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1950 Swiss Grand Prix

The third round of the 1950 Formula-1 World Championship took place on June 4 in Switzerland at the Bremgarten circuit. The length of the track was 7.28 km, while the drivers had to complete 42 laps.


After two convincing victories in the first two rounds of the championship, the Alfa Romeo team arrived in Switzerland as the undisputed Grand Prix favorite, bringing three cars for their usual trio of drivers Nino Farina, Juan-Manuel Fangio and Luigi Fagioli. The main rival of Milan team, Scuderia Ferrari, was also represented by three drivers Alberto Ascari, Luigi Villoresi and Raymond Sommer, but if the first two got at their disposal competitive Ferrari 125, then the Frenchman, to his great displeasure, got a less powerful Formula-2 car Ferrari 166.

Meanwhile the French Talbot team, which missed previous round in Monaco, appeared in Switzerland with three drivers Louis Rosier, Yves Giraud-Cabantous and Eugene Martin, while Philippe Étancelin decided to compete as a private driver again. The other private drivers, using Talbot cars, were Belgian Johny Claes and American Harry Schell. Another French team, Equipe Gordini, on the contrary, decided to skip this Grand Prix, preferring to focus on one of the Formula-2 races. Team Maserati, as in Great Britain, was represented only by veteran Louis Chiron, since his teammate Franco Rol was unlucky to broke his arm in the famous massive accident in Monaco. However, in addition to the factory team, Maserati cars were represented by several other private teams again, including Enrico Plate with changeless drivers Prince Bira and Toulo de Graffenried, Scuderia Achille Varzi with Nello Pagani and Toni Branca, who replaced Jose-Froilan Gonzalez and Alfredo Pian, injured in Monaco, and the new team Scuderia Milano, represented by single driver Felice Bonetto.


Qualifying, as usual, took place with a clear advantage of Alfa Romeo, which drivers took the first three places on the starting field. The fastest, as in Monaco, was the Argentine Juan-Manuel Fangio, but this time Farina was not so far and lost to him only 0.7 sec, while Fagioli, as usual, was greatly inferior to his teammates. The next two positions were occupied by Ferrari drivers Ascari and Villoresi, while the Maranello team's third driver Sommer was not so happy with only 13th result in his Formula-2 car. The remaining places in the top ten were taken by Talbot drivers, with Etancelin at the head and Prince Bira in a Maserati wedged between them, but they all lost to pole-position time already more than 9 sec. At the same time, the main loser of qualification was Louis Chiron, who could not boast speed as in his native Monaco and took only 16th place.


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Start. Fangio has a great start and takes the lead, while Farina hesitates, but still manages to get ahead of Fagioli and Ascari, who were busy fighting each other. Besides, Prince Bira also takes a good start, passing two Talbots, as well as Chiron, who breaks through to 12th place. Meanwhile, Giraud-Cabantous makes a mistake, spins and crashes into a fence, so the race is over for him.

Position after lap 1: Fangio, Farina, Ascari, Fagioli, Villoresi, Bira, Rosier, Etancelin, Martin, Bonetto.

Lap 2: Fangio and Farina quickly break away from third-placed Ascari, while Graffenried lets Chiron and Sommer through. On the same lap, Bonetto makes a mistake and falls back to 16th place.

Lap 3: Ascari has problems with the oil pump and pulls into the pits to retire, losing third place to Fagioli.


Meanwhile Bonetto passes Claes and Pagani.

Lap 4: Fagioli does not stay third for long and now lets Villoresi through. Meanwhile Bonetto continues his breakthrough and passes both Schell and Graffenried to move up to 11th! Besides, on the same lap Branco overtakes Claes.

Lap 5: Étancelin passes Rosier, taking 6th place.

Lap 6: Farina catches up with Fangio and begins to press the Argentine! Meanwhile Sommer overtakes Chiron for 9th place.

Lap 7: Farina is clearly faster than Fangio, so Alfa Romeo management orders the drivers to change places, and the Argentine obeys, letting his teammate through into the lead!


Meanwhile Bonetto overtakes Sommer and becomes 9th, whereas Chiron enters the pits for an early refueling and drops to penultimate place.

Lap 9: Villoresi has engine problems and lets Fagioli through, while Martin overtakes his teammate Rosier.

Lap 10: Villoresi pulls in to retire, and thus another Ferrari loses the chance for podium due to reliability problems. Meanwhile at the end of the field Chiron passes Branca.

Position after 10 laps: Farina, Fangio, Fagioli, Bira, Etancelin, Martin, Rosier, Bonetto, Sommer, Graffenried.

Lap 11: Branca counterattacks Chiron and gets ahead!

Lap 12: Claes also overtakes Chiron and now the Monegasque drops to last place!

Lap 13: Schell passes Graffenried and moves up to 10th.

Lap 15: Graffenried counterattacks the American and gets ahead again!

Lap 16: Bira pulls in for refueling and lets Etancelin into 4th place. Meanwhile Branco's car swerved in the last corner and stalled. The driver had to get out of the car and push it to the pits, where the mechanics were able to start it again. The Swiss still continues the race, but now without any chance to regain any positions.

Lap 17: After refueling, Bira returns to the track in 7th, but he is immediately passed by Bonetto!

Lap 18: Rosier overtakes Martin and becomes 5th, while Schell passes Graffenried again!

Lap 20: When trying to counterattack Rosier in the Eymatt corner, Martin makes a mistake, causing his Talbot flying off the track and rolling over, and the Frenchman is thrown out of the car! Unfortunately, in this fall the Frenchman breaks his hip and injures his face, which subsequently puts an end to his racing career.

Meanwhile, Bonetto pulls in for refueling, letting Bira through to 6th. During refueling, a barrel of gasoline suddenly explodes and Felice barely manages to take his car out of the fire zone! Besides, on the same lap, Sommer retires with a broken suspension, and thus the race is over for Ferrari. Meanwhile Graffenried continues his struggle with Schell and passes him again!

Position after 20 laps: Farina, Fangio, Fagioli, Etancelin, Rosier, Bira, Bonetto, Graffenried, Schell, Pagani.

Lap 21: It's time for Alfa Romeo to refuel, and the first to pull in is Farina, who drops to third place. Meanwhile Schell attacks Graffenried, getting ahead of him again!

Lap 23: Fangio also enters the pits for refueling, missing Fagioli and Farina.

Lap 24: The last of Alfa Romeo drivers in the pits is Fagioli, and the Italian also misses his teammates. Thus, after the pit stops, the order of the drivers is restored: Farina-Fangio-Fagioli.

Lap 25: Étancelin has gearbox problems and retires, losing 4th place to Rosier!

Lap 29: Graffenried manages to overtake Schell again, this time for good!

Lap 30: Schell is in trouble, and the American misses Pagani as well!

Lap 31: Chiron overtakes Claes for 10th.

Lap 33: Schell counterattacks Pagani, regaining 8th place.

Lap 34: The engine fails on Fangio's Alfa Romeo and the Argentinean drops out of the race, losing second place to Fagioli, while Rosier is already 3rd!

Lap 36: Graffenried overtakes Bonetto and moves up to 5th position!

Lap 37: Bonetto clearly does not intend to give up his place in the points so easily, so the "Pirate" counterattacks Graffenried and gets ahead again!

Last lap: Farina slows down and confidently wins the second victory of the season, once again taking the lead in the championship! The second is Fagioli, who managed today to benefit from the retirements of rivals, while Rosier takes the third step of the podium for the first time this season, though lagging behind the leader by almost 2 laps. The fourth is Prince Bira who hits points for the second time in a row, whereas the last two points are taken by Bonetto, who managed to show an excellent performance in his debut in the World Championship .


Interesting facts:

- Louis Rosier's first podium;

- Talbot's first podium.

Driver standings

Alternative GP results

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