41 – 1954 Swiss GP


A series taken from the 162-page Motor Sport special 100 Greatest Grands Prix (other specials are available here).

Funny to think that the Swiss Grand Prix was once perceived as a staple – an ever-present fixture once the FIA had followed the Fédération International de Motocyclisme’s example by creating a world championship. 

That all changed in 1955, when the Swiss authorities banned circuit racing in the wake of the Le Mans disaster and implemented a ban that endures to this day (although hillclimbs along mountain passes are absolutely fine, obviously).

Located to the north of Bern, Bremgarten was a long, challenging, tree-lined track and there was no reason to think it might be consigned to history within the year. As it turned out, the 1954 race would be an appropriate swansong – not so much a nail-biting classic but a showcase for Juan Manuel Fangio’s gift.

The 1954 Swiss Grand Prix on the Database

The Argentine took the lead at the start, his Mercedes heading Froilán González’s Ferrari and Stirling Moss’s Maserati. The Englishman soon moved up to second, but the leading Silver Arrow was fast becoming a shiny dot ahead.

Mike Hawthorn picked his way through the field to hold second for a while, but a sticking throttle delayed him and oil pump failure eventually sidelined his Ferrari. Moss retired for the same reason, allowing González to reclaim second, but such were mere details on a day when Fangio drove without flaw. He won by almost a minute and in the process clinched his second world title.

Today, a motorway bisects parts of the old track: fragments exist still, but clues to their glorious past are a touch scarce. SA

About 100 Greatest Grands Prix | From the editor Damien Smith
The Grand Prix motor races we can never forget…

This was a special one-off magazine, dedicated to our love of Grand Prix racing and produced by the same team that brings you Motor Sport each month.

It seemed a good idea: whittle down 107 years of racing history to come up with 100 GPs that could be considered the ‘greatest’ – then rank them in meritocratic order. By week three, the old grey matter was beginning to ache…

Defining greatness was the first task. There were the obvious races – the wheel-to-wheel duels, the comeback classics. But there were also individual performances of supreme dominance, races that might not necessarily have been the most exciting to witness. Greatness goes way beyond thrill-a-minute, we decided.

Choosing which races should make the list was hard enough; ranking the top 100 in some sort of order was even tougher, especially when it came to the crunch: which should be number one? We never did agree unanimously on the ‘greatest’, but if the magazine was to be finished a decision had to be taken. And that’s what I’m here for!

Will you agree with our choice and order? Probably not. But if steam begins to issue from your ears, take a deep breath. In any exercise such as this, there is no definitive list – because there can’t be. Our top 100 is based on opinion, nothing more, designed to be a bit of fun and to spark good-natured debate among fans of the world’s greatest sport.

You can download 100 Greatest Grands Prix in PDF form in the Motor Sport app.

You may also like