Phil Hill, Ferrari, Monza

Here is American Phil Hill in his first Ferrari Formula 1 drive with a 246F1 in Monza’s long sweeping final Parabolica corner during the Italian Grand Prix which was held on September 7, 1958. Hill got an F1 drive the hard way, being promoted after the deaths of Ferrari F1 drivers Luigi Musso during the French Grand Prix at Reims in July and Peter Collins at the German Grand Prix on the Nurburgring in August. Those were very dangerous years and drivers often got F1 opportunities when someone else was killed.

Phil Hill was delighted to get the chance to climb into an F1 Ferrari at long last, as his expression shows, as Enzo Ferrari gives encouragement during practice for the race at Monza:


Hill had been driving sports cars for Ferrari for two years and borrowed a Maserati 250F from Jo Bonnier for the 1958 French Grand Prix, perhaps just to show Enzo Ferrari that he could compete in F1 and brought it in seventh. He was finally given a Dino 156F2 car for that section of the German Grand Prix where, because of the length of the circuit, the two classes of single seaters often ran together. He finished fourth among the F2 runners. At Monza Hill showed his stuff running conservatively but finishing third four seconds behind his team leader Mike Hawthorn.

In 1958 the rear-engined revolution was well under way with the F2 Coopers showing that they were already becoming competitive with the front-engined F1 cars on the twistier circuits like Monaco and the Nürburgring. Ferrari’s 246F1 was much lighter and more agile than the Lancia D50-derived Ferrari 801 of 1957, but Enzo Ferrari would wait until 1960 before testing a Cooper-copied rear-engined F1 car which led to the Championship-winning 156F1 in 1961 under the new 1.5-lier regulations.

Photos by Alan R. Smith & Yves Debraine ©The Klemantaski Collection –



One comment

  1. Jim Sitz · · Reply

    Phil Hill, then in his 3rd season with Scuderia Ferrari
    finally got his break into real Grand Prix machine and looked so comfortable
    that it prompted Denis Jenkinson to report that he was strictly out of ” Top Drawer”
    and looked as thought he had been driving GP cars all his life

    Italian magazine “Quatroroute” ran a full page photo of Hill leading
    nicely and indeed looked so smooth and comfortable.!

    I still treasure the letter from Phil in Modena commenting:

    ” Had to do French GP in a borrowed Maserati, and despite
    threats from Enzo Ferrari did it anyway–Promised i would do it ”

    Jim Sitz
    G.P. Oregon


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