TeamsRoberto Mieres: 1954 Formula One Season By Jeremy McMullen
Throughout the late 1940s and well into the 1950s, Argentina would produce some of the most talented race car drivers sportscars and Formula One would ever see. And while Juan Manual Fangio would head the list and would obviously be the best well-known of the all, he would be just one of about a half a dozen that would take to the circuit each and every round of the Formula One World Championship throughout the early years of the 1950s. Roberto Mieres wouldn't just be another of the talented drivers. He would prove himself gifted in all kinds of disciplines of motor racing and would be an all-around athlete away from the circuit.
Mieres' breakthrough would come in the later-part of the 1940s. Winning the sportscar championship in Argentina, the Argentine government would be willing to send Mieres along with other names like Juan Manuel Fangio and Jose Froilan Gonzalez to Europe to take part in single-seater grand prix races in 1950. But while Fangio and Gonzalez would quickly become regulars in the World Championship, Mieres would be something of a lesser player in Argentina's European assault. Mieres would race in Gordini and Ferrari chassis and would even finish 4th in the Circuit des Nations race held in Geneva, Switzerland. However, Mieres still would not make his Formula One debut for another couple of years.
The delay would not be as a result of a lack of ability, or funding for that matter. Born in Mar del Plata on the 3rd of December in 1924, Roberto Casimiro, Mieres would be born of a wealthy family. This wealth would allow Mieres to pursue such interests as rowing, tennis and rugby. But Mieres would soon find that he had a talent for sailing and would become quite strong and well-known in that discipline. However, the wealth would also enable Roberto to take up another expensive pursuit—motor racing.
Once bitten by the racing bug, driving everything from an MG to a Mercedes-Benz SSK and Bugatti, Mieres would find the snap of the main sail in the summer breezes just wouldn't fulfill his daily life like motor racing. And it would be this passion that would lead him to becoming the Argentine Sportscar Champion.
While Mieres returned to Europe throughout the early 1950s, he would not take part in his first World Championship race until 1953. Jean Behra would become injured and unable to drive for Equipe Gordini. Therefore, Roberto Mieres would make his World Championship debut on the 7th of June in 1953 driving for Equipe Gordini in the 4th Grand Prix of the Netherlands.
Held in difficult conditions, all but the Ferraris of Alberto Ascari and Giuseppe Farina seemed affected by the conditions of the track located adjacent to the North Sea. And while Ascari and Farina would carry on to a dominant one-two victory, Mieres would end up retiring after just 28 laps due to transmission failure in his Gordini T16.
Driving for Equipe Gordini would be a difficult affair for Mieres. The car was outclassed by the Ferrari 500 and the up and coming Maserati A6GCM and A6SSG. On top of it all, the T16 had reliability issues that would tend rear its ugly head at just about every important race within a season, and totally fade away at many of the lesser events. Therefore, life driving for Equipe Gordini would be a great opportunity for Mieres, but also, a very bitter disappointment at the same time.
But then opportunity would present itself to Mieres. On the last lap of the Italian Grand Prix for 1953, Alberto Ascari would try a bold move that would end up with him crashing out of the race and handing the victory to Juan Manuel Fangio. Fangio had been in 3rd place when Ascari tried his wild move on his Ferrari teammate Farina to take the final victory of the season. It wouldn't work. Ascari would crash out of the race while Fangio would scoot through to victory. In the midst of the chaos, Onofre Marimon would have nowhere to go and would crash into Ascari ending his race also within sight of the finish line. The car would be in shambles, but for Mieres, he would have the opportunity he needed.
Maserati was due to bring its new 2.5-liter 250F online the following year to keep pace with the new Formula One regulations coming into effect starting in 1954. Not only was the factory team's demand high, but too, the demand from outside customers. Mieres would be one of those that would negotiate for one of the new 250Fs. However, there was a problem. Maserati could not produce the new cars fast enough to meet demand. Therefore, the factory came up with a solution. They would take the A6GCM/A6SSGs and would place the new 2.5-liter engines in those older chassis as a stop-gap measure until they had enough time to get the new 250Fs completed. Therefore, Mieres would be the beneficiary of Marimon's run-in with Ascari for it would be that crashed chassis that Maserati would repair and would give to Mieres along with the new 2.5-liter engine. So while Mieres was still on the waiting list for one of the new 250F chassis, he would still have a competitive car with which to start the 1954 season.
Mieres would want the best car possible heading into his first race of the 1954 season. This was not only because he wanted to get the season off to a good start, but, because the first race of the season would be on home soil. On the 17th of January, Mieres and his team would be busy making final adjustments to their ‘interim' chassis in preparation for the first round of the 1954 Formula One World Championship, the 8th Gran Premio de la Republica Argentina.
Held on the 2.4 mile number 2 layout at the Autodromo 17 de Octubre circuit, the World Championship would be returning for just the second time and a year after a horrific accident caused when a young boy wandered onto the track right in front of Giuseppe Farina. Farina would swerve avoiding the boy, but would crash head-long into the tightly packed spectators killing a number of Argentinean racing fans.
Everyone was looking forward to a much happier occasion in 1954. And with Ascari leaving Ferrari and Fangio fully healthy and driving a promising new Maserati chassis, it seemed clear Argentineans would have reason to be excited about the race a year after the tragedy.
However, the man that was at the center of last year's tragedy, by no fault really of his own, would be setting the pace in practice. With a lap time of 1:44.8, Giuseppe Farina would end up taking the pole for the upcoming race. However, Argentineans would have reason to celebrate as Jose Froilan Gonzalez would make his case starting in 2nd place for Ferrari while Fangio would start 3rd in the new Maserati. Brit, Mike Hawthorn, would complete the front row making it three Ferraris starting on the front row of the grid.
It would be clear Mieres was enjoying the new car, although it was an older chassis. His best lap in practice would be a little more than four seconds slower than Farina but would still be good enough for him to start the race from the third row of the grid in the 8th position.
In South America, it was the later-part of the summer months. Overcast skies and the real threat of rain loomed heading into the start of the 87 lap first round of the 1954 Formula One season. Yet, in spite of the threat, the race would get underway as the roar of the engines came up to full song.
Farina would hold onto the lead over Fangio, who would make a good start off the line. Gonzalez would be the worst starter as he would not only fall behind Fangio, but also, his teammate Hawthorn. But although he would make a poor start, Gonzalez would make up for it and would take the lead on the 15th lap of the race.
Gonzalez would hold onto the lead for a little more than 15 laps before the rains came and he lost control of his Ferrari. Hawthorn would also spin out of the lead while Farina pitted for a visor. This incredible action handed the lead to Fangio.
And where was Mieres during all of this? Mieres would make a solid start to the race and would be holding steady up near the front of the seventeen car grid. Mieres would even manage to hold on through the slick early stages when the rains came over the circuit. However, his race wouldn't last much longer. It would be discovered that his engine was leaking oil. And while the car could be replenished with oil, the leak could not be fixed. As a result, Mieres would retire from the race after having completed just 37 of the 87 laps.
Fangio would be in the lead of the race as the rains ceased and the track began to dry out. This threw things back in favor of the Ferraris driven by Gonzalez and Farina. With nearly 20 laps remaining in the race Gonzalez would be in the lead followed by Farina. But then the rains came again. Hawthorn would spin again and would end up disqualified after receiving outside help to get restarted. The rain picked up and Fangio would retake the lead but would soon stop for special tires.
There would be some controversy surrounding Fangio's stop and the team manager for Ferrari would make the call to have Gonzalez and Farina take it easy throughout the remainder of the race. Ferrari was certain their protest of Maserati's stop would be upheld and the victory would come to them. Nonetheless, the race continued, and Fangio continued to catch Gonzalez and Farina hand over fist.
Fangio would go on to take the lead and the protest would not be upheld. It would be too late from then on. Fangio was in the lead as the skies broke and the sun shone down. Fangio would go on to take the victory completing the race distance in just under three hours and one minute. In the end, Fangio would defeat his old Alfa Romeo teammate to the line by one minute and nineteen seconds. Gonzalez would be a further forty-two seconds back in 3rd place.
It would be Argentineans 1st and 3rd out of the five that started the race. This home grand prix would be a bittersweet experience for Mieres. He had qualified well and had a car capable of competing for a top ten result, or better, if attrition helped him along. However, attrition would again find him. And this would be just the beginning of one of the most hellish seasons for just about any driver.
Roberto would have a second chance, although it would not count towards the Formula One World Championship. Two weeks after the bitter disappointment of the Argentine Grand Prix, Mieres would be back at the Autodromo 17 de Octubre for what would be the first non-championship race of his season, the 10th Gran Premio Ciudad de Buenos Aires, held on the 31st of January.
Utilizing the same number two 2.4 mile circuit layout, the practice session would also turn in a similar result as Giuseppe Farina would be fastest and would take the pole for the Formula Libre race. Unfortunately, the rest of the starting grid is something of a mystery.
While the Formula One race would cover 87 laps, the Ciudad de Buenos Aires would be just 65 laps for a total of 156 miles. The race itself would be a wild affair complete with all kinds of makes and models of race cars competing against the best teams, cars and drivers known in the world at that time.
No fewer than nine Argentinean drivers would take part in the race. However, by the time the race was headed into the final couple of laps, there would only be two running. But while many of the Argentineans would run into trouble and would be forced to retire from the race, so too, would many of the favorites.
Giuseppe Farina would fall out of the running in his Ferrari while fan favorites Fangio and Onofre Marimon also departed the race with mechanical woes. Mike Hawthorn would be still in the hunt in his Ferrari until his engine blew on the final lap of the race. Jean Behra and Harry Schell would all be down in the running order.
The wild and crazy race would see Maurice Trintignant in the lead and he would be followed by none other than Roberto Mieres. The Argentinean Sportscar Champion was proving his abilities as a driver this day as he would drive fast but would look after his car at the same time. As a result, he would find himself in 2nd place with just a few miles remaining. However, he had Giuseppe Farina, who was now driving Gonzalez's Ferrari, only a matter of a few seconds behind so he needed to keep his foot on it.
Trintignant would drive a superb race. Coming through the carnage, Maurice would take the lead and the win for Ecurie Rosier in a Ferrari 625. Just under thirty seconds later, Mieres would prove his metal as he would hold onto a comfortable margin over Farina to finish the race in 2nd place.
What a turnaround of a couple of weeks it would be for Mieres. At the end of the Formula One race Mieres would leave bitterly disappointed while enthusiastic cheers would ring out for ‘El Maestro'. But this time, it would be Mieres upholding Argentinean honor as Alfredo Pian would be the only other Argentinean to finish the race and he would do so all the way down in 9th place. It would be a great day for Mieres and the best way in which to leave South America to start the European grand prix season.
The teams packed up and headed off the Europe in preparation for the start of the grand prix season there on the European mainland. One of the first non-championship grand prix in Europe, however, would not take part on the mainland, but on the island of Sicily near the city of Syracuse. This was to be the first European race for Mieres. However, he would not arrive at the race. Instead, he would until the following week, the 19th of April, before he would take part in a race. The race would take place on a short and tight 1.71 mile street circuit located on the northern edge of the Pyrenees Mountains. The race was the Pau Grand Prix.
Pau had been the site of the first grand prix held just after the turn of the 20th century. Though it once consisted of hundreds of miles of roads stretching from Pau to the coast and back, the Pau Grand Prix circuit in 1954 would be quite a bit different. Instead of public roads traversing the countryside, the circuit comprised of a never-ending maze of twisting and tight streets. Still, given the affluence of the city and the picturesque setting along the Gave de Pau, the Pau Grand Prix remained a very important and popular race, especially with the French drivers.
Unlike most of the races by this point in time, the Pau Grand Prix would be a timed event. The race distance would not be measured in miles but in hours. Three hours would be the length of the race and it seemed Scuderia Ferrari was poised to be a dominant player in the proceedings as the team managed to secure the first three positions on the grid. Farina would again assume another pole position with Maurice Trintignant (driving for the injured Mike Hawthorn) would assume 2nd on the two-by-two grid. Mieres would go well in practice as well and would find himself starting the race from the third row of the grid in the 5th position. His best time of 1:38.6 would be just a little more than two seconds slower than Farina's best.
Three hours with a circuit measuring just 1.71 miles meant the actual number of laps completed before the end would likely reach the triple digits. Therefore, when drivers like Harry Schell, Robert Manzon and Gonzalez all dropped out before the race had even completed 25 laps these were very early retirements and seemed to signal a race of attrition.
Mieres would approach the race the same as he had the Ciudad de Buenos Aires. He would be fast but controlled. Being a successful sportscar driver, driving under control was very much a part of his nature. And as Jean Behra applied the pressure to everyone else in the field from the lead, it seemed it would be just the right tactic.
Behra had started the race from the third row right beside Mieres but would be on a charge throughout. He would push hard forcing others to either go with him or slow down in an effort to save their cars. Farina would fade. Gonzalez would fall out of the running entirely. Trintignant, however, would not back down. And Behra and Trintignant put together an epic battle that would have their fellow French men and women cheering with absolute delight.
Lap after lap, the two would run nose-to-tail, or closer. Neither would give up to the other. This would force the pace faster and faster leaving others well behind. Mieres' steady performance would find himself in 3rd place toward the end of the race but he would be more than a lap behind. Such was the pace and ferocity of the battle between the two French drivers at the front.
The battle would rage all the way to the line. Coming through the final esses and powering down the short straight toward the finish line, it would be Behra taking the victory by just two-tenths of a second ahead of Trintignant. Three laps, or five miles, would be the distance the two Frenchmen would have in hand over Mieres as he crossed the line in 3rd place.
Despite being greatly overshadowed by the battle between the two Frenchmen and their sheer pace around the Pau circuit, Mieres would put together yet another fantastic performance. He would use his sportscar experience to great effect and would come away with yet another impressive podium. It seemed this was going to be the breakout season for Mieres. In reality, the disaster was just about to begin.
The calendar would turn to May. It had been a good first European race for Mieres when he finished 3rd in the Pau Grand Prix. He was looking to follow it up at the Bordeaux Grand Prix held on the 9th of May.
Straddling the Garonne River, the city of Bordeaux would actually earn its fame for its largest industry and export—Bordeaux wine. However, the wine industry would be a much younger bit of Bordeaux's actual history. In fact, the city would be first settled by a Celtic tribe known as the Bituriges Vivisci. But by the 20th century, Bordeaux would be much more than a settlement. Complete with incredibly designed palaces, bridges, cathedrals and other such buildings, Bordeaux would be as rich in artwork and architecture as it would be in wine.
Unfortunately for Mieres, the Bordeaux Grand Prix would not be a rich experience has he would suffer a crash in practice that would nearly write off the car. While the car would be able to be repaired, the crash would write off the Bordeaux Grand Prix for Mieres.
Mieres and his men would have to work hard to repair the Maserati in time for the next race on the team's schedule. This would be made all the more difficult given the fact the car not only needed to be repaired, but also, carried all the way to the northern coast of France and across the English Channel to England, for the next race on the calendar would be the 6th BRDC International Trophy race held at Silverstone on the 15th of May.
Just six days after crashing his Maserati in Bordeaux, Mieres would be busy making final preparations to take part in the International Trophy race at Silverstone. Though this was a non-championship race, it would be one of the most popular and widely attended non-championship races throughout all of the British Isles.
Situated just a matter of a couple of miles away from the very village from whence it draws its name, Silverstone would actually be birthed out of the need for bomber training during the dark days of World War II. Known as RAF Silverstone during World War II, the bomber training base would become abandoned in the years immediately following the war. However, by 1948 it would become home to the British Grand Prix. The following year, Silverstone would serve as the home for a new race, the BRDC International Trophy race.
Unlike most races, the International Trophy race consisted of two 15 lap heat races and a 35 lap final. Finishing times in each of the heat races would be of utmost importance as it would determine the starting grid position for the final.
Mieres would be listed in the second heat, and therefore, would have to wait and watch the first heat race. And in that first heat race Jose Froilan Gonzalez would have his Ferrari on pole. He would be joined by Jean Behra, Stirling Moss and Alan Brown all on the front row.
The finishing times in the first heat would be handicapped as heavy rains pelted the circuit. Still, Gonzalez would look at home in the wet as he would thoroughly dominate the first heat taking the victory by fourteen seconds over Prince Bira who would drive a fantastic race coming from 8th place on the grid to finish in 2nd place ahead of Stirling Moss in 3rd.
Mieres would face off in the second heat race against many familiar names. Maurice Trintignant would be in the second heat along with British drivers Reg Parnell and Roy Salvadori. Robert Manzon would be at the wheel of another Ferrari 625 and posed yet another threat to Mieres' success.
Trintignant would show the way in practice and would start on pole with Reg Parnell starting 2nd followed by Andre Simon and Bob Gerard in 3rd and 4th. The trouble Mieres and his crew faced having to rebuild the car would certainly affect them in practice as Mieres would not set a time, and therefore, would start from 14th on the grid, dead-last.
Although he would start dead-last, Mieres would be quick during the race, despite the fact he had to look forward to making it through to the final. He would gradually and incrementally make his way up the running order fighting with the Formula 2 entries in the field.
Mieres and others could not fight with Trintignant and Reg Parnell. Anchored by the fastest lap of the heat, Trintignant would be out front chased by Parnell a few seconds behind. The pace of these two would leave the rest of the field well back in the distance. Aided by a drying track, Trintignant would average over 87 mph en route to the victory. Parnell would cross the line six seconds behind in 2nd place. Robert Manzon would put together an impressive performance of his own coming from 8th on the grid to finish in 3rd.
Mieres would be impressive in the heat race. Despite the fact those on the grid around him were powered by 2.0-liter engines and fell into the Formula 2 class, Mieres would make his way up from 14th on the grid to finish one lap down in 7th.
Being a lap down at the end of the heat race would not help Mieres' starting position heading into the final. But after having nearly destroyed his car in Bordeaux, Mieres would be focused on the race and finishing it well.
While Mieres would be focusing on the race, a little bit of controversy would be surrounding the man lining up on the pole. While Gonzalez's finishing time would only be good enough to start from 6th place on the grid, he would end up on pole as his Ferrari's engine reportedly seized immediately following the end of the first heat race. As a result, Ferrari's team management would give Gonzalez, Trintignant's starting position while Trintignant started the final 6th. The rest of the front row consisted of Reg Parnell lining up 2nd with Robert Manzon 3rd and Roy Salvadori completing the front row in 4th. Mieres would find himself starting all the way down on the fifth row of the grid in the 15th starting spot.
Aided by Trintignant's starting position and a drying circuit, Gonzalez would take to the 2.88 mile Silverstone circuit and would storm out into the lead of the race with Parnell and Manzon chasing in vain. Two laps into the 35 lap final, Manzon would be out with transmission failure. The propeller shaft on Parnell's car would last just 5 laps before breaking. This would leave Simon to take up the charge, but then there would be Behra.
Despite starting the final from 11th on the grid, Behra would put together a performance similar to that of his victory at Pau. He would soon charge toward the front of the field and would be giving chase of Gonzalez. Mieres would also put together a charge of his own. Fully confident of the car's repairs and reliability, Mieres would battle his way toward the front of the field as well. Soon, he would be battling with Trintignant for position and would be well inside the top five.
But nobody could catch Gonzalez, not this day. Gonzalez would pull away in the lead of the race as he would not only turn in a fastest lap of nearly 96 mph and averaged nearly 93 mph throughout. Only Behra would manage to hold onto the lead lap. All the rest would finish at least a lap down. But for Mieres, this would be a welcome sight if he could keep it together through the final couple of laps.
Gonzalez would cruise to victory. Completing the final in one hour, six minutes and fifteen seconds, Gonzalez would streak to victory with some thirty-six seconds in hand over Behra in 2nd place. Andre Simon would drive a splendidly solid race and would come through a lap down in 3rd place.
While Gonzalez's victory was certainly a display of dominance, the performance Mieres put together in the final would be as worthy of note. Starting the final from 15th on the grid, Mieres would put his head down and would charge toward the front of the field. Confident of the car's soundness, Mieres would make his way past Salvadori, Louis Rosier and Maurice Trintignant to finish the race a lap down in 4th place. In the end, he would make up some eleven places; a great performance for a man and a car that were broken in their own ways just a week earlier.
Mieres and his team had shown great fortitude and the 4th place result in the International Trophy race was a just reward for the team's performance in the face of great trials. They had been seemingly defeated and had overcome. The team's attitude would end up making the difference. They would set to work repairing the car that they would manage to overcome. They would need to keep this same overcoming attitude throughout the whole of the season as things were about to get rough.
On the 22nd of May, just one week after Mieres' strong performance in the BRDC International Trophy race, he and his team would be awaiting the start of their next race. It had been a lot of work to pack the car and the equipment up and head back to the coast to cross back over to the European mainland. But once back on the mainland the team would still have a long distance journey ahead for the team's next race would be 7th Gran Premio di Bari. And that meant traveling all the way down to eastern coast of Italy to Bari.
The team would unload Mieres' car for the 60 lap, 207 mile, race that would take place along a 3.45 mile street course situated just north of the city's downtown area. In fact, the Bari circuit would be a rather beautiful circuit as portions ran along the Adriatic coast and amongst the city's streets. And despite being a street circuit, the layout would be such that the 2.5-liter Formula One cars would easily exceed average speeds of 85 mph making the circuit quite fast.
Seeing that the race took place on Italian soil it was not at all surprising that the Maserati factory effort would enter three cars right along with three from Scuderia Ferrari. But, Equipe Gordini and Ecurie Rosier would also come to the race with a couple of cars apiece. One of those entered under the Maserati factory team name would be Mieres. Mieres had entered the BRDC International Trophy race under the factory team name as well. This was not unusual for Maserati at the time. It would still be Mieres and his own team but he would have some backing and support from Maserati for the race.
Despite racing under the factory name, Mieres could not challenge the pace of the Ferraris. Gonzalez would end up the fastest and would take the pole over Trintignant, his Ferrari teammate. Jean Behra would push his Gordini hard and would manage to grab the final spot on the front row. Mieres would find himself almost in the middle of the field. His best lap around the circuit would translate into a third row starting position, 6th overall.
As the flag waved to start the 60 lap race, it was clear straightaway that Gonzalez would be a favorite to take victory. However, Onofre Marimon would make some noise by setting the fastest lap of the race in the factory Maserati 250F. Despite his lap averaging nearly 90 mph, Marimon would not be able to consistently put the laps together to mount a challenge of Gonzalez. Others would find the going all the more difficult.
Sergio Mantovani would be out after just 3 laps due to suspension trouble. Louis Rosier and Robert Manzon would both falter, bringing an end to the Ecurie Rosier challenge. And Andre Simon would fall out of the running in one of the Equipe Gordini cars.
Very good drivers, like Marimon and others, had found the road rough as they tried to chase and track down Gonzalez. This would not bode well for Mieres. Sure enough, he too would run into trouble around the halfway mark in the race. The Maserati's reliability woes would rear its ugly head once again. Unable to overcome the issues, Mieres would be forced out of yet another race.
The two Ferraris of Gonzalez and Trintignant would cruise away from the rest of the field. Behra would do his best to keep things close but it was of no use. Everyone else had given up the fight long ago.
Gonzalez's pace of nearly 88 mph was more than enough to hold onto the lead over Trintignant and to blow away the rest of the field. He would go on to take the victory crossing the line nearly seven seconds ahead of his Ferrari teammate Trintignant. Behra had given it everything he had and he would be left wanting. Despite pushing hard, Behra would finish the race and minute and a second behind Gonzalez in 3rd.
Mieres and his crew had fought hard to get ready for the International Trophy race and had been handsomely rewarded. Yet, just when it seemed like the team had their issues dealt with the Maserati would suffer yet another setback. Still, after the season Mieres had with Equipe Gordini in 1953 he could pack everything up still having the confidence that things would get better. But, as the old adage goes, 'things will likely get worse before they get better'.
Leaving Bari, Mieres and his team would travel to the opposite coast of Italy and to the small coastal county of Castel Fusano. Castel Fusano surrounds the capital city of Rome, Italy and would serve as the site for the 13th Gran Premio di Roma on the 6th of June.
While Modena, Milan and Bologna would certainly have to be considered the capitals for Italy's racing heritage, Rome was still the nation's capital, and therefore, desperately needed a race of its own; one that would be prestigious and absolutely important to every Italian manufacturer and driver.
The Grand Prix of Rome would take place on a number of temporary road courses in and around the city. Castel Fusano, however, certainly seemed like the most unlikely and undesirable location for a race bearing the name of the Grand Prix of Rome. In spite of being situated along the Mediterranean Sea, Castel Fusano was a rather wide open plane lacking the buzz and excitement of Rome itself. In addition, the 4.09 mile circuit was relatively featureless and almost nothing but a large rectangle.
Although the race was the Grand Prix of Rome there would be a few notable scratches from the event. The entire Scuderia Ferrari team would not attend the race. Alberto Ascari, the double World Champion, also would not be at the race as Lancia was yet to finish its new D50. On top of it all, Juan Manuel Fangio had an entry in the race but would not attend the race at the last minute.
Although Fangio would not come to the race, the Maserati factory team would not lend its name to Mieres for this event. Therefore, Mieres would enter the 60 lap race under his own name.
Onofre Marimon had proven himself to be quite fast at Bari and would keep up the rapid pace at Castel Fusano. His best lap in practice around the 4.09 mile circuit would be 2:15.4 and would grant the Argentinean the pole by nearly two seconds over Robert Manzon driving a Ferrari 625 for Ecurie Rosier. Stirling Moss would enter his own Maserati 250F and would take the 3rd position on the front row losing out on 2nd by a mere tenth. Jean Behra would, again, push hard in the Gordini and would garner the final starting spot on the front row.
Though Mieres had the 2.5-liter powerplant at his disposal in his Maserati, he still could not match the high average speeds of the front runners. Therefore, Mieres would start the race from the 9th place spot on the grid, which put him toward the inside of the third row.
Guido Mancini had qualified in the 13th position in a Ferrari 500. However, problems with his car would prevent him from being able to take part in the 245 mile race. Therefore, 14 cars would line up to take the start of the race.
Marimon would be on pole and would lead the way right from the very beginning of the race. Carlo Mancini's race would last a mere couple of miles before his Ferrari 166 came to its end. 'Serena' would last one lap longer before departing the running.
The attrition would keep coming as Marimon led the way at the front of the field. Two more cars would fail to make it to the 6th lap. It seemed attrition would decimate all, or at least a vast majority, of the field. This did not bode well for Mieres and the trouble he had been experiencing over the last couple of months. It seemed as though Mieres' perseverance was being tested. And after completing 12 laps, he would be tested once again as the connecting rod on the Maserati failed leaving him out of yet another race.
Roberto really could not feel all that bad as he would be joined by Jean Behra, Luigi Musso and Robert Manzon as all having retired early. This would leave Marimon, literally, running all by himself in the lead of the race.
Not only would Marimon go on to set the fastest lap of the race with an average speed pushing 109 mph, but he would have laps in hand over the rest of the field when Mieres, Manzon and Behra retired. The lead was made even greater when Moss faded as the race wore on.
Running all by himself, Marimon would remain fast but would take car of his car so as to be able to convert the huge lead into a victory. At an average speed of more than 106 mph, Marimon would complete the race distance in a little under two hours and nineteen minutes and would enjoy a two lap advantage over Harry Schell finishing in 2nd place. Sergio Mantovani would make it a clean sweep of the podium for the 2.5-liter Maserati engine as he came through in 3rd place some seconds behind Schell two laps in arrears to Marimon.
Coming back to Europe following the incredible effort just to race at Silverstone, the time in Italy had been truly disappointing and frustrating. It would be all the more frustrating given the fact the next rounds of the Formula One World Championship were coming up in a matter of days. Just about everything was thrown into question for Mieres. He could not be certain his car would make it a full race distance. Heaven forbid if he had to face such a setback as a fire or anything.
Mieres would get a break of a couple of weeks before his next race. This would give him some time to repair and truly make fit his Maserati before he headed off to Belgium to take part in the third round of the 1954 Formula One World Championship, the Belgian Grand Prix.
The Belgian Grand Prix would be scheduled for the 20th of June and would be the first round of the World Championship since the Argentine Grand Prix (not counting the Indianapolis 500, which counted toward the World Championship in 1954) all the way back in January. What was more, the Belgian Grand Prix would be the first round of the World Championship back on European soil. It would be important to start out this portion of the season well. So, in many ways, the Belgian Grand Prix would serve as another kick-off point to the World Championship season.
And what a place to kick off the European portion of the World Championship! Featuring fast sweeping corners, incredibly high-speed straights and elevation changes just thrown in to keep things interesting, the 8.77 mile Spa-Francorchamps circuit had it all. Boasting of average speeds pushing 120 mph and incredible portions of circuit that required great courage and lunacy, the Spa circuit would be a favorite for the spectators and drivers alike.
The race distance for 1954 would be 36 laps, or, 315 miles. Given the nature of the circuit, and the length of the race itself, the Belgian Grand Prix routinely drew fewer numbers of entries than many of the other rounds of the championship. The 1954 edition of the race would be no different. A mere 14 cars would answer the challenge of Spa.
Practice would see Fangio, at the wheel of a Maserati 250F, crack the 120 mph average speed barrier around the circuit. Posting a time of 4:22.1, Fangio would take the pole by a second and a half over his fellow countryman and Ferrari driver Jose Froilan Gonzalez. Giuseppe Farina would end up taking the final spot on the front row after posting a fastest lap that was just under four seconds slower than Fangio, a speed difference of nearly 2mph.
Mieres would be some 9mph slower around the circuit. That would translate into a lap time nearly twenty-two seconds adrift of Fangio's pole-winning effort. As a result, Mieres would start the 36 lap race from the fifth, and second-to-last, row of the grid in the 12th position. However, when he had started toward the back in other races he had driven smartly and turned it into top results. He would see if he could do the same.
One thing Spa was notorious for was its unusual weather. Located in the heart of the Ardennes, the weather patterns around the area were predictably unpredictable. However, as the 2pm race time approached, the weather was sunny, mile and dry and promised to stay that way throughout the running of the event.
The roar of the engines would come up awaiting the start of the grand prix. Little did Mieres know as he brought his engine up to full song that he would soon be burned by the move. Gonzalez would get the jump as the field tore away from the grid to start the race. However, attention would soon be turned toward the back of the grid where Mieres' Maserati was engulfed in flames. Mieres would battle to get out of the car as fast as he could. However, the flames would be so fierce that Mieres could not extract himself from the car without receiving minor burns in the process.
While many were distracted watching the drama surrounding Mieres and his narrow escape from more severe burns, few would see Gonzalez slow to a halt himself as a result of his blown engine. However, this would not hand the lead to Fangio. Farina had also managed to get by Fangio and would take over the lead of the race.
Farina would lead throughout the first couple of laps of the race but would be closely hounded by Fangio. While Fangio closely followed Farina, Marimon would retire from the pit with engine trouble himself. It was only the 3rd lap of the race and already four of the fourteen starters were out of the running.
Farina could not hold back Fangio and he would take over the lead of the race after just a couple of laps with Farina in the lead. Fangio held onto the lead of the race and would be in a commanding position lapping with an average speed greater than 113 mph. It seemed nothing could stop Fangio from running away with the race. However, trouble with his helmet would momentarily hand the lead back to Farina.
The delay to Fangio seemed to have cost him dearly as Farina would be quite a ways ahead in the lead. However, ignition problems would take away any hopes he had of stealing the victory from Fangio. Instead, it would be Fangio that would be re-gifted the lead of the race.
Farina's departure from the race would take away any serious contender Fangio would face. From the 15th lap onwards, Fangio would dominate the proceedings and would enjoy a comfortable margin over the remainder of the field throughout. In fact, the greatest challenge the remainder of the field would have throughout the race would be to stay on the lead lap with Fangio.
Besides his scare with his helmet, Fangio would experience a drama-free race and would power his way to his second World Championship victory of the season. Averaging nearly 115mph, Fangio would complete the race distance with a margin of 24 seconds in hand over Maurice Trintignant in 2nd place. One lap would be the difference back to Stirling Moss in 3rd place.
The fire would be heavily damaged by the fire and would severely test Mieres and his team as the rounds of the World Championship started to come in rapid succession by this point in time. Therefore, the team would have to work hard to repair the damage in order to provide Mieres with a competitive and sound race car, especially given the fact the next race, the next round of the Formula One World Championship, would take place on another ultra-fast circuit.
Mieres' next race of the 1954 season would be the fourth round of the Formula One World Championship, which was the French Grand Prix. The French Grand Prix would be contested on the ultra-fast Reims circuit located about an hour and a half east of Paris amongst the rolling countryside surrounding the Marne river. So while the circuit had a rather simple layout, it historically proved to be one of the toughest challenges car and driver would face.
Although the Reims circuit would be comprised of public roads in and around the small villages of Gueux and Thillois, the circuit would prove to be one of the fastest circuits in the world. It had also been the site of one of the greatest races in grand prix history the previous year when no less than six competitors ran nearly the whole of the race nose-to-tail and even closer. In that race, it would be Mike Hawthorn that would edge out Fangio for the victory.
Coming into the 1954 running of the French Grand Prix it seemed highly unlikely Fangio would be edged out of victory as he would make his debut with the Mercedes-Benz team driving the W196. And in practice, the W196 would prove to be fastest around the 5.15 mile Reims circuit as he would be the first to reach 200km/h. Fangio's time of 2:29.4 would give Fangio the pole with a second in hand over his Mercedes teammate Karl Kling. Alberto Ascari would finish the front row by posting a time just a tenth slower than Kling around the circuit.
In spite of the car having been badly charred in the fire at Spa, Mieres would show good form around Reims. Still bearing bandages over the burns, Mieres would go on to record a lap time only a little more than nine seconds slower than Fangio. Therefore, Mieres would find himself on the fifth row of the grid in the 11th position. He would be joined on the fifth row by the two Ecurie Rosier drivers, Robert Manzon and Louis Rosier.
As the start of the race approached, Mieres checked over his Maserati carefully making sure he would not suffer a repeat of the Belgian Grand Prix. Besides the threat of fire, the overcast skies were threatening to drop rain on the circuit making conditions treacherous for the scheduled 61 lap race.
The cars would be rolled out onto the grid. The front row would be tight with the two streamlined W196s occupying the first-two positions and the Maserati of Ascari sitting in 3rd on the front row. Mieres would be packed in tightly toward the middle of the twenty-one car grid. A long, and fast, race awaited.
The race would get underway with Ascari's car suffering transmission failure right at the start slowing up the rest of the field. This would allow Kling and Fangio to escape with the lead clearly in their grasp. Mieres would make a good getaway from the line but would still remain right around where he had started. Still, it wasn't about burning the circuit up on the first lap of the race. He needed to be there at the end.
Besides Ascari, there would be a number of those that would not be there at the end. Four other drivers, including Mike Hawthorn and Lance Macklin, would be out of the race by the 10th lap of the race.
Meanwhile, the battle at the front would be between Kling and Fangio. Kling would lead the first couple of laps before Fangio led the way for 25 laps. Still, Fangio would not break away from Kling. The two would continue to lap the circuit nose-to-tail putting incredible pressure on the rest of the field.
Many would succumb to the pressure. By the 20th lap of the race ten cars would be out. Even the third Mercedes driven by Hans Herrmann would retire after the engine dramatically blew. The attrition was terrible. While it seemed Kling and Fangio could race, the rest of the field just tried to survive. Unfortunately, Mieres would not be one of those that would survive the events of the day. After completing 24 laps, the engine would blow on Mieres' Maserati leaving him out of yet another race, his fourth in a row.
Heading into the final 10 laps of the race there would only be six cars still running. Between the pace of Kling and Fangio, the rain and the ultra-fast nature of the circuit, the French Grand Prix had taken its toll. It would look nothing like the previous year with six cars battling it out at the front within a matter of seconds of each other.
The only cars within a matter of seconds of each other would be the two Mercedes battling for the lead. Throughout the 61 lap race, each would take turns in the lead of the race. Heading into the penultimate lap it would be Kling holding onto the lead. Fangio would be focused on the championship and would try and set up his teammate to take the lead and the victory on the last lap of the race.
The two men had raced hard through the rain, much to the protest of Neubauer, but they would conduct themselves like gentlemen racers and would head into the final lap of the race with Fangio leading the way, just as he wanted it. The team would be thinking towards the championship as well. And as the two cars rounded the Thillois hairpin for the final time and began to power their way up the sloping terrain toward the finish line, Kling would pull alongside Fangio, but would not contend for the lead. Instead, it would be a demonstrative Mercedes one-two in their first race back since before the outbreak of World War II.
The most intriguing battle would be for 3rd place. It seemed as though Prince Bira had things sown up in his Maserati 250F. However, with just a couple of miles to go the car would begin to struggle to pick up fuel to the engine. Bira's car running out of fuel would enable Manzon to streak by and take away 3rd place from Bira who would manage to finish but would have to be content with 4th.
Mieres would have been content with merely finishing the race. The streak of early retirements was certainly taking a toll on his and the team's confidence. He knew he had a competitive car, but the unreliability was destroying any hope he had. 'Destroyed' would be a more than appropriate word as the team packed up and began to head to its next race; its next attempt to right the ship.
The icing on Mieres' terrible string of results would come as the team made its way to its next race. The team's next race was to be on the 11th of July, just a week after the disappointing French Grand Prix.
The Maserati A6GCM with the 2.5-liter engine would be on the top level of the double-decker transporter when the driver of the transporter ran into an accident. The car was being hauled back to Modena so the engine could be repaired and placed inside the new 250F chassis that was about ready for Mieres. However, as the driver tried to avoid the accident, the transporter would tip over. Mieres' Maserati would be crushed by the transporter and effectively broken into a couple of pieces. The damage would be too extensive to repair in time for the Grand Prix de Rouen-les-Essarts. In addition, the 250F would not quite be finished in time. Therefore, Mieres would not arrive in time to take part in the race and would eventually just wait to take part in the British Grand Prix another week later on the 17th of July.
The crazy year for Mieres couldn't have gotten any stranger than when the transporter rolled breaking his Maserati into two pieces. This would end up costing him an opportunity to take part in the Grand Prix of Rouen-les-Essarts. Maserati would take a look at the car and would determine the damage was too extensive to deserve the car being rebuilt. Therefore, the car would be discarded in favor of Mieres' new 250F that was ready. The 2.5-liter engine would be taken from the discarded A6GCM and would be placed inside the new chassis. Still, the new 250F would not be ready in time before Mieres' next race.
Mieres' next race would be the fifth round of the Formula One World Championship, the British Grand Prix. However, he would need a car for that race. Therefore, Maserati would give him another 2.5-liter A6GCM. Jorge Daponte used his Maserati A6GCM in the Rouen-les-Essarts race finishing 5th. He would make his car, with the updated 2.5-liter engine, available to Mieres for use in the 9th RAC British Grand Prix.
Mieres would be undoubtedly happy to return to Silverstone as it had been since the International Trophy back in May that Mieres had a race finish, a period of more than two months. Mieres could have been all the more encouraged given the fact his previous chassis, one that certainly seemed cursed, was now gone. Mieres could have a new hope heading into the race.
Though Mieres certainly could have had a new hope heading into the race, he certainly would have had his reality checked as he looked around seeing Scuderia Ferrari, Officine Alfieri Maserati, Equipe Gordini and Mercedes-Benz unloading their cars.
The reality check would continue throughout practice as Fangio would set a new track record being the first to average 100 mph around the 2.88 mile Silverstone circuit. Fangio's time around the circuit would end up being a full second faster than Jose Froilan Gonzalez. Mere hundredths of a second would be the difference between Gonzalez and Mike Hawthorn that would qualify 3rd. The final place on the front row would go to another Brit Stirling Moss and his own Maserati.
The car would arrive a little late for Mieres, and therefore, he would end up not even setting a lap time in practice. Therefore, Mieres would find himself starting all the way down in the ninth row of the grid, dead-last. So, while the new car would offer Mieres a new hope, it would have him starting the race with a debt to pay.
As with the Argentine and French Grand Prix, the British Grand Prix faced the strong likelihood of rain at some point in time during the 90 lap, 263 mile, race. This was certain to have a strong influence on the race. Another aspect certain to have an impact on the race was Fangio's and Kling's dislike for the visibility problems the streamlined W196 offered its drivers. So, while Fangio overcame the difficulties to set a new track record, the prospect of 90 laps with the difficulty promised to create havoc for the Mercedes drivers.
The last time Mieres had been at Silverstone under similar conditions, Gonzalez dominated. And as the field roared to life to start the British Grand Prix, Gonzalez would pick up right where he left off by streaking into the lead ahead of Stirling Moss, Mike Hawthorn and Fangio. Starting from dead-last on the grid, Mieres wouldn't be able to see Gonzalez pull out in the lead of the race. He would have his hands full staying out of trouble and making his way up the running order.
Gonzalez continued to pull away in the lead of the race. Stirling Moss would be under incredible heat from Hawthorn and Fangio would finally get his Mercedes in gear and would be back on the charge having dropped from the pole all the way down to 4th place.
A number of competitors would run into trouble during the early portions of the race. Louis Rosier wouldn't complete a lap before his engine would expire. Alberto Ascari's car would drop out of the race by the 21st lap also with an engine failure. In total, nine would be out of the race by just the 25th lap of the race.
Each and every lap Mieres would manage to complete his confidence and hope would also grow. However, all hope would be lost concerning the thought of drawing in and catching Gonzalez. As with the International Trophy race, Gonzalez was mastering the changing conditions and, even in the wet, would increase his advantage over the rest of the field.
Moss had lost out to Hawthorn and Fangio had also managed to get by Moss and was soon threatening Hawthorn for 2nd place. It seemed that if the man that broke the track record could shake Moss and Hawthorn he might have been able to chase down Gonzalez.
But it was not meant to be as Fangio had greater problems than Gonzalez in the lead. The visibility issues were coming front and center during the race. Consistently, Fangio would hit oil barrels placed on the inside of the corners. This would cause major damage to the front corners of the car and would upset the handling of the car even more. On top of the damage, Fangio's W196 would develop gearbox problems. Now, Fangio couldn't think about the lead of the race. Instead, he had to focus on just trying to finish.
Finishing would be the focus on Mieres' mind as well. Starting dead-last on the grid would offer Mieres the perspective he needed heading into the race. It was time to switch into sportscar racer mode and outlast the problems and the others and allow Providence determine where he would finish. This he would do in fine fashion.
Attrition would end up causing eighteen cars to either drop out entirely, or, would be too far back at the end to be classified. Mieres would not be one of them. In a couple of the stronger finishes Mieres had had during the early part of the 1954 season he would follow Maurice Trintignant home. Heading into the final couple of laps of the British Grand Prix, Trintignant would be running in 5th place more than a couple of laps behind Gonzalez. But right there, less than a couple of seconds behind, would be Mieres. It would be the best battle on the circuit in the waning moments of the race.
Gonzalez had outlasted and outpaced everyone over the course of the 90 laps, despite the fact that he and six others would all share the fastest lap of the race. Still, over the course of the race, Gonzalez would be the fastest, or, the only one of the faster cars to make it through.
Coming around on the final lap of the race, only the 2nd place car remained on the lead lap. Despite the rain, Gonzalez's mastery of the circuit had blown away the competition and he would streak across the line to take his second British Grand Prix victory. A minute and ten seconds later, Mike Hawthorn would come home to resounding cheers from the British faithful. The gearbox problems would cause Fangio to fade throughout the last portions of the race. As a result, Marimon would come home a lap down in 3rd place earning his first podium result in a World Championship race.
In a way, Mieres would stand on the podium, or, even win the race. Despite following along behind Trintignant by just two seconds, the 6th place result Mieres would manage to be blessed with would be similar to a race victory after the terrible couple of months he had experienced. Yet, despite every possible, conceivable hurdle, Mieres had persevered and had the opportunity to enjoy some success.
Were it not for the disastrous couple of months leading up to the race, Mieres could have left Silverstone bitterly disappointed. Only two seconds separated him from a couple of championship points. Still, in the context of the truly bazaar season he had been experiencing, Mieres would leave Silverstone delighted and with some weight lifted off of his shoulders.
After earning the much needed 6th place at the British Grand Prix, Mieres would head back across the English Channel to France in order to take part in the 3rd Grand Prix de Caen. Taking place on the 25th of July, the race was just a week after the British Grand Prix but would be another opportunity for Mieres to, hopefully, finish a race and build more confidence before heading to the notorious Nordschleife another week afterward.
The Grand Prix de Caen would be a 60 lap event and would feature a rather light field of cars. Only one team car from Scuderia Ferrari and Officine Alfieri Maserati would attend the race, and therefore, would pose a great opportunity for Mieres.
Unfortunately, it wouldn't really matter. The bazaar season would continue for Mieres as he would be injured in an accident during practice for the race. As a result, Mieres would not be able to start the race. Therefore, Mieres would pack everything back up and would head out.
The accident would actually be a blessing for once in a season absolutely littered with bazaar happenings. It would allow him a little bit more time in between races. This would be important for Mieres as his car neared completion.
After the accident and the injury suffered in Caen, Mieres would head off to take receipt of his new Maserati 250F, and what a car he would get. Chassis number ‘2505' had been the mount Fangio used to earn victory in the Argentine and Belgian Grand Prix. After Fangio made the move to Mercedes-Benz, chassis 2505 would go on to be used by Alberto Ascari at both the French and British Grand Prix. However, besides Fangio's couple of victories, the car seemed to be as cursed as what Mieres' other Maseratis had been. Nevertheless, Mieres would take delivery of the car and would then head off to the Eifel Mountains of western Germany.
The German Grand Prix would be the sixth round of the Formula One World Championship in 1954 and would take place at the usual notorious place—the Nurburgring. Developed after a public road course was deemed to be too dangerous, the Nurburgring would be nothing more than a closed-off version of the public road course that was every bit as dangerous. The reason for the danger was more than obvious: boasting of at least 170 corners and constant elevation changes, every lap of the 14 mile long circuit was an epic gauntlet where one fought just to survive. This, more than anything, would be the reason why there were so many Ringmeisters
Seeing that it was Mercedes' first year back in grand prix racing since before the Second World War all of West Germany was abuzz with excitement about the German Grand Prix. Finally, Germany had its own car that it could cheer on to victory. Despite the difficulty 2505 had had over the last couple of World Championship races, Mieres would also have some excitement heading into the race given he had one of the new 250Fs.
In spite of the prospect of having a new car at his disposal, Mieres' emotions would turn to grief almost immediately upon getting to the Nurburgring as the Argentineans in the field would be dealt a tragic blow during practice. Onofre Marimon had just come off of his first podium result in a World Championship having earned a 3rd place at the British Grand Prix. It seemed this fast young Argentinean had a long as successful Formula One career ahead of himself. However, all of that would come to naught on the run down toward the Adenau Bridge.
Marimon would be coming around a fast right-hander when he would lose control of his Maserati and would crash through some hedges lining the side of the circuit. After striking the hedge, Marimon's car would roll a number of times before finally coming to rest on its top. When crews reached Marimon it was clear the injuries he had sustained during the crash were fatal. This would powerfully hit everyone up and down the pitlane, but none more than the many Argentineans in the field.
Still, despite the incredible grief and sorrow, the race would go on. Amazingly, Fangio would be able to put aside his grief and would turn the fastest lap of the practice session earning the pole for the 22 lap, 310 mile, race. A little more than three seconds would be the gap back to Mike Hawthorn who would qualify 2nd in his Ferrari. Stirling Moss would take up residence on the third, and final, spot on the front row.
Although he had a 250F at his disposal, Mieres would not be able to match the pace of te other Maserati drivers. Still, he would manage to start the race from the sixth row of the grid in the 15th position overall. All together, there would be twenty cars that would line up on the grid for the start of the race.
While Mieres would undoubtedly state the season had been a bazaar one, all would be able to say that when the two locations most notorious for changing weather, would stay warm and dry throughout the running of the races. And yet, that would be exactly what would happen at both the Belgian and German Grand Prix in '54.
Nobody would claim about having dry weather, not at least around the treacherous Nurburgring; it was dangerous enough as it was. What the weather would pose to everyone, from the drivers to the spectators, would be a straight-up fight for victory.
In spite of the tragic events of the day before, an incredible crowd would assemble around the circuit awaiting the 2pm start of the race. Finally, the field would roar away from the grid beginning the first lap of an epic adventure. And at the start, the two Argentineans, Fangio and Gonzalez, would put aside their incredible grief and would be fighting for the lead heading into the first turn. Gonzalez would sneak through into the lead of the race. However, the lead would be short-lived as Fangio would actually come through to lead the first lap of the German Grand Prix.
Speaking of short-lived, Mieres' debut with the new 250F would last a mere 3 laps, or about 45 miles, before the 2.5-liter engine that had gone through a fire at Spa and a number of other accidents throughout the season would let go leaving Mieres out of yet another race.
Mieres wouldn't be alone. Hawthorn would start from the front row of the grid but his day would last about the same distance as what Mieres' would. Stirling Moss' day had ended even earlier when a bearing problem forced him out of the race after just 1 lap. Even Hans Herrmann would retire from the race after his W196 suffered a broken fuel line.
Fangio, however, would appear to have no such issues or dramas as he flew around one of the circuits he absolutely adored. However, Fangio would not be the fastest car on the circuit throughout the first two-thirds of the race. That honor would go to German Karl Kling driving one of the other W196s.
Kling would not set a lap time in practice and would start from last on the grid. However, within a matter of a couple of laps, he would be up at the front of the field right behind Fangio challenging for the lead. Kling had pushed his car hard to make his way to the front, but he wasn't about to slow down, not when he had the lead within his sights.
Kling would be flying. Finally, on lap 15, Kling would overtake Fangio and the rise from worst to first was complete, or so he thought. Once in the lead of the race, despite protests from the crew, Kling would not slow down. In fact, on the 16th lap of the race Kling would post the fastest lap of the race. However, it would come at a cost. And by the very next lap of the race, Fangio would be back in the lead and Kling would be in the pits trying to salvage his race.
Kling and Neubauer would have reason to hurry the needed pitstop. Gonzalez had pitted a couple of laps earlier. The grief of the loss of Marimon would still be too great for the man to bear. He, in turn, would come into the pits and would hand his car over to Hawthorn for the remainder of the race. Maurice Trintignant wouldn't be one of the fastest cars out on the circuit but he had avoided all drama to be also up near the front of the field heading into the final few laps of the race.
Unfortunately, the damage would be done. Kling would rejoin the race but would be more than a few minutes behind Fangio, and therefore, would be down in the running order. Meanwhile, Fangio continued on un-accosted.
Although Kling would set the fastest lap of the race, Fangio's pace would not only be fast, but it would also be enduring. After three hours and nearly forty-six, Fangio would come across the line to take his fourth victory of the Formula One season. Enjoying a margin of victory of more than a minute and thirty-six seconds over Hawthorn in 2nd place, not only did Fangio have the race, but also the World Championship, well within his grasp. Trintignant would be too far up the road for Kling to catch. Despite finishing a little more than five minutes back, Trintignant would complete the podium finishing 3rd.
The crowd would break into exciting cheers but would quickly dull to a hush out of respect for Marimon's passing the day before. And while not as tragic, a dull hush had figuratively fallen over Mieres. The reliability issues continued to plague what had already been a most bazaar and bitterly disappointing season.
For the former Argentinean Sportscar Champion, the 1954 season had been one of great difficulty and seemingly never ending streams of bitter disappointments. The strong results earned early on in the season had all but been forgotten, almost seeming to have never happened in the first place.
The difficulties would make looking forward to the next race not an exercise in excitement but of reoccurring nightmares. Perhaps this would be the reason why he would not arrive to take part in the Circuito di Pescara on the 15th of August. Of course, the seventh round of the World Championship would take place just a week after the race, and, Mieres needed as much time as possible to prepare the car to take part in the race.
Heading into the final part of the season, Mieres would mercifully be thrown a lifeline. From the Swiss Grand Prix onwards he would enter races as one of the official factory entries. This likely was the result of the loss of Marimon in Germany, but also, due to the ability of Mieres, if he had a car capable of completing a race.
What a difference it would make. In any of the World Championship races Mieres contested the best result he would come away with would be a 6th place result he would earn twice. Mieres had earned the first one at the 1953 Italian Grand Prix. The second, of course, would come during the British Grand Prix just a month prior. However, what a difference a new team would make. At the Swiss Grand Prix, driving for Officine Alfieri Maserati, Mieres would come away with an incredible 4th place finish earning him 3 championship points.
Although he would suffer an early retirement in the Italian Grand Prix, Mieres would overcome and would pull out yet another 4th place finish in the Spanish Grand Prix, the final round of the 1954 Formula One season. So, while the majority of the season would be filled with Mieres avoiding being burned and walking away from crashes and other mechanical issues, he would still end the season with 6 championship points and would end up a splendid 11th in the Drivers' Championship standings. Having the confidence of the support of the factory behind him would end up making all the difference.
These results in the waning moments of the '54 season would help to secure a factory ride heading into the 1955 season. This would eventually translate into more top five finishes and more championship points. The opportunity to drive for the factory team would then allow Mieres to show his true form and potential behind the wheel of a grand prix car. And while he would not prove to be as gifted as his fellow countryman Fangio, Mieres would still show his adeptness as a driver.