1 9 3 4
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 Tipo B 2.6 liter or 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 3 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.
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 avalance 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.
1. My main sources for the race, Öistein Bertheau's "Bilsport i Norge" and Paul Sheldon's "A Record of Grand Prix and Voiturette Racing",
don't agree on neither start numbers, grid, nor results. I have tried my best to make the correct choice.
Johansen's time is confirmed by the Polish contemporary magazine "Auto" (thanks Andrzej Jakubaszek) but there is
confusion with Bertheau's times for Andersen/Breiseth so I have included results from both Bertheau and Sheldon.
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.
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
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, 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. At least Lehoux's, Moll's and Trossi's cars were of
that type and possibly also Louis Chiron's. (Note 1). Oddly all the Scuderia Ferrari cars seem to have raced at Monaco without any rear view mirrors.
During the early 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.
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, Wimille 2m04s, Lehoux 2m04s,
Straight 2m05sBenoist 2m06s, Moll 2m06s, Veyron 2m07s, Howe 2m11s and Balestrero 2m12s or 2m13s.
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. Wimille 2m02s, Straight 2m03s, Howe 2m08s and Taruffi 2m12s.
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 the light cruiser H.M.S Delhi, docked in the harbour.
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.
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||2.9||S-8||100||3h31m31.4s|
|2.||16||Louis Chiron||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||Tipo B/P3||2.9||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||2.9||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||W. Straight||Maserati||8CM||3.0||S-8||96||3h32m00s|
|8.||30||Eugenio Siena||Scuderia Siena||Maserati||8C-3000||2.5||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||4C-2500||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 at Alessandria and thus all five Monaco cars were rebuilt 1933 cars. Nye also
claims there where 6+3 cars made in 1932-33 while all other sources mention only six cars. One 2.6 liter car in 1933 spec. appeared at the Parma hillclimb on 29 April.
That would mean all five other cars had been upgraded before Monaco but that would then make the sudden appearance of three old 2.6 liter cars at the Casablanca GP on 20 May very odd.
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: Varzi / Bignami (Alfa Romeo Monza 2.6L) wins the Mille Miglia sports car race in Italy. (Results)
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
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 right 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, Delmot, 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||2.6||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||8C?||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||26||1.5||S-4||8||34m21.8s||+ 6m10.0s|
|9.||42||André Delmot||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||T35B||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||BM-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||2.6||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||3.0||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 right 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||2.6||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||2.6||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:
28 April 1934: Straight (Maserati 8CM 3.0L) wins the JCC International Trophy handicap race at Brooklands, England.
VIII° GRAN PREMIO DI TRIPOLI
Autodromo di Mellaha - Tripoli (I), 6 May 1934
40 laps x 13.140 km (8.165 mi) = 525.60 km (326.6 mi) (Note 1)
Varzi vs. Moll
The Formula Libre Tripoli Grand Prix was held on the high-speed Mellaha circuit in Libya (an Italian
colony in those days). The track had been widened and the high speed corners had received a slight banking. As the race
was held in conjunction with the state lottery there was as usual a high number of entries.
After the 1933 scandal where there were accusations that the result may have had been fixed, the rules had been changed
(Note 2) so that the owners of the drawn tickets could not come in contact with the drivers before the race.|
Scuderia Ferrari entered five cars, four P3/Tipo Bs for Varzi, Chiron, Moll and Tadini and a Monza for Guglielmo Carraroli.
The Maserati team entered their twin-engined "Sedici Cilindri" monster for Taruffi. Bugatti entered three T59s. After his catastrophic Monaco performance Robert Benoist stood down in favour for Antonio Brivio, who was making his
debut race for Bugatti. The other cars were driven by Jean-Pierre Wimille and René Dreyfus.
There was also the usual field of private Maseratis and Alfa Romeos.
A rather unusual sight in Grand Prix racing was the two American Miller cars,
a four-wheel-drive 5 liter Indianapolis car (Gus Schrader 1932, crash lap 8) driven by Peter de Paolo, the first 4WD car to start
in a major Grand Prix, and a 3723 cc ex-Indianapolis Duesenberg for Lou Moore (Foreman Axle Special/Maley & Scully, Moore 1933, 3rd)
After practice ended there was a near miss between Varzi, who had not slowed down, and Dreyfus, who was towing Brivio's
car back to the pits. Varzi missed the Bugatti duo but hit a road bank, braking the halfshaft and damaging the engine. An
new engine was flown down to Tripoli for the race.
At the start Taruffi took the "Sedici Cilindri" up in front and held it until Chiron squeezed past him on the fourth lap.
Situation after 5 laps:
|1. Chiron (Alfa Romeo)||20m00s|
|2. Taruffi (Maserati)||20m01.6s|
|3. Varzi (Alfa Romeo)||21m11s|
|4. Wimille (Bugatti)||21m13s|
|5. Trossi (Alfa Romeo)||21m15.4s|
O lap seven Taruffi missed a braking in a corner that later would be known as the "Taruffi corner" and went hard straight through a beer
advertisement poster (Note 4).
Order after 10 laps:
|1. Chiron (Alfa Romeo)||40m21.4s|
|2. Varzi (Alfa Romeo)||40m38.8s|
|3. Hamilton (Maserati)||42m11.8s|
|4. Wimille (Bugatti) ||43m41.6s|
|5. Moll (Alfa Romeo)||45m53.6s|
Chiron held the lead in his Alfa Romeo until having to do a pit stop for new tyres and letting Varzi and
Hamilton by. After the pit stop Chiron was soon able to retake the second place from Hamilton but the Maserati driver
put up a great effort to follow Chiron and only had to give up when the car developed a carburettor failure.
After 30 laps:
|1. Varzi (Alfa Romeo)||2m06m03.0s|
|2. Chiron (Alfa Romeo)||2m06m03.4s|
|3. Moll (Alfa Romeo)|
|4. Tadini (Alfa Romeo)|
|5. Etancelin (Maserati)|
WIth ten laps to go Varzi held the lead with Chiron close behind and Moll almost minutes back.
Just as in Monaco Moll did a great job, closing in on the top duo, who were running a tactical game, watching out each other.
With just a few laps to go Moll passed Chiron, who was suffering from dropping oil pressure. In the last corner Moll tried to pass Varzi
but the veteran driver was not to be surprised and closed the gate. Moll later accused Varzi for trying
to push him off the road. At the flag Moll was only a car's length behind Varzi who took the victory just as he had
done in 1933, but this time there was no talk about any foul play.
1. Counted with 13.14 km track length as given by Nixon (Silver Arrows) & Venables (Racing Fifteen-Hundreds). Sheldon uses
13.1 km as does some contemporary magazines (AZ MOTORWELT 4,5/1935 p12). With a 13.1 km track length the total race length
would be 524 km (325.6 mi), race speed 186.2 km/h (115,7 mph) and fastest lap speed 200.3 km/h (124.5 mph).
2. All the drivers had to sit in the cars before a race number was drawn for each of the lucky lottery winners, who had been invited to the race.
The lucky person
who got the race number of the winning car would go home 7 1/2 million lire richer (remember that the Lire was worth more
then than now).
3. 5-5-5 grid from picture evidence with thanks to Otto Grabe.
4. Taruffi later got a bill for damages from the beer company.
Eläintarharata - Helsinki (FIN), 13 May 1934
50 laps x 2.000 km (1.243 mi) = 100.00 km (62.1 mi)
Bjørnstad wins in Finland
Bjørnstad's and Pietsch's Monza Alfas and Berrone's Maserati 8CM put a international impression on the race held
in downtown Helsinki. Prizes were 25,000 Fmk, 12,500 Fmk and 7,500 Fmk and 2500 Fmk for the top four finishers.
Of the foreign entries, most attention drew Ippolito Berrone with a 2 liter Maserati 4CM and Giuseppe Ferrari with a 1.5 liter Maserati.
They travelled all the way from Parma via Innsbruck, Berlin, Sassnitz, Stockholm and Turku. In Innsbruck an axle on their lorry broke. They managed to get the lorry moved to
Berlin only to realize that it was impossible to fix the problem in time to reach the ship to Sweden. They had to leave the 1.5 Maserati in Berlin and continue the trip
with a smaller truck and just one race car.
Favourites were Paul Pietch and Bjørnstad, each entering a Alfa Romeo Monza. Pietsch's car was painted white and Bjørnstad's red
with white-blue lines to indicate the Norwegian flag. Swede Karl-Gustaf Sundstedt did not turn up with his Bugatti as the car failed to arrive from Paris in time.
The rest of the entry list consisted of Finns with a rather mixed collection of cars. Ebb had his old Mercedes-Benz SSK and Keinänen his Chrysler. Patama had a Ford, nicely
rebuilt to a race car and Alm his oddly looking "tail-Ford" while Wallenius' Ford looked to have been in almost normal spec.
7 a.m. on Thurday morning Berrone went out for a few laps to make himself familiar with the track. He noticed that the brakes on his Maserati needed to be adjusted
and his mechanic Bortolini decided to make a lap to check the problem.
On the uphill from the "Death curve" towards the Stadium Bortolini met a car driving in opposite direction. It was Giuseppe Ferrari and translator Boccalari arriving to the track.
Bortolini braked hard, lost control and went off to the right into a tree, breaking his right leg and bending the Maserati.
Official practice took place on Friday morning 4 a.m - 6 a.m. the motorcycles using the first hour and then the cars going out two and two
with 15 minutes time for each pair. First off were Wallenius and Alm. Even if Alm only did a 1m25s lap the movements of Alm's tail-Ford in the corners looked so frightening that
orgainizers later declared the car dangerous and unfit to take part in the race. Next pair was Pietsch and Bjørnstad, the German putting in some 1m14s-1m15s laps, the Norwegian getting down to 1m16s .
In the third pair Ebb made the fastest lap of the day, 1m13s , while Keinänen did a 1m15s before he stopped after four laps with a stuck gearbox and had to be towed away.
Finally Suurkuukka, Patama and Nyström were allowed out to practice.
Berrone, whose car was under repair, was of course not practicing.
At the end of practice the drivers did a 350 m start test on the straight to decide the grid positions. All but Ebb and Bjørnstad did two runs but only Alm,
managed to improve his time. Times for the other drivers were: Ebb 14.7s, Bjørnstad 14.9s Pietsch 15.1s/15.4s, Patama 16.2s/16.2s, Wallenius 17.0s/17.2s, Suurkuukka 17.0s/19.0s,
Alm 17.5s/17.3s and Nyström 19.0s/19.0s. The positions for the three drivers who had not practiced were decided by ballot.
|* 5 Sundstedt (Bugatti) DNA|
The start was delayed due to an engine fire on the grid. When the race finally started local hero
Ebb took the lead from pole position with his big Mercedes but on the second lap he was passed by Bjørnstad and soon afterwards by Pietsch as well.|
|1. Bjørnstad (Alfa Romeo)||6m06s|
|2. Pietsch (Alfa Romeo)||6m10.1s|
|3. Ebb (Mercedes-Benz)||6m15s|
|4. Keinänen (Chrysler)||6m17s|
|5. Berrone (Maserati)||6m31s|
|1. Bjørnstad (Alfa Romeo)||11m59s|
|2. Pietsch (Alfa Romeo)||12m09s|
|3. Ebb (Mercedes-Benz)||12m30s|
|4. Keinänen (Chrysler)||12m32s|
|5. Wallenius (Ford)||12m00s|
|1. Bjørnstad (Alfa Romeo)||17m45s|
|2. Pietsch (Alfa Romeo)||18m13.1s|
|3. Ebb (Mercedes-Benz)||18m44s|
|4. Keinänen (Chrysler)||18m55s|
|5. Wallenius (Ford)|
|6. Patama (Ford)|
At 1/3 race distance Ebb dropped to forth as Keinänen passed.
|1. Bjørnstad (Alfa Romeo)||23m42s|
|2. Pietsch (Alfa Romeo)||24m16.8s|
|3. Keinänen (Chrysler)||24m51s|
|4. Ebb (Mercedes-Benz)||24m59s|
|1. Bjørnstad (Alfa Romeo)||29m30s|
|2. Pietsch (Alfa Romeo)||30m17.7s|
|3. Keinänen (Chrysler)||30m58s|
|4. Ebb (Mercedes-Benz)||31m04s|
|1. Bjørnstad (Alfa Romeo)||35m11s|
|2. Pietsch (Alfa Romeo)||36m15.9s|
|3. Keinänen (Chrysler)||36m56s|
|4. Ebb (Mercedes-Benz)||37m12s|
|1. Bjørnstad (Alfa Romeo)||41m11s|
|2. Pietsch (Alfa Romeo)||42m14.3s|
|3. Keinänen (Chrysler)||43m04s|
|4. Ebb (Mercedes-Benz)||43m18s|
On lap 36 Keinänen
was out with broken rear axle leaving Ebb back in third place again.
|1. Bjørnstad (Alfa Romeo)||47m14s|
|2. Pietsch (Alfa Romeo)||48m13.1s|
|4. Ebb (Mercedes-Benz)||49m27s|
|1. Bjørnstad (Alfa Romeo)||53m15s|
|2. Pietsch (Alfa Romeo)||54m10.6s|
|4. Ebb (Mercedes-Benz)||55m36s|
Norwegian driver Bjørnstad was totally dominant, lapping everyone but
Pietsch at least once.
|1.||4||Eugen Bjørnstad||E. Bjørnstad||Alfa Romeo||Monza||2.3||S-8||50||59m23.1s|
|2.||6||Paul Pietsch||P. Pietsch||Alfa Romeo||Monza||2.6||S-8||50||1h00m10.1s||+ 47.0s|
|3.||9||Karl Ebb||K. Ebb||Mercedes-Benz||SSK||7.1||S-6||49||1n01m47.2s|
|4.||1||Asser Wallenius||A. Wallenius||Ford||Special||3.6||V-8||?||1h09m25s|
|DNF||10||S.P.J. Keinänen||S.P.J. Keinänen||Chrysler||Special||5.1||S-6||35||broken rear axle|
|DNF||12||Alexi Patama||A. Patama||Ford||Special||21||run off/crash|
|DNF||2||Ippolito Berrone||I. Berrone||Maserati||4CM||2.0||S-4||6||fuel line|
|DNF||8||Nestori Suurkuukka||N. Suurkuukka||Ford||0||crashed into a tree|
|DNS||7||Bruno Nyström||B. Nyström||Chevrolet||0||fire on the grid|
Fastest lap: N/A|
Winner's medium speed: 101.0 km/h (62.8 mph)
XXV° TARGA FLORIO
Piccolo Circuito delle Madonie - Sicily (I), 20 May 1934
6 laps x 72 km (44.7 mi) = 432 km (268.4 mi)
Alfa Romeos all the way
The Targa Florio was a shadow of its former glory. A single Bugatti and a single Maserati challenged ten Alfa Romeos. Rain made the course even more dangerous than usual. Alloatti in a Bugatti went over a bridge
parapet on the second lap and received wounds that eventually proved fatal .
Ghersi in the works Ferrari led for the first two laps but then went off and lost 20 minutes for repairs. His team mate Varzi took over the lead and dominated the rest of the race in the rain to take the flag followed
by six other Alfa drivers.
As it was the 25th Targa Florio there should have been a reason for celebration. But Cavalliere Vincenzo Florio was now absent from the Auto Club di Sicilia organizing committee and everyone had to admit it, that the
Targa Florio was a shadow of its former glory. Alfa Romeo cars with Italian drivers had won the four latest Targas and foreign teams and drivers saw no reason to spend resources on an event that the Italians knew by
hart. So the Targa had turned into a local Italian event and a rather minor Italian event at that, especially as the 1934 race clashed both with the Frontieres Grand Prix in Belgium and the Morocco Grand Prix.
As in 1932 and 1933 the race was run on Piccolo Circuito delle Madonie but the race length was down to 6 laps from 8 in 1932 and 7 in 1933.
There was a total prize fund of 150.000 lire, the winner receiving the gold medal of the King of Italy plus 35.000 lire. The second and third positioned competitors received bronze replicas of the "Targa" shield and
20.000 lire and 12.000 lire each respectively.
Scuderia Ferrari could hardly neglect to defend their series of Targa successes so they divided their forces, sending three P3 monopostos to Casablanca and two P3s plus two Monzas to Sicily. Achille Varzi was to race a 2.9
litre P3 and Pietro Ghersi a 2.6 litre ditto while Nando Barbieri and Guglielmo Carraroli were selected to handle the Monzas. There were five other Monzas in the entry list entered by Gruppo Genovese (for Attilio Battilana),
Gianni Battaglia, Renato Balestrero, Luigi Pages and Lelio Pellegrini.
Giuseppe Cortese (not to be confused with Franco Cortese) racing under the alias "Fiorello"entered an Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 as did Constantino Magistri and Luigi Beccaria.
The only non Alfa Romeos in the race were Antonia d'Agata in a 2.5 litre Maserati 26M and Io Baldo (sp) and Cavaliere Giovanni Alloatti in Bugattis. Alloatti had bought the ex-works car T51 #51153, possibly via Varzi, and had
it registered in April 1934.
Of the entries Pellegrini, Io Baldo and Beccaria did not turn up for the race.
Targa Florio has been called the hardest circuit race in the world and to add to that, that weekend the weather at Sicily was miserable.
The rain showed no sign of ending. Late in the night before the race the decision was taken by Scuderia Ferrari to use fenders and rain tyres during the race and the mechanics went to work to change the cars. The other competitors
probably followed the idea as well.
The "fenders" on the Alfa Romeo monopostos were simply big horizontal plates fitted at the frame each side of the engine to protect the driver from what the front wheels threw up and it looks like the Scuderia Ferrari Monzas were
fitted with them too while some of the other cars used more traditional looking fenders.
The "rain tyres" used were prepared by what the Italians called the "Ancorizzato" process of making cross-cuts in the thread to get a better grip.
The drivers were to be released at two minute intervals. "Normal" racing, car against car, was of course impossible on a narrow course like Targa Florio. Shown here are race numbers according to Paul Sheldon's book. For some
reason the starting order drawn by Auto Club di Sicilia doesn't follow that race numbers order.
It kept on raining but still the Sicilian Targa Florio fans turned up at the start at Cerda as well as all over the course. Joining them at the main grandstand was Arturo Marescalchi, Undersecretary of agriculture and foresty,
Giovanni Battista Marziali, prefect of Palermo and Pietro Parisio, commissioner of R.A.C.I.
|Cars started at intervals|
|10||Varzi||Alfa Romeo ||10:36|
|12||Balestrero||Alfa Romeo ||10:46|
|18||Pages||Alfa Romeo ||10:48|
At 10:30 Undersecretary Marescalchi , denying an offered umbrella, went out to the track with the flag in hand and sent away Barbieri in his Alfa Romeo. Barbieri was followed two minutes later by Alloatti. Then it was Ghersi's
turn after a further two minutes and so on. Pages had flooded the carburetor on his Monza and came away 1m45s late.
Hardly had Carraroli's Ferrari Monza disappeared from Cerda as last vehicle away before the first race report came in. Barbieri had passed Caltavuturo. There were two intermediate timing stations, one at Caltavuturo, 600 m above
the sea and 30 km from the start and one at Collesano, 448m above sea and 48 km from the start. A heavy shower fell over Cerda while the results from the stations continued to drop in. Ghersi had been fastest at Caltavuturo with
Alloatti, Varzi, Barbieri and Magistri within a minute behind him. At Collesano Ghersi was leading Varzi by 43 seconds.
At 11:30 a fire cracker went off to get the spectators' attention. The first competitor was approaching Cerda. Through the rain Barbieri's Monza appeared to the cheers from to crowd. Just a minute later two more fire crackers
announced two more cars arriving. It was Ghersi in the P3, who had gained almost 3 minutes on Barbieri , followed by Alloatti in the T51 Bugatti, who had been passed by Ghersi and now tried his best to keep up the pace of the Alfa.
Two and a half minutes later Varzi turned up. Then the spectators had to wait 7 minutes for Magistri , who had done a great job in his little Alfa 1750, not only having caught d'Agata's Maserati but having left it 4 minutes
behind. And then car after car followed. The race order after the first lap was:
|1. Ghersi (Alfa Romeo)||58m40s (73.6 km/h)|
|2. Varzi (Alfa Romeo)||59m18s|
|3. Alloatti (Bugatti)||1h00m53s|
|4. Barbieri (Alfa Romeo)||1h01m28.6s|
|5. Magistri (Alfa Romeo)||1h02m32s|
|6. Balestrero (Alfa Romeo)||1h03m40.2s|
|7. "Fiorello" (Alfa Romeo)||1h05m23.8s|
|8. Pages (Alfa Romeo)||1h07m06s|
|9. d'Agata (Maserati)||1h08m52s|
|10. Carraroli (Alfa Romeo)||1h09m20.4s|
|11. Battaglia (Alfa Romeo)||1h10m55.2s|
|12. Battilana (Alfa Romeo)|
When Carraroli had passed there was a half an hour interval for the spectators, who however could follow the race from the intermediate reports.
On the second lap at the Cardellino bridge, 23 km after the start, Alloatti overdid it and crashed into the bridge stone parapet. The Bugatti fell some ten meters down into the valley. An ambulance took Alloatti to the
San Saverio hospital in Palermo where the doctors found that his back was broken in two places and that he also had a fractured skull.
Barbieri still held the lead on the track after two laps. Ghersi was just 36 seconds behind with Varzi arriving to Cerda as third, 2m24s later. The order after 2 laps was:
|1. Ghersi (Alfa Romeo)||1h59m02.8s (72.6 km/h)|
|2. Varzi (Alfa Romeo)||1h59m27s|
|3. Barbieri (Alfa Romeo)||2h02m27.4s?|
|4. Magistri (Alfa Romeo)|
|5. Balestrero (Alfa Romeo)|
|6. "Fiorello" (Alfa Romeo)|
|7. Pages (Alfa Romeo)|
|8. Battaglia (Alfa Romeo)|
|9. Carraroli (Alfa Romeo)|
|10. d'Agata (Maserati)|
|11. Battilana (Alfa Romeo)|
D'Agata retired his Maserati with ignition trouble. That left only ten Alfa Romeos in the competition.
The rain finally stopped at Cerda and the weather there turned much better. The spectators eagerly waited for the drivers to appear again. The report from Collesano showed that Ghersi and Varzi were close together in time.
Then a Scuderia Ferrari monoposto appeared but it was not Ghersi but Varzi who turned up. Two and a half minutes later Barbieri appeared in his Monza. Both made their planned pit stops for fuel and new rear wheels and were
soon away again. Then after ten minutes wait Magistri sensationally turned up in the 1750 and only then, behind him, Ghersi. At a curve near Campofelice Ghersi had crashed and damaged the right front fender on the Alfa and
a bolt had become loose on the steering. Repairs and a plug change took 7m10s. That meant that Ghersi had lost over 20 minutes in total and Magistri now was 2nd!
|1. Varzi (Alfa Romeo)||3h00m38s (71.7 km/h)|
|2. Magistri (Alfa Romeo)||3h07m27.6s|
|3. Barbieri (Alfa Romeo)||3h09m08.4s|
|4. Balestrero (Alfa Romeo)||3h16m21.2s|
|5. "Fiorello" (Alfa Romeo)|
|6. Battaglia (Alfa Romeo)|
|7. Pages (Alfa Romeo)|
|8. Ghersi (Alfa Romeo)||3h22m05s|
|9. Battilana (Alfa Romeo)|
|10. Carraroli (Alfa Romeo)|
Battilana had damaged the steering at the downhill section after Callesano and had to retire his Monza.
From the halfway point the lap times were going up for every car and continued getting worse and worse as there race proceeded. While Varzi was in command of the race and had no reason to push anymore, it is possible that while
the rain had stopped at Cerda it had intensified in the mountains making the conditions worse.
Varzi passed the main stand for the fourth time as first driver followed five minutes later by Barbieri, while Magistri was still pushing in second position overall.
|1. Varzi (Alfa Romeo)||4h03m25s (71.0 km/h)|
|2. Magistri (Alfa Romeo)||4h11m13.1s|
|3. Barbieri (Alfa Romeo)||4h14m49s|
|4. Balestrero (Alfa Romeo)|
|5. Pages (Alfa Romeo)|
|6. "Fiorello" (Alfa Romeo)|
|7. Battaglia (Alfa Romeo)|
|8. Ghersi (Alfa Romeo)|
|9. Carraroli (Alfa Romeo)|
On the fifth lap Carraroli retired with a broken differential.
Order after 5 laps:
|1. Varzi (Alfa Romeo)||5h08m56s (69.9 km/h)|
|2. Barbieri (Alfa Romeo)||5h21m17s|
|3. Magistri (Alfa Romeo)||5h25m02.4s|
|4. Balestrero (Alfa Romeo)|
|5. Pages (Alfa Romeo)|
|6. "Fiorello" (Alfa Romeo)|
|7. Ghersi (Alfa Romeo)|
|8. Battaglia (Alfa Romeo)|
Varzi took the flag 6 hours and 20 minutes after the race was started. Then there was a seven minutes wait for Barbieri, who had taken over second position from Magistri. The latter had had engine problems and had been unable
to keep up the pace but arrived 23 minutes later to finish third both on track and on overall. Three and a half minutes behind Magistri Ghersi took the flag but he knew he has lost too much time. Behind him Balestrero and
Pages had 12 and 14 minutes time to beat him and Balestrero did that easy arriving only 8 minutes behind Ghersi, while there was a tight fight with Pages who robbed Ghersi from the 5th position by just 3 seconds.
"Fiorello" finished 7th and last while Battaglia seems to have retired on the last lap.
And then the rain started to come down again as the teams packed up and started towards Palermo.
The winner's medium speed was, because of the conditions, of course low. Still it was faster than in the 1931 race, run in similar conditions but on the even more demanding Grande Circuito delle Madione.
|1.||10||Achille Varzi||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||Tipo B/P3||2.9||S-8||6||6h14m26.8s|
|2.||2||Ferdinando Barbieri||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||Monza||2.6||S-8||6||6h27m14.2s||+ 12m47.4s|
|3.||22||Costantino Magistri||C. Magistri||Alfa Romeo||6C 1750GS||1.5||S-6||6||6h40m02.6s||+ 25m35.8s|
|4.||12||Renato Balestrero||R. Balestrero||Alfa Romeo||Monza||2.6||S-8||6||6h45m43.0s||+ 31m16.2s|
|5.||18||Luigi Pages||L. Pages||Alfa Romeo||Monza||2.3||S-8||6||6h49m28.8s||+ 35m02.0s|
|6.||6||Pietro Ghersi||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||Tipo B/P3||2.6||S-8||6||6h49m32.0s||+ 35m05.2s|
|7.||28||"Fiorello"||G. Cortese||Alfa Romeo||6C 1750||1.7||S-6||6||6h54m01.2s||+ 39m34.4s|
|DNF||14||Gianni Battaglia||G. Battaglia||Alfa Romeo||Monza||2.6||S-8||5|
|DNF||8||Guglielmo Carraroli||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||Monza||2.6||S-8||4||differential|
|DNF||30||Attilio Battilana||Gruppo Genovese||Alfa Romeo||Monza||2.6||S-8||3||steering|
|DNF||24||Antonio d'Agata||A. d'Agata||Maserati||26M||2.5||S-8||2||ignition|
|DNF||4||Giovanni Alloatti||G. Alloatti||Bugatti||T35B||2.3||S-8||1||fatal crash|
Fastest lap: Pietro Ghersi (Alfa Romeo) on lap 1 in 58m40.0s = 73.6 km/h (45.8 mph) |
Winner's medium speed: 69.2 km/h (43.0 mph)
Weather: heavy rains.
Alloatti fought on at the hospital for almost three weeks before he finally succumbed to his injuries. He was buried at the Cimitero Generale in Turin. His Bugatti was repaired (most probably by the factory)
and sold to the Léoz-Abad brothers from Spain.
Primary sources researched for this article:|
El Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona
Le Figaro, Paris
Il Littoriale, Roma
La Stampa, Torino
Motor Sport, London
The Motor, London
Special thanks to:
21 May 1934: The B.A.R.C. Whitsun Meeting was held at Brooklands.|
The handicap races were won by D. A. Aldington (Frazer Nash 1.5 litre), Mrs K. Petre (Bugatti 2.0 litre), A. J. Cormack (Alta 1.1 litre),
W. E. Harker (Harker Special 1.5 litre), R. T. Horton (M.G. 1.1 litre), Earl Howe (Bugatti 2.3 litre), J. W. Lucas (Riley 1.1 litre),
L. Eccles (Bugatti 2.3 litre), N. Embiricos (Bugatti 2.3 litre) and W. G. Everitt (M.G. 0.7 litre).