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Alberto Ascari takes a quick look over his shoulder during the 1951 Italian Grand Prix…

His car is a Ferrari 375, the photo taken between the two ‘Porfido’ corners, now the Parabolica, 16 September 1951. The car being passed is an Alfa 159, not sure which one though.

Alfa Romeo hit back with a win for Fangio in the non-championship GP event on the 3.45 mile road course at Bari on Italy’s southern Adriatic coast on 2 September. Ferrari had won the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, their breakthrough win at championship level taken by Froilan Gonzalez on 14 July and again at the Nurburgring on July 29th when Ascari was first home…

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Ascari’s 375 ahead of Stirling Moss HWM Alta and Luigi Villoresi Ferrari 375, San Remo Grand Prix 25 April 1951. Ferrari 375 won a good many of the non-championship ’51 GP’s, mind you Alfa and Ferrari largely avoided each other at these events! (Hutton)

The Italians were out in force in their home race of course at Monza.

Fangio initially lead but soon yielded to Ascari’s normally aspirated 4.5 litre V12 Ferrari, Fangio regained the lead after fitting new tyres, the two-stage supercharged 1.5 litre straight-8 both powerful and its chassis far from as modern as the Ferrari’s. In concept they were of similar thinking mind you.

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Ascari, Monza 1951, rare color shot of this combination, superb, butch lines of the Ferarri 375 shown to great effect (unattributed)

Gonzalez (Ferrari) was 2nd after Farina and de Graffenried (Alfa) were early retirements. Fangio ‘tigered’, his attempts to catch the Ferrari’s thwarted by a misfire. Then Farina in Bonetto’s Alfa took up the fight passing Villoresi for 3rd but his fuel tank was leaking forcing additional stops, the race won by Ascari from Gonzalez and Felice Bonetto; Ferrari 375 V12, Ferrari 375 V12 and Alfa 159 S-8 supercharged.

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Farina’s 159 Alfa engine going ka-boomba early in the race (unattributed)

And so the ‘51 championship went down to the wire to the final round at Pedralbes, Barcelona on 28 October, that race and the title won by JM Fangio. For Alfa Romeo it was their last, to date, F1 championship race let alone title win. And perhaps more significantly it was the last forced induction GP championship series victory until Brabham’s 1.5 litre, turbo-charged, 4 cylinder BMW powered win in 1981…

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Farina Alfa Romeo 159, Italian GP practice 1951 (unattributed)

Credits…

Klemantaski Collection, GP Photo, Hutton

Tailpiece: Ascari has a steer of Gonzalez’ 375 during Monza practice, a mighty fine racing car!…

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(GP Photo)

 

 

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