1955 Italian Grand Prix
The 1955 Italian Grand Prix was the seventh and final race of the 1955 Formula One World Championship and was held in Monza on September 25th 1955. The race was the scene of a wide open title fight and was ultimately won by Jack Brabham, who subsequently sealed his first world championship. His Alfa Romeo teammate Tony Gaze finished second, preventing third-place finisher Peter Collins from matching Brabham's points total. Brabham was eighth in the championship before the race.
It's the end of the season, and what a season it's been. Many scary accidents all around, the tragic passing of Alberto Ascari just days after an emotional first victory at the action-packed French Grand Prix, the mass cancellation of Grands Prix following the catastrophe at le Mans and the...uh...eventful Soviet Grand Prix.
After all this, it's rookie Tony Brooks who leads the championship for the British Commonwealth Motorsport Association, with teammate Peter Collins his closest rival, four points behind. Six points behind, Manzon, Titterington, Trintignant and Sanesi are all in contention, as are Jack Brabham and Dorino Serafini. However, rumours are saying that the Soviet Grand Prix might get stripped of its championship status. This makes this final Grand Prix all the more important.
To make matters even more interesting, for the very first time, the impressiev concrete oval will be used in conjunction with the regular course, making for a circuit 10 kilometres in length.
- Despite Stuart Lewis-Evans scoring a miraculous point in Estonia, Bernie Ecclestone will not be making an appearance in Monza, and has cast doubts over any further participation in the future.
- Roy Salvadori will be driving the second Hampshire Bentley once again after skipping the Soviet round due to budget issues.
- After missing the race in Estonia, Ecurie Voeckler come back with a three-car operation for Jean-Louis Rosier, André Simon and the promising Argentine Clemar Bucci, all in Alfa-Jag combinations.
- Despite his strong performance in Estonia, Roger Loyer will not be competing in Monza, with Alfonso de Portago once again sole driver for Loyer Racing.
- For the first time, the works Porsche team is reduced to one car, as Jean Behra's chassis could not be repaired in time, fueling rumours that Stuttgart may be backing out of Formula 1 once more at the end of the year.
- Karl Kling steps back into the EMW, once again looking to make the main qualifying session, if not the grid itself.
- After Spider Webb's very brief stint at Hernandez (in which he never actually drove the car), Roberto Mieres steps back in the Cooper-FIAT to finish the year in Monza.
- With the German Grand Prix beign cancelled, Theo Fitzau's drive for Guidobaldi was moved to the Soviet Grand Prix. In order to give Jacques Pollet his promised drive, an extra entry in Italy was announced to cap Guidobaldi's year.
- After a hugely eventful Soviet Grand Prix, Ferrari completely rearranged their line-up. Reg Parnell was released from his contract while the team bought back cars from customers in order to field a mind-blowing six cars for this race. Aside from Ruttman, Godia and Serafini, Ottorino Volonterio and racing veterans Philippe Etancelin and Guido Meregalli, who are 58 and 61 years old respectively.
- After Louis Chiron self-entered the Maghreb Lancia in Estonia, which was subsequently crashed by Hernando da Silva Ramos when he took over the car for the race, Maghreb have been forced to enter only the second car, an Ambrosiana-O.S.C.A., for regular driver André Guelfi.
- Bib Stillwell and Tasman missed the Soviet Grand Prix to save money, as they fear running out of money before heading back to New Zealand. In the meantime, they are back in Monza, hoping to get another good result.
- After the failure of the early-season Cooper partnership, Maserati cut their schedule to the three Southern races at season's end. However, the Portuguese and Moroccan Grands Prix were canceled, leaving Ron Flockhart with only the Italian Grand Prix to score a result for the team.
- Vanwall also missed the Soviet Grand Prix, but due to staunch political opinions from Tony Vandervell. Hawthorn and Poore will once again attempt to make the grid.
- Finally, JAMR have managed to scrape together a four-car team. Joining regulars Bettenhausen and Trintignant will be Bob Sweikert, who already drove for the team in Scotland, and Alan Brown.
- When Luigi Musso retired in Estonia, Scuderia Ambrosiana's run in F1 ended. Racking up too many debts in the process of designing their new car and hiring two perceived second-rate drivers sealed their fate.
- Lucien Bianchi takes Scuderia Adriatica's Ambrosiana-Ferrari package for a second spin at the team's home race after a promising run at Silverstone.
- Despite a chronic failure to get results, BRUNEL have made the rash decision to send Anne Hall and the O.S.C.A.-Porsche to Monza for one final entry.
- Faced with a return to the place where team leader Alberto Ascari was killed in May, Phoenix Racing Organisation decided not to make the trip and instead close up shop after Wolfgang von Trips proved uncapable of continuing the team's spirit.
- Slightly out-of-touch Dutch nobleman Jonkheer Gijsbert van Loon has decided to enter Formula One with one of the more bizarre cars seen yet. Armed with a relatively small budget, he purchased a Guidobaldi and built an engine called the Loonmotor using the plans from the 2-year-old Aqua failure. Poor Hans Tak has been hired to drive the car. Some people remember that one year ago, a certain Baron Trod van Hoff made a rather similar début...
No huge surprise here, due to the relatively small amount of contestants. Hans Tak managed to be almost 19 seconds slower than Alan Brown.
The only real surprise is Maria Teresa de Filippis failing to make the grid by half a second. There were many disappointments, though, such as JAMR failing to crack the top ten and the Ferraris of Etancelin and Meregalli failing to make the cut by a more substantial margin. At least all 42 drivers managed to get below the 3-minute mark.
At the front, the battle for the championship looks to be extremely interesting, with the main players, Brooks, Collins, Brabham and Titterington, in the top four positions. While Brabham only has an outside shot, should the other three retire, he has a very good chance of winning the race, so he should not be discounted.
Tony Brooks got the short end of the stick at the start, ending up seventh, then eighth after lap two. Further back, Tony Bettenhausen's clutch burnt out on the grid, and on the second lap, Harry Schell got a puncture on the banking, already reducing the field to 32 cars, then 31 when Gonzalez pulled into the pits with an oil leak. At the front, meanwhile, Peter Collins passed Titterington to take the lead on lap 3, while Brabham wqs stuck behind the Ulsterman. He made it through into second place on lap 4.
On the next lap, chaos erupted in the midfield when Rubirosa span out while fighting Alan Brown. Serafini and and Ruttman were backed into each other, but Trintignant took the opportunity and passed the lot of them! On lap 6, Jack Brabham took the lead of the race, which meant he was in the provisional championship lead. Further back, Serafini retired when he had a spin defending from Volonterio. But this was only an indication of things to come.
On lap 7, Peter Whitehead attempted to pass Farina on the outside of the banking, but Farina blocked too late and they tangled. Whitehead stopped at the bottom of the banking with light damage, but Farina's car barrel-rolled and was sent into the trees lining the circuits. He was taken to the nearest hospital by ambulance.
But the race continued. Tony Gaze soon passed Collins, making Brabham's title bid even stronger. Further back, Eugenio Castellotti used Clemar Bucci to spin out of the race, reducing the pack to just 26 cars after only nine laps. Then, they were 25, when Bib Stillwell pulled off the track with gearbox issues. Then, it was Reg Armstrong whose engine blew up on lap 11. On lap 13, another mass retirement happened, when Alan Brown developed an oil leak. Behind him, Troy Ruttman and Giannino Marzotto span off on the oil. Ruttman's accident was more serious, and he was also sent to hospital.
On the very next lap, Moss ended Anglo-Italia's race with a lazy spin defending from Brooks, who moved back up to fourth in the process. But this lasted only two laps. On lap 16, Titterington attempted to pass Brooks for fourth place. In the ensuing battle, Brooks had a spin, ending his race and taking matters out of his hands. Almost immediately afterwards, Titterington took third place from Peter Collins. This in itself did not help him, as Jack Brabham was still virtually world champion.
Towards the back, André Simon clashed with Stan Jones over 15th position, with the Frenchman retiring with substantial damage to his car. A bit further ahead, Mike Hawthorn pulled into the pits with suspension failure, reducing the field to half the cars that started. Then to sixteen when Volonterio span out at Lesmo, perhaps on oil. Manzon then passed Collins on lap 22 to reach third place, which would mean the world title should Brabham retire...
The field's numbers were again reduced, this time to 14, when Bob Sweikert's clutch failed. Then, Gordini's legendary unreliability struck again, when Consalvo Sanesi's engine failed out of fifth place. A few laps later, Robert Manzon ran over debris and ended his race in the straw bales. Dennis Poore's race then ended with two laps remaining with a broken gearbox. On the final lap, Ramos' brakes failed, spilling fluid onto the circuit, and Jean-Louis Rosier span out on the fluid.
But nobody could stop Jack Brabham. Before the start of the season, people were predicting total domination by the Alfa Romeo. As it turned out, Lancia and B.C.M.A. were more than capable adversaries, but in the end, Jack Brabham, who was eighth before the race started, took the race victory and the world title with it, with teammate Tony Gaze completing an Alfa Romeo 1-2. Peter Collins came through with third position, enough to tie Tony Brooks and take second place in the championship on countback. Umberto Maglioli scored a career-best fourth place, with Trintignant just beating Paco Godia to fifth place.
- First World Championship for Jack Brabham.
- First fastest lap for Peter Collins.
- First podium for Tony Gaze.
- First point for Paco Godia.
- Final start for Giuseppe Farina, Giannino Marzotto and Porfirio Rubirosa.
- First and only start for Clemar Bucci and Alan Brown.
- First start for Eugenio Castellotti.
- Final entry and start for Reg Armstrong, Bib Stillwell, Toulo de Graffenried, Dennis Poore, Bob Sweikert and Jean-Louis Rosier.
- First entry for Hans Tak.
- First and only entry for Clemar Bucci, Alan Brown, Jacques Pollet and Guido Meregalli.
- Final entry for Roberto Mières, Karl Kling, Philippe Étancelin, Kenneth McAlpine, Anne Hall.
- Final win and podium for Alfa Romeo.
- Final points for Aston Martin and the Jaguar engine.
- Final start for Bentley and Porsche chassis and the Balkan Lion engine.
- Final entry for Porsche, Ambrosiana and Loyer chassis and the FIAT engine.
- First entry for the Loonmotor engine.
- Final win, podium, points and starts for Alfa Romeo SpA.
- Final points, starts and entries for Jaguar-Aston Martin Racing.
- Final starts and entries for Scuderia Anglo-Italia, Maria Teresa de Filippis (privately), Geoff Richardson Racing, Tasman Racing Alliance, Balkan Leader, Porsche System Engineering and Officine Renzo.
- Final entry for Loyer Racing, Rennkollektiv EMW and Guidobaldi.
- First entry for Jonkheer Gijsbert van Loon.
- Youngest World Champion: Jack Brabham (29 years, 5 months, 23 days)
- Most career entries: Maurice Trintignant (48)
- Most career starts: Robert Manzon (46)
- Oldest entrant: Guido Meregalli (61 years)
- Most races entered: Ferrari and Alfa Romeo (50)
- Most race entries: Ferrari (270)
- Most races started: Alfa Romeo (50)
- Most race starts: Ferrari (234)
- Most points: Ferrari (261.5)
- Most laps led: Alfa Romeo (842)
|British Commonwealth Motorsport Association
|Alfa Romeo SpA
|/ Alexander Racing Team-Gordini
|Jaguar-Aston Martin Racing
|Phoenix Racing Organisation
- Only the top five positions are listed.
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1955 Soviet Grand Prix
| Alternate Formula 1 World Championship
| Next race:
1956 Monaco Grand Prix
| Previous race:
1954 Italian Grand Prix
|Italian Grand Prix
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1956 Italian Grand Prix