This photograph shows Alberto Ascari in a 4.1 liter Ferrari 340F1 at the Grand Prix des Nations, held on a street circuit in the Swiss city of Geneva, on July 30, 1950. The Geneva race was not to count for that year’s newly-announced Formula 1 World Championship but still received a very strong entry of F1 cars. There were two new cars from Ferrari as that company moved to approach the 4.5 liter limit for unsupercharged motors, four Alfa Romeo 158s with their 1.5 liter blown motors, two works Maserati 4CLTs and another eight similar privately-entered versions, plus four Talbot 26Cs and a Simca-Gordini 15.
Before the Grand Prix there was a sports car race and also a race for F2 cars, the Grand Prix de Genève. In the latter event there were again two works Ferraris, carrying the numbers 40 and 42, as would be the case in the Grand Prix des Nations that afternoon. Here to the left is one of those F2 cars, this one being driven by Dorino Serafini. These were called 166F2 being two liter cars, but were probably assembled on the prior year’s F1 chassis which had originally used Ferrari’s 1.5 liter supercharged F1 motor. Luigi Villoresi would drive the other 166F2. Initially Villoresi led, followed by Serafni until the latter was overtaken by two Simca-Gordinis driven by Maurice Trintignant and André Simon. Villoresi then retired with a broken de Dion tube leaving Serafini to finish third.
Here is another view of the Ascari 340F1 in the pits before practice. The 340F1 is an overall larger car than the F2 cars and can be identified by, among other items, the cooling slot locations in the tail. The Villoresi car was a 275F1, using a smaller 3.3 liter motor. Ascari got his Ferrari 340F1 in among the Alfa Romeos and close behind Fangio for most of the race until his motor gave up five laps before the finish. Villoresi had run just behind the Alfas but spun on oil into straw bales with seven laps to go, overturned and received serious injuries but also fatally injured three spectators.
It was a resounding Alfa Romeo victory, taking the top three places, but the competitive message from Ferrari was clear.
Photos by Louis Klemantaski ©The Klemantaski Collection – http://www.klemcoll.com
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