Background[edit | edit source]
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 loaned 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 Emmanuel de Graffenried and Prince Bira. Reg Parnell was due to enter, 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 | edit source]
Qualifying[edit | edit source]
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 lap times. 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.
Result[edit | edit source]
|1||14||Juan Manuel Fangio||Alfa Romeo||2:42.1||—||100%||161.678|
|2||16||Nino Farina||Alfa Romeo||2:42.8||+0.7||100.4%||160.983|
|3||12||Luigi Fagioli||Alfa Romeo||2:45.2||+3.1||101.9%||158.644|
|11||32||Emmanuel de Graffenried||Maserati||2:54.2||+12.1||107.5%||150.448|
Grid[edit | edit source]
|______________||2||Juan Manuel Fangio|
|______________||12||Emmanuel de Graffenried|
Race[edit | edit source]
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.
Results[edit | edit source]
|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||18||Alberto Ascari||Ferrari||4||Oil Pump||5|
Milestones[edit | edit source]
Championship Standings[edit | edit source]
|3||Juan Manuel Fangio||9|
Notes[edit | edit source]
|V T E||Swiss Grand Prix|
|Circuits||Bremgarten (1934 - 1939, 1947 - 1954), Dijon-Prenois (1975, 1982)|
|Races||1950 • 1951 • 1952 • 1953 • 1954 • 1955 • 1982|
|Pre-war championship Races||1935 • 1936 • 1937 • 1938 • 1939|
|Non-Championship Races||1934 • 1947 • 1948 • 1949 • 1975|
|v·d·e||Nominate this page for Featured Article|