1954 Monaco Grand Prix
The 1954 Monaco Grand Prix was the first race of the 1954 Formula One World Championship and was held in Monte Carlo on May 16th 1954. The race was surprisingly won by Jack Brabham, only the Australian's third Grand Prix start. José Froilán González finished second, scoring the first podium for both O.S.C.A. and Bentley, while Reg Parnell finished in third place.
Once again, the Formula One world championship returns, more successful than ever. Upwards of 35 entries have been registered for each of the European races and the championships are looking ever tighter. It's now that time of year where we take a look at the prospects of each team, by last year's championship order.
Jaguar-Aston Martin Racing JAMR's 1953 season was unexpected, even by them. Only five podiums had been recorded up to 1952, and no victories. Last season, Bettenhausen, Trintignant, Bira and Gonzalez scored 12 podiums between them including three victories in the Netherlands (Trintignant), Belgium (Bettenhausen) and Switzerland (Bira). Add to that impressive reliability, and it was obvious that no one could beat the British squad. However, despite the success and all three World Championships, a weak link was found, and José Froilan Gonzalez was kicked from the team due to his crash-prone nature. He was replaced by Ferrari refugee Juan Manuel Fangio (himself renowned for his many accidents), but the Argentine broke both of his legs in the pre-season Syracuse Grand Prix. A provisional replacement was found in the form of Mike Hawthorn while waiting for a more permanent decision. The cars are as fast as last year, and the drivers look as strong as ever, as shown by Bira's win in Pau. The only threat should come from the next entry...
Alexander Racing Team - Gordini Gordini had been an occasional front-running team since day 1 in the championship, but never have they been so fast as 1953. While Robert Manzon held his own and Peter Collins proved more than competent, it was Consalvo Sanesi who led the team's season. The Italian scored four pole positions and three victories in France, Germany and Italy, with two fastest laps on top of that. The title only escaped him because of woeful unreliability, which plagued the Anglo-French outfit throughout the season. Indeed, Sanesi never finished outside of his three wins (losing the title by a single point), and only in Italy did all three cars reach the finish line. Four times, no ARTs made it to the end. The line-up remains the same this season, with Brazilian rookie Hernando da Silva Ramos driving a fourth car. All four drivers have proven their worth. Only one car out of the four finished the NC races though, and Manzon's third place was disappointing considering the amount of finishers. If the reliability is there, though...
Scuderia Ferrari The Ferrari was one of the quicker cars out there in 1953, but their main issue was drivers. Parnell once again challenged for the championship, coming within three points of it, Fangio was too inconsistent and crash-happy, despite winning the German Grand Prix, and was fired before Sebring, where his replacement, Jack Brabham, promptly finished fourth. Serafini, meanwhile, was very quick but often fell victim to unreliability, either from the car or from himself, sitting out Britain injured. Fangio was permanently fired after Monza, and Jack Brabham was signed as a full-time third driver beside Parnell and Serafini (who scored the most fastest laps of anyone last season). The non-championship races weren't really a success though. All three drivers crashed out, including a collision between Parnell and Serafini. The atmosphere in the team might get a bit heavy this season, although the cars are obviously very quick.
Alfa Romeo SpA Once again, last season, Alfa Romeo proved that they were nothing without Farina. Whitehead proved that he was a consistently reliable driver, scoring 17 of the team's 32 points, but he lacked that winning edge. Farina suffered from unreliability early on and was then knocked out of action for three races after a controversial collision with Bettenhausen at Spa. He proved that he's still got it by winning the season-ending United States Grand Prix (Alfa's sole victory of 1953), but keeping up the pace might prove difficult. Meanwhile, Stirling Moss disappointed once again, failing to score a single point. It's a mystery as to how he managed to keep his drive. Alfa didn't enter the non-championship races, but Moss finally showed pace in Syracuse in a privately-entered spec HWM. In short, more of the same can be expected, but all it would take for a title challenge is reliability.
Phoenix Racing Organisation Such was the dominance of the top four teams that Phoenix once again, against all odds, finished fifth in the championship, despite missing the last three races. Ascari once again showed his talent with his obligatory podium, this time in Silverstone, while his season was ended by an engine failure at the Nürburgring. This year, armed with brand-spanking-new Mercedes engines and a new chassis design, more podiums are to be expected and, why not, a first victory?
Asso di Fiori Only a single car last year was enough for sixth place, all thanks to the unexpected help of Dries van der Lof. The Flying Dutchman scored a podium at his home race and a further fifth in Switzerland, while Villoresi also showed a decent turn of pace, but horrible luck. This season though, with factory backing and a second car, prospects look extremely promising, especially considering the non-championship results, with second place at Pau for van der Lof and victory at Syracuse for Villoresi. Watch out everyone, Dries and Luigi are on a roll.
Scuderia Ambrosiana Despite all the promise, Ambrosiana failed to build on their 1952 successes. Bracco was plagued by endless unreliability (finishing only twice), while Rubirosa again failed to score a single point, despite many close calls. With their new chassis, things might improve markedly, with a first podium as a goal, but then again, things might stay exactly the same...
Group Ultimate After Ruttman's single victory in 1952, Ultimate's year was almost a failure in every respect. The Ferrari America operation proved to be a real money drainer and was permanently scrapped at the end of the season, the team had to move their base due to growing political tensions in East Germany, and unreliability was rampant. Edgar Barth proved to be their saving grace with his miraculous fourth place at Bremgarten, allowing the team to stay afloat until this year. This time, the reserve Ultimate chassis has been put to use and new O.S.C.A. engines have been purchased. Almost-rookie Jean Behra (he had a couple of DNPQs in 1952) will drive the second car throughout the season, with points not a goal, but a necessity.
Hampshire Racing Alliance The underdog David Hampshire stunned the paddock at Zandvoort (his lucky circuit) by scoring fifth place and the two points that come with it. His pace continued to be competitve, although no more points were scored, until a crash at the Nürburgring. Aston Martin voluntarily repaired his chassis, but Hampshire failed to qualify in Monza. Despite this, the plucky Brit showed promise and attracted help from the Bentley factory, who offered him a discounted new 16VL-1 engine to go with his own Aston Martin chassis. With the engine being competitive on paper, more points are a possibility and money will hopefully not be a problem anymore.
Ecurie Nationale Belge Despite all the enthusiasm shown by Jacques Swaters' bunch, there was something fundamentally wrong with ENB's year: everything. The cars proved to be too slow, especially the Maserati, while the regular driver switches only scuppered any opportunity to make up for it with experienced drivers. The result of three-car entries with no hope of scoring was a spectacular loss of money. Swaters still has no definitive plans for 1954, but will skip Monaco as usual and start at Reims with Pilette in the Bentley. Prospects are looking inreasingly bleak, and it would be a miracle if ENB survived 1954.
Redman Racing Team Compared to 1952 and 1951, last season was a failure for Redman Racing Team. For the first time, they failed to score a single point, despite Nello Pagani's best attempts. This was largely due to the limitations of the Maserati combination, which was much, much, slower than in previous years. Stan Jones himself turned a few heads with some decent performances, but with financial troubles looming, the team reverted to a single car for Pagani, leaving the likeable Australian on the sidelines...until Balkan Eagle signed him a few days later. This season, Redman aims to be more reasonable, with its spending, but while they're stuck with a Maserati, points are very unlikely.
O.S.C.A. Automobili/British Bentley Racing Motors/Scuderia Anglo-Italia Undoubtedly the biggest story of the off-season was the merger between mass-selling constructors Bentley and O.S.C.A., much like the similar affair between Jaguar and Aston Martin in 1950. Their seasons were markedly different in 1953, though. O.S.C.A. made a sensible investment in a second car for occasional races while Taruffi drove the first car very dependably (although failing to score points, which weren't the goal anyway). Fitch and Simon proved competent, although Fitch prevented the running of the second for most of the season after his Reims crash.
Conversely, Bentley had a more on-and-off season, entering some races but not all, sometimes with a single car and sometimes with the four of them. All of these combinations failed to produce a finish in the first half of the season, and only occasionally even resulted in a race start, but Richardson and von Brauchitsch managed to finally bring both Bentleys to the finish in Switzerland, albeit in the last two positions. In a last-ditch attempt to save the company, Bentley withdrew its factory team and concentrated on building top-flight machinery, but the financial pressure remained too high and the merger with O.S.C.A. gave them some much needed breathing space. In the expert hands of JAMR refugee Gonzalez, O.S.C.A. driver Taruffi and Bentley driver von Brauchitsch, the O.S.C.A.-Bentley combination looks promising. Points could be on the cards.
Reatherson Racing Developments After a difficult start to the season, the driver rotation scheme finally allowed for regular starts in the second half of the season for Macklin and Kelly, resulting in the extremely unexpected seventh place for Lance Macklin at Bremgarten. As a result, Lance Macklin has been retained as the sole driver for 1954 in a new Bentley chassis powered by the same tried-and-tested Jaguar engine. Points are a stretch, but regular starts should continue to flow in.
Balkan Eagle Definitely one of the more pleasant surprises of the season. The Bulgarian outfit started as bad as possible with a triple-DNPQ, then a triple-DNQ. By Germany, all three cars were on the grid and only registered a single failure to start from then on. The cars were ordinary Alfa Romeo-Maseratis, and the engine was definitely not quicker than the factory machinery, but the secret to Balkan Eagle's success was in the work of the mechanics in making the cars as reliable as possible. The Balkan Eagles actually finished 12 races out of 14 starts, but none of them in the points and only once in the top ten. The drivers look relatively competent once again, with Rudi Fischer, Aldo Gordini and Stan Jones, and their expensive decision to build their own engines appears to have payed off, with Rudi Fischer finishing second in the Syracuse Grand Prix. While such a result will be hard to replicate with a full grid, points are possibly on the cards this season.
Maria Teresa de Filippis For a first full season of racing, de Filippis showed tremendous consistency and thourough improvement throughout the season. After three consecutive DNQs, she started every subsequent race, finishing the last three of them, including a top ten in Switzerland. A very encouraging début season for the Italian lady driver, and with factory support from O.S.C.A. this season, she just might do even better.
F.H. Warden Competition One of the more realist entrants last season, their focus was on steady improvement, and they definitely managed that just fine. After three unsuccessful attempts, Wharton finally made the grid in Germany and reached the finish first time out, notably ahead of Eric Brandon's Mercedes-Benz. In Switzerland, Wharton again made the grid and finished 11th ahead of a Balkan Eagle, the Leader and both Bentleys, ending Warden's season on a high. This season, their machinery is exactly the same, and although they haven't made any plans for the championship, Wharton finished an encouraging fourth in Syracuse. Knowing Warden, they'll choose their races carefully, and good finishes should follow.
Erne Racing Development Just when it looked like Erne would be one of the major surprises of 1953, they found themselves saddled with the uncompetitive Maserati package. The result was a single start in seven entries, with a single 11th place to show for it. Roberto Miéres didn't help and was underperforming through the whole season, obviously demotivated by the uncompetitiveness of the car. Erne's decision to keep Miéres alongside noted failure Onofre Marimon turned many a head, but the acquisition of two Aston-Jaguar combinations will allow both to show their true potential. Marimon already has done so, finishing third in Syracuse, to the shock of the whole paddock. But will it show in the championship?
Leader After finally scoring his maiden points in 1952, Johnny Claes must have been incredibly disappointed in the Leader, regularly making the grid, but never being on the pace. As it turns out, the Leader was also incredibly disappointed in Claes, and the Belgian was sacked in favour of veteran driver and Alfa Romeo super-sub Louis Chiron. Claes, meanwhile, found his way into the third Mercedes-Benz. Speaking of Mercedes, Leader have turned away from the German manufacturer and have instead purchased a new O.S.C.A. engine to partner last year's LF153 chassis. More of the same is a reasonable expectation for them, much to their mysterious team boss' displeasure. Rumours that the Chinese man's mental health is failing are absolutely untrue. Especially those claiming that he repeatedly curses a certain Michel Vaillant. We don't even know who he is.
Anglo Racing Engineering The glorified ART B-team performed exactly as expected when faced with a Leader-Jaguar combination: badly. In nine attempts, only three starts were managed, and only a single finish thanks to Peter Collins. Wacker, Lang and Musso were unable to do any better. 1954, however, should go much better, considering that ARE now benefit from a works Gordini and not from a customer Leader and Wacker, though not very impressive, is a dependable hand. Things are looking good for the team this year.
Royal Racing Automobile Company Oh, the lels to be had... RRAC were incredibly slow. Their only saving grace was that they were slightly faster than the works Maserati team, which allowed them to make the grid in races with a low number of DNQs, namely Germany and the USA. Hamilton's finish at Sebring (16th and second-last) gave the team some much-needed cash, barely enough to buy an entry-level Bentley to alternate with the Maserati they already have, as well as free Mercedes engines donated, probably out of pity. Do not expect much better from them this year, either from Hamilton or from Bueb.
Cliff Bergere Is a 57-year-old. Drives like one. Has a crap car. Will not do better.
Mercedes Team Europe Easily the team with the loudest PR system, yet almost the worst results. Who do you blame? The chassis and the drivers. While the investment in the WM-1 chassis was far too low for a team with such high expectations, the driver choice was poor. While Eric Brandon's hiring seemed coherent at the time, he quickly became disinterested and drove with the speed of a sea sponge the whole year. The second drivers were inexperienced or too old and were even slower. However, Mercedes understood their failings and put their resources to good use, hiring the dependable André Simon, the consistent Johnny Claes and the young British F3 driver Bernie Ecclestone to form a three-car team. The WM-1 chassis has been left behind and replaced by a brand new design which brings much promise. Ecclestone has already shown promise in the Pau Grand Prix.
Officine Alfieri Maserati Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. The Maserati package was hopeless. Not enough was invested in it, and while many of them were sold, none of them were even remotely competitive (except for the Redman). The works team itself not only suffered from a hopelessly slow car, but also from horrible mismanagement and abysmal driver choices. The two decent drivers available (Frère and Simon) were unable to pull the team out of the doldrums due to the others dragging them down. Landi, Marimon and Balsa were too slow and have rightly been sacked in favour of Ron Flockhart, while Elie Bayol competed in the non-championship Syracuse Grand Prix with, predictably, little success. Flockhart, however, is woefully inexperienced. Don't expect better from 1953's Reject of the Year
Assasti Millanti It's too soon to tell exactly where this team stands. Fitch has shown the odd flashes of pace, but definitely not enough to finish well. He's capable of respectable results in the midfield, but don't expect points or anything ressembling them in the Leader-Jaguar.
Bardahl Oil Company They didn't do much worse than expected. Sebring was Vukovich and Hanks' first experience of road racing (except for Vukovich's one-off for ENB that one time), and the team had no such experience either. But hey, they should be back this year and do a bit better.
BRUNEL See above, but with the added fact that they will definitely be at Silverstone with Anne Hall on top of Sebring.
Rennkollektiv EMW ...That was a bit crap, wasn't it? EMW entered all eight European rounds and were the only team full-time team never to make the grid, despite the best attempts of Riess, Bechem and Davison. This year, they return with Hans Herrmann and the exact same package. Their chances of success?
Loyer Racing Of the new entrants, Loyer are the most credible of them. Karl Loyer was a close friend of Ferdinand Porsche and his chief designer once worked for Auto Union. The LR101 will be fitted with a Ferrari engine awaiting for the arrival of the upcoming Porsche powerplant. The cars will be driven by the promising Luigi Musso and the experienced and talented Karl Kling (who makes his F1 début). The chassis is expected to be top notch and the engines have been proven excellent. It only remains to see whether the management and drivers are up to scratch.
Geoff Richardson After the O.S.C.A./Bentley merger, Richardson was left without a drive, but with a wad of money to spend and support from the Daily Mail. He figured he'd just buy one of the new Bentleys and have a go by himself, just like in '51. While the new Bentley appears to be competitive, Richardson himself may not be, and the season could prove difficult. Then again, he could become a revelation...
Officine Renzo Who this Gianluca D'Amico is, no one quite knows, and no one quite wants to know or ask. He apparently has buckets of cash of questionable origin and has decided that Formula One is a good place to spend it. With a new O.S.C.A. combination and the quick Giannino Marzotto to drive it, they could be close to the front from day 1.
Lest We Forget: Scuderia Aqua Their decision to build their own engines proved both disastrous and ruinous. The team ran out of options after Italy and decided to shut down after two brief years of existence. Their Bentley chassis and Aqua engine will be sold at auction.
Prequalifying and qualifying
There were no surprises in prequalifying, but disappointment was to be hand anyway for the Loyers and Jean Behra, who should have made it. In qualifying, the front of the field is extremely close, yet nothing could prevent Consalvo Sanesi from securing yet another pole position, the sixth of his career. Gonzalez impressed for Scuderia Anglo-Italia, and all three factory Mercedes were knocked out, as were Barth, Hampshire and Pagani.
Gonzalez, Bira and van der Lof got the best starts, while Peter Whitehead's race ended on lap 1 when his Alfa's engine exploded in front of the Casino. Parnell led the first lap from Gonzalez, Sanesi and Manzon. On the next lap, Sanesi retook the lead from Gonzalez and Parnell. The start of the race was extremely unpredictable and the order changed dramatically from lap to lap. Jack Brabham took the lead of the third lap. On lap 6, it was Gonzalez who took the race lead with a fantastic double pass on Reg Parnell and Jack Brabham! The Australian started to bunch up everyone behind him until Parnell found a way through on lap 8. On that same lap, Stirling Moss tangled with Ramos for tenth place and was sent spinning into the straw bales at the Chicane. He got out of his stuck car unhurt and visibly angry at the Brazilian. Two laps later, Dries van der Lof span out at the same place after a tangle with Mike Hawthorn.
Second place was now changing hands between Brabham, Parnell and Serafini, who had made up the deficit he lost during qualifying. On lap 15, the drivers were reduced to 15 when Sanesi attempted to pass Manzon for fourth position. The Frenchman aggressively defended his position, so much so that he ended up in the wall, taking his teammate with him. A shameful accident that will undoubtedly cause the sickly Alexander Lilly to be cursing in his hospital bed. Bettenhausen took second from Serafini, Farina and Brabham. This second place lasted for all of four laps as Bettenhausen's gearbox let go on lap 19, leaving Gonzalez with a comfortable lead over Farina, Brabham, Ascari (already?!) and Serafini. At the same time, Mike Hawthorn decided he'd take the other Asso di Fiori out as well, leaving Villoresi furious. Rubirosa was the next retirement with an oil leak on lap 25. This may or may not have been related to his contact with a certain Mike Hawthorn a few laps earlier...
The race remained fairly stable until lap 45, with Brabham steadily decreasing the gap to Gonzalez. On that lap though, disaster struck. Alberto Ascari attempted to pass Giuseppe Farina at the chicane for seventh place, but the double World Champion, in order to defend his position, took the chicane far too quickly. His car struck the straw bales and was launched into the Monaco harbour. Luckily, perhaps, Farina was thrown from his rolling car and landed in the water. He swam to shore, apparently uninjured, to the relief of all witnesses.
The race settled down again for ten laps before Hernando da Silva Ramos suffered from a gearbox failure out of ninth position, leaving ten cars running. Gonzalez still led with a shrinking gap back to Brabham. The fighting Serafini and Bira followed a few seconds back. Ascari, Parnell and Trintignant were in the battle for fifth place. Collins was 8th, Hawthorn 9th, miraculously still in the race, and Bracco was in last place, a fair way back. On lap 63, Bira had lost some time and was trying to catch Serafini, but he pushed too hard and had a spin at the Chicane. Race over.
The race for the lead was intensifying. On lap 66, Brabham was breathing down Gonzalez's neck, and two laps later, the Australian took the race lead. Gonzalez immediately set about taking the lead back, and after three laps of hard trying, he finally made it through on lap 71. However, after a few more laps of aggressive trying (and some light contact), Brabham took the lead again on lap 78, and never looked back. Behind the leading two, Parnell and Serafini were having a tense fight for third place, each wanting revenge on the other for their Syracuse blunder. Serafini was quite obviously quicker than Parnell, who was ahead, and the Italian was angrily waving at the Brit to let him through!
Ten laps later, Parnell was still holding up his teammate, and Trintignant was now catching up! Suddenly, on lap 89, Parnell pulled out a comfortable lead over Serafini, making it look like he was deliberately slowing his teammate down for him to be caught by Trintignant... Just to make Serafini's problem worse, Ascari was closing in as well! With eight laps remaining, they started to switch positions in a three-way fight, but sadly, this did not last. With six laps remaining, Ascari retired from fifth place with steering issues. While Parnell was almost just behind Gonzalez for second place, Trintignant passed Serafini for fourth position with just five laps remaining! Parnell caught up to Gonzalez on lap 96, but was unable to pass him, and just two laps later, his Ferrari broke down with a gearbox failure.
Despite this, Brabham was so far ahead that he would still be classified third. Brabham would win by three laps ahead of Gonzalez. Parnell was classified third, five laps behind. Serafini ended up edging Trintignant for fourth place. Collins finished sixth for Gordini, Ascari was classified 7th, 11 laps back (he was already five laps back when he retired), just ahead of Hawthorn. Giovanni Bracco was the last finisher, 12 laps behind Brabham.
|Hernando da Silva Ramos
|Maria Teresa de Filippis
- First race win, podium and laps led for Jack Brabham.
- Final fastest lap for Dorino Serafini.
- Final podium and points for Reg Parnell.
- First entry and start for Hernando da Silva Ramos.
- First entry for Bernie Ecclestone, Ron Flockhart and Karl Kling.
- First podium and laps led for O.S.C.A. and the Bentley engine.
- First entry for Loyer and the Balkan Lion engine.
- First entry, start, points, laps led and podium for Scuderia Anglo-Italia under that name.
- First entry for Loyer Racing.
- Reg Parnell: 1 lap (1)
- Consalvo Sanesi: 1 lap (2)
- Jack Brabham: 29 laps (3-5, 68-70, 78-100)
- José Froilán González: 69 laps (6-67, 71-77)
- Most career fastest laps: Dorino Serafini (7)
- Most total career starts: Dorino Serafini and B. Bira (32)
- Most total career entries: Alberto Ascari, Dorino Serfini, Maurice Trintignant and Johnny Claes (33)
|José Froilán González
|/ Scuderia Anglo-Italia
|Jaguar-Aston Martin Racing
|Alexander Racing Team - Gordini
|Phoenix Racing Organisation
- Only the top five positions are listed.
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1953 United States Grand Prix
| Alternate Formula 1 World Championship
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1954 French Grand Prix
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1953 Monaco Grand Prix
|Monaco Grand Prix
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1955 Monaco Grand Prix