1951 Formula One season

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1951 FIA Formula One
World Championship
Drivers' Champion: Juan Manuel Fangio
Previous: 1950 Next: 1952
Alfa Romeo won four of the eight World Championship races in 1951 with the Type 159

The 1951 Formula One season was the second season of FIA Formula One motor racing. It featured the 1951 World Championship of Drivers,[1] which commenced on 27 May 1951 and ended on 28 October after eight races. The season also included 14 races that were open to Formula One cars but did not count towards the championship standings.

Season summary[edit]

Ferrari's newer, unsupercharged 4.5 litre cars offered a real challenge to the Alfas, which were nearing the end of their development potential. The Ferraris were able to capitalize on the inefficiency of the Alfa's very thirsty engines, particularly at Silverstone. Although Alfas won four races, with Fangio taking the championship, Ferrari's three victories spelled the end for the Alfas. BRM made their only championship appearance with the V16 at Silverstone, and the old, slow Talbots were increasingly outclassed.

Points were given to top 5 finishers (8, 6, 4, 3, 2). 1 point was given for fastest lap. Only the best four of eight scores counted towards the world championship. Points for shared drives were divided equally between the drivers, regardless of who had driven more laps.

Race 1: Switzerland[edit]

The Formula One Championship season started in Switzerland at the very dangerous and tree-lined Bremgarten public road circuit near Bern around the time the Monaco Grand Prix would have been held- but that historic race was not held this year. Alfa Romeo, the dominant team in 1950 with its supercharged 159 Alfetta, took the first 5 places on the grid, with the exception of 3rd, which was taken by Luigi Villoresi in a Ferrari. Argentine Juan Manuel Fangio was on pole position, with his Italian teammate Giuseppe "Nino" Farina alongside him. The race started while it was raining, and with its overhanging trees lining the road, this circuit was even more dangerous in the wet. But Fangio made no mistake and won the race from Piero Taruffi in a Ferrari and Farina, whose decision to run the race without changing tires proved to be the wrong decision.

Race 2: Indianapolis 500, USA[edit]

The Indianapolis 500 in the United States was run 3 days after the Swiss Grand Prix on a Wednesday, and was the only non-European championship round and the only round not run to FIA Grand Prix regulations. Lee Wallard won this demanding race in his Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser.

Race 3: Belgium[edit]

The next Grand Prix was in Belgium at the very fast and spectacular 8.7 mi (14.1 km) Spa-Francorchamps circuit. With Fangio and Farina once again 1-2 with the Ferraris of Villoresi and Alberto Ascari taking 3rd and 4th, the Alfas and Ferraris dueled around this circuit, with only 13 entries- small grids in all kinds of motorsports in Europe were commonplace at Spa, because of the fear most drivers had of the circuit. Farina won by 3 minutes over Ascari and Villoresi, with Fangio finishing 4 laps down in 9th after one of his Alfa's wheels jammed on its hub.

Race 4: France[edit]

The French Grand Prix at the very fast 4.8 mile Reims-Gueux circuit deep in northern French champagne country played the host for an exciting race. Fangio, on pole again, was beaten off the line by 3rd placed qualifier Ascari, with 2nd placed qualifier Farina making a terrible start and dropping to 12th. On this public road circuit, made up entirely of straights and slow, angular corners saw Ascari retire his car with a broken gearbox and Fangio nursing a sick car. Farina pushed very hard and eventually took the lead. Argentine Jose Froilan Gonzalez was 2nd in a Ferrari, and 53-year old pre-war great Luigi Fagioli in an Alfa was 3rd. Gonzalez was chasing Farina very hard; but Farina's car developed magneto problems and had to fall back, which put Gonzalez in the lead, with Fagioli in 2nd. However, during both the leader's pitstops, as was commonplace in Grand Prix racing up until 1957- Gonzalez handed his car over to Ascari, and Fagioli exchanged cars with Fangio- so Ascari and Fangio were back in 1st and 2nd where they had been before. But Fangio took advantage of Ascari's brake problems on his Ferrari to win a race that holds the record for farthest racing distance ever completed for a Grand Prix- 373 mi (610 km).

Race 5: Britain[edit]

The British Grand Prix at the Silverstone airfield circuit in England played host to Round 5 of the Formula One Championship, and this race was to make history. The Alfa Romeos, with their powerful 420 hp supercharged 1.5L engines were fast, but had horrendous fuel consumption: 1.5 miles per gallon (thanks to the rather simple pre-World War II engine design) meaning that Fangio and Farina had to stop twice to refuel, whereas Gonzalez, in the more fuel efficient 4.5L naturally aspirated V12 Ferrari went on to win, with Fangio second. This was the first time Enzo Ferrari had won a Grand Prix with a car of his own company's construction- and this team went on to be the most successful team in Formula One history.

Race 6: Germany[edit]

West Germany had been banned from international sports competition until 1951, so the German Grand Prix was able to be a Grand Prix championship round for the first time since 1939. And the venue was the same as it had been in 1939- that venue was the dauntingly challenging, dangerous and twisty 14.2 mile (22.8 km) Nürburgring Nordschleife. Ascari took pole position in front of his teammate Gonzalez, and Alfa drivers Fangio and Farina. At the start, Farina took the lead, but the Alfas started to develop overheating problems, and Farina soon retired. In addition to engine problems, the gearbox in Fangio's Alfa lost 1st and 2nd of 4 gears, and after trading the lead with Fangio during pitstops, Ascari took the lead and won his first championship Formula One Grand Prix.

Race 7: Italy[edit]

Italy was next, and the Monza Autodrome near Milan played host to the seventh round of the Formula One Grand Prix championship. Fangio in an Alfa took pole position again, but he retired his car, which had engine problems; Farina, who had taken Felice Bonetto's Alfa had a leaking fuel tank and had to come in twice for fuel, which dropped him down the order far enough for him only to get as far as third. Fellow local hero Ascari won again in his Ferrari- which kept his championship hopes alive catch the leader Fangio to win it in the last championship Grand Prix in Spain.

Race 8: Spain[edit]

The first ever Formula One Spanish Grand Prix, held at the Pedralbes street circuit in Barcelona took place 7 weeks after the Italian round. The Ferrari and Alfa Romeo teams each ran four cars with Ferrari fielding Ascari, Gigi Villoresi, Froilan Gonzalez and Piero Taruffi and Alfa Romeo running Fangio, Giuseppe Farina, Felice Bonetto and Baron Emanuel de Graffenried. Ascari was fastest in practice and shared the front row of the 4-3-4 grid with Fangio, Gonzalez and Farina. Behind them were Villoresi, de Graffenried and Taruffi. Ascari led from the start with Gonzalez chasing but by the end of the first lap Gonzalez had dropped to fifth behind Farina, Fangio and Bonetto. Fangio quickly passed Farina and took the lead from Ascari on the fourth lap. As Fangio sailed away to victory Ferrari's challenge fell apart along with its tires - the team having opted to use smaller wheels than normal. By the time the team had sorted out the problem Ascari was two laps behind. Fangio duly won the race and his first of five championships with Gonzalez finishing second and Farina third.

Season review[edit]

Rnd Race Circuit Date Pole position Fastest lap Winning driver Constructor Tyre Report
1 Switzerland Swiss Grand Prix Bremgarten 27 May Argentina Juan Manuel Fangio Argentina Juan Manuel Fangio Argentina Juan Manuel Fangio Italy Alfa Romeo P Report
2 United States Indianapolis 500 Indianapolis 30 May United States Duke Nalon United States Lee Wallard United States Lee Wallard United States Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser F Report
3 Belgium Belgian Grand Prix Spa-Francorchamps 17 June Argentina Juan Manuel Fangio Argentina Juan Manuel Fangio Italy Giuseppe Farina Italy Alfa Romeo P Report
4 France French Grand Prix Reims-Gueux 1 July Argentina Juan Manuel Fangio Argentina Juan Manuel Fangio Argentina Juan Manuel Fangio
Italy Luigi Fagioli
Italy Alfa Romeo P Report
5 United Kingdom British Grand Prix Silverstone 14 July Argentina José Froilán González Italy Giuseppe Farina Argentina José Froilán González Italy Ferrari P Report
6 West Germany German Grand Prix Nürburgring 29 July Italy Alberto Ascari Argentina Juan Manuel Fangio Italy Alberto Ascari Italy Ferrari P Report
7 Italy Italian Grand Prix Monza 16 September Argentina Juan Manuel Fangio Italy Giuseppe Farina Italy Alberto Ascari Italy Ferrari P Report
8 Spain Spanish Grand Prix Pedralbes 28 October Italy Alberto Ascari Argentina Juan Manuel Fangio Argentina Juan Manuel Fangio Italy Alfa Romeo P Report

The World Championship Grand Prix races were open to FIA Formula One cars however the Indianapolis 500 was restricted to American Championship Cars.

Teams and drivers[edit]

The following teams and drivers competed in the 1951 FIA World Championship of Drivers

Argentinian Juan Manuel Fangio won the 1951 World Championship of Drivers, driving for Alfa Romeo
Entrant Constructor Chassis Engine Tyre Driver Rounds
Constructor Teams
Italy Alfa Romeo SpA Alfa Romeo 159 Alfa Romeo 158 1.5 L8s P Italy Giuseppe Farina 1, 3–8
Argentina Juan Manuel Fangio 1, 3–8
Switzerland Toulo de Graffenried 1, 7–8
Italy Consalvo Sanesi 1, 3–5
Italy Luigi Fagioli 4
Italy Felice Bonetto 5–8
West Germany Paul Pietsch 6
United Kingdom BRM Ltd BRM P15 BRM P15 1.5 V16s D United Kingdom Reg Parnell 5, 7
United Kingdom Peter Walker 5
United Kingdom Ken Richardson 7
West Germany Hans Stuck 7
Italy Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 375 Ferrari 375 4.5 V12 P


E

Italy Luigi Villoresi 1, 3–8
Italy Alberto Ascari 1, 3–8
Italy Piero Taruffi 1, 3, 6–8
Argentina José Froilán González 4–8
France Equipe Gordini Simca-Gordini 15
11
Gordini 15C 1.5 L4s E France Robert Manzon 4, 6–8
France Maurice Trintignant 4, 6, 8
France André Simon 4, 6–8
France Aldo Gordini 4
United Kingdom HW Motors HWM-Alta 51 Alta 2.0 L4s D United Kingdom George Abecassis 1
United Kingdom Stirling Moss 1
Italy OSCA Automobili OSCA 4500G OSCA 4500 4.5 V12 P Italy Franco Rol 7
Customer Teams
Belgium Ecurie Belge Talbot-Lago T26C Talbot 23CV 4.5 L6 D Belgium Johnny Claes 1, 3–8
France Philippe Étancelin Talbot-Lago T26C Talbot 23CV 4.5 L6 D France Philippe Étancelin 1, 3–4, 6, 8
France Yves Giraud-Cabantous Talbot-Lago T26C Talbot 23CV 4.5 L6 D France Yves Giraud-Cabantous 1, 3–4, 6–8
France Guy Mairesse 1, 4
France Ecurie Rosier Talbot-Lago T26C Talbot 23CV 4.5 L6 D France Louis Rosier 1, 3–8
France Henri Louveau 1
Monaco Louis Chiron 3–8
Switzerland Enrico Platé Maserati 4CLT/48 Maserati 4CLT 1.5 L4s P Monaco Louis Chiron 1
United States Harry Schell 1, 4
Switzerland Toulo de Graffenried 4, 6
Switzerland Ecurie Espadon Ferrari 212 Ferrari 212 2.6 V12 P Switzerland Rudi Fischer 1, 6–7
Argentina José Froilán González Talbot-Lago T26C Talbot 23CV 4.5 L6 D Argentina José Froilán González 1
Switzerland Peter Hirt Veritas Meteor Veritas 2.0 L6 P Switzerland Peter Hirt 1
Belgium Ecurie Belgique Talbot-Lago T26C Talbot 23CV 4.5 L6 D Belgium André Pilette 3
Belgium Jacques Swaters 6–7
France Pierre Levegh Talbot-Lago T26C Talbot 23CV 4.5 L6 D France Pierre Levegh 3, 6–7
United Kingdom Graham Whitehead Ferrari 125 Ferrari 125 1.5 V12s D United Kingdom Peter Whitehead 4
United Kingdom GA Vandervell Ferrari 375 tw Ferrari 375 4.5 V12 P United Kingdom Reg Parnell 4
United Kingdom Peter Whitehead 5
France Eugène Chaboud Talbot-Lago T26C Talbot 23CV 4.5 L6 D France Eugène Chaboud 4
Italy Scuderia Milano Maserati-Milano
Maserati
4CLT/50
4CLT/48
Milano 1.5 L4s
Maserati 4CLT 1.5 L4s
P Argentina Onofre Marimón 4
Spain Paco Godia 8
Spain Juan Jover 8
Republic of Ireland Joe Kelly Alta GP Alta 1.5 L4s D Republic of Ireland Joe Kelly 5
United Kingdom Bob Gerard ERA B ERA 1.5 L6s D United Kingdom Bob Gerard 5
United Kingdom Brian Shawe-Taylor ERA B ERA 1.5 L6s D United Kingdom Brian Shawe-Taylor 5
Italy Scuderia Ambrosiana Maserati 4CLT/48 Maserati 4CLT 1.5 L4s D United Kingdom David Murray 5–6
United Kingdom John James Maserati 4CLT/48 Maserati 4CLT 1.5 L4s D United Kingdom John James 5
United Kingdom Philip Fotheringham-Parker Maserati 4CL Maserati 4CLT 1.5 L4s D United Kingdom Philip Fotheringham-Parker 5
United Kingdom Duncan Hamilton Talbot-Lago T26C Talbot 23CV 4.5 L6 D United Kingdom Duncan Hamilton 5–6
Switzerland Antonio Branca Maserati 4CLT/48 Maserati 4CLT 1.5 L4s P Switzerland Toni Branca 6
Brazil Francisco Landi Ferrari 375 Ferrari 375 4.5 V12 P Brazil Chico Landi 7
United Kingdom Peter Whitehead Ferrari 125 Ferrari 125 1.5 V12s D United Kingdom Peter Whitehead 1, 7
Thailand Prince Bira Maserati-OSCA 4CLT/48 OSCA 4500 4.5 V12 P Thailand B. Bira 8
France Georges Grignard Talbot-Lago T26C Talbot 23CV 4.5 L6 D France Georges Grignard 8

1951 World Championship of Drivers final standings[edit]

Pos. Driver SUI
Switzerland
500
United States
BEL
Belgium
FRA
France
GBR
United Kingdom
GER
West Germany
ITA
Italy
ESP
Spain
Pts.
1 Argentina Juan Manuel Fangio 1 (9) (1)† / 11† 2 2 Ret 1 31 (37)
2 Italy Alberto Ascari 6 2 2† Ret 1 1 (4) 25 (28)
3 Argentina José Froilán González Ret (2)† 1 3 2 2 24 (27)
4 Italy Giuseppe Farina 3 1 (5) (Ret) Ret 3† / Ret 3 19 (22)
5 Italy Luigi Villoresi Ret 3 3 3 4 (4) Ret 15 (18)
6 Italy Piero Taruffi 2 Ret 5 5 Ret 10
7 United States Lee Wallard 1 9
8 Italy Felice Bonetto 4 Ret 3† 5 7
9 United States Mike Nazaruk 2 6
10 United Kingdom Reg Parnell 4 5 DNS 5
11 Italy Luigi Fagioli 1† / 11† 4
12 Italy Consalvo Sanesi 4 Ret 10 6 3
13 France Louis Rosier 9 4 Ret 10 8 7 7 3
14 United States Andy Linden 4 3
15 United States Manny Ayulo 3† 2
16 United States Jack McGrath 3† 2
17 Switzerland Toulo de Graffenried 5 Ret Ret Ret 6 2
18 France Yves Giraud Cabantous Ret 5 7 Ret 8 Ret 2
19 United States Bobby Ball 5 2
Monaco Louis Chiron 7 Ret 6 Ret Ret Ret Ret 0
Switzerland Rudi Fischer 11 6 0
France André Simon Ret Ret 6 Ret 0
United States Henry Banks 6 0
Belgium André Pilette 6 0
France Robert Manzon Ret 7 Ret 9 0
Belgium Johnny Claes 13 7 Ret 13 11 Ret Ret 0
United States Carl Forberg 7 0
United Kingdom Peter Walker 7 0
France Pierre Levegh 8 9 Ret 0
France Philippe Étancelin 10 Ret Ret Ret 8 0
United Kingdom Stirling Moss 8 0
United States Duane Carter 8 0
France Eugène Chaboud 8 0
United Kingdom Brian Shawe-Taylor 8 0
France Guy Mairesse 14 9 0
United Kingdom Peter Whitehead Ret Ret 9 Ret 0
Italy Franco Rol 9 0
Belgium Jacques Swaters 10 Ret 0
Spain Paco Godia 10 0
United Kingdom Bob Gerard 11 0
United States Harry Schell 12 Ret 0
United Kingdom Duncan Hamilton 12 Ret 0
Republic of Ireland Joe Kelly NC 0
France Maurice Trintignant Ret Ret Ret Ret 0
France Henri Louveau Ret 0
United Kingdom George Abecassis Ret 0
Switzerland Peter Hirt Ret 0
United States Tony Bettenhausen Ret 0
United States Duke Nalon Ret 0
United States Gene Force Ret 0
United States Sam Hanks Ret 0
United States Bill Schindler Ret 0
United States Mauri Rose Ret 0
United States Walt Faulkner Ret 0
United States Jimmy Davies Ret 0
United States Fred Agabashian Ret 0
United States Carl Scarborough Ret 0
United States Bill Mackey Ret 0
United States Chuck Stevenson Ret 0
United States Johnnie Parsons Ret 0
United States Cecil Green Ret 0
United States Troy Ruttman Ret 0
United States Duke Dinsmore Ret 0
United States Chet Miller Ret 0
United States Walt Brown Ret 0
United States Rodger Ward Ret 0
United States Cliff Griffith Ret 0
United States Bill Vukovich Ret 0
United States George Connor Ret 0
United States Mack Hellings Ret 0
United States Joe James Ret 0
United States Johnny McDowell Ret 0
France Aldo Gordini Ret 0
Argentina Onofre Marimón Ret 0
United Kingdom Philip Fotheringham-Parker Ret 0
United Kingdom David Murray Ret 0
United Kingdom John James Ret 0
West Germany Paul Pietsch Ret 0
Switzerland Toni Branca Ret 0
Brazil Chico Landi Ret 0
France Georges Grignard Ret 0
Thailand Prince Bira Ret 0
United Kingdom Ken Richardson DNS 0
Spain Juan Jover DNS 0
Pos. Driver SUI
Switzerland
500
United States
BEL
Belgium
FRA
France
GBR
United Kingdom
GER
West Germany
ITA
Italy
ESP
Spain
Pts.
Key
Colour Result
Gold Winner
Silver 2nd place
Bronze 3rd place
Green Points finish
Blue Non-points finish
Non-classified finish (NC)
Purple Did not finish (Ret)
Red Did not qualify (DNQ)
Did not pre-qualify (DNPQ)
Black Disqualified (DSQ)
White Did not start (DNS)
Race cancelled (C)
Blank Did not practice (DNP)
Excluded (EX)
Did not arrive (DNA)
Withdrawn (WD)
  • Italics indicate fastest lap (1 point awarded)
  • Bold indicates pole position
  • † Position shared between two or more drivers of the same car
  • Only the best 4 results counted towards the Championship. Numbers without parentheses are Championship points; numbers in parentheses are total points scored.

Non-Championship race results[edit]

Other Formula One races, which did not count towards the World Championship, also held in 1951.

Race Name Circuit Date Winning driver Constructor Report
Italy I Gran Premio di Siracusa Syracuse 11 March Italy Luigi Villoresi Italy Ferrari Report
France XII Pau Grand Prix Pau 26 March Italy Luigi Villoresi Italy Ferrari Report
United Kingdom III Richmond Trophy Goodwood 26 March Thailand B. Bira Italy Maserati Report
Italy VI Gran Premio di Sanremo Ospedaletti 22 April Italy Alberto Ascari Italy Ferrari Report
France I Grand Prix de Bordeaux Bordeaux 29 April France Louis Rosier France Talbot-Lago Report
United Kingdom III BRDC International Trophy Silverstone 5 May United Kingdom Reg Parnell Italy Ferrari Report
France V Grand Prix de Paris Bois de Boulogne 20 May Italy Giuseppe Farina Italy Maserati Report
United Kingdom V Ulster Trophy Dundrod 2 June Italy Giuseppe Farina Italy Alfa Romeo Report
United Kingdom I Scottish Grand Prix Winfield 21 July United Kingdom Philip Fotheringham-Parker Italy Maserati Report
Netherlands II Grote Prijs van Nederland Zandvoort 22 July France Louis Rosier France Talbot-Lago Report
France XIII Grand Prix de l'Albigeois Albi 5 August France Maurice Trintignant France Simca-Gordini Report
Italy XX Circuito di Pescara Pescara 15 August Argentina José Froilán González Italy Ferrari Report
Italy V Gran Premio di Bari Bari 2 September Argentina Juan Manuel Fangio Italy Alfa Romeo Report
United Kingdom IV Goodwood Trophy Goodwood 29 September Italy Giuseppe Farina Italy Alfa Romeo Report

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ 1974 FIA Yearbook, Grey section, page 118

External links[edit]