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The XI Pau Grand Prix alongside the 1950 Richmond Trophy which was also held on the same day, was the first Formula One race of the 1950 season, albeit both races being non-championship Grand Prix. The race marked Juan Manuel Fangio's last Grand Prix competing for the Maserati team before moving over to the Alfa Romeo team for the remainder of the season. Fangio dominated the weekend, taking pole positon, fastest lap and the race win completing a grand chelem during the race.

BackgroundEdit

Going into the race, it was expected to be a straight fight between the Maserati and Ferrari cars for the race win. The race would mark Juan Manuel Fangio's last Grand Prix with the Scuderia Achille Varzi team, the private team that competed with Maserati machinery. Competing alonside Fangio was fellow Argentine, the young José Froilán González.

The official Maserati team would only bring one driver along to the race, that of the experienced Louis Chiron. Ferrari would have a full line-up of Alberto Ascari, Luigi Villoresi and Raymond Sommer. Likewise Simca brought three drivers along for one of their home Grand Prix's in Maurice Trintignant, Robert Manzon and André Simon.

The Talbot-Lago constructors were comprised entirely of private entrants. Charles Pozzi and Georges Grignard would both share a drive whilst Pierre Levegh and Philippe Étancelin would enter seperately as privateers.Louis Rosier would also enter a private Maserati for his Ecurie Rosier team.

QualifyingEdit

Raymond Sommer impressed on the first day when he set the fastest time and in doing so, broke the lap record of the circuit held by Rudolf Carraciola set in 1938 driving a Mercedes. However the next day of practice, two driver's bettered his time still. His Ferrari teammate, Luigi Villoresi was the first to improve. However it was the impressive rising talent of Juan Manuel Fangio's Maserati that took the pole position time.[1]

Behind the leading trio of Fangio, Villoresi and Sommer came Louis Rosier's Talbot-Lago, an impressive result for the privateer. The young José Froilán González was fifth, ahead of Alberto Ascari, racing a Formula Two specification Ferrari.[1] Louis Chiron was disappointed to manage only seventh after he damaged his car in an accident in the first practice session. Being forced to use the older spare car, Chiron found seventh was the best he could do.

The remaining competitors of Manzon, Simon, Levegh, Trintignant, Pozzi and Grignard were off the pace and did not get below the 1:50 mark throughout either session.[1]


Qualifying ResultsEdit

PosNo.DriverConstructorTimeGap
110Argentina Juan Manuel FangioMaserati1:43.1-
22Italy Luigi VilloresiFerrari1:43.4unknown
36France Raymond SommerFerrari1:44.5unknown

wn

414France Louis RosierTalbot-Lago-Talbot1:46.0unknown
512Argentina José Froilán GonzálezMaserati1:46.0unknown
64Italy Alberto AscariFerrari1:46.5unknown
718Monaco Louis ChironMaserati1:47.3unknown
822France Robert ManzonSimca-Gordini1:51.2unknown
924France André SimonSimca-Gordini1:51.8unknown
1028France Pierre LeveghTalbot-Lago-Talbot1:51.8unknown
1120France Maurice TrintignantSimca-Gordini1:52.0unknown
128France Philippe ÉtancelinTalbot-Lago-Talbot1:52.4unknown
1316France Charles PozziTalbot-Lago-Talbot1:52.8unknown
France Georges Grignard

RaceEdit

ReportEdit

Thirteen of the world's best racing drivers lined up at the 40 000 strong crowd at the Pau circuit. The start of the race saw the superior acceleration of the Ferrari cars of Villoresi and Sommer fly past Fangio's Maserati. Sommer took the lead from Villoresi and for the first fifteen laps, the Ferrari's led with Fangio's Maserati in hot pursuit.[1]

On lap 15, Fangio moved past Villoresi and Sommer to take the lead of the race. Whilst Villoresi began to fall back, Sommer remained on Fangio's heels and continued to duel with the Maserati, however he never quite could make it passed.

Meanwhile further back, Alberto Ascari in the Formula Two Ferrari retired from the race with a broken rear axle. Ascari remained in the pits, gloves and helmet remaining on, waiting for the chance to take over from Villoresi or Sommer if needed.[1] Shortly afterwards, González was also out of the race. The young Argentine pulled into the pits to retire with a broken differential, an unfortunate result for him which had seen him duel with Rosier's Talbot-Lago for fourth throughout the race. [1]

When the leaders began to encounter traffic from the backmarkers, Sommer slowly began to lose ground on Fangio who was managing to clear the backmarkers much faster than Sommer. One of these backmarkers, Andre Simon, crashed out of the race on lap 32.

However, Fangio began to encounter trouble in his first pit-stop, the mechanics cutting off fuel pressure before Fangio's fuel tank was full led to much confusion among the mechanics. A potential advantage for Sommer was lost when he squandered his own pit-stop. In the stop, Sommer leapt out of the car for a glass of water and a change of goggles. However by the time Sommer returned to his Ferrari, the mechanics had already completed his pit-stop. A panicked Sommer who had lost time by leaving the car hopped back in and in his rush nearly cut off Louis Rosier's Talbot completely in his haste to escape. [1] More misadventure in the pit-stops occured when Louis Chiron crashed into one of his own mechanics whilst coming into the pits.

After all the mayhem in the stops, Villoresi had been of the few leaders to have a completely clean stop which saw the Italian finding himself in second position, now only 3 seconds behind Fangio's Maserati. Sommer in the other Ferrari had seemed to have lost all his earlier pace and fell behind Rosier's Talbot-Lago and was consistently dropping off the pace.

In the lead, Villoresi was able to keep pace with Fangio for a time, however it was not long before the Argentine began to pull away. Fangio took a commanding win, 30 seconds ahead of Villoresi's Ferrari. Behind him came, Louis Rosier, a magnificent drive for the private Talbot-Lago driver. Rosier ensuring the French at least got a podium finish on home turf.

ResultsEdit

Pos No. Driver Team Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid
 1  10 Argentina Juan Manuel Fangio Italy Scuderia Achille Varzi ItalyMaserati 110 3:14:20.0 1
2 2 Italy Luigi Villoresi Italy Scuderia Ferrari Italy Ferrari 110 +30.5s 2
3 14 France Louis Rosier France Ecurie Rosier France Talbot-Lago-Talbot 110 +1:02.2s 4
4 6 France Raymond Sommer Italy Scuderia Ferrari ItalyFerrari 109 +1 lap 3
5 22 France Robert Manzon France Equipe Gordini FranceSimca-Gordini 106 +4 laps 8
6 28 France Pierre Levegh Privateer FranceTalbot-Lago-Talbot 104 +6 laps 10
7 20 France Maurice Trintignant France Equipe Gordini FranceSimca-Gordini 103 +7 laps 11
8 16 France Charles Pozzi Privateer FranceTalbot-Lago-Talbot 100 +10 laps 13
France Georges Grignard
Ret 18 Monaco Louis Chiron Italy Officine Alfieri Maserati ItalyMaserati 56 Rear axle 7
Ret 8 France Philippe Étancelin Privateer FranceTalbot-Lago-Talbot 53 Drive shaft 12
Ret 24 France André Simon France Equipe Gordini FranceSimca-Gordini 32 Crash 9
Ret 12 ArgentinaJosé Froilán González Italy Scuderia Achille Varzi ItalyMaserati 25 Differential 5
Ret 4 Italy Alberto Ascari Italy Scuderia Ferrari ItalyFerrari 10 Rear axle 6
DNA 26 Italy Felice Bonetto Italy Scuderia Milano ItalyMaserati Did Not Attend

MilestonesEdit

NotesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 http://second-a-lap.blogspot.com.au/2013/06/gp-50-xi-pau-grand-prix.html
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