1954 Italian Grand Prix
The 1954 Italian Grand Prix was the ninth and final race of the 1954 Formula One World Championship and was held in Monza on September 26th 1954. The race was won by B. Bira, his first and only win that season, although he had already secured the World Championship three weeks earlier in the United States. Consalvo Sanesi finished in second place after winning the previous race in Sebring, while Harry Schell finished third driving for Ferrari, scoring his first podium. The race would be Bira's final Grand Prix victory.
B. Bira had won his second world drivers' championship in an anticlimactic United States Grand Prix which saw Consalvo Sanesi take his first victory of the season. With only the Italian Grand Prix remaining, it was time to see if the world champion would finally be able to secure one race win that season.
But could it be someone else? There had already been seven different race winners that season. Would there be an eighth, and would it be someone other than Bira? Would they even be driving a different car to the four constructors who had won earlier in the season? As had been seen many times in the five previous seasons, anything could happen in Formula One, and that weekend, there were 40 candidates who were willing to make it all happen.
Following Ecclestone's engine failure in Sebring, Mercedes had decided to sit out the Italian Grand Prix, making the United States Grand Prix their final F1 appearance as a team.
Scuderia Anglo-Italia returned to the paddock after skipping Sebring, bringing back their four cars for Swaters, Brauchitsch, de Filippis and Jones.
After taking a single car to Sebring, Loyer brought their second car to Monza as well, for Castellotti and Hawthorn.
JAMR had finally repaired Trintignant's car, and the Frenchman would be taking part in the Italian Grand Prix alongside his usual partners, Bira, van der Lof and Bettenhausen.
ARE returned after skipping Sebring, entering Aldo Gordini once again.
BRUNEL had acheived their goal of running at Sebring and would therefore not be entering the Italian Grand Prix.
With Dorino Serafini injuring himself after yet another accident in Sebring, Harry Schell would be taking his place in the second Ferrari at Monza.
After suffering yet more car damage in Sebring, Erne would return directly to Ireland, skipping Monza.
Umberto Maglioli and Porfirio Rubirosa once again drove for Ambrosiana, joined by the annual third driver, this time young Paolo Marzotto. With older brother Giannino also in the race, this marked the first time that two brothers competed in the same event.
RRAC would finish the season with Ivor Bueb driving the Maserati.
Assasti Millanti were definitely not missing their home race, but with John Fitch out injured, a quick replacement needed to be found, and it was German pre-War ace Hermann Lang who eventually landed the drive.
Warden's season ended badly at Sebring with John Fitch wrecking the car and his own body. Naturally, they ended their season before Monza.
Ecurie Albertini decided to make another appearance not far from home, with young Sergio Mantovani taking up driving duties in the O.S.C.A.-Ferrari.
German baron Trod van Hoff decided to build his own car and stick an O.S.C.A. engine in it. He brought it over to Monza to test it with sportscar racer Fritz Riess behind the wheel.
Rennkollektiv EMW finally ditched their hopeless chassis, instead bringing a more conventional Aston Martin-Bentley package to Monza to make one final attempt at making a race start, with Hans Herrmann once again driving.
Prequalifying and qualifying
No surprises on the DNPQ list, but the sheer amount of backmarkers in the session guaranteed that there would be a few of them making the cut. On this occasion, Herrmann and Mantovani would be very pleased with themselves. Marzotto and Castellotti were expected to make it but nonetheless managed to set encouraging times. As expected, Schell and Jones dominated the session. Sadly, Ron Flockhart would not be joining his teammate Frère in the main qualifying session. The main session was fairly uneventful, with Ramos taking his second (and final) pole position and two of the three Ambrosiana cars failing to make the cut.
Van der Lof started strongly by leading the first lap, but Ramos soon took the lead again on the second lap. Ascari was the first driver to retire when his Mercedes engine expired on the lap 3. On the very next lap, Brabham's gearbox also let go, leaving 26 drivers. De Graffenried and Bira were already making significant progress, reaching 13th and 5th places respectively. They were reduced to 25 on the very next lap when Peter Whitehead's engine exploded out of ninth place. Troy Ruttman was next to retire with a burnt clutch. At this point, Ramos was extending his lead over van der Lof and Farina, with Bira and Trintignant fighting over fourth and Collins in a solid sixth. De Graffenried then retired with an oil leak after a good race start was cut short. Edgar Barth was next to retire, with a seized gearbox. But behind him, all hell broke loose.
Giannino Marzotto attempted to defend his 19th place from Jacques Swaters, but he swerved too agressively at Lesmo and crashed out. Behind them, Hampshire lifted to avoid any debris, causing Villoresi (immediately behind him) to brake aggressively. Hawthorn, further behind, was distracted by Marzotto's stricken car and did not notice Villoresi's slowed car. He swerved too hard and span off as well, leaving 20 cars in the race. On the very next lap, a misunderstanding between Collins and Manzon sent the Frenchman into the pit wall out of 7th place. Collins didn't let this affect him, and he took fourth place on lap 11.
The first change at the very front came on lap 13 when Dries van der Lof pulled into his pit box at reduced speed. The mechanics looked under the bonnet and quickly found an oil leak. They decided that it couldn't be fixed, and van der Lof was retired from the race. The carnage wasn't over, as the oil left behind found itself under Ramos' tyres, taking the race leader out of the race as well! This left Giuseppe Farina leading his home race ahead of Collins, Trintignant, Bira, Bettenhausen and Sanesi. But this order only lasted a single lap, as Farina span out on the same oil patch! This left Peter Collins in the race lead ahead of Trintignant, while Porfirio Rubirosa entered the points.
The lead changed hands again on lap 17 when Maurice Trintignant passed Collins. This lead lasted all of three laps as Trintignant's clutch failed on lap 21, leaving Collins to lead once more. Bira was a way back, but catching up. On lap 23, Rubirosa dropped from fourth to sixth when he was passed by Sanesi and Parnell in one move. These two also passed Bettenhausen in quick succession to move to third and fourth by lap 25. Except Rubirosa was fighting back as well, taking fourth from Parnell that same lap.
On lap 27, fifth place in the teams' title was resolved in a scary fashion when Rubirosa was spun out by Tony Bettenhausen. The Dominican was sent hard into the earth bank before Parabolica, and the car briefly caught air, but Porfirio walked away unhurt. This allowed Schell to enter the points for Ferrari. Collins, meanwhile, built up the gap to Bira once again, but by lap 31, Collins had lost pace. In the meantime, Sanesi had passed Bira, but once Collins was within striking distance, Bira unleashed a masterful move. On the way down to the Parabolica, Bira got the tow behind Sanesi, and when entering the braking zone, he moved out and not only passed Sanesi, but also outbraked Collins to take the lead!
The points were once again faced with a newcomer when Parnell retired from fourth place with a gearbox failure on lap 34. This left Pilette in sixth place. He was then elevated to fifth when Peter Collins once again missed a podium opportunity by spinning out at Lesmo on lap 36. This also meant that for the first time in his career, Stan Jones was in the points! This did not last long, as on the very next lap, he was passed by teammate Manfred von Brauchitsch and Asso di Fiori driver Luigi Villoresi. Eventually, Swaters also gained ground and was in a strong seventh position on lap 47 when, under braking for the Parabolica, Villoresi made another error of judgment and rammed into his back. Both drivers retired on the spot, and the two nearly came to blows, much to the amusement of the spectators.
But the race continued, and Harry Schell left André Pilette in his dust and started making a bid for the final podium spot. On lap 50, he passed Bettenhausen for third place. Apart from a close battle over seventh place, the order did not change, and Bira finally took his first (and only) victory of the season, ahead of Consalvo Sanesi. Schell scored his first podium with third place, just ahead of Bettenhausen. André Pilette and Manfred von Brauchitsch rounded out the points, each scoring their first points since 1951. De Filippis was classified seventh, ahead of Stan Jones, David Hampshire and Jean Behra. Only ten cars finished the race. JAMR ended up securing both the constructors' and teams' championships, with Ferrari taking third in both, ahead of Alfa Romeo.
|2||74||Stan Jones||Bentley||2:03.26||+ 0.80|
|3||32||Aldo Gordini||Gordini||2:07.38||+ 4.92|
|4||10||Louis Chiron||Leader-O.S.C.A.||2:07.42||+ 4.96|
|5||12||Eugenio Castellotti||Loyer-Ferrari||2:07.52||+ 5.06|
|6||62||Paolo Marzotto||Ambrosiana-Alfa Romeo||2:07.65||+ 5.19|
|7||80||Hans Herrmann||Aston Martin-Bentley||2:07.76||+ 5.30|
|8||76||Sergio Mantovani||O.S.C.A.-Ferrari||2:07.92||+ 5.46|
|9||58||Ron Flockhart||Maserati||2:09.16||+ 6.70|
|10||50||Ivor Bueb||Maserati||2:09.59||+ 7.13|
|11||78||Fritz Riess||Van Hoff-O.S.C.A.||2:10.04||+ 7.58|
|12||60||Hermann Lang||Leader-Jaguar||2:11.23||+ 8.77|
- Final race victory for B. Bira.
- Final pole position for Hernando da Silva Ramos.
- Final fastest lap for Giuseppe Farina.
- First and only podium for Harry Schell.
- Final points for Harry Schell, Tony Bettenhausen, André Pilette and Manfred von Brauchitsch.
- Final start for Luigi Villoresi and Edgar Barth.
- First and only entry for Paolo Marzotto and Sergio Mantovani.
- Final entry for Hermann Lang and Fritz Riess.
- Final start and entry for Group Ultimate.
- Final entry for Royal Racing Automobile Company, Écurie Alberti and Leader (as a standalone team).
- Dries van der Lof: 1 lap (1)
- Hernando da Silva Ramos: 13 laps (2-14)
- Giuseppe Farina: 1 lap (15)
- Peter Collins: 11 laps (16, 21-30)
- Maurice Trintignant: 4 laps (17-20)
- B. Bira: 26 laps (31-56)
- Most career podiums: B. Bira (16).
- Most career points: B. Bira (114).
- Most total career entries: Alberto Ascari and Maurice Trintignant (41).
|2||Dries van der Lof||24|
|4||Hernando da Silva Ramos||17|
|1||Jaguar - Aston Martin Racing||56|
|2||Alexander Racing Team - Gordini||49|
|4||Alfa Romeo SpA||21|
|5||/ Scuderia Anglo-Italia||10|
- Only the top five positions are listed.
| Previous race:
1954 United States Grand Prix
| Alternate Formula 1 World Championship
| Next race:|
1955 Monaco Grand Prix
| Previous race:
1953 Italian Grand Prix
|Italian Grand Prix|| Next race:|
1955 Italian Grand Prix