1953 Swiss Grand Prix
The 1953 Swiss Grand Prix was the seventh race of the 1953 Formula One World Championship, and was held in Bremgarten on August 23rd 1953. Defending champion B. Bira won the race ahead of teammate José Froilán González with Reg Parnell in third place, while championship leader Tony Bettenhausen set fastest lap, but retired from the race. Parnell's podium allowed him to be just one point behind Bettenhausen with just two races remaining.
With three races remaining in the season, anyone could still theoretically win the title, although Tony Bettenhausen was still the overwhelming favourite. Reg Parnell was still reasonably close and could be a major threat, as could be Sanesi (with better reliability) and Whitehead (with better pace). For the first time that season, fewer than 8 drivers would fail to make the grid, as 36 drivers fought for 30 spots on the grid.
Mercedes had finished their programme for the second car, so only Eric Brandon made his way to Bern.
Fred Wacker stepped back into the A.R.E. Leader-Jaguar after Hermann Lang's miserable Nürburgring showing.
Similarly, Lance Macklin returned to Reatherson with Joe Kelly taking a break after his good performance in Germany.
Giuseppe Farina returned to Alfa Romeo, having recovered from his injury sustained in Belgium.
Balkan Eagle failed to repair Macklin's damaged chassis in time for the Swiss Grand Prix and therefore were forced to revert to two cars, with Umberto Maglioli having to sit out the race.
While Simon's qualifying performance in Germany was miles better than anything Marimón could have achieved, he still sat the race out in favour of Chico Landi.
Ecurie Nationale Belge skipped the Swiss Grand Prix, preferring to go straight to Monza.
Much like Balkan Eagle, David Hampshire missed the Swiss Grand Prix after failing to repair his Aston Martin chassis in time.
As promised, Dries van der Lof returned to the paddock for the Swiss Grand Prix, following a decent German Grand Prix from Villoresi. Would further points be on the table?
Alberto Ascari missed a Grand Prix for the first time in his career after Phoenix failed to choose a replacement engine despite having three reserve units, casting doubt on their continued presence.
Assasti Millanti skipped the Swiss Grand Prix to move straight to their home race in Monza.
Bentley decided to have one last go at Formula One in the season, bringing Manfred von Brauchitsch and Geoff Richardson along. They preferred not to compete in the final two races.
Coming off of a competitive outing in Germany, Warden decided to extend their season to Bremgarten in the hope of another good result.
The small entry list made for some pleasant surprises, with both Bentleys making the grid and Mercedes in a decent position. Fred Wacker would start his first Grand Prix while Consalvo Sanesi took his third pole position of the season.
The first retirement came at the start with Giovanni Bracco's engine detonating on the very grid. The start was otherwise fairly uneventful. Everyone avoided Bracco's car while only Manzon made up any meaningful ground, reaching fifth place. By the second lap, Serafini had dropped off behind Bira and Farina. However, on lap three, Sanesi had a spin, leaving Bira to take the race lead ahead of Serafini, with Sanesi rejoining in third place ahead of Farina. On the following lap, Serafini had repassed Bira for the race lead.
By lap 5, Serafini was extending his lead, leaving Bira to fight off Sanesi while Farina had dropped behind Gonzalez and Fangio had dropped behind Maurice Trintignant as well. Peter Whitehead was also making decent progress. But this was completely disrupted by Giovanni Bracco's oil left of the starting grid. It was only a matter of time before people started spinning on it. On lap 7, that's exactly what happened as Aldo Gordini skidded and ended up in the ditch out of 18th. He was joined by Peter Whitehead on the very next lap out of sixth place. The oil was cleaned up after that.
By now, Sanesi had passed Bira and Trintignant was right on his teammates' tails, eventually passing both of them on lap 8. Giuseppe Farina then saw his gearbox fail out of sixth place. On lap 10, Bira had a moment at Eymatt and was passed by Fangio and Collins while Gonzalez passed Trintignant for third place. On the following lap, Eric Brandon's engine failed out of 24th place and Nello Pagani retired from a scrap for 17th with Lance Macklin, due to an oil leak. Meanwhile, JAMR was having mixed fortunes, as Gonzalez passed Sanesi for second on the same lap where Bira was passed by Manzon and Moss, the second-biggest crasher and biggest underachiever respectively.
On lap 12, Gonzalez and Trintignant switched spots with Sanesi still splitting the two. On the following lap, Brandon's lost oil became the undoing of two drivers, with Stan Jones and Juan Manuel Fangio spinning out of 14th and 6th respectively, leaving 22 drivers in the race. Then, everything went wrong for JAMR as Sanesi, Moss, Manzon and Collins massively passed the two of them, leaving them fifth and seventh. But the movement didn't stop there. On lap 14, Manzon took second place in the epic mêlée for that spot. He was ahead of Sanesi, Trintignant, Bira, Collins, Moss and Gonzalez, all jockeying for second place. This became a fight for the lead when Dorino Serafini retired from the front on the following lap from a steering failure!
With so much battling going on at the front, it became hard to keep track of all the passing going on. Manzon's lead didn't last. His teammate Collins took the lead on lap 17, forming a Gordini 1-2-3. Eventually, Moss and Gonzalez dropped back and were caught by Barth and, to a lesser extent, Parnell, van der Lof and Bettenhausen. Collins led the next few laps pretty convincingly, but, as did Serafini a few laps previously, he retired from the lead on lap 22 with transmission issues. This left Sanesi to lead from Manzon, Bira, Trintignant and Gonzalez. Stirling Moss would have been in this top five, but his Alfa engine let go in a big pile of flames two laps later. On the same lap, Manzon and Bira both passed Sanesi, who dropped to third. Tony Bettenhausen then retired out of sixth place with a gearbox failure, though the championship leader walks away with the fastest lap of the race, which means one precious point which could end up making a difference.
The order pretty much stayed the same for the next few laps. Fred Wacker's engine exploded from 15th place, leaving 17 cars still in the race on lap 32. But on lap 35, the face of the race changed dramatically once more as Sanesi retired from the lead (the third man to do so this race) with an engine failure and Manzon from third place with suspension trouble, making Gordini go from a 1-2-3 to a triple-DNF in only 15 laps. After the chaos had settled, JAMR had placed their three remaining drivers in the top three spots with Bira leading Gonzalez and Bettenhausen. They were followed by the brilliant Edgar Barth, Reg Parnell and Dries van der Lof in sixth position.
From then on, the race settled with large gaps between consecutive drivers. There were brief battles between Parnell and Barth and between van der Lof and Rubirosa, but they ended fairly quickly. With three laps remaining, Trintignant lazily span out of third place at Eymatt, though he was still classified. Bira was left to take his first victory since Australia the previous year, lapping everyone else in the process. Gonzalez finally scored his maiden podium with JAMR (and was now the only team member not to have won a race for the team) ahead of the ever-consistent Reg Parnell, who was now within a single point of Bettenhausen's championship lead. Edgar Barth was a pleasant surprise, finishing the race in a solid fourth place, his and Ultimate's first points of the season. Dries van der Lof finished in an equally splendid fifth position, just ahead of Porfirio Rubirosa, who still couldn't find his first points.
Behind them, many underdogs were to be found with pleasant results to the unbiased eye. Lance Macklin finished seventh, his and his team's best result. Behind him were Piero Taruffi's O.S.C.A. and de Filippis' Bentley-O.S.C.A., capping a great race for the O.S.C.A. factory (with Barth finishing fourth). This also marked the first race finish for a female driver.
- Umberto Maglioli, David Hampshire and Alberto Ascari were forced to withdraw as their cars were not available.
- First and only fastest lap for Tony Bettenhausen.
- First laps led for Peter Collins.
- First podium for José Froilán González.
- First and only points for Edgar Barth.
- Final entry and start for Eric Brandon.
- First start for Fred Wacker.
- First fastest lap for Aston Martin and the Jaguar engine.
- First and only points for Ultimate as a constructor.
- First fastest lap for Jaguar-Aston Martin Racing.
- Final points for Group Ultimate.
- Final entry and start for Bentley as an independent team.
- Consalvo Sanesi: 12 laps (1-2, 22-23, 27-34)
- B. Bira: 16 laps (3, 35-49)
- Dorino Serafini: 11 laps (4-14)
- Robert Manzon: 5 laps (15-16, 24-26)
- Peter Collins: 5 laps (17-21)
- Most career Grand Prix victories: B. Bira (5)
- Most poles in one season: Consalvo Sanesi (3)
- Most total career starts: Dorino Serafini, Juan Manuel Fangio and B. Bira (29)
- Most total career entries: Alberto Ascari, Juan Manuel Fangio and Piero Taruffi (31)
- Youngest lap leader (not counting the Indianapolis 500): Peter Collins (21 years, 9 months, 17 days)
|Jaguar - Aston Martin Racing
|Alexander Racing Team-Gordini
|Alfa Romeo SpA
|Phoenix Racing Organisation
- Only the top five positions are listed.
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1954 Swiss Grand Prix