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1956 Monaco Grand Prix

The second round of the 1956 Formula-1 World Championship took place on May 13 in Monaco on the legendary circuit running through the narrow streets of the Principality. Compared to the previous year, the track has not undergone almost any changes, except for the Chicane turn, which had sharper corners to prevent cars from reaching their previous speeds and prevent a repeat of last year's Alberto Ascari crash. At the same time, the length of the track remained unchanged and amounted to 3.145 km, while the drivers had to complete 100 laps.

Monaco 1955.png

Unlike the first round in Argentina, which was attended only by Italian cars of Ferrari and Maserati, the prestigious Monaco Grand Prix brought together all the teams of this season and delighted the fans with a variety of new cars. Scuderia Ferrari was represented by four main team drivers Juan-Manuel Fangio, Eugenio Castellotti, Luigi Musso and Peter Collins, with all of them receiving the new Ferrari D50 this time.


In addition to the factory team, Giorgio Scarlatti also took part in the Monaco Grand Prix in a private Ferrari 500 with a 2-liter Formula-2 engine.

The Maserati team, unlike the previous stage, decided this time not to involve guest drivers, limiting themselves to the main line-up, which included Stirling Moss, Jean Behra and Cesare Perdisa, who received the unchanged Maserati 250F at their disposal.


At the same time, in addition to usual cars with carburetor engines, the Modena team brought to Monaco another experimental model with a direct injection engine. Moreover, three more Maseratis 250F were entered by private drivers Louis Rosier, Horace Gould and local veteran Louis Chiron who drove for the Scuderia Centro Sud.

The French Gordini team, which was absent in the first round in Argentina, was represented here with three cars: two usual Gordinis T16 with inline 6-cylinder engines and one new Gordini T32 with an inline 8-cylinder engine and a very unusual exhaust system located behind the front wheels.


The French team's drivers were  Robert Manzon, Elie Bayol, Nano da Silva Ramos and André Pilette, with Bayol getting the new car, and Pilette being as the team's reserve driver.

As for the British teams of Alfred Owen and Tony Vandervell, both of them presented in Monaco their new BRM P25 and Vanwall VW2 cars with inline 4-cylinder engines, putting up two cars each. Alfred Owen's team was represented by Mike Hawthorn, who managed to bring BRM its first Formula-1 podium in the previous stage in Argentina, as well as his compatriot Tony Brooks, for whom this Grand Prix was his debut.


Meanwhile, the new Colin Chapman-designed Vanwalls were driven by American Harry Schell and the last Monaco Grand Prix winner  Maurice Trintignant.



As usual, the organization of the Grand Prix in the narrow streets of the Principality differed from other stages of the championship with increased security measures, as a result of which the organizers limited the number of participants in the race to 16 cars and introduced a lower speed limit in order to cut off too slow cars from participating in the Grand Prix. In addition, in an effort to attract as many spectators as possible from the very beginning of the weekend, the organizers assigned a prize of £100 for the driver with the fastest time on the first day of practice. Naturally, after such a rule, all the drivers poured onto the track from the very first minutes of qualifying, delighting the audience with a great fight, but still there was no sensation, and this prize, as well as pole-position, went to the reigning world champion Juan-Manuel Fangio in a Ferrari.


At the same time, as expected, due to a change of the chicane, the Argentine did not manage to surpass last year's track record, and he lost his own time, shown in a Mercedes, by almost 3 sec. The main Fangio's rival in qualifying was Stirling Moss in a Maserati, who was also very fast and lost only 0.6 sec to the Argentinean, while the Englishman tried both a carbureted car and the experimental one, but still preferred to drive a more familiar model.


Meanwhile, third and fourth results also went to Ferrari and Maserati, belonging to the second numbers of the Italian teams Eugenio Castellotti and Jean Behra, but still the main surprise of the qualification was the speed of the new Vanwalls, which allowed Schell and Trintignant to take 5th and 6th places on the starting grid and even surpass the rest drivers of the Italian teams Perdisa, Musso and Collins.

As for the other British team, BRM, things weren't looking so good for them. Already on the first day of training, it turned out that the BRM engines absolutely lacked traction at low revs, which was quite critical on this winding track. After failing to correct this problem during all three days of training, the team eventually withdrew from the competition, leaving a frustrated Hawthorn and Brooks on the sidelines.


Meanwhile, 10th place went to Bayol in the new Gordini car, who was slightly faster than his teammates Manzon and da Silva Ramos in the previous T16 models, but this result went to the Frenchman at the cost of the bent front suspension during one of the fast laps.


As for the last two places on the grid, they were taken by private drivers Rosier and Gould, while local veteran Louis Chiron, having burned out the engines on both his main car and the factory experimental one, did not make it to the start at all. The same fate befell the last qualifying entrant, Giorgio Scarlatti, who was simply too slow in his Formula-2 car, losing more than 25 sec to pole-position time.




Start. Moss manages a great start and it is the Englishman who enters the first turn in the lead, chased by Fangio and Castellotti on two Ferraris! Collins also gets off to a terrific start, breaking through to 4th from his 9th place, and by the end of the first lap, the Englishman becomes 3rd at all, getting ahead of his teammate Castellotti!


Meanwhile, last year's winner Trintignant collides with one of the rivals already in the first turn, having bent the nose of his Vanwall, and thus the Frenchman immediately rolls back to last place!
Position after lap 1: Moss, Fangio, Collins, Castellotti, Behra, Musso, Schell, Perdisa, Manzon, Bayol.
Lap 2: There is a tight fight between the top ten drivers at almost all levels, and this plays into the hands of Moss, who is already 4 sec ahead of his pursuers!


Lap 3: Fangio, trying to catch up with Moss, makes a mistake in the Ste Devote corner and spins across the track! Fortunately, Castellotti, Collins and Behra manage to safely pass his Ferrari, but the Argentinean, having missed three opponents, immediately makes a reverse turn, which leads Musso and Schell, who are following, to complete confusion! In an attempt to avoid the collision, both drivers pull their cars sharply in opposite directions, causing Musso to finish the race in a bales of straw, and Schell crashing into a fence! Meanwhile, Fangio, as if nothing had happened, completes his pirouette and returns to the race, leaving his two unlucky rivals behind!


Lap 4: Behra attacks Castellotti for 3rd and passes him!


Lap 6: Rosier pulls into the pits complaining about problems with the rear suspension, but on inspection the mechanics find nothing unusual and let the Frenchman back on the track.
Position after 10 laps: Moss, Collins, Behra, Castellotti, Fangio, Perdisa, Manzon, Bayol, Ramos, Gould. Moss is confidently leading the race, already 12 sec ahead of Collins!


Lap 11: Fangio catches up with Castellotti and starts pressing his young teammate!


Lap 12: Fangio goes on the attack, but Eugenio does not intend to let the Argentine through at all and blocks him!


Lap 14: Fangio is hot on Castellotti's heels and on the straight after the chicane he still manages to take the lead!


However, the Italian is not going to give up so easily, and in a hairpin Eugenio makes an attempt to regain his position, but only sticks his car's nose into the tail of the Argentinian's Ferrari! Meanwhile, on the same lap, Trintignant pulls into the pits with an overheated engine, reaping the fruits of his collision in the first corner, and thus Vanwall's last hope for a successful performance in this promising race disappears like smoke!
Lap 15: Looks like Castellotti overdid it in his fight with Fangio, and the Italian ends up on the sidelines with a broken clutch!
Lap 19: Fangio continues to push his way up and now leaves Behra behind for 3rd place!


Position after 20 laps: Moss, Collins, Fangio, Behra, Perdisa, Manzon, Bayol, Ramos, Gould, Rosier.
Lap 24: Rosier passes Gould for 9th.
Lap 28: Fangio catches up with Collins, and the Englishman, unlike Castellotti, calmly moves to the side to let the Ferrari leader pass. With no time to waste, the Argentine takes second place and is now back in pursuit of Moss!


Lap 29: Fangio makes another mistake and, hitting the fence, severely damages the nose of his Ferrari!
Lap 30: Despite the damage to the car, Fangio rushes around the track like a hurricane and sets the best lap in the race with a time of 1'46.2!


Lap 31: Another Fangio's mistake! This time, the Argentine hits the fence with the right rear of the car and damages his wheel, which immediately affects the handling of his Ferrari and forces the Argentine to slow down!
Lap 33: Collins easily catches up with the Argentinian and gets ahead again in second place!


Lap 40: After driving a few laps in a broken car, Fangio finally gives up and turns into the pits. However, just like in Argentina, Ferrari manager Sculatti promises to provide Juan-Manuel with another car, while at the broken one the mechanics change the damaged wheel and hand it over to Castellotti, who returns to the race again!


Position after 40 laps: Moss, Collins, Behra, Castellotti, Perdisa, Manzon, Bayol, Ramos, Rosier, Gould. Moss continues to comfortably lead, already more than half a minute ahead of Collins!


Lap 44: Bayol is already too exhausted to continue the race, so the Frenchman pulls into the pits and hands over his car to Gordini's reserve driver Pilette.
Lap 48: Perdisa has serious problems with the brakes and lets Manzon through to 5th place without any struggle, who gets a real opportunity to give Gordini the long-awaited points!


Lap 54: Collins is informed to turn into the pits to give Fangio a chance to get back on the track and earn some points. To the credit of the Englishman and despite the fact that by this point he was confidently in second place and had a simply flawless race, he unquestioningly obeys the order and hands over his Ferrari to the world champion. Taking a seat in Peter's car, Fangio immediately rushes back to the track, but Behra still manages to rush past, who is now taking the second place!


Lap 55: Perdisa continues to lose ground and misses another Gordini of Pilette to 6th!


Position after 60 laps: Moss, Behra, Fangio, Castellotti, Manzon, Perdisa, Pilette, Ramos, Rosier, Gould. After Collins' pit stop, Moss only increases his lead over his pursuers, bringing it up to 50 sec already!


Lap 63: Fangio catches up with Behra and after a short struggle gets ahead of the Frenchman, taking second place!
Lap 67: Perdisa succumbs to another Gordini, this time of Ramos!
Lap 70: Ramos attacks his teammate Pilette for 6th place and passes him!


Lap 73: Rosier's Maserati engine fails, forcing the Frenchman to leave the race.
Lap 76: Castellotti pulls into the pits complaining about a piece of junk he has got instead of the car, but Sculatti just frowns and orders the Italian return to the track!
Position after 80 laps: Moss, Fangio, Behra, Castellotti, Manzon, Ramos, Pilette, Perdisa, Gould. Fangio is currently the fastest driver on the track, however, despite all his efforts, in 20 laps he manages to win back only 11 sec from Moss!


Lap 87: Moss catches up with Perdisa for another lap, but due to brake problems the Italian brakes too early and Stirling crashes right into his teammate's car! As a result of this incident, Moss severely damages the nose of his Maserati, and his lead over Fangio is already reduced to 32 sec!
Lap 90: Despite the collision and the bonnet rising in the corners, Moss continues to drive quite fast, losing only by a second per lap to the flying Fangio!


Lap 91: Manzon does his best to catch up with Castellotti, but progressive brake problems cause the Frenchman to enter the chicane too fast and hit both sides of his Gordini on the S-turn bumpers! After the collision, Robert immediately turns into the pits, which, fortunately, are very close, but there the mechanics state the breakdown of the front suspension, and the Frenchman has no choice but to leave the race! Nonetheless, given that the place next to Manzon was also occupied by another Gordini driver da Silva Ramos, the French team still has every chance to earn the long-awaited points!
Last lap: despite Fangio's best efforts, Moss confidently brings his car to a victorious finish and thus wins his second Formula-1 victory at the Monaco Grand Prix!


Behind Stirling, the Argentine finishes in 6 sec, who, having made a lot of mistakes today, still shows his champion class at the end of the race, passing the last lap with a best time of 1’44.4! Another hero of the day is Collins, who today showed just a great performance and high team spirit, and as a result, the Englishman deservedly shares second place with Fangio, getting his first points in Formula-1! Meanwhile, Behra becomes the third, who also had a very good race, and thanks to the points received, the Frenchman still remains the leader of the championship! Further, the fourth place goes to Castellotti, who still manages to bring his broken Ferrari to the finish line, but the Italian gets only half of the points for all his suffering, sharing them with the leader of the Scuderia. As for the fifth place, da Silva Ramos finishes there, who brings Gordini their first points in two years and at the same time opens the account with his own.


Interesting facts:

- Peter Collins' first podium and points;
- Nano da Silva Ramos' first points;
- Juan Manuel Fangio's 20th pole-position;

- Tony Brooks' debut.

Driver standings


Alternative GP results

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