While the name Ferrari is recognized the world-over, Ugolini, on the other hand, is only a name recognized by those very knowledgeable of motor racing and football. However, the name is nearly as vitally important to the world of motor sport. In 1959, the name was well-known and well-respected. Today, however, it is a name without any meaning.
Nello Ugolini's career would be overshadowed by many of those in which he associated. Still, his would be a life spent chasing passions and living fulfilled. Born in Vignola, Italy, which is only a matter of a little more than a dozen miles from Modena, Ugolini would be raised in the heart of Italy's motor racing world.
Growing up to be a well-spoken individual, Ugolini would soon find himself working alongside Enzo Ferrari at Scuderia Ferrari during the 1930s while both men were employed by Alfa Romeo in their racing program. In fact, Nello would serve as the secretary of Ferrari between 1932 and 1939. And though Enzo would depart to start his own scuderia, Ugolini would remain with Alfa Romeo right up until the start of the Second World War. As a result, Ugolini would become the sports director and then even the chief of staff within the company.
Right up to the start of the war, Ugolini would work with some of the best names in the motor racing business. Besides Ferrari, Nello would have the opportunity to work with the great Nuvolari. Even after the war, he would continue to work with some of the most legendary names in the industry.
At the conclusion of the war, he would partner with his old compatriot Ferrari. In 1952, he would become Ferrari's sports director and would remain with the scuderia until 1956 when he took over the racing department at Maserati. Throughout these years Ugolini would work with no less than Fangio, Ascari, Villoresi, Gonzalez, Trintignant, Behra and Wimille. These were some of the best at the time and Ugolini was always remembered as a friend of the racing driver, always ready to do what he could to make them feel more comfortable and faster. In fact, many would consider his ability to judge talent and what it took to get a driver to go faster his greatest talent.
By the end of the 1957 season, a period in which Juan Manual Fangio would dominate Formula One with a 250F design that was then at least three years old, Maserati would be on its way out of all forms of motor racing. It seemed impossible that someone like Ugolini, a man who had played an integral part of numerous championships, would be out of the picture in motor racing.
Ugolini would pass the time in other ways. His other passions, football, would also occupy a great deal of the man's time. Prior to joining Ferrari in 1952, Nello would already have a career within football and would end up serving with a number of teams throughout his lifetime. From Fiorentina to Bologna, Turin, Venica and Modena, Ugolini would be, at one time or another, among the directors of each.
But motor racing was still a strong passion that could not be forgotten. Throughout the late 1950s he would serve as sporting director for Scuderia Serenissima and Filippinetti. Still, such a man deserved a scuderia of his own. And, in 1959, Scuderia Ugolini would come into being.
Having last been sporting director with the factory Maserati program, Ugolini would turn to the surplus 250Fs that were still available and that were still legal to race heading into 1959. The design was now many years old. However, Fangio had convincingly won the 1957 World Championship. Therefore, in the right hands, the car was still capable of some decent results. It was clear, however, the best Ugolini could hope for, unless a giant wave of attrition struck the field, would be a finish in the points.
In all sense, Scuderia Ugolini would be nothing more than a banner under which privateers would compete. Ugolini would not necessarily own any of the 250Fs. Instead, other drivers would own them or lease them to others and Ugolini's people would prepare the cars for an event. It was a means by which drivers gained experience, valuable experience having Ugolini as their director for a race.
Scuderia Ugolini would make its first appearance of 1959 at the end of March at the Easter Monday races held at Goodwood. A whole day filled with motor racing, the VII Glover Trophy race would be one of the highlights on that 30th of March and it would consist of a 42 lap race around the 2.39 mile Goodwood circuit.
Having been an auxiliary fighter base attached to RAF Tangmere during the Second World War, the Goodwood circuit would be fast and this played to the strengths of the 250F, which like to be drifted through the corners. However, when compared to the nimble and stable Cooper, the Maserati just could not compete. Unfortunately for Scuderia Ugolini, the field would be filled with Coopers. Still, there would be a decent collection of Maseratis and BRMs in which Ugolini's entry could battle.
The car, which would be chassis 2529, would be driven in the race by Giorgio Scarlatti. Taking to the circuit in preparation for the start of the race, Scarlatti would realize just how far off the pace the 250F now was. Harry Schell would impress in the BRM taking pole with a lap time of 1:39.0. This was still a front-engined car, but it was certainly a newer car. The complete front row consisted of Schell, Roy Salvadori, Jack Brabham and Jo Bonnier. Bonnier, the slowest of the front row starters, would post a time of 1:42.8. Scarlatti's best effort would be more than a couple of seconds slower. And, as a result, Giorgio would start the race from the third row of the grid in the 9th position. He would be joined in the row by David Piper, Ken Kavanagh and Hermanos da Silva Ramos.
Heavy rains pelted the Goodwood circuit. In spite of this, a large crowd would be on hand for the day filled with races. At the time of the start, the circuit would still be quite wet and would come into play in the early going. Ken Kavanagh would get caught out and would end up crashing out after just 3 laps. The pole-sitter, Harry Schell would overcome the conditions and would get away well at the start. He would be in the lead but would be forced to hold off Stirling Moss throughout the first 10 laps of the race.
Schell would finally lose out to Moss and would even slip behind Brabham into 3rd. Moss would be in the lead, to the delight of nearly all assembled, and would promptly begin to pull away from Brabham in a factory Cooper.
Meanwhile, Scarlatti would get away decently at the start of the race and would use the retirements of Kavanagh and Graham Hill. Though unable to challenge those up the road ahead of him, Giorgio continued to run well and was poised to enter the last half of the race looking for attrition to help out his end result. Unfortunately, gearbox issues would arise and this would cause Scarlatti to retire from the race right at the halfway mark. Following da Silva Ramos' crash a few laps later, there would be just one 250F remaining in the running. The race would be dominated by Coopers.
Anchored by the fastest lap, Moss would dominate the whole of the race. Once ahead of Schell for lead, Stirling would draw away from the rest of the field and would gradually go on to win a rather processional affair by some 15 seconds over Brabham. Schell would recuperate and would end up crossing the line in 3rd place only a second behind Brabham. In all reality, even though the order wouldn't change hardly at all throughout the remaining two-thirds of the race, it would still be a close race with just a second and a half separating 2nd through 4th.
Unfortunately, the start of the season would not Ugolini's squad much in the way of good feelings going into the heart of the season. Yes, it was just the first race of the season and it was very early, but it was more than obvious it was going to be an uphill climb the whole of the season. It would have been encouraging to start out the year with something of a bright spot.
The 1959 season would see fewer and fewer non-championship races. This would be unfortunate for teams like Scuderia Ugolini as it meant fewer and fewer opportunities for decent results against some lesser competition. There were, however, at least a couple of non-championship races in which the team could take advantage. One of those would come along in early May.
The XIV BARC 200 would take place at Aintree on the 18th of April and Giorgio Scarlatti would have an entry for the race. However, he would end up withdrawing his entry for the race and would, instead, look forward to the non-championship event held at Silverstone on the 2nd of May.
Silverstone first played host to the BRDC International Trophy race in 1949. It would be the first time in the history of the former bomber training base the 2.92 mile perimeter road circuit would be used. Ten years later, the circuit would play host to a revolution of another kind.
Ten years earlier, the grid for the International Trophy race would be filled with a full compliment of Italian, French and English cars. However, it would be the Italian contingent that would be firmly in control. A decade later, the field would be overflowing with British concerns and control would be squarely within the grasp of Anglo authority.
A total of 24 cars would arrive at Silverstone for the BRDC International Trophy race. Scuderia Ugolini would join Scuderia Ferrari to represent the Italian contingent but this number would be far outweighed by the presence of more local racers behind the wheel of Coopers and Lotuses.
As with the Glover Trophy race, Scarlatti would be at the wheel of an Ugolini-entered 250F. The team would enter a second car however and this would be a rather special entry. Maria Teresa de Filippis had made her Formula One debut the year before at the Belgian Grand Prix driving a Maserati 250F. Now, on English shores, she would again be behind the wheel of a 250F for Ugolini.
Around the fast Silverstone circuit horsepower would be a great importance. Though the Coopers were better handling and more capable of maintaining a higher average speed consistently there was no substituting horsepower and outright speed. This was something the BRMs had and would be fully demonstrated when Stirling Moss put an example on pole with a lap time of 1:39.2. Tony Brooks, who had moved on to Ferrari, would end up 2nd on the grid with a lap time just eight-tenths slower. Roy Salvadori and Jack Brabham would complete the four-wide front row. Each would set lap times of 1:40.4.
The lack of performance would be obvious throughout practice. The timesheets would tell the story clearly, and without any argument. The elegant and noteworthy 250F was no longer fast enough. Scarlatti would prove to be the fastest of them all and he would end up ten seconds slower than Moss giving himself an 18th grid position, or what was the outside of the fifth row. Marie-Theresa would be more than another ten seconds further adrift of Scarlatti, and therefore, would end up on the seventh, and last, row of the grid in the 23rd position overall.
The start of the race would see Juan Manuel Fangio waving the Union Jack. Moss would have a slow start from the front row and this would open the door to Jack Brabham taking over the lead of the race with Roy Salvadori falling in line in 2nd place. Further back, Scarlatti would be fighting hard to make the best of his situation while de Filippis would be making her way through the first laps at the back of the field.
Brabham would lead the way at the conclusion of the first lap. However, Moss would recover from his poor start and would soon be sitting in 2nd place ready to pounce on Brabham's Cooper. Then, on the third lap of the race Moss would take over the lead of the race pushing the BRM hard to get by Brabham. Unfortunately, the Achilles Heal of the BRM was its brakes. Sure enough, Moss would no more take the lead of the race when his brakes would fail causing him to plow headlong into some hay bails. He was out of the race and Brabham was back in the lead.
While there would be a great deal of drama happening up at the front of the field, a tragic scene would be taking place further back. Scarlatti and de Filippis would be struggling to keep pace in their 250Fs. Then, just a couple of laps after Moss unfortunate run-in with the hay, Scarlatti would retire from the race having a split in one of his tanks. It was already going to be an uphill fight over the course of the season, and now, Ugolini's team already faced two retirements in as many races. Still, he had de Filippis circulating out on the track and benefiting from the misfortunate of others. There was some hope. It was very slim, but still, it was hope.
Despite a fastest lap turned by Roy Salvadori in the new Aston Martin, Brabham continued to stretch out his advantage at the front of the field. Ron Flockhart would trail Tony Brooks in the early going but would soon put the Ferrari driver under a great deal of pressure.
Heading into the latter stages of the 50 lap race, Brabham continued to hold onto a manageable lead while Flockhart managed to supplant Brooks for 3rd place. In fact, Brooks' race would come to an end after just 29 laps as a result of engine trouble leading just Phil Hill to wave the Ferrari flag.
Ten laps remaining in the race, all was not well with de Filippis' Maserati. The race was drawing to a close but it was becoming painfully obvious her transmission was not going to make it that far. Sure enough, on the 40th lap, de Filippis would retire leaving Ugolini entirely without hope.
Among the cars still running at the end of the race there would be just one that had been built outside of the United States. Jack Brabham, the Australian, would be without equal over the course of the race. After taking back the lead of the race, Brabham would disappear into the distance. After one hour, twenty-five minutes and twenty-eight seconds, Brabham would cross the line to take the victory. Following along in 2nd place would be Salvadori in the Aston Martin. He would finish the race nearly 20 seconds behind and a little more than 6 seconds ahead of Ron Flockhart in his BRM.
Scuderia Ugolini had made the trip to England in the early part of the '59 season in hopes of taking advantage of the non-championship events. It was clear the World Championship would draw the best teams, drivers and cars. This was the team's best opportunity for coming away with some good momentum for what was certain to be a challenging season. Sadly, the team would leave England having nothing to show for its efforts. In fact, the team now had two cars in need of some repair and the first round of the 1959 Formula One World Championship right around the corner.
The early trip to the British Isles had been more than disappointing for Scuderia Ugolini. The team would leave the English shores and would cross the Channel back to the European mainland. They would be in search of some good news. There were few options. One of those options took them to the south of France and to a small principality along the Mediterranean. It wasn't a great offer, but it was about the best the team could find. Therefore, immediately following the International Trophy race at Silverstone, Scuderia Ugolini would make its way to Monaco in preparation for the Monaco Grand Prix held on the 10th of May.
The non-championship events had not got well for Ugolini's squad. The Monaco Grand Prix would be the first round of the '59 Formula One World Championship. It was, by no means, a circuit made for the 250F, but both Moss and Fangio had proven winners on the principality's streets behind the wheel of a 250F. Therefore, the team would turn away from conventional wisdom and would put in a single entry for the race.
As usual, the entry list for the race would be impressive and just 16 spots of the grid available. This meant Ugolini's car would have to qualify in order to make the race. Giorgio Scarlatti would again be at the wheel of the car and he would find himself facing a very tall order.
The previous year, when there were still only a couple of Coopers in the field, there would be just two 250Fs that would qualify for the Monaco Grand Prix. Surely, the task at hand in 1959 would be even more difficult. Stirling Moss would prove this point matching the same time as Tony Brooks' Vanwall from the pervious year. Moss would go on to take the pole in a Cooper while Jean Behra and Jack Brabham would complete the front row of the grid having set times right around 1:40.0.
Heading into the final moments of practice, the man sitting on the bubble would be Bruce Halford at the wheel of a Climax-powered Lotus. His lap time would be 1:44.8. The previous year Scarlatti had managed to make it into the race having posted a lap time of 1:44.7. Scarlatti needed that one-tenth of a second. He would give it his best. However, his best would end up two-tenths short. Ugolini's squad would go from failing two races to failing to even make it into another. To say it was a disappointing start to the season and to Scuderia Ugolini would be the grossest of understatements.
Qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix certainly would have been a long shot. Still, Ugolini would deem it worthy of a try. Having come up short, the team would pack and would leave the principality for Italy. They could now head home to fully repair and prepare the cars. This would also afford the team some time to pick a more suitable event, one that played to whatever strengths the 250F had left.
Missing out on the Monaco Grand Prix, and then, turning aside the Dutch Grand Prix on the 31st of the month, Scuderia Ugolini would have more than a couple of months in which to prepare for any other grand prix. In the early part of July, as usual, there would be the French round of the World Championship. In 1959, the race would take place at the ultra-fast Reims circuit. This certainly didn't help the team's chances a whole lot, but there were few other options throughout the whole of the season. Furthermore, the race was not all that far away from the team's base in Italy. This would be important for a team already realizing the difficulties that lay ahead. Therefore, the team would make the trip to Reims in the early part of July.
Reims' role in European history would be long-lasting and very important. Whether it was serving as the traditional site for the crowning of kings or the surrender of the Germans at the end of World War II, Reims had remained a place of prominence.
In grand prix history it was also a site of prominence as well. Besides Le Mans, Reims was sort of the de facto home for French motor racing following the war and played an important role in the Formula One World Championship. However, since the very beginning of the 1950s, Reims had become a personal playground for Italian manufacturers. But now, as the decade drew to a close, it seemed the British were poised to take control. Ugolini and his team would hope the circuit still favored Italy.
One good thing the French Grand Prix offered Ugolini he didn't get at Monaco was a larger grid. This meant his two entries, one for Giorgio Scarlatti and the other for Carel Godin de Beaufort, would have the opportunity to make it into the 50 lap race on the 5th of July. Actually, the second car had been prepared for Hans Herrmann to drive. However, at the last moment he would give up the drive and this would enable Carel to take over the drive.
Practice would demonstrate Reims still favored horsepower, and therefore, Italian machinery. Brooks would take the pole with a lap time of 2:19.4. Jack Brabham would be close in the Cooper T51. The Climax engine, which had been strong already, had been developed even further to provide even greater horsepower. Still, it would not be enough to unseat the Ferrari. In fact, Brabham would find himself in a Ferrari sandwich having Phil Hill on the outside of the front row having been just one-tenth slower.
It would be a sad sight looking toward the back of the grid. One year earlier, Fangio had appeared entirely mortal starting from the middle of the pack in a 250F. One year later, and the 250F was being left behind. Its days were beyond numbered. They were practically over. Godin de Beaufort would be the quickest of Ugolini's cars. His lap time of 2:35.4 would be 16 seconds slower than Brooks and would lead to a spot on the eighth row of the grid. Scarlatti would be just two-tenths of a second slower but would find himself in 21st on the grid, dead last.
Brilliant blue skies could be seen from one edge of the horizon to another as the grid formed up for the start of the French Grand Prix. Saturday had been designated a rest day, and so, it had been since Friday that the drivers and cars had taken to the circuit. This break would help to build up the drama as the large crowd began to fill up the grandstand and all-around the circuit. The British Cooper was taking it to the might of Italy, but, around the 5.15 mile Reims circuit, the sheer horsepower of the Ferrari Dino was coming true. Reaching speeds of nearly 190mph, Brooks started from on pole and the whole of Scuderia Ferrari appeared in strong form. Scuderia Ugolini, on the other hand, appeared desperately hanging on by a thread.
Heading to the drop of the flag there was a problem. The warm day got hotter and hotter. In warm-ups the surface of the circuit began to break up under the strain of the cars and the incredible heat. In spite of this, the flag would drop to start the 50 lap race. Brooks would get the best start of all and would be in the lead ahead of his old Vandervell teammate Moss, who was driving this race for British Racing Partnership. Joining the two front-engined cars at the front of the field would be Masten Gregory in a Cooper. He had managed to make his way up to 3rd place from his third row starting spot.
At the back of the field, Ugolini's cars were not to be found in last place. No, that place would be occupied by none other than Jean Behra in one of the Ferraris. He had stalled his car on the grid and would be heard by marshals complaining Ferrari had given him a car unworthy of him. The Frenchman was beginning to grow tired and restless with Ferrari, and they also with him. In many ways it had started the year before when Harry Schell outshone him at times in the BRM. Whatever the reason, Scarlatti and Godin de Beaufort would find themselves taking part in the first lap of the race not from the very last spot in the field.
At the completion of the first lap it would be Brooks in the lead with Moss giving chase. Scarlatti would be running well, right around 18th spot while Godin de Beaufort would lose out to Behra before the end of the first circuit and would be running last. Despite the fact both cars were running toward the back of the field, Ugolini's team had to have merely finishing the race as a goal, as a victory. This would have to be the mindset at least, and in very short order.
Moss would slip down the order slightly. Brooks was in front and had no problems. However, he and the rest of the cars were pulling up parts of the track and were throwing it at other cars throughout the race. Graham Hill would retire after 8 laps as a result of taking a stone through the radiator. Jo Bonnier and Colin Davis would already be out of the running with problems. Masten Gregory closely followed Moss and then tried to come up to challenge Brooks. However, he would take some stones to the face and would suffer some terrible cuts. In addition, the heat would be getting to him and he would end up retiring from the race after 9 laps.
The race was barely 10 laps old and cars were beginning to drop like flies. This did no bode well for Ugolini's pair. However, they were far enough behind not to suffer from the stones and the cars were still running without trouble. Therefore, they continued to move up the order. The upward ascent would continue as Ian Burgess and Innes Ireland retired. Dan Gurney had been running well in his Ferrari but he too would take a stone to the radiator and would be forced to retire. Jean Behra was already hot under the collar before he completed a single lap. After 32 laps his Ferrari would become as hot as him and would be forced to retire.
Heading into the last 15 laps of the race, Ugolini had both of his cars in the running and within sight of the top ten. At Silverstone this is where things went wrong.
Everything was used to help drivers through the race. Schell and Brabham would have to stop for new goggles after theirs had been destroyed by stones. Another crew would douse their driver with buckets of water every time he came by. But while some would be trying to do their best to cool down, others would be remaining as hot as could be. Brooks was running a dominant race up front while his teammate Behra was too busy trying to take a swing at the team director Romolo Tavoni. In the case of Scuderia Ugolini, their cars were certainly trying to pace themselves. They had reached this point before and had fallen apart late. Finishing the race in the face of such adversity would have been no small victory.
Brooks would be cool and calm at the front of the field. While Moss would be left to try and push-start his BRM in the terrible heat, and while Maurice Trintignant would spin out while holding onto 2nd, Brooks would continue unabated. He would storm to victory averaging 127mph and defeating Phil Hill by nearly 30 seconds. It would be yet another Italian day at Reims. Though Brabham would go on to finish in 3rd place; he would cross the line a minute and a half behind Brooks and only a matter of a few seconds ahead of another Ferrari driven by Olivier Gendebien.
Scuderia Ugolini's cars would never be in the challenge for a place in the points. However, the team would take advantage of the heat and the attrition of the other competitors. In one last moment of glory, the 250F would demonstrate exactly what had made it what many, including Stirling Moss, would consider to be the first proper Formula One car. In spite of the terrible heat, rocks and other challenging moments, Scarlatti and Godin de Beaufort would both come home. Scarlatti would end up some 9 laps behind Brooks in the end but would still cross the line in 8th place. Godin de Beaufort would be a further lap behind but would still come through to finish in 9th.
Ugolini's cars were not ever really challenging for anything other than survival on the 5th of July. However, both of the team's cars would win its fight. In many ways, the race was not against the other cars on the track, but against time. And, Ugolini's team, in many ways, would end up victorious.
Having enjoyed at least something of a good result at such at difficult place as Reims, especially in such incredible heat, Ugolini's team would ponder making another appearance in a Formula One World Championship round. This was by no means an easy decision. The development of the 250F had come to an end; its life limit had been reached. Furthermore, there was the cost of running the team, especially when fighting for 10th place was the only real goal possible. Fritz d'Orey would drive a 250F at the British Grand Prix held at Aintree and would appear a relic circulating the track so off the pace of the others. Finally, to Ugolini, there was still life outside of motor racing. He had been taking part in his passion since the 1930s. He had enjoyed the life a great deal, but there was another passion he could just as easily turn to. Therefore, Nello would have to make careful consideration as to what he would have his team do for the rest of 1959, and beyond.
Not surprisingly, Scuderia Ugolini would bypass the Germany Grand Prix. The race that year would be held at the frighteningly fast Avus circuit just to the west of Berlin. Basically a trip up and down the highway between Charlottenburg and Nikolassee, the Avus circuit was all about horsepower and speed. The car was destined to take a beating. And then there was that infamous Nordkurve with its steep banking and brick paving. Fearsome without having to drive it, the banked corner would see yet another tragedy as Jean Behra would be thrown from his car in a sportscar race and would die as a result of the fall from the banking.
The German Grand Prix would not be much of an option, nor would the next round of the World Championship. Portugal would again host a race, but this time at a different circuit. Instead of Boavista, the fast Monsanto road course would be the site of the race. Yet again, the circuit did not suit the aged 250F. Furthermore, the travel from Italy to Portugal would not be all that cheap, at least not when compared to the next race on the calendar.
Being from the heart of the Italian motoring industry, Ugolini could not so quickly dismiss an appearance in what was the eighth round of the 1959 Formula One World Championship. Certainly, the circuit no longer suited the Maserati, but still, it would be a difficult race for Scuderia Ugolini to miss.
Giorgio Scarlatti was not to miss the next race, but he would make certain he had a much more competitive drive than the venerable 250F. Therefore, he would sign to drive with the Cooper Car Company. This left Ugolini looking for another driver if he was to take part in what was to be the Italian Grand Prix.
As usual, the Italian Grand Prix would be held in the early part of September. In spite of all of the known short-comings prior to coming to the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, Ugolini would put in an entry for the race. After years with other teams taking part in the home grand prix, Ugolini was not to miss an opportunity to take part in such an important race having his own team. Therefore, he would have a single car entry. His driver would be Giulio Cabianca. And, despite the likelihood of a very difficult experience, Ugolini was not to miss this opportunity to see his own name entered into the annals of grand prix history.
Amid blue skies and hot temperatures, the cars would be prepared for practice. As usual, Enzo Ferrari would make his appearance on the grid. Once again, Ferrari and Ugolini would be seen at the track together.
Throughout practice the hot weather caused a major stir among the teams as tires were being destroyed as a result of the combination of heat and speed. It seemed impossible for any car and driver to make the 72 lap race distance without stopping at least once.
But while the track surface was hot, the lap times would be equally squelching. Compared to the factory teams and the other front runners, Cabianca would struggle. In such conditions it is very likely the team's concerns were toward the exhaustive 257 mile race coming up on the 13th of September. Being fast in practice meant nothing if the already old Maserati couldn't make it 50 miles. Therefore, Cabianca's best effort of 1:51.5 would never be in the running for a spot on the front row. In fact, the time wouldn't even be good enough for the middle of the grid.
Stirling Moss would set the pace in a Cooper-Climax. His best time around the 3.56 mile circuit would be a lap record 1:39.7. This would give him pole-position by a mere tenth of a second over his old Vanwall teammate Tony Brooks. Jack Brabham would round-out the front row being a half a second adrift of Brooks.
Having times right around the 1:40.0 mark for the entire front row, it would not take a genius to figure out where Cabianca's effort would land him on the grid. In total, 21 cars would take to the grid on the 13th of September, and there would be Cabianca, starting by himself in the ninth row of the grid, dead last.
Heading into the race, Ugolini's team had to be under no illusions. They realized their chances of even making it to the finish of the race were minimal. However, were they to realize that goal, in their home grand prix, they would, yet again, come away with something of a victory.
The terrible heat would continue as the crowds arrived and took their places in anticipation for the start of the race. As usual, the grid would be filled with team members and special guests. The start of the race was nearing. Cabianca would take his place at the back of the field while Moss prepared to hopefully lead the way from the front.
The flag would drop to start the race and Brooks' race would come undone in a matter of feet. Blue smoke pouring from the Ferrari's exhaust spoke the truth. The engine had burned out a piston while on the grid. His race was over without having completed a lap.
Moss, on the other hand, would actually get away from the grid well and would lead the way at the beginning. He would be chased by Phil Hill, Jack Brabham and Dan Gurney. Cabianca would not be in any hurry at the start and would trail behind the rest of the field heading around on the first lap. His race was not a race necessarily against other cars. His was an endurance event.
Moss held onto the lead through the first couple of laps. Behind him however things were ever-changing. Hill would be ahead of Brabham at the end of the first lap but the Australian would soon be forced to give way to Dan Gurney and even Cliff Allison. Phil Hill would be on a charge and he would even manage to take over the lead of the race from Moss, though Stirling would periodically stick his nose back into the lead. As was the case with previous Italian Grand Prix at Monza, the early laps would be filled with packs of cars racing wheel-to-wheel and changing position numerous times over the course of a single lap. It would be enthralling stuff.
Meanwhile, at the back, Cabianca could not be found. He was not running last. There would be enough drama going on throughout the first few laps of the race that Ugolini's driver would manage to be running up around 15th place and seemed very capable of holding onto that position.
The battle for the lead would come down to a struggle between Hill and Moss. Throughout the majority of the first half of the race Hill would show the way. However, the American would be lured into a destructive tactic by Moss. Though Hill led the way, Moss tucked in behind comfortably lapping the circuit within reach of the lead and never really abusing his tires and other equipment. After 32 laps, Hill would pit for new tires. Moss would assume the lead of the race. However, everyone assumed he too would need to pit at some point for tires, and this would give the lead right back to Hill.
By this point in the race the natural order of things was being restored. Moss was in the lead, which everyone expected. At the very back of the field, Cabianca could be found. He was still in the race, being lapped by the leaders about every 9 circuits. However, he was now running last. Scarlatti had gotten his race under control and finally moved forward. The same could be said of others that struggled very early on.
Attrition was to be Ugolini's best, and really only, hope. Sure enough, providence would come through. Of course, there would be Brooks' retirement on the very first lap of the race. But then Graham Hill would drop out after one lap as well, the victim of more engine troubles. Innes Ireland's race would last 15 laps while Jack Fairman would make it 18 before he befell trouble. Bruce McLaren would help Cabianca's cause retiring after 22 laps, and then there would be Roy Salvadori. His engine in the Aston Martin would give out after 44 laps. As long as he kept running, Cabianca could do no worse than 15th. But the team certainly hoped for more.
Heading into the final twenty laps of the race, Hill and the others still in the running were beginning to hope that Moss would stop for tires. Nearly everyone else had made a stop for new shoes. Moss had not. It seemed impossible he could make the distance without stopping. Hill would do his best to apply the pressure. He would set what would end up being the fastest lap of the race with an average speed in excess of 127mph. But the stop continued to cost him. Utilizing the stable and nimble handling of the Cooper, Moss continued to hold onto a comfortable lead without any real degradation in performance.
Moss had done this before. At Argentina, just a year earlier, he had gambled and went the entire race distance without stopping for tires. It seemed impossible, but he pulled it off. Heading into the final few laps of the race it seemed abundantly clear he was close to pulling off the same trick. He had pulled a fast one over Ferrari at Argentina and, as he crossed the line at the completion of the 72nd, and final, lap, he had done it to the Maranello outfit once again.
Hill had done everything he could. Setting fastest lap and pushing like made, he would still end up nearly 50 seconds short of Moss crossing the line in 2nd place. Jack Brabham would finish the race in 3rd place. The result helped his championship hopes, but the victory by Moss meant everything was still in play.
Most all of the attention would be paid to those that finished on the podium or in the points. Barely noticed, if at all, would be a red 250F that would cross the line a little more than 9 laps behind Moss. Cabianca had brought Ugolini's car home at the team's home grand prix. There would be no fanfare for the team, but they had achieved their victory of sorts. The time had come for the 250F to be put out to pasture, to breed a new grand prix challenger. However, Cabianca had managed to ride home a car that just couldn't retire, a car that just loved to race. It was a costly affair for the team, but it was a noble effort nonetheless.
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'Grand Prix Results: French GP, 1959', (http://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr079.html). GrandPrix.com. http://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr079.html. Retrieved 3 December 2014.
Williamson, Martin. 'Moss and Cooper Outfox Ferrari', (http://en.espnf1.com/f1/motorsport/story/16184.html). ESPN F1. http://en.espnf1.com/f1/motorsport/story/16184.html. Retrieved 3 December 2014.
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Wikipedia contributors, 'Reims', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 9 November 2014, 17:51 UTC, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Reims&oldid=633114701 accessed 3 December 2014
MoreFormula 1 Articles From The 1959 Season.