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1956 GP SEASON

IV Gran Premio de La Republica Argentina

The Argentinian Grand Prix marked, for the fourth time, the opening of the drivers World Championship series of Grands Prix. This year it was a duel between the FERRARI-LANCIAS and the MASERATIS, as GORDINI, BRM, VANWALL, CONNAUGH'f and MERCEDES were not taking part.

To make up for this, all the best drivers, whether youngsters or veterans, were in attendance and one looked forward impatiently to the fight between Fangio, leader of the FERRARI-LANCIA contingent, and Moss, first driver to MASERATI. The Argentinian Grand Prix proved to be a punishing race, rich in incidents, due mainly to the fact that this event was more or less a tryout for the coming yearS models. Moss drove a fine race, but was let down by his car. As to Fangio, he too had his troubles, and at a quarter distance took over the car of his team-mate Musso. His victory appears to us to be open to doubt, without wishing in any way to belittle his qualities as a driver. Despite the pronouncement of the Sporting Commission of the F.I.A. we find it difficult to believe that, at the spot where he ran off the road (see photograph) there should happen to be five officials authorised to push his car. The regulations forbid anyone else to touch the car; this rule should be applied or else it should be expunged.

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Le XIV Grand Prix de Monaco

For the second round of the WorId Championship, drivers had to complete 100 laps of the Monaco circuit, totalling 1000 corners, which, in turn, necessitated 1400 gear changes during the three hours racing. The chief protagonists were again FERRARI and MASERATI. The former were to be handled by Fangio, Collins, Castellotti and Musso, the latter by Moss, Behra and Perdisn,. The British cars, of whom much was expected, only put in a short appearance. The BRM withdrew at the conclusion of practice; as to the VANWALLS, they were put out of the race through no fault of their own, Trintignant bent his oil cooler in the scramble round the first corner while Schell had to retire as a result of the mix-up started by Fangio's spin on the 2nd lap. Tho GORDINIS were only able to play a secondary role, which they did well, collecting 5th and 6th places. During practice, MASE,RATI tried out engines with both direct injection and injection into tIll' manifold, but for the actual race all the Italian cars had carburetter fed engines.

Moss made an excellent start and Fangio, chasing him furiously, spun round on his 2nd lap and later, on his 32nd, buckled a rear wheel in the Kiosk turn when he was 25" behilll Moss. He stopped on the 41st lap, and took over Collins' car on the 54th lap, when till young Englishman was lying second, only 15" behind Moss. The World Champion, who gave the impression of being below par in the first half of the race, now regained his form and progressively raised the lap record and finally made the best time of the day on the 100th, and ultimate lap. Moss had to nurse his car somewhat, as the bonnet had come adrift as a result of hitting the tail of Perdisa's MASERATI; but although Fangio's FERRARI was closing up on him rapidly, he refused to be panicked into driving flat out. The six seconds which separated him from Fangio whcn he crossed the line were sufficient to give him a magnificent victory. He had been in the lead from first to last and gave a convincing demonstration of brilliant driving and faultless race strategy. The discovery of the day was Peter Collins. Behra drove a steady race into 3rd place, with no incidents.

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The XLth Indianapolis 500 Mile Race

Following the usual tradition, this race was run on Memorial Day. The 33 competitors who had qualified on their practice times now had to do 200 laps of this famous rectangular 2.620 mile circuit. This was the third round of the Drivers World Championship, but one which normally has no effect on the placings. American drivers never enter for European Grands Prix, and the machines which give battle at Indianapolis are designed especially for that circuit and are fitted with tyres shaped to take left hand corners only. These Specials have nothing in common with Formula I cars.

The race starts at 11 o'clock Jim Rathman on a HOPKINS SPECIAL takes the lead, only to be passed on the fourth lap by O'Connor driving an ANSTED-ROTARY-SPECIAL. On the tenth lap Paul Russo, at the wheel of a NOVI-VESPA SPECIAL (the only car to have a V-8 engine, all the others being 4-cylinder cars), gets ahead and stays there till, on the 21st lap, an accident which could well have been fatal, puts him out of the race. O'Connor again takes the lead. Pat Flaherty, who had put up the best time during the qualifying laps and broken the lap record, becomes more and more threatening and moves up into first place, which he keeps to the end. Hanks, Freeland, Parsons and Rathman have a great battle for second place, which finally goes to Hanks.

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Le XVI Grand Prix de Belgique

In this, the third round of the World Championship, the Fangio-Moss duel took place as expected, but lasted only 10 laps. Moss made a magnificent start, whilst Fangio had some difficulties in getting away. However, after chasing him for 4 laps, the Argentinian, caught up the Englishman and passed him. But on the 11th lap this duel came to an end when Moss, then lying some 20 seconds behind Fangio, lost both a wheel and all hopes of a win. He ran back down the hill and arrived at his pit just in time to jump in to Perdisa's car and rejoin the race. From then on, victory seemed to be assured for the World Champion, but he nevertheless pressed on, drawing away by several seconds per lap from his closest rival, his team-mate Collins. The unexpected happened on the 24th lap, at Stavelot, where Fangio retired with a broken transmission. Collins therefore took first position and behind him Paul Frere lay second, ahead of Behra, whose MASERATI was ailing. Moss staged an amazing come-back, passed Behra and took third place, while the Frenchman dropped back to 7th.

So, once again, it was proved that in Sport one can never be certain of ones forecasts, every driver being at the mercy of mechanical failure, even in the best-prepared cars.

It was raining when the race started, and the wet track did not allow the drivers to use the full power at their disposal. The lap record was beaten by Moss on the Perdisa car at 124.0 m.p.h., but on the dry roads during practice, Fangio's FERRARI had managed to top the 124.0 m.p.h. These are impressive averages to those who know the nature of this fast but difficult circuit.

Although FERRARIS deserved their victory, they did not show a marked superiority over the MASERATIS.

As a result, the World Championship was wide open, with four contenders for the title: Moss and Collins with 11 points each, Behra with 10. and Fangio with 9. It was being pointed out that although at Monaco. three weeks earlier, Collins had been obliged to give up his car to Fangio now, after the Belgian Grand Prix, he still had an advantage of two points over him.

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XLI I Gral1d Prix de l' Automobile-Club de France

The Grand Prix of the A.C.F. was run over 61 laps of the 5.158 mile road circuit at Rheims. Nineten cars lined up at the start -5 FERRARIS entered by the firm, 8 MASERATIS (of which 4 works cars), 3 GORDINIS, 2 VANWALLS and 1 BUGATTI.

The public expected great things of this almost legendary BUGATTl which had a huge publicity in the Press for over a year and was returning to the racing field after an absence of seventeen years. But so new a car could not hope to triumph at what amounted to a trail gallop and besides it seemed to lack power. It was eliminated at the 18th lap.

The race was marke.d by the absolute supremacy of the Italian cars, in particular the FERRARIS. At the drop of the flag Fangio, Collins and Castellotti took the lead and held it to the end, except for Fangio who had to stop at the 40th lap. It was a dreadful disappointment for him to have to abandon his two team-mates just as victory seemed within his grasp. But after a quick change of sparking plugs he was off again and reentered the lists with renewed energy. However the WorId Champion's efforts were all in vain, for Collins and Castellotti fought relentlessly for the lead. At the last lap, in an attempt to catch up on Behra who was 9 seconds ahead of him, Fangio succeeded in setting up a new lap record at an average speed of 127.397 m.p.h.

Stirling Moss, well aware that his MASERATI was no match for the FERRARIS, never the less strained every nerve to win an honourable place. But his fighting spirit led to mechanical trouble and withdrawal. At the 13th lap, however, he took the wheel of Perdisa's injection fed MASERATI which was then lying ninth and succeeded in bringing it to 5th place.

The two VANWALLS demonstrated once again their great turn of speed. Schell, forced into retire by engine trouble, took over Hawthorn's car when it was 7th and lap by lap gained on the leading FERRARIS until half way through the race he had passed Collins and Castellotti and was just behind Fangio. Unfortunately his injection pump let him down and made him lose ground, so that he finally finished 10th behind the two GORDINIS of Da Silva and Manzon.

With this new victory Collins consolidated his position as leader in the Drivers' World Championship, which till then he had shared with Moss, followed by Behra and Fangio.

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Xlth British Grand Prix

 AppleMark?

Motor sport is more active in Great Britain than in any other country, and that is the reason why there were more than 8 different marques and 28 starters in the British Grand Prix. It is for the same reason that this country is able to field three drivers who can be contenders for the "World title: Moss, Collins and Hawthorn, to say nothing of several more drivers of International calibre.

Having been beaten at Monaco, it became imperative for Fangio, who had retired at Spa and only obtained a fourth place at Rheims, to gain some points in England if he was to win the Championship for the fourth time. In fact, at Silverstone, he once again gave a demonstration of his superiority, and one had to admit that he was still the absolute master.

The chief protagonists, as usual, would be FERRARI and MASERATI, but in this event one had to take into account the British cars, several of which showed signs of being serious challengers to Italian supremacy. MASERATI had given up fuel injection, either direct, or into the manifold, and all their engines were fed by carburettors. The FERRARIS had V8 LANCIA D50 engines. All the Italian cars had drum brakes and De Dion rear ends. Their chief British adversaries, the BRM, were powered by 4-cylinder engines, fed by two double-choke Weber carburettors, they had disc brakes and De Dion rear. The CONNAUGHTS were of basically similar specification.

The race was run under lowering skies, but the rain kept off. The BRMS made a terrific start, and Hawthorn and Brooks soon outdistanced their rivals, to the great joy of the 85,000 spectators. After 15 laps Moss caught and passed Hawthorn, who was beginning to slow down and who finally retired on the 24th lap. Moss then kept the lead till the 68th lap, when his engine began misfiring and he had to come in for attention to the ignition. He restarted, but finally had to retire with a broken axle on the 94th lap, thus did not reap the reward of his wonderful drive. Fangio then became first and won by a comfortable margin. While the battle for first place was going on Salvadori, on a privately entered MASERATI, driving the race of his life held 2nd place for 30 laps, leading a whole bunch of works FERRARIS and MASERATIS; on the 54th lap, however, his engine gave out and he had to retire. Brooks who was also slowing, stopped at his pit but restared again on the 41st lap the transmission seized and his RRM turned over and caught fire the driver was fortunately thrown clear and was not seriously injured. Collins stopped on the 64th lap in order to take over De Portago's FERRARI, with which he finished 2nd. Castellotti damaged his car in a sensational spin, and then kindly lent the car to the marquis De Portago who, having persuaded the Stewards to allow him to continue, finally crossed the finishing line pushing the car before him.

Once again, Behra took a third place, while Fairman, on the first British car to finish was fourth in the CONNAUGHT. The only other natiye car to finish was Gerard's COOPER-BRISTOL, 13 laps behind the winner.

Of the 28 starters only 11 were placed.

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XVIII. Grosser Preis van Deutschland

Niirburgring August 5th I956

With the lap record smashed during practice one could well expect a FERRARI victory, his cars lapping in about 10 seconds less than the MASERATIS. Fangio, Collins, Castellotti, Musso and De Portago represented FERRARI, while MASERATI had put their cars in the care of Moss, Behra and Maglioli, who replaced Perdisa. GORDINI brought two of his new eight-cylinder cars, to be driven by Manzon and Milhoux. There were no British cars present, but several private MASERATIS and Scarlatti's FERRARI completed the Starting Grid. The only non-starter was Perdisa, who had left the road during practice in trying to avoid a policeman who had foolishly appeared in the roadway. The fronts of both the MASERATIS and the FERRARIS had been lengthened, and the FERRARI equipe, aware of the bad state of the roads, had welded extra supports under the fuel tanks. Manzon's GORDINI was fitted with a separate exhaust pipe for each one of its eight cylinders, which gave it a few extra b.h.p. One could look forward to a battle royal between Fangio and Collins who were lying first and second in the Championship with one point separating them. The two drivers had been fastest in practice and were in the front row, side by side. The race was over 22 laps of 14.2 miles which represented a total of 3,784 corners.

The weather was windy and dry when the 19 cars set off before a crowd estimated at 100,000. At the end of the first lap Fangio was already in the lead, closely followed by Collins, Moss, Behra arid Salvadori. The absolute record for the circuit, which had been set up seventeen years ago, was broken on the second lap by Fangio and by Collins, who stuck to him like a shadow Schell retired with a broken radiator, and was soon followed by Castellotti with a broken rear axle on his FERRARI. .

Collins, who had been tailing Fangio until now, had to stop with a broken fuel tank mounting. By half-way the World Champion had the only well-placed FERRARI in the lead, and was being chased by the MASERATIS of Moss and Behra. Castellotti took over Musso's FERRARI and Collins that of De Portago, and these two drivers rivalled each other in daring in their efforts to rejoin the leading group. In doing so they both left the road, on the 13th and 15th laps respectively, and were out of the race for good. The end of the race did not bring About any changes, except for a few more retirements. From the 15th-lap, Moss had to abate his ardour somewhat, as by then the functioning of both his brakes and gearbox left something to be desired. Fangio had been in the lead from beginning to end and once again proved that he still has no equal. Two records were broken at Nurburgring in 1956 that for the lap, at a speed of 87.73 m. p. h. and that for the proportion of retirements: 75 %. Amongst the five finishers there was only one FERRARI to four MASERATIS.

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XVI Gran Premia d'Eurapa &

XXVII Gran Premia d'Italia

Monza, September 2nd, 1956

The sight of three FERRARIS in the front row of the starting grid for the last Grand Prix of the season showed up in striking relief the superiority of the Scuderia from Maranello and did not foreshadow a MASERATI win after a thrilling race full of incidents. Because of its surface and the speeds attained, the Monza circuit puts a great strain on every part of the car and on the tyres in particular. It is to be noted that only the FERRARIS were involved in accidents or retirements due to tyres, but no one make was spared entirely, so numerous were the breakages of steering and suspension. The FERRARIS driven by Fangio, Collins, Castenotti, Musso and de Portago were basically unchanged models. On the other hand the Officine MASERATI brought two cars with a longer wheelbase and with the engine and transmission line running askew, both in the horizontal and the vertical plane. Moss and Behra were to drive these cars, whose road-holding showed a marked improvement. The prototype car with fuel injection proved too slow in practice and was not used in the race. Godia, Villoresi and Maglioli completed the team of the sign of the Trident. Simon, Manzon and da Silva drove GORDINIS. From Britain, VANWALLS had entered a team of three cars with Trintignant, Taruffi and Schell as drivers, and CONNAUGHTS an equal number with Flockhart, Fairman and Leston at the wheel. Five private MASERATIS brought the entry up to twenty-four.

It was dull and cloudy when the starter lowered his flag, Musso and Castellotti making a lightning get away and forging well ahead until flying treads brought them simultaneously into the FERRARI pit. By the fifth lap the leading group consisted of Moss, Fangio, Schell, Collins and Taruffi. The latter soon had to drop out with a damaged rear suspension. After ten laps the following had already retired: da Silva, de Portago, Leston, Manzon and Castenotti. The last-named had had a spectacular spin on the banking in the ninth lap, when a tyre burst. At ten laps the order was: Fangio, Moss, Schen, Collins and Behra. While Collins was at his pit changing tyres, Schell made a great bid and took the lead, but was soon replaced by Moss. In the meantime Fangio was seen coming slowly towards the pits, his steering having snapped in the middle of a bend, and he was lucky to escape. Mechanics set upon the car and four laps later it was back in the race in the hands of Castellotti. By half-way Moss was still leading Schell, Musso, Collins and Maglioli. On the 28th lap Schell came into re-fuel and change tyres and a lap later Behra, who, throughout the season had not changed cars during the race, took over Maglioli's MASERATI.

Musso was steadfastly refusing to hand over his car to Fangio, but would soon be forced to come in for a tyre change. When he did so, he stayed in the driving seat while the mechanics worked on the car, refusing to give up his chances in favour of Fangio who was standing by, carless, in front of the FERRARI pits. Schell retired and walked back to the pits, receiving great applause on the way. The question now was would Collins to gain the title of World Champion by putting up a fastest lap, and winning the race? The. answer was no for when he came in to change a wheel, he made the spontaneous and extremely sporting gesture of offering his car to Fangio, who rejoined the race in third position, behind Moss and Musso. The lower temperature of the late afternoon was now increasing the life of the tyres, and Musso, at the top of his form, attacked Moss, beat the lap record and passed the Englishman when the latter had to stop for more fuel. It was now the turn of Behra to retire, the track rod of the MASERATI having broken. The spectators were excited and delighted was victory going to smile upon young Musso? Again the answer was , No, because on the forty seventh lap the steering on the Italian's FERRARI broke and thus put an end to his hopes. Moss then raised the lap record still higher and crossed the finishing line ahead of the flying Fangio. Just in time too, for the left rear tyre on his MASERATI was so worn that he had to complete the last lap at reduced speed, while Fangio was doing his best to snatch victory from him. More than half the entry were involved in incidents or accidents, none of which proved serious.

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