TeamsElie Bayol: 1952 Formula One Season By Jeremy McMullen
So many things of life are cut off or cut short by war. Promise and talent is often the greatest casualty in war. Its end fosters new hope and belief in a brighter future. Life seems more precious than it had before.
Elie Marcel Bayol was born in Marseille, France on February 1914. In just four months, Archduke Franz Ferdinand would be assassinated. Within the span of just one more month, Germany would declare war on Russia and France and almost the whole of Europe becomes engulfed in the First World War. By the time Bayol would reach the years of his prime, almost the entire continent of Europe would again be embroiled in a world war. The Second World War would stretch on from 1939 until 1945. These would be precious years lost for many, including Bayol.
After the war's end, much of Europe lay in ruin from the warfare. Scratching out an existence was of great importance, but the war's end also stirred life once again. Amidst the destruction there was hope and new leases on life. Many racing drivers had lost their most competitive years to the war. However, there would be a number of racers that wouldn't even start their careers until well after the end of the war. Bayol would be one of them.
Bayol's racing career would start with the cessation of hostilities. After five years of lives being threatened by war, Bayol would decide to live on the edge once again. Though not thought of as such, Bayol would choose to begin a career that was every bit as threatening as the war from which he had just emerged.
Bayol's first race would take place in 1946. He would take part in the 1st Coupe de L'Entr'aide Francaise on the 12th of May in Marseille, France with a Bugatti Type 35 and would finish in 6th position. From that very race, Bayol's career in racing would begin.
From 1946 through 1948, Bayol would take part in at least one major race a year. He would drive his own Bugatti but would also drive a Cisitalia D46 for Robert Manzon. Then, in 1950, Bayol would drive a DB-Panhard for Automobiles Deutsch et Bonnet. It would be at the wheel of a DB-Panhard for which Bayol would be most easily recognized.
Besides driving in Formula 2 races and other smaller formulas, Bayol would also begin racing sportscars. His first sportscar race would actually be the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1950. Co-driving with Rene Bonnet, Bayol would finish 23rd in his first Le Mans. The two would also partner to drive the 12 Hours of Paris held at Montlhery on the 23rd of July. In that race, Bayol and Bonnet, driving a DB chassis, would finish 18th.
While the Formula One World Championship would come into existence in 1950, Elie Bayol would mostly focus on racing sportscars and would only race in a few grand prix. When he would take part in grand prix races they would likely be Formula 2 races.
Always one of the fastest of the DB-Panhard pilots, Bayol would never really concern himself with Formula One and the World Championship although he was considered a fast enough of a driver. Of course, the costs associated with Formula One and the World Championship would be enough to scare off even the most talented of drivers. In the end, it would end up being enough to scare off one of the major manufacturers and, at the same time, open the door to Bayol to compete in the series.
The costs of Formula One were increasing beyond sustainable levels, especially given the fact many economies were still on the rebound from the war. Also, materials were still hard to come by. This all made Formula One, and its never-ending quest for the best performance, to drive costs up even more. What's more, the rising costs had another very tragic effect—competition. The rising costs were actually driving manufacturers away, or, causing them to focus on other motor racing series. One example would be Mercedes-Benz. While the costs were leading Mercedes-Benz to focus on its sportscar program, the costs would also cause Alfa Romeo, the winner of the Formula One World Championship in its first two seasons, to step away from grand prix racing altogether after the 1951 season. Some changes obviously needed to be made if the World Championship was to survive. What would result would give Bayol his opportunity to enter World Championship grand prix racing.
Upon looking for an alternative measure to provide the governing-body time to formulate new regulations for Formula One, it would be decided the 1952 and 1953 seasons of the World Championship would compete according to Formula 2 regulations. This would open the door to many racers that would not have otherwise attempted taking part in the World Championship.
Even though Bayol had the opportunity to take part in the World Championship in 1952, he would not limit himself to just the World Championship. In fact, Bayol would approach the World Championship as something more of a novelty than a serious effort. Instead, Bayol would focus mainly on sportscar and other non-championship Formula 2 races held throughout the season.
In the early days of the World Championship there were a number of single races held throughout Europe that offered good prize money but that operated autonomously from the World Championship itself. However, in addition to the World Championship and other non-championship races that were single events, some nations, like France, East Germany and West Germany, also had their own Formula 2 championships. France's Formula 2 Championship would begin in the city of Pau on the 14th of April. This would also be the site of Bayol's first major race of 1952.
One of the oldest racing circuits in the world, the city streets of Pau would first hold races dating all the way back to the turn of the twentieth century. Then, in 1930, the tight streets would host the French Grand Prix. In 1952, Pau would be the site of the first round of the French Formula 2 Championship.
Tight and slow, the Pau city streets would only permit an average speed of about 56 mph for the Formula 2 cars in 1952. In addition to the incredibly tight city streets, the circuit only measured 1.75 miles in length and barely had a straight portion of circuit and longer than a couple hundred yards. While it didn't really have a straight-stretch to speak of, the one thing the circuit did have in abundance was elevation change. After passing through the quick right-hander on the start/finish straight, the circuit would come to the tight and sharp right hand hairpin known as La Gare. Turning into La Gare, the circuit then began a rather steep climb up to a little over 100 feet by the time the circuit was rounding Parc Beaumont at the far side of the circuit. Filled with tight hairpin after tight hairpin, the street course would also challenge drivers in another way. Pau rests on the side of a hill overlooking the Pau river and Jurancon to the south. The tight city streets and buildings, and the fact of the city nestled on the side of a hill made the Pau circuit challenging for another reason—blind entries into corners. Nowhere on the circuit are the blind entries more of a challenge, and yet instrumental to a fast lap time or mistake, than in the left-right Foch complex. The circuit falls away over a crest causing the driver to be blind. Therefore, drivers would more or less aim for a spot on a building or something else to ensure entering the corners at the correct angle.
The decision made by the governing-body to conduct the World Championship according to Formula 2 regulations also opened up opportunities to take multiple championships in a single year. It was entirely possible for a driver to earn the World Championship and the French Formula 2 Championship in a single year. The combining of these championships was further aided by the taking of the French Grand Prix and having it count towards both championships. Making the French Grand Prix count towards both championships would lead to a number of other 'foreign' teams to come and compete in the French Formula 2 Championship. But of course, only the French Formula 2 Championship offered points to drivers of any nationality. Both East and West German held their own respective Formula 2 Championships, but points were only awarded to drivers of the same nation as the championship. Besides that, Germany's money was practically worthless outside of Germany. Therefore, it made perfect sense that many of the major teams would also arrive at Pau to take part in the first round of the French Formula 2 Championship.
Besides the French team Equipe Gordini, and a number of French privateers like Bayol, Scuderia Ferrari and HW Motors would also be present at the race. Bayol would come to the race with his new car. He would turn to the famous Maserati brothers and would purchase one of their OSCA MT4s. Though not very good on the business side of things, the Maserati brothers were definitely famous for being able to design and build race cars. This would lead Bayol to purchase one of their chassis when the Maserati brothers had started their own company under the title OSCA.
To be fast around Pau required a good handling car that was also small and light. Acceleration was of greater importance that sheer straight-line speed exactly because there were little to no straight lines. In practice, the Ferrari 500 driven by Scuderia Ferrari's pilots would seem to offer the best of both worlds. The car handled well, and without any real vices. In addition, the engine produced more than enough power to cause the car to get up and go.
Because the streets were so tight, and because the circuit featured no fewer than three tight hairpin turns, it would end up taking Ascari one minute and forty-three seconds to complete a lap of the 1.75 mile circuit. However, this would be fast enough to enable Ascari to start from the pole. Luigi Villoresi would be only seven-tenths of a second slower and would start in the middle of the front row in 2nd place. Lance Macklin would muscle his HWM-Alta around the circuit and would end up a little more than three seconds slower than Ascari. Yet, Macklin would start from the 3rd, and final, position on the front row.
Bayol would find the going a little tougher in his new OSCA. The car didn't have the acceleration or the handling like that of the Ferrari. Therefore, the best Bayol would manage to do during practice would be to turn a lap of one minute and fifty-two seconds. This would lead Bayol to start the race 14th, which was on the inside of the two-wide sixth row.
Starting position was far less important than finishing position, especially given the fact each round of the French Formula 2 Championship would be conducted according to a three hour time format instead of just a set number of laps. However, starting position at Pau was still very important as the tight nature of the circuit would make passing difficult. Therefore, one would want to start as far toward the front as possible.
As the race would get underway, Ascari was at the front of the field in the lead. Villoresi was right behind Ascari. Behind these two, the field was all packed up as it wound its way trough the through the streets and up the hill. It was incredibly dangerous behind Ascari going through the tight hairpin turns in a field all bunched up. However, Bayol would use his experience and would carefully make his way through the circuit and the field.
Out front, Ascari would slowly begin to draw away from the rest of the field. Ascari wouldn't just separate himself from the rest of the field; the field would begin to be reduced in number due to attrition and accidents. Rudolf Fischer, driving for his own Ecurie Espadon team, would have an oil pipe fail on him. At about the same time, Yves Giraud-Cabantous would spin his HWM-Alta. Just like that, two cars were out of the race after only just 4 laps. Scuderia Ferrari would end up losing one of its cars, driven by Piero Scotti, after only 8 laps. After Scotti's departure from the race, things would quiet down considerably.
With a large number of cars still in the race, Ascari would need to make sure he kept up his pace in order to maintain his advantage. His fastest lap of one minute and forty-four seconds would help him to do just that. This kind of pace would end up being more than enough. Ascari's pace was such that he would actually manage to put a number of the competitors more than just a couple of laps down.
Another wave of attrition would hit the field after about an hour and a half of running. Then, less than twenty laps later, a couple of more cars, including two Equipe Gordini team cars, would end up dropping out of the race. Then, with only about forty minutes left in the race, the last of the retirements would take place. Luigi Villoresi had been running well inside the top five. But then, on what was his 79th lap, he would make a miscalculation and would crash his Ferrari. This left only seven cars still running in the race.
Though there were seven cars still running as the third hour approached, none were even within striking distance of Ascari. Alberto would cross the line to take the victory after three hours of racing. He had averaged a little more than 55 mph en route to the victory. That would be more than enough pace to have a three lap advantage over Louis Rosier who would finish the race 2nd. What was amazing about Ascari's performance was the fact Rosier had been driving the same kind of car as what he had. Jean Behra would finish the race 3rd for Equipe Gordini. He would be two laps further down than Rosier.
Bayol had driven a very smart race. Despite starting the race all the way down in 14th position, he would keep his head and would look for those opportunities to move forward. His sure-footed driver wouldn't burn up the track any, but it would manage to help him make his way to a 4th place result, albeit seven laps behind Ascari.
This had been a good way for Bayol to start out the season, especially with a new car. He had come to a difficult circuit that was tough on brakes, transmissions and suspension. He had taken his time, kept his head and was rewarded with a solid result. If he could keep this kind of racing up throughout the whole of the season, he would be in good shape by the end of the long grand prix season. A couple of weeks would pass before Bayol's next race on the season.
After a solid performance at the first round of the French Formula 2 Championship, it would be a couple of weeks before Bayol would be back behind the wheel of a race car. The next time he would be behind the wheel would be at the second round of the French Formula 2 Championship and in his hometown.
The second round of the French Formula 2 Championship was the 10th Grand Prix of Marseille. This, perhaps more so than the French Grand Prix itself, would be considered Bayol's home grand prix since it took place in his hometown.
Like Pau, Marseille was another circuit measuring a little more than a mile and a half. In fact, the circuit was only 1.62 miles. But unlike Pau, the circuit at Marseille didn't vary in elevation more than about twenty feet.
The Marseille Borely racecourse had been founded around the mid nineteenth century and abutted Parc Borely, which had been established in the seventeenth century. The racecourse and the gardens all rested on the estate of the French ship owner and merchant Joseph Borely. Situated south of Marseille's city center, Parc Borely would come to host grand prix races around the grounds.
The circuit ran clockwise with the start/finish line situated along the beachfront. The first corner would wrap around the racecourse and head over to the actual park grounds of the Borely estate. After wrapping around the small lake it would turn in and come around the central fountain before heading past the chateau and around to the start/finish straight. Although another circuit without very long straights, the circuit featured mostly flowing corners that kept average speeds quite a bit higher than what they had been at Pau. The only really slow corner on the whole of the circuit was the hairpin turn around the central fountain. A flowing circuit, it would only turn left about three times over the course of a whole lap.
Alberto Ascari had been dominant throughout the Grand Prix de Pau. And in practice for the Grand Prix de Marseille, it seemed as if little had changed. If anything, things appeared worse for the competition.
During practice, Ascari would prove fastest with a lap time of one minute and seventeen seconds. He would be joined on the front row by Robert Manzon from Equipe Gordini and Luigi Villoresi. Though Manzon would start 2nd, his best time was still a little over a second slower than Ascari's best.
The flow and sweeping corners of Parc Borely also seemed to fit Bayol better than the tight city streets of Pau. During practice, Bayol would manage to turn a lap of one minute and twenty-four seconds and would improve his starting position to 11th place on the grid, which was in the middle of the fourth row.
The race would be more of the same. Ascari would but up at the front, but he wouldn't be without company. Manzon would be fast. Giuseppe Farina, Scuderia Ferrari driver and 1950 World Champion, would also be fast and up near the front. Bayol would be fast, but would again look to drive a steady race and rely on the mistakes and misfortunes of others to be able to move further forward. The strategy would work.
Three laps into the race, Yves Giraud-Cabantous would retire with an oil pump failure. Then, on the 9th lap of the race, Luigi Villoresi would suffer another disappointing race as his engine would expire on him.
Bayol would continue to move his way up the running order. He would again be helped. About thirty minutes into the three hour race, Robert Manzon, the 2nd place qualifier, would drop out of the race due to gearbox related problems. Manzon would not be out of the race; however. He would take over Prince Bira's Gordini and would carry on.
Ascari continued to run out front. But Farina was making some noise behind him. In fact, the fastest lap honors would actually go to Farina. Amazingly, his time would end up beating his own qualifying effort by not mere tenths, but by a number of seconds.
Farina's pace still wouldn't be enough to even touch Ascari. Averaging greater than 75 mph, Ascari was able to do what he had at Pau. Nobody would be safe. In fact, by the time the race was halfway over, he already had at least a two lap advantage over the whole of the field. This pace would only lead to a number of other competitors falling prey to attrition. Many of those that didn't fall prey to attrition would end up suffering from some trouble of some kind. Even Giuseppe Farina would suffer trouble.
On what was the 111th lap of the race for Farina he would suffer a crash, but would do his best to keep going. Unfortunately, he was already a long way behind Ascari. His slower pace threatened to leave him not classified at the finish. He would not be alone. Three other competitors, including Jean Behra and Peter Collins, would also end up not classified at the end of the race due to being too far behind. One of those that would manage to end the race classified as still running would be Bayol.
Bayol had run another smart race. He pushed but not to the point of severely hurting the performance of the car. Of course this meant he wasn't the fastest, and the fact he would end up multiple laps behind Ascari with still about a half hour remaining testifies to this. But he was still running and very near the points.
Ascari had blown away the field once again. After three hours, he had managed to complete 134 laps and would beat Robert Manzon to the victory by an incredible five laps! Johnny Claes, the Belgian jazz musician, would manage to come across the line in 3rd place. He was seven laps behind. Bayol would have liked to only be seven laps behind at the finish. Instead, he would finish nine laps down in the 5th place position. Still, the result earned him more points toward the championship.
Steady driving had its rewards. Bayol had competed in two rounds of the French Formula 2 Championship and had left each race having scored at least one point. This was a great start to the season. Once again, Bayol was proving his ability at the wheel of a race car. While things could have certainly looked better, Elie still had reason to smile. Bayol was undoubtedly looking to keep the good results coming; however, it would be almost a month before he would take part in a major grand prix.
Over the first two rounds of the French Formula 2 Championship Bayol had managed to garner two really good results, especially considering the way in which Ascari had been absolutely dominant. Going into May, Ascari was absent from Europe. He had left with a portion of the Scuderia Ferrari racing team in order to try and compete in the Indianapolis 500 at the end of May. This would have been a perfect opportunity for Bayol to take part in the first round of the World Championship, the Swiss Grand Prix. However, despite the opportunity, Bayol would not take part in another major grand prix until after the Swiss Grand Prix. Bayol was focusing on races inside the country and would; therefore, wait until the third round of the French Formula 2 Championship before he would take part in another race.
Bayol would leave home and would make his way to Montlhery, France for the 6th Grand Prix de Paris. The race, the third round of the French Formula 2 Championship would take place at the Montlhery motorsports complex on the 25th of May.
In a few hours time, Alberto Ascari would be taking to his car to take part in the Indianapolis 500. Across the 'Pond' and a few hours ahead, Bayol had problems and was busy packing up his things. He had come to the track to take part in the third round of the French Formula 2 Championship. However, during practice, not all was well. The problem could not be found and remedied easy enough. Therefore, Bayol would have to withdraw from the race. This would be his first retirement on the season. Unfortunately, it would cost him the opportunity of earning more points.
Ascari's absence meant the door was open for another to take advantage and score a victory. Robert Manzon would apparently take the greatest advantage of the moment and would start the race from the pole. However, he would be joined on the front row by another two of Scuderia Ferrari's drivers. Piero Taruffi, the victor of the Swiss Grand Prix, would line up 2nd. Luigi Villoresi would end up rounding-out the front row by starting third.
The race would be a wild a crazy one. Peter Collins would be out of the race after just 2 laps with a magneto failure. That would never do. Therefore, he would take over Lance Macklin's car for the rest of the race. Luigi Villoresi was having trouble as well. It was decided that Giuseppe Farina would take over Villoresi's car while another Scuderia Ferrari driver, Andre Simon, would take over Farina's car. In a cruel act of fate, Farina would end up being disqualified for receiving outside assistance late in the race. Simon; however, would carry on in Farina's car and would look quite good for a podium finish.
All of the craziness would allow Piero Taruffi to disappear into the distance. At the end of three hours, only three cars would be classified as still running. Taruffi, averaging a little more than 95 mph would defeat Andre Simon for the win by a margin of three laps. Louis Rosier would finish the race 3rd down four laps. Peter Collins had taken over Macklin's car but was no match for Taruffi's pace. He would end up 'Not Classified' due to the fact he would end up ten laps behind at the finish, and he was the 4th place car on the circuit!
The Grand Prix de Paris had been an absolutely wild affair. It would have been interesting to see, given Bayol's performances over the previous two French Formula 2 Championship rounds if he had been able to leave Montlhery with any points. In all of the craziness of the previous two races, he had kept his head and methodically made his way to points-paying finishes. But, it would not be. Bayol had to move on. From Montlhery, Bayol would move on to the southeast of France and to the mountainous setting of Aix-les-Bains.
Bayol would look for any opportunity to earn a good result and earn some good prize money. This wasn't easy at the French Formula 2 Championship races given the presence of Scuderia Ferrari and Alberto Ascari. Some of the other non-championship races were by any means tipped in Bayol's favor either, with perhaps the exception of the race he would enter on the 8th of June.
The race was the 4th Circuit du Lac. The race, held in the gorgeous and picturesque setting of Aix-les-Bains, was one of a number of non-championship races held throughout 1952, but most importantly, it would be particularly void of Scuderia Ferrari. The whole of Ferrari was in Monza taking part in the Grand Prix of Monza. This provided Bayol, and others, a prime opportunity at a great result and some good prize money. It wasn't a bad place to spend a weekend either.
Nestled about 800 feet above sea level, Aix-les-Bains had always been known as a place of escape from the cares of the world. The beautiful foothills of the Alps looming in the background and Lake Bourget readily apparent in the fore had made the location a perfect location for a bath during the Roman Empire. A place of sport and relaxation, the tranquil setting would be shattered by the sounds of grand prix cars racing right along the edge of the lake.
A major portion of the 1.56 mile circuit ran within a couple hundred yards from the small port and the edge of Lake Bourget. Wrapping like fingers through the park-like setting right along the edge of shore and around the small hill leading up to Le Champ de Bois, the short and tight circuit kept speeds low and engines, transmissions and brakes working hard.
The Circuit du Lac race would transpire differently than most of the races in which the competitors would take part. It would consist of two heat races, but it would not include a final like the International Trophy race held at Silverstone. Instead, the final results would be based upon aggregate scoring. Therefore, every competitor would need to take part in both heat races. The finishing times of the two heats would then be added together. The driver that completes the overall distance in less time would be declared the victor. In the case of the Circuit du Lac, the two heats were comprised of 40 laps each.
While each heat race would surely be over an hour in length, starting position would still be very important. On the short, tight and twisty Aix-les-Bains circuit, being stuck in the back from the very start would severely hurt one's finishing time. Jean Behra, driver for Equipe Gordini, couldn't have had a better starting position for the race as he would start from the pole. He would be joined on the front row by Maurice Trintignant and Harry Schell.
If Behra had the best possible starting position, then Bayol would have the worst. He would start the first heat race from the fifth, and final, row and from the final spot on the entire grid. Being as far back as he was, Bayol would need to keep his head just as he had throughout the first couple of French Formula 2 races. While he most likely wouldn't be challenging for the lead, he could manage to make his way forward and be in a good position for a good result.
As the race began, Behra would take off in the lead of the race. But he would be closely followed by Trintignant and Robert Manzon, who had made a good start from his 6th place starting position. Bayol was mired in the back of the field, but was keeping his head and staying out of trouble.
Nobody would be quicker around the circuit than the two Equipe Gordini pilots Jean Behra and Robert Manzon. Behra would continue to hold onto the lead, but Manzon would go on to set the fastest lap of the heat with a time of one minute and thirty-six seconds. Maurice Trintignant continued to hold on in Louis Rosier's Ferrari 500 but it would all come to an end 12 laps from the finish as his car would suffer a magneto problem and would be forced to retire.
Retirements, like Trintignant's, only helped Bayol continue to move forward. Being mired in the back as he was he would end up being caught and lapped a couple of times by Behra and Manzon, but he would find himself in the top ten.
After an hour, five minutes and forty seconds, Behra would cross the line to win the first heat race. Trailing exactly five seconds behind came Manzon in 2nd. Lance Macklin, who had started the heat in 5th place, would come up and finish the first heat in 3rd. He would be twenty-two seconds behind Behra.
Bayol would keep his head in the race and his foot on the gas. He would drop a couple of laps to Behra but he would make it through to finish the race 8th. Unfortunately, he had just been passed for the second time only about a lap away from the end of the heat.
Starting grid positions for the second, and final, heat would be determined by finishing times from the first heat. Therefore, Behra would start from the pole once again. Robert Manzon would improve from his 6th place starting position in the first heat to a front row starting position in the second. The same would be true for Macklin. He had started the first heat from the second row. Going into the second heat, he would move up to the front row.
Bayol would still be mired in the back of the starting grid, but would manage to move up from the last row of the grid. He would start the race from the third row of the starting grid. Maurice Trintignant would start the second heat, but he would not drive the Ferrari 500. He would borrow Armand Philippe's Ferrari 166 F2.
As the second heat began, the battle at the front was reignited. Behra and Manzon would run nose-to-tail. Macklin would do his best to keep pace. Bayol was stuck in the back and was going up against drivers that had managed average lap times greater than he. Therefore, moving forward would be much more difficult. One of the best hopes Bayol would have would be attrition. He would receive a little help.
After only two laps, the rear axle on Manzon's T16 would fail taking him out of the race. This moved everybody, except Behra up one position. The gift Behra would receive would be freedom. Knowing he had a better pace than Macklin, Behra would push hard to set sail into the distance. To help gap Macklin, Behra would set the fastest lap of the heat and the race as he would turn a lap a little over a second faster than Manzon's time in the first heat.
Bayol was stuck and just couldn't move forward. In fact, he would even be passed by Trintignant in Philippe's Ferrari. Bayol would only receive help from one other driver. A little past the halfway mark of the race, John Heath developed ignition trouble and retired from the race. This moved up Bayol as far as he could go.
There was nothing that would hinder Behra. He would suffer from absolutely no trouble at the front of the field and would cross the line thirty-nine seconds faster than his time in the first heat. Macklin would also beat the finishing times from the first heat, but would still manage to finish twenty-three seconds behind Behra. Emmanuel de Graffenried would finish 3rd fifty-four seconds behind Behra. Bayol would finish a lap down in 7th place.
When the times were added together it was obvious Behra was the victor overall. He would end up being about forty-five seconds faster than Lance Macklin and about a minute and a half faster than Emmanuel de Graffenried. Because Bayol had managed to beat both Trintignant and Philippe in the first heat, he would manage to finish the race in the 6th place position overall.
Once again, Bayol's results hadn't been spectacular but solid enough to come away with a decent result. His OSCA obviously struggled. However, had he managed to start further up on the starting grid the results could have been different. He really needed a car with greater performance and handling to enable him to have starting positions further up the starting grid. The car, he believed, was coming.
Nonetheless, Aix-les-Bains had been something of a bitter disappointment. He didn't have the presence of Scuderia Ferrari, and yet, he had performed better at the events in which they had attended. That would be taken care of at Bayol's next event. In fact, Bayol would have more than Ferrari to worry about at his next race.
Ever since 1950, Bayol had partnered with Rene Bonnet to attempt to tackle on of the toughest endurance tests there was in motor racing…the 24 Hours of Le Mans. In 1952, the two would be back. The two would enter a D.B. Barquette in the 750 category. Upon arriving, the two would find themselves amidst a whole congregation of the world's best sportscar manufacturers. Manufacturers like Aston Martin, Jaguar, Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Cunningham and a number of other makes and models. While they would not be in the same class as many of the potent manufacturers, Bayol and Bonnet would still have a difficult fight on their hands in their 750 category.
The two French drivers would start the race from a rather good position. They would qualify on the grid 40th. This would put the further up the road than even some of the 3.0-liter cars, including Alberto Ascari and Luigi Villoresi's Ferrari 250 S Berlinetta Vignale.
Unfortunately, the good starting position wouldn't translate into a good finishing position. In fact, the French duo would end up retiring from the race due to transmission failure. They wouldn't be alone. A vast majority of the major marks wouldn't make it to the end either.
In the end, it would be a Mercedes-Benz one-two. Hermann Lang and Fritz Riess would take the victory after Pierre Levegh's failure in the final hour of the race. Theo Helfrich and Helmut Niedermayr would finish in 2nd place one lap behind its sister car. A Nash-Healey driven by Leslie Johnson and Tommy Wisdom would finish fifteen laps behind but in 3rd place.
After the disappointing Le Mans failure, it was back to Formula 2 grand prix racing for Bayol. Over the course of the early part of the season, Bayol had managed to turn in some impressive performances in OSCA's MT4. This offered Elie confidence, but he needed something a bit better to really be competitive. The Maserati brothers had been working on what they believed to be the answer, which was their '20' chassis. Bayol too believed the car held the keys to the necessary performance gains he needed to be even more competitive. Therefore, he would order one of the '20' chassis. However, it would take some time for the chassis to get ready.
While waiting for the 20 chassis to come online, Bayol would take part in a sportscar race. On the 29th of June, Bayol would compete would be the Grand Prix de Reims. The sportscar Grand Prix de Reims would take place the very same day as the Grand Prix de la Marne Formula 2 race. Perhaps the lack of pace at Aix-les-Bains, or, having to wait on the new chassis was the reason for Bayol's absence in the Formula 2 race. But, he would take part in the sportscar Grand Prix of Reims in a DB Panhard and would manage to score an 11th place result overall and 2nd place in the S750 class.
The next race following the Grand Prix de la Marne, which was the fourth round of the French Formula 2 Championship, would be the French Grand Prix. The French Grand Prix, which was the fourth round of the World Championship, would also count as the fifth round of the French Formula 2 Championship. Having already taken part in the first couple of rounds of the French Championship, Bayol would have had the perfect opportunity to take part in his first World Championship race at the French Grand Prix. However, the race would come…and go. Bayol would not arrive at the race. In fact, not only would Bayol miss the French Grand Prix, but he would also miss the sixth round of the French Championship, the 2nd Grand Prix des Sables d'Olonne.
Bayol wouldn't make an appearance in a grand prix until the 10th of August. On the 10th of August, St. Gaudens played host to the 16th Grand Prix de Comminges, which was the seventh round of the French Formula 2 Championship.
Rising high to the south of St. Gaudens, the Pyrenees mountains form a dramatic background for the small commune in Haute-Garonne. At the crossroads between France and Spain, St. Gaudens rests upon a 1,400 foot ledge overlooking the Haute-Garonne valley. Named for a young shepherd martyred by the Visigoths, St. Gaudens historically had been at the heart of struggles between political and religious entities. This old town would come to play host to the technologically advanced grand prix cars of the day.
1952 would see another change in the St. Gaudens circuit. Originally, the St. Gaudens circuit rivaled Pescara in size. The first circuit layout measured a little over seventeen miles and stretched all the way to the surrounding towns of Huos and Montrejeau before heading back through Villeneuve and making its way back to St. Gaudens. Then, in the mid 1930s, the circuit would change. The circuit would be shortened dramatically. Instead of seventeen miles, the circuit would stretch almost seven and would only travel up the road to Villeneuve before making its way back to the start/finish line in St. Gaudens. But in 1952, the circuit would be shortened once again. What would result would pale in comparison to the original circuit. The new circuit would only measure 2.73 miles.
Maintaining the same start/finish line to the west of the town's center, the circuit would gently wind its way along the public roads to the tight right hand corner near the river. It would then blast the short distance past the Lake of St. Gaudens, and then, make a fast right back toward the main highway leading in and out of St. Gaudens to the west. After a couple of sweeping left and right hand bends, the circuit made another quick right and was again heading toward the start/finish line. Dramatically shorter than its original design, St. Gaudens still remained one of the longer circuits in the French Formula 2 Championship.
Bayol would be back in Formula 2, and he would reappear with his new car. The OSCA 20 had been prepared and was ready to go. It was a good thing for he was stepping back into a field full of Scuderia Ferrari and Alberto Ascari. Ascari had been on an impressive run in the World Championship. He had won the French Grand Prix only a week or so prior. This had made two-straight victories for the Italian. Immediately, after missing the first round of the World Championship and retiring from the second, Ascari was in the lead in the standings. The French Formula 2 Championship, while not going as well as the World Championship, was still also being dominated by Ascari.
In practice, the new car would make an obvious and immediate impact. Bayol would not be mired in the back of the starting grid as he had at Aix-les-Bains, even without Scuderia Ferrari being present. However, he still wouldn't make it to the front row of the grid. The front row, especially the pole, was still reserved for Ascari.
Ascari would take his Ferrari 500 and would lap the 2.73 mile circuit in one minute and fifty-one seconds at an average speed in excess of 88 mph. His time would be made even more impressive when compared to the time Maurice Trintignant was able to turn to gain the 2nd place starting position. Trintignant looked good during his qualifying lap. However, when he crossed the line it was still painfully obvious that he was still three seconds slower than Ascari's best time. The 3rd place position on the front row would go to Robert Manzon. While the Equipe Gordini drivers were still seconds away from challenging Ascari, only two-tenths of a second would separate the teammates. Ascari's Ferrari teammate, Giuseppe Farina, would only manage a lap four seconds slower than Ascari and would start from the 4th position on the second row.
Compared to previous races, the fact that Ascari's teammate could only manage to come within four seconds of Alberto's time did not bode well for Bayol. It would seem that Bayol would be destined to only come with a dozen or so seconds of Alberto and be again mired in the back of the grid. This was not to be. He had a new car and it would show during practice. Bayol would still be seconds slower than Ascari, but was only a half of a second off of Farina's time. Therefore, Bayol would start the race from the third row in the 6th starting position! This placed the Frenchman in the first half of the field. Obviously the car had the pace. Did it have the endurance as well?
One that wouldn't have the endurance would be the pole-sitter. Just two laps into the three hour race, Ascari's car would suffer a steering failure. The car would be retired, but not Ascari. Andre Simon would be ordered to come in and hand over his car to Ascari. This was a setback, but given Ascari's pace, it didn't spell the end.
In fact, Ascari's chances would look good after just thirty minutes. Robert Manzon would develop valve trouble with his Gordini T16 and would retire from the race. This would just be the beginning of the fall-out.
Longer circuits beat upon cars. The longer distances stretch the engines to their breaking points. In addition, the suspension and brakes take a pounding from the higher speeds. However, shorter circuits have the potential to be even more torturous. Constant acceleration, braking and shifting, along with the bumps, all have the potential of causing real havoc. This would show during the Grand Prix de Comminges.
There would be few drivers errors made over the course of the three hour race. However, the mechanical problems would reduce the field at least one competitor every ten laps. By the time there was only one hour remaining, there had been twelve retirements. Among those twelve, only one would be the result of a crash. All of the rest happened as the result of a mechanical failure.
Ascari could attest to the havoc shorter circuits pose to race cars. He had his break within the first five minutes of the race. However, he would receive a second chance with Simon's Ferrari. And he was making the most of it. He had lost a good deal a time while making the transition to Simon's car. Trintignant and Manzon had already departed the race. But, Farina was out front and looking more than capable to taking the victory. This would all change when Ascari would get back up to speed. Alberto was intent on taking the victory. The failure had happened early enough that he knew he still had the time to overcome what he had lost. Of course, setting the fastest lap of the race would only help. In full pursuit, Ascari would turn the fastest lap with a time that was a tenth faster than his own pole-winning time. By the time the race was half over, Ascari had the lead. Then, by the time only a half hour remained, Ascari had lapped the entire field.
About the time Ascari was putting his stamp of dominance on the whole of the field, Bayol was running well within the top ten with his new OSCA 20. However, a cruel act was about to bring his race to an end. Upon investigation, it was determined Bayol had committed an infraction in the pits. And though he had completed 78 laps, he would be disqualified from the race. This was bitterly disappointing given how well he had run throughout the weekend. The first race for the OSCA 20 wouldn't have a fairytale beginning.
It would end up being Ascari that would be remembered in the history books of the Grand Prix de Comminges. He had fought back from a failure with his steering to not only lead the race, but win. Ascari would cross the line after three hours of racing. He would manage to complete 95 laps, one more than 2nd place finisher Giuseppe Farina.
Beyond Farina, Ascari thoroughly destroyed the field. Jean Behra, who had started the race from the second row with Farina, would finish the race 3rd. However, Behra would be six laps behind Alberto at the finish. Because of Alberto's pace, only the top four would be classified at the end of the race. Two competitors, Emmanuel de Graffenried and Yves Giraud-Cabantous, had still been out on the circuit running, but were too far behind to be classified as such.
Although bitterly disappointing, there were still many positives Bayol could take away from the seventh round of the French Formula 2 Championship. He had managed to get within half a second of the 2nd place finisher in practice. Therefore, Bayol knew the OSCA 20 had the pace and the handling to compete amongst the first couple of rows of competitors. But a disqualification was still a disqualification. He had been looking good until the infraction. He knew he wouldn't score any more points if he didn't rectify any mistakes. And, with only one round remaining, he would need to make the most of every opportunity presented him.
Two weeks after the sixth round of the French Formula 2 Championship, in which Bayol had been disqualified for a pit infraction, Bayol was making final preparations to his new car for the eighth, and final, round of the French Championship.
The French Formula 2 Championship had been decided a couple of races earlier. Alberto Ascari had taken the championship. Giuseppe Farina would finish in 2nd place. This made it Scuderia Ferrari one-two in the standings. But there was still time enough for more. Third place in the standings was still up for grabs. And Luigi Villoresi had the potential to make it a clean sweep by Scuderia Ferrari for the first three spots in the championship. Bayol had the opportunity to move up the standings if he could take his new car and finish in the points. The top ten was certainly a possibility. He only had to take advantage of the moment.
To climb up the championship standings, Bayol would have to tackle the 2.64 mile La Baule circuit. The 11th Grand Prix de la Baule utilized the old Montoir airfield situated only about a mile from the bay and just a couple of miles east of the La Baule-Escoublac city center.
A popular tourist destination, La Baule features beautiful beaches and wonderful panoramic views of the Bay of Biscay and the Atlantic Ocean. The home of many of France's highest societal figures, La Baule had once been nothing more than easily shifting sand dunes. But when the railroad reached the coast in the late nineteenth century, La Baule would burst forth its elegant and wealthy character. Given its rich surroundings it was little wonder that the Germans continued fighting in the city up to three days after the Armistice had been signed, making the city one of the last cities to be liberated.
Grand prix racing was certainly right at home at such a place as La Baule. However, the 11th Grand Prix de la Baule wouldn't take place in the city streets like at Monaco. Instead, the race would be held at the Montoir airfield. The circuit consisted of the perimeter road that provided access to the airfield from the surrounding communities. The start/finish line was situated along the long straight on the northeast side of the airfield. The layout and design of the perimeter road was such that the circuit featured a number of double-apex corners. Sitting about a hundred above the sea level, the final couple of ninety degree corners leading onto the start/finish straight provided the highest elevation. The far side of the circuit provided the lowest point on the circuit. Though generally flat and wide open, the circuit would vary about forty feet from the lowest to the highest point on the circuit. Being an airfield, the circuit was mostly featureless with the exception of high winds.
The highest blowing wind flowing through La Baule on the 24th of August would be Alberto Ascari. Although he already had the French Championship sewn up, he just couldn't go slow. Therefore, doing what came naturally, Ascari would turn the fastest lap of practice with a lap time of one minute and fifty-seven seconds. He would average a hair over 80 mph en route to the pole. The starting grid at La Baule was only two wide. Ascari would be joined on the front row again by an Equipe Gordini driver. This time it would be Robert Manzon.
Once again, Bayol's new car would show its pace. It would keep Bayol in the first half of the field and right up there amongst the major players. He would even manage to beat out Louis Rosier driving a Ferrari 500. In the end, Bayol would start the race from the fourth row of the grid in the 7th place position.
Since Piero Taruffi would not be present at the race, Luigi Villoresi had to battle Louis Rosier, Robert Manzon and Jean Behra for 3rd place in the championship standings. Bayol needed a lot of things to go right for him, but it was entirely possible to climb up into the top ten in the championship results. Ascari would just show off as good he and the Ferrari 500 actually were.
Right from the start of the race, Ascari had the lead. A couple of cars would drop out after just one lap. Then, in the midst of the 2nd lap of the race, a questionable happening would take place. Robert Manzon needed to push in order to have a chance of 3rd place in the championship standings. However, despite what he needed to do, he would come together with Giuseppe Farina and would end up out of the race. For some there were probably question marks surrounding the event as Farina was safely in 2nd place in the championship standings, and, Manzon's retirement would only help Villoresi, who was Farina's Ferrari teammate.
If there was any question as to whether Villoresi was going to get any help from his teammates, he would answer some of those questions on his own. Needing to do his part to earn the 3rd place position in the championship standings, Villoresi would turn what would be the fastest lap of the race. His time would be two minutes and one second, and more than enough to maintain his 2nd place position behind Ascari and ahead of Louis Rosier, who had managed to come up through the field from his 10th place starting position.
One who was unable to make his way forward was Bayol. He had started the race 7th and continued to run right around that position even late into the race despite the retirement of many of the front-runners. It seemed that just as he would get some help from a failure of another competitor there would be another competitor, which had started the race behind him, would come up and pass him for the position.
About an hour remained in the race. Villoresi continued to look good running in the top three. Jean Behra continued to press on as well. But, on what was Behra's 58th lap, his 3rd place aspirations would come to an abrupt end. The rear axle on his T16 would fail taking him out of the race. Villoresi had more than a single lap advantage over Rosier at that point in time, and therefore, could afford to relax just slightly.
One who seemed totally relaxed even while destroying the competition was Ascari. He had the championship won, and yet, would not slow down any. He would complete 87 laps and average more than 76 mph en route to the victory. He would win the race with a lap advantage over his good friend Villoresi. Villoresi's performance meant Ferrari would have its sweep of the first-three positions in the French Formula 2 Championship. Villoresi would end up pulling out 3rd place by a single point over Jean Behra. Therefore, the French Formula 2 Championship would end with Italians in the first-three positions.
Bayol had his opportunity as well. He had a new car that seemed to perform well. It was the last race and there were opportunities for him to end up in the top ten in the championship standings. However, in the race, Bayol just could not perform as well. He would end up being passed by some very important competitors that would keep Bayol down in the standings. In the end, Bayol would finish the race 7th and eight laps behind Ascari. Garnering no points, Bayol would finish the French Formula 2 Championship in 13th place.
Bayol had missed out on a great opportunity in the French Championship. After the race at La Baule, there would be a short break before another important race. This would be one opportunity in which Bayol wasn't going to miss out on.
One round of the World Championship remained for 1952. And, on the weekend of September 7th a large contingent of competitors would arrive in Monza, Italy to attempt to take part in the Italian Grand Prix.
One of the oldest purpose-built road circuits in the world, the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza would also become the unofficial home of the Scuderia Ferrari Tifosi. And, in 1952, the Tifosi would have a lot to celebrate. Not only had Alberto Ascari earned the World Championship for the first time in Ferrari's history, but the top three in the championship standings were all Ferrari team drivers. In addition to the championship results, Ferrari's 500 chassis had been on pace to absolutely rewrite the record books. Coming into the race, Ascari had won five straight races. Up to the time of the Italian Grand Prix, a Ferrari 500 had been victorious in every World Championship race in which it had been entered, a truly incredible feat. The setting for the final round of the World Championship would certain play into Scuderia Ferrari's hands that was without question.
The capital for Italian motor racing, the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza had been built in the mid 1920s and was one of the only purpose-built racing circuits in the world. Consisting of three different circuits, the motor racing circuit could be arranged in a number of ways and host a number of different kinds of races. The circuit consists of a junior circuit, a road course and a steeply banked oval. Originally, the majority of the grand prix races held at Monza would actually utilize both the road course and the oval. Very quickly, the danger of the oval would become very notorious amongst competitors. Therefore, the circuit most often would only use the road course. Built in the Royal Villa of Monza, a park to the north of the city, a good portion of the circuit disappears into the heavily wooded sections. Whether using the oval or not, the Monza circuit had always been known for its incredible high speeds. The majority of a lap around the 3.91 mile circuit would be made with the foot firmly pressed to the floor.
After competing all season in France, Bayol would make the trip to the neighboring country with his new Italian machine. He had missed out on the World Championship race on his own home soil, but now, had made his way to Italy to take part in his first World Championship race. Thankfully for him, he had been used to competing against the likes of Ferrari and the other main competitors. He had been facing them all season long. But that would do little to help his chances.
Not surprisingly, Ascari would be fastest in practice. He would turn a lap of the fast 3.91 mile circuit with an average speed of more than 110 mph and a time of two minutes and five seconds. Luigi Villoresi would also look impressive in practice as he would lap within nine-tenths of Ascari to claim 2nd place on the starting grid. Giuseppe Farina would give the Tifosi more to get excited about as he would qualify 3rd and also on the front row of the grid. The battle would be for the final spot on the front row. Unfortunately for Ferrari fans, neither Piero Taruffi nor Andre Simon could manage to take the spot. Instead, Maurice Trintignant would grab the 4th, and final, spot on the front row.
Elie Bayol was not in a position to take a spot on the front row, but he wouldn't be too far back. Bayol would actually look impressive in the new OSCA 20. He would put together a best lap time that was within five seconds of Ascari and good enough to start from the 10th position on the grid, which was one of the middle positions on the third row.
Bayol, though not amongst the front row starters could still call himself fortunate. There were thirty-five entries for the Italian Grand Prix. However, the starting field would be limited to twenty-four. This meant nine entries would go fail to make the race despite traveling all the way there. Amongst those that would not make it into the race would be the entire HW Motors team and Enrico Plate's team cars.
After the season Ascari had had, he would become an easy target. Jose Froilan Gonzalez, who would driver one of the new Maserati A6GCMs, had made it very clear his sole aim in the race was to win and deny Ascari his sixth-straight victory. To carry out the claim, Gonzalez would start the race with fuel tanks that weren't filled all the way. He would take the lead right from the start and would actually begin to draw away due to being lighter.
While Gonzalez was looking forward to beating Ascari, Bayol was mostly just looking forward to taking part in his first World Championship race. Unfortunately, he would need to be more concerned about just finishing the first lap of a World Championship race. During the first lap of the race, the gearbox on his OSCA 20 would fail. Just like that, Bayol was out of the race. He had fared little better than those that had failed to make it into the race. He had traveled all that way to make it into the race, but not make it around even one lap. The one bit of good news would be the fact he wouldn't miss much.
Gonzalez had opened up a sizeable lead with his strategy. Ascari would find himself in the unusual position of being quite a number of seconds behind somebody else. However, Ascari was prepared to do battle. After about 30 laps or so of the 80, the gap between the two had stabilized. Gonzalez, if he wanted to have a shot at victory, would need to stop right then to make sure his gap didn't start shrinking before making his stop for fuel.
He would make his stop. The lead was handed back to Ascari. Once in the lead, Ascari set about doing what he had done throughout the rest of the season. Very quickly, Alberto was pressing his advantage over the rest of the field. Gonzalez had rejoined the race, but had fallen down a couple of places. Thus began the chase.
Ascari began to exert his dominance. On the 56th lap of the race he would turn what was the fastest lap of the race. On the very next lap, Gonzalez would match Ascari's pace. Quickly, Jose was making up the places he had lost. In an effort to make good he would again match the fastest lap time on the 60th lap of the race. By this time he was running 2nd and trying to make some headway against Ascari.
'Forzi Ferrari!' Cheered on by the Ferrari faithful, Ascari would be untouchable once he had the lead of the race. Powering his way to the line, Alberto would end up winning his sixth-straight World Championship race. He would defeat the claim by Gonzalez by a margin of one minute and one second. A minute and two seconds would separate Gonzalez and Luigi Villoresi, who would manage to put two Ferrari drivers on the podium in the final World Championship race of 1952. The crowd would erupt in adulation. It had been a truly remarkable season for Ferrari.
For Bayol, the season had been one of good performances and missed opportunities. He showed his talent many times over, but still failed to have the pace to really compete. He seemed set to challenge for some championship points, but would ultimately leave Monza bitterly disappointed.
While he would leave Monza with a bitter taste in his mouth, Bayol would not yet leave Italy. There was just one more race in which he would compete in 1952.
Obviously not afraid to go into the lion's den, the final race for Bayol in 1952 would be at the home of Maserati and Ferrari. One week after facing the throng of Scuderia Ferrari fans, Bayol would be in Modena for the 3rd Gran Premio di Modena.
Situated to the west of downtown Modena, the aerodrome di Modena would be the site of the Gran Premio di Modena. Utilizing the runway and the perimeter road, the Modena circuit measured just 1.5 miles in length. Being that it was an airfield, the circuit was relatively flat and wide open. When it wasn't used for a racing circuit, the airfield had a local flying club that regularly used the aerodrome.
Seeing that Maserati's main headquarters was situated just down the street and that Ferrari was based in Maranello only miles away, the Gran Premio di Modena was certainly a home race for two of the most famous Italian marks. In the shadow of the Maserati headquarters, Bayol would bring his OSCA 20 to the race. He, and the Maserati brothers that had designed and built his OSCA chassis, were hoping and praying for the practically impossible—to beat the two manufacturers on their home ground, especially Maserati.
Practice would be just more of the same. Ascari would be fastest with a lap time of one minute and four seconds. Villoresi would start on the front row with Ascari after setting a time eight-tenths slower.
Bayol would again look respectable in his OSCA 20. He would be within four seconds of Ascari's time and would therefore start the race from the fourth row and the 8th position. Once more, Bayol was right there. If he could put it together, and things fell his way, he could pull out a really good result.
A season of racing was tough on every component of a car and the race would bear this out. The race would begin much the same as it had at other races. Ascari was right there at the front, but not everything was quite right. Things definitely wouldn't be right for Jean Behra as he would retire after 9 laps due to a differential failure.
The issues with Ascari would bear themselves out 9 laps after Behra's retirement. A problem with the oil system would bring his car's day to an end. It would only be the end of his car's day as he would take over Sergio Sighinolfi's Ferrari for the rest of the race. Ascari would continue on, but the delay would cost him.
Ascari's failure would hand the lead to Villoresi, but Villoresi had troubles of his own. Jose Froilan Gonzalez was looking to take his frustrations from Monza out on somebody. It would just happen to be Villoresi. The two would run closer than nose-to-tail throughout most of the race.
The troubles continued to Equipe Gordini cars. Robert Manzon would find his race over after 37 laps due to an ignition problem. Just a few laps later, Lance Macklin would retire from transmission ailments.
All of the trouble was actually helping Bayol. His OSCA was running without problem and had managed to help Bayol move up the running order. Bayol had been driving his usual fault-free race and was being rewarded.
Throughout the majority of the race, Villoresi and Gonzalez could have stared each other in the eyes they would run that close together. Heading around on the final lap of the race, things between them were still very tight. Who the victor would be was very much up in the air. Heading down the straight-away to the final left-hand hairpin turn, things were still really tight. The two were side-by-side coming off the corner. Villoresi; however, would get better bite off the corner and would barely edge Gonzalez out at the line. Once again, Gonzalez would come up short against the Ferraris. Alberto Ascari would recuperate well and would end up finishing in 3rd place some twenty-eight seconds behind. Elie Bayol had been looking and praying for a good finish to his 1952 season. And, amidst the shadows of Ferrari and Maserati, would come across the line in 6th position. The race had been 100 laps. Bayol would finish down four laps to Villoresi. This would not bother the Frenchman all that much as he would focus more on the fact he had been able to finish a grand prix.
The season had been filled with highs and lows. The season also had left Bayol with a sense of longing and of having missed out on something. His one World Championship attempt on the season had left Bayol unfulfilled. He would end up taking part in two World Championship races in 1953. Then, in 1954, his talent would earn him a place on the Equipe Gordini team. While driving for them over the following three years, Bayol would compete in four more World Championship races.
In spite of the fact Bayol was pushing forty at the time of the start of the 1952 season, Bayol would push hard to make the most of the time he had left. He wasn't about to let many more opportunities go by. The war had stolen too many of those. As a result, Bayol would enjoy a rather lengthy racing career and would experience many great moments in racing history including being part of the pioneering years of the World Championship.