1954 French Grand Prix
The 1954 French Grand Prix was the second race of the 1954 Formula One World Championship and was held in Reims on May 30th 1954. The race was won by Robert Manzon, who scored his third of five career race victories. Eventual world champion B. Bira scored second place, the first in a series of six consecutive second places. Porfirio Rubirosa finished third, scoring his first points and Scuderia Ambrosiana's only podium.
The Monaco Grand Prix was spectacular in more ways than one, with a first-time winner in Jack Brabham, a brilliant podium for Anglo-Italia, an intra-team collision at ART and a car flipping into the Monaco harbour (luckily without injury to Giuseppe Farina). Reims would have a hard time living up to such excitement, but it did have something that Monaco didn't: an absolutely enormous entry list. A total of 52 drivers had been entered for this race, beating the previous record of 47 from the previous season's Belgian Grand Prix.
Following on their Monaco success, Scuderia Anglo-Italia brought three cars to Reims. Taruffi drove the O.S.C.A.-Bentley, Manfred von Brauchitsch the Bentley-O.S.C.A. and Gonzalez a full O.S.C.A. package.
After a lack of organisation forced Balkan Eagle to miss Monaco, they were back with the complete line-up of Jones, Fischer and Gordini.
Reatherson began their season at Reims with Lance Macklin in the Bentley-Jaguar.
Anglo Racing Engineering did so as well with Fred Wacker in works-level Gordini machinery.
Erne Racing Development entered two cars for the first time for the Argentine duo of Marimon and Mieres in Aston-Jags.
RRAC switched from Bueb in a Maserati to Hamilton in a Bentley-Mercedes.
ENB began their season at Reims as well, with Pilette in a brand-new Bentley.
EMW did so as well with the previous year's car. Hans Herrmann was behind the wheel.
Geoff Richardson started his first race as a privateer in nearly three years with a new Bentley.
F.H. Warden returned to competition with the 1953 car and driver.
Officine Renzo made their first appearance with three O.S.C.A. packages, two of them rented from O.S.C.A. itself. Marzotto, Rol and de Graffenried would drive the cars.
Ecurie Albertini returned as well after three years of absence, with Elie Bayol driving an O.S.C.A.-Ferrari.
Prequalifying and qualifying
Prequalifying had no real surprise, as all expected drivers made the cut. Marimón notably prequalified, marking the first time he had done so for any race. Loyer Racing also prequalified, with Kling setting the fifth fastest time. In the main session, there was disappointment from Erne with a double-DNQ (although they were certainly quicker than the previous year). Renzo didn't place a single car on the grid, Balkan Eagle put all three in the race. Mercedes also managed to get two cars on the starting grid. Maria Teresa de Filippis would not be able to start following a mechanical failure on the warm-up lap. 31 drivers would therefore start the race.
Peter Collins got the best start of everyone and led off the line while Sanesi dropped to fourth place. The first few laps were very hotly contested and there were reports of contact between some teammates and almost teammates (between Jones and Gordini and between Bettenhausen and van der Lof). The first retirements came very early. On lap 5, Stan Jones suffered from a gearbox failure at Thillois and both Edgar Barth and (one lap later) Rudi Fischer span out. On the following lap, it was Lance Macklin who binned it at Muizon.
On lap 10, Bira made an attempt to pass Parnell for 8th position. With the JAMR driver alongside under braking for Thillois, Parnell locked his brakes and touched Bira's wheels, losing control and spinning off into retirement. On the very next lap, it was Bracco who was taken out in a racing incident with Peter Whitehead, then Aldo Gordini when defending too hard against André Pilette. Meanwhile, at the front, Sanesi and Manzon were fighting hard and tangled a few times, both wanting to avenge their Monaco collision.
The race was pretty tame on the racing side, but contact was rife, and on lap 17, Johnny Claes and André Pilette collided while fighting over 20th position. Pilette was spun around and Claes was launched over the Bentley's front wheel, taking off briefly before landing in the ditch. Claes was thrown out and landed in a corn field which cushioned his fall. He was uninjured. Two laps later, Maurice Trintignant's suspension failed out of 8th position. On the following lap, Sanesi's steering failed out of third place, and Luigi Villoresi span out at Calvaire on lap 25.
With everyone seemingly content with their position, the race settled except for one man, Porfirio Rubirosa, who had been passing drivers left and right and had made it to third place through sheer stealth. On lap 30, Tony Bettenhausen lost control of his Aston Martin at Muizon and was sent into the corn fields out of 16th place. He got out uninjured, then realized that he was so far into the fields that he couldn't see it from the race circuit! On the next lap, David Hampshire suffered an engine failure from second last place. This left 16 drivers still in the race. Bira passed Rubirosa for third place at the same time. A few laps later, Rubirosa tried to take third place back, but he only managed to nudge him. Both drivers miraculously managed to stay on the road.
On lap 36, Dries van der Lof had a gearbox failure from 12th place. Those troubles were probably what caused him to spend his day so far back in the first place. On the next lap, Rubirosa finally succeeded in passing Bira for third place. Then, on lap 39, the race changed dramatically, as not only did Giuseppe Farina's engine expire from 5th place, but Peter Collins' transmission gave up on him after the Brit had completely dominated the entire race from the first lap. Driving through the smoke, Bira took advantage of Collins' retirement to pass Rubirosa for what was now second place behind Robert Manzon.
With such a lead, nothing could prevent Manzon from taking his third Grand Prix victory and his first since the 1952 English Grand Prix and the sixth for Gordini. Bira cruised to second place, well ahead of Rubirosa, who settled down in third place, scoring his first points and podium, as well as the first podium for Ambrosiana. Serafini took a solid fourth place ahead of Stirling Moss, who scored his first points since the 1951 Italian Grand Prix. Hernando da Silva Ramos finished sixth, scoring his first career points. Collins was eventually classified 13th.
|1||48||Hernando da Silva Ramos||Gordini||2:33.02||-|
|2||34||Mike Hawthorn||Aston Martin-Jaguar||2:33.40||+ 0.38|
|3||80||Manfred von Brauchitsch||Bentley-O.S.C.A.||2:34.98||+ 1.96|
|4||6||Johnny Claes||Mercedes||2:36.75||+ 3.73|
|5||28||Karl Kling||Loyer-Ferrari||2:36.83||+ 3.81|
|6||4||Bernie Ecclestone||Mercedes||2:36.86||+ 3.84|
|7||66||Onofre Marimón||Aston Martin-Jaguar||2:37.79||+ 4.77|
|8||76||André Pilette||Bentley||2:38.36||+ 5.34|
|9||96||Giannino Marzotto||O.S.C.A.||2:38.82||+ 5.80|
|10||86||John Fitch||Leader-Jaguar||2:39.60||+ 6.58|
|11||92||Geoff Richardson||Bentley||2:39.69||+ 6.67|
|12||90||Jean Behra||Ultimate-O.S.C.A.||2:39.71||+ 6.69|
|13||50||Fred Wacker||Gordini||2:40.30||+ 7.28|
|14||52||Luigi Musso||Loyer-Ferrari||2:40.35||+ 7.33|
|15||72||Duncan Hamilton||Bentley-Mercedes||2:40.53||+ 7.51|
|16||104||Élie Bayol||O.S.C.A.-Ferrari||2:41.11||+ 8.09|
|17||84||Ron Flockhart||Maserati||2:41.79||+ 8.77|
|18||98||Franco Rol||O.S.C.A.||2:41.88||+ 8.86|
|19||82||Paul Frère||Maserati||2:42.81||+ 9.79|
|20||78||Hans Herrmann||EMW-Mercedes||2:42.86||+ 9.84|
- First points and only podium for Porfirio Rubirosa.
- First points for Hernando da Silva Ramos.
- First entry for Hans Herrmann and Élie Bayol.
- Most career pole positions: Consalvo Sanesi (7)
- Most total career starts: Dorino Serafini and B. Bira (33)
- Most total career entries: Alberto Ascari, Dorino Serafini, Maurice Trintignant and Johnny Claes (34).
|3||José Froilán González||6|
|2||Alexander Racing Team - Gordini||10|
|3||Jaguar - Aston Martin Racing||8|
|4||/ Scuderia Anglo-Italia||6|
- Only the top five positions are listed.
| Previous race:
1954 Monaco Grand Prix
| Alternate Formula 1 World Championship
| Next race:|
1954 Belgian Grand Prix
| Previous race:
1953 French Grand Prix
|French Grand Prix|| Next race:|
1955 French Grand Prix