1950 United States A1 Grand Prix
The 1950 United States A1 Grand Prix was the seventh round of the inaugural A1 Grand Prix season hosted at the brand new Sebring International Raceway. Juan Manuel Fangio in his first appearance for Argentina took pole position.
|1||1||Juan Manuel Fangio||1:59.195||Leader|
|12||19||Dries van der Lof||2:00.558||+1.363|
|29||27||Toulo de Graffenried||2:03.102||+3.997|
|33||17||Jesus Nava Gonzales||2:14.055||+14.860|
The start didn't see too many changes in position as the only change amongst the top ten was France's Maurice Trintignant getting by England's Peter Whitehead for third. There was a bit of carnage though at the turn seven hairpin. Antonio Creus had a short lived debut for Spain after he braked too late and ran into the back of Northern Ireland's Desmond Titterington while Finland's Asser Wallenius managed to do the exact same to the Wales car of Jack Niell. Luckily only Creus would actually retire as a result of the incidents having parked his car in the garage after the first lap. The rest would only have to pit once for repairs.
In the opening laps a pattern of groups quickly emerged and would largely remain similar throughout the entire race. Juan Manuel Fangio lead away for Argentina followed closely but not close enough to attack by Italy's Alberto Ascari with Trintignant a similar distance behind in third, then a slightly bigger gap back to Whitehead. Next was Scotland's Comish Hunter who spent the first stint leading a train of cars which contained Johnnie Parsons, Louis Chiron, Hans Stuck, Porfirio Rubirosa and Edgar Barth, the latter making his debut for East Germany. A little further back, battling for 11th was Ireland's Joe Kelly and Sweden's Erik Lundgren, then behind them, Dries van der Lof lead another train which included, Tony Gaze, Chico Landi, Johnny Claes, Robert Nelleman and once he had worked his way up to the back of the group, Toulo de Graffenried. The Swiss driver starting down in 29th after a spin in his qualifying lap.
Germany's awful luck continued on lap 6 when Stuck's car suddenly lost power with what turned out to be a clutch failure forcing the German car to pull up off the track. Meanwhile, Uruguay's Eitel Cantoni managed to clumsily rear end Prince Bira at the turn seven hairpin while attempting to fend off a challenge from de Graffenried, causing both to have to pit for repairs, though Bira wouldn't actually make his repairs until his scheduled stop.
Not much happened other than Landi having yet another mechanical failure from 14th on lap 8 with a camshaft failure. The field for the most part were stably running in position with overtaking proving to be difficult as the track was very dusty off line since this was the very first race meeting on the brand new Sebring circuit. Dries van der Lof lost a few positions after running wide and off the track while fending off Tony Gaze for 12th. Lap 17 saw most of the leaders make their first stop, though Ascari and Trintignant would stay out and pit the next lap. While their would be no changes in the top four, Porfirio Rubirosa managed to come out in fifth place thanks to a quick pitstop and good out lap. Parsons on the other hand would drop to eighth. The top 15 after the first round of stops was, Fangio, Ascari, Trintignant, Whitehead, Rubirosa, Hunter, Chiron, Parsons, Barth, Lundgren, Kelly, Gaze, Nelleman, de Graffenried, Claes.
Again the second stint wasn't too eventful despite some closely fought groups. The only thing of note was the return of stubborn backmarkers which had contributed to the gap between Fangio and Ascari growing. The most notable incident however was on lap 32 when Hunter, Chiron, Parsons and Barth all caught Mexico's Jesus Nava Gonzales and Peru's Henry Bradley at the same time, the former was already two laps down. The group had to wait for Gonzales and Bradley to sort themselves out before making their way past. This briefly caused Kelly and Gaze to catch onto the tail end of the group. Sadly after a good showing throughout the weekend, Lundgren would suffer a puncture which saw him have to make an unscheduled stop which dropped him well outside the points for the time being.
The second and final round of pitstops occurred on laps 35-38 and this time Ascari and Trintignant would pit three laps before Fangio. This allowed Ascari to claw back some of the gap on his out laps while Fangio first lost time on old tyres then lost more time on his out lap with cold tyres while Ascari already had his up to temperature. Fangio was disadvantaged further when for the first time in the race, he would have less luck than Ascari when it came to lapped traffic as he spent too long trying to get past Ernest Geering and Desmond Titterington. Ascari was briefly on the back of Fangio's bumper but ultimately was never able to make a serious attempt at a pass as by this point, Fangio's tyres were up to temperature and he pulled away again once they were clear of the backmarkers. The top 15 after the second round was Fangio, Ascari, Trintignant, Whitehead, Rubirosa, Chiron, Hunter, Parsons, Barth, de Graffenried, Kelly, Gaze, Nelleman, Claes, van der Lof.
The leaders would remain unchanged for the rest of the race but after a relatively calm race so far, some of the mid fielders started to fall apart. First on lap 46, Henry Bradley squeezed out Prince Bira while the Thai driver was attempting to lap him coming out of Collier, the pair made contact and off went Bira making light contact with the tyres though luckily not enough to force him to pit for repairs. Then merely seconds later, Comish Hunter managed to trip over Gabriele Herrera while attempting to lap the Colombian at turn five. Both spun around with Hunter whacking the tyres with the rear of his car, causing a fair amount of damage and dropping him down from seventh to tenth behind Parsons, Barth and de Graffenried. Then Gaze nudged with rear end of Kelly into turn fifteen, causing himself to briefly go off track though he managed not to loose any positions. Then on lap 49 Bradley made a nuisance of himself again when he braked way to late into turn seven and slid into Parsons causing both to spin off. Parsons would drop to ninth behind Barth and de Graffenried. To cap it off, on lap 48 both Nelleman and Jack Tutton would drop out within seconds of each other with identical gearbox failures.
So after 54 laps of racing, Fangio became the third driver to win on his debut taking Argentina's second win of the season, five seconds ahead of Ascari with Trintignant a further ten behind. Peter Whitehead finished fourth after a lonely race, though he was nearly caught up by an impressive Porfirio Rubirosa who secured an impressive fifth place for the Dominican Republic. Chiron came home a solid sixth while Barth managed to fend off de Graffenried for seventh and East Germany's first points since Silverstone. Parsons came home in a personal best ninth place from Joe Kelly who kept up Ireland's consistent points gathering form. Gaze and Claes were next followed by a disappointed Hunter who managed to soldier on home in 13th after electing not to pit for repairs. 14th was Dries van der Lof while Erik Lundgren managed to recover to take the final point.
Also worth noting is that Henry Bradley managed to rack up a total of eight penalty points, two each for twice getting in the way of the leaders and two each for the two clashes he had with other cars.
|1||1||1||Juan Manuel Fangio||54||1:52:48.067||25|
|8||29||27||Toulo de Graffenried||54||+59.357||8|
|14||12||19||Dries van der Lof||54||+1:29.363||2|
|18||26||31||Mikhail Metelev||53||+1 lap|
|19||27||5||Al Pease||53||+1 lap|
|20||30||24||Ernest Geering||53||+1 lap|
|21||23||12||Asser Wallenius||53||+1 lap|
|22||24||7||Eliška Junková||53||+1 lap|
|23||25||30||Eitel Cantoni||53||+1 lap|
|24||28||6||Gabriel Herrera||53||+1 lap|
|25||32||32||Attilio Cagnasso||53||+1 lap|
|26||19||21||Desmond Titterington||52||+2 laps|
|27||31||22||Henry Bradley||52||+2 laps|
|28||33||17||Jesus Nava Gonzales||51||+3 laps|
|Ret||22||25||Antonio Creus||1||Collision Damage, Titterington|
Fastest Lap Juan Manuel Fangio 2:02.509 Lap 4.
Drivers receive points on their race licence if they are deemed by the stewards to be driving in an 'unsporting manner'. Points are usually given for causing avoidable collisions, pitlane infractions or impeding fastest cars while being lapped. If a driver collects 12 points throughout the season then they are given a three month ban from racing in the series. Points are reset to zero after each season. Fines can also be given.