top of page

1954 Spanish Grand Prix

The eighth and final round of the 1954 Formula 1 World Championship took place on October 24 in Spain at the Pedralbes circuit. The length of the track was 6.3 km, while the drivers had to complete 80 laps. The previous two years, Spain was unable to hold the World Championship Grand Prix due to funding problems, but this year the necessary funds were found, and the Spanish stage returned to the Formula 1 calendar on the same track as in 1951.


The main news of the upcoming stage was the long-awaited debut of the Lancia team, which for the first time presented its new Lancia D50 cars to the public.


When developing Lancia D50, the team's chief designer Vittorio Yano paid special attention to reducing the center of gravity, structural rigidity and optimal weight distribution. He managed to achieve all these goals thanks to the use of a new compact V-shaped engine, which served as the supporting element of the chassis, the placement of the gearbox behind the driver and the removal of fuel tanks in the area between the front and rear wheels. Thanks to the decisions taken, Lancia D50 was very different from competitors' cars with its original appearance and squatness. The new team's drivers were last year's world champion Alberto Ascari and his friend Luigi Villoresi.

Daimler-Benz, as usual, was represented by three unchanged drivers Juan-Manuel Fangio, Karl Kling and Hans Herrmann, while the team in this Grand Prix relied on Mercedes with open wheels, bringing three such cars against one with a streamlined body.

Scuderia Ferrari this time was represented by only two drivers Mike Hawthorn and Maurice Trintignant, while Jose-Froilan Gonzalez had to miss this stage due to arm injuries sustained in the RAC Tourist Trophy sports car race. Both drivers received new Ferrari 553 cars at their disposal, in which the front suspension has been significantly redesigned since the last Grand Prix in Italy.


In addition to the factory racers, two more Ferraris of the previous 625 and 500 models were brought to the start by private drivers Robert Manzon and Jacques Swaters.

The Maserati team, as in Italy, had the most numerous drivers, which included Stirling Moss, Luigi Musso, Sergio Mantovani, Roberto Mieres and Paco Godia. In addition, Prince Bira, Harry Schell, Louis Rosier and Tulo de Graffenried participated in the Grand Prix driving private Maseratis. Alfred Owen's team entered another Maserati, with Ken Wharton, as usual, behind the wheel. 

The French Gordini team in Spain was represented by only two drivers Jean Behra and Jacques Pollet, while the British Vanwall, as before, had only one car, which was driven by the unchanged Peter Collins. At the same time, taking into account the obvious lack of power at the previous stage in Monza, the engine capacity of the British car was increased, finally reaching the maximum allowed 2.5 liters.


The first qualifying with the participation of Lancia cars demonstrated high speed and amazing balance of Turin cars. The fastest in qualifying was Alberto Ascari, who managed to filigree through all the difficult turns of the Spanish track and from the first attempt to bring pole position for the Turin team.


The second Lancia driver Villoresi, as usual, was slower than his teammate, but he also managed to show a good fifth time. World champion Juan-Manuel Fangio was second this time, exactly one second behind Ascari, while the Argentine tried out both Mercedes modifications and, as expected, the model with open wheels turned out to be faster. Mike Hawthorn was third in an updated Ferrari, but the Englishman lost to Ascari already for 2.5 seconds. Meanwhile, the fourth place was a sensation, because it was unexpectedly taken by the American Harry Schell, who became the fastest driver in a Maserati car and was ahead of even Stirling Moss, who became the sixth. The seventh place also went to Maserati of Luigi Musso, while Maurice Trintignant was eighth in the second factory Ferrari. Fangio's Mercedes teammates could not get used to the Spanish track in any way and took only 9th and 12th places, while the young Herrmann managed to get ahead of the more experienced Kling. Sergio Mantovani closed the top ten on another Maserati, lagging behind Ascari by almost 4 seconds. The French Gordini in Spain looked frankly weak and took only 16th and 18th places, however the main loser of qualifying was Peter Collins. Trying to find the limit of the updated car, Peter overdid it in one of the turns and flew off the track, completely destroying his Vanwall. Given that Vanwall didn't have a spare car, the last Grand Prix of the season ended for the British team without even starting.



Before the start of the Grand Prix, all the drivers take their places one by one on the starting grid, but Villoresi is not among them. In the end, the Italian still joins the rest of the field, but there is clearly something wrong with his Lancia, as the mechanics continue to work on the car right up to the start.


Start. The drivers take off, and the best start is managed by Harry Schell, who enters the first corner as the leader, taking the lead for the first time in his career!


Trintignant also manages to get off to a good start, who breaks through from 8th place to 4th. Fangio and Musso, on the contrary, failed and become 6th and 12th respectively. Also, already on the first lap, Manzon has problems with the engine, as a result of which the Frenchman drives into the pits and leaves the race.
Position after the 1st lap: Schell, Ascari, Hawthorn, Trintignant, Moss, Fangio, Herrmann, Villoresi, Mantovani, Mieres.
Lap 2: The losers of the start, Fangio and Musso, immediately switch to attacking actions and begin to win back lost positions. The Argentinian overtakes Moss in the fight for 5th place, and the Italian passes Kling and Mieres at once, who also change places during the lap. Besides, Prince Bira wins back one position, overtaking Wharton, and Villoresi drives into the pits due to brake problems and drops out of the race.
Lap 3: Ascari attacks Schell in the fight for the lead and gets ahead!


Meanwhile, Moss counterattacks Fangio and regains 5th place!


At the end of the peleton, Rosier wins back two positions at once, overtaking Godia and Pollet.


Lap 4: Ascari, having taken the lead, immediately begins to break away from the rest of the peleton, passing a lap for 2 seconds faster than his pursuers.


Behind Mieres passes Kling in the fight for 10th place, and Godia leaves Rosier behind.
Lap 5: The fight between Fangio and Moss continues, and now the Argentinian gets ahead!


Behind Musso wins back another position, overtaking his teammate Mantovani.


At the end of the peleton, Prince Bira and Wharton pass Baron de Graffenried one after the other.
Lap 8: Hawthorn attacks Schell in the fight for second place and takes the lead!


However, the American clearly does not intend to give up another position so easily and is hanging on the tail of Ferrari. On the same lap, Wharton passes Prince Bira.
Lap 9: Schell counterattacks Hawthorn and regains second place! On the same lap, Moss attacks Fangio and gets ahead of the world champion again!


Lap 10: Ascari, already 10 seconds ahead of the rest of the field, suddenly pulls into the pits at the end of the lap! After spending some time there and talking to the mechanics, Alberto drives back to the track, but he goes down to the very end of the peleton!


Schell is now in the lead again, closely pursued by Hawthorn and Trintignant.
Position after 10 laps: Schell, Hawthorn, Trintignant, Moss, Fangio, Herrmann, Musso, Mantovani, Mieres, Kling.
Lap 11: Trintignant goes on the attack and, passing Hawthorn and Schell one by one, becomes the new leader of the race!


On the same lap, Behra begins to have problems with the brakes, and he misses Wharton. Meanwhile, at the end of the lap Ascari drives into the pits again, and this time for good: the Italian was let down by the clutch. Thus, despite the excellent speed, both Lancias are eliminated from the race, having completed only 10 laps out of 80.
Lap 12: Behra loses another position, missing Prince Bira.
Lap 13: Schell attacks Trintignant in the fight for the lead and gets ahead!


Behind Hawthorn makes a small mistake, and Moss immediately passes him, rising to third place!


On the same lap, Behra still drives into the pits, where mechanics repair the brake disc and release the Frenchman back on the track.
Lap 14: Trintignant counterattacks Schell and becomes the leader again! On the same lap, Hawthorn overtakes Moss, regaining third place, and Stirling immediately falls under Fangio's pressure.


Also at the end of the peleton, a fight unfolds between two Maseratis of Godia and Graffenried, as a result of which the Swiss comes out ahead.
Lap 15: Schell goes on the attack again and takes the lead!


Behind Fangio manages to get ahead of Moss, and the Argentine rises to 4th place.


Lap 16: Godia counterattacks Graffenried, rising to 13th place.
Lap 17: Rosier also attacks Graffenried, leaving the Swiss behind. Besides, Swaters drops out of the race with a failed engine.
Lap 18: Trintignant, after spending three laps behind Schell, goes on the attack again and passes the American! Meanwhile, Moss begins to lose speed and misses several rivals at once, dropping to 8th place!


Behind Rosier wins back another position, overtaking Godia, and Behra finally drops out of the race due to brake problems.
Lap 19: Schell is clearly on a roll today, he attacks Trintignant again and takes the lead!


Behind Moss drives into the pits, where his mechanics discover a serious problem with the oil scavenge pump. Realizing that the engine will soon fail, the Englishman decides not to return to the track anymore and finishes the race in the pits.
Lap 20: Trintignant attacks Schell and once again becomes the leader of the race!
Position after 20 laps: Trintignant, Schell, Hawthorn, Fangio, Herrmann, Musso, Mantovani, Mieres, Kling, Wharton.
Lap 21: Schell counterattacks the Frenchman and passes him again!


Moreover, Hawthorn also uses the American's maneuver and overtakes his teammate!


Lap 22: Hawthorn doesn't stop there, he attacks Schell and becomes the new leader of the race!


Behind Godia drives into the pits, dropping to the last place.
Lap 23: Schell doesn't give up, he attacks Hawthorn and takes the lead again!


Meanwhile, Wharton, due to problems with his Maserati, drives into the pits, losing three positions.
Lap 24: Schell, trying to keep Hawthorn behind, makes a mistake and his Maserati spins! The American manages to continue the race, but he loses a lot of time and misses three rivals, losing now any chance of winning!


Two Ferraris are now taking the lead and Fangio is in third place!
Lap 29: Schell drives into the pits with a broken transmission and drops out of the race, in which he managed to surprise many today. 
Lap 30: Trintignant has problems too! When changing gears, the Frenchman's Ferrari makes a grinding sound indicating the lack of oil in the gearbox, and at the end of the lap, Maurice drives into the pits for repairs. After spending quite a long time in the pits, Trintignant returns to the track last, losing any chance of a decent result. The undisputed leader of the race is now Hawthorn, who is more than 20 seconds ahead of second place Fangio!


Besides, on the same lap, Herrmann's engine gets a misfire, as a result of which Musso gets ahead of the German, taking third place!


Position after 30 laps: Hawthorn, Fangio, Musso, Herrmann, Mantovani, Mieres, Kling, Bira, Rosier, Graffenried.
Lap 33: Graffenried pulls into the pits and passes his Maserati to Volonterio, who returns to the track behind Wharton.
Lap 37: Herrmann continues to lose ground and misses Mantovani, dropping to 5th place. On the same lap, Wharton and Volonterio pass Rosier, and Prince Bira drives into the pits with an overheated engine, where mechanics add water to the radiator of his Maserati.
Lap 38: Godia also passes Rosier and rises to 10th place. Besides, Pollet drops out of the race with failed engine.
Lap 40: Herrmann finally pulls into the pits, and his mechanics change the spark plugs in his Mercedes. However, to their surprise, this does not bring any effect, and the engine continues to run unevenly. Assuming that the reason lies in the injection system, the mechanics install a manual fuel injection pump on the German's Mercedes and release him back to the track. Naturally, after such a long stop, Hans drops to the very end of the peleton, losing all hope of earning points.


Lap 46: Godia passes Volonterio, rising to 8th place.
Lap 48: Rosier also passes Volonterio and becomes 9th. Meanwhile, Trintignant's Ferrari gearbox runs out of oil again, and the Frenchman returns to the pits, finally retiring from the race.
Position after 50 laps: Hawthorn, Fangio, Musso, Mantovani, Mieres, Kling, Wharton, Godia, Rosier, Volonterio.
Lap 51: Herrmann, after suffering more than ten laps with a manual fuel injection pump, eventually gives up and stops in the pits, leaving the race.
Lap 56: Mantovani, having almost caught up with Musso going third, blocks the brakes and flies out onto the bypass road, damaging the rear axle! The Italian manages to return to the track, but he loses two positions, dropping to 6th place.


Lap 58: Volonterio retires with a failed engine.
Lap 59: An excursion to the bypass road does not go for nothing for Mantovani, and the Italian is forced to leave the race due to problems with the rear axle.
Lap 61: Wharton has an engine misfire, and the Englishman misses Godia.
Lap 63: Wharton pulls into the pits to replace a spark plug and misses Rosier.
Lap 68: Fangio's Mercedes leaks oil that sprays right into the cockpit, burning the Argentine's arm and shoulder!


Lap 70: Fangio, due to discomfort and overheating of the engine, slows down a lot, and Musso begins to catch him up!
Lap 74: Musso catches up to the slowed down Fangio and passes him, taking second place!


Last lap: Hawthorn, remaining the only contender to win, who avoided problems in this race, calmly crosses the finish line first and wins his second Grand Prix of his career!


Musso finishes second more than a minute behind the Englishman, who, thanks to numerous retirements of rivals, wins his first podium in Formula-1. Third, despite a full cockpit of oil, a burnt arm and an overheating engine, is Fangio, who still manages to bring his Mercedes to the finish. The fourth and fifth places are occupied by Mieres and Kling, who have not shown themselves in any way but manage to earn a few points thanks to the reliability of their cars.


Interesting facts:

- Luigi Musso's first podium and points;
- Harry Schell's first leading in Grand Prix;
- Maurice Trintignant's first leading in Grand Prix;
- Lancia team's debut and first pole position.

Driver standings


Alternative GP results

bottom of page