Italy Has a Win
Modena, September 22nd
The Modena Autodrome is, in reality, the perimeter track of a small private aerodrome, completely flat and a mere 2.306 kilometres to the lap. It is used extensively throughout the year by Maserati and Ferrari for test purposes, being on the edge of the home town of these two teams. The Formula 1 race was held in two Heats, of 40 laps each, the ultimate result being obtained by adding the times for the two races, in which all competitors were intended to take part.
The Maserati team consisted of Behra, Schell and Scarlatti, the first two driving the lightweight-chassis six-cylinder cars, and the third car being the old heavy-chassis model. It had been hoped that Fangio would also drive but he was suffering from a damaged wrist caused in a minor road accident. In practice, Behra and Schell tried the offset transmission 12-cylinder car, but it was not as fast as the six-cylinder cars. Since Monza it had been fitted with a larger radiator and a header tank behind the engine. It was tried on long tail-pipes and short tail-pipes with megaphones, but could not go fast enough to justify its use on this short circuit.
Scuderia Ferrari entered Collins and Musso with two enlarged Formula II Ferraris. Musso had the original car that raced at Naples and Reims, and Collins had a brand new one. The first cars were fitted with enlarged V6 engines of 1,860 c.c., appearing outwardly identical to the 1,500-c.c. unit, while Formula 1 Lancia/Ferrari brake drums and Super Squalo Ferrari back-plates were used. The bell cowling had been made much longer and the fixed air intake from the Weber carburetters protruded through the bonnet top and was surrounded by a Perspex shield in place of the bonnet top bulge used previously. The windscreens were also of Perspex and wrapped round the cockpit sides. On the new car two magnetos were mounted on the rear of the inlet camshaft instead of the front and the steering-box was on the right instead of the left. Both cars were fitted with two long tail-pipes and megaphone ends. In practice it was still obvious that these beautiful little Grand Prix cars, with enlarged engines, were very fast, and the Ferrari team intimated that eventually the V6 engine would be enlarged to 2,500 c.c. and retained in the same Formula II chassis for next year’s Grand Prix racing, the V8 Lancia/Ferraris being scrapped.
Bravely entering into the lion’s den were two B.R.M.s, straight from Silverstone, with Flockhart and Bonnier as drivers; it had been hoped to borrow Lewis-Evans but Mr. Vandervell thought otherwise. With Bonnier leaving the Centro-Sud Maserati team, Gould took his place for this event and gave his own car to Colin Davis. The other Centro-Sud car did not run, for two reasons. First, Gregory had a difference of opinion with Signor Dei, the owner, and secondly it broke its clutch just before the race, so Gould took the silver car. To complete the entry there was Halford with his own Maserati.
The line-up for the first Heat, according to practice times, was Behra, Schell and Musso in row one, Scarlatti and Flockhart in row two, Collins, Bonnier and Gould in row three, and Halford and Davis at the back. Behra made a poor start and it was Schell who led away, with Musso right behind, and the little Ferrari took the lead on lap two. By lap 11 Behra had caught Schell, then Musso, and, once in the lead, drew away by superior driving, his slides through the artificial S-bend being a joy to watch. Flockhart was in fourth position until he spun on lap nine and dropped to the back of the field, and Bonnier in the other B.R.M. was having a scrap with Scarlatti and Collins. Already, Halford, Gould and Davis were a fair way back and the last-named went out on lap eight with a sick engine. The first three places were secure, the order being Behra, Musso and Schell, while Collins eventually crept past Bonnier and Scarlatti and started to make up ground, but he could not catch Schell. On lap 12 Flockhart stopped briefly at the pits to report sinking oil pressure, but went on again. On such a short circuit, with lap times only just over 1 min., there was no relaxation and Behra had to work to keep his lead for Musso was not giving up the chase. The order remained unchanged, with Behra, Musso, Schell and Collins all on the same lap, followed by Scarlatti and Bonnier in close company, and Halford, Gould and Flockhart bringing up the rear. Just before the end. Halford had his exhaust pipe come adrift and stopped to remove it; this allowed Gould and Flockhart to go by, and then the B.R.M. overtook the Centro-Sud Maserati. Apart from that nothing vital happened, and all but Davis completed the Heat and prepared for Heat two.
During the opening dice, Musso had done a lap in 1 min. 02.2 sec., a speed of 133.466 k.p.h., and after taking the lead Behra equalled this time, which was a new lap record.
The start for the second Heat was according to the finishing order in Heat one, so Behra, Musso and Schell were on the front row, followed by Collins and Scarlatti, then Bonnier, Flockhart and Gould and Halford at the back. Fangio acted as starter and Behra made no mistake this time and led from start to finish, never so much as being challenged by the others, but for second place there was a close fight between Musso, Collins and Schell, the little bored-out Formula II Ferraris going amazingly well. Scarlatti was driving well in fifth place until he spun and let the two B.R.M.s go by, but neither of the Bourne drivers could approach the leaders. Schell scrabbled by Collins on lap 12, but until lap 28 there was nothing to choose between the two V6 Ferraris and the straight-six Maserati. Scarlatti made up for his spin and caught Flockhart by lap 23 but then the B.R.M. had the fuel pump break off its mounting and was out, while four laps later Bonnier stopped with a broken universal joint, so that the Italian cars now had things all their own way. Once again the order was Behra, Musso, Schell and Collins, all on the same lap, the others being lapped. Three laps before the end, Halford broke a gear in the rear axle, but was able to push the car over the line and qualify. Behra made the fastest lap in Heat two but not quite so fast as in Heat one. By adding the times a general classification was decided and Behra was the undisputed winner. — D.S.J.
Modena Grand Prix
Heat One — 40 Laps — 92 Kilometres — Hot
1st: J. Behra (Maserati 250S) 42 min. 23.1 sec. 130.574 k.p.h.
2nd: L. Musso (Ferrari 1,860-c.c. V6) 42 min. 43.6 sec.
3rd: H. Schell (Maserati 250S) 43 min. 09.8 sec.
4th: P. Collins (Ferrari 1,860-c.c. V6) 43 min. 18.5 sec.
5th: G. Scarlatti (Maserati 250S) 1 lap behind
6th: J. Bonnier (B.R.M.) 1 lap behind
7th: R. Flockhart (B.R.M.) 2 laps behind
8th: H. Gould (Maserati 250S) 3 laps behind
9th B. Halford (Maserati 250S) 3 laps behind
Fastest lap: L. Musso (Ferrari) and J. Behra (Maserati) in 1 min. 02.2 sec. — 133.466 k.p.h.
Retired: C. Davis (Maserati 250S), engine, lap eight.
Heat Two — 40 Laps — 92 Kilometres — Hot
1st: J. Behra (Maserati 250S) 42 min. 24.8 sec. 130.473 k.p.h.
2nd: L. Musso (Ferrari 1,860-c.c. V6) 42 min. 44.6 sec.
3rd: H. Schell (Maserati 250S) 42 min. 47.0 sec.
4th: P. Collins (Ferrari 1,860-c.c. V6) 42 min. 47.3 sec.
5th: G. Scarlatti (Maserati 250S) 1 lap behind
6th: H. Gould (Maserati 250S) 2 laps behind
7th B. Halford (Maserati 250S) 6 laps behind
Fastest lap: J. Behra (Maserati) in 1 min. 02.6 sec. — 132.613 k.p.h.
Retired: R. Flockhart (B.R.M.), fuel pump drive, lap 23; J. Bonnier (B.R.M.) universal joint, lap 27.
Final Classification by Addition of Times:
80 Laps — 184 Kilometres
1st: J. Behra (Maserati 250S) 1 hr. 24 min. 47.9 sec. 130.503 k.p.h.
2nd: L. Musso (Ferrari 1,860-c.c. V6) 1 hr. 25 min. 28.2 sec.
3rd: H. Schell (Maserati 250S) 1 hr. 25 min. 56.8 sec.
4th: P. Collins (Ferrari 1,860-c.c. V6) 1 hr. 26 min. 05.8 sec.
5th: G. Scarlatti (Maserati 250S) 2 laps behind
6th: H. Gould (Maserati 250S) 5 laps behind
7th B. Halford (Maserati 250S) 9 laps behind
Tour de France
Without question the Ferrari Europas dominated this year’s Tour de France, and even Moss in a Mercedes-Benz 300SL could not get near them.
1st: O. Gendebien and L. Bianchi (Ferrari Europa).
2nd: M. Trintignant and F. Picard (Ferrari Europa).
3rd: 3. Lucas and J. Malle (Ferrari Europa).