1 9 3 4
The work on the 1934 season is now considered finished with the accounts for all the races having been re-written and improved during 2019.
Only minor additions and corrections should be expected from now on.
Great thanks to Hans Etzrodt who took his time to write improved accounts for seven major and several minor races.
Information derived from contemporary magazines and newspapers have been used as much as possible. Those race reports made a long time ago by knowledgeable reporters have
been of invaluable help. Secondary sources have of course also been used when needed. Especially I would like to mention the books by Bill Boddy, Peter Hull, Simon Moore,
Anthony Pritchard, Paul Sheldon and David Venables, which have been consulted frequently.
A special thanks to all persons who through the years have provided me with feedback and additional information.
The Association Internationale des Automobile Clubs Reconnus (AIACR), (Note 1) the controlling body of motor sport in the 30s,
introduced at 12 October 1932 a new Grand Prix formula for the 1934 season. The main requirements of this formula were:
1. The weight of the car without driver, fuel, oil, water or tyres should not
exceed 750 kg.
At the same time AIACR formally accepted the 1500cc cars, known as the Voiturettes, to be the racing class
below the Grand Prix formula.
2. A minimum bodywork width of 850 mm at the driving seat. (Note 2)
3. Free choice of fuel.
4. All races must be over a minimum distance of 500 kilometers. (Note 3)
By 1932 it was considered that the racing cars were becoming too fast so the new formula was intended to keep racing on its
existing level. The old Alfa Romeo, Bugatti and Maserati GP cars could adopt to the new formula with ease
and the twin-engined monsters built by Alfa Romeo and Maserati during the free formula would be outlawed.
However AIACR had not foreseen what modern high technology and new lightweight metallurgy would do to the
new 750 kg rules.
Two German companies showed their interest in building a Grand Prix car. Mercedes-Benz had been out of racing
during the Great Depression but had not stopped planning racing cars. And the new company Auto Union, an amalgamation of
manufacturers DKW, Audi, Horch and Wanderer, was seeking new ways to make their products known to the public.
Among their employees they had Prof. Ferdinand Porsche , who enthusiastically called for building a Grand Prix car
to the new formula.
The German companies got their full support from Adolf Hitler's new Nazi regime, who saw motor racing as an excellent opportunity for propaganda.
Transport Minister Brandenburg offered 500,000 RM yearly subsidy to the manufacturer of a successful GP car
plus bonuses of 20,000, 10,000 and 5,000 RM for podium finishes. As both Auto Union and Mercedes-Benz showed their
interest the subsidy was divided, each team receiving 250,000 RM. While the sums vary according to sources it has been estimated
that the subsidies paid for about 1/5 of the teams' total costs.
The Italian manufactures had not as large budgets as their German competitors. However, while Hitler had no real interest
in motor racing except for its propaganda value and never attended any Grand Prix (Note 4), Italian dictator Mussolini was a firm
racing enthusiast and Alfa Romeo fan, showing great interest in the teams, their drivers and results.
Mussolini therefore organized Alfa Romeo to work under state owned "Istituto di Ricostruzione Industriale (IRI)"
and was that way able to put government money into motor racing.
While history was to be made in GP racing during the 1934 season, in the Voiturette class there was still a calm before the storm. The 1500cc class was not
all that popular so the race calendar was rather thin. The race organizers still preferred Grand Prix racing
and in France and Italy several Voiturette races were still run to the 1100cc formula. Soon however as the Germans started to
dominate Grand Prix racing and the costs of racing in the GP class went sky high, more and more people started to show
interest in Voiturette racing, first the privateer drivers but later also the Italian manufacturers.
the 1934 race calender was well filled but would have been even more so, had not a huge numner of races been cancelled.
First event to be cancelled was the Pau Grand Prix, scheduled as early as 18 February as the Automobile Club Basco-Béarnais did not
want to risk the financial catastrophy if the race was to be destroyed due to bad weather.
Other early cancellation was the Tunis Grand Prix scheduled for 29 April.
Both the Swedish Winter Grand Prix and the Swedish Summer Grand Prix, planned for 25 February and 5th August were cancelled due to
bad publicity from serious accidents in the 1933 GP race at Vram and a motorcycle race at Saxtorp.
Then, around February, the Monza Grand Prix, sceduled for 24 June, the Luxembourg Grand Prix planned for 5th August and the
Grand Prix de Villeurbanne, near Lyon, planned to be run sometimes in June, were all cancelled.
The Nimes Grand Prix planned for 20 May was cancelled due to financial difficulties and the Budapest Grand Prix sceduled for the 21 May
was also canelled.
In April the organizers of Lorraine Grand Prix planned for 24 June cancelled the event, as a new circuit could not be completed in time.
Grand Prix Lwowa planned for 5 June and Grand Prix de La Baule planned for 12 August and were also cancelled as were
the first Circuito Varese planned for 8 July and the Marseille Grand Prix at Miramas, scheduled for 19 August.
There were also talk about the Spanish Grand Prix beng cancelled due to political unrest but in the end it was held on planned date.
1. President of AIACR (known as FIA from 1946 onwards) was at the time Robert de Vogüé and from 1936 onwards Jehan de Rohan.
President of CSI (known as FISA from 1978 - 1993) was former race driver Rene de Knyff. All three from France.
2. The exact measuring point was at the bottom end of the steering wheel.
3. This rule was often broken. For example the Monaco GP had a length of 318 km.
4. Sheldon, Nixon, Venables etc. claim Hitler was present at the 1933 Avusrennen were he had to witness Bugatti taking a double victory.
However latest reseach seems to indicate that this is just another false racing myth!
1934 SEASON LINEUP:
After a 3 year pause Mercedes-Benz made their comeback to Grand Prix racing in 1934 with their
new W25 car with independent suspension and a 3.3 liter engine.
As drivers the team signed their former ace Rudolf Caracciola and young Manfred von Brauchitsch,
with motor cycle racer
Ernst Henne as reserve. However, after having spent almost a year in bed after a serious crash in Monaco 1933 and after having
lost his wife in an ski accident, Caracciola was both physically and mentally a complete question mark as driver.
Mercedes team manager Alfred Neubauer therefore decided to also sign Italian top driver Luigi Fagioli to take over as
first driver if Caracciola's comeback should fail.
Newcomers Auto Union introduced their revolutionary rear engined 4.3 liter Auto Union A, also known as the P-wagen.
Ex. racing driver Willy Walb functioned as team manager and Ferdinand Porsche as technical expert.
As drivers the team selected a German duo of top driver Hans Stuck and the lesser known
Hermann zu Leiningen
with August Momberger and Wilhelm Sebastian as reserves.
Both the Mercedes and the Auto Union cars introduced streamlined chassis and independent suspension on all four wheels.
Car set up was however in its infancy at that time and the drivers had serious problems during the season trying to come
to grips with the unfamiliar and difficult handling of the new cars.
Alfa Romeo produced a new, more powerful 2.9 liter version of their 1932 Tipo B Monoposto car (popularly known as the P3).
For Formula Libre (Note 1) events they retained their old twin-engined Tipo A monsters.
The factory cars were raced under the Scuderia Ferrari banner. Ferrari had a very able team lineup including
veteran aces Achille Varzi & Louis Chiron, sensational new top driver Guy Moll,
and also Count Trossi & Marcel Lehoux.
In October 1933 Alfa Romeo announced that they would built Tipo B cars for sale (25 cars!) and orders dropped in from
among others Lehoux, Etancelin, Earl Howe and Rose-Richards. But soon afterwards Alfa changed their mind and
refused to sell any Monopostos to private owners, who had to rely on the old 2.3 liter "Monza" cars.
Maserati retained their 3.0 liter 8CM cars and just increased the chassis width to comply with the new regulations.
The Maserati 8CM was the most popular car among the privateers with cars supplied to Gruppo Genovese San Giorgio
with drivers Renato Balestrero and Clemente Biondetti, Scuderia Siena and team Whitney Straight.
Privateers Tazio Nuvolari, Earl Howe and Philippe Etancelin also had their own Maseratis.
Late in the season the new 6C-34 appeared with the 8CM chassis combined with a new hastily built 6 cylinder engine.
The German cars had problems in their early races so for most of the 1934 season Alfa Romeo and Maserati were
still able to race for the victory. This was however the last year the Italians could fight on equal terms with the Germans, by the end
of the season it was clear to most people what was to come in the future.
Bugatti had introduced their 2.8 liter Type 59 in 1933. They developed a new 3.3 liter variant of the car in the middle of the
1934 season. Ex. driver Bartolomeo "Meo" Constantini functioned as team manager. As driver they recruited the rather wild young Jean-Pierre Wimille, who had driven private Bugattis with some
success. Soon the team found that new Bugatti was both unreliable and outclassed by the German cars and there was not
much effort put into any development programme.
Maserati continued to supply a limited numbers of its 4C-1500 car from 1932.
The fields sometimes also included old Tipo 26 cars (from 1926). The strongest Maserati team
was the Scuderia Subalpina with Count Lurani, Count Castelbarco and young Giuseppe Farina as drivers.
Bugatti had no time or money for developing their T 51 Voiturettes from 1931.
The great days of the Molsheim manufacturer were over and Bugatti drivers like Pierre Veyron and E.G. Burggaller
had a hard time trying to come to terms with the Maseratis.
An exiting newcomer to the scene was the British ERA, a company formed by drivers Raymond Mays
and Humphrey Cook The new car made its race debut in May and in October Mays took the car's
first international victory.
British newcomer Dick Seaman raced MG's, first for Whitney Straight, later as privateer.
Earl Howe entered his ancient 1.5 liter GP Delage from 1927 in some events.
1. Formula Libre - that means a free formula with neither engine nor weight limits.
The 1934 season started off badly as at least 13 spectators died on 25 February in a race in Santa Fe, Argentina, when a car crashed after a drunken spectator had stepped into the middle of the road.
On 22 April Carlo Pedrazzini crashed during the first heat of the Circuito di Pietro Bordino.
On 7 May Charly Jellen crashed at Forstenrieder Park, München testing an Alfa Romeo for the Avus-rennen.
On 13 May at the 1934 Fontainbleu hillclimb a dog stepped out in front of a Bugatti raced by Augustin Cochin, competing under the pseudonym "Eric Lora". Lora braked hard, lost control and
the crowd killing six spectators and injuring five more. Lora himeslf died soon after having reached hospital.
On 20 May at the second lap of the Targa Florio at the Cardellino bridge, 23 km after the start, Giovanni Alloatti racing a Bugatti overdid it and crashed into the bridge stone parapet.
The car fell some ten meters down into the valley. An ambulance took Alloatti to the San Saverio hospital in Palermo where he succumbed with a broken back and a fractured skull.
On 28 May Kaye Don, after testing his MG Magnette for the Mannin Beg, had complained of poor steering. The mechanic Francis "Frank" Tayler made changes to the car and at 10 p.m. Don with Tayler
as passenger took the car out for another test on public roads. The car had no head lights, number plates or insurance. In a corner it crashed with a black Buick cab. Don and Tayler were hospitalized and the
latter died from his injuries the following morning.
On 3 June at the Südkehre on the first lap of the Eifelrennen, Nürburgring, Emil Frankl in a Bugatti touched another car and went, with damaged wheel,
into a wild spin and overturned, killing the unfortunate driver.
On 22 July at the second qualifying heat for the Dieppe Garnd Prix Jean Gaupillat, going down the slope into Val Gosset at the end of the long straight, lost control of his Bugatti while braking
and hit a gully. The car leaped into the air and rolled over for 100 meters before hitting a poplar tree. The driver died the same evning with a crushed skull and other injuries.
Early morning on 14 August at Linas-Montlhéry while trying to beat the endurance land speed record Georges Berthelon in a Renault went over the banking. The car caught fire and the driver was killed.
On 15 August at the Coppa Acerbo Guy Moll racing a Alfa Romeo for Scuderia Ferrari,while trying to overtake Ernst Henne's Mercedes-Benz, the Alfa Romeo moved too far to the left, the wheels
slid over the road edge and veered into the shallow ditch at the side of the road. One front wheel struck a stone pillar, causing the car to vault into the air, somersaulting high, flinging out Moll.
He was killed instantly.
26 August at the Swiss Grand Prix at Bremgarten Hugh Hamilton on his 65th lap crashed his Maserati, shortly before the Forsthaus turn, 1500 meters before the finish and less than half a minute
before the end of the race. At a speed of about 150 km/h, it is believed that his left front tire had gone flat.
The car was zigzagging and left the track out of control going through a pine tree and careened on for about 20 meters before being stopped by a huge tree where the car broke apart.
The driver died immediately from chest and internal injuries.
27 September at the Masarykuv Okruh, Brno, novice driver Josef Brázdil, racing under suspicious circumstances, crashed during the very first practice lap on a straight somewhere
between Žebětìn and Ostrovačice. The car hit a tree, turned into the woods, and then hit another tree that put the car into a series of somersaults.
The driver was thrown out and died immediately with a broken spine.
3 October Brazilian driver Nino Crespi crashed his Bugatti into a lamp post at the Rio de Janeiro Grand Prix. At the hospital Crespi's both legs were amputated. Despite the efforts of the doctors the driver
succumbed at 10:20 a.m. the next morning.
January 1934: Auto Union tested their new "P" car at Nürburgring
while Ferrari drivers Varzi and Tadini tested the Alfa Romeo Tipo B at Montenero
28 January 1934: The first Fredenloppet ice race is held on Lake Freden - Västerås, Sweden.|
4 February 1934: Rudolf Caracciola's wife "Charly" (née Charlotte Liesen) dies in an avalanche at Urden during a ski-expedition between Arosa and Lenzerheide in the Swiss alps.
February 1934: Mercedes tested their new W25 cars at Monza. Manfred von Brauchitsch had a bad crash due to tyre failure.
Vallentunasjön (S), 18 February 1934
10 laps x 4 km (2.49 mi) = 40 km (24.9 mi)
Pietsch wins on ice
by Leif Snellman
While the race was a short one lasting less than 20 minutes the fast ice circuit proved devastating for engines and tyres with only four cars out of 10 taking the flag. Pietsch (Alfa Romeo) led
most of the race. He had to stop when a cable came loose dropping to third but as Ebb (Mercedes-Benz) and Bjørnstad (Alfa Romeo) in front of him had to retire he was soon back in the lead to win
the race with Jonsson (Bugatti) second and Finnish driver Keinänen (Chrysler) third.
Because of the fatal accident at the 1933 Vram race there would be neither a Swedish summer GP nor a winter GP at Rämen. Instead the main Swedish race event of 1934 was to be a race organized
by the Stockholm section of Svenska Motorklubben (SMK) on the frozen lake of Vallentuna some 20 km north of downtown Stockholm. This was the first race event arranged so close to the capital.
A fast 4 km course was laid out on the lake consisting of two parallel 1400 m long and 25 m wide straights, a sweeping fast 40 m wide north curve and a tight hairpin curve with room for only
one car at a time in the south end. An escape road was added to the hairpin. The section at the start was 60 m wide. The circuit was surrounded 40 meters from the track by a 4.5 km wire fence.
The event included three races for motor cycles, sidecars and cars. The cars had to do 10 laps for a total of 40 km.
The entry list was one of the better seen in prewar Scandinavia with all the top Nordic drivers present. The main interest however was concentrated on German driver Paul Pietsch, who had made his
application for the race on February 7th. He was to race his white Alfa Romeo Monza, rebuilt to a monoposto, with a 2.6 litre engine. 2.3 litre Monzas were raced by Norwegian Eugen Bjørnstad and
Swede Per-Victor Widengren.
Finnish driver S.P.J. Keinänen entered his Chrysler that had been rebuilt in Sweden for the 1934 season. Fellow Finnish driver Karl Ebb entered his Mercedes-Benz SSK (#35998) while Henken Widengren
raced the ex- P-V Widengren/Dahlin Mercedes-Benz SSK that had created the 1933 Swedish Grand Prix multiple crash.
Helmer Carlsson entered "Guldpilen" (Golden Arrow), an A-Ford with a gold coloured body and a 4-cylinder B-Ford engine earlier owned by Walter Görtz. "Mas-Harry" Larsson entered another 4-cylinder Ford.
Knut Gustaf Sundstedt entered a Bugatti T35B (#4922) and Axel Jonsson a T43 (#43258) earlier owned by Prince Leopold of Belgium. Jonsson had shortened the chassis 39 cm into a two-seater lowering it
6 cm and the car had a new engine.
Motor boat racer W. A. "Tjabben" Gustafsson entered a Miller special. The engine had been brought to Sweden in 1928 by Swedish boat racing pioneer Gideon Forslund and was initially installed in a
racing boat. The engine was later sold to a consortium that put it into a car built by "Börjessons bilverkstad" for the Rämen races.
A complex ice-plane pulled with a line by a truck and steered by two men had swept over the ice daily for over a week to make the course even and flat. Henken Widengren was the first to test the
circuit on Sunday 11th.
One by one the drivers arrived to the event. Pietsch came to Stockholm on Tuesday, Ebb and Keinänen arrived via Turku on Wednesday, Ebb making a few laps on the circuit with his Mercedes finding it
good and fast, and Bjørnstad arrived with his Alfa Romeo on Thursday.
Official practice was on Friday and Saturday. Some 2000 spectators had arrived to see Friday practice where Ebb was fastest with a claimed lap of 1m49s (132.1 km/h).
During Saturday practice the supercharger on Gustafsson's Miller started to burn. Sundstedt was called to stop as he owned a fire extinguisher but still the Miller was badly damaged before the fire
was stopped. P.-V. Widengren also had a troublesome practice session with an engine oil ring and a dirty carburettor.
The cars were equipped with a multitude of different studs, each driver having his own idea of what would be ideal. There were also worries that the fast circuit would turn out to be an engine breaker.
Sunday came with nice and sunny weather (temperature in Stockholm is listed as 5 °C) and some 35000 spectators turned up. Ten extra trains with spectators arrived from Stockholm.
The event was planned to start at 1 p.m. but it started half an hour late. It started with a motor cycle race followed by the sidecar race. Finally it was time for the car race.
When the flag dropped Pietsch took the early lead followed by Sundstedt, Ebb and Bjørnstad. Sundstedt managed to pass Pietsch for the lead but almost immediately got a spark plug problem and fell
back to third position. At the end of the lap the order was Pietsch, Ebb, Sundstedt and Bjørnstad.
On the second lap Bjørnstad was soon past Sundstedt and then went past Ebb as well for second position.
On the third lap Pietsch, Bjørnstad and Ebb were still quite close together. Keinänen was up to fourth and Jonsson to fifth position while Sundstedt stopped in the pit to retire the Bugatti with
ignition trouble. He was also bleeding as he had been hit in the cheek by a sharp piece of ice. In the south hairpin Keinänen turned off the ignition by mistake and he had to jump out and start
the car with the crank as Jonsson moved up to fourth place.
The fast circuit had indeed turned out to be too much for the, in several cases old, engines. The spectators had looked forward to a duel between the Widengren brothers but neither really managed
to get properly into the race. Per-Victor's Alfa Romeo Monza came to a stop early when the carburettor float got jammed in the bumpy hairpin and Henken Widengren, suffering from a supercharger
problem, had had problems to get the Mercedes-Benz going properly before he retired after a puncture.
Larsson also retired after having suffered both clutch and engine trouble. Carlsson with his Ford managed to pass Keinänen for fifth position but then a bearing on the fan broke and he had to slow
down his Ford.
On the fifth lap Pietsch stopped near the hairpin. Pietsch jumped off, opened the engine hood and immediately noticed the problem. An ignition cable had come loose. After a fix and some turns on
the crank the car was away again but Pietsch was down to third position.
However, on the same lap Ebb, who now was second, had to retire with a failed con rod bearing and on the next lap Bjørnstad suffered a puncture and had to retire as well giving the lead back to a
From the seventh lap onwards there were no changes in the race order. Pietsch dominated the rest of the race to take the victory 47 s in front of Jonsson with Keinänen and Carlsson, who both had
been lapped by Pietsch, third and fourth.
The medium speed were slower than expected, in part because Pietsch had stopped and also because he slowed down during the last laps.
A planned 5 lap duel between Lt. Wenzer in an airplane and the race winner had to be scratched as there were hardly any studs remaining on Pietsch's rear tyres.
|1.||44||Paul Pietsch||P. Pietsch||Alfa Romeo||Monza||2.6||S-8||10||19m40.9s |
|2.||40||Axel Jonsson||A. Jonsson||Bugatti||T43||2.3||S-8||10||20m27.9s||+ 47.0s|
|3.||48||S.P.J. Keinänen||S.P.J. Keinänen||Chrysler||Special||6.3||S-6||10||22m22.1s||+ 2m41.2s|
|4.||51||Helmer Carlsson||H. Carlsson||Ford||Special||5.1||S-6||10||22m27.4s||+2m46.5s|
|DNF||50||Eugen Bjørnstad||E. Bjørnstad||Alfa Romeo||Monza||2.3||S-8||5||puncture|
|DNF||42||Karl Ebb||K. Ebb||Mercedes-Benz||SSK||7.1||S-6||4||con rod bearing|
|DNF||47||Henken Widengren||H. Widengren||Mercedes-Benz||SSK||7.1||S-6||?||puncture|
|DNF||45||Knut Gustaf Sundstedt||K-G. Sundstedt||Bugatti||T35B||S-8||?||ignition|
|DNF||43||Harry Larsson||H. Larsson||Ford||Special||S-4||?||engine/clutch|
|DNF||41||Per-Victor Widengren||P.V. Widengren||Alfa Romeo||Monza||2.3||S-8||1||carburettor|
Fastest lap: N/A|
Winner's medium speed: 121.9 km/h, (75.8 mph)
Primary sources researched for this article:|
Dagens Nyheter, Stockholm
Svenska Dagbladet, Stockholm
Helsingin Sanomat, Helsinki
Martin Strömberg: Äventyrens sport
Special thanks to:
NORGES GRAND PRIX
Mjøsa - Lillehammer (N), 25 February 1934
15 laps x 10 km (6.2 mi) = 150 km (93.2 mi)
Widengren dominant in Norway
by Leif Snellman
There were a race class and a sports class starting together. Pietsch (Alfa Romeo) took the start but almost immediately the engine started to misfire and Widengren
(Alfa Romeo) took over the lead and held it to the finish. Behind him Isberg was the only other finisher in the race class as Bjørnstad suffered two punctures.
Johansen (Ford) was the winner of the sports car class.
The Norwegian Grand Prix or "Mjøsløpet" was run as an ice race on the lake Mjøsa south of Lillehammer. It was the third year in a row that KNA had been
forced to use lake Mjøsa instead of the traditional lake Gjersjøen. Barges frozen into the lake served as grandstands for the 15000 spectators. The race
was to be run in two classes, a race class and sports class with the top three finishers in each class receiving a prize of 500 kr, 150 kr and 100 kr with
an additional 500 kr going to the overall winner.
Just as a week earlier at lake Vallentuna German driver Paul Pietch raced an white Alfa Romeo Monza, rebuilt to a monoposto, with a 2.6 litre engine while
standard 2.3 litre Monzas were entered by Eugen Bjørnstad (#2111041) and Per Viktor Widengren (#2211077).
Norwegian veteran driver John Isberg raced a Bugatti T35C as did Albert Hovde. Hovde's car was the ex-Eugen Bjørnstad Bugatti (#4928) using the
number of Bjørnstad's earlier T35 (#4696) to get it through customs. "Kåge" Sundstedt raced a ex-Chiron Bugatti T35B (#4922).
In the sports class Oscar Andersen and Kolbjørn Breiseth entered Ford V-8 sedans while Arvid Johansen entered a Ford 4-cylinder based special.
Carl Fredrik Lühr entered a Bugatti T30 (#4242), Georg Lassen a M.G., Jac Hansen a Chrysler and G. R. Häseler a Triumph.
British driver Paul Jacot was unable to start after engine failure during Saturday practice.
There had been worries before the race that the sharp nails used in ice racing would drop off the tyres and then create a multitude of punctures.
Sunday at 2.30 p.m. the racing cars lined up in a row with Pietsch starting from pole position and with the sports cars in a second row behind.
It seems like Jac Hansen with his Chrysler made it to the grid only to be a non-starter.
Pietsch took the start but almost immediately the engine started to misfire and Widengren took over the lead. Hovde had remained on the starting line
with a dead engine and it took 4½ minutes before he could start. Pietsch was also standing still for some 5 minutes before he could rejoin. Widengren
led followed by Bjørnstad, Sundstedt and Isberg but Sundstedt was soon out with engine failure. On lap three Bjørnstad had to pit with a puncture on the
right rear wheel giving Isberg second place in the race, which he held to the finish. After his stop Bjørnstad tried to catch the leaders only to
have to retire a few laps later with a new puncture. After strong performances both Pietsch and Hovde also had to retire leaving only two cars left in
the racing class with the Swedish driver Widengren in his Alfa taking the flag as the winner. Johansen was the winner of the sports car class.
Primary sources researched for this article:|
Motor Sport, London
Öistein Bertheau: "Bilsport i Norge"
Special thanks to:
March 1934: Fagioli was called in to continue the Mercedes-Benz tests at Monza.
3 March 1934: The B.A.R.C. Opening Meeting was held at Brooklands.|
The handicap races were won by G. Shapley (Bugatti 2.3 litre), D. N. Letts (M.G. 0.7 litre), M. P. Simpson (Riley 1.1 litre), O. Bertram (Delage 10.7 litre) - 2 races,
A. Baron (Bugatti 3.0 litre), L. Eccles (Bugatti 2.3 litre) - 2 races, R. F. Oats (Maserati 2.5 litre), Mrs K. Petre (Bugatti 2.0 litre) and L. Robinson (Bugatti 1.5 litre).
6 March 1934: Auto Union tested at AVUS - Berlin. Stuck made three new world records on the fast track.
19 March 1934:Bob Lea-Wright (Singer) wins the Australian GP handicap race at Phillip Island.
24 March 1934: A series of 5 lap scratch races were held at the rebuilt Donington Park Circuit .|
The race winners: 850cc u/s: W.G Everitt (M.G.), 850cc s/s: R.F. Turner (Austin), 1100cc: E.K. Rayson (Riley 1.1 litre), 1500cc: E.K. Rayson (Riley 1.1 litre)
300cc: A. H. Eccles (Bugatti 2.3 litre), 1500cc s/s & 2000cc u/s: E.K. Rayson (Riley 1.1 litre).
March 1934: Mercedes tested at Nürburgring. Henne had a heavy crash.
VI GRAND PRIX DE MONACO
Cicuit de Monaco (MC), 2 April 1934 (Monday)
100 laps x 3.180 km (1.976 mi)= 318 km (197.6 mi)
Moll's sensational Ferrari debut
by Leif Snellman
It was the first race to be run under the new formula. At the start Chiron (Scuderia Ferrari Alfa Romeo) immediately took control followed by Dreyfus (Bugatti), Varzi (Alfa Romeo) and Etancelin (Maserati).
Varzi fell back with technical problems, Etancelin crashed after 62 laps and Dreyfus had a slipping clutch. That put Scuderia Ferrari recruit Moll into second position but almost a lap behind his team mate Chiron.
With just two laps to go Chiron crashed into the sandbags and it took three minutes before had managed to continue. That meant that Moll took a sensational victory. Chiron managed to finish second with
The Monaco Grand Prix, raced on Easter Monday, 2nd April, was the opening of the season proper and also the first race to be run under the new 750 kg formula.
Entries were by invitation only. Drivers were expected to do a 2m12s lap during practice to be permitted to race and the grid was limited to 15 cars.
The German teams were not yet ready. Scuderia Ferrari entered no less than five Alfa Romeo P3s.
The team retained Louis Chiron and Scuderia Ferrari president Carlo Felice Trossi as drivers.
Achille Varzi moved to Ferrari after three seasons as works Bugatti driver. Moll and Lehoux were doing their first race for the team.
Several of the P3s were rebuilt 1933 cars, now also known as Tipo Bs, some with the engine volume increased from 2.6 to 2.9 liter and side panels fitted around the cockpit to increase the body
width to the 85 cm demanded by the new rules.
Those rebuilt cars can easily be identified by the slotted skirts hanging down outside the chassis side rails at the rear of the car. It seems like all five cars were of
that type. Moll's car had the unique combination of slotted skirts and a narrow bonnet with the blower showing through. (Note 1). Auto Italiana lists Varzi and
Trossi in 2.9 litre cars while Il Littoriale lists just Varzi. Oddly all the Scuderia Ferrari cars seem to have raced at Monaco without any rear view mirrors.
During the season the junior drivers would go on using the rebuilt cars while the senior members used the new pukka Tipo Bs.
Automobiles Bugatti appeared with three blue 2.8 liter T59 cars, rebuilt with new drilled chassis frame to save weight, for their drivers Robert Benoist, René Dreyfus and Jean-Pierre Wimille.
Former top driver Benoist, who had not raced since 1929, was making his comeback to Grand Prix racing.
A fourth red T59 was on loan to Nuvolari and entered under his name even if it was supported by the teams mechanics as was a T51 entered under Veyron's name. Vertical metal strips had been added to the
sides of the frame of the T59s to increase the width of the cars from 80 cm to 85 cm.
The Maserati works team entered a single monoposto 4C car with the engine upgraded from 1.5 to 2.5 liter for Taruffi.
The rest of the entry list consisted of Balestrero's old Alfa Romeo Monza entered by Gruppo Genovese San Giorgio with the engine bored out to 2.6 liter, and a few private Maseratis.
Siena entered the narrow 8C two-seater #3001 while Etancelin entered his new narrow chassis light blue #3010. Etancelin had to fit small aluminium wings level with the driver's seat to
make his car to comply with the new minimum width requirement. Whitney Straight entered the narrow chassis #3011 or #3012, white with blue chassis and with a Wilson pre-selector gearbox.
Earl Howe had the new type #3013 with wide chassis and radius rods to the front springs. It was painted dark blue.
The lightweight Alfa Romeos had not problems passing the scrutineering, the team did not even care to remove the tyres. The Bugattis also passed without problems, even if the
team would face problems with the 750 kg limit with non-Gallic scrutineers later during the season.
All the Maserati drivers however were in trouble because of overweight. Sumps, back axles and gearboxes were drained of oil and eventually alloy wheels were fitted to come under the weight limit.
The harbour was as usual filled with ships including this year the Royal Navy light cruiser H.M.S. Delhi from 3rd Cruiser Squadron, Mediterranean Fleet.
Trossi made the fastest lap of the first day with a time of 1m59s with Nuvolari doing 2m00s, Chiron 2m01s, Dreyfus 2m02s, Varzi 2m03s, Etancelin 2m03s.
On Saturday Trossi went down to 1m58s. Etancelin, Varzi and Nuvolari made 1m59s laps, Dreyfus, Chiron and Moll 2 minutes flat and Lehoux a lap of 2m01s.
Benoist made a 2m02s lap but then spun at St. Devote, bending the rear axle on his Bugatti T59 and became a non starter.
No one managed to improve on Trossi's time during Sunday last practice but there were several incidents. Etancelin crashed at the Gasometre without any damage to his Maserati.
Howe split his fuel tank. As a former naval officer he got assistance with the repairs from H.M.S Delhi.
Straight hit a kerb coming out of the tunnel, made a 720° spin, and destroyed the rear brake drum of his Maserati. Spare parts were flown in from Paris and the mechanics worked flat out to get
the car repaired.
Le Petit Nicois published full results for Friday and Saturday practices including number of laps as seen in the table below. Sadly Sunday results are not to be found but
can be rescontructed in part.
|Trossi (Alfa Romeo)||1m59s||18||1m58s||15||?|
|Varzi (Alfa Romeo)||2m03s||19||1m59s||21||?|
|Chiron (Alfa Romeo)||2m01s||27||2m01s||21||2m00s|
|Moll (Alfa Romeo)||2m06s||16||2m00s||22||?|
|Lehoux (Alfa Romeo)||2m04s||12||2m01s||21||2m00s|
|Balestrero (Alfa Romeo)||2m12s||21||2m08s||15||2m05s|
Easter Monday came with heavy rain showers but at 11 a.m. the weather started to improve and at 12:30, when the race was to begin, the sun was shining.
It is claimed that 35,000 cars were parked in the town and an estimated 100,000 spectators had turned up including Swedish and Spanish royalties.
Before the start of the race Caracciola, who had crashed in Monaco the year before, did a slow lap of honor around the track under applauds from the spectators.
Trossi had put his Alfa Romeo on the pole position but when Charles Faroux dropped the flag Dreyfus was first over the line. But Chiron was even faster and came
from the second row to take an early lead. He was followed by Dreyfus, Etancelin, Varzi, Moll, Taruffi, Nuvolari and Straight.
Trossi did not have much use of his pole position. After the first lap he was already in to the pit for new spark plugs. Soon afterwards Wimille made a pit stop to fix a carburettor problem and Howe then came
in to get new spark plugs.
After ten laps the order was:
|1. Chiron (Alfa Romeo)||20m58s|
|2. Dreyfus (Bugatti) ||21m00s|
|3.. Varzi (Alfa Romeo)||21m01s|
|4. Etancelin (Maserati)||21m14s|
|5. Moll (Alfa Romeo)||21m19s|
|6. Nuvolari (Bugatti)||21m24s|
|7. Taruffi (Maserati)||21m32s|
|8. Straight (Maserati)||21m43s|
|9. Lehoux (Alfa Romeo)||22m01s|
|10. Siena (Maserati)||22m10s|
|11. Balestrero (Alfa Romeo)||22m25s|
|12. Veyron (Bugatti)||22m50s|
|13. Wimille (Bugatti)||23m50s|
|14. Trossi (Alfa Romeo)||23m56s|
|15. Howe (Maserati)|
The hard fight between Varzi and Etancelin then ended when the former
had to make an over two minutes stop because of plug, brakes and magneto problems. A fierce fight over sixth position between Nuvolari and Taruffi in which Taruffi managed to find a way past
Nuvolari only to be immediately re-passed, ended when Taruffi's Maserati started to misfire. Taruffi got confused and tried to enter the pits from the wrong direction. Then trying to regain
the lost time he overdid it and spun his Maserati as he came out of the tunnel, but he was able to continue the race. Wimille retired on lap 18 when the rear brake shoe broke and jammed the wheel at the
Gazometres hairpin. On lap 19 Trossi, far back in the field, suddenly found a gap and made a 2m00s lap, which proved to be the fastest one of the day.
The order after 20 laps was:
|1. Chiron (Alfa Romeo)||41m32s|
|2. Dreyfus (Bugatti) ||41m37s|
|3. Etancelin (Maserati)||41m45s?|
|4. Moll (Alfa Romeo)||42m10s|
|5. Nuvolari (Bugatti)||42m28s|
|6. Taruffi (Maserati)||42m31s|
|7. Straight (Maserati)||42m51s|
|8. Lehoux (Alfa Romeo)||43m03s|
|9. Siena (Maserati)||43m45s|
|10. Varzi (Alfa Romeo)||44m24s|
|11. Balestrero (Alfa Romeo)||44m31s|
|12. Veyron (Bugatti)||45m00s|
|13. Trossi (Alfa Romeo)||52m01s|
Chiron, making steady laps around 2m04s - 2m05s, was opening up a little gap while Etancelin in third position was closing up on Dreyfus.
Lehoux made a pit stop for new plugs, dropping further down the field.
Situation after 30 laps:
|1. Chiron (Alfa Romeo)||1h02m17s|
|2. Dreyfus (Bugatti)||1h02m33s|
|3. Etancelin (Maserati)||1h02m34s|
|4. Moll (Alfa Romeo)||1h03m07s|
|5. Nuvolari (Bugatti)||1h03m32s|
|6. Taruffi (Maserati)||1h03m41s|
|7. Straight (Maserati)||1h04m46s|
|8. Varzi (Alfa Romeo)||1h05m10s|
|9. Siena (Maserati)||1h05m21s|
|10. Lehoux (Alfa Romeo)||1h06m14s?|
|11. Balestrero (Alfa Romeo)||1h07m05s|
|12. Veyron (Bugatti)||1h07m14s|
|13. Howe (Maserati)||1h12m28s|
|14. Trossi (Alfa Romeo)||1h12m41s|
Etancelin caught Dreyfus and then took the Maserati past the Bugatti for second position on the way uphill towards the Casino.
Etancelin continued his high speed advance trying, not too successfully, to catch Chiron's Alfa.
Moll was still fourth keeping about the same pace as those in front of him, but Nuvolari in fifth position was struggling with the Bugatti and falling back. Further back, and already a lap down, Varzi passed Taruffi for sixth.
Howe was struggling with the Maserati and was in for another set of plugs and Balestrero took the Monza in for a scheduled fuel stop.
Positions at 40 laps:
|1. Chiron (Alfa Romeo)||1h23m14s|
|2. Etancelin (Maserati)||1h23m24s?|
|3. Dreyfus (Bugatti)||1h23m56s|
|4. Moll (Alfa Romeo)||1h24m25s|
|5. Nuvolari (Bugatti)||1h25m22s|
|6. Varzi (Alfa Romeo)||1h26m31s|
|7. Taruffi (Maserati)||1h26m54s|
|8. Straight (Maserati)||1h26m55s|
|9. Siena (Maserati)||1h27m38s|
|10. Lehoux (Alfa Romeo)||1h29m19s|
|11. Balestrero (Alfa Romeo)||1h29m43s|
|12. Veyron (Bugatti)||1h29m50s|
|13. Trossi (Alfa Romeo)||1h33m17s|
Chiron in the lead continued to open up the gap with Moll being the only other driver to keep his pace. Etancelin was losing over three seconds a gap to the leader and Dreyfus and Moll were
closing in on him. Chiron had caught Nuvolari and was ready to put him a lap down and the "Flying Mantuan" turned to the side waving the leader past. Taruffi was back up in sixth position.
The order at half distance:
|1. Chiron (Alfa Romeo)||1h44m06s|
|2. Etancelin (Maserati)||1h44m52s|
|3. Dreyfus (Bugatti)||1h45m00s|
|4. Moll (Alfa Romeo)||1h45m20s|
|5. Nuvolari (Bugatti)||1h46m43s|
|6. Taruffi (Maserati)||1h48m27s|
|7. Varzi (Alfa Romeo)||1h48m38s|
|8. Straight (Maserati)||1h48m48s|
|9. Siena (Maserati)||1h49m42s|
|10. Lehoux (Alfa Romeo)||1h50m37s|
|11. Veyron (Bugatti)||1h52m14s|
|12. Trossi (Alfa Romeo)||1h53m47s|
|13. Howe (Maserati)|
Balestrero retired his Monza beyond the Casino with a damaged differential.
Dreyfus was suffering from a slipping clutch and Moll passed him for third position. Etancelin had found new speed but was still losing to the leader who now held almost a half
a lap lead.
Positions after 60 laps:
|1. Chiron (Alfa Romeo)||2h04m56s|
|2. Etancelin (Maserati)||2h05m50s|
|3. Moll (Alfa Romeo)||2h06m15s|
|4. Dreyfus (Bugatti)||2h06m17s|
|5. Nuvolari (Bugatti)||2h07m50s|
|6. Varzi (Alfa Romeo)||2h09m46s|
|7. Taruffi (Maserati)||2h10m12s|
|8. Straight (Maserati)||2h10m51s|
|9. Siena (Maserati)||2h11m50s|
|10. Lehoux (Alfa Romeo)||2h11m59s|
|11. Veyron (Bugatti)||2h14m44s|
|12. Trossi (Alfa Romeo)||2h18m58s|
After 62 laps Etancelin, who was 46 seconds behind the leading Alfa, overdid it at Hotel de Paris, crashed into the sand bags and had to retire with a broken steering.
The other Maserati cars were unable to challenge the Ferrari Alfa Romeo duo of Chiron and Moll.
On lap 65, when Dreyfus made a stop to attend to his slipping clutch. Straight made a stop for fuel and Trossi was in to adjust his failing brakes. That meant that Nuvolari was up to fourth in his
red Bugatti but almost three minutes behind leading Chiron, who was just securing his position and had slowed down his laps by a second.
The order after 70 laps:
|1. Chiron (Alfa Romeo)||2h25m56s|
|2. Moll (Alfa Romeo)||2h27m25s|
|3. Nuvolari (Bugatti)||2h28m51s|
|4. Dreyfus (Bugatti)||2h29m42s|
|5. Taruffi (Maserati)||2h32m16s|
|6. Straight (Maserati)||2h33m01s|
|7. Lehoux (Alfa Romeo)||2h33m10s|
|8. Varzi (Alfa Romeo)||2h33m47s|
|9. Siena (Maserati)||2h34m06s|
|10. Veyron (Bugatti)||2h37m15s|
|11. Trossi (Alfa Romeo)||2h43m32s|
Both Trossi and Varzi had made further pit stops. Varzi had clearly given up any hope for a good position and
was now cruising around with a cigar in his mouth!
Nuvolari got into serious brake troubles and Dreyfus caught him and passed him for third. Nuvolari had to make a lengthy stop for brake adjustments, losing several minutes.
Chiron, in full control of the situation, was slowing down by another second per lap, doing 2m07s' lap times, but still being as fast as Moll and Dreyfus behind him.
Situation at 80 laps:
|1. Chiron (Alfa Romeo)||2h47m06s|
|2. Moll (Alfa Romeo)||2h48m38s|
|3. Dreyfus (Bugatti)||2h50m59s|
|4. Taruffi (Maserati)||2h54m11s|
|5. Lehoux (Alfa Romeo)||2h54m30s|
|6. Nuvolari (Bugatti)||2h54m44s|
|7. Straight (Maserati)||2h55m09s|
|8. Varzi (Alfa Romeo)||2h55m12s|
|9. Siena (Maserati)||2h58m24s|
|10. Veyron (Bugatti)||2h59m44s|
|11. Trossi (Alfa Romeo)||3h07m14s|
Chiron could afford to slow down still another second a lap without Moll being able to close in on him. Now it was Dreyfus turn to make a fast stop for brake adjustments. He lost a minute
but still held a secure third position.
Order after 90 laps:
|1. Chiron (Alfa Romeo)||2h47m06s|
|2. Moll (Alfa Romeo)||3h08m25s|
|3. Dreyfus (Bugatti)||3h10m01s|
|4. Taruffi (Maserati)||3h13m32s|
|5. Lehoux (Alfa Romeo)||3h15m53s|
|6. Nuvolari (Bugatti)||3h16m15s|
|8. Varzi (Alfa Romeo)||3h16m39s|
|7. Straight (Maserati)||3h19m45s|
With just a few laps to go Chiron held almost a one lap lead and everything seemed like the Monegasque would renew his 1931 victory but on the 98th lap he made a mistake and run into the sandbags at the
station hairpin (Loews). It took three minutes before Chiron had managed to dig the Alfa out of the sandbags and restart.
He returned to the race in second place behind Moll and it was Moll who took the flag a minute in front of his teammate.
A lap earlier Taruffi, who was best of the Maserati drivers, laying fourth, had to retire with a misfire so Alfa Romeos and Bugattis filled the top six positions with the Maseratis following. Howe, who had had carburetion
trouble throughout the race, limped home 10th and last.
The result was a sensation as this was Ferrari recruit Moll's first race as a works driver! It also proved to be the greatest moment of the young Algerian's short racing career. Moll also remained the
youngest driver to win the Monaco GP until Lewis Hamilton in 2008.
|1.||20||Guy Moll||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||Tipo B/P3||2.6||S-8||100||3h31m31.4s|
|2.||16||Louis Chiron||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||Tipo B/P3||2.6||S-8||100||3h32m33.4s||+ 1m02s|
|3.||8||René Dreyfus||Automobiles E. Bugatti||BugattI||T59||2.8||S-8||99||3h32m19s|
|4.||18||Marcel Lehoux||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||Tipo B/P3||2.6||S-8||99||2h33m18s|
|5.||28||Tazio Nuvolari||T. Nuvolari||Bugatti||T59||2.8||S-8||98||3h33m35s|
|6.||24||Achille Varzi||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||Tipo B/P3||2.9||S-8||98||3h33m38s|
|7.||4||Whitney Straight||Whitney Straight Ltd.||Maserati||8CM||3.0||S-8||96||3h32m00s|
|8.||30||Eugenio Siena||Scuderia Siena||Maserati||26M||3.0||S-8||96||3h32m47s|
|9.||12||Pierre Veyron||P. Veyron||Bugatti||T51||2.3||S-8||95||3h33m29s|
|DNF||22||Carlo Felice Trossi||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||Tipo B/P3||2.9||S-8||95||transmission|
|DNF||32||Piero Taruffi||Officine A. Maserati||Maserati||26M||2.5||S-4||91||ignition, fuel feed?|
|10.||2||Earl Howe||Earl Howe||Maserati||8CM||3.0||S-8||85||3h31m51s|
|DNF||14||Philippe Etancelin||P. Etancelin||Maserati||8CM||3.0||S-8||63||accident|
|DNF||26||Renato Balestrero||Gruppo Genovese San Giorgio||Alfa Romeo||Monza||2.6||S-8||51||differential|
|DNF||10||Jean-Pierre Wimille||Automobiles E. Bugatti||Bugatti||T59||2.8||S-8||18||brakes|
Fastest lap: Carlo Felice Trossi (Alfa Romeo) at 2m00.0s = 95.4 km/h (59.3 mph)|
Winner's medium speed: 90.2 km/h (56.0 mph)
Pole position lap speed: 97.0 km/h (60.3 mph)
Weather: bright sunshine after rainy morning
1. Doug Nye claims in his "Famous Racing Cars" that the new Tipo B cars, tailor made for the 750 kg formula, made their debut only at Alessandria.
Simon Moore claims in his "Magnificent Monopostos" that four 1933 cars were rebuilt to follow the new 850 mm rules.
Pictures from the event shows four of the cars to have slotted skirts including Moll's car with skirts of a slightly different model. I have not found any decent picture of Lehoux's car but as a junior
member of the team he would hardly have been assigned a new 1934 car. Thus all five Monaco cars were rebuilt 1933 cars.
Primary sources researched for this article:|
L'Écho de Paris, Paris
Le Figaro, Paris
Il Littoriale, Roma
The Motor. London
El Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona
Le Petit Nicois, Nice
Motor Sport, London
Rainer W. Schlegelmilch / Hartmut Lehbrink: "Grand Prix de Monaco".
2 April 1934: The B.A.R.C. Easter Meeting was held at Brooklands.|
The handicap races were won by E. Eccles (Bugatti 1.5L/2.3 litre) - 2 races, F. Dixon (Riley 1.1 litre) - 2 races, H. G. Dobbs (Riley 1.1 litre) - 2 races, G. Sharpley (Bugatti 2.3 litre),
Miss M. Allan (Bentley 4.4 litre) and H. Widengren (Amilcar 1.1 litre).
7-8 April 1934: The Mille Miglia sports car race is held in Italy:
|1623 km (1009 miles), 57 starters|
|1. Varzi/Bignami||Alfa Romeo Monza 2.6L|
|2. Nuvolari/Siena||Alfa Romeo Monza 2.3L|
|3. Chiron/Rosa||Alfa Romeo Monza 2.6L|
|4. Battaglia/Bianchi||Alfa Romeo|
|6. Sanguinetti/Balestrero||Alfa Romeo|
12-15 April 1934: P.-V. Widengren travelled to Köln, Germany to get his Alfa Romeo Monza rebuilt with a monoposto body and a 2.6 litre engine.
The car was ready on April 24th |
19 April 1934: Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union teams decided together what races to start in during the 1934 season.
CIRCUITO DI PIETRO BORDINO
Alessándria (I), 22 April 1934
2 heats of 8 laps x 8 km (~5 mi) = 64 km (39.8 mi)
Final: 15 laps x 8 km (~5 mi) = 120 km (74.6 mi)
Scuderia Ferrari dominates but rain creates bad accidents
by Leif Snellman
The event consisted of two heats with five drivers from each heat going to the final. Scuderia Ferrari driver Tadini led the first heat, run in rain, before being passed by
his team mate Chiron. The heat was overshadowed by a fatal crash by Swiss driver Carlo Pedrazzini. Varzi, also driving for ferrari, dominated the second heat. It was raining again
during the final. Minozzi spun into the spectator area and Nuvolari crashed into a tree breaking his left leg. the Alfa Romeos
of the Ferrari team dominated the final with Chiron leading before letting Varzi by to win on Italian soil and with Tadini and Comotti finishing third and fouth.
Just as in 1933 the event consisted of two eight lap (64 km) heats with the five best drivers from each heat going to the 15 lap (120 km) final.
The entry list was much dominated by the Alfa Romeos. Scuderia Ferrari entered a stong team for the race. Moll was left resting after his Monaco
victory but the team sent Chiron, Varzi, Tadini, Comotti and Trossi to race the P3s, of which at least two had the new enlarged 2.9 liter engines.
Scuderia Sciena, Scuderia Subalpina and Scuderia Balestrero turned up with Alfa Romeo Monzas. There was also a long series of private Monza entries:
Penn-Hughes, Sofietti, Pietch, Minozzi, Pages, Battaglia, Giussani and Bonetto.
Nuvolari, disappointed with the performance of the Bugatti T59 at Monaco (insufficient acceleration and unreliable brakes), was back at the wheel of
his 3 liter Maserati 8CM. Other Maserati 8CM cars were entered by Scuderia Balestrero, Gruppo San Giorgio, Scuderia Siena and Hans Rüesch.
Some Bugattis, some 1.5 liter Maseratis and a MG completed the entries.
With so many entries the organizers even considered a "B-final" but were in the end unable to run one within the current rules.
Nuvolari gave a good impression during practice setting in a series of very fast laps on the avenues of leafless trees, being
faster than his main rivals Varzi and Chiron. Other active drivers during the practice session included Tadini, "Delmo", Minozzi, Soffietti,
Biondetti, Pedrazzini, Trossi and Cecchini. Swiss drivers Maag and Rüesch seem both to have went off and damaged their cars and thus they
The Alessandria GP had a history of bad weather. Once again the luck proved to be against the organizers even if the bad weather did not hinder
the enthusiastic Italians from turning up in huge numbers. At 10 a.m. it started to rain. By 11 a.m. it rained cats and dogs.
Then the rain seemed to slow down a bit and there was hope that the track would dry up. But as the 14 cars were already lined up for the start the
heavy wind pushed the clouds back over the track and when the flag dropped the conditions were very bad with a dark and slippery track surface.
Off the competitors went through the town, over the bridge, over the Tanaro river, and on to the macadam road. Tadini firmly held the lead
followed by Chiron while Nuvolari behind them found the Maserati a real handful to handle in these slippery conditions and struggled
to keep contact with the leading duo. Two minutes after the start there was a serious accident when the cars after having passed the hairpin
were returning cross the river over the new bridge. Probably there was a gust of wind that made the Maserati of Swiss driver Pedrazzini to
slide sideways as it was going over the bridge. The car crashed into the balustrade, breaking it, and continued in a series of pirouettes.
The unfortunate driver was thrown out and was was urgently sent to an ambulance with a broken leg, broken ribs and internal injuries that he
was to succumb to soon after his arrival to hospital.|
The other cars, leaving the devastation behind them, continued onto the sector with tram lines next to the road, leading back to the start.
There Maserati driver Gerolamo Ferrari lost control, hit a brick wall and his car started to burn. Luckly the driver escaped with just slight
burns and a shock.
After three laps Tadini was leading by seven seconds over Chiron with Nuvolari already some 40 seconds further behind. Chiron pulled in two
seconds but then the situation became stabilized with five seconds distance between the cars of the Ferrari duo until lap seven when Tadini had
difficulties lapping Biondetti and Chiron caught up. The car in front sprayed mud onto Tadini's goggles and immediately the Monégasque driver
was by Tadini and up into the lead.
So Chiron took the heat victory from Tadini with Nuvolari a distant third 1m11s behind, the Maserati having proved no match for the
Alfas in the rain. Comotti was fourth after a confident Tipo B debut. Soffietti was fifth and last finalist in front of Rovere.
Chiron's winning speed and fastest lap were in fact very good considering the conditions.
Results (Heat 1)
|1.||10||Louis Chiron||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||Tipo B/P3||2.9||S-8||8||28m11.8s|
|2.||14||Mario Tadini||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||Tipo B/P3||2.6||S-8||8||28m46.0s||+ 34.2s|
|3.||50||Tazio Nuvolari||T. Nuvolari||Maserati||8CM||3.0||S-8||8||29m23.0s||+ 1m11.2s|
|4.||18||Gianfranco Comotti||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||Tipo B/P3||2.6||S-8||8||29m55.8s||+ 1m44.0s|
|5.||30||Luigi Soffietti||Scuderia Siena||Alfa Romeo||Monza||2.6||S-8||8||31m26.2s||+ 3m14.4s|
|6.||22||Clemente Biondetti||Gruppo Genovese San Giorgio||Maserati||26M||2.8||S-8||8||32m34.0s||+ 4m22.2s|
|7.||62||Gino Rovere||G. Rovere||Alfa Romeo||Monza||2.3||S-8||8||33m25.0s||+ 5m13.2s|
|8.||6||Lorenzo Delpino||Scuderia Balestrero||Maserati||4CM||1.1||S-4||8||34m21.8s||+ 6m10.0s|
|9.||42||"André Delmo"||Scuderia Beccaria||Bugatti||T51||2.3||S-8||8||34m42.8s||+ 6m31.0s|
|10.||38||Renzo Camandona||R. Camandona||Bugatti||T35||2.3||S-8||8||36m50.4s||+ 8m38.6s|
|DNF||58||Paul Pietsch||P. Pietsch||Alfa Romeo||Monza||2.6||S-8||4|
|DNF||46||Giovanni Alloatti||G. Alloatti||Bugatti||T51||2.3||S-8||0|
|DNF||34||Carlo Pedrazzini||Scuderia Siena||Maserati||8CM||3.0||S-8||0||fatal crash|
|DNF||26||Gerolamo Ferrari||G. Ferrari||M.B.-Maserati||Speciale||2.5||S-8||0||crash, fire|
Fastest lap: Chiron (Alfa Romeo) in 3m25.0s = 140.5 km/h, (87.3 mph)|
Winner's medium speed: 136.3 km/h, (84.6 mph)
Weather: heavy rain at start slowing down a bit during race.
At the end of the first heat the rain slowed down to a drizzle and then decidedly stopped before the start of the second heat. So the ten cars
were flagged off onto a slowly drying track.
As the flag dropped Varzi took the lead and on the first three laps he opened up a huge gap to Trossi, who unable to keep Varzi's pace seemed quite
content just to secure his second position. Behind them there was a duel with Minozzi in an Alfa challenging Valpreda in a Maserati for third position.
Eventually Minozzi found a way past and soon afterwards Valpreda also had to concede his fourth position to British driver Penn-Hughes. After that the race
stabilized itself. Varzi took the victory 16 seconds in front of Trossi. Having secured a place in the final Minozzi lifted his foot from the pedal as he
saw the chequered flag and cruised into finish only to see himself beaten on the line by Penn-Hughes.|
Penn-Hughes' pit crew had agreed to wave a handkerchief as a signal that the driver had made it to the final but they were so excited by their driver's
performane that they lost the handkerchief.
Results (Heat 2)
|1.||12||Achille Varzi||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||Tipo B/P3||2.9||S-8||8||28m43.8s|
|2.||16||Carlo Trossi||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||Tipo B/P3||2.9||S-8||8||28m59.6s||+ 15.8s|
|3.||64||Clifton Penn-Hughes||C. Penn-Hughes||Alfa Romeo||Monza||2.6||S-8||8||29m57.6s||+ 1m13.8s|
|4.||32||Giovanni Minozzi||Scuderia Siena||Alfa Romeo||Monza||2.3||S-8||8||29m58.4s||+ 1m14.6s|
|5.||8||Federico Valpreda||Scuderia Balestrero||Alfa Romeo||Monza||2.3||S-8||8||30m16.0s||+ 1m32.2s|
|6.||52||Luigi Pages||L. Pages||Alfa Romeo||Monza||2.3||S-8||8||32m05.8s||+ 3m22.0s|
|7.||24||Secondo Corsi||S. Corsi||Maserati||26M||2.8||S-8||8||32m16.0s||+ 3m32.2s|
|8.||28||Umberto Casareto||U. Casareto||Maserati||26||1.5||S-8||8||33m32.1s||+ 4m48.3s|
|DNF||40||Giuseppe Farina||Scuderia Subalpina||Alfa Romeo||Monza||2.3||S-8||1|
|DNF||48||Romano Malaguti||R. Malaguti||Maserati||4Cm||1.1||S-8||?|
Fastest lap: Varzi (Alfa Romeo) in 3m27.2s = 139.0 km/h, (86.4 mph)|
Winner's medium speed: 133.7 km/h, (83.1 mph)
Weather: rainy, wet track.
The final, scheduled for 4 p.m., was delayed by 20 minutes. Possibly it was an attempt to make the track dry up
further. If so, it was a vain attempt. Slowly but surely the rain started anew and when the ten cars took off the track
conditions had turned really bad again.
Tadini took the early lead. Reaching the corner before the bridge Minozzi found himself blocked and losing control of the car he spun
through a fence and into the spectator area. Several spectators had to be sent to hospital but fortunately their injuries proved to be slight.
Tadini held the lead after the first lap by five seconds from Chiron followed by Trossi one second behind and Varzi a further 1.6 seconds behind.
Nuvolari was in fifth position desperately trying to keep pace with the Alfa Romeos. The rest of the field lead by Comotti were
already falling behind.|
On lap two Chiron took over the lead. Passing the second bridge where the fatal accident earlier had occured Nuvolari found his way
blocked by Trossi. He turned right but then obviously the Maserati began to slide in the rain and touched the rear of Varzi's car. In some 110 km/h
Nuvolari's Maserati spun, hit a tree, rolled over on its side, hit another tree and spun back to the track upside down with torn off
front suspension. Nuvolari, who had been thrown off the car, tried to get up but immediately fell back. He had broken his left leg.
The race continued with Chiron leading while Tadini fell further back being passed by Trossi and Varzi. Then Varzi passed Trossi and
started to pull in the gap to Chiron. On lap seven Varzi was right behind Chiron and the Monégasque seemed to ease up and let the Italian take over the lead
in front of his home crowd. On the next lap Varzi did the fastest lap of the race: 3m18.8 s. After that the conditions started to deteriorate further and the lap
times went up.
With three laps to go Trossi retired into the pits giving back third position to Tadini. With the Maseratis out of luck the race now became a
straightforward parade for the Alfa Romeo monopostos of the Ferrari team.
Varzi took an easy victory from team mates Chiron, Tadini and Comotti. Penn-Hughes and Soffietti were fifth and sixth with their Monzas and
Valpredi was seventh and last, the only non Alfa Romeo to finish.
|1.||12||Achille Varzi||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||Tipo B/P3||2.9||S-8||15||52m36.0s|
|2.||10||Louis Chiron||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||Tipo B/P3||2.9||S-8||15||52m37.2s||+ 1.2s|
|3.||14||Mario Tadini||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||Tipo B/P3||2.6||S-8||15||54m37.0s||+ 2m01.0s|
|4.||18||Gianfranco Comotti||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||Tipo B/P3||2.6||S-8||15||55m02.0s||+ 2m26.0s|
|5.||64||Clifton Penn-Hughes||C. Penn-Hughes||Alfa Romeo||Monza||2.6||S-8||15||55m55.6s||+ 3m19.6s|
|6.||30||Luigi Soffietti||Scuderia Siena||Alfa Romeo||Monza||2.6||S-8||15||59m03.0s||+ 6m27.0s|
|7.||8||Federico Valpreda||Scuderia Balestrero||Alfa Romeo||Monza||2.3||S-8||15||1h00m33.0s||+ 7m57.0s|
|DNF||16||Carlo Trossi||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||Tipo B/P3||2.9||S-8||12||crash|
|DNF||50||Tazio Nuvolari||T. Nuvolari||Maserati||8CM||3.0||S-8||1||crash|
|DNF||32||Giovanni Minozzi||Scuderia Siena||Alfa Romeo||Monza||2.3||S-8||0||crash|
Fastest lap: Varzi (Alfa Romeo) at 3m18.8s = 144.9 km/h (90.0 mph)|
Winner's medium speed: 136.9 km/h (85.1 mph)
Weather: heavy rain.
Nuvolari's injury proved to be a simple fracture. At the hospital he was presented with a section of the tree he had crashed into with the inscription:
"To Tazio Nuvolari intrepid ace of the wheel, as a record of the providential obstacle which although preventing a sure victory, saved a
precious existence". Nuvolari would return to racing less than a month later.
Clifton Penn-Hughes claimed in "The Motor" that Chiron had given Varzi the victory as the race was a part of the Italian Championship.
Swiss "Automobile Revue" was highly critical to the safety arrangements claiming that the spectators more or less decided themselves where the
spectator area ended and the track began.
There were earlier several question marks in the entry list and heat lists of this race. Alessandro Silva, using
Gazzetta dello Sport, Auto Italiana, Rivista RACI, La Stampa, Il Littoriale and Automobile Revue as sources, has been of great help sorting out the mess.
(Note the differences in heat 2 between Silva and Paul Sheldon's variant).
1. Picture evidence (thanks Piotr Podhaiski) shows heat 1 grid to be ordered left-right.
2. Picture evidence (thanks Alessandro Silva) shows that the second heat grid was arranged totally different from heat one (3-3 right vs. 3-2 left)
Primary sources researched for this article:|
L Littoriale, Roma
The Motor, London
Special thanks to: