top of page

1957 Pescara Grand Prix

The sixth round of the 1957 Formula-1 World Championship took place on August 18 in Italy at the famous road track passing through the city of Pescara, becoming the first of the two Italian stages that followed each other at the very end of the championship calendar. The first Grand Prix on this circuit took place back in the 1920s, and before World War II these races were called Coppa Acerbo, in honor of the famous Italian politician. Subsequently, in the 1950s, the track hosted several non-championship Formula-1 races, but it managed to achieve the official status of World Championship Grand Prix only this year. The track itself was shaped like a triangle with two huge straights, one of which ran along the Adriatic coast, while the southern part of the track ran through mountainous terrain through several villages and was quite winding. The total length of the track was 25.58 km, which was an absolute record among all Formula-1 tracks, while the drivers had to complete only 18 laps in the race.


Two weeks after his magnificent victory at the Nürburgring, Juan-Manuel Fangio arrived in Pescara already as a five-time world champion, however, despite the title won, the Maserati team did not think about relaxing on the eve of their two home Grands Prix, hoping to end this amazing season on the highest note.


As at the previous stage, the Argentinean's teammates again were Jean Behra, Harry Schell and Giorgio Scarlatti, but this time the team brought not only lightweight 6-cylinder 250F cars, but also their experimental 12-cylinder bolid, in the hope that the long straights of the Pescara track will allow to fully realize the potential of its 310-hp engine.


Meanwhile, things were not so rosy at Scuderia Ferrari. In addition to the fact that already in Germany the Maranello team lost their last chances for the championship title, Enzo Ferrari, during the break between the two stages, managed to quarrel strongly with the Italian government and the Automobile Club of Italy, after which he immediately announced his refusal to participate in the Grand Prix. Naturally, this news greatly stunned all the Scuderia fans, however, at the very last moment Commendatore changed his decision, and in the end the team was still represented by one Ferrari 801, driven by Luigi Musso.


The Vanwall line-up remained unchanged and, as at the previous few rounds, the British team was represented by Stirling Moss, Tony Brooks and Stuart Lewis-Evans.


As for the cars, after a rather weak performance at the Nürburgring, the team engineers concentrated their efforts on improving the suspension, and new shock absorbers were installed on the British cars for the Pescara Grand Prix.


The last factory team to take part in the Grand Prix was the British Cooper, which fielded two of their rear-engined Formula-2 cars, driven, as before, by Jack Brabham and Roy Salvadori.


The rest of the entry list was filled by private drivers in Maserati 250Fs, including Chico Godia, Luigi Piotti, Horace Gould, Bruce Halford, Masten Gregory and Jo Bonnier, while the latter two representing the private team of Scuderia Centro Sud.



Considering that the route of the track passed directly along public roads, the organizers, trying to minimize inconvenience for local residents, allocated only one day for training, dividing the qualification into two sessions, at 7.00 and 16.30. At the same time, given the huge length of the circuit, most drivers preferred not to do either warm-up or return laps at all, and having completed their fast laps, they immediately braked, after which the mechanics pushed them back to the pits. The main fight for pole position unfolded between Fangio, Moss and Musso from three different teams, but the world champion managed to show his class here too, beating his closest rival, who eventually became the Englishman, by more than 10 seconds!


However, despite this lag, Stirling was quite pleased with second place, since after a frankly weak performance at the Nurburgring, Vanwall still managed to demonstrate obvious progress.


Tiffosi's main hope, Luigi Musso, who represented the Scuderia here alone, also managed to please his fans, eventually taking third place on the starting grid.


Meanwhile, in the second row of the starting field were Maserati drivers Behra and Schell, while in the first session the Frenchman almost immediately suffered an engine failure in his main car, after which he had to switch to the 12-cylinder bolid. As in the previous Grand Prix, this car again failed to impress with its speed, and Jean managed to show his best result only in the second session, when he again returned to the wheel of his 6-cylinder car, which had a new engine installed.


In addition to the Modena team's factory drivers, Masten Gregory and Jo Bonnier from Scuderia Centro Sud also looked very good in last year's Maserati cars, taking 7th and 9th respectively, both of them ahead of the last factory driver Scarlatti, who competed in the same car.


As for Moss’ teammates, when they first appeared on this track, they were clearly cautious and in the end showed only 6th and 8th results. Meanwhile, as expected, the slowest cars on the Pescara track were two Coopers, which this time suffered not only from a lack of power, but also from quite unstable behavior in corners.



Taking into account the summer heat, the start of the race was scheduled for 9.30, and from the very early morning the stands and the surrounding hills were flooded with crowds of spectators, the total number of which was more than 200,000!


Start. After the wave of the national flag, the cars take off, and, to the delight of tiffosi, Musso immediately takes the lead, who manages to get ahead of both Fangio and Moss! However, Jean Behra starts the race even better, who also manages to get ahead of both the Englishman and the Argentine in the first turn, while in the section of the village of Montani the Frenchman also leaves Musso behind, thus becoming the new leader! Nevertheless, Jean's leadership does not last long, and literally after a couple of turns Luigi counterattacks the Frenchman and takes the lead again! Moss also does not sit idly by and passes the world champion in the area of the village of Fornace, while in the hairpin near the village of Capelle, Stirling masterfully overtakes Behra, thus pushing the Frenchman into 3rd place! Meanwhile, the main loser of the start is Schell, who loses four positions at once, dropping to 9th place, while Gould knocks down a mechanic who did not have time to move away, but who, fortunately, remains unharmed. In addition, already on the first lap the first losses appear: on Brooks’ Vanwall the engine begins to overheat,  forcing the Englishman to end the race ahead of schedule, Piotti's engine breaks down at the Capelle, while Gould, trying to make up for lost positions at the start, brakes too late before the chicane and ends the race within straw bales!

Position after 1st lap: Musso, Moss, Fangio, Behra, Lewis-Evans, Gregory, Bonnier, Schell, Scarlatti, Godia.
Lap 2: Having dealt with the Maseratis, Moss closes the gap to the Ferrari on the mountainous part of the track, runs side by side with it on the next long straight, and reaches the embankment as the new leader of the race!


Meanwhile, on the same lap, Salvadori manages to pass not only his teammate Brabham, but also Godia in a Maserati, while the Australian, on the contrary, also lets Halford through, thus dropping to last place.


Lap 3: Having missed Moss, Musso does everything possible to keep up with the Englishman, and the entire lap Vanwall and Ferrari pass as a pair, separated only by a couple of seconds! Meanwhile, as he approaches the first turn, a piece of tread flies off the rear tire of Lewis-Evans' car, forcing the Englishman to slow down!


At the same time, given that this incident occurred almost at the very beginning of the lap, Stuart loses just a huge amount of time on his return to the pits, and after changing the wheel he gets back to the track only in penultimate place! Besides, on the same lap, Schell wins back one position, overtaking Bonnier, while Salvadori, keen on fighting with his teammate, drives too wide into one of the turns on the mountainous part of the track and hits the stone kilometer post with his rear wheel! Thanks to his teammate's failure, Brabham easily takes the lead, but at the end of the lap the Australian stops briefly in the pits and reports to John Cooper about what happened. Some time later, Salvadori also gets there, however, after examining the rear suspension, the mechanics only shake their heads, and Roy now has no choice but to leave the race.

Lap 4: Despite all Musso's efforts, Moss manages to gradually break away from the Italian, and by the end of the lap the gap between the two leaders increases to 6 seconds!


Meanwhile, luck passes Behra not only in qualifying, but also in the race, and, having lost almost all the oil due to a crack in the oil line, the Frenchman drops out of the race.
Lap 5: Moss laps even faster and gains another couple of seconds over Musso!


Meanwhile, Schell continues his breakthrough and, having overtaken his compatriot Gregory, the American is already in 4th place!


In addition, on the same lap, Bonnier's Maserati body cannot withstand the loads on this bumpy track and begins to burst literally at the seams, which is why the Swede stops at the end of the lap for a long repair and thus drops to penultimate place!


As for the last place, it is again Lewis-Evans, who suffers another tire delamination!
Lap 8: Gaining two-three seconds per lap from Musso, Moss brings his advantage over Ferrari to 16 seconds, while Fangio, who is in 3rd, is already losing to the Englishman for more than a minute!


Meanwhile, Lewis-Evans, who had already made two pit stops, manages to catch up and pass Brabham, while Bonnier finally drops out of the race due to engine overheating.


Lap 9: Moss sets the fastest lap of the race 9’44.6, thus already 20 seconds ahead of Musso!


Lap 10: While driving along the mountainous part of the track, a crack forms in the oil tank of Musso's Ferrari, and, to the disappointment of local fans, the Italian stops a few hundred meters later with the engine seized!


Meanwhile, Fangio, having slipped on an oil trail left by the Ferrari, damages his rear left wheel on the curb, and, having noticeably slowed down, makes an unscheduled pit stop! At the same time, even after losing a lot of time, the Argentine still retains 2nd place, but his gap from Moss is already more than 3 minutes!


In addition, on the same lap, Halford drops out of the race due to transmission problems.


Position after 10 laps: Moss, Fangio, Schell, Gregory, Scarlatti, Godia, Lewis-Evans, Brabham. After Musso's retirement, Moss remains the undisputed leader of the race, while American Harry Schell now takes 3rd place!


Lap 11: In Gregory's Maserati, the windshield begins to fall off due to constant shaking, and the American, who has been sitting on Schell's tail for a long time, slows down a little, thus saying goodbye to his last hopes of competing for the podium in this race.


Meanwhile, another private Maserati driver, Chico Godia, is out of the race due to engine problems.
Lap 12: With a more than 3.5-minute lead over Fangio, Moss pulls into the pits to top up the oil and then returns to the track still in the sure lead!


Lap 14: The throttle starts to jam on Lewis-Evans' Vanwall, causing the Englishman to almost fly off the track several times, but despite this, Stuart bravely continues the race!


Lap 16: Scarlatti, who is in 5th place, has problems with both the engine and the clutch, and seeing no way to continue the race, the Italian drives into the pits, retiring.


Seeing a great chance for the team to earn a couple more points, the Vanwall mechanics put up a sign for Lewis-Evans to speed up, hoping that the Englishman will be able to make up his lag in the couple of remaining laps.
Last lap: Moss, after a truly flawless race, crosses the finish line first and thus gives Vanwall their second victory of the season!


Moreover, thanks to this success, the Englishman immediately moves up to 2nd in the overall standings, and thus, before the last stage, Stirling becomes the main contender for the title of vice-champion!


Meanwhile, Fangio finishes second, more than three minutes behind, who has to admit the undoubted superiority of the Englishman in this race, however, be that as it may, the Argentine wins another podium for his team this season!


Finishing third is the Argentine's teammate Harry Schell, who, despite a weak start, manages to make an impressive breakthrough, and thus the American wins his first podium in Formula-1!


The fourth place goes to another American, Masten Gregory, for whom this is already the second hit in the points this season, while the last two points for fifth place go to Lewis-Evans, who still manages to make up his gap to Scarlatti on the last lap! In total, seven cars finish the race, while on the last lap, the last-placed Brabham runs out of fuel, which forces the Australian to park his car opposite a gas station, just a few hundred meters from the finish! Surprisingly, at this very moment, when the Australian has actually said goodbye to the hope of seeing the checkered flag, a gas station attendant suddenly appears on the scene and offers Jack his help! After pouring a few gallons of fuel into the Cooper, the refueller is rewarded with a warm handshake from the Australian, after which Jack rushes back to the track and thus still gets his 7th place!


Interesting facts:

- Harry Schell's first podium.

Driver standings


Alternative GP results

bottom of page