At the Nürburgring

Maserati, Fangio, Klemcoll, German Grand Prix, Nurburgring

Here is Juan Manuel Fangio, leader of the Maserati factory team, in the South Curve on the old Nurburgring circuit. He is driving a six cylinder Maserati A6GCM two liter Formula 2 car at the German Grand Prix on August 2, 1953. Color photographs from early 1950s races are exceedingly rare.

Fangio was joined by team members Felice Bonetto and Onofre Marimón who was seen as Fangio’s pupil. José Froilán González was also on the Maserati team but was unable to drive due to injuries sustained in a sports car race in Portugal a week earlier. The main competition for Maserati would be from Ferrari with World Champion Alberto Ascari, along with Giuseppe “Nino” Farina, the 1950 Champion, Mike Hawthorn, and Luigi Villoresi, all with then tried and true Ferrari 500F2 four cylinder cars. These Ferraris had dominated the prior year and would do so again although the Maseratis with the talent of Fangio had certainly closed the performance gap.

The practice times, as expected, put Ascari on pole with Fangio second 3.9 seconds in arrears followed a few tenths slower by Farina. There were 38 cars for the start, many of them German Vertitas, but the fastest non-Italian entry was the works Gordini T16 driven by Maurice Trintignant who was fifth fastest. Stirling Moss had a Cooper-Alta but could do no better with it than 12th. Bonetto and Marimón were some 41 seconds off Ascari’s pole time so they would probably offer no challenge to the Ferraris. There was no question that the absence of González was being felt.

Fangio got away first from the start but Ascari was past him before the end of the initial lap and opened up a large gap. On the fifth lap Ascari lost his left front wheel when its hub sheared not far from the pits and was immediately passed by Fangio and Hawthorn, the former now taking the lead. However, Farina then closed up on the leading pair and overtook them both to become the leader. Ascari finally got going again, now ninth, but soon took over Villoresi’s car which was further ahead on the road and set fastest lap trying to catch the leaders but the engine of his borrowed 500F2 objected to the pace and he had to retire.

Farina went on to take the win with Fangio just over minute behind with Hawthorn third a further one minute 40 seconds back.

Photo by Yves Debraine ©The Klemantaski Collection

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