The 1950 Italian Grand Prix (officially the XXI Gran Premio d'Italia) was the seventh and final race of the 1950 Formula One Season. The race was held at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza on the 3rd of September. It was the sixteenth time the Italian Grand Prix was held at Monza.
The race, which decided the 1950 World Championship, was won by Alfa Romeo driver Giuseppe Farina after polesitter Juan Manuel Fangio retired from the race twice (the second after taking over Piero Taruffi's car). Alberto Ascari, who had driven a valiant race before his own retirement, took over teammate Dorino Serafini's car to finish second and Luigi Fagioli came third. As a consequence of these results, Farina took the first Formula One World Championship, with Fangio placed second, and Fagioli third.
After Juan Manuel Fangio's win at the French Grand Prix, Fangio had obtained 26 points, two ahead of team mate Luigi Fagioli and four ahead of another team mate, Giuseppe Farina. All three of the Alfa Romeo drivers had a chance to win the title at their home race in Monza, Italy. Fangio and Farina had shared the wins this season, the competition is so close between the two at every race. Fagioli, consistently slower, the old veteran competing since 1931 had been suggested to quit, however his consistency had kept him in with a title shout.Whilst Fangio and Farina were battling for wins, Fagioli had managed to pick up the pieces and bring the car home when his teammates pushed and broke the car beyond the limit.
To win the championship,
- Fangio needed to:
- Win or come 2nd to guarantee the title.
- Come 3rd, 4th or 5th with Farina 2nd or lower.
- With the fastest lap only, Farina 3rd or lower.
- Scoring no points, Farina would have to finish 3rd or lower without the fastest lap, 4th with; and Fagioli not to win with the fastest lap.
- Fagioli needed to:
- Win the race with the fastest lap, with Farina 3rd or lower, and Fangio not to score any points.
- Farina needed to:
- Win with the fastest lap, and Fangio 3rd or lower.
- 3rd with fastest lap, and Fangio not to score.
For the final race of the season the team signed Piero Taruffi and Consalvo Sanesi as fourth and fifth drivers. Taruffi was one of the many drivers to get their rising careers cut short due to the Second World War. Following the end of the war, Taruffi continued to impress but only in minor cars or categories. An opportunity to drive for the top grand prix team would be a final opportunity for him to prove his worth to a top team. Consalvo Sanesi on the other hand was one of the lead Alfa Romeo test drivers, although believed to be an incredibly quick racer, Sanesi preferred developing a car rather than racing it. Nonetheless, an exception was made for Sanesi at Monza and he decided to enter the race as the team's fifth driver. With their five cars for their home grand prix, Alfa Romeo have a good chance of taking all five points placings at their home grand prix, this result would be a dream result for a team that had totally dominated the inaugural grand prix world championship.
Perhaps the only true challengers to the Alfa Romeo squad was Enzo Ferrari's Scuderia Ferrari. The team's new 275 model had been a failure, however Aurelio Lampredi and the Ferrari design team quickly turned around and released the 375 model, Ferrari's new hope. At the Grand Prix de Nations, Ferrari were pleased to report that they had finally closed the gap to Alfa Romeo. The team, finally looking like they had the potential to challenge the Alfa dominance. The 375's impressive debut however was marred by an accident in which their driver, Luigi Villoresi, crashed injuring 24 spectators and killing 3 of them. Villoresi himself was injured with a broken collar bone and femur. Villoresi's injuries would keep him out of action for the Italian Grand Prix. Alberto Ascari was therefore the lead representative in Monza, whilst replacing Villoresi was Dorino Serafini, the former motorcycle racer had signed as a sportscar racer and Formula One test driver for Ferrari. Serafini would therefore enter a 375 alongside Ascari. Giovanni Bracco, another Ferrari sportscar racer had been signed to enter a 125 under the works banner, however Bracco would withdraw his entry prior to the event. Peter Whitehead would be the lone driver to enter a privately owned Ferrari 125. Sportscar racer, Clemente Biondetti, had managed to get his unique privately owned Ferrari 166S sportscar which was notably powered by a Jaguar engine approved to be included in the race entry.
In response to the release of the Ferrari 375 and the increase in competitiveness, Alfa Romeo would be debuting their new 159 update of their 'Alfetta' chassis. Gioacchino Colombo, the former Ferrari designer had finally been able to put his influence on the Alfa Romeo team. The updates to the chassis would hopefully be enough to keep the old 'Alfetta' competitive into 1951. Fangio, Fagioli and Farina were given the new chassis to assist in their championship fight whilst the one-off entries of Taruffi and Sanesi would compete in the old 158 model.
Following their disappointing showing at the French Grand Prix, Talbot-Lago decided to abandon their works team and their development in Formula One. 1950 had not seen much success for the French manufacturer. Nonetheless a host of drivers owning private Talbot-Lago T26C's still arrived at the event. Louis Rosier and Pierre Levegh, who had been driving for the works team were forced to use their privately owned cars in order to enter the event. The other works Talbot-Lago driver, Yves Giraud-Cabantous opted not to participate in the race. Regular Talbot-Lago privateers Philippe Étancelin, Raymond Sommer and Johnny Claes were in attendance whilst Guy Mairesse and Henri Louveau hoped to make their championship debut in their privately owned machines.
The Maserati's made up the majority of what was the largest grand prix entry list of the season. The works team had little impression on the 1950 World Championship, yet nonetheless Louis Chiron and Franco Rol were prepared to participate. Scuderia Ambrosiana were in Monza with their regular line-up of Reg Parnell and David Murray.
Enrico Platé, the team owner who usually entered non-works Maserati's had arrived with his regular line-up of Prince Bira and Toulo de Graffenried, however in addition, Platé had attempted to acquire an entry for his older cousin Luigi Platé for the weekend. Enrico's amateur racing cousin had planned to enter an old Talbot-Lago 700, an impoverished man, the 700 chassis had been out of date in racing since 1926. Unsurprisingly the entry was withdrawn, the car for a certainty would be much slower than the rest of the field. Enrico Platé had also secured an entry for old Italian Flying Ace, Franco Bordini, who had gained infamy in World War Two as the top pilot in the Italian Air Force, eliminating 19 Allied aircraft. Bordini was known to occasionally race sports cars to replace the thrill of flying. Bordini was due to drive a private Talbot-Lago for the squad, however he eventually decided against participating in the event.
Other Maserati privateers that dared enter the Monza event included the old German veteran, Paul Pietsch and amateur racer, Luigi de Filippis who would eventually withdraw his entry. Scuderia Milano were evolving from a non-works Maserati team into their own manufacturer. Their driver, Felice Bonetto dared enter the team's very first car design, the Milano-Speluzzi. Franco Comotti who had failed to be persuaded to come out of his retirement by Scuderia Achille Varzi made a grand prix return with the Milano team. Comotti would be driving the Milano engined Maserati that Bonetto had used in France.
Now that Talbot-Lago had withdrew its works team, Simca-Gordini was now France's major team represented on the grid. The little team had enjoyed much success in Formula Two during 1950 and Robert Manzon's stunning fourth place at Reims had put some success on their Formula One program. The team's lead drivers, Manzon and Maurice Trintignant would be in action for the team at Monza.
Britain was hoping the launch of its nationally funded BRM program at the BRDC International Trophy would provide a chance for Britain to finally make its mark on motorsport and unseat Alfa Romeo from the leading position. The team however suffered from incredible reliability problems despite being quick. The new BRM would require extensive testing still and therefore withdrew its planned entry for Monza. Instead only Cuth Harrison in his old ERA B Type would represent the British manufacturers in the Formula One finale.
The full entry list for the 1950 Italian Grand Prix is outlined below:
The strength of the Ferrari 375 over the Alfa Romeo 159 was its better fuel economy in comparison to the brute speed of the Alfa. It was therefore surprising to see Alberto Ascari in the fight for the pole position. Not only was the 375 fuel efficient it was also proving to be quite quick. Ascari was only two tenths off the best time set by Fangio's Alfa Romeo. Alfa Romeo had finally encountered a car capable of challenging its authority, the rivalry between the two Italian manufacturers would set a good prelude for 1951.
Nonetheless it was still Fangio on pole, the Argentine therefore ensuring the Alfa Romeo would start on pole for every championship grand prix it competed in during 1950. Fangio was also in prime position for the world championship, Farina had not been as quick as him during practice and Farina's best time was two seconds slower than Fangio. Sanesi the Alfa test driver impressed going fourth fastest in the old 158 chassis. Luigi Fagioli's championship chances were hurt when he could only manage fifth, six seconds adrift of Fangio.
Dorino Serafini, the former motorcycle champion, had been doing well in his stand-in race for Villoresi. Serafini was competitive and managed to put his Ferrari 375 sixth fastest ahead of the final Alfa Romeo of Piero Taruffi. The hopes for an Alfa Romeo 1-2-3-4-5 finish were looking more challenging as both Ascari and Serafini looked competitive.
The first Talbot-Lago of Raymond Sommer was ten seconds adrift of Fangio's pole time. This also demonstrating the difference in competitiveness between the Talbot-Lago T26C and the Alfa Romeo and Ferrari's. Franco Rol was the leading Maserati in ninth whilst Manzon managed to put his underpowered Simca-Gordini an impressive tenth. Trintignant was not far down, sitting in twelfth with Guy Mairesse's Talbot-Lago splitting the two Simca-Gordini's.
Rosier was a disappointing thirteenth ahead of Louveau and the Maserati of Bira. Etancelin was also disappointed to only manage sixteenth in his Talbot-Lago. Chiron meanwhile could only go nineteenth. Levegh and Claes were the last Talbot-Lago's qualifying in twentieth and twenty second. Cuth Harrison had split the two drivers in his ERA.
The Milano entries were encountering difficulties, Bonetto was only twenty third whilst Comotti was on the last row in twenty sixth. David Murray was a disappointing twenty fourth in his Maserati, whilst Biondetti's bizarre Ferrari-Jaguar sports car managed to get twenty fifth on the grid. The man in the final grid position was the experienced old veteran, Paul Pietsch in his Maserati.
The full qualifying results for the 1950 Italian Grand Prix are outlined below:
|1||18||Juan Manuel Fangio||Alfa Romeo||1:58.3||—||191.716 km/h|
|2||16||Alberto Ascari||Ferrari||1:58.4||+0.1s||191.554 km/h|
|3||10||Giuseppe Farina||Alfa Romeo||2:00.1||+1.8s||188.843 km/h|
|4||46||Consalvo Sanesi||Alfa Romeo||2:02.0||+3.7s||185.902 km/h|
|5||36||Luigi Fagioli||Alfa Romeo||2:04.0||+5.7s||182.903 km/h|
|6||48||Dorino Serafini||Ferrari||2:05.1||+6.8s||181.295 km/h|
|7||54||Piero Taruffi||Alfa Romeo||2:05.4||+7.1s||180.861 km/h|
|8||12||Raymond Sommer||Talbot-Lago-Talbot||2:08.3||+10.0s||176.773 km/h|
|9||4||Franco Rol||Maserati||2:10.0||+11.7s||174.462 km/h|
|10||44||Robert Manzon||Simca-Gordini-Gordini||2:12.2||+13.9s||171.558 km/h|
|11||40||Guy Mairesse||Talbot-Lago-Talbot||2:13.1||+14.8s||170.398 km/h|
|12||42||Maurice Trintignant||Simca-Gordini-Gordini||2:13.2||+14.9s||170.270 km/h|
|13||58||Louis Rosier||Talbot-Lago-Talbot||2:13.2||+14.9s||170.270 km/h|
|14||64||Henri Louveau||Talbot-Lago-Talbot||2:13.4||+15.1s||170.015 km/h|
|15||30||Prince Bira||Maserati||2:14.0||+15.7s||169.254 km/h|
|16||24||Philippe Étancelin||Talbot-Lago-Talbot||2:14.2||+15.9s||169.001 km/h|
|17||38||Emmanuel de Graffenried||Maserati||2:14.4||+16.1s||168.750 km/h|
|18||8||Peter Whitehead||Ferrari||2:16.1||+17.8s||166.642 km/h|
|19||6||Louis Chiron||Maserati||2:17.1||+18.8s||165.427 km/h|
|20||56||Pierre Levegh||Talbot-Lago-Talbot||2:17.1||+18.8s||165.427 km/h|
|21||32||Cuth Harrison||ERA||2:18.2||+19.9s||164.110 km/h|
|22||2||Johnny Claes||Talbot-Lago-Talbot||2:18.3||+20.0s||163.991 km/h|
|23*||52||Felice Bonetto||Milano-Speluzzi||2:19.4||+21.1s||162.697 km/h|
|24||50||David Murray||Maserati||2:22.0||+23.7s||159.718 km/h|
|25||22||Clemente Biondetti||Ferrari-Jaguar||2:30.3||+32.0s||150.898 km/h|
|26||62||Franco Comotti||Maserati-Milano||2:33.3||+35.0s||147.945 km/h|
|27||28||Paul Pietsch||Maserati||3:00.2||+1:01.9||125.860 km/h|
|WD||14||Giovanni Bracco||Ferrari||Not present|
|WD||20||Luigi de Filippis||Maserati||Not present|
|WD||26||Reg Parnell||Maserati||Not present|
|WD||34||Luigi Platé||Talbot-Lago-Talbot||Not present|
|WD||66||Franco Bordoni||Talbot-Lago-Talbot||Not present|
- * Bonetto had withdrawn before the race.
|Juan Manuel Fangio||2||______________|
|Emmanuel de Graffenried||18||______________|
Before the race, the unreliable new manufacturer Milano was having incredible problems and was forced to withdraw the car of Felice Bonetto before the start of the race.
As was expected the powerful supercharged Alfa Romeo beat the non-supercharged Ferrari's off the start. Farina had taken the lead from third on the grid with Fangio going second and Sanesi in third. Ascari's Ferrari had been slower off the line than the Alfa Romeo's, however by the end of the first lap, Ascari was back past both Sanesi and Fangio. Paul Pietsch who was starting from last failed to even make it off the line, his car shutting down with engine troubles.
Ascari then began to give chase to race leader Farina whilst Fangio and Sanesi began to drop back. Behind them Fagioli was in fifth whilst Serafini in the second Ferrari was lapping faster than the slowest Alfa of Taruffi in sixth.
The top seven were all in range of eachother. Shortly the after the start, the cars behind the Talbot-Lago of Sommer in eighth had dropped back drastically in the race. Rol in ninth was the fastest Maserati ahead of Manzon who was doing another promising job for Simca-Gordini in tenth. Bira became the next to retire after a lap he too was out of the race with engine failure. Manzon's promising run was then brought to an end on lap seven with transmission failure.
Sanesi's promising first world championship drive for Alfa Romeo was brought to an end when he retired on lap 11 with engine failure. On lap 14 Ascari moved ahead of Farina's Alfa Romeo to take the lead of the race, however lost it again when Farina retook the lead two laps later. Maserati were embarrassed by another engine failure on home turf when Chiron retired his works car. Trintignant's engine also gave out, both of the little Simca-Gordini's had retired from the race.
Comotti having begrudgingly return to grand prix racing, brought his Maserati in to retire on lap 15. He was unwilling to race uncompetively in a category that had seen so many of his friends been killed in the past. The circuit then claimed Louveau's Talbot-Lago with brake failure. The bizarre Ferrari-Jaguar sportscar of Biondetti then fell out of the race with engine failure on lap 17.
Meanwhile at the front, Ascari continued to hold onto the rear of Farina's Alfa Romeo. It was the first time in 1950, the Alfa Romeo's had been truely threatened. However on lap 21 to the dismay of Ferrari, Ascari had retired with engine failure. Ascari however called in the second Ferrari of Serafini who was now running fifth into the pits. Serafini gave his car up in order to allow the team leader to get back into the race. Ascari then returned to the track in sixth, the Alfa Romeo of Taruffi getting past due to the pit-stop.
Fangio was taking the race easy in second, trying to manage the car's pace, he still remained the championship leader in second place and was not taking any risks in challenging Farina for the lead. However only two laps after Ascari's first retirement, Fangio suffered his own engine failure. He returned to the pits and took the right to take over the car of Taruffi's Alfa who was running fifth. As Fangio had dropped into Taruffi's car and exited the pits, he had lost fifth to the Ascari occupied car of Serafini. The world championship had swung in the favour of Farina who only had to ensure Fangio did not return to second place and for himself to win the race to take the title.
Behind Farina came Fagioli, who's only hope of taking the title was for Farina and Fangio to break down. Pierre Levegh went out of the race on lap 29 with gearbox problems. But more significantly the Taruffi car being now raced by Fangio then retired with engine problems. With no cars left to take over, Fangio was out for good this time. His only hope for taking the title being that neither Farina or Fagioli win this race.
With the recent retirements, now in fourth place a long way behind the top three was Sommer's Talbot-Lago ahead of Étancelin and Rosier. At the front, Farina needed to simply maintain his lead and the car to the finish to win the title. With almost a minute lead to Fagioli in second, Farina could take it easy to the finish to take the title.
Fagioli was not quick and in the second pit stop phase, the Alfa Romeo dropped behind Ascari losing second to the Ferrari. Fagioli like Fangio now had little hope of the title. Franco Rol had pulled out of the race on lap 39, giving up out of frustration of the Maserati's lack of competitiveness. Mairesse then retired on lap 42 with a cracked oil pipe. Sommer who was doing his best in fourth then went out on lap 48 with gearbox trouble. This therefore put Rosier and Étancelin into the final points positions with their Talbot-Lago's.
The final retirements saw the lone British constructor of ERA, Cuth Harrison retire with radiator troubles. David Murray, another British driver then went out of the race on lap 56. The final part of the race was uneventful as Farina cruised to victory and in doing so became the first World Drivers' Champion of Formula One. On the podium, were the two drivers of the shared car between Serafini and Ascari, in third place Fagioli, like Fangio, gratious in defeat.
Alfa Romeo had won again to take a clean sweep of the opposition once again in 1950. However, the mighty supercharged 159's have now met their match with the Ferrari 375. Whilst Alfa Romeo had dominanted 1950, it was now being seriously threatened by the Ferrari 375 that was looking continually more competitive.
Laps in the lead
|1||Giuseppe Farina||1 – 13||13||81.900 km|
|2||Alberto Ascari||14 – 15||2||12.600 km|
|3||Giuseppe Farina||16 – 80||65||409.500 km|
|1||Giuseppe Farina||78||491.400 km|
|2||Alberto Ascari||2||12.600 km|
Last GP for Raymond Sommer
Only GP for Dorino Serafini
Drivers' Championship only
|Drivers' World Championship|
|2||Juan Manuel Fangio||27|
|3||Luigi Fagioli||24 (28)|
Images and Videos:
- '1950 Italian GP - ChicaneF1.com', chicanef1.com, https://chicanef1.com/race.pl?year=1950&gp=Italian%20GP&r=1&type=ent, (Accessed 04/08/2021)
|V T E||Italian Grand Prix|
|Circuits||Monza (1950 - 1979, 1981 - Present), Imola (1980)|
|Races||1950 • 1951 • 1952 • 1953 • 1954 • 1955 • 1956 • 1957 • 1958 • 1959 • 1960 • 1961 • 1962 • 1963 • 1964 • 1965 • 1966 • 1967 • 1968 • 1969 • 1970 • 1971 • 1972 • 1973 • 1974 • 1975 • 1976 • 1977 • 1978 • 1979 • 1980 • 1981 • 1982 • 1983 • 1984 • 1985 • 1986 • 1987 • 1988 • 1989 • 1990 • 1991 • 1992 • 1993 • 1994 • 1995 • 1996 • 1997 • 1998 • 1999 • 2000 • 2001 • 2002 • 2003 • 2004 • 2005 • 2006 • 2007 • 2008 • 2009 • 2010 • 2011 • 2012 • 2013 • 2014 • 2015 • 2016 • 2017 • 2018 • 2019 • 2020 • 2021 • 2022|
|European Championship Races||1931 • 1932 • 1935 • 1936 • 1937 • 1938|
|Non-Championship Races||1921 • 1922 • 1923 • 1924 • 1925 • 1926 • 1927 • 1928 • 1933 • 1934 • 1947 • 1948 • 1949|
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