26th October 2012

GRAN PREMIO d'ITALIA

ITALY REJOICES AS BROOKS WINS FOR FERRARI

IT HAS TAKEN AN AWFULLY LONG TIME BUT FINALLY FERRARI HAVE PRODUCED A TRULY COMPETITIVE CAR. TONY BROOKS MANAGED THE GRAND SLAM; POLE POSITION, FLAG TO FLAG VICTORY AND FASTEST LAP. UNCONFINED JOY IN ITALY.

*       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *

ENTRY

Twenty-two cars arrived ar the Monza Autodrome for the 1959 Italian Grand Prix. Ferrari pulled out all the stops with no less than five of the red machines. Brooks, Phil Hill and Allison were down to drive the pure 1959 cars while Gurney and Gendebien had the prototype 1960 cars with wider bodies and shorter tails. The team tested all five cars on the circuit the day before official practice and found that the new car that Gurney was driving was going really well so a decision was taken to switch number one driver Brooks into that car while Gurney took over Brooks' '59 car. All the 1959 cars seemed to be going pretty well but Gendebien was struggling with his new car, it seemingly rather slow on the straight, so a new engine was installed overnight.

Four other red cars joined the cars from Maranello in the paddock. The two Centro-Sud Cooper Maseratis were on hand for Colin Davis and Ian Burgess while Guilio Cabianca brought along an old 250.F Maserati in what may be the last ever Grand Prix start for one of these classic cars. And then there was the 250.F's replacement, the Tec Mec. This car's debut was entrusted to Giorgio Scarlatti but the car does not look like a potential winner - quite the opposite in fact.

Tommy Atkins' Cooper Maserati was present but with Salvadori and Shelby driving Aston Martins in this race it fell to Jack Fairman to drive the fifth Maserati-powered car in the race. B.R.M brought three cars again with Ron Flockhart joining regular drivers Schell and Bonnier. The Cooper team brought its usual three cars for McLaren, Gregory and Champion elect, Brabham. Moss and Trintignant handled the two Rob Walker cars and Graham Hill and Innes Ireland completed the list with their Lotus 16s.

PRACTICE

Stirling Moss found his Cooper working very nicely in the first practice session, setting fastest time just over half a second quicker than Brooks although the British Ferrari driver pronounced himself more than satisfied with the performance of his car which going beautifully. Brabham was third fastest with the three 1959 Ferraris in line ahead behind him. Generally the times reflected the way the cars have performed all season although Burgess went superbly to be 9th while Gregory and the two Aston Martins were disappointing. Speaking of disappointing cars, the Tec Mec was running really poorly, seeming to be bouncing up and down as it trundled slowly along the long Monza straights. Scarlatti was 6 seconds slower than the next slowest car.

Strangely, while most of the drivers went quicker through the second and third sessions, Moss was unable to improve on his first practice time and so slipped to third on the grid behind Brabham who went quicker and quicker and pole man Brooks whose times in the other two sessions saw him take top spot by very nearly a whole second and the car looked so solid on the track that it was very easy to make him favourite for the race. Schell and Bonnier moved steadily up the time sheets as the sessions passed and eventually found themselves together on the second row of the grid. McLaren and Gregory got in amongst the three older Ferraris, the quintet making up rows three and four.

Burgess, like Moss, made no progress and slipped down the list while Shelby dropped a few places as his team-mate went the other way, the two big Astons eventually forming a sandwich with Burgess as the filling. Gendebien's new engine made little difference and he was quite well back surrounded by Lotuses but at least ahead of four of the five Maserati-powered cars. The vibration that plagued the Tec Mec was eventually traced to the floor of the car hitting the track surface and some modifications improved the car considerably. In the end, although last on the grid Scarlatti was only a second behind Cabianca's 250.F but it should be noted that his best lap in final practice would have placed him 19th had there been just the one session.

HERE IS THE FULL GRID ORDER FOR THE 72 LAP RACE:

   1.
30
T. BROOKS FERRARI Dino 246
1. 39'70
   2.
12
J. BRABHAM COOPER CLIMAX T.51
1. 40'69
   3.
14
S. MOSS COOPER CLIMAX T.51
1. 41'28
   4.
6
J. BONNIER B.R.M Type 25
1. 42'07
   5.
2
H. SCHELL B.R.M Type 25
1. 42'35
   6.
32
P. HILL FERRARI Dino 246
1. 42'47
   7.
8
B. MCLAREN COOPER CLIMAX T.51
1. 42'69
   8.
36
D. GURNEY FERRARI Dino 246
1. 42'89
   9.
10
M. GREGORY COOPER CLIMAX T.51
1. 43'36
 10.
34
C. ALLISON FERRARI Dino 246
1. 43'45
 11.
16
M. TRINTIGNANT COOPER CLIMAX T.51
1. 43'95
 12.
26
C. SHELBY ASTON MARTIN DBR4/250
1. 44'11
 13.
42
I. BURGESS COOPER MASERATI T.51
1. 44'50
 14.
24
R. SALVADORI ASTON MARTIN DBR4/250
1. 44'83
 15.
4
R. FLOCKHART B.R.M Type 25
1. 45'26
 16.
18
G. HILL LOTUS CLIMAX 16
1. 45'29
 17.
38
O. GENDEBIEN FERRARI Dino 246
1. 45'48
 18.
20
I. IRELAND LOTUS CLIMAX 16
1. 45'70
 19.
22
J. FAIRMAN COOPER MASERATI T.45
1. 46'88
 20.
40
C. DAVIS COOPER MASERATI T.51
1. 46'99
 21.
28
G. CABIANCA MASERATI 250.F
1. 47'91
 22.
44
G. SCARLATTI TEC MEC MASERATI
1. 48'93

THE RACE

Jack Brabham cruised through the Italian Grand Prix, knowing that any points finish would be enough to clinch the World Championship. Moss, however, knew that a win with fastest lap was essential in order to take the fight to the last race at Sebring. But, try as he might, Stirling had absolutely no answer to the speed of Tony Brooks and the Ferrari who disappeared up the road right from the start in a display of total superiority over the rest of the field. Ten laps in, Brooks was already 15 seconds ahead and the gap simply got bigger and bigger, topping out at over a minute by the end of the 72 laps. Tony set fastest lap on lap 19 and really it was simply a case of waiting to see if the red car held together, which it did, thus giving rise to great joy at Monza and throughout Italy as one of their beloved red cars finally won a race in 1959.

Moss was able to hang on to second place although he did lose it to Schell for a brief moment around lap 20. Thereafter it was McLaren who gave chase, gradually reducing the gap to the Walker car as the race progressed. However, in the end, third place went to a flying Dan Gurney who had run as low as 7th at one point but who found some excellent pace towards the end and he was able to pass his team-mate Hill, then Brabham and finally McLaren on lap 64, closing to within 2 seconds of Moss at the end. One more lap and it would probably have been a Ferrari 1-2. Behind McLaren came the new World Champion who had driven a super-cautious race, determined to get his trusty Cooper to the finish, which he did, well ahead of Phil Hill's Ferrari, thus confirming his Championship victory.

From 4th on the grid Jo Bonnier had a very subdued race, the B.R.M coming to the end of its racing life and clearly struggling to keep up. In the end Jo was actually overtaken for 7th place by the splendid Ian Burgess who had a superb race with the Centro Sud Cooper. Flockhart and Schell had both retired their B.R.Ms much earlier so Jo's 8th place was a poor reward for the Bourne outfit in their final race of the season - B.R.M are not going to Sebring. Of the rest, the main plaudits must go to Cabiance who drove the old Maserati splendidly, beating the two Coopers of Fairman and Davis. And what of the Tec Mec? Scarlatti made a good start and was ahead of both Davis and the sick B.R.M of Flockhart for a time but eventually he settled into last place and was lapping steadily, not far off his best practice time when his brakes went away as he slowed for the Parabolica on lap 34 causing the car to leave the road but without sustaining any damage.

HERE IS THE RESULT OF THE THE 72 LAP RACE:

   1.
30
T. BROOKS FERRARI Dino 246
2. 05. 55'87
   2.
14
S. MOSS COOPER CLIMAX T.51
2. 07. 02'90
   3.
36
D. GURNEY FERRARI Dino 246
2. 07. 04'67
   4.
8
B. MCLAREN COOPER CLIMAX T.51
2. 07. 11'72
   5.
12
J. BRABHAM COOPER CLIMAX T.51
2. 07. 19'36
   6.
32
P. HILL FERRARI Dino 246
2. 07. 35'68
   7.
42
I. BURGESS COOPER MASERATI T.51
71 laps
   8.
6
J. BONNIER B.R.M Type 25
71 laps
   9.
26
C. SHELBY ASTON MARTIN DBR4/250
71 laps
  10.
20
I. IRELAND LOTUS CLIMAX 16
70 laps
  11.
28
G. CABIANCA MASERATI 250.F
70 laps
  12.
22
J. FAIRMAN COOPER MASERATI T.45
69 laps
  13.
40
C. DAVIS COOPER MASERATI T.51
68 laps
Fastest lap:   T. BROOKS, FERRARI Dino 246,   on lap 19,   1. 41'19

Retired:
10
M. GREGORY COOPER CLIMAX T.51
54 laps
16
M. TRINTIGNANT COOPER CLIMAX T.51
46 laps
    2 H. SCHELL B.R.M Type 25
43 laps
44
G. SCARLATTI TEC MEC MASERATI
33 laps
38
O. GENDEBIEN FERRARI Dino 246
27 laps
    4 R. FLOCKHART B.R.M Type 25
19 laps
18
G. HILL LOTUS CLIMAX 16
16 laps
24
R. SALVADORI ASTON MARTIN DBR4/250
12 laps
34
C. ALLISON FERRARI Dino 246
8 laps

ITALIAN IDEAS

  • Not actually Ferrari's first win of the season. Behra won the F.2 Syracuse Grand Prix early in the season.
  • Ferrari admitted that they couldn't really say why the car was so good around Monza. It will be interesting to see how it goes at Sebring.
  • Driving the car that Brooks was listed to handle, Dan Gurney had his best - and last - race for Ferrari. He moves to B.R.M next season.
  • Ferrari expect to run four cars in the U.S.A but will only take one 1960 car, for Brooks.
  • Moss had his best race for some time but had no answer to the red car and almost lost second place to Gurney.
  • It was strange to see Brabham driving so carefully but it was to very good purpose.
  • The surprise of the race was probably the speed of Burgess' Cooper Maserati. Centro Sud plan a two-car effort all through 1960.
  • We say goodbye to the beautiful B.R.M type 25. Next season the B.R.M will have its engine behind the driver and Bonnier will be joined by Graham Hill and Gurney.
  • Lotus too have a rear-engined car on the way. Ireland will have an assortment of different team-mates, apparently.
  • The Tec Mec will be at Sebring but its driver will be the Brazilian Fritz d'Orey.

    Back to the Fifty-niners index page.

    Back to my home page.