Motor SportJuly 1932
ALFA-ROMEO DOES THE HAT TRICK
NUVOLARI FOLLOWS UP HIS VICTORIES AT MONACO AND THE TARGO FLORIO BY WINNING THE ITALIAN GRAND PRIX.
THE prospects for the Italian Grand Prix to be held at the Monza track on Sunday, June 5th, were definitely promising. Official teams of Alfa-Romeos, Bugattis and Maseratis, backed up by ten well-known independent critics. Signor Vincenzo Florio, the organiser of the race, had every reason to be satisfied with his efforts.
The winner, Tazio Nuvolari, refules the new single seater Alfa-Romeo at the pits.
In addition, one heard that the Bugatti 4.9's were in really good form, having done laps of the Avus circuit, with its two difficult bends, at 125 m.p.h., and being certainly capable of 145 m.p.h. on the level. Two of these cars were entrusted to Chiron and Varzi, while Divo was down to handle a 2.3 double-camshaft model of the same make.
Two of the Alfa-Romeo team of four cars were the well-tried 2,350 c.c. machines, driven by Caracciola and Borzacchini, while Nuvolari and Campari were to handle new cars, of slightly larger capacity and incorporating many original features. Briefly, the specification of these new cars is as follows :-8 cylinders in line, 65 x 100, giving a cubic capacity of 2,650 c.c., two overhead camshafts, magneto ignition, two superchargers with the usual Alfa-Romeo carburetters, transmission by two cardan shafts, and the complete car weighs 700 kilos.
The Maseratis were the well known cars which have already performed with varying degrees of success at Monza. The race was of five hours duration, under the 1932 rules of the I.A.C.R., and the prize money amounted to 170,000 lira.
In spite of the magnificent entry of cars and drivers, the crowd was not as large as had been expected. This was probably caused through an important football match taking place in Milan, and the arrival of the competitors in the cyclists' Tour of Italy.
The start was given by Signor Starace, Secretary-General of the Fascist Party. Incidentally, the idea of making more of a ceremony of the start of a big race is one that could well be copied over here.
Immediately the flag fell two cars leapt forward in front of the others, Nuvolari's slim red Alfa-Romeo and Chiron's big Bugatti, two masters driving equally matched cars, and the crowd realised that they were about to watch a classic race. The stands and pits at Monza are situated on a straight stretch, and it was a most impressive sight to see the cars come by at the end of their first lap. There was nothing to chose between Chiron and Nuvolari as they flashed by, closely followed by Fagioli, Campari, Varzi, Borzacchini and Caracciola, the leaders travelling at close on 140 m.p.h.
Borzacchini (Alfa-Romeo 2,350 c.c.).
Lehoux (Bugatti 2,300 c.c.).
Castelbarco (Maserati 2,500 c.c.).
Nuvolari (Alfa-Romeo 2,650 c.c.).
Chiron (Bugatti 4,900 c.c.).
Fagioli (Maserati 16-cyl. 5,000 c.c.).
Campari (Alfa-Romeo 2,650 c.c.).
Varzi (Bugatti 4,900 c.c.).
Premoli (Maserati 2,500 c.c.).
Caracciola (Alfa-Romeo 2,350 c.c.).
Dreyfus (Bugatti 2,300 c.c.).
Ghersi (Alfa-Romeo 2,350 c.c.).
Divo (Bugatti 2,300 c.c.).
Siena (Alfa-Romeo 2,350 c.c.).
Ruggeri (Maserati 2,800 c.c.).
Trouble quickly befell Castelbarco and Premoli, who came into the pits to change
the plugs on their Maseratis,. and everyone felt sorry when Caracciola had to stop with magneto trouble, which lost him 13 precious minutes. The fight between the leaders continued unabated, Nuvolari, Chiron and Fagioli taking the lead in turn, while Campari and Varzi were in dose attendance. Then Chiron and Varzi seemed to come to a mutual understanding, for letting Nuvolari and Fagioli fight it out for the lead, they followed at a distance of 200 yards.
The new Alfas were proving a great success. They appeared to accelerate after the corner slightly better than the 4.9 Bugattis, probably because they were lighter to handle. On the other hand, the Bugattis seemed as fast, if not faster, on the straight. Before the race the lap record had stood at an average speed of just under 170 k.p.h. Already it had been beaten time and time again by Nuvolari, Chiron and Fagioli, who were all lapping regularly at more than this speed.
At the end of 100 kilometres the order was :
1. Fagioli (Maserati), 34m. 48s.
2. Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo), 34m. 49s.
3. Chiron(Bugatti), 34m. 57s.
4. Varzi (Bugatti), 34m. 57s.
5. Campari (Alfa Romeo), 35m. 4s.
6. Borzacchini (Alfa Romeo), 35m. 39s.
7. Ruggeri (Maserati), 35m. 52s.
8. Dreyfus (Bugatti), 35m. 55s.
9. Siena (Alfa-Romeo), 35m. 58s.
10. Ghersi (Alfa-Romeo), 37m. 16s.
11. Divo (Bugatti), 37m. 23s.
12. Lehoux (Bugatti), 38m. 6s.
13. Premoli (Maserati), 39m. 5s.
14. Castelbarco (Maserati), 43m. 8s.
15. Caracciola (Alfa-Romeo), 47m. 43s.
The strain began to tell. Fagioli still led, followed by Nuvolari and Campari, but the 4.9 Bugattis began to fall back. Then the order became confused, owing to all the cars coming into the pits to refuel and change tyres. Here are a few rough times taken for this operation, which will serve for a comparison with English methods :-Campari, 1m. 46s. ; Borzacchini, 2m. 14s. ; Nuvolari, 1m. 36s.; Fagioli 3m, 25s. Fagioli did not seem to worry about hurrying at all-in marked contrast to his split-second driving of the previous hour. This nonchalance, cost him the lead, however, for when all the cars got going again it was seen that Nuvolari led, followed by Campari on the other new Alfa, Dreyfus, who was driving a wonderful race on his 2.3 Bugatti, and then Fagioli.
The two Bugatti 4.9's were steadily falling back, and were obviously tiring their drivers, who seemed quite unable to keep up with the leaders. This was
most disappointing, especially as the cars were fast enough, as had been proved at the beginning of the race. Fortunately for Bugatti, Dreyfus and Divo were putting up a great show on the 2.3 cars.
Two minor accidents occurred. Castelbarco went off the road, but fortunately only received slight injuries, and Borzacchini had to hand over his Alfa to Marino, through being struck by a stone thrown up by another car.
After 30 laps, or 300 kilometres the order was :
1921. Goux (Ballot),
1922. Bordino (Fiat).
1923. Salamano (Fiat).
1924. Ascari (Alfa-Romeo).
1925. Brilli-Peri (Alfa-Romeo).
1926. Sabipa (Bugatti).
1927. Benoist (Delage).
1928. Chiron (Bugatti).
1931. Campari / Nuvolari (Alfa-Romeo).
1. Nuvolari (Alfa-Romeo), 1h. 46m. 14s.
2. Campari (Alfa-Romeo), 1h. 46m. 30s.
3. Dreyfus (Bugatti), 1h. 47m. 22s.
4. Fagioli (Maserati), 1h. 47m. 23s.
5. Borzacchini (Alfa-Romeo), 1h. 49m. 58s.
6. Siena (Alfa-Romeo), 1h. 50m, 44s.
7. Divo (Bugatti), 1h. 51m. 22s.
8. Ruggeri (Maserati) , 1h. 52m. 17s.
9. Ghersi (Alfa-Romeo), 1h. 54m. 14s.
10. Caracciola (Alfa-Romeo), 1h. 59m. 57s.
11. Premoli (Maserati), 2h. 8m.
It will be seen that both the 4.9 Bugattis had fallen out. Varzi retired first, with gear-box trouble, so he took over Chiron's car, which was suffering from a choked petrol pipe. This was partially cleared, giving a weak mixture, and Varzi set off to try and catch the field, actually putting in one lap at 175 k.p.h. Then the inevitable over-heating took place, and the record 4.9 retired with a seized piston. Lehoux had withdrew with a broken conrod, and Bouriat replaced Divo.
1. T. Nuvolari (Alfa-Romeo 2,650 c.c.), 837 km. 508. Average speed 167 km. 521.
2. L. Fagioli (Maserati 16-cyl. 5,000 c.c ), 829 km. 878.
3. Borzacchini, relieved by Marinoni and Caracciola (Alfa-Romeo 2,350 c.c.), 827 km. 549.
4. C. Campari (Alfa-Romeo 2,650 c.c.), 820 km. 035.
5. L. Dreyfus (Bugatti 2,300 c.c.), 820 km.
6. A. Divo, relieved by Bouriat and Chiron (Bugatti 2,300 c.c.), 817 km. 919.
7. Ghersi (Alfa-Romeo 2,350 c.c.), 796 km. 193.
8. Ruggeri (Maserati 2,800 c.c.), 750 km.
9. Premoli (Maserati 2,500 c.c.), 580km.
11. Caracciola (Alfa-Romeo 2,350 c.c.), 570 km.
Nuvolari still led Campari by about 30 seconds, who in turn was 30 seconds ahead of Fagioli. The issue was still in doubt, then, for Fagioli was in a position to step into the lead should any trouble beset the Alfas. In the rear, Marinoni and Siena were having a terrific "scrap," which resulted in the latter securing fourth place at the 450 kilometre mark. Then Campari's car faltered, and the crowd was keyed up to a higher pitch of excitement. Gradually, he fell back, and Nuvolari found himself playing a lone hand against Fagioli and Dreyfus, who followed in that order.
Caracciola is a courageous man. Driving with superb skill, he had gradually picked his way up to ninth place on the 50th lap. Then Fortune frowned on him once more, and the magneto of his car once more gave trouble. Most drivers would have given up the fight now, but not so Caracciola. Leaping into the car which had been driven up till then by Borzacchini and Marinoni, he tore off again in pursuit.
The vital fourth hour began. Now was
the time for the cars, stressed to their utmost, to develop trouble, and for drivers, relaxing with the finish in sight, to make some disastrous error of judgment. Nothing seemed to cause Nuvolari the slightest hesitancy. Lap after lap, with unfailing regularity, he swept by in the lead. On one lap, just to show us that he could go faster if he liked, he broke the lap record with a time of 3m. 22 2/5s. (10 seconds faster than Campari's record in 1931) at an
average of 178 k.p.h. Chiron took the wheel of Divo's car, and after a tussle, passed Dreyfus.
The end drew near. Fagioli, who for some unaccountable reason, had wasted time at his pit stops, made a tremendous effort to catch Nuvolari. He even broke the latter's lap record, averaging 180 k.p.h., but all to no avail. Right at the end, Dreyfus stopped for more fuel, and was passed by Caracciola. Then the chequered flag was waved, and Tazio Nuvolari roared past, winner of the 10th Italian Grand Prix, at the wonderfu average speed of 167 k.p.h.
The drivers in the Italian G.P. pose for the camera before the race. Nuvolari, the winner, in the dark clothes,
is seen in the centre, chatting to Chiron on his left.
In following up his successes at Monaco
and the Targo Florio, Nuvolari has firmly established himself as the finest driver in the world this season. Tough and wiry, and never showing the slightest signs of fatigue, he possesses to the full that valuable quality of being able to combine daring and dash with cool skill. The new Alfa has proved itself a complete success on its first public performance, and is another feather in the already full cap of Signor Jano.
Without detracting in the least from Nuvolarrs magnificent performance, it can safely be said that if Fagioli's pitwork had been as well organised as that of the Alfa-Romeo drivers, he would have undoubtedly won the race. But then pitwork is all part of the game, and Alfa
Romeo fully deserve their victory.
Needless to say Dunlop tyres were used on the winning car.