Teams1952 Formula One Season By Jeremy McMullen
Throughout the early post-war years, Scuderia Enrico Plate had been an influential racing team that had even provided the great Tazio Nuvolari his last victory. However, when Formula One came into existence, the team began to slowly disappear from view. Token results here and there kept the team alive…just barely.
Over the course of the first couple of years of Formula One, Enrico Plate made due with an older Maserati chassis because of their loyalty to the brand, and, in order to help keep costs down since they knew the car and had spare parts. But that also meant performance was down compared to others. By 1952, the team was barely hanging on.
Many teams found the announcement to switch the Formula One World Championship to run according to Formula 2 regulations liberating and enabling. Many small teams and private entries entered the World Championship for no other reason than the fact Formula 2 provided good competition for a much smaller price. Enrico Plate; however, was in such a state that the switch to Formula 2 caused more trouble for them than having to carry on according to the costs and regulations of Formula One.
The move to Formula 2 specifications led to the development of new chassis and engine designs. Even though it was Formula 2 Enrico Plate couldn't afford such extravagances as a brand new Formula 2 car. They had to make due with what they had.
Even according to Formula One regulations, the 4CLT/48 and 50 suffered from shortcomings compared to Alfa Romeo's 158/159, and then, Ferrari's 375. Unfortunately, money was short and allegiances ran deep for Enrico Plate. The team would not abandon Maserati. Therefore, the team had to make necessary changes to make the car legal to compete in the World Championship. This would involve a number of important revisions.
The 4CLT/48 and 50, in its time, were very good race cars. So the team had a good basis from which to start. One of the biggest areas that needed revision heading into the 1952 season had to do with the engine. Formula 2 specifications required engines with normal aspiration, instead of supercharging. This meant the team had to get rid of its superchargers. Without the superchargers, the engine's performance was greatly hindered. Thankfully, there was room for improvement. Per the Formula One regulations, the engine size of the supercharged Maserati 4CLT was smaller. The engine was only 1.5-liters. Formula 2 allowed for engines up to 2.0-liters in size. As a result, the team bored-out the engine up to the maximum allowable engine size of 2.0-liters. Because of the significant changes the team had made to the engine, and Maserati's okay for the team to do so, Enrico Plate would enter their cars as Maserati-Plate. This meant Enrico Plate had the distinction of being the only Swiss-based manufacturer for Formula One.
In addition to the engine, excess weight on the car was shed. Because of the lessened power, handling and stability became of greater importance. A great handling car could make up for performance deficiencies. With the superchargers out of the way, the team was able to shorten the car's wheelbase, which gave the car better overall handling.
Although the team made the necessary revisions to make their cars compliant with Formula 2 specifications, they still had to face other teams with purposely-built Formula 2 cars. The team would have a difficult fight on their hands heading into the 1952 season.
The team's season began with a single-car entry at the 2nd Grand Prix of Siracusa on the 16th of March. Held on the streets of Syracuse, the race was 60 laps of the 3.34 mile circuit. This would be the first time the team would face the new Ferrari 500. They would find out it was going to be a long season.
Facing the full might of Scuderia Ferrari, which included 1950 World Champion Giuseppe Farina and 1951 runner-up Alberto Ascari, Scuderia Enrico Plate would be hard pressed to find a good result.
Right away, Ascari showed the pace during practice. He would end up setting the fastest lap and would earn the pole with a time of two minutes and sixteen seconds. Ferrari's third driver wasn't all that bad either. Luigi Villoresi had actually helped Ascari get his ride with Ferrari. However, for this race, Villoresi would have to give way to his friend and would start the race 2nd on the grid. His front row starting position came courtesy of a lap only eight tenths slower than Ascari's best time. Farina rounded-out the front row with a time exactly one second slower than Ascari's.
Baron Emmanuel de Graffenried was Enrico Plate's sole entrant for the 60 lap race. Emmanuel had proven to be a race-winner for Plate in the past. However, after practice, de Graffenried found that despite the changes made to the Maserati, the car was still just too overweight and drastically underpowered compared to the Ferrari 500. Emmanuel's best time in practice was nowhere near the best time Ascari posted. His best time was exactly fourteen seconds slower. This meant de Graffenried would start the race from the fourth row in 10th.
Driving a merely revised version of the same car in which he had won the British Grand Prix back in 1949, de Graffenried readied for the 60 lap race. Unfortunately, the race would not end up the same for Emmanuel, or the car, as the '49 British Grand Prix.
Right from the start of the race, Scuderia Ferrari led the way. Ascari pulled away in the lead. Though the race just began, de Graffenried's race was coming to an end. Emmanuel would end up being the third entry out of the race. Meanwhile, Ascari would cruise to victory by fifty-nine seconds over Scuderia Ferrari's fourth driver Piero Taruffi. Giuseppe Farina finished a minute and half down in 3rd.
The team would have one of its revised 4CLT/48s entered in the 6th Grand Prix of Valentino on the 6th of April. It was to be driven by Harry Schell. However, the team would not arrive for the race. Therefore, the next race in which a Scuderia Enrico Plate car would be entered and arrive for would be the first round of the French F2 Championship on the 14th of April in Pau, France.
The French F2 Championship would now feature many of the top teams that had competed in Formula One the previous years. The regulations, and the scheduling; therefore, made it possible for teams to take part in two championships during 1952, which would be good for earning all-important prize money. In addition to being run to Formula 2 specifications, the French F2 Championship was also conducted slightly different than most races. Instead of the races being run according to a certain mileage and laps, all of the rounds of the French F2 Championship were timed races. Each round was a timed three-hour race.
Because it allowed teams extra opportunity at prize money and another championship, Enrico Plate could expect the top teams to take part in the championship. Sure enough, Scuderia Ferrari would arrive and unload its 500 Tipo.
Just as with the Grand Prix of Siracusa, the Ferrari 500 dominated during practice. However, Scuderia Ferrari wouldn't be all alone. They too would face a couple of new challengers. Equipe Gordini would bring a number of cars and proved quite quick in their T15 and T16. HWM-Alta would also come with a fleet of cars and would prove very competitive. Unlike the Grand Prix of Siracusa, de Graffenried would not trail behind Ascari and Ferrari as badly.
Ascari would grab the pole for the race when he recorded a time of one minute and forty-three seconds around the 1.75 mile street course. Villoresi would start from the middle of the front row when he recorded a time just seventh tenths of a second slower than Ascari. Lance Macklin, of HWM-Alta, would finish the front row with a time just over three seconds slower. Emmanuel de Graffenried had just missed out on a front row starting spot. Though setting an identical time as Macklin, de Graffenried would be relegated to the 4th position on the two-wide second row.
The three hour race around the tight streets of Pau would get underway with the front row locked in a battle. Emmanuel began to slip back from the leaders. In short order, Ascari would leave the field behind. The threat from Equipe Gordini began to fold under the pressure. The HWM-Alta of Macklin would slowly drop down the order.
The field fought hard to cling to Ascari's incredibly pace. At the end of the three hour race Ascari would win by more than three laps over Louis Rosier driving his own Ferrari 500. Equipe Gordini pilot, Jean Behra, would be able to hold together his old T11 to finish 3rd, down five laps to Ascari. Emmanuel would end up being the last classified runner on the track in 6th position. He would end the race 10 laps down. Considering the age and performance differences between Ferrari's 500 and Plate's Maserati, the 6th place was a rather good result. The result was undoubtedly helped by the tight nature of the Pau circuit.
A couple of weeks later, de Graffenried would have another opportunity to face Ascari, and a number of other competitors, in the second round of the French F2 Championship. The second round was the 10th Grand Prix of Marseille. The race was another three-hour timed race but around the 1.62 mile Parc Borley circuit. The nature of the Parc Borely circuit played into the hands of the Maserati-Plate once again. The track was rather short, tight and featured sweeping turns where handling and stability was of greater importance than outright speed. This was a blessing for the overweight and underpowered Maserati.
Of course the Ferrari 500 had already proven to have both handling and power. Ascari would use its abilities to take yet another pole. He would travel the 1.62 miles in one minute and seventeen seconds. Nobody was even close to his time. Robert Manzon, of Equipe Gordini, would qualify 2nd. His best time was over a second slower. Luigi Villoresi would start on the front row in 3rd with a time that was just under two seconds slower than his Ferrari teammate. Emmanuel's best time in practice was over six seconds slower. This meant the Swiss driver would start the race on the third row in 9th.
Being only a little over a mile and a half in length, the cars, especially the gearboxes and brakes, would go through torture over the course of the three-hour race. While Ascari was pulling away up at the front of the field, three cars would drop out of the race. Each one of the cars would drop out before 10 laps would be completed. Another four entries would be out before 50 laps would be completed. Each of the four suffered from problems related to the excessive shifting and wear and tear the course put on the cars.
Ascari would absolutely dominate once again. He would win the race by five laps over Robert Manzon in Prince Bira's Gordini T15. Manzon had fallen out of the race after only 25 laps, but, would take over Prince Bira's ride for the remainder of the race. Equipe Gordini teammate, Johnny Claes, would end up another two laps further down in 3rd. Once again, de Graffenried would end the race 10 laps down, but in 4th place.
Despite entering a much older chassis, de Graffenried would continue to put up a fight in the French F2 Championship. There would only be one more race before the other championship, the World Championship, got its season underway. Should the team continue to put up the fight it had throughout the first couple of rounds of the French F2 season, Enrico Plate had the opportunity to surprise many and fare well in the World Championship.
Enrico Plate's last race before the start of the 1952 Formula One World Championship would come on the 10th of May across the English Channel at Silverstone. The race was the 4th BRDC International Trophy race.
As with the past, the International Trophy race consisted of two 15 lap heat races and a 35 lap final around the 2.88 mile road course that borders what used to be an old Royal Air Force base during World War II.
Being comprised of heat races and a final, the rules were different. The entire field was split into heats. Those who finished the heats would then take part in the final. Scuderia Enrico Plate would end up entering its two cars for the race. In the first heat, American, Harry Schell, would be entered driving one of the Maserati 4CLT/48s. Emmanuel de Graffenried would be entered in the second heat with the other Maserati.
Schell faced a strong threat in the first heat. The field would be littered with HWM-Alta and Equipe Gordini cars. In addition, there would be a number of other small teams and privateer entries, including one Mike Hawthorn. In practice before the first heat, Hawthorn would record the fastest lap. He would circulate the 2.88 mile road course in two minutes flat. HWM-Alta driver, Peter Collins, would start 2nd. Hawthorn and Collins would be joined on the front row by Jean Behra and Lance Macklin. Schell would end up well down the seventeen car field. His best time was ten seconds slower than Hawthorn's. This positioned the Parisian bar owner down on the fourth row in 13th.
The important thing was to finish the race and to do it as fast as possible. Even though he started all the way down on the fourth row, Schell would be impressive during the race. Known for his yelling and cursing as he would throw his car into turns, Schell would throw his car around and would prove to be rather fast.
Hawthorn would finish the heat in 1st. He was chased by Behra in 2nd. Peter Collins would end up finishing 3rd. Schell would finish the race one minute and four seconds behind, but would come up from 13th to finish 8th.
Practice for the second heat would end up posting times just a little slower than the first. Manzon would post the fastest time of the second heat competitors. He would start the heat from the pole after recording a time of two minutes and one second. Four competitors would record times one second slower. One of those four was de Graffenried. As a result, Emmanuel would start the heat from the second row in 5th.
In the race itself, Manzon would be chased by Rudolf Fischer in Ecurie Espadon's Ferrari 500. Tony Rolt would come up from his 7th place starting spot to challenge amongst the top-three. Emmanuel was holding station in or around his 5th place starting position.
Manzon would hold on to take the heat victory by two seconds over Fischer and five seconds over Rolt. Emmanuel would hold station and would finish the heat down thirty seconds in 5th.
The starting grid for the 35 lap final would be determined by finishing times of the heat races. Because Manzon completed the 15 lap heat race the fastest he would start the final on the pole. He was joined on the front row by Fischer, Hawthorn and Behra. Emmanuel's time of thirty-one minutes and eight seconds meant he would start the race from the three-wide second row in 7th. Schell would start the race from the fourth row in 14th.
Almost right from the start, the race became wide-open. Pole-sitter, Robert Manzon, would be out of the race after only one lap due to transmission troubles. His Equipe Gordini teammate, and fellow front row starter, Jean Behra, would also retire from the race on the 3rd lap also because of transmission troubles. Schell's wooing of his Maserati was perhaps a little too rough. After 18 laps of throwing his Maserati into the corners the steering failed and led to Harry's retirement from the race.
The race was going really well for de Graffenried despite being in an ancient and heavy chassis. Throughout the race, Baron de Graffenried was battling within the top-five. Lance Macklin and Tony Rolt were putting on truly tremendous performances. Macklin had managed to come from 10th to be battling for the lead with Rolt who started 5th.
At the end of the 35 lap final, Macklin would prove to get the better of Rolt. Macklin, driving an HWM-Alta, would win the race by ten seconds over Rolt also driving an HWM-Alta. De Graffenried would truly be impressive in his Maserati. Fifteen seconds after Rolt crossed the line in 2nd, de Graffenried followed home in 3rd! This was a tremendous podium for the team, especially on a track that should have exposed the car's weaknesses. This was a great confidence-builder for the team as they headed into the World Championship. This provided the Swiss; de Graffenried, hope of a good result in front of the home crowd as the first round of the championship would be the Swiss Grand Prix.
On the 18th of May, Scuderia Enrico Plate was in Bern, Switzerland for the first round of the Formula One World Championship. This was, technically, the 12th Swiss Grand Prix and it took place at the 4.52 mile Bremgarten road course.
The race would see the return of Scuderia Ferrari. But, the team would be missing an important piece of its championship puzzle. Alberto Ascari was across the Atlantic at Indianapolis preparing to take part in the Indianapolis 500, which counted as the second round of the World Championship. Despite his presence, Ferrari wasn't lacking any potency. However, it would give other teams and drivers a chance at a good result.
Giuseppe Farina reminded the entire field of the fact that he was the first World Champion when he would set the fastest lap in practice. He would take his Ferrari 500 and record a time of two minutes and forty-seven seconds. Ferrari teammate, Piero Taruffi, would start on the front row in 2nd after recording a time just two and a half seconds slower. Robert Manzon would start the race 3rd after setting a time four and a half seconds slower.
Enrico Plate would enter two cars in the race. Emmanuel de Graffenried would be the fastest of the two drivers. His best time would be just under nine seconds slower than Farina, but would be good enough for Swiss driver to start the race in front of the home crowd 8th. Harry Schell was the team's second entry. His best time was over twenty seconds slower. This poor performance relegated Schell to starting the race from 18th on the grid.
The 62 lap race got underway. Immediately a fight amongst the front-runners ensued. The battle would rage throughout the first 10 laps of the race. Then, trouble started to strike the front-running cars. Collins was out of the race on the 12th lap. Though he would take over Andre Simon's Ferrari 500, Farina's car would retire from the race on the 16th due to magneto troubles. Third-place starter, Manzon, would also drop out of the race with radiator problems. Twenty-one cars would start the race. The attrition was such that only eight would be running by the end.
The race was looking good for Schell, who was trying to make his way up the field from his 18th starting position. However, on the 31st lap of the race, it would all come to an end. Schell would retire from the race with engine failure. Enrico Plate's other driver, de Graffenried, was looking extremely good. All throughout the race, de Graffenried remained right around the top-ten, even the top-five.
When Farina dropped out of the race after leading the first 16 laps, Taruffi picked up the lead and would not let it go for the remaining 46. The Swiss crowd would have their hopes dashed, but would still have something to celebrate. Taruffi would win the race by two minutes and thirty-seven seconds over Swiss driver Rudolf Fischer. Jean Behra would finish a lap down in 3rd. Championship points were awarded to the first-five finishers. The Swiss faithful held their breath throughout the remaining laps of the race. Unfortunately, de Graffenried would just miss out on a points-paying position. He would end up four laps down to Taruffi, but would finish the race 6th. Though not able to earn points, the result was still fantastic for Enrico Plate considering the competition and the age of their equipment.
After the near miss at Bremgarten, the team's season resumed on the 25th of May in what was the third round of the French F2 Championship. The team left Bremgarten and travelled a little over 300 miles away to the Montlhery circuit just outside Paris, France.
The third round of the French F2 Championship for 1952 took place on a 3.9 mile portion of the Montlhery road course, which included about two-thirds of the circuit's banked oval. The team arrived with two cars for the race. Emmanuel de Graffenried had driven in the first two rounds of the championship, but with the race taking place just outside Paris, where Schell owned a bar, it wasn't too surprising Schell accompanied the team to the race.
The absence of Ascari to America opened up the possibilities even though there were two other Ferrari drivers more than capable of securing victory. During practice, the inadequacies of the Enrico Plate's older Maserati chassis would come to be very apparent. The older, heavier machines could not match the pace, even without Ascari present. Surprisingly, it would be Equipe Gordini that would set the pace in practice. Robert Manzon would lead the way having set a lap time of two minutes and twenty-one seconds around the course. Qualifying over a second slower, Piero Taruffi would occupy the middle of the front row. Luigi Villoresi would occupy the 3rd position on the front row with a time only one tenth slower than Taruffi's. Enrico Plate's drivers would truly struggle. De Graffenried would record the best time amongst the two drivers. However, his best time was twenty seconds slower than pole-sitter Manzon. This positioned de Graffenried on the seventh, and final, row in 16th position. Schell's best time, another nineteen seconds slower than de Graffenried's, positioned him in last place on the starting grid.
At the waving of the green flag, the field roared away strong. Over the course of the three hours, a majority of the field end up retired and beaten. The expected battle up front didn't truly materialize. The pace was so fierce that the majority of the field would end up out of the race due to problems of one kind or another, or, the pace was such that many would be forced to slow just to make it to the end of the race.
Manzon, Taruffi and Farina battled throughout two-thirds of the race. Schell wouldn't even really be part of the race as his day would end after 12 laps due to an oil pipe failure. Though the race hadn't even made it halfway, Enrico Plate's other car, driven by de Graffenried, would also end up out of the race. Emmanuel's problems would hit 30 laps after Schell's retirement. A pin broke loose on Emmanuel's Maserati, which brought his race to an end. Taruffi had assumed out-right control of the race when Manzon slowed and dropped out due to differential problems. Taruffi's command was further enhanced when Farina, who had taken over Villoresi's ride, was disqualified for receiving outside help getting the car going. Although Farina suffered, he would return a favor to a fellow teammate. Abandoning his own car to take over for the suffering Villoresi, Farina left his car for Ferrari's alternate driver Andre Simon. Simon had been ordered to give up his ride to Farina at the first round of the World Championship just a week prior. Simon would take over the car and would put in an impressive performance.
Piero Taruffi would go on to dominate. He would record the fastest lap of the race, which was also faster than Manzon's pole time. He would go on to win the race by three laps over Simon. Louis Rosier would complete the podium finishing the race 3rd in his own Ferrari 500. Rosier would finish down four laps to Taruffi. Only the three that finished on the podium were actually classified as having finished the race out of the eighteen that started.
After the bitter disappointment at Montlhery, Enrico Plate needed a good result, and fast. A good result would mean the team could still push their old machines enough to finish out the rest of the season on good terms. Should the team suffer another bitter disappointment, the tendency would be to believe the car was truly outclassed and it would end up being a very long and defeating season. In search of a positive result, the team would skip some other events that many of the big teams took part, and instead, would wait until the 8th of June before it went racing again.
On the 8th of June, the team was in Aix-Les-Bains for the 4th Circuit du Lac. Similar to the Grand Prix of Monza, the race consisted of two heat races. The final results were determined by the aggregate time achieved over the course of the two heats.
The team entered its two cars in the race. In practice, it seemed the team had chosen the right race from which to build its confidence before the next round of the World Championship. Equipe Gordini driver Jean Behra would set the pace. Behra would end up taking the pole with Maurice Trintignant starting in the middle of the front row. Harry Schell impressed as he was able to start the race from the front row in 3rd. Emmanuel de Graffenried wasn't too far behind his Enrico Plate teammate. He would start the race from the second row in 4th. Things were looking good before the race began.
Each of the heat races consisted of 40 laps around the 1.52 mile street course. The tight nature of the street course would end up dealing the team a favorable hand. Right from the waving of the green flag, Robert Manzon was on the hunt. After starting from the third row, he would quickly be up amongst the leaders and would be pressing for the overall lead. Behra would hold on up at the front. Lance Macklin would get by de Graffenried and would be pushing Schell. Trintignant would drop out of the first heat with magneto problems. Emmanuel would end up getting by Schell.
At the end of the first 40 lap heat race, Jean Behra would take the victory by five seconds over Robert Manzon. Lance Macklin would end up 3rd, another seventeen seconds behind Manzon. Emmanuel de Graffenried would out-duel his Enrico Plate teammate to take 4th. Schell was more concerned about finishing the heat it appeared as his pace was such that he would end up a lap down in 5th at the end.
Starting grid positions for the second heat were based upon finishing times of the first heat. This meant Behra had the pole with Manzon and Macklin on the front row with the Frenchman. As with the first heat, de Graffenried would start the second heat from the second row in 4th. Schell would start the second heat from the 5th position, also on the second row.
Right at the start of the second heat, a door would be opened. Manzon would be out of the race after the 2nd lap due to rear axle problems. This would only help the Enrico Plate teammates. If either one of the drivers could stay out of trouble the team would be on course for a positive result. Excluding Manzon's retirement, the second heat was uneventful. First-through-sixth held station throughout the 40 lap second heat. Jean Behra would pull away and take the victory in the second heat race over Lance Macklin. Macklin couldn't match Behra's pace and appeared to be just waiting for Behra's T16 to fail like Manzon's. It wouldn't. Macklin would finish over twenty-two seconds behind. Manzon's retirement meant all de Graffenried would have to do to finish on the podium was to stay out of trouble. He would be able to do that and would end up finishing the race 3rd. Schell would also remain on the lead lap to finish 4th.
In the final results, Jean Behra would take the victory by almost forty seconds over Macklin. Emmanuel de Graffenried would stand on the podium in 3rd. His finishing time was over two minutes slower, but still good enough for 3rd. Down one lap, in 4th place, was Enrico Plate's other driver, Harry Schell. So, after the disastrous race at Montlhery, the team rebounded to finish on the podium for the first time in 1952. More importantly, the team gained confidence that it could keep tweaking the aging Maserati in order to compete.
The team recognized its strengths and its weaknesses. The first handful of races had proven the Maserati was overweight and underpowered. While the team could hold its own on shorter, tight and twisty tracks, it was thoroughly outclassed on circuits with higher average speeds. The third round of the Formula One World Championship was one of those races that took place on a high average speed circuit. The third round was the Belgian Grand Prix and it was held on the 8.77 mile Spa-Francorchamps public road course. It was fast, if not dangerous. It would not suit an overweight and underpowered car. Therefore, the team would not attend this round of the championship. Instead, the team would wait and enter the fourth round of the French F2 Championship.
On the 29th of June, Scuderia Enrico Plate was preparing for the 20th Grand Prix of the Marne. The Grand Prix of the Marne was held at Reims' fast 4.46 mile public road course. This track would not suit the Maserati well either, but the team decided it would continue to take part in the French F2 Championship. Hopefully the team could avenge for its terrible showing at Montlhery at the end of May.
If the team thought the competition would be lacking. They were severely wrong. Ferrari's driver, Alberto Ascari, was leading the championship, and now, he was back from the United States.
Practice was probably a good indicator as to how the race would go for Enrico Plate. Ascari returned to the French F2 Championship and promptly took the pole for the race having set a best lap of two minutes and twenty-six seconds around the public road course between Reims and Gueux. Farina would start on the front row in 2nd. His best time was almost two seconds slower than Ascari's. Robert Manzon completed the front row. His time was three tenths slower than Farina's. Unlike their last race, the Enrico Plate drivers were fighting for the front of the wrong end of the grid. De Graffenried's best time was eighteen seconds slower than Alberto's. This pushed the Swiss driver down to the eighth row and 20th on the grid. Schell had a truly terrible practice. His best time was twenty-two seconds slower and relegated him to 23rd, and last, on the grid.
The race got underway with sunny skies, but they would not shine down on Enrico Plate that day. The sun wouldn't shine down on a lot of entries that day. While Ascari pulled away in the lead, other cars ran into trouble right from the start. Four cars would be out of the race by the time 5 laps had been completed. One of those out was Ferrari driver Luigi Villoresi. His engine expired on him on the 4th lap of the race. The fast nature of the course would put the engines to the test. Surprisingly, the patriarchal Maseratis of Schell and de Graffenried were holding together. That is, until 24 laps into the race when Schell's race came to an end.
Villoresi's early retirement from the race led his friend and race leader at the time, Ascari, to pull over and let Luigi carry on in his car. This gesture handed the lead to Farina, but Behra was right there and was going to give the former World Champion fits. Behra would take the lead and would begin to pull away. Farina and Villoresi were left running together in 2nd and 3rd. Emmanuel was doing everything he could just to hold on. The pace was such that he just could not keep up with the leaders. He would slip down lap-after-lap.
Behra would go on to win the three-hour race by a lap over Farina and Villoresi in 2nd and 3rd. Though not classified at the end, de Graffenried was still running in 9th place overall, but down 10 laps to Behra. While this was not the embarrassment the team experienced at Montlhery, it was still a difficult result to swallow. This had made it two French F2 races in a row in which the team struggled to stay in touch, and they really didn't even do that. Unfortunately, the way the schedule was prepared for 1952, the next round of the French F2 Championship also counted as the fourth round of the Formula One World Championship.
A week after the fourth round of the French F2 Championship race at Reims, the tram travelled the 170 miles, or so, to Rouen-Les-Essarts for what was the fifth round of the French F2 Championship, but more importantly, the fourth round of the 1952 Formula One World Championship.
Rouen-Les-Essarts was a popular venue for the drivers, teams and fans. It featured modern pits and a 3.2 mile road course made up of public roads that wound through the beautiful 'Forest of Rouvray'. The course was rather twisty, but it did feature a couple of prominent straights. This helped to keep an average speed of close to 90 mph for the front-running cars.
Enrico Plate entered its two cars in the race. In practice, Scuderia Ferrari showed the way. Alberto Ascari posted the fastest time of any driver and would take the pole with a time of two minutes and fourteen seconds around the 3.2 mile road course. Giuseppe Farina was 2nd for Ferrari followed by Piero Taruffi. Neither one of the Plate cars could put together a challenging lap. Schell would earn the best starting spot when he would turn in a lap of two minutes and twenty-eight seconds. He would start the race 11th. De Graffenried was start next to him on the grid in 12th after posting a time just four tenths slower than Schell's.
Since the race was also part of the French F2 Championship it would be conducted according to the French F2 Championship rules. Therefore, instead of a certain number of laps, the race was a three-hour timed event just as every other round of the French F2 Championship would be.
It was becoming apparent over the course of either of the championship events, Scuderia Enrico Plate was losing ground to its competitors. Against the younger, faster competition, the older Maserati chassis was being asked to do things it just couldn't. The French Grand Prix would bear that fact publicly.
Right from the start of the race Ascari was in control. He led the first lap and began to draw away from his competitors, including teammates driving the same kind of car. Enrico Plate's drivers were stuck down in the field trying to make their way forward if they could. The age of the Maserati began to show itself. On the 7th lap of the race, Schell's gearbox failed on him retiring him from the event. Emmanuel de Graffenried would continue on without issue, however.
While Ascari continued to disappear into the distance, with Farina and Taruffi in tow, de Graffenried struggled on. Schell had proven during practice that he was the faster of the two Enrico Plate drivers. Emmanuel had been driving, trying to make his way up the order, but with little result. After 20 laps, de Graffenried pulled into the pits and handed over the car to Schell for the remainder of the race. The thought was Schell may be able to bring the car forward. Unfortunately, the remainder of the race meant only 14 more laps.
Schell pushed hard, which was a dangerous maneuver on drum brakes. The drum brakes had a tendency to fade. Sure enough, on what was the 34th lap of the race, the brakes had faded to a degree that it wasn't safe for Schell to continue. Therefore, both of Enrico Plate's cars were out of the race before the race had reached halfway.
It didn't really matter, as the race was absolutely dominated by Ascari and Ferrari. By the end of the three hours, Ascari had managed to complete 77 laps. He had at least a lap advantage on the entire field. Farina finished in 2nd. Piero Taruffi made it a Ferrari one-two-three when he finished two laps down in 3rd.
After two World Championship events, the best result Enrico Plate had managed to achieve was an 8th place at Bremgarten back in May. While commendable, the team's loyalty to Maserati was hurting the once influential team. If things were looking bad after the French Grand Prix, things would get worse.
Things were difficult for Enrico Plate. Costs, though reduced, were still high. As the summer kicked into high gear, the races came in a much more rapid succession. This made it difficult for the team to properly fix any problems the team may have suffered at a previous event. This was made increasingly difficult by the fact the team was using an old chassis.
Nonetheless, Scuderia Enrico Plate entered its two cars one week later for what was the sixth round of the French F2 Championship. The team prepared its cars the best they could in order to take part in the 2nd Grand Prix de Sables d'Olonne on the 13th of July.
The three-hour race took place on the short 1.45 street circuit that skirted along the Bay of Biscay. Though short, the circuit layout favored cars that were light in weight and able to accelerate rapidly. Skills the older Maserati didn't possess. Enrico Plate needed circuits that made it possible for the car to act like a roadblock.
Thankfully, the short nature of the track would end up hiding the true performance difficulties of the Maserati. There was no roadblock that could seem to stop Ascari, however. He would go out and record the fastest lap during practice with a lap of one minute and twelve seconds. Farina, once again, would start 2nd, in the middle of the front row. Farina had missed the pole by only one tenth of a second. Robert Manzon would almost be two seconds slower, yet, would start from the front row in 3rd.
Emmanuel de Graffenried would end up claiming the fastest time amongst the Enrico Plate teammates. His time was exactly five seconds slower than Alberto's and would force the Swiss racer to start from the fourth row in 9th. Starting right beside him was Schell. Schell's best time was only one tenth slower than his teammate. In all, fifteen cars would start the race…well almost.
Jean Behra would have a terrible crash in practice. The damage was such that the team could not repair it in time to start the race. This left fourteen to fight it out. The race dwindled that number even more with the unfortunate help of one of Enrico Plate's drivers.
With the exception of Behra, the race got underway without any trouble. Ascari and Farina disappeared to fight amongst themselves right at the start. Lap-after-lap would be completed, and without any attrition. Then, a worse-case scenario began to unfold, with Schell suspected to be right at the heart of it.
On the 41st lap, Schell's engine failed and Harry would end up crashing the car as well. By this time, Ascari was out front and looking absolutely unbeatable once again. He held a lap advantage over Farina and managed to set the fastest lap of the race with a time even faster than what he had qualified. He then lost control of the car and crashed out the race. This handed the lead to Farina until he did the very same thing. Two others would end up doing the very same thing. It was suspected Schell's expired engine led to oil perhaps being laid down on the track, which led to others losing control and crashing out of the race.
All of the drama left the door open to others to perhaps take advantage. However, Villoresi would make sure it would be Scuderia Ferrari that would maintain control at the front. Schell's crash had led to the top-two runners to drop out of the race before 50 laps had been completed. Emmanuel de Graffenried would make it past 50 laps, but only just barely. On the 54th lap, de Graffenried retired from the race with mechanical troubles. This made it yet another race where both cars would not officially finish a race. Things were getting incredibly worse for the team. This was made worse by Schell's accident and the subsequent failures of others as a result.
Villoresi would uphold Ferrari's honor. He would win the race by three laps over Peter Collins in his HWM-Alta. Johnny Claes, driving a Simca-Gordini T15, would finish 3rd, down five laps.
After the terrible failures at Les Sables, the team had less than a week to repair and prepare the cars for the team's next race, which was the fifth round of the Formula One World Championship.
Excluding the 8th place result at the Swiss Grand Prix, Enrico Plate had experienced a terrible World Championship. Its next opportunity to turn things around and salvage a decent 1952 season came at Silverstone on the 19th of July.
In practically the very same car, Emmanuel de Graffenried had managed to take the win in the British Grand Prix back in 1949. He, and the team, were looking and hoping for the same providential hand to be upon them in 1952. There have been a number of miracles in motor racing throughout its history, including aging cars taking just one more victory before being retired. This was what Enrico Plate was hoping to see happen to them. In the case of their Maseratis, the team was looking for what amounted to parting the Red Sea.
The first miracle the team needed was getting their two cars ready for the race after the failures over the last couple of weeks. As a result of difficulties, the team would not take part in practice. Had they taken part, they would have witnessed an absolute surprise. Giuseppe Farina would end up getting the better of Ascari around the 2.88 mile road course during practice. As a result, Farina would start from the pole; his second such pole of the World Championship season.
Ascari would start alongside in 2nd. Taruffi made it another Ferrari one-two-three as he too would start from the front row. As a result of setting no time in practice, de Graffenried would start 31st, and second-to-last. Schell would start 32nd. One more time, Schell would start from dead-last.
Under overcast skies the race got underway. While Farina's tires lit up at the start, Ascari's tires immediately gripped and shot him into the lead even before the first turn. Leading through the first turn, Ascari began his fast-paced march out front. Meanwhile, the Enrico Plate drivers were trying to make their way up from the last row on the grid. Seeing there were thirty-one that started the race, the task was not going to be easy for either driver.
There were battles throughout the large field. This led many drivers to push too hard right from the start. In an effort to gain an advantage, cars began to fail under the strain. This would be the case for a number of racers. Three would be out of the race before 10 of the scheduled 85 laps had been completed. Of those out early, brakes and gearbox troubles were the main causes. Despite their troubles, Enrico Plate's drivers continued on without a problem.
Out front, Ascari seemed free to push as hard as he wanted to without any threat of any trouble from the car. He would end up setting the fastest lap of the race. Enrico Plate had received one miracle when it was able to get both cars ready for the race. The second miracle the team was experiencing was the fact both cars were still running, though not very fast. Of course, nobody appeared all that fast next to Ascari.
The wheel spin at the start hurt Farina. He had dropped down to 5th position after the 1st lap of the race and found himself in a battle throughout. This allowed local hero, Mike Hawthorn, to give the British crowd something to cheer about as he fought it out for the top-three.
It would only take Ascari two hours and forty-four minutes to finish the 85 laps and take the victory. His lead was over a lap on Piero Taruffi. Farina's struggles off the line, and the inspired drive by Hawthorn, enabled the Brit to finish the race in 3rd. Scuderia Enrico Plate's last miracle would be being able to finish a race. Though way down in the running, both of the team's cars would finish the race. De Graffenried would finish the race down 9 laps in 19th place. Schell actually fared better. He would only end up down 7 laps. However, he too would finish outside the top-ten. He would finish 17th. Though not anywhere near the points, this was still a successful race for Enrico Plate considering the way the season had been going over the previous month.
After the pseudo-success at the British Grand Prix, the team prepared for its next race of the 1952 season. The team would end up staying in England in order to take part in the 2nd Daily Mail Trophy race at Boreham on the 2nd of August.
The Daily Mail Trophy race was different than the French or Formula One World Championships. The decision to race the Formula One World Championship according to Formula 2 regulations was a rather late-minute decision. In an effort to keep costs down, there were a number of non-championship races that would allow cars conforming to Formula One regulations to continue to race. This helped prevent teams and privateer entries from having to spend more money on Formula 2 cars if they only had and wanted to race a car that conformed to the Formula One regulations. The Daily Mail Trophy race was one of those races that allowed either Formula One, or, Formula 2 cars to race.
The race, which was held at the Royal Air Force Boreham base was a 67 lap race of the 2.99 mile course that ran around the perimeter of the base. In the dry, the course was rather fast. Lap records were touching over 100 mph in average speed. In the wet, the average speeds of the course were moderately fast. Therefore, if weather was part of the equation the Formula 2 cars would have a chance against the Formula One cars. They would.
Enrico Plate brought their two cars, but decided to race according to Formula 2 specifications because of the changes they had already made to the car. Already struggling for pace against other Formula 2 cars, the team could only expect to do worse against the old Formula One cars such as the dominate Ferrari 375.
In practice, the weather was dry. Luigi Villoresi was behind the wheel of one of Scuderia Ferrari's dominant 375s. He would show the car was still as dominant as ever as he would set a record lap, and therefore, grab the pole for the race. It was expected the race would be a renewed battle between Ferrari and BRM. Practice would make those assumptions appear correct as Jose Froilan Gonzalez would set the second-fastest time in practice and would start alongside Villoresi on the front row with the BRM P15. Chico Landi was behind the wheel of the other Ferrari 375 and would start the race 3rd. He was flanked by the other BRM driven by Ken Wharton. The first Formula 2 car on the starting grid belonged to Louis Rosier in his own Ferrari 500. Both de Graffenried and Schell started much further down in the field.
Rain had already fallen on the track before the green flag waved to get the race going. The wet conditions neutralized the power of the big engines. This allowed Mike Hawthorn to come through and into the lead. Three laps into the race, one of the BRMs was out after Gonzalez lost control and crashed out of the race.
Hawthorn led Villoresi and Landi throughout the first-half of the race. Mired in the back of the grid, the going was tough for Enrico Plate's drivers. Their difficulties would be relieved pretty quickly. Practically at the same time, the race came to an end for both of the Plate drivers. The team suffered yet another double-DNF.
Unfortunately for Hawthorn, the rain had stopped and the track was drying out. This swung the momentum back in favor of Villoresi with the powerful Ferrari 375. Sure enough, with only a number of laps remaining, Villoresi would get by Hawthorn and into the lead. Chico Landi would even be able to get by Hawthorn before the end. Once by Hawthorn in his Cooper-Bristol T20, the two 375s disappeared.
Villoresi would go on to take the victory by ten seconds over Landi. Quickly Villoresi had stretched the gap between himself and Hawthorn. Hawthorn would end up holding on to finish in 3rd, albeit down over a minute to Villoresi.
Given the fact the German Grand Prix took place the day after the Daily Mail Trophy race, it was obvious Enrico Plate was being particular as to what races it would take part. This was due, in part, to a couple of reasons. For one thing, all of the failures the team had been suffering were costing the team a good deal of money, which the team had in short supply anyway. Secondly, because of the failures, the team didn't have the time and the financial resources to fix and prepare their cars in time.
Skipping the sixth round of the Formula One World Championship, the team would still return in time to enter a championship of one kind. One week after the German Grand Prix, the seventh round of the French F2 Championship was scheduled to run at St. Gaudens.
The financial woes were truly gripping the team. Both de Graffenried and Schell would arrive for the three-hour 26th Grand Prix of Comminges, but only de Graffenried would be entered for Enrico Plate. While Schell had moved on to race for another, Enrico Plate had tentatively planned for a second car to be prepared for Nello Pagani. However, the team would not bring the car.
In previous years, the grand prix had been held on a 17 mile course covering public roads around the St. Gaudens countryside. Then, for a number of years, the race was held on a shortened 6.84 mile version. But for 1952, the course was shortened once again. For the first time, the grand prix would take place on the much shorter 2.73 mile road course.
In practice, Ascari showed it didn't matter what course was used. He would end up setting the fastest lap and would take the pole with a lap of one minute and fifty-one seconds. The closest competitor to Ascari's time in practice was Maurice Trintignant. His best time was three seconds slower! Manzon would finish off the front row with a time two tenths slower than Maurice's. It didn't matter what the front-runners were doing as far as de Graffenried was concerned. He couldn't get his Maserati to go fast enough. His best lap would end up being over seventeen seconds slower. As a result, he would start the race from the sixth row in 15th place.
As with practically every other French F2 round, the Grand Prix of Comminges would be a car-breaker. That would include Alberto Ascari. Right from the start of the race, things didn't appear quite right for Ascari. Not surprisingly, he would pit on the 2nd lap of the race with steering issues. But he would not sit out the rest of the race. He would end up taking over Andre Simon's car for the remainder of the race. Emmanuel, lacking the pace to truly compete, would end up having to wait for attrition to help move him forward. It would work.
Acari had taken over Simon's car and promptly took it all the way from its 10th place starting position to the head of the pack. Two-thirds into the race, there were only about six cars still running. Amazingly, de Graffenried was one of those still plugging along, though a number of laps down.
Unfortunately for de Graffenried, he had reached a wall in which he could not overcome. It was the car's performance wall. He just could not go any faster. Because of the performance woes he was too far back to move up the order unless those ahead suffered failures in the remaining laps.
Ascari took the Frenchman, Simon's, car and showed him what the car could truly do. He would go on to win by a lap over Farina in 2nd. Six laps would separate Ascari from 3rd place finisher Jean Behra. Facing a pace like what Ascari was able to do made it impossible for de Graffenried to finish the race classified. Though still running at the end, de Graffenried would not be classified as having finished since he was 11 laps down. Emmanuel was down five laps to Whitehead in 4th, and therefore, was stuck in the 5th position. However, Enrico Plate had its car finish a race. That was another little small victory for the team.
The performance woes of the team being what they were. The team would only take part in a couple more races throughout the rest of the 1952 season. In fact, though next on the calendar, the team would skip the seventh round of the Formula One World Championship. Instead, the team headed to the southwest of France for the final round of the French F2 Championship.
The eighth, and final, round of the championship took place at the 2.64 mile road course that ran along the taxiways of the La Baule airfield. Although it was the last race of the French F2 Championship, Enrico Plate introduced a new driver to its team. Joining Emmanuel de Graffenried, the team employed Argentinean Alberto Crespo.
In practice for the final three-hour race, Ascari would set the pace. He would cover the 2.64 mile road course with a time of one minute and fifty-seven seconds and would start from the pole. The grid was slightly different than most. The grid utilized a two-by-two arrangement. Therefore, the only other driver to join Ascari on the front row was Equipe Gordini driver Robert Manzon. His best time was exactly one second slower. As had been the case throughout the season, de Graffenried's best time in practice was about ten seconds slower. This put the Swiss driver on the seventh row in 13th. He would be joined by his old teammate Harry Schell. Emmanuel's new teammate, Alberto Crespo, would start right behind him on the eighth row in 15th.
The start of the race would prove the event would be anything but 'run-of-the-mill'. Well…with the exception of Alberto Ascari in the lead. Ascari would assume the lead right from the start of the race. His grip on the lead would end up being further tightened when Farina and Manzon would come together at the end of the 1st lap. This opened the door for other competitors to take advantage. Unfortunately, de Graffenried's Maserati was just too old. Mechanical troubles began to plague him. Then, on the 7th lap of the race, de Graffenried would retire. Crespo continue to carry on.
Over the course of the three hours a number of the front-running cars would drop out of the race. This only helped Crespo who was driving a consistent race in the second Maserati.
Ascari would end up winning yet again. His margin of victory was by more than a lap over his friend Villoresi. Louis Rosier, driving another Ferrari 500, would finish the race 3rd, albeit four laps down. Crespo would greatly impress, especially given the fact he was driving an old and tired Maserati that hadn't really made it a race distance in a while. He would end up providing the team one more good result, and a breath of fresh air. Crespo would finish seven laps down, but in 6th place.
Despite all of the troubles the team faced throughout the last-half of the season, Emmanuel de Graffenried would end up the French F2 Championship in 12th place having earned 6 points! Alberto Ascari was declared champion having earned 43 points to Giuseppe Farina's 22.
Though the team had missed a number of rounds, Enrico Plate would head to Italy at the end of the August to prepare for the Italian Grand Prix, which took place on the 7th of September at Monza. Going with the team were de Graffenried and newcomer Alberto Crespo.
The eighth round of the Formula One World Championship took place at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza and was another high-speed venue. This spelled 'disaster' for the team as they would have to push their old, tired and plainly outclassed cars to the limit just to start the race.
Ferrari would again set the bar by which everyone else would be judged. Ascari would turn in a lap of the 3.91 mile road course of two minutes and five seconds. Whether an embarrassment or an act of mercy, the old Maseratis just could not turn in a lap fast enough for either one to qualify for the race. Crespo would turn in the fastest lap between the two drivers. His fastest lap was two minutes and seventeen seconds. Comparatively, Crespo's time was twelve seconds slower than Ascari's best. Emmanuel's best lap was six tenths slower than his teammate.
It really wouldn't matter whether Enrico's cars made it into the race anyway as Ascari, and Ferrari would dominate. Jose Froilan Gonzalez, driving the new Maserati A6GCM, would try a different tactic to try and beat Ascari. He would try and sprint out front on light tanks, hopefully refuel and re-enter the track in time, and hold off Ascari to the checkered flag. Initially it worked, but Gonzalez wasn't able to open up a big enough margin over Ascari. Ascari would swallow his lead up and assume control of the race.
Ascari would overcome all tactics to emphatically stamp his seal of dominance on the 1952 Formula One World Championship. Having already won the championship after a victory at the German Grand Prix, Ascari carried on to set a truly remarkable record with the Ferrari 500. Enrico Plate was unable to come anywhere close to achieving any similar records.
The Formula One World Championship was based upon a driver's best four results. This made the championship clearly Ascari's as he would score the maximum possible points (36) at six of the possible eight events. Giuseppe Farina's four 2nd places meant he scored 24 points and would finish the championship 2nd. Ferrari made it a clean sweep of the championship results as Taruffi finished 3rd with 22 points.
The World Championship was a truly difficult series for Enrico Plate. However, de Graffenried's near miss of the points at the Swiss Grand Prix meant he officially ended the World Championship season as one of the highest-placed finishers without any points.
The first and last World Championship races were amazing examples of how the season went for Enrico Plate. While not strong enough to challenge for points-paying positions, the team was still capable of top-ten results. However, as the season wore on, the team struggled just to be able to make it to the end.
One thing the championships made quite clear: the team needed financial backing and a new chassis. Despite what the team needed before the next season, Enrico Plate wasn't done for 1952 and would have to carry on with what they already had. The team would carry on to Cadours, France for its last race of the season, the 4th Circuit de Cadours on the 14th of September.
The team severely needed a good result in its last race of the season to give the team confidence (and financial help) going into the off-season. The team would enter its Maserati-Plate 4CLT/48s one last time for 1952. Alberto Crespo and Emmanuel de Graffenried would be behind the wheel one more time.
The Circuit de Cadours race was perfect for the team. As long as they could keep their cars running, the race was designed in such a way that they would have a chance. The race was made up of two 15 lap heat races of the 3.43 mile road course. Should a team have been close to being able to qualifying for the 30 lap final race, there was a 10 lap 'repechage' that provided one last opportunity to make it into the race. Besides the format of the race, Enrico Plate was further helped by the absence of Scuderia Ferrari and many other 'factory' efforts.
In the first heat race, the main contenders were Louis Rosier, in his own Ferrari 500, and Peter Collins in his HWM-Alta. In practice before the heat, Rosier would set the fastest lap and would start from the pole. He had managed to travel the 3.43 mile road course in one minute and fifty-eight seconds. Peter Collins would end up five seconds slower but would start alongside Rosier on the front row.
In the 15 lap heat race, the top-three ran in order. Rosier would cover the 15 laps in just under thirty-one minutes. He would take the heat victory over Collins by eleven seconds. Charles de Tornaco would finish 3rd, over a minute behind.
Enrico Plate's pilots would be entered in the second heat. Former Enrico Plate pilot, Harry Schell, would record the fastest time during practice with his Equipe Gordini T16. His lap time was two minutes and one second. Yves Giraud-Cabantous would end up four seconds slower but would start on the front row in 2nd. Emmanuel de Graffenried's best lap was seven seconds slower. However, his time was good enough to start alone on the second row in 3rd. Crespo's time was another three seconds slower. This put the Argentinean on the third row in 5th.
Right from the drop of the green flag, Schell would be in control of the race. A battle would ensue behind him. Crespo would come up from his 5th place starting position to battle amongst the top-three. De Graffenried would fight Giraud-Cabantous for 2nd place.
Schell would take a little over thirty-one minutes to complete the victory in the second heat. Emmanuel would be able to wrestle 2nd away from Giraud-Cabantous and would trail his former teammate home by over thirty seconds. Crespo would also get by Yves and would end up finishing one minute and eight seconds behind de Graffenried for 3rd in the heat.
Starting grid positions for the 30 lap final were based upon finishing times of each driver in their respective heat races. Therefore, Rosier would start from the pole after completing his 15 lap heat the fastest. He would be joined on the front row by Collins in his HWM-Alta. Schell occupied the single position on the second row. De Graffenried would start the final from the third row in 4th. Crespo would start off de Graffenried's left shoulder on the fourth row in 6th position.
Peter Collins would end up not starting the race after it was found his cylinder heads had cracks in them. This opened the door for the other competitors. Initially, the fight at the front was tight. Almost all of the top-five ran nose-to-tail on the track. Despite looking good in the second heat race, when he would come from 5th to finish 3rd, Crespo's race would come to an early end. Broken suspension would end his day and his season. Emmanuel continued to look good, however.
The loss of Collins before the start of the race let de Graffenried into the top-three provided he would start and finish the race. Schell slotted into position behind Rosier. Despite setting the fastest lap of the race, Schell could not sustain an attack against Rosier. He would end up defending against de Graffenried throughout most of the race.
The top-three basically held station throughout the entirety of the race. Enrico Plate's last race of 1952 would last only a little over one hour. The team had lost one of its competitors, but was on track to have one of its cars finish on the podium, if the car would make it to the end. De Graffenried merely made sure he would not get passed by Giraud-Cabantous.
Louis Rosier would go on to take the victory by more than forty seconds over Schell in his T16. Thirty seconds separated 2nd and 3rd. De Graffenried would defend his position from Giraud-Cabantous and would end the final race of the 1952 season on the podium in 3rd!
After such a bitterly disappointing season, to finish on the podium in the final race of the season afforded the team confidence heading into the off-season. At one time, the team was one of the main contenders at just about every race in which the team took part. However, ever since the formation of the World Championship, Scuderia Enrico Plate was left clamoring for top-ten, and fewer, top-five finishes. Rarely anymore would the team be fighting for a victory.
Thankfully, for the loyal Maserati runners, Maserati had returned to grand prix racing with its A6GCM, and it proved rather fast. Should the team be able to afford it, the new car would provide Enrico Plate one more chance to regain its former glory. Scuderia Enrico Plate