Before There was F1

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Before There was F1

Post by Alpineopossum on Wed Dec 26, 2012 7:30 pm

There was Grand Prix Racing.

I will be doing the points for these year using the 10-6-4-3-2-1 system. I will also write season reviews.

1934: Achille Varzi (Scuderia Ferrari)
More to come

The following is a season review of the 1934 season, with a points championship calculated using the old F1 10-6-4-3-2-1 system.

Scuderia Ferrari campaigned Alfa Romeo Tipo B chassis and had three main drivers. Louis Chiron from Monaco was one of the championship favorites. Achille Varzi was a star in his prime and was also a top contender. Joining them was a relative newcomer to the Grand Prix circuit, Algerian driver Guy Moll.

There were a number of drivers campaigning privateer Alfas and Maseratis. These included Frenchman Phillippe Etancelin, Whitney Straight Racing, which fielded cars for its namesake and Brit Hugh Hamilton, and Tazio Nuvolari who ran his own Bugatti at Monaco before switching to Maserati for the rest of the year as an owner driver. He joined the Bugatti factory team late in the year.

The first race at Monaco was won by a young Algerian driver named Guy Moll, who, as far as I know, is the only notable driver from that country. He drove for Scuderia Ferrari, which back then did not make its own cars but raced Alfa Romeos. His teammate, Louis Chiron (from Monaco) finished second and Rene Dreyfus, driving for Bugatti, came third. Tazio Nuvolari ran the race (and finished 5th) as an owner driver in a Bugatti.

The next round was at Alessandro in Italy. Achille Varzi won and Louis Chiron finished second. Mario Tadini was third, and Ferrari swept the first four positions.

Varzi won again at Tripoli in Libya (which was then an Italian territory). Chiron finished 3rd. Second went to Guy Moll, who didn’t score points in Round 2.

Varzi got his third straight win on the Targa Florio, a long road race in Italy. There were many one offs, and they took the remaining points paying positions.

The Casablanca round saw Louis Chiron take his second win and only his second points finish since Monaco. Phillipe Etancelin, Marcel Lehoux, and Gianfranco Comotti got their seasons back on track as all of the above were mired in a string of bad races.

The next race was at the AVUS, a track that could almost be considered a Superspeedway. It was two long straights connected with two brick banked curves. The race held there was called the Avusrennen. The remains of the AVUS can still be scene in Berlin by the way. The race also saw the debut of the big German teams of Mercedes Benz and Auto Union, bankrolled by the Nazi government. The Auto Union team fielded a revolutionary 16 cylinder mid engine car designed by Ferdinand Porsche, while the Mercedes team ran W25s under Alfred Neurenberger. Nuvolari entered the race while his leg was still in a cast. The German cars, the “silver arrows” had a difficult day, and Guy Moll scored the victory. The only Auto Union to finish was August Momberger. Mercedes Benz withdrew after practice after a fuel pump problem led to a major fire hazard.

Mercedes had the issue fixed and two of the three cars they brought to the Eiffelrennen at the Nürburgring started. The Mercedes team won their first time out, with Manfred von Brauchitsch, a man best know for his total lack of luck, took home the checkered flag.
At this point in the season, the top five in the standings were as follows.
1. Achille Varzi (Scuderia Ferrari) - 37
2. Louis Chiron (Scuderia Ferrari) - 30
3. Guy Moll (Scuderia Ferrari) - 26
4. Manfred von Brauschitsch (Daimler Benz AG) - 10
5. Phillippe Etancelin (Etancelin Team) - 9

At the next round, at Montreux in Switzerland, Carlo Felicetrossi won his first victory in his first points finish of the year (he came close early in the season). The Mercedes and Auto Union teams were absent, and Etancelin and Varzi rounded out the podium.

The Penya Rhin race was held at Monjuric Park in Spain. Alfa Romeo dominated, with Varzi winning and Scuderia Ferrari teammates Chiron and Lehoux finishing second and third. Juan Zanelli in a privately entered Alfa Romeo came in forth.

The French GP was called the Grand Prix of the Automobile Club de France, and the ACF Grand Prix was held at the Montlhery track outside Paris. This circuit returned to use when Ken Block held a Gymkauna event there last year. But back in the day it was one of the most active circuits in Europe and one of France’s premier tracks. Both Mercedes and Auto Union returned, but they were unreliable and none finished. Only four cars completed the race, one of which was shared by Felicetrossi and Moll. Chiron won with Varzi coming in second. The car shared by Felicetrossi and Moll came in third with Robert Benoist in a factory Bugatti finished forth.
At this point, the top five were:
1. Achille Varzi (Scuderia Ferrari) – 57
2. Louis Chiron (Scuderia Ferrari) – 46
3. Guy Moll (Scuderia Ferrari) – 30
4. Phillippe Etancelin (Etancelin Team) – 15
5. Carlo Felicetrossi (Scuderia Ferrari) – 14

The Grand Prix of the Marne was held at Reims Gueux, and it was a parade of the Ferrari entered Alfa Romeos. Chiron won followed by Moll. A car shared by Varzi and Marinoni finished third, completing the Ferrari 1-2-3. In forth was Hugh Hamilton driving for Whitney Straight’s team.

The Auto Unions and Mercedes returned for the German Grand Prix, held at the Nürburgring. Auto Union scored its first victory, with Hans Stuck Sr. (who’s son is the ALMS driver) taking the checkered flag.

The Grand Prix de Dieppe, held at the very old Dieppe circuit (even in 1934 it was old!) saw Varzi eliminated in the heats, but Chiron DNF’d and couldn’t take advantage. Etancelin took the victory.
At this point, the championship had tightened up considerably.
1. Achille Varzi (Scuderia Ferrari) – 61
2. Louis Chiron (Scuderia Ferrari) – 60
3. Guy Moll (Scuderia Ferrari) – 36
4. Phillippe Etancelin (Etancelin Team) – 25
5. Hans Stuck Sr. (Auto Union AG) – 17

The next race was the Coppa Ciano in Italy. Varzi won and his championship rival Chiron didn’t score any points. Moll was second and Nuvolari was third. In sixth was Giuseppe Farina, who sixteen years later would be the first Formula 1 champion in 1950.

The Belgian Grand Prix, held at Spa Francorchamps, was a strange one. Nuvolari wasn’t their. Neither was Whitney Straight Racing’s two cars. Most of the Maserati drivers were absent as well. The German teams, Mercedes and Auto Union, entered but were detained at the border in Belgium and were forced to withdraw. Chiron crashed, but Varzi had an engine failure five laps later on Lap 25, so he was only able to score 1 point (7 cars raced). Rene Dreyfus led home a Bugatti one two (Antonio Brivio was second). The third Bugatti, Robert Benoist, was forth. The Bugatti Brigade was interrupted by Raymond Sommer in third. Sommer was sort of a Spa expert. He was winning in 1950 in a Talbot Lago when an engine failure ended his run.

The next race was the Coppa Aberbo, which was the second most prestigious race in Italy after the Italian Grand Prix. The Italian media called the 1934 running of the race the “Battle of the Titans”. The two German teams, Mercedes and Auto Union, with their huge funding from the Nazis, were taking on, for the first time, the Italian teams on their own soil. Nationalistic fervor led to great interst in the race. Mercedes’ team included the “rainmaster” Rudolf Caracciola, little known and inexperienced debutante driver Ernst Henne, and Italian Luigi Fagoli. Although Fagoli was in his own country, the Italian crowd cared more about the teams nationalities than that of the individual drivers. The team did not enter a car for von Brauchitsch. Auto Union had Wilhelm Sebastian and his much more illustrious teammate Hans Stuck, already a race winner in 1934. Ferrari had its usual lineup of the three big championship contenders: Monaco’s Louis Chiron, Championship leader Achille Varzi of Italy, and Algeria’s Guy Moll. In addition, Pietro Ghersi was also entered, and he would share a car with Varzi. Stuck was on the pole, followed by Varzi, Caracciola, Fagoli, and Nuvolari. Caracciola led initially, but he crashed out on Lap 8. The car of Varzi and Ghersi had a difficult day. Although it contended for the win earlier, by the closing stages it had fallen back. Stuck had a piston failure on Lap 5, and he took over Sebatian’s car. However this team was not a factor. By the end of the race, Fagoli’s Mercedes was leading, and Guy Moll was chasing him. The crowd was unabashedly rooting for Moll, as he drove for an Italian team. By the seventeenth lap of the insanely long (16.03 Miles) Pescara Circuit, Moll had experienced a spin, a stall (which cost him 11 minutes), and several other mistortunes. But the Algerian was still closing in on Fagoli. As he approached a fast, narrow section of the track he came to pass the inexperienced Mercedes driver Ernst Henne. Henne closed the door on Moll, (some say that they made contact) and Moll slid into the grass. He tried to regain control but hit a stone barrier and the car barrel rolled. Moll flew from the car and died on impact. Following the wreck, Fagoli went to an easy victory. Allegations flew that Henne had intentionally crashed Moll, especially since it led to a victory for the Mercedes team. The short but spectacular career of Guy Moll had come to an end. Henne became quite infamous for this, and he never got a full ride with the Silver Arrows. He died in 2005 at the age of 102.

For the Grand Prix of Nice, held in Southern France, Scuderia Ferrari drafted their part time driver Carlo Felicetrossi to replace the deceased Guy Moll. The German teams were not at the race. Chiron had another DNF, and Varzi took the win.
Following the race the Top Five in point were:
1. Achille Varzi (Scuderia Ferrari) – 85
2. Louis Chiron (Scuderia Ferrari) – 60
3. Guy Moll (Scuderia Ferrari) – 42
4. Phillippe Etancelin (Etancelin Team) – 31
5. Carlo Felicetrossi (Scuderia Ferrari) – 21

For the Swiss GP at Bremgarten, the German teams returned. Auto Union had Hermann zu Leiningen, August Momberger, and Hans Stuck. Mercedes ran Manfred von Brauchitsch, Rudolf Carracciola, and Luigi Fagoli. Henne was conspicuously absent. Felicetrossi was out of Moll’s old Ferrari and in his place was Pietro Ghersi. Maserati had a factory team for this race, and Goffredo Zehender was the driver. Varzi shared his car with Felicetrossi. Stuck took the victory, and Momberger brought home a 1-2 for Auto Union. Chiron finally got back into the points, but Varzi clinched the title with two races remaining. The Swiss GP was an execellent race, but it was marred by the death of Hugh Hamilton, the star driver of Whitney Straight Racing.

The Italian Grand Prix was held at the Monza Autodrome, one year after the fatal accident of Campari, Borzacchini and Czaykowski. As a result, the track had a number of Chicanes on its shortened layout. Henne returned to the drivers seat, which must have been unpopular: A man infamous for allegedly “causing” a fatal crash of an Italian car in Italy returns to racing at the Italian Grand Prix. He wasn’t a factor in the race, and both his Mercedes and that of Fagoli failed to finish after early mechanical problems. Stuck lead on the start followed by Fagoli (before he dropped out), Varzi, and Caracciola. Varzi soon was passed by Caracciola and he had an amazing duel with Nuvolari before Varzi’s brakes faded (they had no fluid in them because the mechanics did not properly revfill the drained brake system). Zu Leiningen was up front, but soon had to retire. Despite pain in his leg, Caracciola closed the gap slowly but surely. Stuck had a radiator fire that burned his feet. The car was still running, so zu Leiningen took over. Caracciola was, due to his leg and the g-forces inhibited by the massive number of chicanes, nearing physical collapse when Fagoli took over for him. Stuck took the car back over from zu Leiningen, who was running forth. Fagoli led the rest of the race and won it. Varzi was in second despite the brake problems but with twenty laps remaining he retired with gearbox problems. Felicetrossi was in second when he was relieved by Gianfranco Comotti (who actually ran in two cars that race). The pair finished third behind Stuck. Chiron finished forth.

The season finale was at the Lasarte track in Spain. Mercedes Benz had Caracciola (fresh off his Monza win), Fagoli (also fresh off of his Monza win) and Ernst Henne. Henne’s car was withdrawn after Practice. Auto Union entered Hans Stuck, Hermann zu Leiningen, August Momberger, and Tazio Nuvolari (who was somehow also entered in a factory Bugatti. He raced the latter, and was testing an Auto Union). Varzi, Felicetrossi, and Chiron drove Scuderia Ferrari’s Alfa Romeos. Momberger was unable to drive because of arthritis. Stuck had an early lead but retired on Lap 4. Caracciola took over first followed by Wimille and Fagoli. The Bugatti team had great speed but Wimille was plagued by carburetor issues. Facing a decision to let the car’s engine fail or slow down, he chose the latter and finished sixth. Fagoli passed Caracciola and prevailed after an epic battle. Nuvolari, who raced the Bugatti, finished third.

1. Achille Varzi 90
2. Louis Chiron 65
3. Guy Moll 42
4. Hans Stuck Sr. 38
5. Luigi Fagoli 37
6. Phillippe Etancelin 31
7. Carlo Felicetrossi 28
8. Tazio Nuvolari 23
9. Rene Dreyfus 19
10. Marcel Lehoux 17
11. Rudolf Caracciola 16
14. Manfred von Brauchitsch 10
14. Antonio Brivo 10
14. August Momberger 10
14. Gianfranco Comotti 10
18. Hermann zu Leiningen 9
18. Earl Howe 9
20. Berdinando Babieri 8
21. Whitney Straight 6
21. Robert Benoist 6
21. Clifton Penn Hughes 6
24. Attilio Marinoni 5
24. Hugh Hamilton 5
24. Goffredo Zehender 5
28. Mario Tandini 4
28. Contantino Magistri 4
28. Raymond Sommer 4
28. Jose de Villapadierna 4
28. Paul Pietsch 4
28. Pietro Ghersi 4
34. Renato Balestero 3
34. Juan Zanelli 3
34. Tim Rose Richards 3
37. Clemente Biondetti 2
37. Louis Pages 2
37. Joquin Palacio 2
37. Hannes Geier 2
37. Charles Montier 2
37. Wilhelm Sebastian 2
37. Luigi Soffietti 2
37. Ulrich Maag 2
45. Giovanni Minozzi 1
45. Robert Brunet 1
45. Jose Scaron 1
45. Giuseppe Farina 1
45. Ernst Henne 1
45. Pierre Veyron 1
45. Jean Pierre Wimille 1

Last edited by Alpineopossum on Wed Dec 26, 2012 10:00 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Before There was F1

Post by Milan655 on Wed Dec 26, 2012 7:45 pm

Great season review, good read! Only comment is that it's 'Montjuic' rather than 'Montjuirc' but I'd assume that was a typo, and also that Scuderia Ferrari used Alfa Romeo chassis with self built engines-that's why the Alfa Romeo official cars had the Ferrari crest adorned on their sides. It's good that you have included all of the races of the European Grand Prix championship, rather than the points Grand Prix (known as the 'Grand Epreuves'), and even better that you've used a point system where the winner scores the most points rather than the least (in the 1930's Grand Prix era, 1st would earn 1 point, 2nd only 2, 3rd 3, while those completing 75% race distance would earn 4, and 50% with 5 etc, although I don't believe the '34 season was scored on points, but rather by victory), it shows how incredible Varzi was; he was the only driver who could challenge Tazio, an impressive feat Smile

Thanks for the review Wink

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Re: Before There was F1

Post by Alpineopossum on Wed Dec 26, 2012 9:43 pm


I'd never heard of Guy Moll before I did this. 1934 was the first season of a new formula and the big German teams only ran part time.

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Re: Before There was F1

Post by Alpineopossum on Wed Dec 26, 2012 9:54 pm

1934 Monaco Grand Prix

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Re: Before There was F1

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