-10.,,,,,,), 711 ill
• * *
i3.‘11(•ELON. lilt 1 EFS Pirelli tyres Sel’N’ed .klfa-Itortwo well ! * *
Farina. .‘seari. Villoresi and Tarim, attended the reception at the premises o the (teal A.C. de Espana and Pena Rhin the evening before the race, and Col.
Barnes, of 11111′ :1150 attended. * * *
Stirling Miss Was p1’eSe111 as a spec• t ai or. * * *
Godia’s Nlaserati carried Nu 4,44, the organisers using only even numbers for tin. ears.