Motor SportOctober 1932
THE MONZA GRAND PRIX.
CARACCIOLA WINDS UP A MAGNIFICENT SEASON FOR ALFA ROMEO BY WINNING AT THE TERRIFIC AVERAGE SPEED OF 110.8 M.P.H.
THE Monza Grand Prix, organised by Vincenzo Florio, has always been totally different from other Grand Prix races, in that the meeting is composed of three heats of 100 kilometres length, a repechage of 50 kilometres, in which those who have failed to qualify in the heats are given another chance of reaching the final, and the final run over 200 kilometres, or 20 circuits of the Monza track.
This year Signor Florio had the brilliant idea of maintaining the interest of spectators throughout the entire meeting by using an alternative to the usual method of dividing the cars into heats by engine capacity. For this year's race he split up the entry list into heats with the sole purpose of ensuring that every make entered should be adequately represented in each heat, so that the first "batteria" contained Varzi, Lehoux and an "unknown" on Bugattis, Caracciola and Brivio on Alfa Romeos, Minozzi, Pedrazzini and "G.P." on Maseratis, and Earl Howe on his 1½-litre Delage.
In past years, when the first heat was composed only of small cars, the grandstands filled as the meeting progressed, but under the new system it was no surprise to see every stand completely filled, and a dense crowd all round the course before the meeting began. The Prince and Princess of Piedmont arrived in the Royal Box just as the start was given.
The start of the first heat.
When the flag fell Caracciola shot forward like a projectile, but he was followed closely by Minozzi (Maserati). As the race progressed it was obvious that the "monoposto" Alfa Romeo was a certain winner, and Caracciola was soon a long way ahead of the field. As the first four to finish qualify for the final, there is always a great scrap in these races between the cars lying fourth and fifth. In this case these positions were held by Lehoux (Bugatti 2.3) and Brivio
(Alfa Romeo), and for the whole race they struggled neck and neck. Eventually, by dint of being slightly faster on corners, Lehoux finished fourth. Varzi (Bugatti 4.9) seemed content to qualify in third place, and did not attempt to chase Caracciola. Minozzi, in spite of bursting a tyre and finishing on the rim, was not passed by Varzi. Earl Howe (Delage 1.5 litre), driving the smallest car in the race, drove well to finish 40 seconds behind Brivio, on a 2.3 litre Alfa Romeo.
RESULT OF HEAT 1.
1, Caracciola (Alfa-Romeo 2,650 c.c.), 33m. 23s. 111.6 m.p.h.
2. Minozzi (Maserati), 35m. 3/5s.
3. Varzi (Bugatti 4,900 c.c.), 35m. 33 4/5s.
4. Lehoux (Bugatti 2,300 c.c.), 36m. 5 4/5s.
5. Brivio (Alfa-Romeo 2,300 c.c.), 36m. 30 3/5s.
6. Earl Howe (Delage 1,500 c.c.), 37m. 10 4/5s.
The second heat was a real "needle" affair. At the sight of Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo), Chiron (Bugatti 4.9), Fagioli (16 cyl. Maserati), Broschek (Mercedes), Tarufli (Alfa Romeo), Felix (Alfa Romeo), Bernasconi (Bugatti), and Moradei (Talbot), drawn up in lines, the crowd leaned forward in their seats in tense anticipation. Immediately the flag fell Nuvolari and Fagioli leapt forward together, and began a terrific duel. Although the "monoposo " Alfa Romeo is undoubtedly the finest all round racing car ever produced, the 16-cylinder Maserati—at any rate, in the hands of Fagioli—is always capable of providing adequate opposition, and added to this is the fact that Fagioli is the holder of the greatly coveted Monza lap record. For lap after lap the cars came round almost locked together, first one in the lead, then the other. The shortness of the race demanded driving which showed no mercy on engines, and the spectacle of these two magnificent drivers straining every nerve to gain mastery represented the sport of motor racing in its very finest degree. So fierce was the
struggle that it was felt that either one of the drivers or cars would have to yield and on the 6th lap the duel was stopped through Nuvolari going off the track for a moment and badly buckling a wheel. After a quick wheel-change the undismayed Tazio took up the chase, and by reason of Chiron having a similar lapse and temporarily leaving the road, Nuvolari eventually finished second.
RESULT OF HEAT 2.
1. Fagioli (Maserati), 35m. 2 3/5s. 106.3 m.p.h.
2. Nuvolari (Alfa-Romeo 2,650 c.c.), 36m. 10s.
3. Taruffi (Alfa-Romeo 2,300 c.c.), 36m. 38 1/5s.
4. Chiron (Bugatti 4,900 c.c.), 40m. 22s.
After this hectic display the third heat seemed tame by comparison, but was notable for the failure of Leon Duray, the American driver, to fulfil the expectations which the presence of his 1½-litre Miller had aroused. The driver seemed most unsuited to the course, and was unable to keep up with the other competitors. After a hazardous drive, in the course of which the driver had great difficulty in keeping the car in its normal course he was lapped by the leading Alfa Romeos on the third circuit. Finally, Campari crossed the line first, having averaged 111.2 m.p.h.
RESULT OF HEAT 3.
1. Campari (Alfa-Romeo 2,650 c.c.), 33m. 30 1/58., 111.2 m.p.h.
2. Borzacchini (Alfa-Romeo 2,650 c.c.), 34m. 25 2/5s.
3. Ruggeri (Maserati), 35m. 26 2/5s.
4. Biondetti (M.B.), 40m. 24 4/5s.
5. de Maleplane (Maserati), 40m. 33 2/58.
So far, the speeds of the winners had all been very high, while Nuvolari had broken Fagioli's lap record of 3m. 20secs. with one marvellous circuit in 3m. 17 4/5th secs. The repechage naturally did not produce such brilliant performances, the winner being Brivio (Alfa Romeo), followed by Broschek, on the Mercedes with which he won the Avus race in Berlin, and Felix (Alfa Romeo). On the first lap Earl Howe, who had impressed everyone by his handling of the 1½-litre Delage in the first heat, had a miraculous escape when, in the middle of a tussle with the big Mercedes, his Delage crashed into a tree, completely and utterly smashing the car beyond all repair, but without injuring the driver in the slightest degree.
RESULT OF REPECHAGE.
1. Brivio (Alfa-Romeo 2,300 c.c.), 18m. 29 4/5s.
2. Broschek (Mercedes-Benz), 18m. 40s.
3. Felix (Alfa-Romeo 2,300 c.c.), 20m. 16 2/5s.
Caracciola (Alfa Romeo) on one of the difficult slightly banked turns.
Who would win the final? "Alfa Romeo" ! was the instinctive answer' but Fagioli would always be dangerous—and Varzi had gone suspiciously slowly in
the first heat! But suddenly there was sensation. It appeared that the Alfa Romeo people had lodged an appeal with the officials that Fagioli should be disqualified. It was affirmed, and in this they were supported by an official, that in the first heat, when Nuvolari and Fagoli were racing side by side on a left hand curve, with Fagioli on the outside, the Maserati driver had pulled inwards, and by slightly grazing Nuvolari's wheel, caused the Alfa Romeo to leave the road. When the officials demurred, the Alfa Romeo's reply was that the team would be withdrawn. Meanwhile the crowd grew restive and finally clamorous, so with great sportsmanship the Alfa Romeo team was allowed to run, Campari handing over his car to Nuvolari, as the latter's car was found to be slightly damaged.
The three Alfas driven by Nuvolari,
Caracciola and Borzacchini quickly assumed the lead, but an internecine duel began between Nuvolari and Caracciola. Fagioli was lying fourth until Borzacchini pulled into the pits to rectify a lass of pressure. Almost immediately a similar trouble befell Nuvolari, but he later found that his stop was caused through lack of fuel. These two stops let Fagioli up into second place, and Caracciola's progress was watched with considerable anxiety by the Alfa Romeo personnel. But the German champion made no mistakes, and finished the race 50 seconds ahead of the Maserati.
RESULT OF FINAL.
1. Caracciola (Alfa Romeo 2,650 c.c.), 1h. 7m 15 2/5s. 110.8 m.p.h.
2. Fagioli (Maserati 16 cyl.), 1h. 8m 4 1/5s.
3. Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo 2,650 c.c.), 1h. 9m. 8 2/5s.
4. Borzacchini (Alfa Romeo 2,650 cc, 1h. 9m. 23 4/5s.
5. Varzi (Bugatti 4,900 c.c.), 1h. 10m. 5 4/5s.
6. Chiron (Bugatti 4,900 c.c.), 1h. 10m. 18 2/5s.
7. Brivio (Alfa-Romeo 2,300 c.c.), 1h. 11m. 31 4/5s.
8. Tarufli (Alfa-Romeo 2,300 c.c.), 1h. 11m. 51 1/5s.
9. Ruggeri (Maserati), 1h. 13m. 31 3/5s.
10. Minozzi and Maserati (Maserati) 1h. 14m. 22 2/5s.
The winning Alfa Romeo was fitted with Dunlop tyres, Champion plugs, Andre shock-absorbers, and Rudge Whitworth wheels.