The 1952 Belgian GP and the Ferrari Tipo 500 Reviewed

Back at Spa Francorchamps

The old configuration Circuit de Spa-Francorch...

The old configuration Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps (in comparison to modern). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The XIV Grote Prijx van Belgie (AKA the 1952 Belgian Grand Prix) took place at the old Spa-Francorchamps which I believe I have already detailed extensively.  So, I finally got to the bottom of good ol’ Juan-Manuel Fangio–Maserati picked him up, but he is out for the season from a neck injury he sustained racing in a non-Championship race at Monza.

Ferrari’s Alberto Ascari qualified on pole with a time of 4:37.0.  Three seconds back was Nino Farina.  Following him, six more seconds back, was Piero Taruffi, also racing for Ferrari.  This would make for an all Scuderia Ferrari front end.

For the race, it rained.  It may always rain at the 24 Hueres du Mans, but it usually rains at Spa-Francorchamps.  This could have helped Stirling Ross, notes Jeremy McMullen, because he had damaged his engine in the qualifying, after arriving too late to get much practice.  But, Stirling Moss‘ engine had already sustained damage and he would only qualify tenth and would withdraw before the race.

In the dry, average speeds on these public roads were exceeding 100 miles per hour.  Again, Ferrari dominated the race.  Notably, Ferrari is still dominating, despite the fact they are in a new chassis and new engine…

Alberto Ascari Ferrari Tipo 500

Alberto Ascari Ferrari Tipo 500 (Photo credit: The359)

1952 Ferrari Tipo 500 (F2)

The Ferrari Tipo, technically speaking, is not one of Ferrari’s Formula 1 cars.  Technically, it was a Formula 2 car.  But, that is probably splitting hairs.  The previous car was the Ferrari 375 F1.  Anyway, Ferrari’s complaints that they do not now want to go to 4 cylinder cars seems unjustified, given that they have previously won the championship with a inline four-banger.  Compared to the Ferrari 375 F1 from the previous season, the car was well down on paper as a result of the decreased displacement.  It was rated at about 185 bhp.  That is less than half of the Alfa Rome 159 of last season, under the older Formula 1 regulations.  The engine was water-cooled and was, technically, a “Hemi.”  A hemi being any engine with hemispherical cylinders .    The cylinders of the 500 Tipo were up in size and compression was up as well.  In further comparing the 375 F1 and the 500 Tipo, I discovered that there were substantial changes made to the timing gear, but not to the suspension.  This suggests that engine development was the order of the day for the Ferrari brain trust (Lampredi, it was, I believe).

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