1953 Swiss Grand Prix
- Sunday, August 23, 1953
- Grand Prix de Suisse
- F1 World Championship
AS has been traditional for many years, the Swiss Grand Prix was held at Berne on the Bremgarten circuit, acclaimed by many people as one of the best road-racing circuits in Europe. Lying just outside the City of Berne, literally at the end of the municipal tram tracks, the Bremgarten circuit is fast becoming unique in that it remains unaltered throughout the years. Nowadays so many circuits present an entirely different aspect each year that it is difficult to form any sort of continuity between the races held over a period of years. Since its inception the Berne circuit has remained unchanged in shape and the only changes have been slight widening and resurfacing, so that pre-war records still mean something today. In one feature the Bremgarten stands alone and that is the fact that it has no straights, being made up entirely of curves and corners, and the slowest of these is a hairpin taken at around 50 m.p.h. The result is a circuit upon which driving skill pays dividends and road-holding is all important. It is rather significant that the out-and-out lap record still stands to Bernd Rosemeyer with an Auto-Union in 1936 at 2 min. 34.5 see., a speed of 169.632 k.p.h., and though Fangio approached this in practice in 1951 with a 159 Alfa-Romeo to within fractions of a second, as a race record it still stands.
Naturally the Swiss Grand Prix counted for the World Championship but also it is something of a classic event in its own right, for it is held at the height of the holiday season, the town of Berne is fascinating and Switzerland at any time is a good place to be in, with the result that Berne is one of those events that everyone feels they must attend. The meeting has the further attraction of being combined with the Swiss Motor-cycle Grand Prix, so that the two internal combustion engine worlds combine in a veritable orgy of speed.
Over the years the Bremgarten circuit has attained a reputation for being a dangerous circuit, due to numerous fatalities that have occurred in the past, but this is not altogether justified, for while it is not the safest of circuits, it is certainly not the most dangerous, but it is, however, not a circuit on which to learn, nor is it a circuit on which to make mistakes. In the past a number of accidents have occurred at the Eymatt corner, at a point where the circuit changes from very fast downhill swerves in bright sunlight to an uphill section under the shade of large trees and thick undergrowth, and it is said that the sudden change of light conditions is severe on the human eye and likely to cause faulty judgment. This year the corner was lined with a wall of straw bales, painted black and white, and the road width was reduced slightly in an endeavour to make competitors more conscious of the corner's severity and visibility, on the old principle that the more dangerous a thing appears the more cautious people will be. Apart from this modification, as remarked at the beginning, the circuit remains unchanged.