1956 Italian Grand Prix

Gran Premio d'Italia e Europa

Sunday, September 2, 1956
Warm and rain showers
Fastest Lap:
Moss, 2m45.5
1956 season:

Pirelli Win Italian Grand Prix

THIS year the Italian Grand Prix took the title of the Grand Prix of Europe and was held as usual at the Monza Autodromo near Milan. This event was the last in the 1956 World Championship series and for that matter the last serious Grand Prix event of the year, so everyone, with the exception of B.R.M. and Bugatti, were out for a final win-or-bust effort, knowing that the rest of the year was available for making amends should the attempt prove disastrous.

Being open all the week the Autodromo was in full use during the days preceding the official practice, Ferrari, Maserati and Vanwall taking turns to try their cars, those from Maranello and Acton being basically unchanged since their last appearance and the Modena firm having a new model. The Scuderia Ferrari were very confident and well satisfied with their V8 cars, while Vanwall were anything but happy and Maserati were hopeful. Friday afternoon was the first official practice period and there were six Lancia Ferraris out, with Fangio, Colllins, Castellotti, Musso, de Portago and von Trips, the first five being entered as the official team with the German driver as reserve, though if the two days of practice finished without the loss of a car then all six would run in the race. Maserati had their two new cars out for Moss and Behra, the latter's still unpainted, and in addition a normal 250/F1 with fuel injection and two similar cars with carburetters. As Perdisa's Nurburgring crash had proved more serious than at first imagined, he was still unable to drive and his place was taken by Villoresi, with Maglioli added for luck. Vanwall entered three cars, with a fourth one standing by as spare, and the drivers were Schell, Trintignant and Taruffi, the major problem with the cars being to keep them in one piece over the high speed bumps around the bankings. Connaught had three cars running, with Fairman, Leston and, it was hoped, Scott-Brown, but as the Italian authorities were not prepared to accept Archie's physical disabilities, his place was taken by Flockhart, there being no B.R.M. for him to drive. To complete the factory teams there was Gordini with two eight-cylinders for Manzon and da Silva Ramos and a six-cylinder for Simon. This collection alone would have made a worthy field for a Grand Prix, but the list was enlarged even more by Graffenried with the Scuderia Centro-Sud Maserati, Gerini with the Scuderia Guastalla Maserati, Piotti, Godia, Salvadori, and Halford with their private Maseratis, making a total of 24 cars.