Morning Qualifying – History Lesson, Part XI

The Maestro, Juan Manuel Fangio, at Silverstone in his Ferrari-Lancia D50.

With Mercedes-Benz withdrawn from grand prix racing, the 1956 Formula One season would be an inter-Italian skirmish between Ferrari and Maserati.

The Ferrari D50 of Peter Collins leads Stirling Moss's Maserati 250F

Ferrari acquired Lancia’s D50 F1 car in the middle of the 1955 season and, with a full off-season testing and development program, had their new car fully dialed in.  To pilot their new car, Scuderia Ferrari hired the reigning World Champion, Juan Manuel Fangio to be their #1 driver.  Promising young British driver, Peter Collins, was hired to be the team’s #2, with Eugenio Castellotti, Paul Frere, Alfonso de Portago and Luigi Musso in reserve.
Maserati countered Ferrari with an evolution of their existing 250F Formula 1 car.  Stirling Moss joined the team as their #1 driver, with Jean Behra as #2 and Cesare Perdisa, Francesco Godia-Sales and the Italian veteran, Luigi Villoresi in reserve.
Stirling Moss leads Luigi Piotti at the 1956 Italian Grand Prix at Monza.

The British constructors, BRM, Vanwall and Connaught, while staffed with talented drivers like Harry Schell, Mike Hawthorn and Tony Brooks, had no cars consistently capable matching the pace of the Italian crimson tide.  The French constructors, Gordini and a momentarily resuscitated Bugatti, fared worse still.
In the end, the mastery of Fangio would be matched against the British young guns of Peter Collins and Stirling Moss to decide the 1956 Drivers Championship.  Who would win?  To answer this question, we found this excellent 45 minute documentary, produced by British Petroleum.  Enjoy, and have a great weekend!.




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  1. McQueen Avatar

    45 min of pure old school bliss , thanks for racking up my phone bill

  2. Lcunnin Avatar

    Moss may be 'leading' Piotti in that third photo, but they probably are not racing. At least not at speed. Moss has one hand on the wheel, no goggles, and is definitely in front of Piotti. But not racing. Great photos!

    1. Jennings R. Scroggs, Jr. Avatar
      Jennings R. Scroggs, Jr.

      I've got a number of photos of Sir Stirling from the '56 F1 season. Depending on the race, he sometimes wore goggles or a plexiglas visor fitted to his helmet. Monza was a "goggles" race, as confirmed here.
      <img src="; width="500" height="334" alt="56 Italian GP Stirling Moss Maserati 250F">
      Photo by Bernard Cahier/Copyright The Cahier Archive

  3. joshuman Avatar

    Since I have no idea what Mr. Scroggs sounds like, I read some of these lessons as though Alain de Cadenet were speaking during an episode of Victory by Design. Anybody else?