The best race in the history of the "Formula 1"

in history •  last year

A person likes to make lists. Person of the year, the main movie star in history, the top 100 most ugly cars in the world. In the disguised form, information is not only better absorbed, but also looks more attractive from the outside. Another thing is that there is little objectivity in such selections. How, in fact, can a dispute be resolved between Pontiac Aztec and Ssangyong Rodius? Who is the main quasimodo in the history of the car?

Or here on business. The first Grand Prix of "Formula 1" took place on the track "Silverstone" in 1950. This year the "Great Circus" turned 67 years old. Is it possible in the largest list of 971 races - yes, the statistics knows everything - to find the most-most? So many bright victories, so many grand battles. And how many tragedies.

Of course, everyone has the right to their own opinion, but if there was only one attempt at the 971 version - then this is the Italian Grand Prix in 1956. A race whose events are not something that can not be repeated, the current generation of pilots and fans may not even be able to understand what actually happened.

Enzo with his eagles: Musso, Castelotti, Collins.

In the first autumn weekend of 1956 in "Monza" decided the fate of the championship title F1. On the eve of the Italian Grand Prix, the last start of the season, two champions saved the real chances for the championship. Leading the great Juan-Manuel Fangio - already at that time a three-time world champion. On account of the Argentine, who defended the colors of Ferrari that year, there were 30 points. His closest pursuers - the fearless Frenchman Jean Bera of Maserati and the young Englishman Peter Collins, also defending the red colors of the "Prancing Stallions" - lagged behind by eight points.

True, given that in the offset of the World Cup were only five of the best results of the season, Bera no longer claimed the title. But Collins - quite. The advantage of Fangio at first glance is more than solid, especially considering the old points system: 8-6-4-3-2-1, plus 1 point for the best lap in the race. But do not forget about the rule of "five best results out of eight." It turned out, the piggy bank of Juan-Manuel in the "Monza" could replenish only places on the podium. With any other result and, of course, Collins' victory, the champion's title went to the competitor.

Lancia Ferrari D50, which brought the team title in 1956.

Naturally, in Ferrari tried to do everything to ensure the necessary result. "Scuderia" put on the Grand Prix of Italy six factory cars. In addition to the main pilots of the team, already mentioned Fangio, Collins, as well as Italians Luigi Musso and Eugenio Castelotti, the fast and reliable Lancia Ferrari D50 got at their disposal the Spaniard Alfonso de Portago and the German Wolfgang von Tripps, making his debut on the Grand Prix. In the Maserati, they responded with two brand new copies of their famous 250F for Jean Behr and Stirling Moss. In addition, it was impossible to dismiss the riders and the team Vanwall - the British built a very fast, though, still very unreliable car.

Enzo Ferrari and Juan-Manuel Fangio.

Qualification was dictated by Ferrari. The right to start from the first row was won at once by three red cars, and the best time was shown by Fangio, who once again proved that he is not only a great strategist outside the track, but also an extremely fast pilot. Ten-kilometer round the Argentinian has overcome in 2 minutes 42,6 seconds.

Peter Collins - a competitor to Juan Manuel in the fight for the championship title - was satisfied with the place only in the third row. The only unpleasant episode for Ferrari in the qualification - a strange crash of a newcomer von Tripps. The young German just got used to the new car and the new track, as he flew unexpectedly in the Curva Grande - the first corner after the start - at speeds above 200 kilometers per hour. And flew in all possible senses - the pilot was literally thrown out of the cockpit. Fortunately, Wolfgang got off with a slight fright, bruises and cones.

"The car just yanked to the right. I do not understand what happened - on that lap I did not go too fast ... "- rubbing his bruises, von Tripps only told in half an hour. But no one in Ferrari did not pay attention to the words of the young driver, writing off the incident for a banal lack of experience. Broken Lancia Ferrari D50 rolled into the boxes, without even bothering to conduct at least a minimum technical check. And in vain. Even a superficial inspection would certainly reveal an atypical breakage of the steering lever, which in the race itself will play a decisive role for other factory pilots of Ferrari.

In any case, before the start it seemed that the main problem for the "Scuderia" would be tires. I must say, the Italian Grand Prix in 1956 was held on a combined configuration of "Monza", partly including profiled corners, where cars developed maximum speeds.

However, concreted bends were a serious threat to tires. Just a few laps in the ultimate combat mode, monstrous centrifugal forces for a couple with a rough concrete coating began to strip the protector, which threatened to unpleasantly abruptly unscheduled pit stop. And Belgian tires Englebert, installed on the Ferrari, resisted this infernal abrasive much worse than Pirelli, Dunlop and Avon, which used competitors.

That's why the experienced Fangio before the race offered two other pilots starting from the first row of Ferrari - Musso and Castelotti - a reasonable option for team tactics. The Argentinian leads the race, keeps the tires and increases the advantage over the competitors' cars, and closer to the finish, he lets the Italians in ahead, allowing them to show off before the local public and in the internal dispute to decide the fate of the Grand Prix. Is it logical? Certainly. Have Mousseau and Castelotti consulted the master's advice? Of course not.

Here it is, ruthless to the tires of the banking "Monza".

From the very first meters after the start, a pair of Italian bettas rushed forward, desperately fighting each other and completely scoring caution. In less than five laps, their "englbers" were asked for mercy. Even from the stands it was evident how the pieces of the tread exfoliate from the tires on the concrete bunkering. Leaders on the run jumped into the pits, but, having changed their shoes, returned to the track only in the second ten.

"Rubber" suffering "Scuderia" continued. On the sixth lap the rear tire on the Ferrari de Portago could not stand it. The Spaniard turned around, after which he slowly headed towards the boxes. Soon almost the same number was repeated by Castelotti - even the new tires could not stand unthinkingly tested by the profiled "Monza" bends.

Maserati Stirling Moss chases the Ferrari Fangio.

The Argentine himself could not touch the tire, keeping close to the leaders - Maserati Stirling Moss and Vanuolla Harry Schell. Juan-Manuel was the only one of the pilots Ferrari was able to keep the tires - Collins had already been in the boxes by that time - and seemed confidently approaching the fourth title. Suddenly, shortly before the middle of the distance, the car at number 22 went into the pits. Replacement of tires? No, with the Argentine car something worse happened - a breakdown of the right steering lever. A nuisance that can not be eliminated in a few seconds.

Fangio in the pits - something went wrong.

Fangio unzipped his helmet and sat down sadly away from the car, around which, like a bunch of ants, mechanics scurried about. His chances for the title no longer looked so rosy. After all, Collins was, perhaps, the only pilot of Ferrari in that season, who in speed, and most importantly - judiciousness, could argue with Fangio. In support of this, the Englishman, who started the race rather cautiously, got to the third, and then to second place closer to her equator. A little more pressure, a little bit more luck - and cheerful Peter will become the champion.

For Enzo Ferrari Peter Collins forever remained one of the most beloved pilots.

However, there was one more remedy. In those years in the "Formula-1" actively used karshering. If one of the pilots broke the car, then, according to the regulations, he could literally change the teammate in the course of the race at the wheel of another car. In this case, the points earned by the crew were equally divided between the two athletes.

When in the boxes of Ferrari for a new portion of the Englbers, Luigi Musso once again dived, the Italian was asked (it was asked, no command orders) to give up the seat behind the wheel for Fangio. But Luigi shook his head resolutely and, having changed his shoes, drove off to the track.

Every time Fangio recalled the events of September 2, 1956, tears welled in his eyes.
What moved the Italian, who refused to come to the rescue of a friend of the "Scuderia", it is difficult to guess. Perhaps Musso just did not want to share a possible victory with someone else? Was he dreaming of becoming a national hero alone? It is in him turns any Italian who won the Italian Grand Prix in an Italian car. It can very well be. Looking ahead, it should be noted that not the most noble, which is too much to hide, the act did not bring Luigi dividends.

Three laps before the finish on Ferrari under number 28 broke - guess what? Correctly - the steering lever. Musso at that time confidently led. Fangio was silently sad in the pits. And then there was absolutely incredible, something completely inaccessible to the current generation of F1 pilots with all, as they say, respect.

Maserati Luigi Pilotti pushes the remaining fuelless Stirling Moss car to the boxes.

Five laps after the Musso's pit stop, Collins's car drove into the Ferrari pits. Seeing Fangio, sitting sadly on the fence between the pit lane and the track and, it seemed, had already resigned himself to the passing champion's title, Peter immediately understood everything. He instantly jumped out of the car, giving way to the Argentine pilot at the wheel. "And nobody asked for it! - every time Fangio recalled the events of September 2, 1956, tears welled in his eyes. "I remember I stretched out my arms to embrace him, and even kissed him, and then I got behind the wheel and rushed to the track."

The Italian Grand Prix had everything we love for the race: an incredible fight for every meter of distance, desperate overtaking, picturesque accidents, rain, mixing cards to leaders, dark horses claiming full power (for the first time in history, English Vanwall was in the lead in the course of the Grand Prix).

And how to forget the dramatic episode shortly before the finish, when the Maserati 250F Moss ran out of fuel (leakage) and to the Stirling boxes in the literal sense, one of the private owners of the Modena team Luigi Pilotti. But the main race in history is that the Great Prize makes just an example of the fantastic nobility of Peter Collins, who sacrificed his own chance to become a champion for the sake of a teammate.

"Fangio has always been an idol for Peter," later recalled the wife of Collins Louise. - In addition, he was only 24 years old - he did not feel the need to become a world champion right here, right now. But what has always been important to him is the team spirit. If Peter did not win himself, he wanted to win one of his own. It seems to me that today's pilots will not even understand what this is about. "

Peter Collins.

At least, it is difficult to imagine the conditional Ferstapenn, deliberately skipping forward, say, Rikyardo, on the basis of considerations, they say, "I still have time to become a world champion." Big money turned "Formula-1" into a big business, and today such an act would be called not so noble as stupid and unprofessional. Probably, it's great that back then, in the 50's, no one else knew what the world of Big Prizes would become six decades later.

The Italian Grand Prix in 1956 culminated in a double triumph of the local. The race was won by Moss at Maserati, but the title went to Ferrari and Fangio. Noble act Collins deprived him of a possible championship, but forever made the Englishman one of Enzo's favorite pilots. "Now I can tell everyone that I was indecently close to the title of world champion!" - as usual cheerful and carefree, Peter smiled after the finish of the incredible Grand Prix.

Less than two years later, he will die to death on the Nurburgring while driving a Ferrari 246.

He never managed to become a champion ...

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