THE dangerous nature of the Monza circuits has been shown very clearly on many occasions, and was emphasised by the fatal accidents in last year’s Italian Grand Prix. In order to avoid the much higher speeds which would have been attained by the latest ” Bolides ” a new course was devised for 1934, taking in the slightly banked
south curves of the road and track circuits, which were slowed down by artificial kinks, and finishing up round an acute hairpin at the top end of the wide part of the track between the stands and the pits. The course measured 4.31 kilometres and had to be covered 116 times, giving a total distance of 496 kilometres or 312.5 miles. As events showed, the severity of the obstacles was excessive, and the racing cars, thoroughbreds all, had little chance to demonstrate their qualities of speed and stability. The entry list was one to cheer the heart of any • organiser, and comprised 16 cars, made up as follows :— Merced ‘s-Benz.—Drivers Caracciola, Fagioli and
Auto-Union.—Drivers Stuck, Momberger and Leiningen.
Alfa-Romeo.—Drivers Varzi, Trossi, Chiron and Comotti.
Maserati.—Drivers Nuvolari, Zehender, Straight and Ruesch.
Bugatti.—Drivers Brivio and Lord Howe.
Nuvolari had a new six-cylinder car of 3f-litres capacity, and the only car of the 16 which did not start was Brivio’s Bugatti, on which the supercharger gearing had failed during practising.
There was little prospect of an Italian victory, but nevertheless immense throngs poured into the Royal Park from an early hour, and the spectators in the stands were roused to a fine pitch of enthusiasm as the cars, their drivers, and their mechanics filed past on their way to the starting line, led by the AlfaRomeo team, followed by the AutoUnions, as Stuck had made the record lap of 2 mins. 15 secs. or 71.22 m.p.h. Each group as they passed the official stand raised their arms in the Fascist salute, while a massed band played the appropriate national anthem. The starting order had been determined by ballot, and the cars were drawn up by threes and twos. Caracciola and Varzi were alone in the front row, as Brivio was a non-starter, then came Nuvolari _and
Stuck, and Fagioli, Trossi and Lord Howe in the third. Fagioli made a brilliant start and he and Caracciola headed the howling mob of 15 cars as they gained the first curve, and the former led as they entered the connecting straight, where the cars bunched up again, and Stuck, Varzi, and Nuvolari passed him as he took the hairpin rather wide.
Henne, on the third Merdeles, who had already been in trouble at one of the “kinks,” turned round at the hairpin just in front of Chiron and Straight, and hit the tail of Trossi’s Alfa, which also turned round and stalled in the fairway. The radiator of the Mere. was damaged and Henne retired a few laps later to the relief of all concerned. On the second lap Stuck was drawing away from Varzi, and Caracciola was challenging Nuvolari for third place. He passed him a lap later but was overtaken again, but by the fifth lap he forced his way into second place, with Varzi and Nuvolari fourth and fifth. These two engaged in a wheel-to-wheel struggle for the next few laps, and the
six-cylinder Maserati showed itself quite the equal of the Alfa, but on the tenth lap their private battle was interrupted by Leiningen, who overtook them both, thus securing the first three places for Germany. The times for the first ten laps were Stuck (Auto-Union) 23 mins. 46 secs. (67.95 m.p.h.), Caracciola 24 mins. 6 secs., Leiningen 24 mins. 12 secs., Nuvolari 24 mins. 15 secs., Varzi 24 mins. 19 secs., Fagioli 24 mins. 34 secs.
Stuck found no difficulty in drawing away from Caracciola, and after a record lap by the former in 2 mins. 131 secs. (72.59 m.p.h.) both of them settled down to a slower pace ; on the 11th lap Fagioli retired with engine trouble, leaving ” Caratsch ” the only representative of the Mere:des team still running. Leiningen then began to press him, while Momberger on the third Auto-Union was closing up fast on the warring Nuvolari and Varzi, and on the 19th lap passed both, so that the Germans now held the first four places. Momberger dropped back to 8th on the 38th lap, when he came in to adjust his brakes and hand over to Sebastian, and Nuvolari made a rapid refill and changed two tyres in 1 min. 14 secs. Stuck kept steadily on his way and lapped Varzi on his 42nd lap, but his brakes were slowing him. Zehender was at the pits with faulty brakes, and Comotti’s engine backfired and started to blaze, but the flames were quickly put out. The order at the 50th lap was as follows :—Stuck 1 hr. 58 mins. 56 secs. (67.92 m.p.h.), Caracciola 1 hr. 59 mins. 48 secs., Leiningen 2 hrs. 9 secs., Varzi 2 hrs. 1 min. 50 secs., Trossi 2 hrs. 2 mins. 29 secs., MombergerSebastian 2 hrs. 4 mins. 39 secs., Nuvolari
2 hrs. 4 mins. 53 secs., Straight 2 hrs. 5 mins. 50 secs., Comotti, 2 hrs. 6 mins. 25 secs., Ruesch 2 hrs. 7 mins. 35 secs., Chiron 2 hrs. 9 mins. 17 secs., Zehender 2 hrs. 12 mins. 47 secs., Howe 2 hrs. 19 mins. 35 secs.
Most of the cars refuelled at halfdistance, and seconds lost in this operation were to prove vital later on. Trossi and Sebastian filled up and changed all tyres in, respectively, 2 mins. 23 secs. and 2 mins. 20 secs., but Stuck was more leisurely and took 2 mins. 43 secs. ; the Mercedes pit hummed like a beehive two laps later, and Fagioli was at the wheel and away in 2 mins. 12 secs., an advantage which Stuck could ill-afford to yield. Leiningen ran out of petrol and retired, which let Varzi into third place. Then Stuck was again called into the pit, and handed over to Leiningen, but over two minutes was lost in restarting the engine, and this and the Auto-Union’s weakening brakes still further reduced its chances of catching Fagioli. Varzi now took second place, which raised for a time the hopes of the Italians, but as had been feared, the extra power which his car was developing proved too much for the gearbox, and he retired some 15 laps before the end. Trossi was going well, but Nuvolari’s brakes had failed completely, and he depended entirely on his gearbox to slow him down on the corners. The final stages of the race were uneventful. Fagioli slowed down and finished comfortably in the lead, Stuck passed Trossi to secure second place as the latter was handing over to Comotti, and Nuvolari achieved a well-deserved fourth place. Rarely have brakes—or drivers either—received such a testing, and Caracciola’s right leg had almost given under the strain, while Stuck was in considerable pain during the last part of the race owing to being scorched by
oil which sprayed over his leg from a leaky pipe. All credit therefore to the five, Chiron, Nuvolari, Straight, Ruesch, and Lord Howe, who drove single-handed throughout the race.
1. R. Caracciola—L. Fagioli (3-8-1itre MercedesBenz), 116 laps in 4 hrs. 45 mins_ 47 sees. (65.37 m.p.h.).
2. H. Stuck—P. von Leiningen (5-litre Auto-Union), 115 laps, 4 hrs. 47 mins. 251 secs. (64.31 m.p.h.).
3. F. Trossi–Comotti (3-litre Alfa-Romeo), 114 laps, 4 hrs. 45 mitts. 49 sees. (64.12 _m.p.h.).
4. L. Chiron (3-litre Alfa.Romeo), 114 laps, 4 hrs. 45 mins. 591 secs. (64.06 m.p.b.),
5. T. Nuvolari (31-litre Maserati), 113 laps, 4 hrs.
46 mins. 451 secs. (63.45 m.p.h.).
6. F. Cotnotti-Marinoni (3-litre Alfa-Romeo), 113 laps, 4 hrs. 47 mins. 27 sees. (63.19 m.p.h.).
7. Momberger—Sebastian (5-litre Auto-Union), 112 laps, 4 hrs. 47 mins. 271 secs. (62.63 m.p.h.).
8. W. Straight (3-litre Maserati), 112 laps, 4 hrs.
47 mins. 271 secs. (62.62 m.p.h.).
9. H. Ruesch (3-litre Maserati), 105 laps, 4 hrs.
48 mins. 20 sees. (58.72 m.p.h.).
10. Earl Howe (2.3-litre Bugatti), 104 laps, 4 hrs. 48 mins. 28 secs. (58.19 m.p.h.).