In 1950, the effects of the War were still being felt, so the resurrection of the German Grand Prix would not be part of the newly-created Formula 1 World Championship. Instead it would be a Formula 2 race, because there were no longer any F1 cars in Germany and lots of F2 cars were available. Nevertheless, it was held on the challenging Nordschleif of the Nürburgring as it had been before the war years, although now resurfaced.
A large total of 48 entries was received. However, nine did not show up and two fell away in practice so 37 cars took the start. Ferrari, sensing an opportunity, had sent two 166F2 cars, both 1949 chassis, now fitted with two liter V12 single cam motors. One was given to Alberto Ascari and the other to Dorino Serafini. Ferrari was right and Ascari qualified 10.5 seconds faster than anyone else. The image above shows Ascari in the Hatzenbach section of the course, a series of sweeping left and right corners which follow a downhill section very early in the lap. The crowd was been estimated at over 300,000, packed all around the forested circuit as can be seen here.
A number of prewar drivers were in the entry list, including Mercedes-Benz drivers Hermann Lang and Manfred von Brauchitsch, both with BMW 328-powered AFMs, Auto-Union’s Hans Stuck, as well as Louis Chiron and Paul Pietsch. A new and well-regarded Argentinean driver named Juan Manuel Fangio was to race a Maserati 4CLT/48 but his car’s engine expired in practice.
Ascari went on to score an easy win, although on his last lap a shock absorber mount failed and the resulting half-spin exiting the Karussel caused severe spoke breakage on his right rear wheel. He nursed his Ferrari to the finish but he could not have gone farther. Second and third were André Simon and Maurice Trintignant, both with Simca-Gordini 15s several minutes behind.
Photo by Louis Klemantaski ©The Klemantaski Collection – http://www.klemcoll.com
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