For those of you not aware, I am currently researching and writing a book under the banner of The Pit Crew Online titled, “The Pioneers”, a story of the first ever Formula One World Championship. Before this drivers had raced, engineers had developed and fans were wide-eyed and excited with what was to come. We know what came, but it would be wrong of me not to share a little snippet of the story on this weekend of the Monaco Grand Prix.
This was the second round of the 1950 Formula 1 World Championship. The race would be contested over 100 laps.
Juan Manuel Fangio dominated the practice sessions, no other car could get near him. Ferrari turned up for their first Formula 1 World Championship Grand Prix hoping to challenge the superior Alfa Romeo team. In qualifying, Fangio was 2.6 seconds faster than Farina, who had won the previous race at Silverstone. Fangio’s Argentine counterpart, Jose Froilan Gonzalez driving for the Scuderia Achille Varzi team, took third on the grid in his Maserati with Frenchman Philippe Etancelin slotting in fourth in his Talbot-Lago. Luigi Fagioli, following a second place at Silverstone, could only manage fifth on the grid.
The race was similar to qualifying, dominated by Fangio. On the opening lap, a wave from the harbour flooded the track at Tabac. Farina, who was second, spun on the slippery surface. Ten cars who followed through were eliminated in the chaos, leaving just nine cars in the race.
Fangio completed the 100 laps, averaging approximately 61mph around the Monaco circuit. Behind Fangio there was an epic battle between Ascari and Villoresi, both in Ferrari’s, but Villoresi retired with a transmission failure on lap 63. Ascari finished a whole lap behind the impressive Fangio with Louis Chiron, a Monegasque, completing the podium places. Fangio posted the fastest lap of the race, 1:51.0 and out of the nineteen starters, only seven finished the race.
Fangio was now level on points in the championship with Farina, both on nine points. Fagioli and Ascari sat close behind them on six points each with Reg Parnell, who did not race at Monaco, on four points.
The next race on 30th May would be the Indianapolis 500, a race that rarely attracted the interest of the Formula 1 teams and drivers. Only Farina and Franco Rol were scheduled to race, with Rol doubtful after breaking his arm in the Tabac crash.
This was the 1950 Monaco Grand Prix
See You At The Chequered Flag.
(c) Images courtesy of Pathe News and the owners/licences of such images (used with kind permission for the research of my book)