1954 Italian Grand Prix (partially found footage of Formula One World Championship race; 1954)

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Juan Manuel Fangio (16), Alberto Ascari (34) and Stirling Moss (28) prior to the start of the race.

Status: Partially Found

The 1954 Italian Grand Prix was the eighth race of the 1954 Formula One Season. Occurring on 5th September at the Monza Circuit, the race would ultimately be won by Juan Manuel Fangio in a Mercedes-Benz, following duels with Ferrari's Alberto Ascari and Maserati's Stirling Moss.


The 1954 Italian Grand Prix was the fifth running of the event as part of the FIA's World Championship of Drivers, with the annual event lasting 80 laps.[1] The Italian Grand Prix has been held at Monza for all bar one instance in 1980 since Formula One's inception in 1950,[2] and has garnered a reputation for being the "home" grand prix of Ferrari.[3]

Heading into the race, both Ferrari and Maserati were looking to halt Fangio and Mercedes-Benz's dominance of the Drivers' Championship.[4][5] In qualifying, Fangio did take pole position with a time of 1:59.[1][4] However, Ferrari and Maserati had shown they could theoretically match the German opposition.[4] Earlier in practice, Maserarti allowed Ferrari driver José Froilán González to drive the car, where he set a lap time under two minutes.[4] In qualifying, Stirling Moss proved the quickest Maserati racer, lining up third out of 20 competitors after being boosted by the inclusion of a rear-mounted oil tank with the “Heath-Robinson” pipe system for the first time, which improved oil pressure and reduced oil temperature.[4][1] Meanwhile, Lancia again had not finished its D50.[4][5] Therefore, its driver Alberto Ascari made a deal to drive for Ferrari, the team he drove in his 1952 and 1953 Championship years.[4][5] Ferrari ultimately agreed to this, feeling Ascari was the only driver that could challenge Fangio's pace.[4][5] He qualified second with a time of 1:59.9, much to the delight of the Tifosi.[4][1]

The Race

With the starting order decided, the 1954 Italian Grand Prix commenced on 5th September.[1] Karl Kling, who qualified fourth in a Mercedes-Benz, made a strong start to take the lead on the first lap.[4][5][1] Moss meanwhile overtook Ascari for third.[4] Kling held the lead until Fangio re-gained first on lap 4 after Kling spun, seeing him also lose places to González, Ascari, and Moss.[5][4] Fangio did not hold first for long, with Ascari successfully moving past the other lead contenders on lap 6, González also making a move on his fellow Argentine.[4][5][1] Nevertheless, Fangio would regain second from González, and built a gap to him and Moss by lap 15 that enabled him to challenge Ascari.[4] Two laps later, González retired due to a broken gearbox after being overtaken by Moss, but would continue competing after taking over the Ferrari of Umberto Maglioli.[4][5][1] By lap 20, Fangio was challenging for the lead, and even overtook Ascari on lap 23.[1][4] A lap later though, Ascari regained first.[1][4]

Ascari led Fangio by a second by lap 40, but the Maseratis of Moss and Luigi Villoresi were fast-approaching.[4] While the latter would retire on lap 43 due to a clutch failure, Moss closed in and overtook Fangio, before passing Ascari on lap 45 for the lead.[4][5][1] Ascari regained it a lap later, but dropped it back to Moss on lap 49.[1] Not long afterwards, over-revving from Ascari caused a valve issue, ending his race.[5][4][1]

Moss therefore remained in front, and had a 15-second lead over Fangio, who was struggling against a resurgent González.[4][5] He ultimately won that duel however, with González giving the car back to Maglioli.[4] Moss was now 20 seconds ahead of Fangio, but on lap 68, he was forced to pit as he lost oil following an oil pipe fracture.[5][4] While an oil stop enabled him to head out, by the next lap oil again was pouring out, and despite a warning from Ferrari's Mike Hawthorn to the Maserati pit crew about the issue, Moss' engine grinded to a halt.[4][5] With Moss and Ascari out of contention, Fangio took over first and remained well in front of second place Hawthorn to claim victory and eight points in the Championship.[4][5][1] Hawthorn finished a lap down in second, while Maglioli took third.[4][1][5] Moss would push his car across the line to be classified in tenth place.[4][1] Post-race, Fangio accepted that Moss was the superior driver at the event.[5]


According to research regarding Formula One television broadcasts, the race reportedly received partial live coverage from RTE.[6] The broadcast has yet to publicly resurface however, having originated from an era where telerecordings were rare until video tape was perfected in the late-1950s.[7] Nevertheless, footage of the race is available from British and German documentaries. Some photos can also be found online.



German documentary providing footage of the race.

British documentary providing footage of the race.


See Also