1951 Formula One season

The 1951 Formula One season was the fifth season of FIA Formula One motor racing. It featured the 1951 World Championship of Drivers,[1] which commenced on 27 May 1951 and ended on 28 October after eight races. The season also included 14 races that were open to Formula One cars but did not count towards the championship standings.

Alfa Romeo won four of the eight World Championship races in 1951 with the Type 159

World Championship season summaryEdit

Ferrari's newer, naturally aspirated 4.5 litre cars offered a real challenge to the Alfas, which were nearing the end of their development potential. The Ferraris were able to capitalize on the inefficiency of the Alfa's very thirsty engines, particularly at Silverstone. Although Alfas won four races, with Fangio taking the championship, Ferrari's three victories spelled the end for the Alfas. BRM made their only championship appearance with the V16 at Silverstone, and the old, slow Talbots were increasingly outclassed.

Points were given to top 5 finishers (8, 6, 4, 3, 2). One point was given for fastest lap. Only the best four of eight scores counted towards the world championship. Points for shared drives were divided equally between the drivers, regardless of who had driven more laps.

Pre-season non-championship racesEdit

Although the official championship season would start in late May in Switzerland, there were a handful of non-championship events to be run. The first was the first ever Syracuse Grand Prix near the ancient city of Syracuse on the southern island of Sicily. This race was won by Italian Luigi Villoresi driving the new 4 1/2 litre Ferrari 375 on the 3.4 mile public road circuit. Villoresi would triumph again two weeks later at Pau in southwest France over homeland hero Louis Rosier and Nino Farina, driving a Maserati for this race. On the same day, Thai driver Birabongse Bhanudej would triumph at the Richmond Trophy race at Goodwood in southern England in his Maserati.

Three weeks after the Goodwood and Pau races it was the San Remo Grand Prix in western Italy not far from Monaco, and Alberto Ascari made his first appearance of the season and promptly won in a Ferrari 375 on this twisty and demanding 2.1 mile street circuit, ahead of his countryman Dorino Serafini and Swiss Rudi Fischer, both in Ferraris. A week later was the Bordeaux Grand Prix in western France and it was won by Rosier in a Talbot, ahead of Fischer and Briton Peter Whitehead in a Ferrari. Other than Farina, this race did not feature any Italians in it because they were competing in the Mille Miglia.

A week later was the BRDC International Trophy race at Silverstone, with the Alfa Romeos making their first appearance in 1951. Of the first two heats, Fangio won the first while Farina won the second; while Reg Parnell won the final all-important event, which was stopped because of torrential rain and flooding. Two weeks after this was the Paris Grand Prix in the Bois de Boulogne Park in the French capital city, which was won by Farina in a Maserati.

Race 1: SwitzerlandEdit

A week after the BRDC International Trophy race the Formula One Championship season started in Switzerland at the very dangerous and tree-lined Bremgarten public road circuit near Bern around the time the Monaco Grand Prix would have been held, but that historic race was not held this year. Alfa Romeo, the dominant team in 1950 with its supercharged 159 Alfetta, took the first five places on the grid, with the exception of 3rd, which was taken by Luigi Villoresi in a Ferrari. Argentine Juan Manuel Fangio was on pole position, with his Italian teammate Giuseppe "Nino" Farina alongside him. The race started while it was raining, and with its overhanging trees lining the road, this circuit was even more dangerous in the wet. But Fangio made no mistake and won the race from Piero Taruffi in a Ferrari and Farina, whose decision to run the race without changing tires proved to be the wrong decision.

Race 2: Indianapolis 500Edit

The Indianapolis 500 in the United States was run three days after the Swiss Grand Prix on a Wednesday, and was the only non-European championship round and the only round not run to FIA Grand Prix regulations. Lee Wallard won this demanding race in his Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser.

Race 3: BelgiumEdit

Farina had won again at Ulster Trophy held at the very dangerous and fast Dundrod circuit in Northern Ireland in an Alfa, and the next championship Grand Prix was in Belgium at the fastest circuit of the year: the spectacular and rural 8.7 mi (14.1 km) Spa-Francorchamps circuit. With Fangio and Farina once again 1–2 with the Ferraris of Villoresi and Alberto Ascari taking 3rd and 4th, the Alfas and Ferraris dueled around this circuit, with only 13 entries – small grids in all kinds of motorsports in Europe were commonplace at Spa, because of the fear most drivers had of the circuit. Farina, already on a high after winning at Dundrod won by three minutes over Ascari and Villoresi, with Fangio finishing four laps down in 9th after one of his Alfa's wheels jammed on its hub.

Race 4: FranceEdit

The French Grand Prix, given the honorary designation of the European Grand Prix this year was held at the very fast 4.8 mile Reims-Gueux circuit (a circuit only 2 mph slower than Spa) deep in northern French champagne country played the host for an exciting race. Fangio, on pole again, was beaten off the line by 3rd placed qualifier Ascari, with 2nd placed qualifier Farina making a terrible start and dropping to 11th. On this triangular public road circuit, made up entirely of long straights, slight kinks and slow, angular corners saw Ascari retire his car with a broken gearbox and Fangio nursing a sick car. Farina pushed very hard and eventually took the lead. Argentine José Froilán González was 2nd in a Ferrari, and 53-year old pre-war great Luigi Fagioli in an Alfa was 3rd in a one-off appearance for this year. Gonzalez was chasing Farina very hard; but Farina's car developed magneto problems and had to fall back, which put Gonzalez in the lead, with Fagioli in 2nd. However, during both the leader's pitstops, as was commonplace in Grand Prix racing up until 1957, when it was banned – Gonzalez handed his car over to Ascari, and Fagioli exchanged his healthy car with Fangio's mechanically unhealthy car, so Ascari and Fangio were back in 1st and 2nd where they had been before. But Fangio took advantage of Ascari's brake problems on his Ferrari (the Reims-Gueux circuit was very hard on engines and brakes) to win a race that holds the record for farthest racing distance ever completed for a Grand Prix, 373 mi (610 km). Fagioli, finishing 22 laps down and furious over having to swap cars with Fangio, quit Grand Prix racing on the spot, and the veteran Italian would die after crashing a Lancia during a sportscar race at Monaco in 1952.

Race 5: BritainEdit

The British Grand Prix at the Silverstone airfield circuit in England played host to round 5 of the World Championship, and this race was to make history. The Alfa Romeos, with their powerful 420 hp supercharged 1.5L engines were fast, but had horrendous fuel consumption: 1.5 miles per gallon (thanks to the rather simple pre-World War II engine design) meaning that Fangio and Farina had to stop twice to refuel, José Froilán González in the more fuel efficient 4.5L naturally aspirated V12 Ferrari went on to win, with Fangio second. This was the first time Enzo Ferrari had won a Grand Prix with a car of his own company's construction, and this team went on to be the most successful team in Formula One history.

Race 6: GermanyEdit

A week after the British Grand Prix the non-championship Dutch Grand Prix at the fast beachside Zandvoort circuit near Amsterdam was won by Louis Rosier in a Talbot, ahead of veteran Phillippe Etancelin and up-and-comer Stirling Moss in an HWM.

West Germany had been banned from international sports competition until 1951, so the German Grand Prix was able to be a Grand Prix championship round for the first time since 1939. The venue was the same as it had been in 1939 – that venue was the dauntingly challenging, dangerous and twisty 14.2 mile (22.8 km) Nürburgring Nordschleife. Ascari took pole position in front of his teammate Gonzalez, and Alfa drivers Fangio and Farina. At the start, Farina took the lead, but the Alfas started to develop overheating problems, and Farina soon retired. In addition to engine problems, the gearbox in Fangio's Alfa lost 1st and 2nd of four gears, and after trading the lead with Fangio during pitstops, Ascari took the lead and won his first championship Formula One Grand Prix.

Race 7: ItalyEdit

A week after the German Grand Prix was the Albi Grand Prix on a very fast and dangerous public road circuit just outside of the southwestern French village of Albi. This race was won by Maurice Trintignant in a Simca. Ten days after this race, the Coppa Acerbo at the 15.8 mile and dauntingly dangerous Pescara public road circuit in eastern Italy, which was won by José Froilán González in a Ferrari. Two weeks after this Fangio won the Bari Grand Prix in the small southeastern Italian coastal city.

Italy was the next championship race, and the Monza Autodrome near Milan played host to the seventh round of the Formula One Grand Prix championship. Fangio in an Alfa took pole position again, but he retired his car, which had engine problems; Farina, who had taken Felice Bonetto's Alfa had a leaking fuel tank and had to come in twice for fuel, which dropped him down the order far enough for him only to get as far as third. Fellow local hero and Milan native Ascari won again in his Ferrari – which kept his championship hopes alive catch the leader Fangio to win it in the last championship Grand Prix in Spain.

Race 8: SpainEdit

The last non-championship race of the year, the Goodwood Trophy was won by Farina in an Alfa three weeks after the Italian Grand Prix.

The first ever Formula One Spanish Grand Prix, held at the Pedralbes street circuit in Barcelona took place four weeks after the Goodwood Trophy race. The Ferrari and Alfa Romeo teams each ran four cars with Ferrari fielding Ascari, Gigi Villoresi, Froilan Gonzalez and Piero Taruffi and Alfa Romeo running Fangio, Giuseppe Farina, Felice Bonetto and Baron Emanuel de Graffenried. Ascari was fastest in practice and shared the front row of the 4–3–4 grid with Fangio, Gonzalez and Farina. Behind them were Villoresi, de Graffenried and Taruffi. Ascari led from the start with Gonzalez chasing but by the end of the first lap Gonzalez had dropped to fifth behind Farina, Fangio and Bonetto. Fangio quickly passed Farina and took the lead from Ascari on the fourth lap. As Fangio sailed away to victory, Ferrari's challenge fell apart along with its tires – the team having opted to use smaller wheels than normal. By the time the team had sorted out the problem, Ascari was two laps behind. Fangio duly won the race and his first of five championships with Gonzalez finishing second and Farina third.

Season reviewEdit

Rnd Race Circuit Date Pole position Fastest lap Winning driver Constructor Tyre Report
1   Swiss Grand Prix Bremgarten 27 May   Juan Manuel Fangio   Juan Manuel Fangio   Juan Manuel Fangio   Alfa Romeo P Report
2   Indianapolis 500 Indianapolis 30 May   Duke Nalon   Lee Wallard   Lee Wallard   Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser F Report
3   Belgian Grand Prix Spa-Francorchamps 17 June   Juan Manuel Fangio   Juan Manuel Fangio   Giuseppe Farina   Alfa Romeo P Report
4   French Grand Prix Reims-Gueux 1 July   Juan Manuel Fangio   Juan Manuel Fangio   Juan Manuel Fangio
  Luigi Fagioli
  Alfa Romeo P Report
5   British Grand Prix Silverstone 14 July   José Froilán González   Giuseppe Farina   José Froilán González   Ferrari P Report
6   German Grand Prix Nürburgring 29 July   Alberto Ascari   Juan Manuel Fangio   Alberto Ascari   Ferrari P Report
7   Italian Grand Prix Monza 16 September   Juan Manuel Fangio   Giuseppe Farina   Alberto Ascari   Ferrari P Report
8   Spanish Grand Prix Pedralbes 28 October   Alberto Ascari   Juan Manuel Fangio   Juan Manuel Fangio   Alfa Romeo P Report

The World Championship Grand Prix races were open to FIA Formula One cars however the Indianapolis 500, which also counted to the 1951 AAA Championship, was restricted to American Championship Cars.

Teams and driversEdit

The following teams and drivers competed in the 1951 FIA World Championship of Drivers

Argentinian Juan Manuel Fangio won the 1951 World Championship of Drivers, driving for Alfa Romeo
Entrant Constructor Chassis Engine Tyre Driver Rounds
  Ecurie Belge Talbot-Lago T26C Talbot 23CV 4.5 L6 D   Johnny Claes 1, 3–8
  Philippe Étancelin Talbot-Lago T26C Talbot 23CV 4.5 L6 D   Philippe Étancelin 1, 3–4, 6, 8
  Yves Giraud-Cabantous Talbot-Lago T26C Talbot 23CV 4.5 L6 D   Yves Giraud-Cabantous 1, 3–4, 6–8
  Guy Mairesse 1, 4
  Ecurie Rosier Talbot-Lago T26C Talbot 23CV 4.5 L6 D   Louis Rosier 1, 3–8
  Henri Louveau 1
  Louis Chiron 3–8
  HW Motors HWM-Alta 51 Alta F2 2.0 L4 D   George Abecassis 1
  Stirling Moss 1
  Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 375 Ferrari 375 4.5 V12 P
  Luigi Villoresi 1, 3–8
  Alberto Ascari 1, 3–8
  Piero Taruffi 1, 3, 6–8
  José Froilán González 4–8
  Alfa Romeo SpA Alfa Romeo 159 Alfa Romeo 158 1.5 L8 s P   Giuseppe Farina 1, 3–8
  Juan Manuel Fangio 1, 3–8
  Toulo de Graffenried 1, 7–8
  Consalvo Sanesi 1, 3–5
  Luigi Fagioli 4
  Felice Bonetto 5–8
  Paul Pietsch 6
  Enrico Platé Maserati 4CLT/48 Maserati 4CLT 1.5 L4 s P   Louis Chiron 1
  Harry Schell 1, 4
  Toulo de Graffenried 4, 6
  Paul Pietsch[N 1] 6
  Ecurie Espadon Ferrari 212 Ferrari 212 2.5 V12 P   Rudi Fischer 1, 6–7
  José Froilán González Talbot-Lago T26C Talbot 23CV 4.5 L6 D   José Froilán González 1
  Peter Hirt Veritas Meteor Veritas 2.0 L6 P   Peter Hirt 1
  Ecurie Belgique Talbot-Lago T26C Talbot 23CV 4.5 L6 D   André Pilette 3
  Jacques Swaters 6–7
  Pierre Levegh Talbot-Lago T26C Talbot 23CV 4.5 L6 D   Pierre Levegh 3, 6–7
  Graham Whitehead Ferrari 125 Ferrari 125 1.5 V12 s D   Peter Whitehead 4
  GA Vandervell Ferrari 375 tw Ferrari 375 4.5 V12 P   Reg Parnell 4
  Peter Whitehead 5
  Equipe Gordini Simca-Gordini T15
Gordini 15C 1.5 L4 s E   Robert Manzon 4, 6–8
  Maurice Trintignant 4, 6–8
  André Simon 4, 6–8
  Aldo Gordini 4
  Jean Behra[N 2] 7
  Eugène Chaboud Talbot-Lago T26C Talbot 23CV 4.5 L6 D   Eugène Chaboud 4
  Scuderia Milano Maserati-Speluzzi 4CLT/50 Speluzzi 1.5 L4[5] P   Onofre Marimón 4
  Paco Godia 8
  Juan Jover 8
  Joe Kelly Alta GP Alta 1.5 L4 s D   Joe Kelly 5
  BRM Ltd BRM P15 BRM P15 1.5 V16 s D   Reg Parnell 5, 7
  Peter Walker 5
  Ken Richardson 7
  Hans Stuck 7
  Bob Gerard ERA B ERA 1.5 L6 s D   Bob Gerard 5
  Brian Shawe-Taylor ERA B ERA 1.5 L6 s D   Brian Shawe-Taylor 5
  Scuderia Ambrosiana Maserati 4CLT/48 Maserati 4CLT 1.5 L4 s D   David Murray 5–6
  John James Maserati 4CLT/48 Maserati 4CLT 1.5 L4 s D   John James 5
  Philip Fotheringham-Parker Maserati 4CL Maserati 4CLT 1.5 L4 s D   Philip Fotheringham-Parker 5
  Duncan Hamilton Talbot-Lago T26C Talbot 23CV 4.5 L6 D   Duncan Hamilton 5–6
  Antonio Branca Maserati 4CLT/48 Maserati 4CLT 1.5 L4 s P   Toni Branca 6
  Francisco Landi Ferrari 375 Ferrari 375 4.5 V12 P   Chico Landi 7
  Peter Whitehead Ferrari 125 Ferrari 125 1.5 V12 s D   Peter Whitehead 1, 7
  OSCA Automobili OSCA 4500G OSCA 4500 4.5 V12 P   Franco Rol 7
  Birabongse Bhanudej Maserati-OSCA 4CLT/48 OSCA 4500 4.5 V12 P   Birabongse Bhanudej 8
  Georges Grignard Talbot-Lago T26C Talbot 23CV 4.5 L6 D   Georges Grignard 8
  1. ^ Pietsch was also entered in the No. 80 Maserati. He only participated with the Maserati in practice and qualified and raced in the No. 78 Alfa Romeo.[2]
  2. ^ Behra secretly replaced the unwell Trintignant for the race of the Italian Grand Prix. Team principal Amédée Gordini did not inform the race organizers about the switch as it would have cut the team's starting fee. Behra even wore his compatriot’s helmet to disguise the switch.[3][4]

World Championship of Drivers standingsEdit

Points were awarded on a 8–6–4–3–2 basis to the first five finishers at each Grand Prix with an additional point for the fastest lap. Only the best four results counted towards the championship. Numbers without parentheses are championship points; numbers in parentheses are total points scored.

Pos. Driver SUI
1   Juan Manuel Fangio 1 (9) (1)† / 11 2 2 Ret 1 31 (37)
2   Alberto Ascari 6 2 2† Ret 1 1 (4) 25 (28)
3   José Froilán González Ret (2)† 1 3 2 2 24 (27)
4   Giuseppe Farina 3 1 (5) (Ret) Ret 3† / Ret 3 19 (22)
5   Luigi Villoresi Ret 3 3 3 4 (4) Ret 15 (18)
6   Piero Taruffi 2 Ret 5 5 Ret 10
7   Lee Wallard 1 9
8   Felice Bonetto 4 Ret 3† 5 7
9   Mike Nazaruk 2 6
10   Reg Parnell 4 5 DNS 5
11   Luigi Fagioli 1† / 11† 4
12   Consalvo Sanesi 4 Ret 10 6 3
13   Louis Rosier 9 4 Ret 10 8 7 7 3
14   Andy Linden 4 3
15   Manny Ayulo 3† 2
16   Jack McGrath 3† 2
17   Toulo de Graffenried 5 Ret Ret Ret 6 2
18   Yves Giraud-Cabantous Ret 5 7 Ret 8 Ret 2
19   Bobby Ball 5 2
  Louis Chiron 7 Ret 6 Ret Ret Ret Ret 0
  Rudi Fischer 11 6 DNS 0
  André Simon Ret Ret 6 Ret 0
  Henry Banks 6 0
  André Pilette 6 0
  Robert Manzon Ret 7 Ret 9 0
  Johnny Claes 13 7 Ret 13 11 Ret Ret 0
  Carl Forberg 7 0
  Peter Walker 7 0
  Pierre Levegh 8 9 Ret 0
  Philippe Étancelin 10 Ret Ret Ret 8 0
  Stirling Moss 8 0
  Duane Carter 8 0
  Eugène Chaboud 8 0
  Brian Shawe-Taylor 8 0
  Guy Mairesse 14 9 0
  Peter Whitehead Ret Ret 9 Ret 0
  Franco Rol 9 0
  Jacques Swaters 10 Ret 0
  Paco Godia 10 0
  Bob Gerard 11 0
  Harry Schell 12 Ret 0
  Duncan Hamilton 12 Ret 0
  Joe Kelly NC 0
  Maurice Trintignant Ret Ret DNS Ret 0
  Henri Louveau Ret 0
  George Abecassis Ret 0
  Peter Hirt Ret 0
  Tony Bettenhausen Ret 0
  Duke Nalon Ret 0
  Gene Force Ret 0
  Sam Hanks Ret 0
  Bill Schindler Ret 0
  Mauri Rose Ret 0
  Walt Faulkner Ret 0
  Jimmy Davies Ret 0
  Fred Agabashian Ret 0
  Carl Scarborough Ret 0
  Bill Mackey Ret 0
  Chuck Stevenson Ret 0
  Johnnie Parsons Ret 0
  Cecil Green Ret 0
  Troy Ruttman Ret 0
  Duke Dinsmore Ret 0
  Chet Miller Ret 0
  Walt Brown Ret 0
  Rodger Ward Ret 0
  Cliff Griffith Ret 0
  Bill Vukovich Ret 0
  George Connor Ret 0
  Mack Hellings Ret 0
  Joe James Ret 0
  Johnny McDowell Ret 0
  Aldo Gordini Ret 0
  Onofre Marimón Ret 0
  Philip Fotheringham-Parker Ret 0
  David Murray Ret 0
  John James Ret 0
  Paul Pietsch Ret 0
  Toni Branca Ret 0
  Jean Behra Ret 0
  Chico Landi Ret 0
  Georges Grignard Ret 0
  Birabongse Bhanudej Ret 0
  Ken Richardson DNS 0
  Juan Jover DNS 0
Pos. Driver SUI
Colour Result
Gold Winner
Silver 2nd place
Bronze 3rd place
Green Other points position
Blue Other classified position
Not classified, finished (NC)
Purple Not classified, retired (Ret)
Red Did not qualify (DNQ)
Did not pre-qualify (DNPQ)
Black Disqualified (DSQ)
White Did not start (DNS)
Race cancelled (C)
Blank Did not practice (DNP)
Excluded (EX)
Did not arrive (DNA)
Withdrawn (WD)
Did not enter (cell empty)
Text formatting Meaning
Bold Pole position
Italics Fastest lap
  • Italics indicate fastest lap (1 point awarded)
  • Bold indicates pole position
  • † Position shared between two or more drivers of the same car

Non-championship racesEdit

Other Formula One races, which did not count towards the World Championship, also held in 1951.

Race name Circuit Date Winning driver Constructor Report
  I Gran Premio di Siracusa Syracuse 11 March   Luigi Villoresi   Ferrari Report
  XII Pau Grand Prix Pau 26 March   Luigi Villoresi   Ferrari Report
  III Richmond Trophy Goodwood 26 March   Birabongse Bhanudej   Maserati Report
  VI Gran Premio di Sanremo Ospedaletti 22 April   Alberto Ascari   Ferrari Report
  I Grand Prix de Bordeaux Bordeaux 29 April   Louis Rosier   Talbot-Lago Report
  III BRDC International Trophy Silverstone 5 May   Reg Parnell   Ferrari Report
  V Grand Prix de Paris Bois de Boulogne 20 May   Giuseppe Farina   Maserati Report
  V Ulster Trophy Dundrod 2 June   Giuseppe Farina   Alfa Romeo Report
  I Scottish Grand Prix Winfield 21 July   Philip Fotheringham-Parker   Maserati Report
  II Grote Prijs van Nederland Zandvoort 22 July   Louis Rosier   Talbot-Lago Report
  XIII Grand Prix de l'Albigeois Albi 5 August   Maurice Trintignant   Simca-Gordini Report
  XX Circuito di Pescara Pescara 15 August   José Froilán González   Ferrari Report
  V Gran Premio di Bari Bari 2 September   Juan Manuel Fangio   Alfa Romeo Report
  IV Goodwood Trophy Goodwood 29 September   Giuseppe Farina   Alfa Romeo Report

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. ^ 1974 FIA Yearbook, Grey section, page 118
  2. ^ "German Grand Prix - Nürburgring, 29 Jul 1951". OldRacingCars. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
  3. ^ "Jean Behra - Biography". MotorSportMagazine. Retrieved 26 June 2019.
  4. ^ "Seasons - Italy 1951". www.statsf1.com. Retrieved 26 June 2019.
  5. ^ "Formula 1 1951". OldRacingCars. Retrieved 25 June 2019.

External linksEdit