Background and Race Notes:
First off, the Indianapolis 500 just does not grab me in the way I would prefer it. Although, the 1952 Indianapolis 500 does capture me a bit more than other races. This is because the Ferrari boys showed up, led by their number #1, Alberto Ascari. Offenhauser was the leading engine design for the Indy 500, at that time. However, Enzo Ferrari was not intimidated and sent over his V12. Notably, I believe there was another entry which–for the first time–used an exhaust propelled (or is it impelled?) turbine. At the time, it was called “turbosupercharged” as it was viewed as a twist on superchargers, which had been around since at least the 1920s. Anyway, I believe that this is the first time an exhaust-driven turbocharger was used in ‘modern’ racing. The Indy 500 of 1952 was won by Troy Ruttman, racing for J. C. Agajanian.
If Alberto Ascari won, What Could Have Been?
I believe there is a second, completely reasonable scenario in which the Indianapolis 500 was embraced by the European community–thus, becoming a mainstay of the F1 championship. Here is what I am thinking:
Ascari’s wheel doesn’t break early in the race. Rather, he goes on to, at least, moderate success in the race. Whether that was likely to happen, I am not sure. But, just stick with me. Had that happened, I think it is reasonable to assume that Ferrari would have poured resources into success the next year. Had Ferrari have tasted success on American soil, they would have been back for the whole thing. I think that a win in subsequent years could have–just maybe–secured Indy’s place on the Formula 1 Championship season. But, alas, it was not to be. Eventually, the Indianapolis 500 would be dropped from the FIA F1 Championship.