The 1950 Swiss Grand Prix and the Final Run of the Ferrari 125F1

The 1950 Swiss Grand Prix

The 1950 Swiss Grand Prix was the fourth of the season. The third race of the season was the 1950 Indianapolis 500 which was run under different rules. Although technically part of the 1950 Formula 1 Championship, no F1 cars took part in the race. Consequently, it is being omitted from discussion. As an additional note, I was unable to find footage of this race. However, I will not let that stop me. Rather, it just took quite a bit more reading to make up for not being able to see any race action. A picture really is worth a thousand words sometimes.

The circuit was a lengthy 4.525 miles long. It was a 42 lap race leading to a 190.031 mile

English: Diagram of the Bremgarten Circuit hos...

Diagram of the Bremgarten Circuit hosted the Formula One Swiss Grand Prix from 1950 to 1954 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Grand Prix. The circuit is located in Bremgarten, Bern, Switzerland.

Fangio took pole. The way I am working through the history of Formula One, one race at a time, is finally beginning to give me a hint of the perspective that I had hoped to gain when I undertook the project. At the very least, I am beginning to have a glimpse into the consistency of Fangio’s greatness. Race after race, he has been challenging for both the pole and the victory. Fastest lap in the race, however, went to Nino Farina. But, he was only a half-second quicker in the race.

To digress, one of the aspects of this project/blog that I am most excited about is gaining enough familiarity with the legends of the past to compare there performances with the champions of today. For example, how does Juan Manuel Fangio line up against Michael Schumacher or Sebastian Vettel? It will be interesting to see if my future-self concludes that Fangio deserves a spot among the super-athletes of today. Yet, as it stands, I am far from being ready to opine on the subject. I suppose that I have digressed enough at this point.

Although race footage was not available, race reports suggest that this would have been an interesting race to watch. The record of the lead changes alone hint at an exciting race with a clear beginning, middle, and end:

Fangio (Laps 1-6) → Farina (7-20) → Fangio (21-22) → Fagioli (23) → Farina (24-42)

Ultimately, Farina (Alfa Romeo) would be joined on the podium with Louis Fagioli (Alfa Romeo) in second place and Louis Rosier (Talbot-Lago) in third place. Well, there are only a few other things from this race, that I am aware of, that deserve mention: First, Ascari took the lead off the line, but due to the weakness of his 125Fi, discussed below, but fell behind by the

Juan Manuel Fangio

Juan Manuel Fangio (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

completion of the first lap. He subsequently retired on lap 19. Eugene Martin was seriously injured, although I am not clear on the nature of his injuries. But, this is the my first mention of what should prove be a developing theme of GP Evolved–the unimaginable danger inherent to racing in those days and the courage it must have taken to drive ten/tenths. Third, and finally, just for the sake of tracking his progress, Fangio’s car failed due to an electrical fault, but he was already out of the lead at that point.

The Final Run of the Ferrari 125 F1

The Swiss Grand Prix 0f 1950 was the final race of Ferrari 125 F1, the first Ferrari to race in Formula 1. To be sure, the car was not memorable enough to warrant its own post. It is visually recognizable at an twelve-cylinder supercharged engine. I point out that it is visually recognizable, because fundamentally, these engines–to this day–still resemble our modern car engines (and to some extent F1 engines). The suspension, on the other hand, is much less recognizable when compared to either a modern sports car or any Formula 1 car of the past thirty years. As for the engine, it began life with a single overhead cam but would eventually be upgraded to a dual overhead cam system–a feature which car companies still consider a feature worthy of advertising.

Image of 2012 Honda Civic Si Engine with large letters "DOHC" standing for Dual OverHead Cams

As for the engine, it began life with a single overhead cam, but would eventually be upgraded to a Dual OverHead Cam system–a feature which companies still consider a feature worth advertising.”

The engine was shared with a road racing version–the Ferrari 125 S (for sport)–which debuted before the 125 F1 was developed. The Colombo designed V12, or at least its basic architecture, would remain in the Ferrari family for generations to come. Although not like the heavy Auto Union cars of the 1930’s, the 125 F1 was neither light and nimble nor powerful enough to maintain the pace of the decade old Alfa Romeo 158’s. And as the rest of Formula’s One’s history will bare out, speed is always relative.

Thanks for checking out my blog. Please enjoy the sound of the first Ferrari F1 Car.

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