II PRIX DE BERNE
Bremgarten-Bern (CH), 25 August 1935
20 laps x 7.280 km (4.524 mi) = 145.60 km (90.47 mi)
Seaman and "Bira" show the works team how it should be done
by Leif Snellman
After their recent good performance the ERAs were expected to win the voiturette race. But with both the works cars driven by Mays and zu Leiningen falling back early in the race it was Seaman's private ERA that dominated
the event. Bira was second after a long fight with Ghersi (Maserati), whose good race was destroyed by a magneto problem during the last laps, and Ghersi had to see both Earl Howe (Delage) and Tuffanelli (Maserati) pass
him at the end.
The Prix the Berne once again attracted the Voiturette elite. The ERAs were visiting Switzerland for the first time. They were the favorites after having shown at Eifelrennen, Dieppe and Pescara that they had had the edge
over the Bugattis and the Maseratis. In the ERA works team Raymond Mays was joined by Hermann zu Leiningen to drive R2A and R1A. A third works entry with Pat Fairfield was scratched as the team was not able to get the car
ready in time. Some sources claim that works cars had an experimental Zoller supercharger fitted instead of the usual with 100mm Murray-Jamieson.
Last year's winner Dick Seaman and Prince Bira had entered their own cars, R1B and R2B "Romulus". Bira's car was a late entry but was accepted due to Bira's fine second place finish at Dieppe. In Wheels at Speed Prince Chula
claims that the organizers asked for all the cars to be painted in national colors. The works cars were in their usual variant of "British green" called "E.R.A. green". Siam had no national racing colors but a Siamese flag
was added to the rear of Bira's car and for the first time the car also featured a picture of a white mouse on the side of the cockpit to indicate the "white mouse team". One can wonder how Seaman managed to get permission
to start with his black colored car.
Earl Howe entered his old 8 cylinder Grand Prix Delage fitted with larger brakes than originally and with a heavy ENV preselector gear box.
There seems to have been three of the rare 8 cylinder twin cam supercharged Bugatti T51As present: a works car for Pierre Veyron, a private Swiss one, formerly owned by Pierre Veyron and entered by Florian Schmidt for
Bruno Sojka, and a T39C converted to single seater, looking more like a little Mercedes than a traditional Bugatti, to be raced by German driver Rudolf Steinweg. Thomas Cholmondeley-Tapper entered a 4 cylinder Bugatti T37A.
There were two Swiss 1.5 liter Maserati entries: Hans Kessler with a 4CM and Hans Rüesch in a 4CS, both two colored with a white front part and red rear part. Rüesch's car had caught fire during the Nice Grand Prix and
the mechanics worked hard to get it ready again in time for his home race.
An interesting entry was Mrs. Gwenda Stewart in a Derby racer with independent suspension and four wheel drive, powered by a 1.5 litre Maserati engine. Mrs. Stewart would later marry the constructor of the car, Douglas
Among the smaller cars 1.1 litre Maseratis were entered by Scuderia Subalpina for Pietro Ghersi (4CS, red with yellow wheels) and by Giuseppe Tuffanelli (4CM).
There were also four 0.7 litre M.G. entries: British Kenneth Evans and Reggie Tongue, each with a dark green colored 1935 R-type, German driver Bobby Kohlrausch with a white C type "Magic Midget" and Dutch driver Harry
Herkuleyns with a Q type.
Practice started on Thursday at 3 p.m. for the Grand Prix cars and was followed at 5:30 for the voiturettes. Practice time was short but Mays had already used his Bentley salon earlier that day to learn the circuit and
he proved to be fastest with Bira second, while zu Leiningen had continuous technical problems and Seaman did not make a complete timed lap.
Seaman had felt that the engine was not giving full power and a fuel sample sent to a chemist in Berne confirmed his suspicion that the fuel supplied by the organizers was not according to the standard. Seaman had therefore
fuel with the correct specification made up for him from another source.
Friday practice for the voiturettes got a later start due to Geier's crash in the GP class. Mays and Bira proved to be equally fastest with a time of 3m08.2s. Howe was third with 3m21.4s followed by zu Leiningen 3m23.9s,
Veyron 3m25.8s and Kessler 3m29.3s. Seaman did not take part in the practice.
On Saturday the voiturettes got to practice before the GP cars but it had rained all morning and the track was slippery. Still Seaman, obviously now with his new fuel, put a 3m18.8 lap to take third grid position.
Ghersi and Tuffanelli arrived late on Saturday and were allowed to do a few laps after the GP class practice. While Tuffanelli was slow Ghersi surprised by putting in a fast lap to take third grid position from Seaman.
With Geier having destroyed half of the signal boxes in his Friday crash the boxes were considered unsafe and it was decided to build temporary sandbag signal boxes before the pit straight. The problem was that the place was
far away from the pits and it was impossible to get the telephone system installed in time. So in the end at least some of the teams got the permission to move back to the original signal boxes.
Sunday morning was rainy but the rain stopped at 10 o'clock and the sun broke through the clouds as the 18 cars were pushed to the grid. The start was planned for 10:30 and the cars were lined up according to their qualifying
times like this:
Mays from his pole position immediately took the lead of the race. He was followed by Seaman, Howe, Bira and Ghersi. Evans stalled his M.G. and four mechanics and personnel were rushing to his aid. Stewart also had problems
to get up to speed.
In the wood section Seaman passed Mays and Bira swept by Howe so that after the first lap Seaman was leading from Mays, Bira, Howe, Ghersi, zu Leiningen, Veyron, Kessler, Kohlrausch , Steinweg, Rüesch, Cholmondeley-Tapper,
Tuffanelli, Tongue, Sojka, Herkuleyns, Stewart and Evans.
On the second lap Seaman opened up a gap to Mays. Howe had to give over fourth position to Ghersi and zu Leiningen had to stop for new plugs and dropped to the rear of the field. Having started from the last row of the grid
Tuffanelli now passed Cholmondeley-Tapper and Steinweg for 10th position behind Rüesch.
On the third lap not much happened except that Evans passed Mrs. Stewart. Seaman had already widened up the gap over Mays to 20 seconds and at the end of the lap Mays pitted with an oil leak in the carburettor breather pipe
that was throwing out oil in the cockpit. After repairs and a change of all six plugs Mays returned to the race in 13th position. Ghersi was now within 4 seconds of Bira and closing. On the fourth lap Evans passed Herkuleyns. A broken cable meant that Kessler totally lost his brakes, but he decided to continue, braking only with the gearbox. He was passed on the fifth lap by Kohlrausch, Rüesch and Tuffanelli.
Situation after 5 laps:
|2.||"B. Bira" (ERA)||16m56.1s|
|16.||zu Leiningen (ERA)|
|18.||Mrs. Stewart (Derby)|
Sojka suffered from a leaking radiator that forced him to refill water and he fell back.and eventually retired.
On the sixth lap Bira went wide in a corner and Ghersi passed him for second position but Bira was able to re-pass at the end of the next lap in front of the pits.
Veyron was struggling and Kohlrausch in his little M.G. passed to claim fifth position momentarily. On the sixth and seventh laps the Maserati duo of Rüesch and Tuffanelli then passed both Veyron and Kohlrausch.
There were no other changes in the race order apart from Mays, who slowly was making up positions after his lengthy pit stop.
Bruno Sojka, whose Bugatti had not run well for the entire race, retired on the eighth lap with slipping clutch and Tongue retired as well two laps later. Race order after 10 laps:
|2.||"B. Bira" (ERA)||33m24.8s|
|14.||zu Leiningen (ERA)|
|16.||Mrs. Stewart (Derby)|
On the 12th lap Seaman already held a 1m20s lead. Behind him the battle for second position between Bira and Ghersi continued with the cars being mostly less than 4 seconds apart. On the thirteenth lap Tuffanelli passed
Rüesch for fifth position and Mays passed Veyron and Kohlrausch for seventh. Order after 15 laps:
|2.||"B. Bira" (ERA)||50m02.0s|
|14.||zu Leiningen (ERA)|
|16.||Mrs. Stewart (Derby)|
After a good race against much stronger opposition Kohlrausch had to retire his little M.G. with a broken supercharger. Veyron also retired to the box with a broken fuel line.
After eighteen laps Bira had opened up an 11 second gap over Ghersi who was suffering from serious magneto troubles and falling back fast. After Seaman and Bira had passed the finish line to start their last laps three cars
arrived to the main straight in a bunch, Herkuleyns, already lapped, Ghersi and Howe. Howe passed both the others in front of the grandstand to take third position but he was now almost a minute behind Bira.
One and a half minutes later Seaman arrived again to take the chequered flag and to win the race in dominant style. Bira's second position was equally clear and Howe finished third in the Delage. Tuffanelli finished a good
fourth having worked his way through the field and having passed Ghersi on the last lap. Ghersi was a disappointing fifth after a fine drive, Rüesch sixth and Mays, whose Era had worked well after the repairs, eighth and
last finisher not to be lapped. Steinweg had on the last lap managed to get by the brakeless Kessler. Then followed Cholmondeley-Tapper, Evans, zu Leiningen, who had suffered from misfire throughout the race, Herkuleyns
and Mrs. Stewart.
Prince Chula of Siam: Wheels at Speed
Raymond Mays: Split Seconds
Special thanks to:
II GROSSER PREIS DER SCHWEIZ
Bremgarten-Bern (CH), 25 August 1935
70 laps x 7.280 km (4.524 mi) = 509.6 km (316.7 mi)
Caracciola with Mercedes-Benz superior winners
by Hans Etzrodt
At the 1935 Swiss Grand Prix the German teams from Daimler-Benz and Auto Union plus the Italian teams from Alfa Romeo and Maserati met for battle but the French Bugatti team was absent. From the 18 starters Caracciola
(Mercedes-Benz) led from start to finish, followed by his team mate Fagioli in second place and Rosemeyer (Auto Union) third. Varzi (Auto Union), who held an early second place, finished fourth, ahead of Nuvolari
(Alfa Romeo) and Lang (Mercedes-Benz). There were 12 finishers, amongst them Stuck (Auto Union) who held an early second place for several laps but after tire failure passed his car on the reserve driver Pietsch.
Temporary rain slowed the pace but the road surface began to dry after lap 44 from a total of 70 laps. Early in the race Chiron (Alfa Romeo) had a scary crash but luckily without serious injuries. During practice
a horrific high speed crash happened, from which the badly hurt driver Geier (Mercedes-Benz) was lucky to survive.
After the Swiss AC had successfully held their first Grand Prix in 1934, the AIACR elevated their second Grand Prix to Grande Épreuve status. Only racing cars complying with the present 750 kg formula were admitted.
The race was again held in the Bremgarten Forest of Bern over 70 laps of the fast 7.28 km circuit, a total distance of 509.6 km. First prize was 15,000 Swiss Franc, second Fr. 10,000, third Fr. 5,000, fourth Fr.
2,500 and fifth Fr. 1,000. For special accomplishments like lap records, valuable objects were presented. As a prelude to the Grand Prix, the Preis von Bern, an international race for voiturettes, was to take
place on Sunday morning.
Auto Union arrived with their Type B cars for Hans Stuck, Achille Varzi and Bernd Rosemeyer as the registered drivers with Paul Pietsch and Hermann Prinz zu Leiningen as reserve drivers. The team manager was
Daimler-Benz did not spare their efforts either and was present in full force with with six cars. Rudolf Caracciola, Manfred von Brauchitsch and reserve driver Hermann Lang had 1935 models while Luigi Fagioli
drove an updated 1934 car with the larger engine fitted. In addition the factory brought along a 1934 car for practice and their second reserve driver Hanns Geier. The sixth car was a surprise, to test
for the first time the 1936 prototype, which was a lower and slimmer, more rounded racecar. The 8-cylinder engine was slightly
tilted down towards the rear, so that the lightweight driveshaft leading to the rear gearbox could be lowered by 50 mm. Accordingly the seat was lowered and the fuel tank behind the driver was flattened, all
resulting in lowering the center of gravity. The exhaust pipe was now located at the bottom level below the rear axle. The new car carried the #1 and was driven by Caracciola during practice 2 and 3. During
Saturday's rainy practice 3 the new car showed excellent road holding when Caracciola drove the fastest time. With this prototype Caracciola had established the second best time in practice 2, but he decided to
start with the regular 1935 model car.
Scuderia Ferrari, the racing arm for the Alfa Romeo factory, arrived with three red Tipo B/P3 Alfa Romeos with the proven 3.2-liter engine and Dubonnet independent front suspension for Tazio Nuvolari, Louis Chiron
and René Dreyfus. Two older Tipo B/P3 models were entered independently by Raymond Sommer and Ferdinando Barbieri.
Scuderia Subalpina, who represented the Maserati factory, did not appear as expected with their new V8-cylinder Maserati but instead entered the old red 6C34 car for Philippe Etancelin and an 8CM for Eugenio Siena.
Renato Balestrero was the driver for Gruppo San Giorgio from Genova with an older 2.5-liter Maserati. Other independent Maseratis entries completed the field, like the red 6C34 by Giuseppe Farina, entered by the
owner Gino Rovere, while Brian Lewis drove Earl Howe's 8CM. Hungarian Laszlo Hartmann's 8CM was red, silver and green while Hans Rüesch entered a 6C34 and Benoit Falchetto a Maserati 8CM.
Official practice started on Thursday from 3:45 to 5:00 PM, with the same times for Friday and 1:30 to 2:30 PM on Saturday. Every driver had to complete at least ten laps of which five had to be driven continuously
without interruption. Practice this year was of greater importance since the fastest lap times decided the starting order. On the first practice day the independent drivers Earl Howe, Brian Lewis and Sommer familiarized
themselves with the track. Although Chiron and Dreyfus were already in Bern, their team, Scuderia Ferrari, did not take part while Nuvolari, the third team driver, was still busy in Monza testing the new 12-cylinder
Alfa Romeo. The two German teams from Auto Union and Daimler-Benz were present, flawlessly prepared, complete with their reserve drivers. Stuck made the fastest time in 2m41.1s at 162.682 km/h. Benoit Falchetto did
not appear since his car could not be repaired in time. The fastest individually timed laps by the time keepers were as follows:
|Stuck (Auto Union)||2m41.1s|
|Varzi (Auto Union)||2m43.3s|
|v. Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz)||2m52.6s|
|Rosemeyer (Auto Union)||2m52.6s|
|Earl Howe (Bugatti)||3m09.1s|
|Sommer (Alfa Romeo)||3m14.6s|
Friday times improved from lap to lap because they determined the starting order for the race. Caracciola practiced with the new Mercedes prototype. Naturally every driver tried his best to obtain a good
starting position. This was also the indirect cause of Mercedes reserve driver Geier's regrettable accident, which interrupted the practice session. At the very fast right turn just before the grandstand straight
his Mercedes rear end took a sudden skid to the left at about 240 km/h and hit a wooden empty motorcycle pit where he was thrown out of his cockpit and was flung about 20 meters ending up under the running board
of a parked car. The racecar had bounced off across the track like a projectile and hit a large tree where it broke into several pieces. The engine, which was ripped off, and front wheels remained near the tree
while the rest of the car catapulted with great impact across the track and stopped against a wooden fence. The seriously injured driver was transported to hospital in a sidecar with the German teams' Dr. Gläser,
who saved Geier's life, on the pillion of the motorcycle behind the rider. According to medical reports the unconscious Geier had suffered a concussion and serious jaw and feet injuries but no inner organs were
affected. He remained unconscious for seven days and stayed in the hospital for over four months. The spectators were greatly agitated. A few hundred meters behind Geier's Mercedes arrived several competitors,
all of whom were able to stop before the crash scene except Chiron, who had been following very closely. Despite hard braking, he could not avoid driving into the huge dust cloud which the impact of
Geier's car had caused. Later, Chiron stated that he had driven at high speed into the unknown and lacked any vision as he drove through the flying debris fortunately without damaging his car or himself.
After the wreckage was cleared away, practice was continued. Now all drivers slowed on their own volition at this high speed corner. From the independent drivers only Barbieri did not appear and had announced
his abandonment from the start while the Swiss Rüesch was still lingering in Monza where his 1500 Maserati, which had caught fire at the Nice Grand Prix, was test driven after the repairs. It was hoped that
Rüesch, would arrive for Saturday practice. Eugenio Siena of the Scuderia Subalpina did not arrive. Friday's best lap times from the time keepers decided the order on the starting grid and were as follows:
|Varzi (Auto Union)||2m41.8s|
|Stuck (Auto Union)||2m43.6s|
|Rosemeyer (Auto Union)||2m45.3s|
|Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)||2m49.1s|
|Dreyfus (Alfa Romeo)||2m50.2s|
|v. Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz)||2m50.8s|
|Chiron (Alfa Romeo)||2m51.8s|
|Earl Howe (Bugatti)||3m07.0s|
Geier's practice time placed his Mercedes sixth on the grid. Since the injured Geier could not start and his car was destroyed, Lang as alternative reserve driver would take the sixth place on the starting grid in
the #42 Mercedes training car, which became an additional fourth Daimler-Benz entry.
During Saturday's rainy practice, the track remained wet and Friday's lap times could not be reached. With the exception of Howe, Lewis and Balestrero, the other drivers were all present and used the brief time to
lap the wet circuit. Caracciola did the fastest lap. He once more drove the 1936 prototype Mercedes during Saturday practice. The best lap times from the time keepers were as follows:
|Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)||3m09.0s|
|Chiron (Alfa Romeo)||3m10.4s|
|Dreyfus (Alfa Romeo)||3m11.8s|
|Stuck (Auto Union)||3m17.5s|
|Varzi (Auto Union)||3m18.1s|
|v. Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz)||3m18.8s|
|Rosemeyer (Auto Union)||3m21.8s|
|Sommer (Alfa Romeo)||3m31.8s|
|Barbieri (Alfa Romeo)||3m45.5s|
During Saturday the Swiss driver Rüesch arrived from Italy after a difficult trip with his mechanics and the repaired 1.5-liter racecar. He also announced that he would not appear in the Grand Prix since he had
originally planned to start with the new 8-cylinder Maserati, but this model was not yet available. Instead, Rüesch raced his 1500 Maserati in the Preis von Bern event.
During the days before the race thousands of spectators had arrived in Bern. On Sunday the early morning rain had stopped and spectators arrived from all directions on bicycles, cars, trucks and buses.
An estimated crowd of 40.000 had assembled around the course plus those in the grandstand, which was sold out. The sky was still overcast at 1:15 PM when the 18 cars began forming a seven row grid.
The racetrack had dried off but was in parts still wet which made the correct tire decision difficult. Daimler-Benz opted for dry tires at the rear and gesommerte (rain-treated) tires in front. Auto Union
did likewise, except the car of Varzi, who started with rain-treated tires also on his rear wheels so he could accelerate better especially on the first lap. Eventually the one minute signal was given by Race Director
Huber and all engines were started, except for Balestrero in the last row having problems firing up his Maserati, and was pushed backwards and forwards to bring it alive by push starting.
At 1:30 PM Race Director Huber gave the starting signal, waving the red Swiss flag with the white cross. To the infernal howling and thundering of the wild pack Caracciola took the immediate lead, followed by Varzi,
Stuck and Fagioli. After less than three minutes the approaching sound of the monsters could be heard at the main grandstand. At the end of the first lap, after 2m56s with a lap of 154 km/h average speed, Caracciola
shot past the finish, seven seconds ahead of Varzi with Stuck a close third, then a gap to Fagioli and Rosemeyer, followed by Nuvolari 300 meters behind and closely chased by Lang. After a long gap there appeared
Dreyfus, Brauchitsch, Chiron and Farina while way behind were Hartmann, Sommer, Barbieri, Lewis, Howe and finally Balestrero. Etancelin ended his race at the slow right-hand Eymatt turn, where he drove into the
sandbags but was not injured.
After two laps Caracciola had 8 seconds advantage to Stuck in second place while Varzi had fallen to third position. He avoided Etancelin's stricken car which blocked the track at the slower Eymatt turn with a wide
maneuver and hit the track fencing, somewhat damaging the rear axle of his Auto Union. Varzi was now slightly handicapped from fighting with the leading drivers and steadily fell slowly behind but with
determination he completed the entire race.
Brauchitsch had passed Dreyfus for eighth place. Hartmann and Sommer followed already one minute behind the leader while Barbieri stopped at his pit for one minute.
On the third lap Caracciola was still in command with a new record lap of 2m48.4s, now 12 s ahead of Stuck, who was closely followed by Fagioli and Rosemeyer. The handicapped Varzi could no longer keep up with
Fagioli and Rosemeyer and had fallen from third to fifth place. Chiron passed Dreyfus for ninth place and Barbieri retired his Alfa Romeo.
On lap four Caracciola lapped Balestrero. Stuck followed 14 seconds behind. Hartmann encountered gearbox problems at the Kiesgrube and spun his Maserati backwards up a slope but was able to recover. On lap
four, Brian Lewis had left the track and retired.
At the end of lap five Caracciola headed Stuck by 16.5 seconds. Nuvolari was 41 seconds behind the leader, while Lang was passed by Brauchitsch. There was a good race for second place. Stuck, Fagioli and
Rosemeyer were separated by only a second. With Etancelin, Lewis and Barbieri retired, the field was down to 25 cars after 5 laps in this order:
|2.||Stuck (Auto Union)||14m27.8s|
|4.||Rosemeyer (Auto Union)||14m28.9s|
|5.||Varzi (Auto Union)||14m45.7s|
|6.||Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)|
|9.||Chiron (Alfa Romeo)|
|10.||Dreyfus (Alfa Romeo)|
|12.||Sommer (Alfa Romeo)|
After the fifth lap Varzi stopped at the pits to have the rear axle checked for possible damage sustained at the Etancelin incident. On the sixth lap Caracciola drove a new fastest lap in 2m47s. Fagioli
passed Stuck for second place. On lap seven Rosemeyer drove a fast lap in 2m47.1s when Chiron passed Lang. On the ninth lap Howe stopped at the pits and shortly thereafter Dreyfus also stopped. They both
left after a few seconds. Chiron failed to arrive at the pits at the end of the eighth lap. Later it was announced that he had crashed on lap eight at the turn after the Messerligrube where he spun on gravel
left on the track by another car. He crashed into the circuit's outer barrier where he was thrown out of the car, which had the right front axle badly bent. Chiron lay unconscious behind his car, near the
fence to a grandstand but was not seriously hurt. After he regained consciousness, he was brought to the Insel-Hospital but was released in the evening to his Hotel where he met with his friends. Stuck
went past Fagioli to regain his second place and Brauchitsch passed Nuvolari. At the end of lap ten, while Stuck was passing the grandstand, the thread of his left rear tire separated and was flung in a
high turn towards the pits. The German limped at a reduced pace through the lap which he had already started. Stuck, Fagioli and Rosemeyer were still separated by only a couple of seconds. The order
after 10 laps was as follows:
|2.||Stuck (Auto Union)||28m28.7s|
|4.||Rosemeyer (Auto Union)||28m30.8s|
|6.||Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)|
|9.||Varzi (Auto Union)|
|10.||Dreyfus (Alfa Romeo)|
|11.||Sommer (Alfa Romeo)|
On lap 11, Caracciola drove a new record lap in 2m44.4s, which was to be the new lap record. Hans Stuck stopped at his pit for 45 seconds to change the left rear tire. This switch in the leading group improved
Caracciola's advantage to 27 seconds ahead of Fagioli. Varzi, who was positioned on the road closely behind Caracciola, was actually one lap behind due to his pit stop. After his pit stop, Stuck had dropped to
seventh position, some distance behind Lang on lap 12. By now the sky had clouded over and it started to rain between lap 12 and 13, at the beginning just a fine drizzle. The race pace went down. Then the
drizzle changed to rain. Caracciola was now 34 seconds ahead. Rosemeyer passed Fagioli for second place. Brauchitsch stopped at his pits to have rain tires fitted which took one minute.
On lap 14 Rosemeyer, Fagioli and Lang stopped for rain tires, which took 40, 50 and 40 seconds respectively, but enough time for Nuvolari to gain fourth place. Brauchitsch retired at his pits and the car was
pushed away, officially with a broken shift lever or was it actually the engine as was suspected by others. On lap 14 Stuck stopped again, this time for rain tires. He talked for three minutes with his race
management, complaining about insufficient brakes and similarly the shock absorbers had suffered while he drove one lap with the flat tire. Stuck saw in these shortcomings an aftermath of his tire defect.
His attitude after this incident was disappointing since he did not want to carry on, having lost his fighting spirit. Then reserve driver Pietsch took over his car. But to send Pietsch with this car into
the race without having driven a single practice lap, has to be regarded as great irresponsibility. On lap 15 Caracciola also changed tires in 45 seconds. Nuvolari stopped just for new goggles, which took
seconds. After 15 laps the field was in the following order:
|2.||Rosemeyer (Auto Union)||44m02.5s|
|4.||Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)||44m37.9s|
|5.||Varzi (Auto Union)||46m13.8s|
|8.||Dreyfus (Alfa Romeo)|
|9.||Sommer (Alfa Romeo)|
|10.||Stuck/Pietsch (Auto Union)|
For the next five laps there were no changes amongst the leading seven cars. Dreyfus fell behind Sommer and Stuck's Auto Union, now driven by Pietsch, soon fell further behind. The order after 20 laps was as now:
|2.||Rosemeyer (Auto Union)||1h00m13.6s|
|4.||Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)||1h01m59.1s|
|5.||Varzi (Auto Union)||1h02m57.5s|
|8.||Sommer (Alfa Romeo)|
|9.||Dreyfus (Alfa Romeo)|
|12.||Stuck/Pietsch (Auto Union)|
Up to lap 30 there were no position changes amongst the first seven drivers while Caracciola steadily increased his advantage from 23 to 60 seconds. Rosemeyer maintained his second place ahead of Fagioli and Nuvolari.
Varzi was chasing down Nuvolari. After Hartmann retired on lap 26, the field was down to 12 cars. The order after 30 laps was now:
|2.||Rosemeyer (Auto Union)||1h32m02.8s|
|4.||Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)||1h35m30.1s|
|5.||Varzi (Auto Union)||?|
|8.||Dreyfus (Alfa Romeo)|
|9.||Sommer (Alfa Romeo)|
|11.||Stuck/Pietsch (Auto Union)|
On lap 33 the gap between Rosemeyer and Fagioli shrunk from 90 to 25 seconds, when the Auto Union driver survived a huge slide and spin at the slow Eymatt turn and thereafter passed the place never again that fast.
Nuvolari's Alfa Romeo in fourth place fell further behind and was chased down by Varzi's Auto Union, who passed the Alfa on lap 34. Rosemeyer stopped to refuel on lap 35 and while he spent 40 seconds in the pits,
Fagioli passed into second place. Caracciola refilled as well in 55 seconds and still maintained a sizeable lead. Nuvolari arrived next for his fuel stop, which took 40 seconds and was followed by Varzi.
Pietsch refueled in just 32 seconds after compressed air pushed the fuel into his tank. Pietsch was so far behind that he needed less fuel. Auto Union and Mercedes all used the pressurized system. On lap 37 Fagioli
and Lang finally made their refueling stops, Fagioli in 38 seconds. Fagioli and Rosemeyer were once more dueling for second place, only a second apart again. The order after 40 laps was as follows:
|3.||Rosemeyer (Auto Union)||2h04m52.9s|
|4.||Varzi (Auto Union)||2h07m58.4s|
|5.||Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)||2h08m47.0s|
|7.||Dreyfus (Alfa Romeo)|
|8.||Sommer (Alfa Romeo)|
|11.||Stuck/Pietsch (Auto Union)|
On lap 41, Farina took a full seven minutes during his refueling stop because he had to fill rather slowly from cans which caused him to fall from seventh to ninth. On lap 44 Farina was able to repass Sommer's
Alfa Romeo. Finally the slight rain ended at this time. Nuvolari stopped at his pit for a few seconds to exchange his dirty goggles for new ones. Without any changes in the positions the race proceeded till
the end. Up to lap 45 it looked as if Rosemeyer posed some danger to Fagioli ahead of him but then the gap between the two started to grow while the interval between Fagioli to the leader came down. Varzi in
fourth place kept racing fast past the grandstand but he was actually one lap behind the leader, two laps behind for Nuvolari whose chance for one of the front places seemed to waste away. It looked a bit tragic-comical
to observe the continuing drive of Pietsch in Stuck's Auto Union, who every other lap stopped at the pits to attend to some problems with the shock absorbers or rear suspension. According to MOTOR und SPORT
he stopped 12 times. Near the end Pietsch was able to turn in a few dashing laps, which was an indication that Stuck himself could have extracted incomparably more out of this car. Balestrero made an even more
disappointing figure, driving relentlessly rather slowly and numerous laps behind the field. However, the leading drivers turned lap after lap with breath-taking precision. The order after 60 laps was now:
|3.||Rosemeyer (Auto Union)||3h03m21.3s|
|4.||Varzi (Auto Union)||3h07m07.8s|
|5.||Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)||3h09m36.2s|
|7.||Dreyfus (Alfa Romeo)|
|8.||Sommer (Alfa Romeo)|
Just after 5:00 PM, after 70 laps, Caracciola passed the finish line to the applause of the crowd. Immediately all other cars were given the checkered flag. Without stopping, Caracciola kept driving one more lap of
honor. To observe and appreciate the battle of the old experienced drivers like Caracciola, Fagioli, Varzi and Nuvolari was a unique event. Amongst them was now the young Rosemeyer who impressed with his spectacular
driving style. The resignation of Stuck after his tire failure to give up without a fight was disappointing.
|1.||10||Rudolf Caracciola||Daimler-Benz AG||Mercedes-Benz||W25B||4.0||S-8||70||3h31m12.2s|
|2.||12||Luigi Fagioli||Daimler-Benz AG||Mercedes-Benz||W25A||4.0||S-8||70||3h31m48.1s||+ 35.9s|
|3.||2||Bernd Rosemeyer||Auto Union AG||Auto Union||B||5.0||V-16||70||3h32m20.0s||+ 1m07.8s|
|4.||6||Achille Varzi||Auto Union AG||Auto Union||B||5.0||V-16||69||3h38m48.5s|
|5.||32||Tazio Nuvolari||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||Tipo B/P3||3.2||S-8||68||3h33m21.7s|
|6.||42||Hermann Lang||Daimler-Benz AG||Mercedes-Benz||W25B||4.0||S-8||67||3h32m29.9s|
|7.||30||René Dreyfus||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||Tipo B/P3||3.2||S-8||66||3h32m04.9s|
|8.||22||Giuseppe Farina||Gino Rovere||Maserati||6C-34||3.7||S-6||64||3h32m23.7s|
|9.||16||Raymond Sommer||R. Sommer||Alfa Romeo||Tipo B/P3||3.2||S-8||63||3h33m47.0s|
|10.||18||Earl Howe||Earl Howe||Bugatti||T59||3.3||S-8||60||3h33m12.4s|
|11.||4||H. Stuck / P. Pietsch||Auto Union AG||Auto Union||B||5.0||V-16||57||3h33m31.3s|
|12.||26||Renato Balestrero||Gruppo Genovese San Giorgio||Maserati||26M||2.5||S-8||53||3h33m37.4s|
|DNF||40||László Hartmann||L. Hartmann||Maserati||8CM||3.0||S-8||25||gearbox|
|DNF||8||Manfred von Brauchitsch||Daimler-Benz AG||Mercedes-Benz||W25B||4.0||S-8||13||shift lever or engine|
|DNF||28||Louis Chiron||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||Tipo B/P3||3.2||S-8||7||crash|
|DNF||20||Brian Lewis||Earl Howe||Maserati||8CM||3.0||S-8||3||spun off|
|DNF||24||Ferdinando Barbieri||Franco Sardi||Alfa Romeo||Tipo B/P3||2.9||S-8||2||spark plugs|
|DNF||34||Philippe Etancelin||Scuderia Subalpina||Maserati||6C-34||3.7||S-6||0||crashed into sand bags|
Fastest lap: Rudolf Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz) on lap 11 in 2m44.4s = 159.4 km/h (99.1 mph)|
Winner's medium speed: 144.8 km/h (90.0 mph)
Pole position lap speed: 162.0 km/h (100.6 mph)
Weather: from the start dry till lap 12/13, then rain till lap 44, then dry till the end.
Chiron survived two life threatening accidents in Bern, one during second practice and the other on the eighth lap during the race. It definitely made him think about his luck when talking with his friends Sunday
night after being released from hospital. He was not injured but did not race two weeks later at Monza.
Primary sources researched for this article:|
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Berlin
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Wien
Il LITTORIALE, Roma
MOTOR und SPORT, Pössneck
Special thanks to:
1 September 1935: Hans Stuck (Auto Union) wins the Großer Bergpreis von Deutschland hillclimb in Freiburg, Germany.
1 September1935: Mario Tadini (Alfa Romeo) wins the Stelvio hillclimb in Italy.
2 September 1935:
Bill Winn (Duesenberg-Miller) wins the Syracuse AAA National Championship race in USA.
7 September 1935: The R.A.C. Tourist Trophy sports car handicap race is held at Ards near Belfast:
|1. "Freddie" Dixon||Riley 1.5L||6h03m31s|
|2. Eddie Hall||Bentley 3.7L||6h04m44s|
|3. Earl Howe||Bugatti T57T ||6h07m37s|
|4. Charles Brackenbury||Aston Martin 1.5L||6h08m52s|
|5. Clifton Penn-Hughes||Aston Martin 1.5L||6h08m53s|
|6. Cyril Paul||Riley||6h11m28s|
7 September 1935: Louis Meyer (Stevens-Miller) wins the Altoona AAA National Championship race in USA.
8 September1935: The 500 Millas de Rafaela sports car race is held at Santa Fe, Argentina:
|57 laps x 13.914 km + 11.575 km, 804.67 km (500 mi)|
|1. Carlos Zatuszek||Mercedes-Benz SSK||5h43m41.2s|
|2. Fermín Martín||Fiat||5h45m11.6s|
|3. Pedro Pablo Orsi||Ford V8||5h47m58.2s|
|4. Osvaldo Parmigiani||Ford V8||5h53m19.8s|
|5. Augusto McCarthy||Chrysler||5h54m49.0s|
|6. Manuel de Teffé||Alfa Romeo||5h58m06.2s|
|(With thanks to Vladislav Shaikhnurov)|
XIII° GRAN PREMIO D'ITALIA
Autodromo di Monza, 8 September 1935
73 laps x 6.890 km (4.28 mi) = 502.97 km (312.5 mi)
Glaring victory by Hans Stuck with Auto Union
by Hans Etzrodt
The 1935 Italian Grand Prix was a unique event, since there were no private entries only works teams from Mercedes-Benz, Auto Union, Alfa Romeo, Maserati and Bugatti. Of the 16 cars that had started only five finished.
Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz), who was the early leader for two laps, was relieved at mid-race by Fagioli who had withdrawn his car earlier in the race, but very soon he had to retire his second Mercedes-Benz. His
teammates von Brauchitsch and Lang also retired, eliminating the entire Mercedes team. Auto Union dominated the race with their top drivers Stuck and Varzi exchanging first place until Varzi's retirement on lap 15,
after which Stuck led the race until the end except on lap 40 during a refueling stop when Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo) held a temporary lead. After Rosemeyer (Auto Union) retired, he took over the sister car of Pietsch
to finish third. Nuvolari's Alfa Romeo did not withstand his demanding driving style and when his Alfa finally broke down, he jumped into Dreyfus' sister car to finish second. Marinoni (Alfa Romeo) followed in
fourth place, and Taruffi (Bugatti) ended up last, 14 laps behind. Wimille (Bugatti) retired as did the three Maseratis of Etancelin, Zehender and Ghersi. Farina could not make it to the start and neither did
Trossi with his new car.
The 13th Gran Premio d'Italia counted towards the 1935 Italian and European Championships and took place on the famous Autodromo di Monza. The course chosen was the Florio circuit, which consisted of the road circuit,
less the parabolica, plus the southern section of the high-speed oval. To lower the high speeds, five chicanes had been introduced requiring heavy braking which at a speed of 250 km/h called for great demands on the
brake system. Nevertheless along the straight in front of the grandstands 300 km/h speed was still be attainable. Four of the chicanes were made provisional with barriers built of straw bales placed on the circuit
while the fifth, located in Curva Sud of the oval just before the finishing straight, consisted of a short permanent by-pass road in the form of a rectangle alongside the circuit. The first chicane was at the end of
the straight just before Curva Grande, the second chicane was just before the fast left Curva Roggia before Lesmo, the third was after the underpass and the fourth was just before entering Curva Sud of the oval.
The 6.89 km circuit had to be lapped 73 times, a total of 502.97 km.
Entries for 18 drivers were received, representing five racing teams and C.F. Trossi an independent. Daimler-Benz, Auto Union and Scuderia Subalpina representing Maserati, each entered four cars. Scuderia Ferrari,
the Alfa Romeo racing team, entered three cars, while Bugatti arrived from Molsheim with just two cars with 3300 cc engines.
Daimler-Benz with team manager Alfred Neubauer entered cars for Rudolf Caracciola, Luigi Fagioli and Manfred von Brauchitsch all three who drove the same cars which they had raced at the Swiss Grand Prix two weeks earlier
Herman Lang raced last year's car with a smaller engine. Additionally there was another 1934 model as a practice car and the new Mercedes prototype which had been driven during practice for the Swiss Grand Prix.
Auto Union with team manager Willi Walb brought four cars to the start for Hans Stuck, Achille Varzi, Bernd Rosemeyer and Paul Pietsch.
Scuderia Ferrari arrived with two new Alfa Romeo 8C-35 monoposti with fully independent suspension for Tazio Nuvolari and Louis Chiron. Initially the car had been planned with a V-12 engine but since it became too
heavy, exceeding the 750 kg limit, a 3.8-Liter straight eight engine had to be used this time. Attilio Marinoni, the Scuderia's ex-works chief test driver, drove one of the old Alfa Romeo Tipo B/P3 with 3.2-Liter engine and independent front
suspension. René Dreyfus was the reserve driver. During the official 5-days of practice Chiron drove quite often but not fast enough. He evidently suffered from chest pains and listlessness, the after-effects of
his severe crash two weeks earlier at the Swiss Grand Prix. Dreyfus was driving much faster, so he was selected to drive the second 8C-35 while Chiron acted as reserve driver. Besides Enzo Ferrari, there was
engineer and test driver Gianbattista Guidotti, the engineer Luigi Bazzi and also reserve driver Gianfranco Comotti.
Scuderia Subalpina, managed by Count della Chiesa, entered two of the new 4.3-Liter V8RI Maseratis for Philippe Etancelin and Giuseppe Farina, while two of the older 3.7-Liter 6C35 Maseratis were driven by Goffredo
Zehender and Eugenio Siena while Pietro Ghersi was the designated reserve driver. For the race Siena became the reserve driver.
The Molsheim factory sent two 3300 cc T59 Bugattis for Jean-Pierre Wimille and Piero Taruffi. Robert Benoist acted as reserve driver.
The independent entry came from Count Felice Trossi and engineer/driver Giulio Aymini with his new Trossi-Monaco race car, built by the engineer Augusto Monaco and financed by Trossi in the workshop of the count's
castle outside Biella. The Italian Grand Prix should have been its first appearance at this race. The little car had an air-cooled 4000 cc two-stroke radial engine with eight double-cylinders, which used a
common combustion chamber. With two Zoller superchargers it produced 240 hp via front wheel drive. It was tested during practice by Trossi and Aymini, who was also named to drive it in the race. It was
questionable if this new design could be made race ready since it showed incurable setbacks with overheating, spark plug failures and problematic drivability due to a heavy frontend. A complete entry list
is at the beginning of this report.
Official practice lasted 5 days, from Monday at 9:00 AM until Friday at 6:00 PM. Saturday was reserved for scrutineering and other formalities. Monday morning was quiet at the Monza Autodromo. In the afternoon
activity began with Alfa Romeo and Mercedes-Benz who had been at Monza since the week before. First an Alfa Romeo appeared around noon driven by Guidotti and Bazzi also present. After a few laps, the car was
returned to the factory probably for a revised setup. Chiron and Dreyfus were also at the track. Trossi appeared with his low built Trossi-Monaco along with the engineers Monaco and Aymini. Trossi and Aymini
both drove and amassed many laps, overseeing the development of the fuel mixture which was still flawed and the two-stroke engine which was rather delicate. At about four in the afternoon three Mercedes trucks
arrived with Neubauer, Caracciola, Brauchitsch and Lang. Two cars took to the track immediately, presumably to test the tires. Brauchitsch made a flying lap of 3m06s and a standing start lap of 3m22s.
Caracciola recorded a lap of 3m12s from a standing start. Later, Brauchitsch did a lap in 3m00.2s, then a 3m00.0s (137,800 km/h). The arrival of Auto Union was announced for Tuesday.
Only some of the practice times are shown here during the five days, published in AUTOMOBIL-REVUE and IL LITTORIALE. They are incomplete and did not affect starting positions which were assigned by drawing lots.
|Dreyfus (Alfa Romeo)||---|
|Chiron (Alfa Romeo)||---|
On Tuesday, Mercedes was not present. Auto Union made their first appearance with three cars. Rosemeyer was the first one to begin practicing, followed by Pietsch and Varzi who completed only three laps because
practice had ended at 6:00 PM. After one lap to familiarize him with the track, Varzi lapped in 3m12s and 3m20s. Scuderia Ferrari was also present with Chiron and Nuvolari in the new 3.8 Alfa. Tazio drove a lap
in 2m58.8s equal to 138.724 km/h. Count della Chiesa the team manager of Scuderia Subalpina and Zehender were at the circuit. The arrival of the new eight-cylinder "V-8" Maserati was announced for Thursday.
|Varzi (Auto Union)||3m12s|
|Rosemeyer (Auto Union)||---|
|Pietsch (Auto Union)||---|
|Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)||2m58.8s|
|Chiron (Alfa Romeo)||---|
On Wednesday morning Auto Union began practicing at 9:00 AM with Hans Stuck. His times improved rapidly to 3m02s which the German driver maintained for several laps. Thereafter Varzi completed many laps.
In their trials both proceeded to sort out the carburetion. Early in the afternoon, Alfa Romeo appeared first with the new car for Guidotti who made the best lap in 3m06s. Then Dreyfus took the wheel and soon
recorded a 3m02s lap (136,285 km/h). Marinoni was practicing with the old 3200 cc monoposto and turned in a lap of 3m20s. Nuvolari rested on Wednesday. Dreyfus handed over the car to Chiron who drove several
laps, however, never really fast. Evidently Chiron had not yet recovered from his terrible crash in Bern. The two Scuderia Subalpina drivers, Zehender and Siena were practicing with the six-cylinder cars. Also
present was Etancelin, who was to drive the new V-8 Maserati on Thursday. Brauchitsch drove a lap in 2m59s. Caracciola did not appear and Fagioli had not yet arrived. Later Varzi did a 2m58s lap, next a 2m57s
lap and finally 2m55s (141.747 km/h). Stuck's fastest lap was 2m55.8s while Pietsch and Rosemeyer stayed in the pits. Shortly before the end of practice Varzi and Stuck exchanged the car and did a few laps
before a siren concluded practice. The two Bugattis of Wimille and Taruffi arrived in the evening and would take part on Thursday.
Trossi, Monaco and Aymini had been working for a long time at the pits around their car. Towards evening, the car was returned to Trossi's workshop outside Biella together with the driver. Trossi had said,
while the chassis gave the results that were expected, the engine, however, presented no small difficulty for the carburetion and the numerous tests done, changes made and precautions taken, have not yet allowed
them to overcome this stumbling block. If in the few days that separate them from the Grand Prix this difficulty will be overcome, then Trossi will be at the race; otherwise he will have to declare forfeit.
|Varzi (Auto Union)||2m55s|
|Stuck (Auto Union)||2m55.8s|
|Dreyfus (Alfa Romeo)||3m02s|
|Guidotti (Alfa Romeo)||3m06s|
|Marinoni (Alfa Romeo)||3m20s|
|Chiron (Alfa Romeo)||---|
On Thursday Dreyfus kept busy lapping with the Alfa Romeo 3200 monoposto between 3m08s and 3m10s, the fastest at 3m02s. Etancelin and Farina took the new Maserati V-8 to the track in the morning. The cars of the
Bolognese factory were accompanied by Ernesto Maserati. The two drivers were limited to breaking-in their cars and only in the afternoon did Etancelin begin to go faster. Fagioli in the Mercedes did a fast lap in
2m55.3s. A surprise awaited the fans with the appearance of the new Mercedes prototype, which Caracciola drove for a few laps, the best in 3m00.0s. Before the end of practice, Nuvolari drove a lap in 2m56s. It was clear
that the Mantuan wanted at all costs to improve upon Varzi's Wednesday's time of 2m55s. After a first round in 2m56s he was able to record 2m54.6s which improved upon Varzi's best lap by 4/10 of a second. Having
achieved his objective, Nuvolari slowed his car to the applause of the crowd.
|Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)||2m54.6s|
|Dreyfus (Alfa Romeo)||3m02s|
|Rosemeyer (Auto Union)||---|
|Pietsch (Auto Union)||---|
|Stuck (Auto Union)||---|
On Friday morning Nuvolari and Dreyfus practiced with the new Alfa Romeo, Nuvolari achieved a time of 2m55s. The Mercedes were driven by Carraciola, Fagioli and Brauchitsch. Fagioli in one of his last laps made a
time of 2m53s; but Minoia on his own timekeeping, on behalf of Fagioli, recorded a time of 2m51.6s (144,545 km/h). Later Varzi did a lap in 2m51s (145,052 km/h) while Rosemeyer lapped in 2m54s. Towards evening, the
new Maserati arrived on the track with Farina and Etancelin. In the morning Etancelin had tried the new car with small section tires and in the afternoon he appeared with larger section tires for his Maserati, which
were borrowed from the Auto Union team. With the adoption of these tires, the car's handling seemed to improve so that Etancelin drove a 3m01s lap. Finally, the 3300 cc Bugatti of Taruffi made a lap in 3m06s. The
Mercedes team did some test runs with their new car. When asked if the new prototype would be raced on Sunday, Neubauer gave the assurance that they would not even think about racing the car but would continue
testing it. Count Trossi announced that the Trossi-Monaco would not start.
|Varzi (Auto Union)||2m51s|
|Rosemeyer (Auto Union)||2m54s|
|Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)||2m55s|
|Dreyfus (Alfa Romeo)||---|
Scrutineering and other formalities took place on Saturday, part of that was weighing the cars, all of which were below the 750 kg limit, listed below.
|Alfa Romeo #10||Nuvolari||730 kg|
|Alfa Romeo #20||Dreyfus||746 kg|
|Alfa Romeo #28||Marinoni||741 kg|
|Auto Union #12||Stuck||741 kg|
|Auto Union #22||Varzi||742 kg|
|Auto Union #30||Rosemeyer||742 kg|
|Auto Union #36||Pietsch||744 kg|
|Bugatti #4||Taruffi||747 kg|
|Bugatti #16||Wimille||749 kg|
|Maserati #2||Farina||743 kg|
|Maserati #14||Etancelin||735 kg|
|Maserati #32||Siena (Ghersi)|| ?|
|Maserati #24||Zehender||749 kg|
|Mercedes-Benz #6||Caracciola||739 kg|
|Mercedes-Benz #18||Fagioli||743 kg|
|Mercedes-Benz #26||Brauchitsch||741 kg|
|Mercedes-Benz #34||Lang||741 kg|
Sunday morning at 10:00 AM under a beautiful sunny sky, the Monza crowd estimated at over 50,000 was waiting in great anticipation. The preliminaries that preceded the race began at 10:20 AM with the traditional parade
in front of the stands. In the lead was the Alfa Romeo team, as three cars and drivers of Scuderia Ferrari were wheeled past the stands to the sound of the Italian National Anthem, followed by the Maserati team of
Scuderia Subalpina. The appearance of Nuvolari in yellow t-shirt, his shirt for special occasions, received a storm of applause. Many secret hopes were placed on the shoulders of this popular champion. Then it was
the turn of the four Auto Unions and their drivers, where Varzi was received with the crowd yelling, followed by the four Mercedes where Fagioli collected his great share of applause and finally closing the parade
were the Bugattis. The cars were accompanied by their countries' national anthems.
The race numbers had been allocated by drawing lots. The starting grid was arranged with the lowest number at the left front. Because the #2 car of Farina experienced piston damage during warm-up, minutes before the
start, the Maserati could not race and the pole position place remained unoccupied as the cars lined up in front of the grandstand. Trossi with his #8 car had not been able to ready his Trossi-Monaco and officially
withdrew on Friday night.
At 11:00 AM the blue starting flag was dropped. To the infernal howling and thundering of the wild pack Caracciola was fastest to get away, followed by Stuck, Varzi and Fagioli. Nuvolari made a slow start.
The great battle had begun.
The wait for their return was not long. Just over three minutes after the start the cars appeared at speed exiting the South Turn before the long straight. The first to cross the finish line was the Mercedes of
Caracciola who took 3m09s, followed by Stuck, Varzi and Fagioli, all within three seconds. The order after the first lap was:
|2.||Stuck (Auto Union)||3m10s|
|3.||Varzi (Auto Union)||3m10s|
|5.||Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)||3m13s|
|6.||Dreyfus (Alfa Romeo)||3m15s|
|8.||Rosemeyer (Auto Union)||3m23s|
|11.||Marioni (Alfa Romeo)||3m45s|
On the second lap the pace increased and Caracciola, still in first place, lapped in 2m58s. Stuck remained a car length or so behind and was closely followed by Varzi and Fagioli with a nine seconds gap to
Nuvolari in fifth place.
On the third lap Stuck attacked with a lap of 2m55s and passed Caracciola with Varzi still in third place waiting to follow Stuck. The pace increased on every lap.
On lap four Varzi was close to Caracciola and passed him for second place, establishing a new fast time of 2m53.6s. The offensive by Auto Union seemed to embarrass the Mercedes team and harmed Nuvolari a little,
whose pace had been set to a predetermined plan.
In the meantime the pit stops had begun when Ghersi retired at his pit on lap five with oil pump failure. Taruffi stopped at his Bugatti pit to have a choked jet cleaned. Stuck led with a race average of 138.785 km/h
after five laps when the order was:
|1.||Stuck (Auto Union)||14m53.6s|
|2.||Varzi (Auto Union)||14m55.0s|
|5.||Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)||15m08.2s|
On the sixth lap Varzi, whose speed was truly amazing, lapped in 2m55s and passed Stuck to take command of the race. The crowd cheered Varzi, but evidently all thoughts were with Nuvolari who continued his regular race,
closely followed by Dreyfus who was dealing with Rosemeyer in his mirrors. On lap eight the leading cars were lapping Zehender's Maserati who had lost time in the pits. Fagioli was an excellent fourth and establish a
great lap in 2m53s. On lap 10, Fagioli who was one of the major candidates to win the race came slowly to the pits. A few minutes of feverish work in an attempt to replace the left rear brake drum and then the cruel
decision: his withdrawal due to a failure of the left rear brake. Varzi was leading after 10 laps when the order was:
|1.||Varzi (Auto Union)||29m31.4s|
|2.||Stuck (Auto Union)||29m39.4s|
|4.||Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)||29m58.4s|
|6.||Dreyfus (Alfa Romeo)||30m07.2s|
|7.||Rosemeyer (Auto Union)||30m15.6s|
|10.||Pietsch (Auto Union)||31m22.2s|
|14.||Marioni (Alfa Romeo)||32m57.0s|
At the end of lap 14 Varzi passed the pits but was slowing down. A bit further on the car came to a stop and caught fire due to a broken piston. This was a severe blow for the crowd, and even more for the Auto Union team,
losing its fastest driver. Ahead of him at the chicane after the underpass Stuck saw Etancelin's Maserati leaving the road. His throttle had jammed as he was taking the chicane. Etancelin braked too hard and the car began
to skid, pushed straw bales and wooden structure to the side, drove over a low stonewall, made a somersault, went off the track and crashed into a tree. The car was wrecked, but Etancelin was fortunate to escape without
serious injury. He was transported to the Monza hospital where x-rays revealed no fractures, just sprains and contusions.
On lap 15, after Varzi's retirement, Nuvolari inherited third place and his gap to Stuck was 30.4 seconds. On lap 17 Stuck drove a new best lap in 2m52.6s (143.707 km/h). Zehender left the circuit and had to retire because
his Maserati was too slow and had no brakes left. Rosemeyer was trying to push forward to catch Dreyfus. On lap 17 Rosemeyer was unsteady coming through the chicanes and arrived rather late at his pit where he ended his
race due to brake and transmission defects. Stuck led with a race average of 140.302 km/h after 20 laps when the order was:
|1.||Stuck (Auto Union)|| 58m55.8s|
|2.||Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)|| 59m05.0s|
|3.||Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)|| 59m29.4s|
|4.||Dreyfus (Alfa Romeo)|| 59m45.0s|
|5.||Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz)|| 59m49.0s|
|7.||Pietsch (Auto Union)||1h02m13.0s|
|9.||Marioni (Alfa Romeo)||1h04m25.4s|
On lap 21 Pietsch, in seventh place, was called into the pits and handed over the Auto Union to Rosemeyer, which took 20 seconds. He drove with the same fast pace as he had with his own car, attempting to catch those
ahead. In the meanwhile Marinoni in the older Alfa drove his car off the circuit into the bushes but was able to return onto the track, just losing one minute. Taruffi slid his Bugatti in one of the chicanes and took
more than two minutes to rejoin the tail the field. As a result of his collision, Taruffi stopped at his pit where the mechanics labored for minutes until the engine finally restarted. Brauchitsch passed Dreyfus on
lap 23 to gain fourth place while Stuck completed the lap in 2m50.8s.
On lap 25, Nuvolari began a new attack on Caracciola and Stuck ahead of him. The Mantuan was now driving like a man possessed with his latest fully independently suspended Alfa and slowly but surely made up time. The
chicanes, consisting of straw bales and a light wooden framework were intended to reduce speed for the following curves but they hardly existed for Nuvolari. Left and right he hit the corners of the straw bales,
drove over sand-bags that marked the inner border of the turns or hurried across the grass strip of the 6.89 km long Monza circuit which had eight sharp turns, five chicanes and only one straight of 1.3 km. He drove
in such a wild frenzy through the chicanes that repeatedly race officials and press photographers had to rush to the side because the straw bales and wood frames were simply run over by him. But Nuvolari came ever
closer to his adversaries. On lap 26 he was only 39 seconds behind the leader. On lap 27 Wimille's Bugatti broke a con-rod, dropping large crankcase pieces all over the track. Despite some flames and a lot of
smoke, Wimille was able to steer to the side of the track and get out of the burning car in a hurry. The fire was soon extinguished and the field had now shrunk to nine cars. After 30 laps Nuvolari had lowered
the gap by 5 seconds while Stuck was leading with a race average of 141.033 km/h when the order was:
|1.||Stuck (Auto Union)||1h27m56.0s|
|3.||Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)||1h28m30.0s|
|4.||Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz) ||1h28m50.8s|
|5.||Dreyfus (Alfa Romeo)||1h28m56.4s|
|6.||Pietsch/Rosemeyer (Auto Union)||1h32m38.2s|
|8.||Marinoni (Alfa Romeo)||1h38m24.0s|
Nuvolari carried on his attack bringing down his lap times to 2m53s, and then 2m52s and on lap 33 he established the outright lap record in 2m49.8s at 146.075 km/h average speed. The Mantuan was now in hot pursuit
of Caracciola who was just 2s ahead with a 23s gap to Stuck. The crowd watched the advance of their hero with thunderous applause, but on the next lap Nuvolari was delayed at the chicane preceding the south banking,
he spun without harm to driver or car, but he lost 14s in one go. Stuck's advantage was now 37s and 16s for Caracciola.
On the 38th lap Caracciola stopped at his pit to refuel, mount two new rear wheels and allow Fagioli to take over the wheel. Because the car did not want to start, 30 to 40 additional seconds were lost, amounting
to 1m44s for the stop. Next von Brauchitsch and Dreyfus stopped to refuel, taking 1m37s and 1m20s respectively. Then it was the turn of Stuck who was serviced in only 45s for refueling and rear wheels. With Stuck
and Caracciola in the pits, on lap 40 Nuvolari was temporarily first ahead of Stuck, who regained the lead on the next lap when Nuvolari made his pit stop. Nuvolari was leading with a race average of 140.688 km/h
after 40 laps when the order was:
|1.||Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)||1h57m32.2s|
|2.||Stuck (Auto Union)||1h58m03.2s|
|4.||Dreyfus (Alfa Romeo)||1h59m54.4s|
|6.||Pietsch/Rosemeyer (Auto Union)|
|8.||Marinoni (Alfa Romeo)|
On lap 41 Nuvolari refueled in 1m17s, taking 32s more than Stuck and 27s less than Caracciola. Now Stuck was 58s ahead of Nuvolari. Rosemeyer headed for his pit to refuel and was serviced quickly in just 38s to
the applause from the stands. On lap 41 Brauchitsch retired; as he came up to the chicane the left rear brake locked up, he shot through the straw bales, spun round, darted off the road and finally came to a stop
in a ditch without injuring himself. Rosemeyer now advanced to fourth place. Two laps later there was another twist: Fagioli stopped at the pits, once again, with broken third gear and brake problems. Now
there remained only one Mercedes, that of Lang. A similar situation affected Auto Union who was left with only Rosemeyer and Stuck.
After lap 45 Nuvolari stopped just past the grandstand with smoke rising from under the hood caused by a broken piston. He walked slowly back to his pits to the cheering from the spectators. Now Dreyfus was in
second place, his car was working beautifully. Rosemeyer in Pietsch' car was third, Lang was fourth, fifth Marinoni and sixth Taruffi. For the crowd the race now seemed to be over since Nuvolari had retired.
But there was a new burst of enthusiasm as Dreyfus made his refueling stop on lap 47. René Dreyfus in his book 'My Two Lives' gave the following account: "This was Italy, and this was Tazio-and the crowds,
seeing him walking, started a vigorous chant: "Nuvolari in macchina, Nuvolari in macchina!" When I pulled into the pits to refuel, Enzo and Gobbato asked me if I'd mind giving my car over to Nuvolari. Of course,
I wouldn't; Tazio was the team captain. Tazio beamed, and said grazie, and I shouted a few things to him about how the car was behaving and he took off. He drove like only Tazio could, and was challenging Stuck
fantastically, but he was also wearing down the Alfa's brakes, had to pit to have them adjusted and finished second". Nuvolari gained some time, partly because Stuck eased off with a lead of almost two minutes.
He was leading with a race average of 139.602 km/h after 50 laps when the order was:
|1.||Stuck (Auto Union)||2h28m03.8s|
|2.||Dreyfus/Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)||2h29m55.8s|
|3.||Pietsch/Rosemeyer (Auto Union)||2h34m33.2s|
|5.||Marinoni (Alfa Romeo)||2h41m34.4s|
It was over for Nuvolari and a certain victory for Stuck. On lap 56 Lang also disappeared from the race. Through vibration the reserve oil tank broke apart and oil leaked out causing the engine to fail. After 55 laps
Mercedes was no longer in the race. At that time the engine of Nuvolari's Alfa Romeo was running on only seven cylinders after a valve broke. Stuck was leading with a race average of 138.559 km/h after 60 laps when the order was:
|1.||Stuck (Auto Union)||2h59m00.2s|
|2.||Dreyfus/Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)||3h01m15.4s|
|3.||Pietsch/Rosemeyer (Auto Union)||3h07m24.0s|
|4.||Marinoni (Alfa Romeo)||3h16m22.2s|
At the end only five cars were left in the race and only two of them were running without trouble, namely Stuck's Auto Union and the old Alfa of Marinoni which reached fourth place but was five laps in arrears.
Nuvolari in Dreyfus' car had the engine limping on seven cylinders and his brakes were fading. Rosemeyer had no brakes left and improvised by downshifting using the engine as a brake. Taruffi finished fifth; due to
his early collision in the race he had trouble with the fuel supply and with the oil line. The race pace had progressively slowed down. After the monotonous last rounds without position changes the end arrived after
73 laps, when Stuck was flagged down with the blue flag instead of the prescribed checkered flag. Since Stuck could not understand the meaning of this he drove another lap until he was waved with the correct flag to
show the end of the race. But since he carried so much speed, he could not stop but carried on driving yet another lap. Stuck finished victorious to the great applause from the stands. The cheerful crowd rushed to
his car to congratulate him and only an escape into his pit could save Stuck from the enthusiastic spectators. The RACI President, the Duke of Spoleto, met Stuck there to congratulate him and to fetch the German to
guide him to the honorary stand for acceptance of official congratulations to the sound of the German national anthem.
|1.||12||Hans Stuck||Auto Union AG||Auto Union||B||5.0||V-16||73||3h40m09s |
|2.||20||R. Dreyfus / T. Nuvolari ||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||8C-35||3.8||S-8||73||3h41m50.0s||+ 1m41s|
|3.||36||P. Pietsch / B. Rosemeyer||Auto Union AG||Auto Union||B||5.0||V-16||70||3h40m13.6s|
|4.||28||Attilio Marinoni||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||Tipo B/P3||3.2||S-8||68||3h42m33.8s|
|5.||4||Piero Taruffi||Automobiles E. Bugatti||Bugatti||T59||3.3||S-8||59||3h43m57.6s|
|DNF||34||Hermann Lang||Daimler-Benz AG||Mercedes-Benz||W25A||3.4||S-8||55||oil tank|
|DNF||10||Tazio Nuvolari||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||8C-35||3.8||S-8||45||piston|
|DNF||26||Manfred von Brauchitsch||Daimler-Benz AG||Mercedes-Benz||W25B||4.0||S-8||42||left rear brake & crash|
|DNF||6||R. Caracciola / L. Fagioli||Daimler-Benz AG||Mercedes-Benz||W25B||4.0||S-8||42||left rear brake & transmission|
|DNF||16||Jean-Pierre Wimille||Automobiles E. Bugatti||Bugatti||T59||3.3||S-8||27||engine failure, fire|
|DNF||30||Bernd Rosemeyer||Auto Union AG||Auto Union||B||5.0||V-16||19||transmission & brakes|
|DNF||24||Goffredo Zehender||Scuderia Subalpina||Maserati||6C-34||3.7||S-6||15||brakes|
|DNF||14||Philippe Etancelin||Scuderia Subalpina||Maserati||V8-RI||4.8||V-8||14||crash|
|DNF||22||Achille Varzi||Auto Union AG||Auto Union||B||5.0||V-16||14||broken piston and engine fire|
|DNF||18||Luigi Fagioli||Daimler-Benz AG||Mercedes-Benz||W25A||4.0||S-8||11||left rear brake|
|DNF||32||Pietro Ghersi||Scuderia Subalpina||Maserati||6C-34||3.7||S-6||4||oil pump|
|DNS||2||Giuseppe Farina||Scuderia Subalpina||Maserati||V8-RI||4.8||V-8||0||engine|
Fastest lap: Tazio Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo) on lap 33 in 2m49.8s = 146.1 km/h (90.8 mph)|
Winner's medium speed: 137.1 km/h (85.2 mph)
Weather: sunshine, hot, windy
|Driver/Car||Fastest lap||in km/h||on lap|
|Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)||2m49.8s||146.077||33|
|Stuck (Auto Union)||2m50.8s||145.222||23|
|Dreyfus (Alfa Romeo)||2m53.0s||143.375||29|
|Varzi (Auto Union)||2m53.6s||142.880||5|
|Rosemeyer (Auto Union)||2m54.2s||142.388||3|
|Pietsch (Auto Union)||2m54.2s||142.388||36|
|Marinoni (Alfa Romeo)||3m07.0s||132.641||18|
Charles Faroux described the Italian Grand Prix as an exclusive "Brake and Acceleration" contest.
Alfred Neubauer, the Mercedes-Benz team manager, said after the race that I do not want to make a secret out of the reasons for the retirements of the Mercedes-Benz cars. Our cars have
entered the battle in Monza with an Achilles heel which till now has not been apparent at any of the races. At the rear brake drums we have a 4 mm lining which was sufficient also for the
hardest and fastest races, so that brake problems have been unknown to us. Because of the refined erection of the chicanes, Monza was this time a special case, since the layout was made in
such a way, that every lap repeatedly drivers had to brake from speeds of 250 to 280 km/h down to 50 or 60 km/h to pass through the chicanes. At this drudgery, which the brakes had to endure,
strangely enough, at all cars at the left rear brake, the lining loosened, so that the wheel locked up and the driver had to retire.
Until now this strange failure never occurred at the cars of the three drivers Caracciola, Fagioli and von Brauchitsch. With the latter just at the moment when he passed the double chicane,
so that it almost had ended with a serious crash. At the car of Lang the oil supply tank broke and here the brakes were in best shape, since Lang did not reach the high speeds of the other drivers.
When I explain the general public openly and without reserve the reasons of our failure, then I want this in no case portrayed or interpreted as an excuse. We had prepared ourselves thoroughly
for the Italian Grand Prix and believed on account of our tests and observations during practice, all to be in best order. But the progress of this unusually demanding race has shown that
sometimes for the oldest foxes there is still something to learn.
Primary sources researched for this article:|
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Berlin
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Wien
DDAC Motorwelt, München
IL LITTORIALE, Milano
Kölnische Zeitung , Köln
LA STAMPA, Torino
Motor Sport, London
MOTOR und SPORT, Pössneck
Mid September 1935: Paul Pietsch divorces Ilse, who immediately joins Varzi.