1951 Swiss Grand Prix

Grand Prix de Suisse

Sunday, May 27, 1951
Fastest Lap:
Fangio, 2m51.1
1951 season:

THE Swiss G.P. held on the Bremgarten circuit at Berne was the first clash between the "works" Alfa-Romeos and Ferraris, and it was clearly seen in the practice periods that neither equipe were pulling any punches. The outcome of the race is now history but some of the pre-race efforts are of interest. On the first day of training Alfas fielded four cars, all Typo 159, with no major modiffications apart from extra fuel tanks, so it was obvious that Ferraris had them worried over the question of losing seconds on pit stops. Fangio, Farina. Sanesi and de Graffenried all practised, most of the time using the same car. As soon as one driver had done his specified number of laps he drew into the pits, tyre pressures, instrument readings and fuel levels were recorded, the race numbers changed and the next driver was off, to cover the same number of laps. Meanwhile one or another of the remaining cars was used by the drivers for learning the course, the guinea pig car being essentially a travelling test-bed for the technicians to checkeverything. It was all very swift and efficient, with a minimum of three mechanics to each car.

In contrast Ferraris had only one car out, a 4 1/2-litre unsupereharged, driven, in what appeared to be a very nonchalant manner, by Villoresi. There were only two mechanics in attendance and the car was merely driven round and round with little apparent interest being taken. There was a second 4 1/2-litre behind the pits but it was not used, and towards the end of the afternoon Taruffi did a few laps In Villoresi's car, he having been nominated as an additional Ferrari entry. The outcome of this apparent nonchalance was that Villoresi recorded fastest practice time!

Three Lago-Talbots were circulating steadily while the H.W.M. team of Moss and Abecassis were quietly getting on with the job of training for the race.  After the withdrawal of the B.R.M. entries it was good to site the H.W.M.s representing this country. The most pro-B.R.M. Englishman present could not help agreeing that "at least H.W.M.s were at Berne, even if they had no hope of winning." If only the B.R.M.s had gone to Berne and practised it would have done a lot of good. The continental motor-racing enthusiast goes on sight and sound, not figures and talk, and if the B.R.M.s had gone past the pits a, few times on full song and then toured round the difficult parts, as the drivers wouldn't have been au fait with the handling, they would have caused it stir. Then, had they been packed up and taken home with the excuse that they were not quite ready for the race, everyone wonld have beon most impressed and not a little worried for the time when they have a real go. As it is no one is worried about "when they come," it is a question of a shrug and "if they come."