Monza 1959

Stirling Moss,Dan Gurney, Monza, Ferrari, Cooper

The 1959 Italian Grand Prix took place, as usual, at Monza and was run on September 13th. The Coopers of Brabham and Moss, the former a works car and the latter belonging to Moss’s entrant Rob Walker, were able to challenge the more powerful yet less good handling cars from Maranello. Ferrari had brought a total of five cars, four 246F1s for Phil Hill, Dan Gurney, Tony Brooks and Cliff Allison, plus a smaller 156F2, but now fitted with a full 246 type motor for Olivier Gendebien. Although BRM and Aston Martin were on hand there was no question that this race would be between Cooper and Ferrari. Walker had fitted knock-offs to the rear wheels of the Moss Cooper (as can be seen above as Moss dives past Gurney at Parabolica), giving the impression that a stop would be made…

For the start, Brooks split the Coopers of Moss and Brabham in the front row with Gurney and Hill in the second row. But Brooks had his clutch break at the fall of the flag, leaving Hill and Gurney to chase after the Coopers. Denis Jenkinson in his race report said it best: “At Monza Scuderia Ferrari … had five cars ranged against Moss, yet they let him win. Ferrari made the big mistake of withdrawing all their forces at once [to change tires], leaving Moss to tour at his ease and save rubber. Had they allowed Hill or Gurney to go non-stop … it would have meant that Moss would have had to go at the same pace, using up his tires. Had he then made a stop, which was likely, the other Ferrari could have won.” Phil Hill was not so sure, thinking that no Ferrari could go the distance but Moss could.

As was often the case at Monza, Enzo Ferrari was in the pits during Saturday practice, here with Tony Brooks his de facto n. 1 driver. But Ferrari never attended an Italian Grand Prix during these years, remaining at Modena or Maranello for telephonic reports from his team manager Romolo Tavoni. Tavoni had come to Ferrari  a few years earlier from a Modena bank as a private secretary to Enzo Ferrari. Eventually, Tavoni was appointed team manager, often to work with Mino Amarroti who was a cousin of Ferrari. Tavoni stayed with the racing team until the end of 1961 when he included himself in the group of managers which objected to the presence at races of Enzo Ferrari’s wife Laura and were all fired for their insubordination.

Photos by Edward Eves ©The Klemantaski Collection –

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  1. What the word “Legend” was coined for. Truly wonderful image.


  2. Jim sitz · · Reply

    This shot of Moss and Gurney sums it up..

    Seems like Ferrari would have advantage
    at this high speed course
    the Day Stirling out=foxed the entire Ferrari Team !

    Bravo, Stirling !

    Jim sitz


    1. Thanks Jim and Allen for your comments. It is a great image and an interesting story I think.


  3. Jack Brewer · · Reply

    Coincidentally the main photo appears in the current issue of AUTOMOBILSPORT magazine.


  4. Right. We recently licensed it to them.


  5. Jack Brewer · · Reply

    With respect to the final sentence of the post, I’ve read at least one account that maintains that Ferrari was most incensed by the fact that the managers had an attorney write a letter to him, rather than personally expressing their concerns and objections to Laura’s interference, which might not have cost them their jobs. The letter was in full view on the conference table during the Tuesday afternoon management meeting, but was never mentioned. After the meeting was adjourned the managers were given their termination letters and final pay. Some or all of this may be apocryphal.


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