1954 Swiss Grand Prix
The 1954 Swiss Grand Prix was the sixth race of the 1954 Formula One World Championship, and was held in Bremgarten on August 8th 1954. Double World Champion Giuseppe Farina won the race, which would remain his final Grand Prix victory. Championship leader B. Bira finished second for the fifth consecutive time, equalling Farina's record and increasing his lead. Dries van der Lof, who had won the British Grand Prix three weeks earlier, finished third.
The race was notable for an unusually high amount of severe accidents, resulting in the injuries of many drivers. Notably, Giovanni Bracco, Piero Taruffi and Geoff Richardson would end their racing careers following their injuries in this race. The attrition caused drivers to call out the lack of safety precautions at the circuit, leading to the race being dropped from the calendar in 1955. After the 1955 Le Mans disaster, motorsport was banned in Switzerland, making this race the last Grand Prix held on Swiss soil.
Just past the halfway point of the season, B. Bira led the championship by 11 points, having scored four consecutive second places in five races. Brabham was still in second place with 13 points, with Bettenhausen third. Meanwhile, in the constructors' (and entrants') championship, JAMR and Gordini were fighting extremely closely for the title, with only five points in it with four races remaining. Race six was the Swiss Grand Prix, held, as always, in Bremgarten. 41 drivers had made the trip and would be fighting for the 30 grid spots.
Aldo Gordini stepped back into the only remaining Balkan Eagle instead of Rudi Fischer.
Loyer Racing returned with Hawthorn in the second car, while German veteran Karl Kling left the first car to be replaced by 23-year-old sportscar driver Eugenio Castellotti, who had already won the 10 hours of Messina earlier that year.
Reatherson Racing Developments skipped the Swiss Grand Prix and headed straight to the Nürburgring, as did their compatriots at Erne.
With Gordini returning to Balkan Eagle, Fred Wacker stepped back into the ARE Gordini.
BRUNEL went straight ahead to the United States, as had been originally planned.
Harry Schell's injury meant that Ferrari were reduced to two cars for the following two races, having failed to find a suitable replacement.
Duncan Hamilton stepped back into his Bentley-Mercedes for RRAC, continuing the rotation scheme with Ivor Bueb.
After the failure of the two-car system in Silverstone, F.H. Warden reverted to a single car for Wharton.
Conversely, Officine Renzo would be fielding both the Ferrari and the O.S.C.A. for Serafini and Marzotto.
Prequalifying and qualifying
Surprise in the Friday session came from Fred Wacker's Gordini failing to clear prequalifying, being outpaced by both works Maseratis, with Flockhart making the cut in a rare occurrance. Duncan Hamilton came bottom in a session with no other major points of interest.
Giuseppe Farina took pole by a stupidly big margin, and last-placed Louis Chiron was a distant 14 seconds behind him. There were some pleasant surprises, such as Geoff Richardson and both Renzos making the cut, as well as two of the Mercedes. Jean Behra would make his first start since the 1952 German Grand Prix, and Mike Hawthorn gave Loyer Racing their maiden Grand Prix start, with Eugenio Castellotti also showing good promise for the future.
Meanwhile, de Filippis failed to qualify for the second consecutive time, Ecclestone, Chiron and Wharton failed once again and Aldo Gordini was bringing Balkan Eagle closer and closer to bankruptcy. Ron Flockhart was the only DNQ who could be mildly satisfied, as he was at least faster than someone.
Sanesi took the early lead while Jack Brabham started brilliantly and lept into second place ahead of Trintignant and Farina. Dries van der Lof then climbed up to third position on the second lap. On lap 4, we had the first retirements of the race. Maurice Trintignant's engine expired at Eymatt, and all hell broke loose. De Graffenried slipped on the oil and tapped Giovanni Bracco out of the race, while Edgar Barth slid on the same oil and ran into David Hampshire. Hampshire and de Graffenried continued, but Bracco and Barth retired on the spot. Two laps later, Ascari brake-checked Gonzalez, who left the track avoiding him and ended up spinning into the straw bales, retiring from the race. More importantly, on lap 7, race leader Consalvo Sanesi span out and crashed heavily into the barriers, coming out unhurt. This accident had more consequences, as both Luigi Villoresi and Peter Whitehead suffered punctures by running over the debris and span out as well.
Jack Brabham inherited the race lead, but on lap 9, Dries van der Lof passed the Australian, as did championship leader B. Bira. On the following lap, it was Farina who passed Brabham for third place, and then Bira and van der Lof for the race lead! Brabham also passed Bira for third place at the same time. At the back, David Hampshire lazily span out on leftover oil from Trintignant's blown engine, the seventh accident of the day, only a third of the way through. The eighth accident was also caused by the oil at Eymatt. Geoff Richardson span on the oil, collided with Hampshire's stopped car and was sent barrell-rolling in the fields. Richardson was thrown from the car and taken to hospital in critical condition.
André Simon's gearbox then gave up on lap 21, leaving only 20 cars. Brabham, meanwhile, took second place from Bira. He took the lead from Farina on lap 24, but was in turn passed by Bira on the next lap! Meanwhile, Dorino Serafini retired from 13th position with an oil leak. The race then settled down, with Ascari and Ruttman suffering from mechanical failures. Then, on lap 31, the already sombre mood was darkened even further. Piero Taruffi, while defending his 15th position, span on oil, collided with an earth bank and was sent cartwheeling into the trees lining the circuit. Thrown from his car into the forest, he was also taken to hospital in critical condition.
But the race had to continue. Tony Bettenhausen's clutch failed two laps later, leaving 15 drivers, then 14 when Manzon's gearbox let go on the following lap. On lap 36, Farina passed Bira for the lead again, before another heavy accident happened. De Graffenried ran over debris of Taruffi's wreck, which punctured his tyre and sent him straight on at high speed at Eymatt. Miraculously, he did not collide with any wrecked cars, sped into the fields unimpeded, and did not dig into the ground. The car stayed on all four wheels, and de Graffenried was able to get out unscathed, although the car was wrecked and his racesuit was certainly a bit wetter than it was a few seconds previously.
Mike Hawthorn's suspension failed with less than ten laps remaining, sadly. This left only twelve cars, including a thrilling battle for fifth position between Peter Collins and Jack Brabham, Collins keeping his position against all odds from the clearly faster Australian. In fact, they have come into contact quite a few times! On lap 45, after ten laps of trying, Brabham finally made it through with a risky overtake at Jorden, sliding on oil on the way out of the corner in a spectacular move! Immediately, Stirling Moss was pressuring Collins for sixth position!
Ultimately, Moss was unable to secure the final point. Giuseppe Farina took his first Grand Prix victory of the season, the sixth different winner in six races! Bira, meanwhile, kept his championship lead with his fifth consecutive second place! Van der Lof finished third ahead of Ramos, Collins and Brabham, the Brit having repassed Brabham in the dying laps.
|2||60||David Hampshire||Bentley||2:48.19||+ 2.29|
|3||76||Ken Wharton||Bentley||2:49.80||+ 3.90|
|4||68||John Fitch||Leader-Jaguar||2:49.85||+ 3.95|
|5||74||Geoff Richardson||Bentley||2:50.88||+ 4.98|
|6||72||Jean Behra||Ultimate-O.S.C.A.||2:51.28||+ 5.38|
|7||22||Eugenio Castellotti||Loyer-Ferrari||2:51.31||+ 5.41|
|8||66||Ron Flockhart||Maserati||2:51.42||+ 5.52|
|9||64||Paul Frère||Maserati||2:51.46||+ 5.56|
|10||42||Fred Wacker||Gordini||2:51.61||+ 5.71|
|11||58||Duncan Hamilton||Bentley-Mercedes||2:54.03||+ 8.13|
- Final race victory for Giuseppe Farina.
- Final start and entry for Giovanni Bracco, Piero Taruffi and Geoff Richardson.
- First entry for Eugenio Castellotti.
- Final entry for Fred Wacker.
- First start for Loyer.
- Consalvo Sanesi: 6 laps (1-6)
- Jack Brabham: 3 laps (7-8, 24)
- Dries van der Lof: 1 lap (9)
- Giuseppe Farina: 28 laps (10-23, 36-49)
- B. Bira: 11 laps (25-35)
- Most career race victories: Giuseppe Farina (6).
- Most total career entries: Alberto Ascari, Maurice Trintignant and Johnny Claes (38).
|2||Dries van der Lof||15|
|4||Hernando da Silva Ramos||13|
|1||Jaguar - Aston Martin Racing||38|
|2||Alexander Racing Team - Gordini||30|
|4||Alfa Romeo SpA||13|
|5||/ Scuderia Anglo-Italia||9|
- Only the top five positions are listed.
| Previous race:
1954 British Grand Prix
| Alternate Formula 1 World Championship
| Next race:|
1954 German Grand Prix
| Previous race:
1953 Swiss Grand Prix
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