1954 Belgian Grand Prix
The 1954 Belgian Grand Prix was the third race of the 1954 Formula One World Championship and was held in Spa-Francorchamps on June 20th 1954. Hernando da Silva Ramos won the race, only his third World Championship Grand Prix, after scoring pole position, and this would remain his only race victory. B. Bira finished second for the second consecutive race, while Monaco winner Jack Brabham finished in third position, retaining the championship lead as a result.
Due to the way that attrition had played out, the championship was still wide open. Brabham and Manzon were tied for the championship lead, but it would be foolish to think that they were the two main contenders. After this race, the title race should become clearer. 50 drivers had made their way to the Ardennes and wwould compete for 34 grid spots.
Only two of the Anglo-Italia drivers came to Belgium, with Taruffi sitting out the race.
Loyer Racing had benched the underperforming Luigi Musso for this race, bringing JAMR refugee Mike Hawthorn to Belgium instead.
With Hawthorn fired from the team, JAMR had picked fan favourite Dries van der Lof to drive the second car for the rest of the season.
Reatherson were originally entered for this race, but they were unable to repair their damaged chassis in time. They would be back in time for Zandvoort.
With van der Lof moving to JAMR and Villoresi injured, Asso di Fiori's lineup was completely different. Troy Ruttman would be driving the first car for the rest of the season, while Tony Gaze replaced Villoresi in Spa and Zandvoort.
Once again rotating their drivers, RRAC sent Ivor Bueb to Belgium with the Maserati package.
As usual, Ecurie Nationale Belge fielded a full team for their home race, with Pilette in the Bentley, Swaters in the Aston-Jaguar and débutant Lucien Bianchi in the Maserati. At 19 years, 7 months and 8 days old, Bianchi was then the youngest driver to ever be entered for a Formula One Grand Prix.
Following a disastrous start to the season, Rennkollektiv EMW had withdrawn from the remaining rounds. They hadn't specified whether or not they planned on returning in 1955.
Officine Renzo reverted to two cars after their failed effort at Reims. Marzotto kept the new O.S.C.A. while de Graffenried would be driving a Ferrari.
After Elie Bayol failed to prequalify at Reims, Ecurie Albertini decided to replace him with Umberto Maglioli.
Lucien Bianchi showed that he quite simply was not ready for Formula One racing yet. All the Asso di Fioris and Renzos made it through, as did the Ultimate, Erne and Warden. Fitch once again failed to prequalify while despite his best efforts, Flockhart also failed to make it through. Still no success was to be had for any Maserati.
For the very first time in F1 history, there was a tie for pole position. Ramos taook it by virtue of a faster time through the first sector. Hampshire only missed out by less than two tenths, as did Hawthorn in the Loyer. Gaze didn't make it through on his comeback, and Behra also failed to start a race, once again. Overall, there were not many surprises.
Sanesi and Farina got the best starts while Ramos dropped down the order. Toulo de Graffenried quickly left the track at Stavelot, losing control on the grass and spinning down the escape road. Sanesi led the first lap from Whitehead, Farina, Bettenhausen and Ramos. Farina attempted to pass his British teammate on lap 2, but he ended up touching wheels with him instead, resulting in Whitehead's retirement. Similar contact broke out throughout the tightly-bunched field, but no retirements happened except for Johnny Claes, who had his engine die on him. Stirling Moss was the next to retire with a gearbox failure on lap 3.
On lap 4, we saw more intra-team contact with Dorino Serafini aggressively closing the door on Reg Parnell, sending both out of the race, and Parnell airborne and into a ditch! The Brit was thrown from his car and was quickly taken to hospital, conscious but obviously injured. Hopefully, the scene would calm the drivers down... It didn't calm the cars down though, as Consalvo Sanesi's leading Gordini instead decided its steering shouldn't be working. Farina was left in the lead from Bettenhausen and Ramos. Peter Collins then continued Gordini's streak on unreliability with an engine failure out of 12th place on lap 7, then Aldo Gordini (not driving one, but he's got it in his name) with suspension failure on lap 12.
On the very next lap, Tony Bettenhausen's engine caught fire spectacularly at Masta, making it two consecutive races where the defending champion's had a scary time. Two further laps later, an oil leak ended André Simon's race, leaving Ecclestone the sole remaining Mercedes driver. Yet another lap later, José Froilan Gonzalez also retired with a gearbox failure. And to further add to the suspense, Giuseppe Farina retired from a comfortable lead with a suspension failure on lap 17. Ramos found himself back in the race lead with Bira just behind him, followed by Brabham, Trintignant, Ascari and briefly Manzon, whose Gordini promptly decided to have oil pump issues at Masta. The smoke allowed Ruttman to catch Bracco on the run down to Stavelot, but the Italian was caught off guard by the early move and put a wheel on the grass. The car was turned sideways and was sent barrel-rolling down the Stavelot escape road. Luckily, Rubirosa managed to bail on the first roll, coming out completely uninjured and making for brilliant photographs for the newspapers. He immediately ran to his wrecked car and broke down in tears, knowing he had only himself to blame and making for even better photographs.
Maria Teresa de Filippis had a gearbox failure on the very next lap, reducing the field to 17. Immediately, Bira finally managed to overtake Ramos and take the lead after chasing the Brazilian down for almost the whole race, and this with just five laps remaining! Rudi Fischer threw his Balkan Eagle off the track at Masta, wrecking the car but coming out unscathed himself. But the interest was in the battle for the lead, as with two laps remaining, Hernando da Silva Ramos retook the lead! Alberto Ascari was nerfed off the circuit by Troy Ruttman, reducing the field to 15 drivers with two laps remaining. Ramos took advantage of this late lead and pulled out a large gap very quickly, having tired Bira's car for most of the race.
In the end, Ramos ended up scoring his maiden victory in only his third Grand Prix, tying the record set by Brabham in Monaco, only Brabham had actually entered four races (and DNQd one of them). Bira had to settle for second while the aforementioned Brabham salvaged an anonymous (much like everyone else) third place, keeping the championship lead for one more race. Rubirosa built on his Reims podium with a solid fourth place and Dries van der Lof scored points on his JAMR début, with fifth ahead of Trintignant. In fact, the four cars from fifth to eighth were all Aston-Jags. Gordini, despite their usual atrocious reliability, took the lead in the constructors' and entrants' championships with two wins in three races.
* Lance Macklin and Reatherson Racing Developments were forced to withdraw as their car was unavailable.
|1||52||Troy Ruttman||Aston Martin-Jaguar||4:31.25||-|
|2||96||Toulo de Graffenried||Ferrari||4:31.63||+ 0.38|
|3||100||Jacques Swaters||Aston Martin-Jaguar||4:34.45||+ 3.20|
|4||92||Giannino Marzotto||O.S.C.A.||4:34.56||+ 3.31|
|5||86||Jean Behra||Ultimate-O.S.C.A.||4:35.81||+ 4.56|
|6||54||Tony Gaze||Aston Martin-Jaguar||4:36.59||+ 5.34|
|7||62||Roberto Mieres||Aston Martin-Jaguar||4:37.27||+ 6.02|
|8||90||Ken Wharton||Bentley-Jaguar||4:38.49||+ 7.24|
|9||82||John Fitch||Leader-Jaguar||4:38.71||+ 7.46|
|10||80||Ron Flockhart||Maserati||4:39.44||+ 8.19|
|11||88||Geoff Richardson||Bentley||4:39.58||+ 8.33|
|12||48||Fred Wacker||Gordini||4:39.74||+ 8.49|
|13||94||Umberto Maglioli||O.S.C.A.-Ferrari||4:41.42||+ 10.17|
|14||70||Ivor Bueb||Maserati||4:42.37||+ 11.12|
|15||78||Paul Frère||Maserati||4:42.67||+ 11.42|
|16||74||Lucien Bianchi||Maserati||4:46.28||+ 15.03|
- First pole position and only victory for Hernando da Silva Ramos.
- First start for Onofre Marimón.
- Final start for Rudi Fischer.
- First entry for Lucien Bianchi.
- Consalvo Sanesi: 4 laps (1-4)
- Giuseppe Farina: 12 laps (5-16)
- Hernando da Silva Ramos: 6 laps (17-19, 23-25)
- B. Bira: 3 laps (20-22)
- Youngest entrant: Lucien Bianchi (19 years, 7 months, 8 days)
- Most total career starts: Dorino Serafini and B. Bira (34).
- Most total career entries: Alberto Ascari, Dorino Serafini, Maurice Trintignant and Johnny Claes (35).
|3||Hernando da Silva Ramos||10|
|1||Alexander Racing Team - Gordini||19|
|3||Jaguar - Aston Martin Racing||14|
|5||/ Scuderia Anglo-Italia||6|
- Only the top five positions are listed.
| Previous race:
1954 French Grand Prix
| Alternate Formula 1 World Championship
| Next race:|
1954 Dutch Grand Prix
| Previous race:
1953 Belgian Grand Prix
|Belgian Grand Prix|| Next race:|
1955 Belgian Grand Prix