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1950 Swiss Grand Prix

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The 1950 Swiss Grand Prix was the fourth race of the inaugural Formula One World Championship in 1950. The 42-lap race, held on June 4 1950 was won by Nino Farina.

BackgroundEdit

The third round of the championship was held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, however none of the world championship competitors seriously considered it as a grand prix event and would choose not to participate. The regular drivers regrouped for the fourth round of the world championship at the Swiss circuit of Bremgarten. Alfa Romeo drivers Giuseppe Farina and Juan Manuel Fangio were tied on 9 points apiece. Shortly behind in the championship was the third Alfa Romeo of Luigi Fagioli and Alberto Ascari's Ferrari, both drivers on six points. Ascari had won the event the previous year for Ferrari, however with the return of the dominant Alfa's for 1950's, the trio of Farina, Fangio and Fagioli were expected once again to be the favourites.

Alberto Ascari and Luigi Villoresi were expected to be the Alfa's main rivals once again with their competitive 125 Ferrari's. Villoresi would be participating with a chassis with an updated rear suspension, twin overhead camshaft engine and 4-speed gearbox in Ferrari's latest effort to reduce the performance deficit to Alfa Romeo. Raymond Sommer was the third works Ferrari entry, however he would only be participating in a Formula Two Ferrari 166. Sommer would be concentrating his efforts on the Formula Two support race in which he would participate in the same car as the Formula One race. Peter Whitehead had also entered his private 125 Ferrari, however after his serious mechanical problems in Monaco, he was forced to withdraw for the second race in succession.

Talbot-Lago had increased their works entry once again, Louis Rosier and Eugène Martin returned as works entries to race alongside regular driver Yves-Giraud Cabantous. Subsequently, Rosier had leant his privately owned Talbot-Lago T26C that he had raced in Monaco to Harry Schell for the weekend. Philippe Étancelin had not been retained by the works Talbot-Lago outifit, nonetheless he was still in attendance at Bremgarten in his own privately entered T26C. Johnny Claes made up the final entry of the Talbot-Lago's in his privately owned car.

Louis Chiron and Franco Rol were once again the works Maserati entrants, however Rol would be forced to withdraw following the broken arm he sustained in the first lap pile-up at Monaco. Scuderia Achille Varzi had seen both of their drivers José Froilán González and Alfredo Piàn injured following the aftermath of the Monaco race, the team was therefore forced to look for a new driver if they were to compete in Switzerland. The first driver selected was a unique choice, the reigning motorcycle 150cc world champion and 500cc runner-up, Nello Pagani was chosen as their entry for the Swiss round of the championship. The motorcycle world champion was the winner of the Swiss Motorcycle Grand Prix the previous year and aside from his skill in bikes was also an adept car racer, having been a double winner of the Pau Grand Prix. The team's second driver was a relatively unknown local driver called Antonio Branca. Branca was an inexperienced pilot who primarily entered only local Swiss events, the question of how he managed to raise the finances to race in the event has always been somewhat of a mystery. He was rumoured to be financed by a rich lover that gave him the freedom to enter the prestigious motor racing events.

Enrico Platé was with his standard entry of Emannuel de Graffenried and Prince Bira. Reg Parnell was due to enter the event, returning to his Scuderia Ambrosiana team, however his entry was withdrawn prior to the event. The last Maserati entry was that of Felice Bonetto of Scuderia Milano. Both team and driver would make their debut in Bremgarten, the Milano-entered Maserati 4CLT/48 entered by the team had been heavily modified, so much so it was renamed the 4CLT/50.

The final entry saw another new manufacturer attempt to enter the Formula One ranks, Societa Valdostana Automobil (SVA). The company, a subsidary of the Fiat manufacturer had a built a Formula One car that in testing had proven highly unreliable albeit quick at times. Swiss driver, Rudolf Fischer, was due to drive the car, however its reliability problems forced the team to withdraw from the event.

Simca-Gordini were a notable absence from the grid, the team would be in attendance over the grand prix weekend, however they preferred to focus on only the Formula Two support race, their cars being better suited for the competition of the feeder formulae.

Entry List Edit

No. Driver Entrant Constructor Chassis Engine Model Tyre
2 Italy Nello Pagani Italy Scuderia Achille Varzi Maserati 4CLT/48 Maserati 4CL 1.5 L4s P
4 Belgium Johnny Claes Belgium Ecurie Belge Talbot-Lago T26C Talbot-Lago 23CV 4.5 L6 D
6 France Yves Giraud-Cabantous France  Automobiles Talbot Darracq Talbot-Lago T26C Talbot-Lago 23CV 4.5 L6 D
8 France Eugène Martin France  Automobiles Talbot Darracq Talbot-Lago T26C Talbot-Lago 23CV 4.5 L6 D
10 France Louis Rosier France  Automobiles Talbot Darracq Talbot-Lago T26C Talbot-Lago 23CV 4.5 L6 D
12 Italy Luigi Fagioli Italy  Alfa Romeo SpA Alfa Romeo 158 Alfa Romeo 159 LBC 1.5 L8s P
14 Argentina Juan Manuel Fangio Italy  Alfa Romeo SpA Alfa Romeo 158 Alfa Romeo 159 LBC 1.5 L8s P
16 Italy Giuseppe Farina Italy  Alfa Romeo SpA Alfa Romeo 158 Alfa Romeo 159 LBC 1.5 L8s P
18 Italy Alberto Ascari Italy  Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 125 Ferrari 125 F1 1.5 V12s P
20 France Raymond Sommer Italy  Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 166 F2-50 Ferrari 166 F2 2.0 V12 P
22 Italy Luigi Villoresi Italy  Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 125 Ferrari 125 F1 1.5 V12s P
24 United Kingdom Peter Whitehead Italy  Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 125 Ferrari 125 F1 1.5 V12s P
26 Monaco Louis Chiron Italy  Officine Alfieri Maserati Maserati 4CLT/48 Maserati 4CL 1.5 L4s P
28 Italy Franco Rol Italy  Officine Alfieri Maserati Maserati 4CLT/48 Maserati 4CL 1.5 L4s P
30 Thailand Prince Bira Switzerland  Enrico Platé Maserati 4CLT/48 Maserati 4CL 1.5 L4s P
32 Switzerland Emmanuel de Graffenried Switzerland  Enrico Platé Maserati 4CLT/48 Maserati 4CL 1.5 L4s P
34 Italy Felice Bonetto Italy  Scuderia Milano Maserati 4CLT/50 Maserati 4CL 1.5 L4s P
36 United Kingdom Reg Parnell Italy Scuderia Ambrosiana Maserati 4CLT/48 Maserati 4CL 1.5 L4s P
38 Switzerland Rudolf Fischer Switzerland Ecurie Espadon SVA 1500 Fiat L4s P
40 Switzerland Antonio Branca Argentina Scuderia Achille Varzi Maserati 4CL Maserati 4CL 1.5 L4s P
42 France Philippe Étancelin France Philippe Étancelin Talbot-Lago T26C Talbot-Lago 23CV 4.5 L6 D
44 United States Harry Schell United States Ecurie Bleue Talbot-Lago T26C Talbot-Lago 23CV 4.5 L6 D
source

QualifyingEdit

The practice and qualifying times would take place over the Thursday, Friday and Saturdays days of the racing weekend with the grand prix taking place on the Sunday. The first day of practice on Thursday saw very little track activity, none of the Ferrari's, Maserati's or the works Talbot-Lago's were presence on the track. However Louis Rosier was practicing in his privately owned Talbot-Lago, before he would hand the car over to Harry Schell and return to his works entry for Friday. The only team to get serious track time on Thursday was that of Alfa Romeo.

As the session got underway, Alfa Romeo's test and reserve driver, Giovanni Guidotti took a single Alfa Romeo out on an installation lap. The team planned to use only a single car on the first day of practice, when Guidotti returned to the pits after the initial checks, Giuseppe Farina took over the car. After some time out on track, Farina handed the car over to Fagioli for a run. Fagioli's run was cut short when he encountered engine troubles forcing him back to the pits, Fangio therefore was forced to run in a second car for his stint. Fangio's run was thereafter untroubled and he was running the fastest of the three Alfa drivers after the first day.

On the second day of practice, the Ferrari's, Talbot-Lago's and Maserati's entered the fray and began to set laptimes. Over the course of the final two days of practice, the Alfa Romeo's remained in control of the leaderboard, however Ferrari had began to make gains on their archrivals. Of the three Alfa's, Fangio had dominated throughout the three days, with Farina and Fagioli somewhat lagging behind.

The Ferrari's were clearly making improvements, Villoresi in the updated car was now only one second behind Fagioli in the updated Ferrari car. Alberto Ascari, racing only in the standard 125 Ferrari was only seven tenths off teammate Villoresi's best time. Étancelin, the old Talbot-Lago privateer who was frustratingly not retained by the works outfit, however he interestingly was the fastest of the Talbot-Lago cars in practice. Giraud-Cabantous sat one place behind him on the grid, fastest of the works Talbot-Lago cars. Prince Bira was the fastest Maserati car in eighth followed by the two Talbot-Lago's of Martin and Rosier. Then came De Graffenried and Bonetto in their Maserati's, whilst the Formula Two Ferrari of Sommer was in thirteenth. Sommer had won the Formula Two race on the Friday, however his car was lacking the drive to compete at the front alongside the lead cars.

The final entries were made up primarily of the semi-professional private racers, Claes was fourteenth whilst Pagani was fifteeenth. Chiron in the works Maserati was disappointed to be only sixteenth after his sensational home run in Monaco. Whilst behind him came Branca and Schell, the young rich private entries rounding out the bottom of the field.

PosNo.DriverConstructorTimeGap%Avg Speed
114Juan Manuel FangioAlfa Romeo2:42.1100%161.678
216Nino FarinaAlfa Romeo2:42.8 +0.7100.4%160.983
312Luigi FagioliAlfa Romeo2:45.2 +3.1101.9%158.644
422Luigi VilloresiFerrari2:46.1 +4102.5%157.784
518Alberto AscariFerrari2:46.8 +4.7102.9%157.122
642Philippe ÉtançelinTalbot-Lago-Talbot2:51.1 +9105.6%153.174
76Yves Giraud-CabantousTalbot-Lago-Talbot2:52.7 +10.6106.5%151.754
830Prince BiraMaserati2:53.2 +11.1106.8%151.316
98Eugène MartinTalbot-Lago-Talbot2:53.7 +11.6107.2%150.881
1010Louis RosierTalbot-Lago-Talbot2:54.0 +11.9107.3%150.621
1132Emmanuel de GraffenriedMaserati2:54.2 +12.1107.5%150.448
1234Felice BonettoMaserati2:54.6 +12.5107.7%150.103
1320Raymond SommerFerrari2:54.6 +12.5107.7%150.103
144Johnny ClaesTalbot-Lago-Talbot2:59.0 +16.9110.4%146.413
152Nello PaganiMaserati3:06.9 +24.8115.3%140.225
1626Louis ChironMaserati3:06.9 +24.8115.3%140.225
1740Toni BrancaMaserati3:10.0 +27.9117.2%137.937
1844Harry SchellTalbot-Lago-Talbot3:11.5 +29.4118.1%136.856

GridEdit

Pos Pos Pos
Driver Driver Driver
______________
______________ 1
______________ 2 Juan Manuel Fangio
3 Giuseppe Farina
Luigi Fagioli
______________
______________ 4
5 Luigi Villoresi
Alberto Ascari
______________
______________ 6
______________ 7 Philippe Étancelin
8 Yves Giraud-Cabantous
Prince Bira
______________
______________ 9
10 Eugène Martin
Louis Rosier
______________
______________ 11
______________ 12 Emmanuel de Graffenried
13 Felice Bonetto
Raymond Sommer
______________
______________ 14
15 Johnny Claes
Nello Pagani
______________
______________ 16
______________ 17 Louis Chiron
18 Toni Branca
Harry Schell




RaceEdit

1950 4 Ascari

Ascari battles in Bern

The weather in Bremgarten was warm and sunny, ideal racing conditions. The track as ever would prove difficult, the track was notorious for its uneven surface, gravel and the degrading tarmac would make a race around Bremgarten, even in dry conditions a challenge.

Fangio made a near perfect start, storming into the lead ahead of Farina and Fagioli. Behind them, Ascari got past Ferrari teammate Villoresi for fourth and then before the conclusion of the first lap he had moved past Fagioli as well. Giraud-Cabantous would not complete the first lap, his Talbot-Lago speared off at Eymatt corner, luckily the Frenchman exited his destroyed car unscathed.

At the conclusion of the first lap Fangio led from Farina, Ascari, Fagioli, Villoresi, Bira, Étancelin, Rosier and Martin. Ascari was able to stick to the leading two Alfa's whilst Fagioli appeared to be dropping back into the secondary pack, however hopes of Ascari challenging the Alfa's were dashed when he pulled into the pits to retire on lap four with a broken oil pump.

Villoresi attempted to continue the Ferrari challenge, like Ascari he had managed to pass Fagioli, however on lap nine he had to pull out of the race with a blown engine. The final Ferrari left of Raymond Sommer was stuck in the midfield with his uncompetitive Formula Two 166. Sommer would then later go on to retire with suspension failure. Fagioli maintained third, distanced to Fangio and Farina ahead of him, however held a strong gap to Bira's Maserati in fourth place behind him.

On lap 15, Bira became the first of the front runners to come in for fuel. This left Étancelin in fourth position, however he immediately began to encounter gearbox problems causing him to drop back behind the works Talbot-Lago's of Rosier and Martin, leading to his eventual retirement on lap 25. The three Alfa's had already opened up a tremendous lead, their fuel stops went without trouble, the trio easily getting out ahead of Bira's Maserati. In a more dramatic stop, Bonetto's Maserati who was competing in the midfield, saw his fuel pressure system explode whilst coming in for his stop. Luckily neither him or his mechanics were injured and after this mishap, his car was refuelled and returned to the race.

The closest battle on the circuit was for fourth and fifth place, Louis Rosier was being challenged hard by teammate, Eugene Martin. On lap 19, Martin had outdrove himself and like Giraud-Cabantous before him, he went off at Eymatt corner. Unluckily for him, the result had much more serious consequences, the car flipped and Martin was thrown from his car. Martin received serious injuries in the crash and was urgently rushed to hospital.

With the Ferrari's out of competition, the Alfa's were undominatable, by lap 33, Fangio, Farina and Fagioli had all lapped the entire field. Fangio had managed the lead out front whilst behind him Farina was pushing hard to close the gap, Farina had earlier set the fastest lap of the race but still he could not unseat Fangio. After his poor start to the race, Fagioli had regained his pace and had caught up to Farina ahead of him. The three Alfa's were running back to back to one another, that was until lap 33 when Fangio pulled into the pits when he began to detect engine troubles on his car. As the mechanics completed their inspection, it was evident the problem was terminal and Fangio was forced to retire despite having dominated the weekend.

Behind the Alfa's, Bira was forced to come into the pits for a second time due to mechanical troubles. He was able to continue, however he lost third to Rosier's Talbot-Lago. Rosier's unique plan of going the whole race without stopping for fuel had paid dividends and had landed him third position. The final few laps were uneventful, Farina led, although Fagioli was ever in his tails, finishing only four tenths behind his teammate at the chequered flag.

Rosier took a comfortable third, a lap down on the Alfa's. Bira came home in fourth, a further lap down on Rosier. It had been a frustrating result for the Thai Prince, he had driven well the whole race and had a chance for a podium if not for mechanical mishaps. He luckily was able to fend off Felice Bonetto who finished fifth place after his own early race mishaps. De Graffenried took sixth place, the first driver of the non-points finishers. Motorcycle world champion, Nello Pagani, had an uneventful race, finishing the race in seventh, three laps down on the leaders. Chiron had a disappointing weekend to only finish ninth behind Harry Schell's Talbot-Lago. Claes was a further 4 laps adrift whilst Branca managed to finish in his old outdated 4CL, however he was seven laps adrift.

Race Results Edit

Pos No Driver Constrctor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 16 Giuseppe Farina Alfa Romeo 42 2:02:53.7 2 9
2 12 Luigi Fagioli Alfa Romeo 42 + 0.4 s 3 6
3 10 Louis Rosier Talbot-Lago-Talbot 41 + 1 lap 10 4
4 30 Prince Bira Maserati 40 + 2 laps 8 3
5 34 Felice Bonetto Maserati 40 + 2 laps 12 2
6 32 Emmanuel de Graffenried Maserati 40 + 2 laps 11
7 2 Nello Pagani Maserati 39 + 3 laps 15
8 44 Harry Schell Talbot-Lago-Talbot 39 + 3 laps 18
9 26 Louis Chiron Maserati 39 + 3 laps 16
10 4 Johnny Claes Talbot-Lago-Talbot 38 + 4 laps 14
11 40 Toni Branca Maserati 35 + 7 laps 17
Ret 14 Juan Manuel Fangio Alfa Romeo 33 Engine 1
Ret 42 Philippe Étancelin Talbot-Lago-Talbot 25 Gearbox 6
Ret 8 Eugène Martin Talbot-Lago-Talbot 19 Accident 9
Ret 20 Raymond Sommer Ferrari 19 Suspension 13
Ret 22 Luigi Villoresi Ferrari 9 Engine 4
Ret 18 Alberto Ascari Ferrari 4 Oil Pump 5
Ret 6 Yves Giraud-Cabantous Talbot-Lago-Talbot 0 Accident 7

Milestones Edit

Championship Standings Edit

Pos Driver Points
1 Italy Giuseppe Farina 18
2 Italy Luigi Fagioli 12
3 Argentina Juan Manuel Fangio 9
United States Johnnie Parsons 9
5 Italy Alberto Ascari 6
United States Bill Holland 6
FranceLouis Rosier 6
8 Thailand Prince Bira 5
9 United Kingdom Reg Parnell 4
Monaco Louis Chiron 4
United States Mauri Rose 4
12 France Yves Giraud-Cabantous 3
France Raymond Sommer 3
United States Cecil Green 3
15 Italy Felice Bonetto 2
16 United States Tony Bettenhausen 1
United States Joie Chitwood 1

NotesEdit

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