Page 1Scuderia Centro Sud would make its Formula One debut at the 1956 Belgian Grand Prix with the old master Luigi Villoresi behind the wheel of an ex-factory Maserati 250F. The debut would be quite successful for team South Central. The 4th place in the race seemed to suggest a bright future for the team. However, the sophomore season in Formula One would be the greater indicator of real potential.Scuderia Centro Sud would be established by Guglielmo Dei, a Maserati dealer. The name for the team would come from the fact Dei was a dealer covering central and southern Italy. He would hope that his coverage of Italy would turn into success on the track, just as it had for him as a dealer.Not willing to invest everything he had, Dei would try and make do instead of trying to purchase the very latest from the factory. Heading into the 1957 season the 250F had seen more than its share of seasons of competition and chassis evolutions. Still, the car was competitive and this would encourage Dei to stick with what he had. Dei, however, also realized there was truth to the idea of strength in numbers. However, because the racing thing was much more of an aside for him he wasn't necessarily willing to pay top dollar for a third chassis. Therefore, heading into the '57 season Dei would end up buying a much older Ferrari 625, chassis number 210-F2. By the 1955 season the 625 was thoroughly uncompetitive. Therefore, the purchase of the car made sense in only one way. Dei would be relying upon the misfortune of others if he was to achieve any success with the car. However, the car would allow Dei to offer rides in Formula One for up-and-coming drivers and that meant he wouldn't have to pay as much or share as much of whatever prize money the team managed to garner over the course of a season.Dei knew, however, that to have prize money to split and cover costs he still needed a couple of talented drivers capable of earning some points and therefore, by extension, some all-important prize money. Over the course of the season the team would have a number of drivers come and go. However, as the team prepared for the start of the season the team would manage to secure the talents of Harry Schell, Jo Bonnier and Alessandro de Tomaso.While Dei wasn't necessarily willing to pay for the latest cars to ensure top performances he was willing to pay the large amounts of money required to ship his cars and team to South America for the start of the '57 season. The ultimate destination would be Argentina and the first round of the Formula One World Championship held on the 13th of January. The political situation in Argentina would be a bit more stable heading into 1957 than what it had been the year before. The teams and drivers would begin arriving in Buenos Aires preparing for the first round of the Formula One World Championship. They wouldn't have to travel too far as the circuit's location was just to the south of the center of the city near the Parque de la Ciudad. When it was built a few years earlier, the Autodromo Municipal Ciudad de Buenos Aires would be something of a new breed of motor racing circuit. Back in the 1920s, circuits, like Monza, would boast of more than one configuration possibilities. This would rather pass by the wayside as the ‘natural' road courses would dominate the landscape of motor racing. The circuit right in the heart of Buenos Aires would be different as it enabled the circuit to host a number of different types of racing. When the Formula One cars arrived at the circuit, the number 2 layout would be used. Therefore, the circuit measured 2.42 miles in length and featured a mixture of fast straights and bends with a slower in-field section. Dei would send his three cars to Buenos Aires. Harry Schell would be behind the wheel of one of the Maserati 250Fs. The other would be driven by Jo Bonnier. The Ferrari 625 would be piloted by Alessandro de Tomaso. The field for the Argentine Grand Prix would be relatively small with just a total of 14 cars. However, Centro Sud would be going up against some really tough competition with the factory Maserati team and Scuderia Ferrari present. In fact, although the race would take place on Argentine soil there would be nothing but Italian machinery taking part in practice to determine the order on the starting grid. The honor of pole-position would end up going to Stirling Moss in one of the factory Maseratis. His lap time of 1:42.6 would give him pole by a little more than a second over Juan Manuel Fangio. Jean Behra and Eugenio Castellotti would complete the front row starting in 3rd and 4th place respectively.Driving an older Maserati, Schell would struggle to set lap times near those of his competitors. Schell was known for being fast in just about any car but he would struggle around the circuit and would end up on the third row of the grid in 9th place. The other two Centro Sud drivers would end up on the fourth, and final, row of the grid. Surprisingly, de Tomaso would be impressive in his Formula One debut in the older Ferrari 625. He would end up nearly 10 seconds slower than Schell and in the 12th position on the starting grid. This would be better than Bonnier. Bonnier's Maserati would actually be an old works Maserati and one that had been owned by Andre Simon and entered at times under Ecurie Rosier. The last race this car would take part in would be the French Grand Prix in July of the previous year. Bonnier's best would be two seconds slower than de Tomaso and would lead to him starting from 13th on the grid.The conditions heading into the start of the 100 lap race would be great and difficult at the same time. Being summertime in Argentina, the weather would be sunny but quite warm. This meant the drivers and the cars would undergo a severe test over the course of the race. Having their champion starting from the front row, the Argentine fans would be out in force preparing for a great race. There would be more than a few of the fans rooting for Centro Sud knowing that de Tomaso was also making his Formula One debut.
Page 2The engines would come to life and the drivers would shift in their cockpits getting firmly prepared for the test ahead of them. Then the flag would drop and the race would be underway. Fangio wouldn't let his home fans down as he would streak out to the lead with Jean Behra right there with him. Moss would run into trouble at the start. Throttle linkage problems would cause him problems and he would lose a number of laps in the pits having the problem rectified. As far as Centro Sud was concerned, Schell would provide the team a great deal of encouragement making a good start and moving up early. The same would be true of Bonnier. De Tomaso would try hard at the start but he would also be a little more conservative at the start and would remain right around where he started on the grid.At the end of the first lap it would be Behra that would be in the lead of the race. Castellotti would be another of those to get away from the grid in good fashion and he would manage to come through the first lap ahead of Fangio in 2nd place. Schell would be up a couple of places from his starting position, as would Bonnier. De Tomaso would look good but would still be right around where he started the race.Castellotti would be fast in the early going and would end up going into the lead of the race after a couple of laps. This moved Behra back to 2nd place leaving him just ahead of Fangio in 3rd. Schell would be up around 7th place throughout the first 10 or 15 laps while Bonnier would be fighting hard to make it into the top ten. In the running order, de Tomaso would be right behind Bonnier, but out on the circuit it was an entirely different matter.Throughout the first quarter of the race the running order would change a good deal as Peter Collins would enjoy a spell in the lead ahead of Behra and Fangio. Castellotti had started out strong but would soon begin a backward trend that would see him fight to hold onto a top five or top three spot until he finally retired from the race after 75 laps due to shaft problems.The race would be absolutely disastrous for nearly the whole of the Scuderia Ferrari team. Collins' time in the lead would be cut short by clutch problems and he would end up out of the race after just 26 laps. Luigi Musso would suffer the same fate. He would just make it to the 32nd lap before he too would be out of the race. Mike Hawthorn was absolutely notorious for being rough on clutches. However, he would prove to last the longest of all the clutch sufferers. He would finally drop out of the race after 35 laps.Ferrari had brought 6 cars to the race and needed every single one of them as four would end up out of the race with mechanical problems. The other two would go through two driver changes each in an effort to keep fresh drivers behind the wheel and make up as much ground against the leaders as possible.Amongst all of the teams in the field, Ferrari was, by far, the healthiest, when it came to resources. Dei, on the other hand, was absolutely reliant upon the factory efforts suffering catastrophic failures to have a chance at a good result. And, while Ferrari was suffering failure after failure, Centro Sud automobiles soldiered on, climbing up the running order with every Ferrari departure.Right about the time Collins retired from the race, Fangio would make his way by Behra for position. Therefore, Fangio would be in the lead ahead of Behra and Castellotti by the halfway mark of the race. This would delight the Argentine fans to no end. The Centro Sud team would also be delighted as Schell would be looking at a possible points-paying result. Bonnier and de Tomaso were also still running in order, but they too were well inside the top ten.Fangio continued to carry on in the lead of the race with Behra holding onto the 2nd spot in the running order. Schell would look strong and would be running well. But not all would be smooth sailing. Pushing hard to hold onto his position, Schell would make a mistake and would end up spinning out to the inside of the circuit. This enabled the number 18 Lancia-Ferrari driven over the course of the race by Cesare Perdisa, Peter Collins and Wolfgang von Trips, to take over position. De Tomaso would run into trouble as well and would end up having periods of time as the last car still running out on the course. Bonnier would be driving a very steady race but would be unable to really make up any ground. With the retirements in the race he was at least running still inside the top ten.Fangio would be in the lead of the race but not free from all challenges from Behra. In fact, the Frenchman would deflate the Argentinean crowd somewhat as he managed to take the lead on a number of occasions throughout the last half of the race. A little further back, Schell would recover from his spin and would give chase of the number 18 Ferrari. It wouldn't take too long before he too would be battling for the position he had lost earlier on in the race.About 15 laps from the end of the race, order would be restored as Fangio would retake the lead from Behra and would begin to draw away slightly. Castellotti's failure would enable Schell to move up a position as well. Bonnier would continue on his steady, useful way while de Tomaso would recover from his troubles and would enjoy having taken over the 9th place position from Luigi Piotti.Fangio would pull away throughout the remainder of the race. The fight had left Behra as he would contentedly remain in a solid 2nd place. In a little under three hours and one minute, Fangio would come across the line to take the first victory of the season. Behra would remain unchallenged in 2nd place finishing about 20 seconds behind Fangio. Fangio would have a lap in hand over another of his compatriots. Carlos Menditeguy would finish the race a little more than a lap behind in 3rd place. So it would be two Argentineans and a Frenchman on the podium following the race.Centro Sud would enjoy their own podium ceremony. Schell would recover from his spin and would end up taking back the position he had lost earlier on. In the end, Schell would finish the race in 4th place a little more than two laps behind Fangio. This would be remarkable as it would, for the moment, place him 4th in the Drivers' Championship standings. Jo Bonnier would enjoy the fruits of his steady race. He would finish a little more than 5 laps behind but he would still come across in 7th place, ahead of Stirling Moss. The debut for de Tomaso couldn't have gone much better. Despite driving a much older car, and despite having struggled at one point in the race, de Tomaso would still manage to come through and finish the race in 9th place, some 9 laps behind winner Fangio. Considering the team had to make do with older versions of the 250F, and especially a much older Ferrari 625, the season could not have started out much better for the team. The team managed to have all three cars finish and all three inside the top ten. This would be a fantastic result for the team and set the bar rather high for the next race and the rest of the season.
Page 3Scuderia Centro Sud would be praying for, and trying to prove that, lightning does actually strike in the same spot twice. Following the Argentine Grand Prix on the 13th of January there would be a matter of months between rounds of the World Championship. However, just two weeks after the first round of the World Championship, on the 27th of January, would be held the 11th Gran Premio Ciudad de Buenos Aires, a non-championship event that would also take place at the Autodromo Municipal Ciudad de Buenos Aires.The previous year, the non-championship race would not be held in Buenos Aires. Instead, the race would be held more than a few hours to the west in Mendoza. But, a year later, the race would be back in Buenos Aires, and at the same circuit most all of the teams and drivers had been just a couple of weeks earlier. But even though the race would take place at the same circuit, the layout used for the race would be different. Instead of 2.42 miles, the length of the circuit would measure 2.82 miles.Unlike the previous couple of years, the format for the non-championship race would change. In 1957, the race would consist of two heat races and aggregate scoring to determine the final standings. Each of the heat races would be 30 laps in length. Therefore, the race offered another difficult test to both car and driver.Most of the same suspects would take part in the event as had taken part in the first round of the World Championship. As far as Centro Sud was concerned, Enrique Sticoni would be behind the wheel of the Ferrari 625. Harry Schell, not surprisingly, would be still with the team driving 2511. The third car would not be driven by Jo Bonnier. Instead, Giorgio Scarlatti would get the nod.In practice, many of the same players could be found on the front row of the grid, but the order was certainly different. Moss would not end up on pole. The longer circuit would actually play into Fangio's hands much better and he would earn the honor of starting from pole in his home country. His best lap time of 2:17.9 would end up being three-tenths of a second faster than Moss. Mike Hawthorn would look strong in the Lancia-Ferrari. He would start 3rd while Jean Behra would complete the front row in the 4th position.The entire Centro Sud team, unlike a couple of weeks before, could nearly all be found on the same row of the grid. Posting a best lap of 2:23.4, Schell, again, would be off the pace of the front-runners and would be forced to deal with starting the race from the fourth row of the grid in the 12th position overall. Scarlatti would end up in the 14th starting position in the other Maserati. Last on the grid, with the much older car, would be Sticoni. In spite of how things looked, appearances had been nearly identical a couple of weeks earlier when all three cars came away with top results. But it was obvious; the team was relying upon lightning striking the same spot twice.The start of the race would see Fangio and Behra get away well, just as they had a couple of weeks before. Moss would also enjoy a much better start to the race this time, but it, unfortunately, would not last very long. Two weeks earlier it had been Ferrari that suffered around the Buenos Aires circuit. The situation would be somewhat reversed in the non-championship race. And, unfortunately, that included Centro Sud. The first to fall out of contention during the first heat race would be Scarlatti. His race would come to an end after just the first third of the race had been completed. Then, after 22 laps, Harry Schell would end up out of the race. The only Centro Sud driver still in the race would be Sticoni in the older Ferrari 625. This didn't offer Centro Sud much confidence and it seemed to make certain lightning would not strike twice.Meanwhile, Fangio would be up front with Behra. Castellotti would also be running well once again in the Lancia-Ferrari. Stirling Moss would also run well until his suffering from driver exhaustion would cause him to have to retire with only about 5 laps remaining in the race.Although Behra had been right there at the start of the race, the Frenchman would be unable to stay with the Argentinean over the course of the first heat race. Not doubt spurred on by the cheering crowd, Fangio would be lifted further and further out front of the rest of the field. At the back of the field, Sticoni would continue running. However, his inexperience and older chassis would not help his cause much and he would lose ground rather rapidly.Fangio would cruise to victory in the first heat race. Completing the 30 laps in one hour, 10 minutes and 59 seconds, Fangio would take the win by about 25 seconds over Behra in 2nd place. Eugenio Castellotti would manage to make it to the end of the heat race as well finishing about 15 seconds behind Behra in 3rd place. As for Sticoni, he would finish the race, but well back. At the end of the first heat race he would be the 11th, and final, car still running on the circuit. He would end up not even classified in the results as he would finish the first heat some 4 laps behind Fangio.Centro Sud had really no hope following the conclusion of the first heat race. Surprisingly, being in this condition, the team would have a couple of very important decisions to make. Certainly Sticoni would remain in the race as he proved to be the only one of the three drivers to actually make it to the end of the first heat. But then came the question of what to do with Schell and Scarlatti?The Scarlatti decision would be relatively easy. His troubles in the first heat would be such that it practically made it impossible for him to start the second heat. Even if he were able, he would be so far behind that it wouldn't even be worth the team's effort. Therefore, the only decision remaining would have to do with Schell. He had completed 22 laps before he departed the running. While that was 8 laps short of the whole, it still kept him in the running, slightly. Should some of the other competitors suffer as Scarlatti had in the first heat race then Schell had the opportunity of stealing a strong result. Therefore, the decision would be made for Schell to start the second heat race.
Page 4The grid needed to be set for the final heat race. The grid would then be determined by finishing order in the first heat. Therefore, Fangio would start from pole while Behra would line up in 2nd place. Castellotti would be 3rd on the grid while Mike Hawthorn would complete the front row starting in 4th place. Sticoni would find himself starting from the third row of the grid in the 11th spot. The only other Centro Sud team member, Schell, would start a row back. Starting from the 4th row of the grid in the 13th spot, Schell was to be flanked by Jose Froilan Gonzalez and Stirling Moss. However, neither of them would start the final heat race. Schell would be all by himself in the final row.Fangio knew he had a comfortable lead heading into the second heat race. He knew he didn't need to stand on his Maserati over the course of the whole of the second heat race. He just needed to control the pace as best he could. Therefore, it would not be at all surprising that he would find himself swarmed by Jean Behra and Peter Collins at the start of the second heat.Fangio would be in no hurry while Peter Collins and Jean Behra would be pressing the issue right from the very beginning of the race. Sticoni would be unable to do much of anything. Not only was he inexperienced and in an older car, but he would also find himself the first car out of the race when his Ferrari gave up after 2 laps. Schell needed to have the drive of his life and have just about everyone else suffer trouble just to give himself a chance of scoring a top result when it was all said and done. Unfortunately for Schell, the only other retirement over the course of the race would be Masten Gregory. Therefore, Schell needed to take care and not damage his car.Peter Collins would push with everything he had. Posting the fastest lap of the race, the Englishman would begin pulling away from 2nd place Behra. Fangio knew Behra was his main threat and he would keep the pressure on him throughout just to ensure he would hold onto his overall lead. As the laps clicked-off, Schell would come to realize more and more that he was without hope. Therefore, he would back off and look after the car throughout the remainder of the race. Centro Sud would not pull off the kind of result they had just a couple of weeks prior.Nearly 20 seconds ahead of Behra, Collins would run away with the second heat race completing the distance at an average speed of more than 73mph. Collins would take the win in the heat, but this would be a rather moot point if Fangio managed to hold on and finish the race in good order.Behra would come into view powering his way toward the fast, final left-hander. Right there behind him, no more than a second adrift, would be Fangio. The crowd knew he had the victory in hand. The crowd would be cheering as the two swept through the final left-hander and crossed the line. Behra would take 2nd and Fangio 3rd, but the final results would show that Fangio had finished much better.Once again, Centro Sud would be left with just one car running in a heat race. Schell would remain on the circuit throughout the second heat race and would end up a lap down in 9th place. Unfortunately, this result would just add to his troubles in the first heat race and would lead to him finishing well down in the final order.The final aggregate results would prove what everybody already knew. Fangio would take the victory by a little more than 24 seconds over Jean Behra. Collins' performance in the final heat race would translate into he and Luigi Musso ending the whole event tied for 3rd place being more than a minute and 26 seconds behind Fangio.Enrique Sticoni had been the only one of the three Centro Sud drivers to finish the first heat race. Unfortunately, his very early exit in the second heat meant he would not be one of the Centro Sud drivers to finish in the aggregate. Only Harry Schell would earn that honor. Actually, because of his own troubles, Schell would end up not classified in the final results. A lot of effort had been put into the event by the team and they came away with nothing.The first race of the season had set the bar very high for Scuderia Centro Sud. Unfortunately, their very next race, at the very same circuit, would come in well underneath that bar. The confidence and momentum built from the first race would be nearly neutralized by the second. Now it was time to head back to Europe. Hopefully the return closer to home would restore what had been lost.Returning to Europe, Scuderia Centro Sud would not have too far to travel to make it to its next race. The biggest delay the team would have to face making it to the next race of the season would be merely time. It wouldn't be until the 7th of April that the team had another race. That race would be the 7th Gran Premio di Siracusa.In 356 BC, Dion would expel Dionysius from his rule of Syracuse. However, Dion himself would be expelled from leadership when Dionysius came back. He would reclaim his throne in 347 BC. Such was the history of Syracuse in its earlier stages of history. Constantly the focus of struggle, the city was a center for the Mediterranean world, including art, architecture and history.
Page 5In early April, Centro Sud would make its way to the island of Sicily and the city of Syracuse. The team had their own hopes of deposing with the apparent rulers of Formula One. Unfortunately, to succeed in their mission they would sincerely need more than mythological legends and stories of past sieges. They would need the ever-present hand of providence fighting for them. The circuit used for the Gran Premio di Siracusa would not be a purpose-built facility. In fact, it would be about as natural a road course as one could find. Lying just to the west of the city, the circuit would be comprised of public roads running through the countryside. Measuring 3.48 miles in length, the circuit was fast, but also rather dangerous with paved concrete walls lining a large portion of the circuit.Scuderia Centro Sud would bring two of their Maseratis to the race. Though they would have two cars, the team would have four possible drivers listed for the 80 lap, 278 mile, race. Ken Gregory and Carroll Shelby would be listed as reserve drivers for the two cars. Piero Taruffi and Hans Herrmann would actually get the nod.Being the first race Formula One race in Europe, and the site of Connaught's win back in 1955, the field would include more than just Italian machinery. In fact, Connaught Engineering would be back, hoping and praying for another surprise victory. Besides Connaught, Vandervell Products would be at the races with a couple of their improved Vanwalls. Their driver lineup would be quite impressive as well with Stirling Moss and Tony Brooks serving as their main drivers. With average speeds surpassing 107mph, the Syracuse circuit certainly suited cars with higher top-end speeds. Peter Collins would prove the circuit suited the Lancia-Ferrari just fine as he would post the fastest time in practice and would take the pole with a time of 1:55.5. Luigi Musso would demonstrate the strength of Ferrari by grabbing the 2nd place spot on the front row with a time just four-tenths slower than Collins. Moss would complete the front row in the Vanwall. All-in-all, just eight-tenths of a second separated the entire front row. Once past the first couple of rows, the gaps in times would widen a fair bit. Piero Taruffi would end up being the fastest of the Centro Sud drivers. His best lap in practice would end up being 2:03.2. And though he would end up nearly eight seconds slower, Taruffi would start the race from the third row of the grid in the 7th position. Hans Herrmann, on the other hand, wouldn't be so fortunate. Herrmann had been with the Mercedes program back when it was dominant in sportscar and Formula One racing. However, in Syracuse, and with an older Maserati 250F, he would struggle. His best lap would end up more than five seconds slower than Taruffi and would lead to the German starting the race from the fifth row of the grid in the 12th spot overall.Heading into the race, Centro Sud cars had shown good speed overall. Both cars were not starting the race from the very last row of the grid, so that was a good sign. The main concern for the team had to be reliability. If the cars could make it the entire race distance it was likely they could come away with a good result.The race would not be an easy affair by any means. The conditions heading into the race were rather ideal with dry weather and some sun and clouds. A large crowd would assemble to partake of the spectacle and they would be treated to a wild start to the race.The flag would fall to start the race and immediately Musso and Collins would sprint out to the front. Moss wouldn't be shy and would be right there with them in the very beginning of the race. Not having the pace of the front-runners, both Taruffi and Herrmann would have to look for their opportunities, and wait for providence to do the rest.Help would come almost immediately. Schell had driven for Centro Sud in South America. Now driving for the factory Maserati team, Schell would start the race from the second row of the grid. However, he would make it through the first lap of the race, but not much further. Engine problems would force him out of the race after just a single lap. Then came Jean Behra's retirement after 17 laps. He would suffer from brake issues. Neither of the Centro Sud drivers would care. All they would be aware of would be the fact they were up two spots from where they were at the start of the race.The good news would keep coming when Tony Brooks retired from the race prior to the halfway point as a result of a water leak. As a result, both Taruffi and Herrmann were looking strong.Brooks' fellow Vandervell teammate, Moss would also be looking strong. He would keep pace with Collins and Musso in the early going, and would actually enjoy a couple of moments in the lead. However, by the halfway point of the race he too would be off the pace. He wouldn't be out of the race but he would be unable to match the pace of the Ferrari drivers. There was some concern about the Vanwall being able to make the distance so he would back off and would look to hold onto 3rd place. His challenger would come in the form of Piero Taruffi in the Centro Sud Maserati. The loss of Moss from the fight at the front left just Collins and Musso to battle it out for the lead and the victory. Of course, the two had to make it the entire race distance. Moss would quickly drop off the pace and would fall well behind. Taruffi would be on the same lap as Moss and had an opportunity to battle for the final spot on the podium. Centro Sud's hopes would rest with Taruffi. Not only was he running well, helped along by the struggles of others, but he would be the only Centro Sud car still running in the race. That would happen as a result of Herrmann retiring after 36 laps with engine troubles.
Page 6Heading into the final few laps of the race the battle at the front would become less and less intriguing as Collins would begin to pull away from Musso. Many would look at Moss and Taruffi running on the same lap but both of those would have a good amount of time in between them. So, the last few laps of the race would lack the drama as the early part.The drama would not cease for Centro Sud until the checkered flag had come out and their remaining car had crossed the finish line. Therefore, there certainly still had to be some nervousness within the team.Collins would be untouchable over the course of the race. Pulling away from Musso, Collins would go on to take the victory finishing the race with an average speed of more than 102mph. Musso would be unchallenged for his 2nd place position and would hold on to finish about a minute and 15 seconds behind. Moss had been battling with Collins and Musso early on in the race. Heading into the final moments of the race the Englishman would be trying to coax his Vanwall across the line. Finishing more than three laps behind Collins and Musso, Moss would hold on to finish the race in 3rd place.Centro Sud had hoped Moss' slowing pace would enable Taruffi to come up and challenge for the final spot on the podium. Unfortunately, Moss' pace would be such that he wouldn't lose that much ground to Piero. Therefore, it was unlikely Taruffi could pull out a 3rd place. Still, to finish three laps down in 4th place was a very welcome result for the team following its debacle in Buenos Aires a handful of months earlier.The 4th place for Taruffi would be more than just a finish for the team. It would be a strong result for the team and would go a long way to building confidence within the new team. This was good. The Formula One World Championship would gear-up in only a month. If the team could keep its momentum going they had reason to believe they could come away with something very special on the streets of Monaco.Before the team would head to the majestic principality of Monaco they would participate in a couple more non-championship events. Both of the events coming up would be similar in nature to Monaco. However, the very next race, held in the city of Pau, France would likely be the closest to what was coming.Built on the banks of the Gave de Pau, and with the Pyrenees Mountains looming off in the distance to the south, the city of Pau is certainly a picturesque setting. Full of creation and other forms of art, like architecture, painting and poetry, the city would be a place where creativity freely flowed. It would be here, in this famous secluded city that the Grand Prix de Pau would be held on the 22nd of April.Nestled in the south of France, Pau seems an unlikely place as a first for just about anything. However, this city, once the birthplace for Henry IV of France and future King Charles XIV of Sweden, would also serve as the birthplace for modern grand prix racing. At the turn of the 20th century, the city would serve as the starting point for a long and arduous race that traveled toward the coast. It would be the first grand prix ever and Pau would be right at the heart of it all.Given its history in motor racing it was only fitting the city hosted a grand prix following the end of the Second World War. The race in 1957 would be the first in more than a year following the decision to ban motor racing in France in the wake of the tragedy at Le Mans in 1955. The Pau Grand Prix that year had already been run. So, it was decided the race would be cancelled for the following year.The circuit used for the race in 1957 would be quite a bit different from the original that raced to the coast. The modern circuit would never leave the city. Instead, it would twist back and forth all along the heights before plunging back down toward the river and the completion of a lap of the 1.71 mile circuit.Masten Gregory had impressed just about everybody in Buenos Aires in sportscar race. The American had earned an opportunity to partner with Eugenio Castellotti and Luigi Musso in the 1000km Argentine sportscar race. The result would be victory and an opportunity for Gregory to join Ferrari for the season.Gregory would turn the offer down once he realized he would rarely get the opportunity to race. This was good news for Dei and he would approach Gregory about racing for Centro Sud. Although the cars were not the latest, Masten realized here was his chance to drive often. He would take the offer presented to him. He would make his debut with the team at Pau. This would be a real test of his talent as the circuit provided very little room to maneuver. If he made even the slightest error he would crash.A second car would be brought to Pau. The second car would be driven, once again, by Harry Schell. Harry would provide the team with two talents behind the wheel. A third car would also be brought to the circuit by Centro Sud. But, even though it was one of their cars it would be entered under the private name of Lucien Barthe. Barthe was by no means experienced, or really that fast, but he would get his shot nonetheless.
Page 7Gregory would demonstrate why Ferrari wanted him as a fourth driver within the team. In practice around the tight circuit he would be nearly perfect, never putting a wheel wrong really. The result would be a quick lap time around the circuit. Unfortunately, Jean Behra was also present for the race. Behra had won the last few races at Pau and continued to show his brilliance around the streets in practice as he would set the fastest lap time and would capture the pole.Behra's best would be a lap of 1:35.7. Harry Schell would be impressive and would end up in 2nd place on the front row having been a little more than two seconds slower than Behra. Gregory would delight the crowd and his team as he managed to capture the 3rd, and final, spot on the front row. His best effort in practice would be three and a half seconds slower than Behra but would still delight the team as he would start from the front row. It would be remarkable for Centro Sud. They had two cars starting from the front row and with a clear possibility of a victory with two drivers.In the case of Barthe, his inexperience would show. Despite his best efforts in practice, Barthe would end up failing to qualify for the race. This would be neither disappointing nor fantastic. The team would be down to just a single car; yet again, but at least Barthe hadn't taken the car out in the race and gotten caught up in an accident or something like that. Behra had been a couple of seconds faster than his nearest competitor in practice. This had to offer the Frenchman some confidence heading into the race. He knew that he had the pace in hand and didn't need to drive on the absolute limit to stay ahead of his competitors. The problem he faced was if his competitors managed to get ahead of him at the start there would be little chance of him getting by on such a tight, twisty circuit. So, he knew he needed to make a great start. On the flip-side, Schell and Gregory had to understand that if they made a great start either; potentially, could pull off something magical for Centro Sud.Lined up on the grid, the start/finish straight would seem tightly-packed with the grandstands looming just to the side of the circuit. The people would be in their places, the cars and drivers would be in theirs. The engines would be brought to a roar; the race about to start. At this moment there was something else the two Centro Sud drivers had to keep in mind. Gregory and Schell were starting from the front row and would be sprinting toward a tight hairpin turn at the end of the straight. There was a very real danger the two could wreck into each other taking each other out right at the very start of the race. This was something both men had to be aware of and could have led to some jittery moments up until the flag dropped.The flag would wave and the race would get underway. Behra would get the start he needed and would be up at the front of the field. Perhaps a little concerned about the start and being alongside Schell, Gregory would not get the start he needed and would have Ivor Bueb right there with him heading into the tight right-hand hairpin at the end of the straight.Heading up the hill on the short straight it would be Behra right where he needed to be. Gregory would not be in the lead of the race but he would still be in a strong position heading into the 110 lap, three-hour, race.The laps would begin to go by quickly. Trouble would come early. Francesco Godia-Sales would suffer a crash after 4 laps. Two more drivers would retire from the race after 10 laps. Gregory would make it through those early laps and would be in a very strong position during the early going of the race.Masten was showing his worth behind the wheel of the Maserati. He wouldn't be able to fight with either Behra or Schell, even Ivor Bueb would manage to get by him in one of the Connaughts, but still, the American would be running well and looking to be in a strong position for Centro Sud.Nobody would be as strong as Behra. The entire race would last about three hours. This would be a long day of racing around such a tight and unforgiving circuit. Yet, Behra would seem more than up to the task setting the fastest lap of the race and pulling away from the rest of the field in earnest. It would be an incredible race. Sure, there would be retirements from the race that would help most all of the drivers, but, Jean's performance in the lead would be one of the most remarkable demonstrations of his career. Chased by Schell, it was clear Behra was in a class all by himself as he pushed and expanded upon his lead with relative ease.Gregory would push hard but would not be able to make any ground on Bueb. Surprisingly, Gregory would actually lose ground. The same would be the case, not surprisingly, for Schell. But even though the lead seemed out of the reach of Schell, and the usually slow Bueb was besting Gregory, Centro Sud was still on mark for its best results of the season. The cars just needed to make it through to the end.It would be a long, hard race, at least for everyone but Behra. Completing the race distance in three hours and just under 14 seconds, Behra could have gotten out of his car on the straight and pushed his car across the line and still taken the victory. Averaging just under 63mph over the course of the race, Behra would cruise to victory having more than 2 laps in hand over Schell finishing in 2nd place. Bueb would show great pace throughout the race and would end up being too much for Masten. Finishing a lap down to Bueb, he would cross the line to finish 4th.It would be the best result Centro Sud had experienced to that point in the season. It would be the first time the team had two cars finish a race in the top five and the performance by Gregory and Schell would certainly bolster the team's faith moving forward. The team had looked strong throughout the early part of the season despite having machinery that was certainly a couple of years old. Dei had managed to bring in young, talented drivers and offered them a chance to be heroes with older equipment and they had responded. It was now approaching the end of April. May was right around the corner and that meant the second round of the World Championship, the Monaco Grand Prix, was nearly in sight. It was time for teams to prepare themselves for the race. However, before Monaco there would be a non-championship event that would take place relatively close to home.
Page 8On the 28th of April the 10th Gran Premio di Napoli would be scheduled. In the past, Scuderia Ferrari had been about the only major manufacturer, other than Equipe Gordini, to routinely make the trip to the street circuit high-atop Posillipo. However, in 1957, there would be a couple of factory teams that would join the privateers for the 60 lap race.Posillipo is considered a residential quarter of Naples and rests right on the bay overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea. Its history extends all the way back to the Greeks and the Romans and had always been a place of recreation and relaxation. Following World War II, the area would be overrun with individuals and families looking for some peace and tranquility. Set along the sea with dramatic cliffs and views of Mount Vesuvius, the quarter of Naples would also boast of some very intriguing and awe-inspiring water-front architecture.High above the Tyrrhenian Sea, atop the cliffs, would be the Posillipo circuit. Measuring 2.55 miles in length, the circuit would have a mixture of just about everything but speed. Featuring just one straight of any note, the circuit would have some dramatic scenery with steep walls bordering on one side and steep cliffs bordering on the other. The circuit is also quite intriguing in that the mid-point of the circuit could potentially pass underneath the other portion of the circuit had it turned one direction instead of the other. Tight streets with quick flicks left and right make some sections of the circuit, that could be relatively fast, rather slow. Interesting and full of elevation changes, the circuit would follow along the same lines as Pau but would be a bit faster and certainly longer.Though the race was much closer to home than what Pau had been or what Monaco would be, Centro Sud would dispatch just a single car to the event. It would be driven by the young Masten Gregory and provided him some much needed track time and would only further prepare him for Monaco coming up the following month.Gregory would have a difficult task. It would be a great test, given that Ferrari would come to the race with more than a couple of cars. Then there would be the Connaught of Stuart Lewis-Evans and, of course, the slew of 250Fs privately-entered in the race.The presence of Ferrari would be more than obvious following practice. Mike Hawthorn would take one of the Lancia-Ferraris and would turn the fastest lap at 2:08.0. This would give Hawthorn the pole by mere hundredths of a second over his friend and fellow Englishman, Peter Collins. Ferrari would complete the sweep of the front row when Luigi Musso turned in a lap just a little more than a second slower than Hawthorn and Collins to collect 3rd place.To have a chance against the Ferrari juggernaut Gregory would need to lap the circuit in under two minutes and ten seconds. His best lap in practice would end up being 2:14.9. This wasn't enough for the front row of the grid and it wouldn't even be enough for the second. Instead, Masten would start from the third row of the grid in 6th position overall. This wouldn't have seemed to be the greatest of starting spots. However, he would be starting behind Hawthorn and if he made a good start he likely could jump up the order at the start.The race would be 60 laps of the 2.55 mile circuit. Gregory would settle into his Maserati preparing for more than two hours of racing. The field would be set and the race starter would drop the flag. Gregory would leap away from the grid but there would be very little he could do against the Ferrari gauntlet leading the way into the first few turns.Things didn't look good for anyone else in the field as it would be Ferrari one-two-three through the first few turns of the race. However, they had started out this way a couple of years before and would end up without a single car finishing the race. So there was still hope for drivers like Gregory.Masten would look solidly in position through the first few laps of the race. He was lapping at a decent pace and the circuit was helping him to hold up other challengers running behind him. At the front, it would still be all Ferrari with the three cars running nose-to-tail.Trouble would begin striking at anybody but the works Ferraris. Alan Mann would be the first out of the race. Piloting an aged HWM-Alta, his race would last just 3 laps before magneto problems would bring it to an end. Then, Ottorino Volonterio and a couple of others would depart the race before the 15th lap. There would then be a lull in the retirements.Hawthorn would post the fastest lap of the race but it would be Collins in the lead heading into the final half of the race. Collins would be in the lead and pulling away from the other two. Hawthorn and Musso, however, would be still locked in a duel of their own, which would be impressive given the Dino 156 Musso was piloting was a Formula 2 car.While the Ferraris ran like clockwork at the front of the pack, Gregory would be hoping and praying his own car would make to the end and a few others would not. Of course the Ferraris ran ahead of him on the road but there were others that posed a threat as well. Thankfully, Lewis-Evans would run afoul of wheel problems and would be forced to retire the B-Type Connaught just about 15 laps from the end. This helped Gregory move up despite not being able to get by Horace Gould.Heading into the final moments of the race, it was clear Collins had the race firmly within his grasp. Only mechanical failure and or a mistake would prohibit him from taking the win. His pace was such that Gregory needed to pick up his or else he risked going another lap down before the checkered flag. Between Hawthorn and Musso, there was literally just a couple of tenths either way.
Page 9Averaging a little more than 70mph over the course of the race, Collins managed to pull himself away from his teammates and would go on to score an easy victory having more than 30 seconds in hand over the 2nd place finisher. Just exactly who the 2nd place finisher would be would be about the only real question mark left. As it turned out, it would be Hawthorn holding on by a mere three-tenths of a second. Musso would be impressive in the Formula 2 Dino 156 finishing in 3rd place.As for Gregory, he continued to look impressive. Ferrari had offered him a great opportunity with very little chance for driving. Here he was with a much junior team, and with much older equipment, and he was putting together some respectable performances. Heading into the final couple of laps, he would have Collins coming up behind him preparing to put him another lap down. Because he had managed to pull away from his own pursuers, Masten would get out of the way and would let Collins pass him right before the checkered flag. Finishing a little more than two laps down, Gregory would still come through to finish in 5th place.All by himself, Gregory would come through to earn yet another fantastic result that would not only build his confidence moving forward but would provide further momentum for the team as it prepared for the second round of the Formula One World Championship.The non-championship race in Buenos Aires could have been just the beginning of a terrible stretch for Centro Sud. However, the team would turn things around and would enjoy a strong run of performances. This would be very important for the team as the Monaco Grand Prix would be next up on the calendar. Held on the 19th of May, the team would have almost a month to prepare for the crown jewel of the Formula One season.Nestled in between mountains and the Mediterranean Sea the setting would go a long way to provide Monaco its exclusive feel. The hotels, casino and shops would make up the rest of the truly royal feel of the principality. Small in land area, the Monte Carlo circuit would not be a circuit located out amongst the countryside. Tight, slow and with no room for error, Monaco seemed the last place for a motor race. Yet, amongst the beautiful buildings and the obvious wealth Formula One was certainly right at home.Centro Sud would enter two cars for the famed race. Using his car at times throughout the season it wasn't all that surprising that one of the Maseratis would be entered for Andre Simon. The other chassis; 2511, would be entered for the quickly improving Masten Gregory.Now the team faced the full might of the Formula One series. Scuderia Ferrari and the factory Maserati teams would all be there, and in force. Connaught Engineering would also be just one of the British marques to make the trip. Vandervell and Cooper would be the other two. It was clear the new team would have a difficult task ahead of it. Yet, over the last few races the team had managed to come through in spite of some major opposition.Not surprisingly, the battle in practice would be between the Maserati of Fangio and the Vanwall of Stirling Moss over the course of the first day of practice. Despite winning the race the year before, it would be Fangio that would end up taking the pole and not Moss. In fact, the order of the front row would be Fangio on pole, Peter Collins starting 2nd in the Lancia-Ferrari and Moss completing the front row in one of the Vanwalls.In spite of his inexperience, Gregory would be impressive in practice around the tight, twisty streets of the 1.95 mile Monaco circuit. Fangio would take the pole with an incredible lap of 1:42.7. Gregory would only manage a lap of 1:50.0. Still, in spite of the time difference, the young American would find himself starting the race from the fourth row of the grid in the 10th position. As it would turn out, Masten would end up being the only hope for Centro Sud. Simon had taken to the wheel of his own Maserati entered under the Centro Sud team name, and, despite being in a very capable 250F, the Frenchman would be unable to qualify for the race. Just a total of 16 grid positions would be available for the race and he would miss out on the final spot by just a couple of seconds.If the team had found itself in a difficult position heading into the race, then it would seem nearly impossible following Simon's failure to qualify. This left the team with just one car in which to battle the major manufacturers. Still, as the race neared the sun would be out erasing all remnants of the rain that had fallen overnight. It seemed something special was entirely possible.Tens of thousands of spectators would be assembled all around the circuit. Sitting on the slopes of the banks and on the balconies of just about every building along the circuit, the crowd would be firmly in place awaiting the start of 105 lap race. The cars would be on the grid with their drivers behind the wheel. The royal family would take their places too; the race was about ready to start.Louis Chiron would drop the flag and the race would be underway with the cars making the sprint to the first corner, the tight Gazometre hairpin. Moss would have the position on the outside. Fangio would be tight to the inside and would power-slide the Maserati coming out of the corner to stay beside Moss. Heading through Sainte Devote for the first time it would be Moss ahead of Fangio.As for Gregory, he would get away from the grid in good shape and would be holding position throughout the first lap, just trying to settle into a pace and begin looking ahead to attack. He would have a lot of work to do, but it was to be a long day of racing so there was little reason to push hard right from the very beginning.
Page 10Not pushing hard at the very beginning would be something that Moss and some others should have heeded. After leading the first few laps of the race, Moss would miss a breaking point for the chicane coming out of the tunnel. The result would be Moss clobbering the temporary barrier. His race would be immediately over. Collins had managed to get around Fangio on the second lap of the race but would find himself in the wrong position as debris would hit his car causing him to crash into the retention wall lining the road extending out over the bay. Fangio and Tony Brooks would make it through with a problem. Hawthorn, would not. He would end up piled up right behind his Ferrari teammate Collins. Just like that, in one moment, three British drivers would be out of the race and Fangio would be in the lead just when it looked like he was going backward.Gregory would be another of those fortunate souls to make it through the trouble at the chicane. By the 5th lap of the race he would be up to 7th place with plenty of racing still to go. He just needed to avoid any other landmines that might try and go off over the course of the race.The race had promised so much prior to the start, but with Moss, Collins and Hawthorn out, and with Brooks following along behind Fangio, it seemed the race was already over before it ever really began. However, Brooks would do his best with the opportunity presented to him. He would lose time to Fangio but he wouldn't let the World Champion escape without too much of a fight. The trouble in the early going would be just the beginning of a day filled with attrition. Horace Gould and Harry Schell would all be out of the race before the first 25 laps had been completed. Then, prior to the halfway point, Carlos Menditeguy would misjudge the circuit and would crash out of the race as well. So, by the halfway mark of the race there would be less than 10 cars still running in the race. Gregory, however, would continue to shine and he would be up to 6th place following along behind Ron Flockhart and Jack Brabham.Brooks had managed to keep Fangio within a respectable margin although the Argentinean was completing laps more than a few seconds slower than his best set in practice. So it was clear Fangio knew he had the race well in hand; he just needed to make sure he made it the entire distance. He had been leading at Monaco by a comfortable margin back in 1955 and would end up walking back to the pits instead of enjoying the spoils of victory. So, the race was far from over. This was good for Gregory as it provided him more time to climb up the running order.Masten would get some help. Wolfgang von Trips had been doing quite well, even despite having to hand his car over to Hawthorn for a spell. Unfortunately, his Ferrari would not be able to make it the entire race distance. Then there would be trouble for Flockhart and Brabham. This would enable Gregory to climb up into the points. Heading into the final 5 laps of the race Gregory would have a possible podium result well in hand. He just needed to make it to the end.Fangio had the race well in hand. Completing the race distance in a little more than three hours and ten minutes, he would cross the line with 25 seconds in hand over Tony Brooks coming in 2nd place in the Vanwall. It would be a remarkable day for Gregory. He had avoided mistakes and the mistakes of others. He had run a controlled race around the unforgiving circuit and would be rewarded for the effort. Despite finishing 2 laps down to Fangio, Gregory would come through to finish 3rd in his very first Formula One World Championship race!In spite of being the team's only hope, Masten would be more than enough to take on the might of the factory teams. The 3rd place result would not only be an amazing debut for the American, it would be the best-ever result for Centro Sud. Ferrari's loss had certainly been Dei's gain.Leaving Monaco, Gregory was sitting in a tie for 4th place in the Drivers' Championship standings. It had been a remarkable performance. Now the team would have a long break to enjoy the memory of the moment and to prepare for their next race, whenever that may have been.Squabbles over money and other issues would lead to the 1957 World Championship being much shorter than had been originally possible. The Belgian and Dutch Grand Prix were to be included in the calendar. However, disagreements would leave the races off the calendar and meant the Formula One teams would also be off from racing for more than month. It wouldn't be until the beginning of July before the next Formula One race. In the case of Scuderia Centro Sud, it would be even longer.The French Grand Prix was on the schedule for early July. The race would take place at the Rouen-les-Essarts circuit for 1957. However, Centro Sud would not make the trip to the circuit to take part in the race. Instead, the team would look to the non-championship event that would take place on the 14th of Jule, one week after the French Grand Prix. The event would be the 23rd Grand Prix de Reims and it would take place at the usual site for the French round of the World Championship—Reims.Centro Sud hadn't entirely sat out the French Grand Prix. Jo Bonnier would privately-enter one of the team's Maseratis in the race. However, at the non-championship race at Reims the team would enter two cars under their own name. One car would be for Gregory. The other car would be for sportscar ace Ivor Bueb. Bueb was fresh off of winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the second time. Unfortunately, he had proven over his career to be faster over longer distances than in shorter Formula One events. Still, the team needed a steady hand behind the wheel and that certainly described Bueb.Following his performance in the Monaco Grand Prix, Dei would decide to honor his young American driver. The Maserati he would use in the race would be repainted to match the racing colors of the United States. Therefore, instead of remaining Italian red like the other team car, Masten's car would be white with blue stripes running down the length of the car.The year before, the factory Maseratis could not come close to matching the pace of the Lancia-Ferraris. One year later, the Lancia-Ferraris were failing to show the out-right speed and it was the Vanwalls and the latest Maseratis that had the speed advantage. But as far as Gregory and Bueb were concerned, it was likely they would struggle like the factory did the season before.
Page 11Measuring 5.15 miles in length and laid out in the basic shape of a triangle, the public road course that was Reims was all about speed. Long straights interrupted by a couple of hairpin turns and some sweeping bends meant the overall average speed around the circuit would not be slow at all.Fangio would prove that point in practice when he would complete a lap of the circuit in 2:23.3. This was done at an average speed of well over 126mph. Amazingly, Fangio would take the pole by a mere two-tenths of a second from Stuart Lewis-Evans in one of the Vanwalls. Jean Behra would complete the front row being nearly two seconds slower than Fangio.Bueb would show his rather sedated pace in practice. His best effort around the circuit would end up translating into a 7th row grid position and an 18th place overall starting position. Incidentally, Jo Bonnier would start beside Bueb in 17th place in chassis 2505, the same chassis Simon had used to fail to qualify for the Monaco Grand Prix. Bonnier would enter the car under his own name. Gregory would fair only a little better. It was true the older Maseratis just struggled to find the pace. Masten's best effort would result in him starting from the 5th row of the grid in the 11th position overall.Right from the very beginning of the race Jean Behra would be pushing hard in his Maserati. However, Luigi Musso would also make a great start from his second row grid position and would be amongst the front-runners. Stuart Lewis-Evans would be new to the Vandervell team but he would be impressive holding onto the likes of Behra and Fangio.Gregory would also be impressive in the Centro Sud Maserati. Aided by the early retirement of Peter Collins, Olivier Gendebien and Mike Hawthorn, Gregory would be well up from his 11th place starting position. Even Bueb would be vastly improved after starting the race in 18th place.Behra would be most impressive setting the fastest lap of the race. He would be very quick around the Reims circuit, but he wouldn't be as consistently fast as Musso. Musso would be right up at the front, and, when Fangio retired from the race from a rare crash with just 5 laps remaining in the race, the Italian would be well in the lead and pulling away from the rest of the field.The reliability of the Centro Sud cars would be paramount to their success. However, the skills of young Gregory would make the difference between merely finishing and threatening for top five results just about every race.Musso would be most impressive over the course of the 61 lap race. Averaging a little more than 123mph, Musso would earn an easy victory defeating Behra by a margin of about 27 seconds. Stuart Lewis-Evans would be remarkably fast and consistent as he would finish the race a minute and 16 seconds behind Musso in the 3rd position.The late crash by Fangio would enable Gregory to climb up one more spot in the running order. Finishing the race a little more than 4 laps behind the winner, Masten would still come through to finish yet another race. This time, he would finish in a very strong 7th place. This was an impressive performance considering he had started the race in 11th place. However, his performance wouldn't quite be as impressive as his teammate's. Bueb's steady hand would prove to be exactly what the team needed. After starting the race from 18th on the grid, Bueb would be quick enough, and would certainly benefit from the trouble of others, to come through the race to finish 6 laps down but in 10th place.Once again, Scuderia Centro Sud had two of its cars finish in the top ten. The momentum and the confidence continued its run. The bar had been set more than a couple of times over the course of the early part of the season and the team had maintained its performance. In fact, in many ways, the team would continue to inch the bar up higher and higher.The team would forego the trip across the English Channel to take part in the British Grand Prix at Aintree. Instead, the team would look to the sixth round of the World Championship for 1957 for its next appearance in a World Championship event. The race would be the German Grand Prix. It would take place on the 4th of August at the famed Nurburgring. Nestled quietly in the Eifel Mountains of west Germany, the 14 mile long Nordschleife would be a beast hiding in plain sight amongst its pastoral setting. Deceiving given its tranquil surroundings, the Nurburgring would be a road course in the purest sense. Despite being purpose-built, the circuit rises and falls with the surrounding terrain and winds back and forth more than a river forging a path through the landscape. The year before, Fangio, Collins and Moss would push hard and would set some truly remarkable lap times around the 14 mile long circuit. One year later, the circuit would be resurfaced. The result would be astonishing as the record lap time set the previous season would seem as if it had been set decades before.Juan Manuel Fangio would take the pole for the '56 German Grand Prix posting a lap time of 9:51.2. One year later, Fangio would again be on pole but with a lap time of 9:25.6! In fact each of the front row starters would end up posting lap times faster than Fangio's pole effort from the year previous. Mike Hawthorn would start 2nd with Jean Behra in 3rd. The final starter on the front row would be Peter Collins. His lap time would be 9:34.7Scuderia Centro Sud would enter two cars for the German Grand Prix. Of course, Gregory would be behind the wheel of one of them. The other would go to the German Hans Herrmann. In practice, Gregory and Herrmann would be impressive setting lap times rather close to each other. Had it been the previous year, and if Masten and Hans had managed to set the same lap times, both would have started from the front row of the grid. Of the two, Masten would be the quickest posting a lap time of 9:51.5. As a result of the sub-ten minute lap, Masten would start the race from the third row of the grid in the 10th position. Herrmann would set a time of ten minutes flat and would end up right beside Gregory in the 11th starting spot.
Page 12Once again, Centro Sud looked strong heading into a World Championship race. The weather would again be beautiful with brilliant sunshine beaming down on the circuit. The cars would be wheeled out to their grid positions amongst an incredible crowd of people. Arranged on the grid and ready to go, each of the drivers awaited the drop of the flag and the start of the 22 lap race.When the flag dropped, it would be Collins and Hawthorn that would get the jump off the line and would be leading the field down to the Sudkurve. Gregory would get away quite well and would be up to 8th place heading into the first turn. Herrmann wouldn't be far behind either in the other Maserati.Over the course of the first lap Hawthorn and Collins would pull out a bit of a gap on Fangio. Behra would be running in 4th place ahead of the battle for 5th place that would include Moss, Musso and Brooks. Gregory's inexperience around the Nurburgring would end up costing him over the course of the first lap but he would still be running in a strong position, as would Herrmann.At the end of the first lap it would still be Hawthorn and Collins battling it out for the lead while Fangio would be a couple of seconds behind in 3rd place. Gregory would recover using the power of the Maserati to get by the Formula 2 cars to complete the first lap in 11th position just ahead of Herrmann in the second Maserati. The Formula 2 Cooper driven by Roy Salvadori would struggle to continually match the pace, lap after lap, of the Maseratis of Gregory and Herrmann. Therefore, the two Centro Sud drivers would get by and would run together in order a few seconds behind the three Vanwalls of Brooks, Moss and Lewis-Evans.Up at the front, Fangio would quickly rein in Hawthorn and Collins as he would start the race on tanks that were half full. This gave the Argentinean an advantage in speed being lighter, but it did mean he would have to make a stop for fuel around the halfway mark of the race while the two Ferrari drivers would carry on without a stop.Fangio would be in the lead and drawing away from the two Ferrari pilots. The lead would increase but it wouldn't be by incredibly large increments. Therefore, he needed to keep pushing hard just to ensure he would be close coming out of the pits. Gregory would be pushing hard and would be keeping station in 10th place while Herrmann would find himself coming under pressure from Salvadori and Edgar Barth in one of the Porsche Spyder sportscars.Most all of the retirements throughout the first half of the race would be Formula 2 cars. This wouldn't help Gregory or Herrmann at all as all would be further down in the running order at the time of their departures from the race. However, on the 11th lap, the two drivers would get some help when Stuart Lewis-Evans crashed his Vanwall out of the race. Both drivers would move up one position, but this would be widely overlooked as Fangio would be entering the pits for his one and only pitstop.The lead had gotten up to around 30 seconds when Fangio pitted. He would leap out while the car would be refueled and the tires changed. The tires would not necessarily be all that important but it would help him in his chase of the two Ferraris. He would end up needing those tires when trouble in the pitstop would cause him to drop some 45 seconds behind Collins and Hawthorn by the time he rejoined the race. All three drivers now had the same amount of fuel onboard. Fangio, however, had new tires and his famous will to win. He would set off on one of the most remarkable performances on his career, perhaps even in the history of Formula One.While Fangio would be in the midst of beginning his quest, Gregory would be behind Brooks in the 9th position unable to pull in the fast Vanwall. Herrmann, on the other hand, was nearing the end of his journey. Hans had lost positions to Salvadori and Barth. However, the German would recover and would begin his pursuit of Salvadori. The pursuit would help Salvadori's race come to an end as his transmission would fail him. But just when Herrmann took over Salvadori's position trouble would come looking for, and would find, Hans. The engine began to give up the fight until it would ultimately die after 14 laps of hard fighting. Once again, the team's hopes were down to Masten Gregory, still running inside the top ten.Fangio's performance would be remarkable as he would take out chunks of time from the lead of Collins and Hawthorn. Fitted with new rubber, Fangio would hit every apex perfectly and would be flying around the circuit pushing the lap record lower and lower. Even with more than 5 laps remaining in the race, he had set and reset the lap record more than a couple of times. Meanwhile, Gregory would also be gaining on Brooks. There would be just a handful of laps remaining but it seemed enough time for him to snatch one more position away before the end.Hawthorn and Collins would be helpless. Flying up the long straight back to the start/finish line, Fangio would manage to erase the deficit, and with two laps still remaining in the race. Winding his way through the Sudkurve, Fangio would snake past Collins and then would take over the lead of the race from Hawthorn not long afterward. Hawthorn would not give up the fight. Collins, on the other hand, would recognize the race was lost and would settle in to a comfortable pace ensuring his place at least on the podium.Just a lap before Fangio would make his move to take over the lead of the race, Gregory would make his move to take over 8th place from Brooks. It would be a great moment for the team, for, even though the Vanwall was an ill-handling machine, it was still incredibly fast down the straights. Therefore, for Gregory to have gotten by it meant he had had to be nearly flawless around the 170+ corners of the circuit.On the lap before he had taken over the lead of the race, Fangio would set the fastest lap of the race with an incredible time of 9:17.4. The incredible average speed meant Gregory would go down yet another lap before the end of the race but Masten wouldn't really be bothered by this as he would be working a great drive of his own.
Page 13One of the most memorable races of Fangio's career would clinch the World Championship for him for the fifth time as he would streak across the finish line a little more than 3 seconds ahead of Hawthorn. Having given up the fight, Collins would finish the race some 35 seconds back in 3rd place.Again, Gregory would delight the Centro Sud team as he would make his way through the arduous test without a hitch. Having passed Brooks late in the race, he would finish the race having almost finished on the lead lap with Fangio. Instead, he would finish a lap down in 8th place. Considering it was all works entries ahead of him in the standings, the 8th place for Masten would be something truly special and kept the confidence and the good feelings rolling within the team. Despite having older chassis, it seemed the talent of Gregory could make up for anything. He had a reliable touch, but was fast at the same time. More good things seemed destined to come, and they would.While the team enjoyed breaks of about a month or more for portions of the early part of the season, the month of August would be rather busy for the team. Following the German Grand Prix the team would pack up and would head for home soil. The next two World Championship rounds would take place on Italian soil. The first of these would be the Pescara Grand Prix held on the 18th of August and it would offer something not even the Nurburgring could.Situated right along the coast of the Adriatic, the city of Pescara would play host to the seventh round of the 1957 World Championship and it would offer Formula One history the longest circuit ever to host a grand prix. Measuring 15.9 miles, the Pescara circuit would offer a nostalgic feel to grand prix racing as the circuit would depart the long, fast streets of the city and would then head up through some rather steep mountains with switch-back style roads all before plunging back downhill toward the sea again. It was classic grand prix racing at a time when Italy was trying to ban racing on public roads.As a result of the proposals of the Italian government, Scuderia Ferrari would boycott the race leaving Vandervell and Maserati as the two main factory efforts entered in the race. As for Centro Sud, Gregory would be entered with the white and blue Maserati. Teaming with Gregory would be Jo Bonnier. Bonnier had used one of the Maseratis a number of times before but had entered races under his own team name. As Pescara, however, he would be entered under Centro Sud.The Vandervell team had shown well at the higher-speed venues. The ill-handling Vanwall would also show itself to be something of a liability at the circuits that demanded good stable control and stability. Pescara had both, fast straights and tight, twisty sections. The twisty bits would end up cancelling out the gains in top speed as it would be Fangio that would capture the pole for the Pescara Grand Prix. Stirling Moss would be the fastest of the Vanwall drivers but his best lap around the immense circuit would be 10 seconds slower. Still, he would capture the middle position on the front row. The final spot on the front row would go to Luigi Musso in the first of the Ferraris.Both of the Centro Sud drivers would perform well in practice. Gregory would again be the team's fastest driver as he would end up with a best lap of 10:26.1. As a result, Masten would start from the third row of the grid in the 7th position. Bonnier would also be quite quick around the circuit. His best would be 10 seconds slower than Gregory and would result in him starting from the fourth row of the grid in the 9th starting spot.The conditions would be sunny and quite warm as the cars lined up on the tight grid. The cars and drivers would be ready, the fans excitedly awaiting the start. Then the flag would drop and there would be an all-out sprint to the first corner. Musso would leap to the front along with Moss. Fangio would be slow getting away and would be sitting in 3rd place in the very early going. Gregory would have to take some evasive action as he slung his way past one of the slow-starting Maseratis ahead of him on the grid. Bonnier would get away well holding his position in the order.Musso would hold onto the lead through the first lap of the race but he would have Moss all over him in the speedy Vanwall. Fangio sat undisturbed in 3rd place. Stuart Lewis-Evans would use the speed from his Vanwall to get by Gregory over the course of the first lap. So, Masten would complete the first lap in 7th place while Bonnier would be up behind his teammate in 8th place.Moss would take over the lead of the race from Musso and would begin to pull away slightly with every mile. Lewis-Evans would struggle in the incredible heat as he would suffer tire failures that would drop him well down in the order. Tony Brooks' race would last just a lap before engine failure brought his day to an end. Therefore, as a result of the struggles of two of the Vanwalls, Gregory would be up to 5th place after just a couple of laps. Bonnier would get passed by Harry Schell so he would sit in 7th place until he ran into trouble with overheating problems and dropped back in the running order.Moss continued to pull away. He would flash by the start/finish line at the end of the long straight. Time would tick by and no Musso. There wouldn't be any Fangio either. Something obviously had happened. Then Fangio would appear and it would become obvious what had happened. Pulling into the pits with a broken wheel, it was obvious that he had lost control as a result of something that happened with Musso. In fact, Musso's engine had blown up spreading oil all over the circuit causing Fangio to lose control and break one of his wheels. Moss now enjoyed an enormous lead.Prior to this incident, Schell had continued his storming charge to the front and would pass Gregory for position. Following Behra's retirement as a result of an engine failure, Gregory would be running in 5th place still while Bonnier had retired with his overheating engine.The loss of Musso from the running order meant Gregory would be promoted to 4th place. He was driving yet another incredible race and was being rewarded for his speed and reliability. But Gregory would not be rewarded as much as Moss who enjoyed such a lead that he would come into the pits with a couple of laps remaining and would have enough time to have all of the tires changed, grab a drink and have the oil topped off just to make sure the Vanwall could make it to the end. When he returned to the circuit he still had more than 2 minutes in hand over Fangio.Like Moss, Gregory would not be under any pressure for 4th place. He could take care and make sure he made it all the way to the finish. Moss would really be under no pressure and he would come through to take the victory by more than 3 minutes from Fangio. More than 6 and a half minutes would be the gap back to Schell finishing in 3rd place. Gregory would have a remarkable run making it to finish in 4th place after starting 7th.Gregory continued to amaze in the older Maserati. He had not suffered a failure and continued to score points in his debut season in Formula One. The Centro Sud team couldn't ask for a better driver considering what they had to offer Gregory in return. Departing Pescara, Gregory now had 7 points toward the World Championship title and was actually ahead of Maserati's factory driver Jean Behra.
Page 14Following the race in Pescara, the team would only have to travel a few hours to the north to reach the destination for the final round of the World Championship. However, there would be a period of three weeks before the Italian Grand Prix on the 8th of September. This would provide the team some time to prepare its cars for perhaps the most important race of the season for the team. Although the Pescara Grand Prix had taken place on Italian soil, it wasn't the Italian Grand Prix and it wasn't Monza.Pescara would be a mixture of speed and slow, tight handling. Monza, on the other hand, would be all about one thing—speed. Even though the '57 edition would not make use of the 2.6 mile banked-oval, the 3.91 mile road course would still be more than fast enough for the cars and drivers.The championship had already been decided but that would mean very little to the passionate Italian racing fans. The thought of not seeing a red car on the front row would certainly be something they neither expected nor wanted though. Had Vandervell one more car, it is likely that is what the Italians would have had to deal with. Over the course of two hot days of practice it would be the Vanwall driven by Stuart Lewis-Evans that would clock the fastest lap around the circuit. His time of 1:42.2 would end up a half a second faster than Stirling Moss starting in 2nd. Then came Tony Brooks in the third Vanwall. His best was just two-tenths slower. It seemed fitting that Fangio would be the final starter on the front row signifying that only he was capable of keeping pace with the Vanwalls.The Centro Sud team would have a bit of continuity coming into the race. Gregory would be teamed with Bonnier once again. This had proven to be rather successful at Pescara and was only muted by Bonnier's engine problems.The two men would consistently lap right about the same time around the Monza circuit. At the end of practice Gregory would be the quicker of the two. He would start from the third row of the grid in the 11th position while Bonnier would be a row further back starting 13th.Race day would again be warm but dry and sunny. A total of 87 laps awaited the field as it assembled on the grid. The spectators would be excited as Fangio and the other drivers took their places behind the wheel of their respective cars. The engines would come to life; the race about ready to start.Cars creeping forward slightly, the flag would wave to start the race and the cars would roar away into the distance. Moss would sprint into the lead with Behra making a fast start from the second row. Bonnier would have a remarkable starting leaping well up from his fourth row starting spot. Gregory would hold onto his position at the start and would be battling Schell and Hawthorn throughout the first lap.At the end of the first lap it would be Moss leading the way but he would have four others right there with him at the head of the field. Bonnier would make a cracking start finishing the first lap up in the 8th position while Gregory would come through in a solid 11th.Gregory would be up and down between 11th and 13th as he battled with Scarlatti and von Trips. Bonnier's fast start would be subdued as Collins and Hawthorn would get by for position. Meanwhile, at the front of the field, a remarkable fight would take place with five different drivers leading laps over the course of the first 20 laps. These five, which would include the three Vanwalls and the Maseratis of Fangio and Behra, would swap positions numerous times a lap and would absolutely enthrall the Italian crowd.Bonnier would settle in to an incredible duel with Hawthorn while Gregory would be driving an uneventful and rather uninspiring race just outside the top ten. It would be a steep learning curve for Gregory as there would be action all throughout the field around the fast Monza circuit.After 20 intense laps of constant changes, attrition would begin to make its mark. The first to fall amongst the top five would be Brooks. He would come into the pits with problems with his throttle. He would carry on but would be dropped well down in the field. Unfortunately for Vandervell, Lewis-Evans would also fall out of contention. Throughout the first 30 laps of the race there would be almost no retirements. Still, trouble would come and find a number of drivers. Included in those struggling would be Bonnier. After his incredible start, his Maserati would again begin to suffer from overheating issues. This would drop him down in the field and he would end up retiring from the race after 31 laps.Bonnier would set off the retirements. Schell would retire after 34 laps while Lewis-Evans would give up the fight after 49. Behra had also looked great until his engine let him down after 50 laps. All of this translated into Moss holding onto the lead over Fangio while Gregory's controlled pace meant that he remained free of problems and was up to 7th place by the 43rd lap, the halfway mark.Gregory continued to run strong and fast but let attrition do his dirty work. Collins would fall out of the race after 62 laps promoting the American up even further. Schell had taken over Scarlatti's car. Scarlatti had been running ahead of Gregory but the change to Schell dropped the car behind Gregory and Schell was never able to retake positions that had been lost.
Page 15Ten laps from the finish, Moss would come into the pits. He had been dominating the race and enjoyed yet another large margin over Fangio. He would come into the pits, have the tires changed and he would be back out on the circuit still with the lead firmly within his grasp. At the same time Moss came into the pits, Hawthorn would drop down the order as a result of a broken fuel pipe. Suddenly, Gregory would be promoted up one more spot. He would be running an incredible 4th, and this after having been as low as 13th during the early going of the race.After an incredible start to the race, the event would end in rather subdued fashion as Moss would streak to victory, his third of the season. Fangio would come across the line 41 seconds back in 2nd place while Wolfgang von Trips brought his Lancia-Ferrari home in 3rd place a little more than 2 laps behind.One lap further adrift would be Masten Gregory. Although the Maserati he was piloting was more than a couple years old, he had managed to get it to perform as if new and his steady performance was, yet again rewarded. He seemed to have a touch like Fangio as the Maserati never broke for him in any of the World Championship rounds. And, as a result of finishing the race in 4th place he would add three more points to his World Championship tally. Fangio had easily won the title, but Gregory's consistent performances meant he would finish the season with 10 points and in a tie for 6th place. This was an incredible debut season for the American and it seemed to suggest Centro Sud was more than just a hobby for Dei.Although the World Championship had come to an end, there were still a couple of non-championship races in which the Centro Sud team would take part. The first of these would come just a week after the Italian Grand Prix on the 14th of September. It would be the 9th BRDC International Trophy race held at Silverstone in England.Once again, Centro Sud would send Masten Gregory and Jo Bonnier to the race. They would be taking on mostly Formula 2 entries in a race that had been postponed from its usual date in May as a result of the crisis in the Suez Canal.Measuring 2.9 miles to the lap, the Silverstone circuit played to the strengths of the Maserati as it was a high speed venue, but not entirely without some tricky corners to navigate. The 250F was a car that loved to be slid through the corners and Silverstone provided the perfect kind of corners to do just that.The format of the race would revert back to its original. Therefore, the race would consist of two 15 lap heat races and a 35 lap final. The entire field would be split between the two heats and then brought together for the final. Gregory would be listed in the first heat and he would take on the BRMs driven by Jean Behra and Ron Flockhart. Tony Brooks would actually start from pole while Behra would be 2nd. Flockhart would put the other BRM on the front row in the 3rd position while Gregory would complete the front row in the 4th spot.Trouble at the start of the race for Brooks would enable Gregory to move up right from the very beginning of the race. However, over the course of the 15 laps he would be unable to fight with the BRMs of Behra and Flockhart. This would be intriguing as the BRMs had proven unreliable and not terribly fast nearly all season long.Anchored by a fastest lap time faster than Brooks' qualifying effort, Behra would ease his way to victory completing the race distance in 25 minutes and nearly 59 seconds. Flockhart would finish in 2nd place nearly 43 seconds behind Behra. Gregory would give Flockhart a run for his money but would end up finishing in 3rd place 8 seconds behind Flockhart.The engine problems encountered by Bonnier at Monza would leave the team very little time to get the car prepped and ready for the International Trophy race. As it was, Bonnier would not set a time in practice for the second heat race and would end up starting the race from the fourth row of the grid in the 14th spot. The first row would include Schell starting from pole, Keith Hall in 2nd and Ivor Bueb and George Wicken completing the front row in 3rd and 4th places respectively. Schell had proven to be a good deal faster around Silverstone than any other in practice. As a result, Schell would take to the lead in the second heat but would not push at the same rate as what Behra had during the first heat. Still, the pace would be such that he held onto a comfortable lead over the rest of the field.The second heat race would see a good deal of change over the course of the race. Both Bonnier and Brabham would come from the tail-end of the field to constitute the greatest threat of Schell. Separated by only a couple of seconds, Brabham and Bonnier would be involved in an exciting duel.Schell would be in control the entire heat. He would take an easy win having 7 seconds in hand over the battle for 2nd place. That fight would be won by Brabham in his Climax-powered Cooper. Bonnier would finish in 3rd place just 3 seconds behind Brabham.
Page 16With both heat races completed the starting grid would be set for the 35 lap final. Behra's pace in the first heat race would make it very easy to determine who would start from pole. Flockhart would start from 2nd place. Gregory would find himself starting from the front row in 3rd position following his impressive performance in the first heat. The final spot on the front row would end up going to Schell in the third BRM. Bonnier would provide the Centro Sud team a great opportunity starting from the second row of the grid in the 6th position.The final would see the BRM trio streak to the head of the field while Bonnier would make a great start of his own. The two Centro Sud drivers would run up at the front of the field providing the greatest pressure to the BRMs. The weather in Silverstone would be pleasant and would allow Bonnier to actually race without many fears of overheating. The result would be that he would get by Gregory and would pull away from his teammate as he threatened Ron Flockhart at just about every turn over the course of the 35 lap race. Gregory would not be as quick as his teammate but would still run consistently fast enough to stay in the top five, and without much fear of being overhauled.Nobody could overhaul Behra. Posting the fastest lap, the Frenchman would leave his BRM teammates behind and would be well ahead heading into the final couple of laps of the race. His pace would be such that even Gregory would fall a lap behind before the end of the race. This would matter little to Gregory however as he would be comfortably in 5th place. The only real question would be who would finish in 3rd.Behra would earn an easy victory taking the checkered flag by a minute and a half over Schell in a second BRM. The battle for 3rd place; however, would go right down to the very end. Where it once had been Gregory taking on the mantle for Centro Sud, this time it would be Bonnier. Pressuring Flockhart to the very end, Bonnier would lose out by a mere second and would finish the race in 4th place. Gregory would soon follow finishing in 5th. It was yet another great result for the Centro Sud team. This sophomore team looked set for a bright future. Just one more race remained before that future could become the team's focus.After an amazing streak in which he suffered no unreliability whatsoever, Gregory would find his car not ready for what would be the final race of the season for Centro Sud. The event would be the Modena Grand Prix and it would be held on the 22nd of September at the Modena Aerodrome just to the west of the city's center. Gregory's absence meant the team would have just one Maserati available. However, Jo Bonnier would be entered under the Owen Racing Organization. Centro Sud needed a driver. They would find one living near the Maserati factory trying to negotiate parts for his own Maserati—Horace Gould.Not only would this race take place on familiar home soil, but the Modena aerodrome circuit was certainly well known amongst the Ferrari and Maserati factory teams as the 1.47 mile circuit had served as a testing venue on more than one occasion for each factory. Using the perimeter road around the runway, as well as, the runway itself, the circuit would be fast and slow. There would be moments where the cars could stretch their legs but those moments would be short-lived as they would be interrupted by tight hairpin turns.If the nature of the circuit wouldn't prove tough enough then the nature of the race would make up for it. Consisting of two 40 lap heat races, the 5th Gran Premio di Modena would be one last tough test for Centro Sud and Gould. Unlike the International Trophy race, all competitors would take part in both heats, if they could. And, the grid for the first heat would have Luigi Musso starting from pole in one of the Formula 2 Dino 156s. Harry Schell would then start 2nd. Jean Behra would complete the row in 3rd. While Bonnier would qualify for the race in 7th, which was the middle of the third row, Gould would be on the inside of the same row starting in 6th. Gould was one of a few privateers left in Formula One and his obvious lack of speed would be on display for all to see over the course of the first heat race. The factory Ferraris and Maseratis would flash around the circuit they knew well. Gould would struggle and would be well off the pace. As he had at Silverstone, Behra would be at the front of the field and pulling away. Despite being matched for the fastest lap by Musso, Behra would be consistently quick and would come by to give Gould a bit of a wave more than a couple of times.Behra would take the win in the first heat completing the distance some 20 seconds ahead of Musso. Schell would finish the first heat in 3rd place almost 47 seconds behind. Gould would end the first heat having lost 3 laps to Behra. Still, he would finish in 8th place providing the team hope it could end the season with yet another race finish.The grid positions would be reversed for the final. Therefore, the order along the front row would be Shell, Musso and Behra. And, despite finishing the first heat in 8th place, Gould would again start from 6th on the grid.The second heat, which again consisted of 40 laps, would be the time when all of the drivers would let it all hang out. However, as the race got underway and the laps began to go by, it would become abundantly clear Behra and Musso were running lap times nearly identical to the first heat. It was as if they had just kept going without the break. The one who would really pick up the pace would be Harry Schell and Horace Gould.
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