TeamsEquipe Anglaise: 1953 Formula One Season By Jeremy McMullen
In 1952, Alan Brown stunned many when he would find himself scoring 2 points in the Swiss Grand Prix with a Cooper-Bristol T20. It was perhaps the greatest moment in the history of the small Ecurie Richmond team that had only taken part in lower formula races prior to 1952. While this was a great moment for the small team it also presented some problems.
Jimmy Richmond, a public works contractor from Northampton, was as enthusiastic about racing as they come. While too big to drive competitively on his own, Richmond would decide to use his money to help fund a competitive racing team. He would decide to partner with talented race drivers Alan Brown and Eric Brandon to form Ecurie Richmond. The team raced all over Europe in Formula 3 and was rather successful.
However, while the World Championship was competing according to Formula 2 regulations, costs were still rather high. This would take a considerable amount of investment from the rather small team to remain competitors in the World Championship. This would be too much for even the passionate Richmond, besides, Brown would receive another offer.
Brown would receive an offer from Bob Chase to come and join him. Brown would decide to leave the team he helped found and would join with Chase. At the time, Brown was something of a test driver for Cooper and would take part in some races for the factory effort, especially during the early part of 1953. But mostly, Brown would end up racing under the RJ Chase or Equipe Anglaise banner, a team in which he founded with Chase.
In fact, throughout the first part of the 1953 season, Brown would take part in World Championship and non-championship races under the RJ Chase team name. The RJ Chase team would have two Cooper-Bristol chassis to utilize throughout the season. It had one older T20 and a new T23. Although the chassis numbers of the cars would not change, the team names used during the season would. RJ Chase would be listed in the entries for the British Grand Prix. However, at the German Grand Prix in early August, the very same chassis numbers would be listed in the field under the entry Equipe Anglaise.
The Equipe Anglaise name would be thrown around and used at different times throughout the 1953 season. In fact, while it is open to conjecture, it is believed the first time Equipe Anglaise would be listed in an entry form would be very early on in the 1953 grand prix season. After the first round of the World Championship, which was the Argentine Grand Prix, there would be a long break before the next race would come up on the calendar. However, a couple of weeks after the first round of the World Championship the Autodromo Juan y Oscar Galvez circuit in Buenos Aires would host another race, a non-championship race. The race was the 7th Gran Premio Ciudad de Buenos Aires and a number of the major factory teams would take part in the race.
Scuderia Ferrari, Officine Alfieri Maserati and Equipe Gordini would all take part in the 40 lap race around the 2.42 mile circuit number 2 in Buenos Aires. Listed among the major teams, with some confusion, is Alan Brown in a Cooper-Bristol chassis.
Brown had taken part in the Argentine Grand Prix as part of the Cooper Car Company race team. It was believed he took part in this race two weeks later under the Cooper team name as well, but there is some conjecture that it may have actually been a race in which Equipe Anglaise had been listed in the entry form. It mattered very little as it was the same chassis.
The Argentine race club was keen on joining the World Championship. After all, Juan Manuel Fangio, Jose Froilan Gonzalez and the talented Onofre Marimon were all Argentinean. For another thing, president Juan Peron was never one to pass up an opportunity to promote what he believed to be the greatness of the society in which he created, and, motor racing was a means to entertain and marshal many supporters. Therefore, the World Championship would add the Argentine Grand Prix to the calendar in 1953.
Racing in South America during the off-season in Europe was nothing new. Over the previous couple of years many of the top drivers and teams would come to Brazil and Argentina to take part in races during what was the summer months in the southern hemisphere. There would be a number of non-championship races held during this time and the one on the 1st of February would be just one of these.
Brown would have a tough race going up against new World Champion Alberto Ascari and the rest of the Scuderia Ferrari squad, let alone the fact there was a resurgent Maserati effort present at the race as well. What would make things tougher would be the fact the race would also welcome Formula One cars in its field.
This strength of competition would be painfully obvious when Ascari would take the pole for the 40 lap event. Brown would start further down on the grid and would have a lot of hard work ahead to score a good result.
For many in the field, just making it to the end would be something like a small victory. A number of entries would fall out of the race before even five laps had been completed. One of those that would be out of the running early on would be Ascari in his Ferrari 375. The connecting rod would fail thereby ending his day, and that was after just two laps. Of course it would mean very little to Brown as he too would be out of the race before the 5th lap of the race. In his case, the crankshaft would fail on his Cooper-Bristol.
While it would matter very little to Brown and Equipe Anglaise, Ascari's retirement from the race meant everything would be thrown wide open. However, Giuseppe Farina, the 1950 World Champion, would make the most of the opportunity.
Farina had been involved in an accident during the Argentine Grand Prix that ended up costing a number of people their lives. Yet, just a couple of weeks later, here would be Farina leading the field. Luigi Villoresi would be all over him though.
The two would check out from the rest of the field, but not each other. Over the course of the 40 lap race, the fight between these two teammates would rage on. So close they could have to
uched each other, Farina and Villoresi would battle it out practically every corner.
Coming around on the last lap of the race, things still seemed rather uncertain. The race for the win would be incredibly tight. Even coming to the line people weren't sure who would come out on top. At the line, it would be Farina that would cross the line in 1st place. Villoresi would cross the line in 2nd place just one-tenth of a second behind. Mike Hawthorn would finish the race 3rd for his new team. He would end up more than a minute and twenty seconds behind.
While the Argentine Grand Prix had started out the World Championship season well for Brown, the first non-championship race would leave something more to be desired. Whether fortunate or not, it would be a good long while before he would have another opportunity to earn a good result.
It would be a period of about two months before Equipe Anglaise would be seen on an entry form for a race. Of course, it would nearly be that long before the first of the non-championship races would begin anyway. Nonetheless, Equipe Anglaise would be listed in the field for the 5th Lavant Cup race held at Goodwood near Chichester in West Suffolk. This was just one of many short races held at Goodwood on the 6th of April that year.
When Brown left Ecurie Richmond he would take on a managerial role for Chase. This would come into play during the Lavant Cup race. Although Brown would be listed in the entry field he would not take the wheel of the team's Alfa Romeo-powered Cooper T23. Instead, it would be Paul Emery that would get the drive.
Goodwood had become a popular destination for racers during the post-war years. The motor racing circuit had been an auxiliary airfield for Tangmere during World War II, but after the war, it would become a major site for motor racing of all types. The 2.39 mile perimeter road that made up the circuit was a little more unusual in its layout than some of the other airbases that would become hosts to motor racing. Its fast, sweeping corners and short blasts for straights would enable average speeds around 90 mph in 1953. This made it a very popular venue, especially for racers from the British Isles.
The starting grid would be filled with nineteen competitors. On the pole for the short race would be Roy Salvadori. He had recorded a lap time of one minute and thirty-five seconds. Emery would struggle. Equipe Anglaise had taken a T23 and would modify it heavily. Besides the Alfa Romeo engine, the bdywork would also be modified to resemble a Ferrari and would feature a de Dion rear axle. In spite of the modifications, Emery would find himself well down in the field.
Salvadori would be fast in the race as well. But he would have company. Baron de Graffenried would be right there with Salvadori throughout the early stages of the race. Emery would find the going rather rough with the Alfa-powered Cooper. His pace would be immediately slow and would put him in jeopardy of being lapped if the car could even make it to the finish.
Under pressure from de Graffenried, Salvadori was on it early. He would go on to set the fastest lap of the race with a time a little more than a second slower than his qualifying effort. However, it still wouldn't be enough to hold off de Graffenried.
Baron de Graffenried proved to be much more consistent than Salvadori and it was making all the difference in the world during the race. Salvadori would do his best to battle but it was obvious it wouldn't be enough.
Emmanuel de Graffenried held onto the lead throughout the race and would end up crossing the line to take the victory some thirteen seconds ahead of Salvadori. Tony Rolt would finish the race seven seconds further back in 3rd place. Paul Emery's pace in the Cooper wouldn't be enough. Emery would cross the line a rather disappointing 15th and would be one lap down.
As short as the race was, to be a lap down at the end did not bode well for the Equipe Anglaise team. They would need to improve drastically. Otherwise, the season would be rather embarrassing for them.
The team's next opportunity to test its pace would come a little more than a month later. On the 9th of May, Equipe Anglaise would be busy preparing its Alfa-powered Cooper T23 for the 5th BRDC International Trophy race held at Silverstone.
Actually, the team's two cars would make the trip to the race. However, Eric Brandon, Alan Brown's old partner at Ecurie Richmond, would take the old Cooper-Bristol T20 and would enter the car in the event under his own name.
By 1953, Silverstone had pretty much already become Britain's home for motor racing. It too had started out life as an airbase during World War II. During the war, it was a base for bombers in the Royal Air Force. In 1947, the circuit had been abandoned and would come to hold its first impromptu race by local racers. Just one year later, the Royal Auto Club would take lease of the property and would host the British Grand Prix for the first time at the site in 1948. One year later, Silverstone would come to host the International Trophy race.
The race's format was different than most. It consisted of two heat races and a final. Practice times before each heat determined the starting grid while individual finishing times from each heat would determine the final grid positions.
Eric Brandon would be positioned in the first heat with Emmanuel de Graffenried, Stirling Moss, Tony Rolt and others. He would start the race from the 8th place position on the grid while de Graffenried would start on the pole.
Baron de Graffenried would find himself in a fight with Stirling Moss for the victory in the first heat while Brandon would fight just to make it inside the top ten. The Baron would go on to take the win by five seconds over Moss. Prince Bira would put together an impressive performance to finish 3rd. Brandon would just make it to the top ten when he would finish some two minutes behind in 10th.
This would be the brightest spot Equipe Anglaise would experience throughout the event, although it was indirectly related to them. This is because Alan Brown wouldn't even start the event. His pace continued to struggle against the other 'established' teams. Therefore, Brown wouldn't even start. Thus, he would just witness the race of the race.
The second heat would see Ken Wharton on the pole, but he had a talented Mike Hawthorn and his Ferrari 500 starting right next to him. And during the race, this would be an intense, but clean, fight. Further down, Harry Schell and Peter Collins would duke it out for a spot inside the top ten.
All through the 15 laps of the heat, Wharton and Hawthorn would be within a length or two, at most, from each other. In the end, Hawthorn would end up getting the better of Wharton and would beat him by just a second. Roy Salvadori would cross the line 3rd. In the battle between Schell and Collins, Schell would manage to hold on by just two tenths of a second to finish 7th.
The 35 lap final would have Hawthorn on pole with Wharton starting alongside. This was appropriate since the two would manage to finish some thirty seconds faster than de Graffenried and Moss. Baron de Graffenried and Moss would join Wharton and Hawthorn on the four-wide front row, however. Brandon would end up starting all the way down in 18th position.
The race would see de Graffenried jump the start but it would take the stewards time to make their decision. This delay kept the battle tight at the front of the field. It would have been a spectacular battle had not de Graffenried been penalized. He had just set the fastest lap time but would withdraw from the race after 16 laps. Wharton and Moss would end up just fading away. This left Hawthorn practically all alone, but he would have a charging Salvadori about a dozen seconds back.
Hawthorn would be able to maintain his advantage over the course of the remaining laps. He would go on to take the victory by about twelve seconds over Salvadori who had come up from starting the race 5th. Tony Rolt had started the race 8th but would end up finishing 3rd. Eric Brandon would bring Equipe Anglaise's Cooper-Bristol home but it would be in 18th place and more than three laps behind.
The pace of the Cooper-Bristol was quite disconcerting. The heart of the season was rapidly approaching. The team needing to get things turned around. They recognized they had an issue that needed to be resolved and it wouldn't be so quickly resolved. Therefore, although the team had an entry in the Ulster Trophy race at Dundrod in Northern Ireland the team would not make use of the entry. Instead, the team would go and work on its car in preparation of the next race.
The season was beginning to pick up steam. After abandoning the entry in the Ulster Trophy race, there would be just a couple of weeks the team would have before it would enter its next race. The next race would be a similar affair to the International Trophy race that didn't go off so well for the team. The race would be the 3rd Coronation Trophy race and it would take place at Crystal Palace, in London, on the 25th of May.
Situated on a hill overlooking much of London, the Crystal Palace Park, which earned its name from the cast-iron and glass palace that had been moved to the site after the Great Exhibition in Hyde Park in 1854, would come to host a grand prix event on a temporary 1.34 mile circuit.
The Coronation Trophy race was similar to the International Trophy race in that it too featured two heats and a final. Each of the heats, and the final, would be 10 laps in length. Alan Brown would be behind the wheel of the pedestrian Alfa-Cooper.
Heat one would have a starting field of eight. It would include Stirling Moss, Ken Wharton, Tony Rolt and a few other competitive entries. Archie Bryde would be surprisingly fast and would start on the pole for the first heat. He would have Bill Aston, Moss and Rolt alongside on the front row.
Bryde's incredible run would come to an end after 8 laps when mechanical woes ended his race. Bill Aston would fade over time. Ken Wharton would be on fire during the race.
While Moss would also fade, Wharton would be all over Rolt giving him a hard time and challenging for the lead of the heat. Rolt would respond to the pressure and would end up recording the fastest lap of the heat.
Rolt wouldn't succumb to the pressure. He would go on to take the victory over Wharton. He would cross the line just six-tenths of a second ahead of Wharton. Lance Macklin, who had started the heat 6th, would come through to finish 3rd.
Brown would be listed in the second heat, and unlike the International Trophy race, he would take part in this event. But it wasn't because the competitors making up the second heat weren't any good. Brown would have to face Peter Collins, Bobbie Baird and Peter Whitehead in the second heat.
Jack Fairman would end up being the fastest in practice and would start from the pole. Graham Whitehead would end up starting 2nd. Peter Collins and Peter Whitehead would complete the front row starting 3rd and 4th respectively.
Brown's Cooper would still struggle but at least it wouldn't be the slowest car on the starting grid. It would be close, however. Alan Brown would start the heat from the third, and final, row of the grid in the 9th position, which was second-to-last.
Although Brown would actually start a race, it would last about as long as if he hadn't. When the second heat began, Brown's race ended. A fuel pump would fail on the car and that would spell the end of the entire event for Equipe Anglaise once again.
Peter Whitehead and Collins would head up the front of the field. However, Collins would be under extreme pressure from Graham Whitehead and seemed destined to hand over the position at any time.
Peter Whitehead would pull out a lead while Collins and Graham fought it out. Peter would go on to take the heat win. The question was, 'Who would come in 2nd?' In spite of enormous pressure, Collins would manage to hold on to finish 2nd. He would finish nearly twelve seconds behind Peter Whitehead, but would finish just six-tenths ahead of Graham Whitehead.
The starting grid for the 10 lap final would be determined by finishing time of each individual in their respective heat race. This meant Rolt and Wharton would start 1st and 2nd. Peter Whitehead would start from the front row in 3rd place, but it would be Lance Macklin that would start 4th as his time would be better than Collins'.
The final would have the look and the feel of an exhibition, with the exception of Rolt and Wharton at the front. Rolt and Wharton would each get good starts and would renew their fight from the first heat race. Peter Whitehead and Lance Macklin merely fell in line from where they started. Stirling Moss; however, would put on an exhibition. Although he started the final 7th, Moss would make a great start and would pressuring Macklin from behind. This would make Macklin step up his game as well, which brought pressure to bear on Peter Whitehead.
Rolt would have an answer for Wharton's pressure. He would end up turning the fastest lap of the final race and would maintain a margin of just a second or two over Wharton. The battle between Whitehead and Macklin would also tighten as the race wore on.
Coming around to the finish, Rolt enjoyed a lead of a couple of seconds and would cross the finish line to take the victory with the same advantage over Wharton. The sole remaining battle on the circuit was the fight for 3rd place. Macklin was showing that he wanted it. Whitehead had it. Whitehead would end up keeping it as he would cross the line just six-tenths of a second ahead of Macklin but twelve seconds behind Wharton.
Things were looking absolutely terrible for Equipe Anglaise. The most unfortunate part was the fact the next couple of rounds of the World Championship were coming up the very next month. Although it was Brown's first year as head of the motor racing division under Chase, it was certainly not going well. The mating of the Alfa Romeo and the Cooper chassis was not proving to be a winner. This brought up some important questions concerning the modified car that certainly needed to be answered.
Only five days would separate the disappointing effort at the Coronation Trophy race and the team's next event. On the 30th of May, the team would be at Snetterton preparing for the 1st Snetterton Coronation Trophy race which was just a 10 lap event around the 2.70 mile Snetterton Circuit located in Norfolk, England.
Snetterton was yet another airbase to be turned into a motor racing circuit. During World War II it too was a bomber base called Snetterton Heath. The airbase would be laid out in the familiar triangle layout that most every other base had in common. When the airbase was closed down in 1948 it would quickly become a site to host motor races. Like Silverstone, and all the other airbases, the area was flat and wide open. Also, the race organizers would determine to use the perimeter road as the circuit just like Silverstone, Castle Combe, Goodwood and others.
Although the team had only five days between races it would make an important decision. The Alfa Romeo engine would be removed from the car and the Bristol engine put back into the car. This move would be incredibly beneficial to the team and their chances of turning the season around.
Brown would take the car and would promptly go out and take the pole for the race. Roy Salvadori would end up starting beside Brown in 2nd place. Baird, Bill Black and Rodney Nuckey would end up completing the first row of the grid. The rest of the ten-car field would fill up the grid after Brown and the front row.
When the short race got underway, Tony Rolt would immediately make his presence known by making his way up to the front of the field and battling for the lead with Brown and Salvadori.
Rolt would do his best to take control of the race by setting the fastest lap of the race. It would further become strengthened when Salvadori dropped out of the race with mechanical troubles and Brown just couldn't keep up the same pace. In spite of everything, Brown was performing incredibly well. It didn't have much time in the car with the Bristol engine, plus, he couldn't have been too sure about the car's reliability. Nonetheless, he would keep things close with Rolt.
In the end, Rolt would go on to complete the 10 laps in under 19 minutes and would take the victory by ten seconds over Brown. Bobbie Baird would go on to finish the race seven seconds down to Brown in 3rd place.
This was an incredible turn-around for the team considering the fact the Alfa-Romeo powerplant couldn't even get them on the starting grid at times. Even though the Bristol engine hadn't been in the car all that long Brown would push it with every confidence it would make the race distance. This, and the 2nd place result, was huge in building confidence in the new team. This was incredibly important before the team left the shores of England and headed off to two difficult races in a row. The first of these would take place in the then divided capital of the defunct Third Reich.
Toward the middle of July Equipe Anglaise pulled in to Berlin, the western part of the city, a prepared to take part in a race on one of the more interesting and famous road circuits all in all of Europe. The team had arrived at the Avus circuit preparing to take part in the 9th Internationales Avusrennen.
Avus was very loosely a road circuit. It certainly took place on the road. In fact, after changes were made to the original 12 mile circuit, the updated circuit took place along a highway running between Charlottenburg and Nikolassee. The updated circuit was just over 5 miles in length but still featured basically two straights with a hairpin turn on the south end and the 'Wall of Death' at the north. The 'Wall of Death' was so named because of its steep banking, brick paving and the fact it had no wall at the top of the turn.
These circuits were becoming quite popular with drivers from outside of Germany. In addition, because of the struggling German grand prix scene, races like the Avusrennen were perfectly places for foreign entries to come and earn a really good result. This fact would be evident looking at the size and make-up of the 1953 edition of the race.
While there would certainly be a large number of German entries in the field there would also be a number of foreign entries as well. Besides Brown as his Cooper-Bristol, Jacques Swaters would be present with his Ferrari 500. Johnny Claes would be in the field with a Connaught A-Type. Kurt Adolff would be at the wheel of Ecurie Espadon's Ferrari 500, which was the same car that won the race the year before. Even Prince Bira would be in the field with a Maserati A6GCM.
This foreign presence would be dominant in practice leading up to the race. Swaters would take the pole for the 25 lap race in his Ferrari. Brown was an absolutely different driver with the Bristol engine in the Cooper. He would take the car and would end up starting the race from 2nd place on the grid. Rodney Nuckey would complete the all-foreign front row with his 3rd place starting position.
Although things seemed to favor the foreign entries in the field they would still need to finish the race first, and this would be tougher than many theorized.
Swaters would make a great start and would lead the way. Brown would also make a good start and was busy settling in while hurtling down the long straights. The rest of the field would make its way down the long straights. It would look like a snake winding its way as the Germans would be busy fighting for position.
Swaters began to pull away at the front of the field, but he wouldn't be entirely free of pressure. Theo Helfrich would push his Veritas RS as hard as he could and would end up setting the fastest lap of the race with a time of two minutes and thirty-one seconds.
While seemingly straight-forward, there were many opportunities to get things wrong around Avus. Usually; however, most problems would happen coming through the 'Wall of Death'. The brick paving was rough and would upset the car at a time when it needed to grip the tarmac. Under pressure, even the smallest issue has a way of blowing up.
Brown was running well in the Cooper-Bristol. What a dramatic turnaround from the beginning part of the season. It seemed he was on course for a good result at Avus since a good majority of the field had retired from the race with problems. However, the race wasn't over. And Brown would find this out firsthand.
Swaters had pulled away from the rest of the field and was enjoying a lead of a couple of minutes over the majority of the field. In some cases, Swaters was enjoying a lead of a couple of laps. Things seemed a foregone conclusion for him. Things also seemed concluded for Brown as well, but that one moment of lapse of concentration would end up costing him. While running well, Brown would make a slight mistake, would lose control of the car and would crash out of the event. The team had a certain good result slip right through their fingers. The team certainly could have used the good result in such a difficult race.
Instead, Brown would join fifteen other competitors out of the race and would watch Swaters absolutely dominate the field en route to victory. Swaters would cross the line to take the victory and would have a margin of victory of more than two minutes and forty seconds on Hans Klenk in his Veritas Meteor. A little more than thirteen seconds later, Theo Helfrich would cross the line in 3rd.
Although the team had a tremendous opportunity slip right through their fingers they could still hold their heads up high when it came to the speed they had managed to find by replacing the Alfa Romeo engine with the Bristol. Although the race ended in a retirement, there was every reason to be confident heading into what would be the team's first World Championship round in a couple of weeks.
Equipe Anglaise's first-ever World Championship round would come at one of the most difficult and dangerous circuits, not just in Europe, but in all the world. The team's first round would actually be the seventh round of the championship in 1953. The race was the German Grand Prix and it would take place on the 14 mile long Nordschleife that was part of the Nurburgring.
The race, which was held on the 2nd of August, would be the third time the German Grand Prix would be part of the World Championship. However, for just the second year, it would be the one round of the World Championship in which German racers could actually take part. The country's economic system was still in shambles after the war. On top of that, equipment and technology for motor racing was still in rather short supply except for the major manufacturers. Therefore, much of Germany's Formula 2 racing scene consisted of a number of home-built 'Eigenbaus'.
Coming into the race, Brown and the whole team certainly had to have more confidence than what they had earlier on the season. And this would be important coming to the Nurburgring. Sitting high in the Eifel mountains, Castle Nurburg was built during the middle ages on a place simply meaning 'black hill'. The castle would come to be considered the highest castle in all the Rhineland-Pfalz and would present visitors with one incredible view on a clear day. This poignant location, this lofty place, would become the home of one of the most feared circuits in all the world. Featuring 14 miles of constant twisting and turning, rising and falling, slow and incredibly fast speeds, the Nordschleife was both intriguing and a nightmare at the same time. It demanded utmost concentration and courage, but it certainly had a way of dealing with over confidence.
Alberto Ascari and Scuderia Ferrari were certainly confident heading into the race. If things came out right during the race Ascari would be the first repeat World Champion. Of course, he was being chased by a field almost entirely comprised of his Ferrari teammates, so no matter what happened Ferrari would come out on top at the end of the season.
Because of Ascari's dominance thus far during the season all of the German racers, and even, Equipe Anglaise figured to be of little factor. This meant the race was more for personal pride and of competition amongst those of similar pace than that of Ferrari and Maserati.
This would be important as in practice Ascari would be virtually untouchable, even amongst his closest competitors. He was intent on ending the title chase then and there and went out and set a time that stated that purpose as clearly as possible. He would go out and break the ten minute mark and would end up being four seconds faster than Fangio. The rest of the front row would consist of Giuseppe Farina and Mike Hawthorn.
Alan had certainly come alive since making the switch back to Bristol power. What was interesting was that each of the German races in which the team had participated was something of a homecoming for the Bristol engine. This was because the Bristol engine used in Brown's Cooper had actually been taken from drawings and data pertaining to the competitive BMW 328 engine from before the war. Bristol had earned the rights to the BMW engine after the war and built an engine based upon it. So while it was a Bristol engine, its inspiration was certainly German. Brown would use this influence to power himself to a best lap time of eleven minutes and eight seconds. This was over a minute slower than Ascari but around the Nurburgring it would still be good enough for Brown to start the race 17th and towards the middle of the fifth row. The thing was, this was the older T20 that Brown would actually use.
Equipe Anglaise would actually enter two cars in the race. The team would enter its T23 and would let the German Helmut Glockner to drive it and try and get into the field. However, during practice, the engine would let go on the car and this would leave Glockner without a car to put on the grid. Therefore, Equipe Anglaise would go into its first World Championship ever with an older car, not to newer one like it intended.
In all, thirty-four cars would streak away at the start of the race. The day was sunny and dry and Fangio had gotten a great start and would take the early lead. This lead wouldn't even last a quarter of a lap before Ascari's superior pace would power him into the lead. With the older T20, Brown was interested in getting into a steady, but fast, pace. He was looking for that all-important balance between speed and reliability. And around the Nurburgring, with its many gear changes, moments of great acceleration and heavy braking, this would be challenging to achieve.
Ascari seemed to be achieving the balance without much hassle. He was fast and was pulling away from the rest of the field. Fangio had come to be joined by Hawthorn and Farina and the three would try and desperately make up ground. But it wasn't working.
Many other drivers would find their cars not working, and after just a couple of laps. Engines, engine components and other equipment were taking a serious pounding going around the circuit, and the drivers had the task of doing this, or trying to do this, 18 times. Unfortunately, twelve would find just making 10 laps too difficult and would retire from the race. Even Ascari's Ferrari was finding the going a little too tough.
Right around halfway, a wheel would come off Ascari's car and he was fighting hard to limp back to the pits. The previous year he had a huge lead only to see it evaporate with an engine-related problem. One year later, the same thing would happen only with a wheel problem this time.
Ascari would make it back to the pits and would end up taking over Luigi Villoresi's car for the rest of the race. In Villoresi's car, Ascari would put together an even more incredible performance.
Sixteen cars would be out of the running by the time there were just five laps remaining in the race. One of those still running was Brown in the older T20. Compared to the rest of the season, the fact that Brown was still running in a race on the notorious Nurburgring was nothing short of a miracle. However, he would end up coming up a little short.
Ascari was on an absolute tear. He would not only be fast, he would be so fast that he would set a fastest lap of the race time that was three seconds faster than his own qualifying effort. The problem was, this kind of pace was certain to take its toll on the Ferrari. And just three laps away from the end, the engine would let go on Ascari's Ferrari. The unfortunate part of it all for Brown and Equipe Anglaise was that his engine decided to follow suit. Brown was out of the race with just three laps remaining.
Ascari's championship would be safe. Farina was in the lead of the race when Ascari's engine let go. Fangio was well back and posed no threat to Farina or Ascari. Hawthorn was one of the main threats but he just couldn't keep pace with Farina or Fangio.
After a little more than three hours and two minutes, Farina would cross the line to take his first victory of the season and keep Ferrari's winning-streak alive. Fangio would end up crossing the line a little more than a minute back in 2nd place. Hawthorn, who had led earlier on, would only manage to hang on to finish nearly two minutes back in 3rd place.
Brown and Equipe Anglaise had put up a valiant fight. And although it would all come to naught, the team certainly had reason to be proud as they would manage to hold on longer than many other stronger teams. Nonetheless, the first World Championship race for Equipe Anglaise had ended in a retirement. This would be something the team wanted desperately to remedy. A little more than a month later, the team would get its chance.
Equipe Anglaise would not take part in another non-championship race for the rest of the 1953 season. The team would also go on to skip the eighth round of the World Championship. However, on the 13th of September, Equipe Anglaise was preparing its single entry for the ultra-fast and historic Italian Grand Prix.
The teams arrived to take part in what was the 23rd Gran Premio d'Italia. The race would take place at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, which had opened in 1922 and hosted every single Italian Grand Prix since that opening. While Monza is the official capital of the Province of Monza and Brianza, it certainly would also be considered the 'official' capital of motor racing in Italy. Ultra-fast, the circuit would serve as the perfect host for the thoroughbred Ferraris and Maseratis of 1953.
The Italian Grand Prix was the ninth, and final, round of the World Championship. The title had already been decided back in Germany. Therefore, this race around the 3.91 mile, incredibly fast, circuit would be all about pride, especially for Ferrari and Maserati, the two obvious favorite marks coming into the race. For teams like Equipe Anglaise, Monza presented the perfect challenge. To do well on such a high-speed circuit in such an environment filled with passionate Italian racing fans was certainly something very special. It would be a badge of honor if a foreign team could upset the Italian manufacturers.
Brown would be the team's only entry in the race. He would take to the wheel of the T23 with the Bristol engine. He hoped the turnaround the team had been experiencing, despite the retirements, would lead to a good result in the swift 80 lap race.
Nobody would be swifter than Ferrari and Maserati. Ascari would take the pole; a surprise to practically nobody. Juan Manuel Fangio would start on the front with him in his Maserati. He would start 2nd and in the middle of the front row. Giuseppe Farina would make it a front row for the ages when he would end up being 3rd on the starting grid.
The Bristol engine was a little out of its element on the Monza circuit. The engine was good for acceleration but lacked the power for straight-line speed. As a result, Brown would post a lap time twelve seconds slower than Ascari and would start the race 24th. This meant Brown would start the race from the eighth row of the grid.
A beautiful day greeted the start of the race. Ascari would make a great start and would lead the way with Farina and Onofre Marimon giving chase. Fangio would lose ground at the start but would recover to make it a very fast foursome at the head of the field. Starting toward the back of the grid, Brown needed to be careful and bide his time.
Lap after lap the train of four would come off the last corner and would power its way down the long front straight and into the Curva Grande. The rest of the field quickly began to lose ground to the four. Brown was mixed right in with the rest of the field and would be part of the elongating snake winding its way around the circuit.
Attrition throughout the length of the race would be rather light. Before halfway was reached only six cars would be out of the running. However, the whole of the field could have been considered out of contention when compared to the pace the front-four were hitting. Many competitors were only managing to make it around the circuit in three lap intervals before Ascari, Farina, Fangio and Marimon would come through to put them another lap down. Brown wasn't able to carry on at the pace of the front-four either. However, he was able to lap the circuit at such a pace that he would only see the front-runners come by a few times.
Marimon would run into trouble halfway through and would lose a number of laps in the pits. He would end up getting back into the race and would actually join the same group that he had been part of before the problem arose. This would be important heading into the final laps.
The battle at the front was very tight. These professional drivers would driver side-by-side and wheel-to-wheel but would do so with little danger to each other. That is; however, until the last lap.
Heading into the last lap of the race, Farina held onto a slim lead. Ascari, his Ferrari teammate, wanted to end the season with just one last victory, especially one in front of the home fans. This desire would push him to make an ill-advised and bold move going into the final turn. Just one straightaway from the finish, Ascari would try to go around Farina on the outside of the corner. His hope that the Ferrari 500 would hold on through the maneuver would fall apart. The car would break loose and sent Ascari scrambling to save the car. In his efforts to save the car, Ascari would actually cross in front of Farina. Farina would try an evasive maneuver. This evasive maneuver would end up costing Farina the lead as well. Fangio had been far enough back when the episode happened that he had enough time to avoid the incident and come through in the lead of the race. Marimon would end up having no place to go and would run into the side of Ascari ending the race for both of them.
Fangio would be gifted with a lead that would last only about half a mile, but it would be the most important half mile of the race. He would cross the line to take the victory. He would beat Farina by around a second and a half.
The pace of the front three during the last half of the race was such that 4th and on down through the field were at least one lap behind. But because Marimon ended Ascari's race before completing the 80th lap, Luigi Villoresi would be able to come through, albeit also one lap down, and would take 3rd.
Brown's last lap wouldn't be as dramatic, but it would benefit from all of the dramatics. He had raced smartly and had taken what was given to him. After the season the team had experienced, he would push only really when he felt it was safe. At other times, Brown would sit still and remain patient. He certainly wouldn't end up inside the top ten, but he was just concerned with finishing. Surprisingly, amongst the British car makes in the field, Brown would bring his Cooper-Bristol T23 home in the highest finishing position. All of the last lap antics and problems would end up leading to Brown finishing the race in 12th position despite being ten laps behind Fangio at the finish.
After all of the problems during the season, which undoubtedly benefited many others, the team would find itself the beneficiaries. This was truly a blessing in that it all took place in a race in which there was very little chance of them really doing well in.
Being the manager of the motor racing department, Brown would lead his new team to do just too many new things. While some of the modifications made to the car would prove to be worthy, others, like the Alfa Romeo engine, would prove to be costly.
Brown and Chase knew things were going to change going into 1954. The new Formula One regulations would come into effect. Therefore, the men would take stock of where they were, what they had and where they wanted to be. Chase and Brown would decide to be back in 1954. However, Equipe Anglaise would be no more. Throughout the 1953 season there had been times the team had raced under the team name RJ Chase. From 1954 onwards, it would be decided the team name would be RJ Chase. Equipe Anglaise was now defunct and would slip into distant Formula One Grand Prix history.