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German Grand Prix 1957 & German Grand Prix 1958


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#1 Derek Pitt

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 12:20

I have often wondered why there aren't more comparisons drawn between the German Grands Prix of 1957 and 1958.

Fangio's drive in 1957 has rightfully become legendary, but I wonder how Tony Brooks' drive in 1958, in general terms now largely forgotten, compares with the Maestro's drive.

In both cases, the Ferraris of Hawthorn and Collins were pursued and defeated by an aggressive drive from behind and of course in 1958 with tragic results.

What i don't know is how the two drives compare.

For instance, over what number of laps did each pursuit occur?
How do the lap times of Fangio and Brooks compare?
What other similarities or differences were there?

I would have thought the 250F would have been a much easier car to drive around Nurburgring than the Vanwall, with its agricultural gear change and of course in 1957 they were just about undriveable there due to suspension issues.

I hope TNFer's can help me with their opinions and facts which I don't have to hand.

I am sorry if this has been raised before but I cant find any reference to it.

Derek

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#2 Derek Pitt

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 09:08

I have often wondered why there aren't more comparisons drawn between the German Grands Prix of 1957 and 1958.

Fangio's drive in 1957 has rightfully become legendary, but I wonder how Tony Brooks' drive in 1958, in general terms now largely forgotten, compares with the Maestro's drive.

In both cases, the Ferraris of Hawthorn and Collins were pursued and defeated by an aggressive drive from behind and of course in 1958 with tragic results.

What i don't know is how the two drives compare.

For instance, over what number of laps did each pursuit occur?
How do the lap times of Fangio and Brooks compare?
What other similarities or differences were there?

I would have thought the 250F would have been a much easier car to drive around Nurburgring than the Vanwall, with its agricultural gear change and of course in 1957 they were just about undriveable there due to suspension issues.

I hope TNFer's can help me with their opinions and facts which I don't have to hand.

I am sorry if this has been raised before but I cant find any reference to it.

Derek


Can anyone help me here?

#3 fines

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 09:42

An interesting thread idea! Without delving too deeply into any sources, I believe the lap times were much improved in 1958, not least because of some resurfacing, I seem to recall? Anyway, Fangio's legendary lap record didn't last even one single year...

As for Brooks, he's certainly one of the drivers who's often overlooked when greats are discussed, possibly because of his rather modest personality? On the other hand, one big difference between Fangio and Brooks is, that JMF overshadowed his team mate Jean Behra in 1957 to a very large extent, while CASB was in the shadow of his team mate, a certain Stirling Moss, in the early laps of the 1958 race!

I would love to hear other comments.

#4 Derek Pitt

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 09:59

Thanks Fines

Sir Stirling has described CASB as the greatest unknown driver ever and better than many who won the World Championship.

I would love to hear euridite opinion on this issue too.

Derek

#5 ensign14

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 10:39

Fangio's 1957 lap was aided by resurfacing as well. The 3 Ferraris were all in the 9'50"s in qualifying in 1956, nobody else broke the 10 minute barrier; in 1957 in qualifying the top ten all did. Edgar Barth's practice time in '57 would have seen him on the front row the year before. Race times were generally faster than qualifying; in 1956 Fangio's race lap record of 9'41"6 was ten seconds quicker than his qualifying time, a greater margin than the difference between race and qualifying laps in 1957.

Fangio made up something like 45 seconds between laps 13 and 21. Given the Ring is three times the length of a modern circuit this is the equivalent of gaining 2 seconds per lap at somewhere like Silverstone. A phenomenal performance, especially when in the first couple of those laps he did not make up much ground, trying to sort a heavy car. But he was somewhat aided by the Ferraris apparently tooling around ahead of him. E.g on lap 19 Fangio set a lap of 9'23"4, which was a new lap record, but he gained 12 seconds on that lap, meaning the Ferraris must have done 9'35". Collins' fastest lap, when he was chasing Fangio earlier in the race, was six seconds quicker and Hawthorn was able to do a 9'24". Even so, the 9'17" lap of Fangio was astonishing; Fangio's next quickest laps were six seconds off that.

In 1958, Hawthorn, Brooks and Moss all broke 9'20" in practice, again because of more resurfacing work and some additional banking on some corners. In the race Moss stormed into a lead before retiring, then the Ferraris had 22 seconds over Tony Brooks at the end of lap 5. It took Brooks three laps to make that up, again a phenomenal feat. However his fastest lap was 9'10"6, a second slower than Moss with an emptier tank; his next fastest was a 9'16", which enabled him to catch the Ferraris rapidly, so they must have been going a good deal slower. Perhaps Brooks had a much better car and was just holding back whilst Stirling led? Team tactics, to keep one car in better mechanical fettle when things were a bit more stressed in the earlier part of the race?

#6 D-Type

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 10:58

I feel that Collins's fatal accident tends to pull the focus away from Brooks's drive.

There's also a certain romance about the 1957 race with it being Fangio's last GP win, Fangio's own evaluation and the reaction of Hawthorn and Collins, Hawthorn's description in Challenge me the Race etc.



#7 Derek Pitt

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 11:29

I agree D Type

I thnk it is time re-xamine this issue

And also tI think it is time to re-evaluate Tony Brooks' place in the sun,

Derek

#8 Giraffe

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 12:44

I agree D Type

I thnk it is time re-xamine this issue

And also tI think it is time to re-evaluate Tony Brooks' place in the sun,

Derek


Posted Image
By giraffe138

Posted Image
By giraffe138

Tony Brooks at Donington, May 2007. I stood next to Tony and his wife as virtually alone, they watched a summary of his career on a screen in black & white; he stood there shaking his head and tutting as though he'd not given it a thought in decades!



#9 RStock

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 14:52

Thanks Fines

Sir Stirling has described CASB as the greatest unknown driver ever and better than many who won the World Championship.


Derek



Sir Stirling said that given a choice of the two best drivers , he would take Jim Clark and Tony Brooks .

He well should have been champion in 59 . At Sebring he banged wheels with Von Trips , after which he came in , being on the cautious side . That probably costs him the title . I've read that Enzo really liked him and was very disappointed when he left Ferrari .

#10 D-Type

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 15:04

Does anybody know how Mike Lawrence's biography of CASB is progressing?

#11 Derek Pitt

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 23:52

Hi Ensign,

Thanks for you information -it is the first time I have seen actual comaparative data.

If I read you correctly, Fangio made up 45 seconds in 7 laps while a year later, Brooks made up 22 seconds in 3 laps - as you say a phenomenal performance and as I said in introducing ths thread - a feat which is now largely forgotten.

I would be interested to know, if in each case, Hawthorn and Collins knew they were being chased hard.

I guess in those days with no radios etc, a pursuer had at least 9.75 mins or so before his quarry saw a pit signal. Certainly the Ferrari drivers were going hard when poor Collins crashed.


Derek

Edited by Derek Pitt, 08 May 2009 - 23:53.


#12 doc knutsen

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Posted 09 May 2009 - 17:41

Hi Ensign,

Thanks for you information -it is the first time I have seen actual comaparative data.

If I read you correctly, Fangio made up 45 seconds in 7 laps while a year later, Brooks made up 22 seconds in 3 laps - as you say a phenomenal performance and as I said in introducing ths thread - a feat which is now largely forgotten.

I would be interested to know, if in each case, Hawthorn and Collins knew they were being chased hard.

I guess in those days with no radios etc, a pursuer had at least 9.75 mins or so before his quarry saw a pit signal. Certainly the Ferrari drivers were going hard when poor Collins crashed.


Derek


As a wide-eyed ten year old, I was spectating at my first GP, and I realised that CASB was catching the Ferraris, (including that of my hero Hawthorn) very quickly. My Father told me that Brooks would have been given pit signals to speed up once Moss had retired, but I seem to remember Brooks explaining afterwards that his car's balance was pretty bad with a full fuel tank, and that it improved a lot with lessening fuel load. The way I remember it, he picked up the pace from lap four or five, but that would have been after about 45 minutes of racing, given the length of the Nordschleife.
Incidentally, there was no mention of the accident at the Pflanzgarten at the track, we only learnt of the Collins tragedy after a week, when "Autocar" magazine arrived. Even when a fatal accident happened, Grand Prix motor racing was not given a mention in the big dailies in Scandinavia in those days.