In this wonderful photographic composition it is time for lunch in the Monza paddock during practice for the 1955 Italian Grand Prix. The Ferrari mechanics are sitting on two of the Lancia D50s which had been turned over to Ferrari on July 26th with the closing of the Lancia F1 effort and the sale of the company. It is interesting to note that here on September 10th the D50s still bear the Lancia nose badges, but also wear the Scuderia Ferrari shields on their sides. Car n. 4 was probably destined for Eugenio Castellotti.
Also worth noting is that the Lancias are now fitted with Englebert tires from Ferrari’s Belgian tire supplier, although the Lancia F1 team had used Pirellis. In this lay a story. The 1955 Italian Grand Prix was held on a circuit which combined the original Monza track, with a modified and faster “Parabolica” corner replacing the former “Porfido” turns at the end of the back straight, and adding a new steeply banked oval for a lap length of 6.2 miles with an average lap speed approaching 130 mph. This speed, combined with the very rough surface of the banking, led to tire failures on the D50s. Enzo Ferrari of course was just as happy to withdraw the two Lancias he had entered for the race, as well as two D50 “T” cars, in favor of “his” cars which led to their replacement with four of the less sophisticated Ferrari 555 “Squalo” model which did not seem to experience the same problem with their Engleberts.
All this was anti-climax for in the race itself Mercedes-Benz, which had brought a huge selection of cars and spares, with four cars entered for the race, produced their usual domination with Juan Manuel Fangio taking the victory in front of his teammate Piero Taruffi. The Lancia-Ferraris, as they would become known, were further developed by Ferrari and then lived on to race another season in 1956, delivering the World Championship to Fangio who had again picked the year’s best car.
Photo by Louis Klemantaski ©The Klemantaski Collection – http://www.klemcoll.com