TeamsScuderia Ferrari: 1957 Formula One Season By Jeremy McMullen
The 1957 season would start out with some bad news and some bad feelings. By the time the season had drawn to a conclusion, Scuderia Ferrari would be struggling to prove itself to be one of Formula One's top two teams and that wouldn't even begin to deal with the terrible tragedies that surrounded the team.
During the Formula 2 era of the World Championship (1952-1953) there wasn't a more dominant team and car than Scuderia Ferrari and the Ferrari 500. With Alberto Ascari at the wheel, the team from Maranello was simply sublime. However, in spite of a late challenge from Maserati in 1953, there really wasn't another manufacturer competing in the World Championship that was of the same caliber.
Turning to 1954 and Ferrari would be on something of the back-foot. In the previous couple of seasons, Ferrari had been the team prepared best for the regulations. Going into 1954, the team would introduce a new car but would quickly find they didn't have the pace and they simply didn't appear to know the way forward. This would be exacerbated by Ascari's souring with Enzo that led him to depart the team.
Throughout 1954 and 1955 Ferrari would look like a team making-due. Turning to the older 625 chassis, many drivers would be forced to rely upon attrition to come away with a strong result. But, thankfully, Lancia would run into financial trouble. Ferrari would secure the rights to the powerful Lancia D50 and would set about clawing their way back into contention. Then there was 1956.
Juan Manuel Fangio would be left without a drive following Mercedes-Benz withdrawal from motorsport. The thought of a then triple-World Champion being without a drive was impossible and Fangio wouldn't have to wait too long before Ferrari would catch his attentions. Armed with an updated version of the Lancia, Ferrari was stronger than it had been for two years and Fangio recognized the car had what it took for him to earn a fourth title.
The season would be, by no means, a walk in the park. Very few of the races would see Fangio utterly dominate, and, had it not been for Peter Collins handing him his ride at Monza, there was the potential a fourth title would have slipped through his fingers. In the end, Fangio would still come away World Champion and Ferrari still have one of the most competitive cars on the grid.
However, just because Fangio had proven victorious with Ferrari it didn't mean it was intent on staying with the team. Following a disagreement with Enzo, Fangio would absolutely no trouble leaving the team.
Leaving Ferrari, Fangio would return to the team he had started out the 1954 season with, Ferrari's nemesis—Maserati. Fangio was regarded as someone that could sense what team had a strong car. And, while this would certainly come to be true, there was no proof Maserati would be incredibly competitive, not with the iconic 250F that was more than a few years old by this time. As far as Ferrari was concerned, they had lost the driver that made up the difference. The Lancia-Ferrari was good. In the hands of Fangio, it was even better.
In spite of Fangio's departure, Scuderia Ferrari would still show up at the Argentine Grand Prix, the first round of the 1957 Formula One World Championship with a rather strong driver lineup. Making the trip across the South Atlantic would be Peter Collins, Luigi Musso, Eugenio Castellotti, Mike Hawthorn, Wolfgang von Trips, Cesare Perdisa and Alfonso de Portago.
Arriving in Argentina for the grand prix to be held on the 13th of January, Ferrari would unload a fleet of cars. In total, six cars would be prepped and readied for the first round of the World Championship. The driver lineup would even include the mostly-retired Jose Froilan Gonzalez, the man that had earned Ferrari its first Formula One victory.
Unloaded and prepped for the race would be Ferrari's latest evolution of the older D50. The evolution would include a new tubular chassis and a redesigned V8 engine. The pannier tanks would remain but they would not be anything more than extensions of the sides of the car's bodywork and would be used in an attempt to help aerodynamics.
The previous season saw the Argentine Grand Prix go off without too much trouble despite there having been unrest following the ousting of President Peron. One year later, the situation would be even more calm. The teams and drivers would return to the same 2.42 mile circuit number 2, despite the fact that its name had been changed to Autodromo Municipal Ciudad de Buenos Aires.
The weather surrounding the weekend would again be quite warm, but this would not impede the even from going forward. At that moment, Maserati not only had Fangio but Stirling Moss as one of its drivers and these two would end up setting the pace in practice. Moss would eventually garner pole with a 1:42.6 lap time, which would end up being a full second faster than Fangio. Jean Behra would make it three factory Maseratis on the front row while Castellotti would do his part to prevent the entire front row being lost.
Actually, Castellotti would lead a gaggle of Ferraris. In fact, the entire second row of the grid would be occupied with Ferraris. Peter Collins would be 5th while Musso and Hawthorn would be 6th and 7th. Gonzalez and Perdisa would end up on the third row of the grid. Being a little more than 4 seconds slower than Moss meant Gonzalez started 10th while Perdisa lined up right beside the Argentinean in 11th.
The first round of the 1957 season was about to get underway in front of a large crowd. The cars and drivers would be waiting for the drop of the flag. Moss would end up losing focus for a moment when the flag dropped and ended up having a terrible getaway while Fangio and Behra would power away from the grid at the head of the field. Castellotti would be right there in the early stages of the first lap while Moss would break a throttle linkage trying to recover from his poor start. In spite of Behra holding onto the lead, Ferrari's cars would be in strong contention.
Behra would lead the first lap while Castellotti would get by Fangio for 2nd. Hawthorn, Collins and Musso all crossed the line close together covering 4th through 6th place. Perdisa would get ahead of de Portago and these two Ferrari factory cars would complete the first lap just inside the top ten.
Castellotti would be strong in the early going as he would end up taking the lead from Behra. The Frenchman would not give up, however, and would retake the lead while Collins made his move toward the front. Hawthorn remained behind Fangio and Musso trailed behind Hawthorn. Collins would not trail anybody. Just past the 10 lap mark he would be pressuring Behra for the lead, which he would soon take. At the quarter distance mark, things could not have looked much better for Ferrari as Collins held onto the lead, Hawthorn sat in 4th place, just ahead of Musso, Castellotti and de Portago. Perdisa was also still in the race but was sitting right around 10th place unable to really move forward.
But just when things look really good, reality turned really bad. The first to suffer would be the leader. Collins would have his clutch fail on him leaving him out of the race until he later took over Perdisa's car. Just five laps later, Musso would be out of the race, also with clutch failure. At the same time Musso had his race come to an end, Hawthorn found the clutch in his Ferrari slipping and would last only a few more laps before he too was out of the race. Just like that, Ferrari's fleet was cut in half, and with more than half of the race still to go.
In a matter of 10 laps the order would be entirely changed. Fangio would be in the lead ahead of Behra while Castellotti would find himself back up to 3rd place, but unable to mount the kind of challenge he had very early on. Gonzalez would take over the car from de Portago and would remain in the race right there with Perdisa. Therefore, these two would battle it out for 6th and 7th. The landscape had dramatically changed and went from sensing a possible victory to just surviving.
Castellotti appeared to be just surviving as he remained in 3rd place. With just under 40 laps remaining in the race, Collins would be in Perdisa's car and in a fight with Harry Schell. Gonzalez continued running a strong but rather ineffective race down in 7th.
Castellotti couldn't survive forever and his race would finally come to an end after 75 laps when the distributor failed. Ferrari went from having six cars to being down to just two, and neither of them would be in the hunt for even the podium, let alone victory. Ferrari's fortunes had dramatically reversed over the course of the race and the team would be severely hoping and praying they could come out of the race with at least some good news.
All of the good news would be at the front with Maserati. Collins's last-ditch attack would end up falling off while Gonzalez's own last-ditch effort would prove to be too little too late. Fangio, on the other hand, would prove to be too much for everybody. Seemingly handed victory, the Argentinean would ride the wave of support from his fellow countrymen and would cruise to an easy victory beating Behra by a margin of more than 18 seconds. The factory Maserati team would complete the sweep of the podium when Carlos Menditeguy came through the attrition to claim 3rd place.
The first Ferrari to finish would be that of the number 20 Ferrari shared by Gonzalez and de Portago. They would complete the race in 5th place over two laps behind Fangio. Collins had given up his fight for the win and handed Perdisa's car over to von Trips for the remaining 33 laps. These three would combine to finish in 6th place, also more than 2 laps behind.
Ferrari had brought its expansive armada to the first race of the season and would be routed by its nemesis, led by the turncoat Fangio. And, while the team would not be tucking tail and running, it was clear there was some serious work to do, and a lot of it had to do with the car. All of a sudden, the older 250F seemed brand new compared to the evolved Lancia-Ferrari.
Ferrari was a long way from home and the team was not heading back to Italy very soon. There was, as was usual, another grand prix, a non-championship event, scheduled for the 27th of January. Taking part at the same circuit in Buenos Aires, Ferrari would have an opportunity at redemption.
The 11th Gran Premio Ciuded de Buenos Aires would not quite take part on the same circuit. Though the location would be the same, the length of the circuit would be different from that used in the first round of the World Championship. The Buenos Aires Grand Prix would make use of the 2.8 mile circuit layout. Furthermore, the format of the non-championship event would be different from the World Championship round.
In 1957, organizers would change the format of the grand prix from the previous year. In all of the prior years the race consisted of just a single race covering more than 150 miles. In 1957 however, the format would be changed to two 30 lap heat races covering nearly 170 miles. The entire field would take part in both heat races, if they could, and the final results would be determined by the aggregate times achieved.
In spite of the problems a couple of weeks earlier, Ferrari would enter all six cars in the race. But while the team would have the same six cars in the lineup, the drivers would be different. Collins, Castellotti, Hawthorn and Musso would all be familiar, right along with von Trips and Perdisa. However, Gonzalez would be at the wheel of another Ferrari 625. So this would enable Masten Gregory to have some time behind the wheel of a Ferrari.
The cars lined up on the front row looked relatively familiar seeing that Fangio, Moss and Behra would each line up 1st, 2nd and 4th. Ferrari's Mike Hawthorn would be the one, this time, to prevent a sweep of the front row by Maserati. And, just like the World Championship grand prix, the entire second row would belong to Ferrari as Castellotti lined up 5th followed by Collins and Musso in 6th and 7th. The third row of the grid would see the final two Ferrari entries. Wolfgang von Trips would lineup 10th while Perdisa put his car alongside in 11th.
If the day of the first round of the World Championship had been hot, then the heat on the day of the Buenos Aires Grand Prix must have felt like walking on the sun. It was clear that car and driver reliability was going to be of paramount concern.
Unlike the World Championship race where hardly a Ferrari could finish the race, the first heat of the non-championship race would see Ferrari finish with all its cars intact. But still it wouldn't be enough.
Fangio would be on the limit from the very beginning of the first 30 lap heat. He would go on to set the fastest lap of the heat and would end up outlasting his Maserati teammates to take the first heat victory. Stirling Moss had started in 2nd place but his attack would shrivel up in the heat as he would become too exhausted to continue. Therefore, it would be Behra that would take up the challenge against his teammate, but even he wouldn't have the pace to compete over the 30 laps.
If Behra couldn't compete with Fangio's pace there was really very little the Ferrari drivers could do but finish and hope for trouble with the Maseratis. Over the course of the first heat, the Ferrari drivers would do exactly that.
Fangio would take the victory in the first heat beating Behra by nearly 25 seconds. Castellotti would put together a solid performance to complete the first heat in 3rd place some 40 seconds behind Fangio. Mike Hawthorn and Luigi Musso would finish over a minute behind in 4th and 5th place.
Gregory would partner with Collins to finish in 7th place well over two minutes behind while Perdisa would finish in 8th place more than a lap behind. The final Lancia-Ferrari would be co-driven by von Trips and Collins. They would finish in 9th place also more than a lap behind.
Fangio and Maserati were clearly in the lead following the first heat. Therefore, the only hope Ferrari really had left was that of mechanical woes and attrition. The grid for the second heat at least found two Ferraris on the front row due to finishing times. Fangio would be on pole with Behra lined up 2nd. Castellotti would be in the 3rd position while Hawthorn would complete the front row in 4th place.
Fangio knew that in the second heat race he didn't need to lead and win; he just needed to control the pace of his nearest rivals. Unfortunately for Ferrari, Collins wouldn't be one of his nearest rivals. Therefore, the second heat would belong to the Brit driving the Ferrari. While Masten Gregory would have his Lancia-Ferrari fail on him, Collins would be up front and leading carrying the Maseratis of Fangio and Behra in behind.
The second heat would see the Ferraris split up slightly compared to the first heat but the vast majority of the team would be intact and in the top nine. Collins would be leading them all after posting the fastest lap of the race with a time equal to his qualifying effort preceding the first heat.
Collins would go on to take the victory completing the heat at an average speed of nearly 74mph and with a margin of 20 seconds over Fangio in 2nd place. Behra would complete the podium finishing 3rd. Hawthorn would finish in 4th place more than 30 seconds ahead of Perdisa in 5th. Eugenio Castellotti and Luigi Musso would co-drive to 7th while von Trips would complete the round-up finishing in 8th.
When the results were tallied in aggregate, Collins storming victory in the second heat would do little damage to the overall results. Fangio would still take the victory with nearly 25 seconds in hand over Behra in another Maserati. Luigi Musso and Peter Collins would share in 3rd place. This pair would lead a trio of Ferrari drivers with Hawthorn finishing 4th ahead of Castellotti. Perdisa would complete the event in 7th place and von Trips would finish in 8th.
The result in the Buenos Aires Grand Prix would be bittersweet but it would offer some redemption. Were it not for Fangio and Behra, the Maranello fleet would have stormed to rout. Instead, the team would be busy preparing to head home with some improvements to make.
While there was certainly need for improvement, returning home should have been a welcome affair for Scuderia Ferrari. In hindsight, the team would have been better off if it had remained in South America, for nothing but tragedy would strike at the team for more than a couple of months.
It would all start out relatively straight-forward. Work had been started on an updated chassis as a follow-on to the example the team had taken across the Atlantic. The new car, considered the 801, the '8' referencing the number of cylinders, would be much more conventional in its design. The Lancia D50 had been revolutionary in that it placed the weight of fuel and oil between the axles, thereby increasing the stability of the car. The Vanwall and the Maserati would take from this design and would forego the distinctive pannier tanks in favor of just making the chassis wider and lower to produce much of the same effect. By Monaco of 1956, Ferrari would leave the pannier on the car but would not use them for their designed purpose.
The newer 801 would sport a wider body that would include the fuel and oil tanks along the side of the chassis while the nose would be much more narrow and aerodynamic. Though considered an evolution of the Lancia, there was really very little that was similar between the two cars. Ferrari hoped the dissimilarity would yield similar results to that of 1956 though.
Ferrari would complete the work on the new 801 and would load it up and head to its old home of Modena. Enzo Ferrari was born in Modena and the city had served as the early home for Scuderia Ferrari. And, though the factory would relocate to Maranello, the Modena aerodrome would still be often frequented by Ferrari when it came time to test new designs. In the middle of March, the team would be at the aerodrome, along with Castellotti, to test the new grand prix car.
The test had been progressing nicely and Castellotti had just been told to increase his pace around the 1.47 mile circuit when the car rolled several times causing Castellotti's body to be hurled nearly 100 yards away. As a result of the violent crash, doctors would pronounce Castellotti dead on the scene as a result of a fractured skull. Perhaps one of the greatest Italian drivers since Alberto Ascari had been lost. Ironically, only two years earlier, when Castellotti was supposed to be testing, Ascari had grabbed Eugenio's helmet and took off behind the wheel of a Ferrari sportscar and end up crashing and dying.
The loss would be terrible for the Italian team. Still, they would look forward to what was ahead. And what was ahead was the Gram Premio di Siracusa on the 7th of April. This afforded the racing team the perfect opportunity to mourn—by winning.
Castellotti's death had only happened a few weeks before but Scuderia Ferrari would arrive in the city of Syracuse looking forward to turning their grief into celebration. Furthermore, the race afforded the team an opportunity to see all of Castellotti's hard work testing the new 801 come good.
The Syracuse circuit, which was a 3.48 mile road course comprised of public roads just to the west of the city, would be a good opportunity to see just where the 801 stacked up when it came to outright speed. Basically rectangular in shape, the circuit was a mix of street circuit and countryside. The tightest portions could be found on the fringe of the city on the street portion of the circuit. Climbing gently out of the city, the circuit returned to being nothing more than road course traversing the countryside. And though it was lined on both sides in portions with concrete walls, the circuit would be quick.
In an attempt to honor their fallen comrade in the best way they knew how, Ferrari would arrive at the race with just two entries, but both of them would be the new 801. They would be driven by Peter Collins and Luigi Musso. By themselves, Ferrari had a good driver lineup, but they would still be going up against the likes of Stirling Moss, who was by now finally with Vandervell Products driving their potent Vanwall.
While maybe not their intent, it seemed nothing was going to hold back the Ferrari drivers from being the class of the field. Collins would get it started by being the fastest in practice and taking the pole with a lap time of 1:55.5. Musso would follow suit by being second-quickest, just four-tenths of a second off of Collins, to claim the middle of the front row. Moss would complete the front row in the Vanwall. And though he may have only been eight-tenths off of Collins' time, it seemed as though there was something beyond the physical motivating the Ferrari team.
The same would be especially true during the actual race. At the start of the 80 lap race, Moss would be fighting hard with Collins and Musso. The Vanwall driver would even manage to set what would end up being the fastest lap of the race. It appeared that while the attacks of many other drivers in the race stood no chance of challenging the Ferrari duo, Moss just might have enough to spoil the memorial.
But not even Moss could do anything about the Ferraris. As the race wore on in fact, Collins and Musso would destroy every challenge, even that of Moss. There really was no contest. Collins would take the lead and would throw down consistently fast laps to gap himself and Musso. By the halfway mark of the race, even Moss was finding himself in trouble of staying on the lead lap, let alone challenge for the lead.
Collins would win the race in just over two hours and 40 minutes. A minute and 16 seconds later, Musso would cross the line in 2nd place. Moss would hang on to finish in 3rd place but he would be a thoroughly despondent three laps behind. The Ferrari duo hadn't just honored their fellow driver; they had clearly dispatched everyone else to make it appear to be an exhibition race.
The mood had lifted at Ferrari somewhat and the team set down to focus on what was at hand. They continued to work on their new, and successful, 801. The factory had to get their cars ready to head from Maranello five hours south to Naples where, on the 28th of April, in the residential quarter of Posillipo, would be held the 10th Gran Premio di Napoli.
Ferrari would see the race in Naples as an opportunity. A total of three cars would be dispatched to the circuit. Peter Collins would again be one of the drivers. Mike Hawthorn would also join him at the wheel of one of the new 801s. Ferrari would have another new car at the race though. The Dino 156 would be built for competition in Formula 2 but it had the ability to make some noise in a Formula One race as well, at least that is what Ferrari believed. Therefore, Luigi Musso would be given the task of driving one of the new Dino 156s in the race against a field of mostly Formula One cars.
There was a reason why Ferrari sent its Dino 156. Compared to Syracuse, the Posillipo circuit would be vastly different. Instead of being located out amongst the countryside, the circuit in Posillipo would be literally on the top of a cliff overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea. The 2.55 mile circuit would also be much slower since it boasted of only one straight of any length, but a number of tight, twisty sections lined with either concrete walls or the sides of a cliff. The Posillipo circuit demanded perfect as even the slightest error likely meant the end of a race. So while the 801 certainly was in a strong position heading into the race, the nature of the circuit also lent itself to the new Formula 2 challenger from Ferrari as well.
This reality would become abundantly obvious following practice. Mike Hawthorn would end up taking the pole lapping the circuit in 2:08.0. Collins would take 2nd place on the grid having been mere hundredths of a second slower. Luigi Musso would complete a front row sweep for Ferrari being just a little more than a second slower than either of his two teammates.
It would only get better in the race. Right at the start of the 60 lap race the Ferraris would be at the head of the pack leaving the mostly privateer field trailing behind. Though Hawthorn would start on pole and would end up setting the fastest lap of the race, Peter Collins would again sneak into the lead and would draw away from his teammate and fellow countryman.
Hawthorn would be left to battle it out with Musso in what would end up being a rather dynamic race between two cars with differing engines. Hawthorn would post an incredible fast lap that was more than two seconds quicker than his own qualifying effort, but it would only maintain his position in 2nd place. Furthermore, the consistent, mistake-free, race driven by Musso meant he would be right there with the Brit heading into the final couple of laps of the race.
The challenge from the other teams would fizzle. Stuart Lewis-Evans, driving for Connaught, would have his race come to an end with just 15 laps remaining. A couple of others would be nearer to just 10 laps remaining before their days would come to an end.
In reality, their days came to an end right at the start. Collins would prove untouchable, even for his teammates, as he would cruise to the win. The margin to 2nd place would be more than 32 seconds. Truly, the only real question throughout the whole of the running order would be who would finish in 2nd place, the race was that close. Coming around the final right-hander, Hawthorn would have the position on Musso and would manage to hold on by just three-tenths of a second to finish in 2nd place. Musso's 3rd place meant Ferrari not only had all three cars finish the race, but finish on the podium. Ferrari was looking stronger than ever. In some respects, it was shades of 1952 and 1953 all over again. But the next race on the calendar would expose whether that was actually true or not.
April turned into May. There were no Formula One non-championship races during the month. There was, however, one very important sportscar race on the 12th, just one week before the second round of the World Championship. That race was the famed Mille Miglia. It was to be the last one and another tragic moment for Scuderia Ferrari as de Portago would veer off the road in the village of Guidizzolo. At the time, de Portago ran in 3rd place and desperately wanted to win. This caused him to overlook badly worn tires, which led to him veering off the road. The car would overturn and would land on him and his co-driver killing them. But that was not all. The car would crash into the crowd and would end up taking the lives of many other spectators. This, and another fatal crash during the event would end the Mille Miglia and would sour the mood severely at Ferrari, in spite of the fact the team swept the top three spots.
The tragic events of the 12th of May would cast a bad light on what had otherwise been a great weekend for Ferrari. However, the team would need to switch its focus quickly as the second round of the World Championship would take place on the 19th, just one week later, and this was to be the crown jewel race—the Grand Prix of Monaco.
The last time Ferrari had been victorious around the streets of the tiny principality was 1955. Ascari and famously taken a dip in the harbor following the retirements of Fangio and Moss in the Mercedes-Benz. This handed Maurice Trintignant the lead in the older 625 and he would hold on to take his first World Championship victory. One year later, Stirling Moss would prove untouchable in a Maserati and would lead from flag to flag despite the fact the Ferraris were strong throughout the race.
So Ferrari arrived in Monaco confident they could come away with a strong result, especially with the new 801. But on the 1.95 mile Monte Carlo circuit speed would mean less than good handling. The race in Naples seemed to suggest the new 801 had what it took but up against the Maseratis, and the new mid-engined Coopers, there really was still a large question mark.
The team would come to Monaco with four cars. Peter Collins and Mike Hawthorn would be the two leading drivers. Wolfgang von Trips and former winner Maurice Trintignant added some valuable talent to Maranello's driver lineup. The team would bring a couple of the new 801 chassis, but also would bring an example of the older Lancia-Ferrari with the pannier tanks.
In the first practice session the true pace of the Ferrari cars would be seen. Stirling Moss would actually surprise nearly everybody in the Vanwall setting the fastest lap time in the first session. This time would be eclipsed by Fangio in the second practice as he would turn a lap of 1:42.7. In the final practice session, Hawthorn would actually be battling with Moss for the fastest lap time of the session when Collins would take Hawthorn's car out for a couple of laps. He would end up crashing the car causing Hawthorn to have to revert to the older Lancia-Ferrari with the pannier tanks. Hawthorn wasn't at all happy about this as he was really becoming comfortable in the new 801. Still, the anger would motivate Hawthorn and he would actually go quicker than he had in the car Collins had crashed.
Still, the speeds served up by the Ferrari crew could not match Fangio. The Argentinean would take pole. Peter Collins would be just six-tenths of a second slower and would actually start from the middle of the front row. Stirling Moss would complete the front row starting 3rd. Mike Hawthorn would find himself on the second row of the grid in 5th place while Trintignant would end up 6th and on the third row of the grid. Ferrari's final entrant, that of von Trips, could be found on the fourth row of the grid in the 9th position.
A beautiful day would dawn and a large throng of spectators would gather all around the circuit for the 105 lap race. The cars would be lined up on the grid; engines ready to push hard for three hours. The flag would drop and the cars would sprint away toward the Gazometre hairpin. Collins would get squeezed out by Fangio and Moss. Collins would slot in behind in 3rd place. Hawthorn would get away rather poorly and would lose a spot or two while the other two Ferrari drivers also picked their way through the tight hairpin.
Though side-by-side coming out of the hairpin, Moss would be in the lead by the time the field made its way around to complete the first lap. Fangio would be in 2nd place but Collins would be tucked right up behind Fangio pressuring him for his position. Hawthorn's poor start would see him complete the first lap in 7th place while von Trips and Trintignant would be 8th and 13th at the end of the first circuit.
Collins would get by Fangio and would seem to be in a strong position until Moss would lose control of his Vanwall under braking coming into the chicane at the end of the tunnel. Moss would crash into the barriers causing a pole to fall striking Collins' car and leading the Ferrari driver to crash into the wall guarding the harbor on the outside of the chicane. Fangio and Brooks would make it through alright. Hawthorn had been on a charge at the time and had managed to move up to 5th place. Unfortunately, debris would cause him to lose control of his Ferrari and he too would end up in the harbor wall and up the back of his teammate's Ferrari. Two Ferraris, beached at precisely the same spot.
The only drivers to be involved in the accident, interestingly enough, would be Englishmen. By the end of the 5th lap it was Fangio in the lead with Brooks in 2nd place. Von Trips would find himself promoted to 3rd place while Trintignant would be slowly making his way up from the back of the field. He would be in 10th place at the time.
The excitement would be gone with Fangio in the lead. Nobody figured Brooks could keep the Argentinean honest. He would surprise many, however, when he managed to stabilize gaps to the leader, though they would be more than comfortable for Fangio. Von Trips also surprised many. In his first trip to Monaco he continued to run in 3rd place. Trintignant would manage to make his way up to 4th place. However, he would run into trouble with his Ferrari and would end up falling way back down the running order soon after.
Fangio stretched his lead over Brooks. Von Trips continued to run in 3rd place and this was intriguing to Hawthorn, who had finally made his way back to the pits to tell his side of the story. The German's position in the running order would lead Hawthorn to want to get behind the wheel and see if he could collect some valuable points.
Heading into the final 15 laps, Hawthorn would take over von Trips' car. Hawthorn would quickly realize it wasn't going to be a very comfortable experience as he would find the cockpit quite cramped given his taller size. It wouldn't matter all that much though as the engine would give up after just three more laps. It had been a strong performance by the German. It was most unfortunate it wouldn't result in a podium finish.
Trintignant never looked the part of a winner back in 1955, and he certainly wouldn't appear to be Ferrari's greatest hope halfway through the race either. But with just a handful of laps remaining in the race, the Frenchman's resilience had turned into him climbing all the way back up to 5th place right before the end of the race.
Fangio would cruise to the victory beating Brooks by some 25 seconds. Masten Gregory would be handed position after position following the attrition and would end the race in 3rd place a couple of laps behind. Though of little consolation to Ferrari, Trintignant managed to hold on to finish in 5th place, more than 5 laps behind. His consistent driving nature had seen him through the chaos and it afforded Ferrari its only source of joy on a day that was otherwise bitterly disappointing.
May would turn into June and there would end up being very little for Ferrari to do. Negotiations and contractual issues would lead to the Dutch and Belgian Grand Prix being left off the calendar in June. This left just the 24 Hours of Le Mans for Ferrari to look forward to. And, after Jaguar D-Types took the top four spots in the overall results, Ferrari didn't even have Le Mans to look to as a source of momentum.
But then, in early July, the fourth round of the World Championship was set to run. The year before the French Grand Prix had taken part at the ultra-fast Reims circuit. In 1957, the venue for the French round of the World Championship would change. The World Championship would be returning to Rouen-les-Essarts for the first time since 1952.
Teams would begin arriving at the Rouen circuit for the race on the 7th of July. Compared to the last time Rouen had been a part of the World Championship, the circuit would be quite different. The circuit would be extended to just a little more than 4 miles. What's more, the lengthened circuit included some longer straights, which meant the average speeds around the circuit would increase.
Rouen location along the River Seine means there are some flat lowland areas, but some ravines and valleys as well. This gave the Rouen circuit a good deal of elevation change over the course of a lap. The mounds and small hills also gave the circuit a hemmed-in feel compared to the wide-open look and feel of Reims.
This particular circuit seemed to suit the new 801 rather well. The eight-cylinder engine would have the power to take advantage of the longer straights, but the lower center of gravity and makeup of the design suggested the car would handle the higher-speed curves quite well. Therefore, Ferrari would enter four of the 801s and they were to be driven by Hawthorn, Collins, Musso and Trintignant.
Practice would see more of the familiar. Fangio would end up being quickest in the Maserati with a lap of 2:21.5. Jean Behra would be back with Maserati in time to post the second-fastest lap time. Musso would also be back with Ferrari and would be just a tenth of a second slower than Behra, and therefore, would take the third, and final, spot on the front row. The other Ferrari drivers would all end up inside the top ten on the grid. Collins would be on the second row in 5th place while Hawthorn and Trintignant would end up on the third row together starting 7th and 8th respectively.
Another brilliant day of sunshine and warm temperatures would greet the fourth round of the World Championship. The race distance would be 77 laps, covering a total of 312 miles. The start of the race would see Behra power into the lead as he led the field back and forth down the hill toward the Nouveau Monde hairpin. However, Musso would make a fantastic start as well and would be challenging Behra for the outright lead. Collins would get away well from the second row, as would Trintignant. Hawthorn, however, would have a poor start and would by well down before the end of the first lap.
At the completion of the first lap it would be Musso in the lead. Behra would be in 2nd place just ahead of Fangio. Collins would be in 4th place while Trintignant would be in 7th. Hawthorn would be stuck down in 10th place having to fight with Carlos Menditeguy and Stuart Lewis-Evans to move forward.
Musso's lead would be short-lived as Enzo's thorn in the side, Fangio, would end up taking over point demoting Musso to 2nd. Collins would dethrone Behra from 3rd place though providing Ferrari two cars in the top three. Trintignant's fast start would quickly come to an end as he would slip down to 9th place with some signs of trouble coming from the engine. Hawthorn, on the other hand, would start out slow but would soon make his way up to 7th place.
Musso and Collins would switch positions behind Fangio while Trintignant would slip down to the last car running out on the circuit. Nearing the halfway point of the race, Fangio would be well out in front of Musso, who had retaken 2nd place from Collins. Hawthorn had finally made his way back up the leaderboard. He would be up to 5th place. Trintignant would be out of the race as his engine soured to the point he could no longer carry on.
The final 20 laps would still see Fangio dominating the proceedings. However, Ferrari had reason to smile as Hawthorn would make his way up through traffic and past Lewis-Evans and Behra to take over 4th place. This meant Ferraris were running 2nd, 3rd and 4th. They were in a prime position if Fangio ran into any trouble late in the race.
But this was Fangio. Reliability and Fangio seemed synonymous. And they would be this day as well. After three hours, seven minutes and 46 seconds, Fangio would cross the finish line to take what was his third victory of the season. Musso would drive a fantastic race to finish in 2nd place nearly 51 seconds behind. The day would actually be even better for Musso as he would not only take 2nd place, but he would also post the fastest lap of the race. Therefore, he would earn 7 points to Fangio's 8. The final spot on the podium would be taken by Collins. He too would drive a solid race and would finish a little more than two minutes behind Fangio.
Hawthorn would be the only remaining Ferrari factory driver out on the circuit by the end of the race. Hawthorn had a poor start to the race and would have a lot of hard work to climb back into contention. In the end, the time spent stuck in the mid-field would cost him. He would end up a lap down to Fangio, but he would still manage to come through to finish 4th giving Ferrari a third car in the top five. Though the victory would elude the team, Ferrari would have one of its strongest showings in a World Championship round since the previous season.
The strong result built up the confidence of the Ferrari team and this would be important as there would be very little time between races. Immediately following the race in Rouen the team would make their way east to the historical city of Reims. Though the Reims circuit wouldn't play host to the French round of the World Championship, it would still play host to a non-championship race, the 23rd Grand Prix de Reims.
Reims had actually risen to prominence all the way back during the days of the Roman Empire. It would remain an important city within the region from thereon. Christianized by just the third century, Reims would remain in the midst of important historical events including the War of the Sixth Coalition and the surrender of Germany in World War II. In grand prix terms, Reims was one of the most important circuits in France perhaps right behind that of Le Mans. Fittingly, both circuits were quite similar.
Measuring 5.15 miles, the Reims circuit was all about speed. Featuring only a couple of fast sweeping esses and a couple of slow hairpins, the fast majority of the circuit would be straights demanding great amounts of horsepower and sheer speed.
The non-championship race would be 61laps in length, but still every bit the test had the circuit been hosting the French Grand Prix. Ferrari would transition everything from Rouen over to Reims. The only difference would be in the driver lineup. Instead of Trintignant behind the wheel of one of the 801s, Olivier Gendebien would be the man in the cockpit.
Different venue; more of the same. Fangio would start from pole beating Stuart Lewis-Evans in the Vanwall by just two-tenths of a second. Jean Behra would make sure than no Ferrari started from the front row of the grid. In fact, only one Ferrari would be found within the first two rows of the grid. Musso would end up being the one. He would start from the second row in 4th place. The third row of the grid, however, would belong entirely to Scuderia Ferrari. Collins would line up 6th, followed by Hawthorn in 7th and Gendebien in 8th.
The French Grand Prix the previous season had seen the sheer speed of the Vanwall. Therefore, at the start of the Grand Prix de Reims one year later, it would not be all that surprising to see Lewis-Evans power his way into the lead and show the way for the vast majority of the race.
For once, Fangio didn't look to be the strongest car in the race. In fact, behind Lewis-Evans, Musso looked incredibly strong. Fangio slipped down the running order until he encountered Hawthorn and his Ferrari.
The race would not be all that kind to Collins. He would be out of the event after just two laps as a result of an engine failure. Gendebien would also run into trouble with his mount. The sportscar ace would complete 25 laps before he too would have to retire as a result of engine troubles. While these two Ferrari drivers were struggling, Hawthorn and Fangio would be locked in a battle reminiscent of the enthralling 1953 French Grand Prix. That race would see Hawthorn come through to take his first World Championship victory. However, in 1957, history would not repeat itself. While the battle would again be enthralling and thoroughly enjoyed by those looking on, engine problems would cause Hawthorn's race to come to an end just one lap more than what Gendebien had managed. This left Musso all alone to take the fight to the Vanwall of Lewis-Evans and the fleet of Maseratis still left in the race.
However fast Lewis-Evans and the Vanwall were, Musso would make up for it in dogged determination. Relentlessly pursuing Lewis-Evans, the race would come down to whichever one of the two would either make a mistake or fail first. And, despite leading the majority of the race, Lewis-Evans would be the one to falter. Musso would take over the lead as Lewis-Evans fell way back as a result of the pace.
Fangio being a non-factor, Musso would pull away at the front of the field. Though he was on his own, Musso would prove more than enough to take on the Maserati threat. After a little more than two hours and 33 minutes, Musso would flash across the line to take the win. About 27 seconds later, Jean Behra would come home to great applause in 2nd place. Lewis-Evans would drop off the pace dramatically but would manage to come away with a strong 3rd place.
The Ferrari attack seemed to be falling apart, and very early on in the race. However, Musso would prove equal to the daunting task and would provide Ferrari its first grand prix victory in more than a couple of months.
Confidence and momentum would be riding high at Ferrari, and just in time, as the fifth round of the World Championship followed just one week after the race in Reims. Therefore, the team would gather everything together and would head to the Channel coast.
The British Grand Prix was slated to take place on the 20th of July. But while the date would be familiar, the venue would be different. Instead of Silverstone, Aintree would be the sight of the 12th RAC British Grand Prix. The last time the grand prix had been held at Aintree, Ferrari suffered a terrible race and ended up with just one car finishing the race while Mercedes-Benz swept the top four spots. The Maranello squad would be hoping for a much better result this time. However, the race was on British soil and the Vandervell Products team was coming on strong with its Vanwall. And, oh yeah, there was just that pesky Argentinean in the Maserati to think about as well.
The 3.0 mile long Aintree circuit boasted of some medium speed corners and this played to the strengths of the 801 just like the race at Rouen. However, as the cars took to the circuit for practice, it would become abundantly clear the home crowd was propelling the Vanwalls along.
Stirling Moss would take the pole in his Vanwall posting a lap of 2:00.2. Jean Behra would capture the middle of the front row being just two-tenths of a second slower than Moss. Tony Brooks would make it two Vanwalls on the front row when he garnered 3rd. The second row of the grid would see the first of the Ferraris. Hawthorn would earn the 5th place spot right next to Fangio. A second 801 would be found on the third row of the grid and it would belong to Collins. He would be starting in 8th place right ahead of a fourth row entirely occupied by Factory Ferraris. Trintignant would be starting in 9th place while Musso would be in a rather disappointing 10th.
Rain visited the area overnight. On the day of the race, however, the wind would kick up pushing the rain out of the area. In its place would settle overcast conditions. An immense crowd would assemble around the circuit to see if a British manufacturer and driver could pull off the victory.
The start of the race would see Behra get the jump on the two Vanwalls. The Frenchman would lead the way through Waterway corner while Moss and Brooks followed closely behind. Hawthorn would also make a good start and he would sit in 4th place through the first corner. Collins would also displace Fangio to grab 5th place.
Although Behra would grab the lead, it would take less than a lap for Moss to sweep by and take over the lead of the race. At the end of the first lap it would be Moss in the lead with Behra in 2nd place followed by Brooks, Hawthorn and Collins. Musso's poor starting position would be overcome by the end of the first lap and he would be in 7th place just behind Harry Schell. Trintignant would be the only one of the Ferrari drivers to suffer at the start. Despite sitting 9th on the grid, the Frenchman would complete the first circuit in 12th place.
Hawthorn was on a charge. He would get by Brooks on the second lap of the race and would set off after Behra and Moss. Collins would need a couple of more laps but he too would get by Brooks for 4th place. Musso seemed a certainly to get by into 5th place, but he would run into trouble in a battle with Lewis-Evans and Brooks. The result would be that Musso would drop down to 7th place, just ahead of a struggling Fangio. Trintignant, his usual consistent, sedate self, would be in no hurry and would be up to 11th place where he would stay for a good number of laps.
Moss had been leading the way easily. However, a misfire would soon rear its head causing him to drop well down in the running order while the Vanwall was worked on. This handed the lead to Behra with Hawthorn and Collins following along in 2nd and 3rd. Musso would finally right himself and would attack. He would be up to 5th place. Trintignant would also finally get his dander up and would quickly move up the running order. He would be in 8th place just before the halfway point of the race.
Hawthorn would solidly run 2nd. Collins would do his best to stay in 3rd place but he would eventually run afoul of radiator problems and would be out of the race just past halfway. Moss had taken over Brooks' Vanwall and he had made his way from 9th up to 4th place while Musso sat in 5th place unable to really mount a challenge. Trintignant would be still in the running but he would be caught up in a battle with a 2.0-liter Cooper driven by Jack Brabham.
Behra seemed a lock to win. Hawthorn looked to be on course for 2nd. However, with just 20 laps remaining in the race, the clutch in Behra's Maserati would practically explode showering the track with bits and pieces of sharp metal and leaving the Maserati powerless by the side of the circuit. Hawthorn could have gone into the lead, but the sharp metal bits would end up cutting a tire leading the Englishman to have to crawl back to the pits for new tires. The new leader would actually be an old one—Moss.
In a moment's notice the whole leaderboard would change. Moss would be in the lead. Musso, who had been unable to really do anything all race long, would find himself suddenly in 2nd place. Hawthorn would have his tires replaced quickly and would get back out on the circuit in 3rd while Trintignant would be in 5th place with just about 10 laps remaining in the race.
Moss would be in the lead and wasn't about to give up the chance to earn his second British Grand Prix crown. Musso and Hawthorn ran in 2nd and 3rd. Trintignant would fight his way up through the field for nearly the whole of the race, but with just a few laps remaining, he would be ordered to give up his car for Collins.
Moss wasn't to be denied. After destroying the threat from Behra and Hawthorn, the Vanwall driver would cross the line to take the victory. It would be a remarkable achievement for Moss as he would again take the honors in the British Grand Prix at Aintree. In spite of the last-minute chaos, Ferrari would come out in a good position in the end. Musso would be promoted to 2nd place finishing about 25 seconds behind Moss. Hawthorn would then complete the podium finishing in 3rd place. This would be bitterly disappointing for the Englishman after he had sat in 2nd place for the vast majority of the race. Peter Collins would take Trintignant's Ferrari to finish in 4th place making it another Englishman finishing in the top five.
Ferrari would limit the damage caused by Behra's eruption the best they could and they would actually come out the better for it. The team seemed to be getting stronger with every race. The next event would see the team put together its strongest performance of the whole season, but it would end up being eclipsed by perhaps one of the best performances in Formula One history.
The month of July had been a very busy month with three races taking place on successive weekends. Therefore, the conclusion of the British Grand Prix brought about a welcome break for the teams. Ferrari would waste no time in preparing its cars for an important sixth round of the World Championship. The German Grand Prix would take place at the infamous Nurburgring on the 4th of August and was going to demand everything from the car and driver. In and of itself, the race distance was a fight. To be at the front required something even more.
When the first fort was established in Nurburg during the reign of Emperor Nero, no one could have predicted the site would become a bastion for motor racing. In many ways, the seen is very proper. Nurburg castle rests atop a hill overlooking Nurburg and the Eifel mountains. The 14 mile long Nordschleife acts as a gauntlet, a defensive barrier, if you will, protecting the castle and the region. Competing on the Nurburgring would be as much about survival. Offensive measures seemed futile …at least that is what many people believed coming into the race.
Ferrari was intent on fighting for the win. They would come to the race with their four 801s and would feature the same driver lineup as had been present at Aintree just a few weeks before. The team believed the car to be getting stronger with each race, and therefore, believed the car capable of pulling off a victory, even with the presence of Fangio and his already foreboding lead in the championship.
The team knew they would have to fight for it. They just may not have known how far they would need to be willing to go. Fangio would show just how far at the conclusion of practice. The circuit had been resurfaced. One year ago, Fangio had broken the old lap record a couple of times. By the end of practice he had broken his own lap record by a mere 16 seconds! In some ways it would be demoralizing to his competitors. The top seven in practice would all be faster than Fangio's previous lap record. Yet, they would be beaten by Fangio nonetheless. Fangio would be on the pole with an incredible lap time of 9:25.6. Mike Hawthorn would be the closest in practice coming up about three seconds short. Jean Behra would start 3rd being another two seconds slower than Hawthorn. The final car on the front row, and further evidence of the growing strength of the 801, would be Collins. Luigi Musso would find himself down on the third row of the grid. He would be in 8th place while Trintignant would find his race a no-go as no car would be made available to him in time.
As usual, an immense crowd would gather for the race. The race itself would actually consist of two races running as one. There would be the Formula One race, but then there would also be a Formula 2 race run concurrently to the sixth round of the World Championship.
Ferrari had two cars on the front row of the grid. It was their best chance of the year. And, as the flag would drop to get the race underway, their chances immediately seemed to improve. Hawthorn and Collins would get the jump on the two Maseratis and would lead heading into the Sudkurve. Fangio would be in 3rd place while Behra sat in 4th place. Musso would also make a fantastic start to line up in 5th place heading into the first couple of turns.
Over the course of the first of the 22 lap race, it would be Hawthorn and Collins leading the way and actually opening up a bit of a gap on Fangio. Musso would be passed by Moss but he would come right back on the Englishman as the Vanwall proved to be a handful in the slower, twisty sections of the circuit.
At the end of the first lap it would still be Hawthorn leading the way with his good friend and teammate in close proximity in 2nd place. A couple of seconds would pass, and then came Fangio in the Maserati followed by Behra and Musso in 5th place. The three Ferraris were running very strongly as all three would be inside the top five.
The first couple of laps would see Hawthorn still in the lead over Collins. However, Fangio would start to pick up his pace. He was on half tanks and much lighter and it was beginning to show as he got around Collins, and then Hawthorn, to lead the 3rd lap. Musso would remain tucked in behind Behra unwilling to really push his Ferrari this early on in the race.
Once in the lead, Fangio would begin to pull away consistently from the two Ferraris. Musso remained behind Behra until he made his one pitstop. The time lost in the pits would promote Musso up to 4th place. Collins would challenge Hawthorn for 2nd place and would end up taking over the position. It was the 11th lap of the race.
At the end of the next lap, Fangio would come into the pits for fuel and tires. His lead was around 30 seconds. He would likely lose the lead but he would be close enough to claw himself back into the lead. However, during the stop there would be trouble with one of the wheels. Collins and Hawthorn would go by into the lead and then would disappear into the distance. Fangio was still in the pits. The tires would finally be put on the car and Fangio would set off.
Collins remained in the lead over Hawthorn. Their lead over Fangio was 45 seconds. They expected the Argentinean to push hard to try and get back into the lead, but with a little less than half of the race left, it was very doubtful there was enough time for him to pull it off. After a couple more laps with Collins in the lead, Hawthorn would again take over the lead and would pick up the pace slightly. He needed to. Fangio would rejoin the track and would immediately fall into another state of consciousness. He would break the lap record nearly each and every time around. The lead was dropping hand over fist.
A couple of seconds here and there, Fangio was destroying the lead of the two Ferraris. Fangio did have an advantage. Though he had to stop, he was now on fresher tires and could push harder than what he would have had he been on original tires. And he was doing exactly that. By the time he got back into the race, many wondered if there would be enough time for him to even get close to the two Ferraris. Yet, with two laps remaining in the race, Fangio would be tucked right up behind Collins coming across the line. He had plenty of time.
The Ferrari drivers could really do nothing about Fangio. The Argentinean would sweep by Collins soon on the 21st lap. A mile or so later, and he would do the same to Hawthorn. Collins would be gutted and it would be immediately noticeable in his driving. He would drop back from Hawthorn. His thoughts turned to consolidating 3rd. Hawthorn, on the other hand, would not give up so easy. He had fought Fangio before and had come out the victor. But this was another day.
Waved home on the final lap of the race, it would prove to be one of the best performances of Fangio's illustrious career. He would come back from 45 seconds down to take the win by about 3 seconds over Hawthorn. The victory would be a bit demoralizing for Ferrari and would be demonstrated in Collins' 3rd place finish. After fighting for the lead and being up front for much of the race, he would end up crossing the line around 30 seconds behind. Forgotten about in the whole process would be Musso. The Italian would run yet another consistent and fast race. As a result, he would make sure Ferrari had three cars finish in the top five as he finished in 4th place a good distance ahead of Stirling Moss in the Vanwall.
It would be a bittersweet moment for Ferrari. The mistake in the pits required a perfect drive from Fangio to pull off the victory, and he had done it. There was really nothing Hawthorn or Collins could do to defend against perfection. Every defense was throwing at Fangio, and yet, he overcame the gauntlet to win. The World Championship, a fifth, was his.
Despite not coming away with the victory in Nurburg, Ferrari continued to get stronger and stronger. This was evidenced by the fact it took a drive that even Fangio believed he would never be able to replicate ever again to take the win away from Hawthorn and Collins. Therefore, there was reason to be confident, although it was results that Enzo demanded if there was to be a confidence.
Heading into the next round of the 1957 World Championship, Ferrari would need a reason just to race, let alone be confident. The Italian government, in the wake of the tragedies during the Mille Miglia, was moving to ban all motor racing on public roads. This angered Enzo and certainly threatened the Pescara Grand Prix on the 18th of August. The Pescara circuit, measuring 15.9 miles, was nothing but public road course utilizing the streets along the Adriatic coast and the twisty mountainous roads to the west. The move by the Italian government, and the fact Fangio had already won the title, would put Enzo in a foul mood and would cause him to protest by not sending his team to Pescara. Musso had been enjoying some strong results as of late and would not be so willing not to attend the race. He would therefore persist with those within the team and would be a single-car entry for the 18 lap event.
In spite of being there on his own, Musso would do more than enough to hold his own. Fangio would end up taking the pole for the race with a lap time of 9:44.6. Stirling Moss would use the speed of the Vanwall to his advantage and would end up starting in 2nd place. Musso would be strong all by himself and would actually manage to capture the 3rd place spot, the final position, on the front row.
The start/finish line of the circuit would be along one of the long, tight city streets. The grid would be tight as the cars formed up for the race. The day would be sunny and terribly warm. The flag would drop to start the race and Musso would immediately lurch forward into the lead. At the back, the crowded streets would make for a dangerous setting as Horace Gould would strike a mechanic that was slow to get away from the grid once the cars were started.
Musso would streak ahead into the lead chased by Moss in the Vanwall. A couple of drivers, such as Gould and Tony Brooks, would find their races come to an end without even completing the first lap. Musso would have the lead at the end of the first circuit but he would be under pressure from Moss in the Vanwall. Though the 801 was proving to be quick, it didn't have the straight-line speed of the streamlined Vanwall. Therefore, by the end of the second lap of the race, it would be Moss at the front followed by Musso and Fangio.
Except for the first lap, Moss would lead every single one of the laps throughout the first half of the race. Then, just as the race entered its last half, Moss would appear as usual followed by a very long pause. The normal time for Musso to make his appearance would come and go. Then, finally, Fangio would appear. He would pull into the pits and the details of what had happened would slowly begin to emerge.
The engine in Musso's Ferrari would let go in a big way leaving oil all over the circuit. Fangio would be following close behind and would lose control on the oil that had been laid down. The result would be a crash and a broken wheel for Fangio. He would manage to limp back to the pits but would be so far behind Moss by the time he rejoined the race that the event was practically over right then and there.
The cars continued to circulate. Moss didn't take things slow, but he did take some extra precautions like stopping in the pits with a couple of laps left to have fuel and new tires fitted to the car. In addition, he would have the oil topped off just in case. It was a very hot day and the team wanted to make sure nothing prevented him from taking victory.
Nothing would. Moss had ten minutes in hand before his stop and would end up crossing the line with three minutes still in hand over Fangio in 2nd place. Harry Schell would complete the race finishing in 3rd place more than six and a half minutes behind.
Musso looked good out there on his own. Unfortunately, going it alone against the likes of Moss and Fangio was just not the best maneuver. The car was showing tremendous potential, but still had its teething problems as well. And these needed to be sorted before the next race on the calendar.
The Pescara Grand Prix had brought the World Championship home for the Italian teams, and it would stay right up through the final round. And while the Pescara Grand Prix would certainly be a race the Italian teams would have wanted to win, the Italian Grand Prix at Monza was very much a race they needed and had to win.
As usual, the Italian Grand Prix would make its appearance in the early part of the month of September. However, the race on the 8th would differ from that of the previous couple of years in that the circuit would again change. The layout would not necessarily change from any previous iteration it would be just that the banked oval would be abandoned for 1957. Instead, just the 3.91 mile road course would be used for the race.
Fashioned out of the flat plain of the Royal Villa of Monza park, the Autodromo Nazionale Monza would be fast from its very beginnings. Even without the banked oval, the road course was still nothing more than a few long straights interrupted by some quick corners. This played into the hands of those cars that had good top end speed.
As practice got underway, it would become abundantly clear that top end speed was the one thing the 801 lacked. Sure enough, the Vanwalls would be setting the pace with Moss being quickest in the first session. The second session would see a lull in the action with the exception of Hawthorn as he would try everything he knew possible to extract some more speed out of the car. This would include even changing the style of air intake on the top of the car. A short one initially would be used followed by one that extended nearly to the tip of the nose. It would end up being changed back by the start of the race. Collins, Musso and von Trips would all find it very difficult to get any kind of speed out of the car and it would show when the grid was finally set for the race on Sunday.
The first three positions on the front row would be occupied by Vanwalls. Fangio would manage to capture the final spot on the front row. The first of the Ferraris would be that of Collins, and he would be in 7th place on the second row. Actually, Collins would lead a train of Ferraris as the third row of the grid would see von Trips in a splendid 8th place followed by Musso in 9th and Hawthorn 10th.
All of the usual pomp and circumstance would lead up to the start of the 87 lap race. A lot of the attention would be around Fangio as he got behind the wheel of his Maserati. The enthusiastic crowd would be somewhat shocked by the sight of the three green cars on the front row, but they would still be cheering on the cars in red as the flag dropped to start the race. Moss would sprint into the lead followed closely by Behra and the other two Vanwalls. Both Musso and Collins would get away quickly and would be fighting with a poor starting Fangio over the course of the first lap.
At the end of the first time around the circuit it would be Moss in the lead with Behra just a couple of car lengths behind. Lewis-Evans and Brooks followed along very shortly. Musso and Collins would complete the first lap in 5th and 6th places while Hawthorn was in 10th place well ahead of von Trips who had suffered a terrible start and was fighting to stay in the top fifteen.
The pace of the 801 was just not there and Musso and Collins would end up being dropped from a small pack of about six cars. The fight at the front would be furious with nearly each of the six cars spending some time in the lead. The Ferraris would be faster than those at the tail-end of the field, but not as fast as those at the other end. Therefore, Collins, Musso and Hawthorn battled amongst themselves for 7th, 8th and 9th places. Von Trips would take a good deal of time to get rolling. However, he would join the battle after the first 20 laps had been completed.
The epic battle at the front would come to an end when Brooks and Lewis-Evans ran intro trouble with their cars. Behra would also slip off the pace leaving Moss in the lead comfortably ahead of Fangio and Harry Schell. Attrition and mechanical woes would soon come into play and this would enable Collins to move up to 3rd place as the race neared the halfway mark. Hawthorn would follow suit while Musso would be involved in a battle with Giorgio Scarlatti for 6th. Von Trips would quietly follow his teammates. He would trail the Musso/Scarlatti battle by a fair degree and was not accosted from behind either.
Moss would be running a furious pace at the front of the field. His margin would continue to grow over Fangio. This would impact the Ferraris and would lead to Musso slipping off of his previous pace. He would end up fighting it out with Brooks for a place inside the top ten. Collins looked strong and would be in a prime position for a podium finish had it not been for a souring engine that caused him to come into the pits and later retire. Still, Ferrari had Hawthorn in 3rd place now followed by von Trips. With just 10 laps remaining, Hawthorn looked like a lock for the podium. However, around the same time Moss would make his pitstop for fuel and tires, Hawthorn would come in with a split fuel line. His race would be over. Like lining up ducks for the shooting, von Trips would inherit 3rd place from Hawthorn. However, there was very little reason to suspect he would be able to hold onto the position.
Moss had a thorough hold on the lead of the race. He would make his stop and still come out with a comfortable lead on the reigning World Champion. Confident behind the wheel of the Vanwall, Stirling would come across to complete the 87th lap and take the victory, his third of the season. Fangio would follow along 41 seconds behind. Von Trips would manage to hold on for Scuderia Ferrari. He would finish in 3rd, albeit a distant two laps behind. Musso's strong race would fold. He would still manage to finish the race but he would be over five laps behind at the end.
There were moments of promise for Ferrari throughout the Italian Grand Prix. However, the Italian team would be thoroughly beaten and demolished by the British force that had come on strong in the latter-half of the season.
While the Vanwalls had come on strong over the latter-half of the season, Musso and Hawthorn's consistency during the middle would see them end the season within the top five in the Drivers' Championship. Musso would finish in 3rd place with 16 points while Hawthorn would be 4th with 13. While not as competitive as the season before, Ferrari was still looking strong, especially as the team made strides with its new Dino 156. With Maserati withdrawing from Formula One at the end of the season, it seemed clear 1958 was setting itself up as a battle between Ferrari and Vanwall.
Even though the Formula One World Championship had drawn to a close there were still a couple of non-championship races left on the calendar that would be valuable in further improving the 801 and the Dino 156. It was clear the Vanwall had an advantage in sheer speed. The 801 was, by far, the better handling car. Therefore, if Ferrari could find some more speed while maintaining the handling characteristics they would have a potent challenger in 1958.
But while Ferrari would have to face the reality that it had been beaten by superior machinery over the course of the '57 season, at least the team wouldn't have to face long travels heading to its next race on the calendar in an effort to further improve their cars. In many ways, the next race would be have the feel of a testing event. The reason for that was due to the fact that on the 22nd of September the Modena aerodromo would play host to the 5th Gran Premio di Modena.
Given the quick but short nature of the Modena circuit Scuderia Ferrari would elect to bring just their Dino 156s to the race. The 156 was considered the future of the team, basically a whole new car compared to the 801, which was a blend between a whole new car and the Lancia D50. In total, Ferrari would bring just two of their 156s to the race. The drivers would be Luigi Musso and Peter Collins.
The Ferrari pairing had to be considered favorites for victory as Fangio would not be present for the race. On top of that, Vandervell and a number of other entries would be missing from the entry list.
The Modena aerodrome circuit would be similar in character to other grand prix circuits based on airfield. The 1.47 mile circuit would be flat and relatively featureless as a result of needing to be wide open for aircraft to take off and land. A portion of the circuit would be comprised of a perimeter road while other portions of the circuit would include the singular runway that ran diagonally through the area. Though less than a mile and a half in length, average speeds around the circuit would routinely push above 80mph. So the circuit demanded a fast and stable-handling car.
Modena had been the place where Castellotti had lost his life while testing the new 801. Ferrari would do its best to avoid any ill-fortune by not bringing their 801s to the race. This potentially put the team at a disadvantage going up against the more powerful factory Maseratis. However, the experience could prove invaluable for the near future.
The Modena Grand Prix would consist of two heat races and aggregate scoring. Each of the heat races would be 40 laps in length. In total, the race would end up covering 118 miles and served as a great test for Ferrari's new car.
In practice, leading up to the first heat race, Musso would actually show the way posting the fastest time. He would take the pole but would find himself on the front row with two factory Maseratis. Collins just could not come to grips with the car and would be slightly off the pace of his teammate. The Englishman would end up on the third row of the grid in 8th. This put him toward the back of the small field, but there would be plenty of time for him to move up if he could get comfortable behind the wheel.
The first heat lap would be a rather torrid affair early on. On a whole, attrition would be minimal as just one car would fail to finish the first 40 laps. Musso would be impressive in the 156. He would be fast and would remain up at the front of the field throughout the first heat. He would end up posting the fastest lap of the race with a lap time of 1:02.2. His time, however, would be matched by Behra in one of the factory Maseratis. What's more, over the whole of the first heat, Behra would be consistently quicker around the circuit.
Behra would be in the lead, but within striking distance for Musso if he could put together a number of fast laps. Collins, who had started further down in the field, would find his footing during the race and would move up the order with relative ease until he began challenging for a place in the top three. Ahead of him would be Behra, Musso and Schell. Neither one of them would be willing to give way and forced Collins to either be daring, or, look to the second heat race.
Musso could not put together the attack the team was looking for. Instead, Behra would draw away leaving Musso alone in 2nd place. Heading into the final moments of the first heat, Collins would be within 10 seconds of Schell, but it seemed as though there was too little time to try and erase the gap.
So the first heat would end with Behra taking the victory by 20 seconds over Musso. Schell would maintain his advantage over Collins and would finish in 3rd place about 25 seconds behind Musso. Collins was able to shrink the gap to Schell to about 9 seconds, but he could do no better and would have to settle for 4th place.
The format of the race offered a twist heading into the second heat race. For each row of the grid, the order would be reversed. Therefore, instead of Behra starting from pole, it would be Schell. Musso, having finished in 2nd place, would be the only one not to be played around with. Behra would, therefore, line up in 3rd place on the grid. This mattered very little since they all lined up equally across the row. Nonetheless, the order would be changed in the second and third rows as well. As a result, Collins would start the second heat from the 5th position on the grid instead of 4th.
The second heat would appear to be nothing more than a continuation of the first heat. Behra would break well from the line and would be in the lead in short order. He would be followed by Musso in the Ferrari while Schell followed along in another of the factory Maseratis.
The question heading into the second heat would be surrounding Collins. In the first heat he had started well down in the field. Starting from the second row of the grid in the second heat there were some thoughts he could really challenge over the course of the second heat race.
And, challenge he would too. Schell would have Collins all over his backside all throughout the 40 lap second heat. The two would be locked in a battle that would rage consistently. Collins needed to get around Schell and pull away if he had any hopes of taking the spot away in the aggregate scoring. Schell was certainly aware of this and would fight tooth and nail with Collins.
Behra continued to run steady fast laps. He would be remarkably consistent over the course of the second heat, and especially when compared to his progress in the first heat. Musso would also remain quite consist in the second heat. Though Behra eased away, Musso was still in a strong position to capitalize if the Maserati suffered trouble of any kind.
The only cars to suffer any kind of trouble throughout the second heat would be the two BRMs entered by Owen Racing. Both of those would make it halfway through the heat and would then promptly depart as a result of mechanical problems. Both of the Maseratis and Ferraris at the head of the field continued to run like clockwork.
The second heat would be remarkably like the first. Behra would go on to set the fastest lap and would take the win. His finishing time would be less than two seconds slower than his time in the first heat. Musso would follow along in 2nd place. His finishing time would be even more consistent. At the end of the second heat it would be seen that he was exactly a second slower than his time in the first. The only battle on the circuit was for 3rd. Rounding the final corner and powering toward the line, Schell would have the position, but by just a couple of car lengths. Schell would manage to control Collins by taking 3rd place by just three-tenths of a second.
When the aggregate results were compiled, Behra would take an easy victory enjoying a final margin of nearly 40 seconds over Musso. Harry Schell would finish in 3rd place exactly 9 seconds ahead of Collins in 4th.
The Ferrari drivers would be beaten but the pairing had shown well in the 156. Ferrari would be encouraged by the results precisely because the 156 had less power than the Maserati, and yet, it remained in the fight throughout. The car was certainly promising.
If the Dino 156 offered Ferrari a look at its future, then the final race of the 1957 season would do the same. The final race of the season would prove to be another first as part of Formula One. Back in 1953, the World Championship headed across the South Atlantic and would arrive in Buenos Aires for the Argentine Grand Prix. On the 27th of October, teams would be making final preparations for the Grand Prix de Maroc, a prelude to its joining the World Championship the following year.
The first grand prix had been held in Morocco in 1925 at one of its most prominent cities—Casablanca. In the mid-1950s, motor racing would return to the country and the site for the sportscar races would switch to Agadir. However, a new circuit would be planned as organizers, which were mostly French, would be negotiating for a place on the world championship calendar. Ironically, the new circuit would be literally connected to the old Anfa circuit used during the 1930s.
The area of Ain-Diab rests just to the west of the center of Casablanca. The area juts against the Atlantic coast and is, therefore, a popular place for tourists around the city. At the time, the area would be much less settled and open. Made up of public roads, the 4.74 mile circuit would be quick while having only a very short portion that actually went straight for any length.
Since the Moroccan Grand Prix would be included on the calendar for 1958, all of the top teams would be present for the race, even Maserati. Realizing their way forward rested in the 156, Ferrari would come to the race with two examples of the car to be driven by Peter Collins and Mike Hawthorn.
Taking to the dusty circuit for practice, the Vanwalls would be quickly up to speed as the circuit played to the strengths of its streamlined chassis. Moss would end up posting one of the fastest times in one of the sessions. But, he would soon find himself unable to take part in the rest of the weekend as a result of falling ill. Hawthorn was also feeling ill but was still able to get behind the wheel of his 156 and remain competitive.
The Vanwalls, even without Moss, would dominate practice. Tony Brooks would end up taking the pole, but only just. Behra would line up 2nd on the grid having been beaten by just two-tenths of a second. Stuart Lewis-Evans, in another Vanwall, would round-out the three-wide front row.
Collins would miss out on the front row by a mere second. Instead, he would start 4th on the second row. Hawthorn would find himself just behind his teammate on the third row of the grid. His best lap would be nearly two seconds slower than his teammate and would result in a 6th place grid slot.
A great deal of pomp and ceremony led up to the start of the 55 lap race. The day would be filled with brilliant sunshine and warm temperatures. Unfortunately for Hawthorn, he would be feeling even more under the weather. He would make his way to his car in preparation for the start of the race, but it was uncertain whether or not he would be able to make it the entire distance.
The cars would be lined up on the grid and the drivers would slowly begin to make their way to their mounts for the day. It would be estimated that somewhere around 50,000 spectators would gather to witness some of the best cars and drivers in the world take to the public roads around Casablanca. The atmosphere would be filled with excitement.
The start/finish straight, at least the final portion before the first turn, would be about the only truly straight portion on the whole of the circuit. This afforded the drivers a great opportunity to drag race into the tricky first turn. Engines brought to a roar, it was just a matter of moments before the field would be let loose.
The flag would drop and Behra would prove to be the fastest to the gas pedal. The whole field would charge its way toward the first turn. The first turn was not an easy venture, even without being squeezed from all sides by other competitors. The apex of the right-hand corner featured a section of the road that rose suddenly. This rapid change in elevation in such a small space had caused a number of talented drivers to lose traction and spin out. Behra would lead the way into the first corner and would carefully make his way through the corner without incident. Behra would power out of the turn bringing along behind him the remainder of the field.
The whole of the field would make it through the first corner without much of an incident. Behra would still be in the lead. Fangio, the great World Champion, would be amongst a gaggle of cars trying to settle into a comfortable pace. Right there with Fangio would be Collins. The ill Hawthorn would be a bit more concerned with thoughts of whether he should continue or stop.
While Behra would continue to lead the race, the first few laps of the race would see its fair share of drama. It would all get started with Jack Brabham falling off the circuit with problems in the Climax-powered Cooper. The Australian would emerge from his car and would actually get some outside help to try and get his car working again. This ‘extra' help would garner the attention of the marshals and the word would go out that a car should be disqualified.
The officials would discuss what should be done and the black flag would be held out with a number next to it representing the car being black-flagged. Interestingly, the number next to the flag would be ‘6'. The number belonged to Fangio's Maserati. Fangio and the Maserati crew would be surprised by the official's action, but the Argentinean would obey the direction. This certainly benefited Collins and Hawthorn in their Ferraris, but it would cause an uproar within Maserati.
At the same time Fangio was responding to his black flag, Raymond Roche, the starter of the race, would notice Brabham's Cooper on track leaving oil behind the car. He believed the Cooper should be black flagged and would soon come to realize the oil streaks on the car had caused the officials to think the number of his car was, in fact, ‘6', when it was actually ‘18'. Immediately the officials went into action black flagging Brabham and notifying Fangio he could return to the race. He had since come into the pits and emerged from the car when the problem was rectified.
Hawthorn would be lost in all of the confusion and excitement. He would complete a total of 8 laps but would quickly come to the realization he would not be able to complete the entire race distance. Therefore, he would come into the pits and retire. Ferrari was left with just Collins out on circuit.
The race continued to claim its victims. Following Hawthorn's retirement due to illness, Brooks, the pole-sitter in the race, would find his race come to an end after 12 laps due to electrical failure. A further two laps later, Roy Salvadori would retire in his Cooper.
Behra's pace at the front would be quick. Fangio would be quicker once he was allowed back into the race. The Argentinean would end up posting the fastest lap of the race in an attempt to make up for lost time. This increase in pace, and the dusty conditions, made life behind the wheel rather difficult. The Maserati 250F was a great car to power-slide around corners. This had to be done to be fast. The Dino 156 was a bit more planted, but that meant a slippery circuit would work against the car. All this, and a momentary lost of concentration, would come together at the wrong time. As a result, Collins would lose control and would crash out of the race after completing just 16 laps. The last race of the season was over Ferrari.
Though the drivers would give it everything they had, the race would actually prove to be over the moment Behra was allowed to take the lead. In spite of the fact Fangio would set the fastest lap of the race, Behra would actually prove to be the fastest driver consistently over the course of the race. Behra would be chased by Lewis-Evans in the faster Vanwall, but it would matter very little to the Frenchman as he would end up drawing away as the race wore on.
Averaging a little more than 112mph over the entire race distance, Behra would pull away from Lewis-Evans. The Frenchman would go on to take the win having completed the race distance in two hours, 18 minutes and 23 seconds. Lewis-Evans would come along 30 seconds later to claim 2nd. Maurice Trintignant would be in a BRM and would benefit from the unfortunate miscue from the officials to steal 3rd place away from Fangio.
The sick feeling within Hawthorn would be a fitting way to describe the final race of the season for Ferrari. At Modena, the 156 looked to be a strong contender. However, at a circuit that would be a part of the World Championship the following year, the car would be barely able to complete a quarter race distance. It was clear the car had potential, but it still had its issues as well. Scuderia Ferrari was looking for a strong finish. All it really got was a strong ill feeling within Hawthorn's internals.
In spite of the bad ending to the season, Ferrari had reason to believe they were finally headed in the right direction. From 1955 onwards the team had been reduced to evolving a chassis it had not created itself, thus was the turmoil and lack of direction within the factory. However, the Dino 156, and even the 801 to some degree, would show those within the team they finally found its own way forward. And, with some tweaking and improvement, Ferrari could again rise to the top of the World Championship.