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F.1 tyres in 1950-51


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#1 Barry Boor

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 19:29

For reasons I will not boor you with here, I am very keen to find out which teams ran on which tyres during the first two years of the World Championship.

I realise that there were probably no specific contracts and maybe different rubber was used at different races but I guess there may have been a certain amount of consistency.

It's not just Alfa and Ferrari I'm interested in but Maserati, Talbot, B.R.M, H.W.M, Alta, Gordini and anyone else who was involved, even E.R.A.

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#2 Vitesse2

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 19:55

I just happen to have Dunlop Mac's book within reach ...

He gives the following wins for Dunlop-shod cars, although he admits it's not a complete list.

1950
Paris GP: Grignard (Talbot)
Empire Trophy: Gerard (ERA)
Jersey: Whitehead (Ferrari)
Albi: Rosier (Talbot)
Dutch GP: Rosier (Talbot)
Ulster Trophy: Whitehead (Ferrari)
Wakefield Trophy: Hamilton (Maserati)

1951
Bordeaux: Rosier (Talbot)
Frontieres: Claes (Gordini)
Festival of Britain Trophy: Parnell (Ferrari)
Empire Trophy: Moss (Frazer Nash)
Sambre et Meuse: Manzon (Gordini)
Leinster: Hawthorn (Riley)
Dutch GP: Rosier (Talbot)
Sables d'Olonne: Trintignant (Gordini)
Erlen: Whitehead (Ferrari)
Bol d'Or: Scaron (Gordini)
Wakefield Trophy: Moss (HWM)
Cadours: Trintignant (Gordini)
GP du Salon: Mairesse (Talbot)

If it helps, in earlier and later years he has Parnell, Whitehead, Rosier and Gerard always on Dunlops, plus Bira's Maserati in 1948 and - it would seem - most of the other Talbots as well: Chiron, Pozzi, Chaboud, Giraud-Cabantous.

I'll have a look through the index and see what else I can glean.

#3 ReWind

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 20:27

StatsF1 gives tyre dates for 1950 & 1951. Just click on the individual races and then on "Engag├ęs".

I don't know how reliable those infos are, though.

#4 Barry Boor

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 21:27

That's brilliant, ReWind. Many thanks.

#5 Bloggsworth

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 22:02

Pirelli, Englebert, Continental & Firestone in 50 and 51.

#6 Bjorn Kjer

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 22:13

Perhaps this one helps a little......? http://forums.autosp...?threadid=61376 called F1 tyres in the 1950's

#7 Bauble

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 10:57

In 1950 the Alfa's used Pirelli tyres and Ferrari Englebert. In 1951 both teams used Pirelli..

#8 Eric Dunsdon

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 12:15

In 1950 the Alfa's used Pirelli tyres and Ferrari Englebert. In 1951 both teams used Pirelli..

With the exception of the Indianapolis 500 in 1952 where they used Firestone tyres, surely Ferrari used Pirelli until 1956?.

#9 Roger Clark

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 12:41

I thought it was 1955 that Ferrari changed to Englebert but I'm sure it wasn't as early as 1951.

#10 D-Type

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 12:57

I thought it was 1955 that Ferrari changed to Englebert but I'm sure it wasn't as early as 1951.

Stats F1 says Pirelli in all Championship races which bears this out.

But, I remember this came up in passing on another thread (but there are just too many with "Englebert" in them to find iteasily). If I remember correctly (increasingly less likely these days) it established that they used Englebert tyres somewhere and I think a photo half confirmed it as the name on the tyres was longer than "Pirelli"

Edited by D-Type, 29 January 2012 - 19:47.


#11 Bauble

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 15:58

Alfa Romeo always raced on Pirelli during the 1950 & 51 seasons, as far as I can recall, while Ferrari certainly ran on Englebert during 1951, unless my memory is badly astray. I remember that in the final race of the 1951 season at Barcelona Ferrari fitted a larger Englebert rear tyre to improve top speed, but this proved a disaster as the tyres could not cope and required pit stops for replacements.
The Marlboro 'Grand Prix Guide' has all the World Championship races as being won on Pirelli during 1950 and 51, so unless Ferrari swapped between the two makes it sounds unlikely to be correct. The guide does give the 1952 season as being shared between both manufacturers with Ascari using both to win races, so clearly we need more research. Well I do!

#12 Michael Ferner

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 16:30

I remember that in the final race of the 1951 season at Barcelona Ferrari fitted a larger Englebert rear tyre to improve top speed, but this proved a disaster as the tyres could not cope and required pit stops for replacements.


Didn't they actually fit smaller rear tyres and wheels to improve traction?

#13 Tim Murray

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 16:49

In 1950 the Alfa's used Pirelli tyres and Ferrari Englebert. In 1951 both teams used Pirelli..

Alfa Romeo always raced on Pirelli during the 1950 & 51 seasons, as far as I can recall, while Ferrari certainly ran on Englebert during 1951 ...

So which is it, 1950 or 1951? :p

I remember that in the final race of the 1951 season at Barcelona Ferrari fitted a larger Englebert rear tyre to improve top speed, but this proved a disaster as the tyres could not cope and required pit stops for replacements.

Michael is (of course) right. They changed from their usual 17" wheels to 16", and as a result had problems with treads stripping. All sources I've ever seen say these tyres were Pirellis.

#14 Roger Clark

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 18:36

I thought it was 1955 that Ferrari changed to Englebert but I'm sure it wasn't as early as 1951.

This, and much else, is nonsense I'm afraid. Photographs in Ferrari in Camera clearly show the 375s on Engleberts at Rheims and Silverstone in 1951.

#15 Bauble

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 19:54

I have seen a picture of the Thinwall Special on Pirelli tyres in 1951.

#16 D-Type

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 20:26

What have I found?

A photo of Ascari's Ferrari after practice at Monza in 1951 on Pirelli tyres (Motor Racing the Golden Age - John Tennant pp376-377)

Steve Small' 3rd edition identifies the tyres used. He has Ferraris on Pirellis throughout 1950-51 except Reims 1951 where Ascari, Gonzales and Villoresi appear to have started on Engleberts. It appears that when Ascari took over Gonzalez's car they fitted Pirellis since under Gonzalez he just says E, under Ascari's own car he says E but under Ascari/Gonzalez he says E/P suggesting a change mid-race.
A photo in Cyril Posthumus's Classic Grand Prix Cars shows Gonzalez at Reims with Englebert tyres.

Barry, you have the Motor Sport DVD so I won't search that (and I don't want to spend a whole evening being sidetracked!)

#17 Roger Clark

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 22:02

Steve Small' 3rd edition identifies the tyres used. He has Ferraris on Pirellis throughout 1950-51 except Reims 1951 where Ascari, Gonzales and Villoresi appear to have started on Engleberts. It appears that when Ascari took over Gonzalez's car they fitted Pirellis since under Gonzalez he just says E, under Ascari's own car he says E but under Ascari/Gonzalez he says E/P suggesting a change mid-race.
A photo in Cyril Posthumus's Classic Grand Prix Cars shows Gonzalez at Reims with Englebert tyres.

Barry, you have the Motor Sport DVD so I won't search that (and I don't want to spend a whole evening being sidetracked!)

In Paul Parker's Formula 1 In Camera 1950 - 1959 there is a photograph of Ascari, about to leave the pits after taking over from Gonzalez. He is on a fresh set of Engleberts.

#18 Roger Clark

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 22:39

In Fifties Motor Racing by Alan R Smith, there is a photograph of the works Ferraris in the paddock at the 1951 British Grand Prix. Ascari's and Gonzalez' are on Engleberts, Villoresi's is on Pirellis.

#19 Eric Dunsdon

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 10:15

So which is it, 1950 or 1951? :p


Michael is (of course) right. They changed from their usual 17" wheels to 16", and as a result had problems with treads stripping. All sources I've ever seen say these tyres were Pirellis.

Me too!. I have read that Pirelli were not at all impressed by Ferrari's change of wheel size at Barcelona, which lead to a major fall out between the tyre company and the old Curmudgeon, Signor F himself!.

Edited by Eric Dunsdon, 17 January 2012 - 10:23.


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#20 Roger Clark

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 15:55

If anybody else is interested in this...

It seems to me that the works Ferraris used Englebert in the 1951 French, British (with the possible exception of Villoresi) and German Grands Prix. They switched to Pirelli for Italy and Spain. Why they should change is a bit of a mystery to me. They had won the last two races.

Pirelli were generally reckoned to make the best racing tyres at that time. Connaught apparently found a few years later that the Italian tyres were worth three seconds a lap at Silverstone. They also drove a hard commercial deal: teams actually had to pay for their tyres. Winners received generous bonuses; lucrative if you were winning, expensive if you were not. It may be that the wins in Britain and Germany persuaded Ferrari that he could now afford Pirelli's terms. I suppose that it is also possible that those wins persuaded Pirelli to offer better terms to Ferrari. I suspect that Alfa Romeo got a better deal than Connaught, for example. Of course, Ferrari's relationship with both Englebert and Pirelli went back many years so he knew who to talk to.

#21 Bauble

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 16:10

I mentioned earlier that the Marlboro 'Grand Prix Guide' list's all World Championship races in 1950 & 51 as being won on Pirelli tyres, so as we have evidence that Ferrari did use Englebert during the period it would seem that they never won a race on them.
A way to check who was using what would be to look at periodicals of the time and check the adverts. as many companies would trumpet their success.

While not relevant to the original query it is interesting that the same source list Ferrari using both makes in 1952 to win races!

Clearly then Ferrari did not have an exclusive contract with either company.

#22 Eric Dunsdon

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 17:40

Since this thread began, I have checked out several contemporary race reports, and none of them mentions the makes of tyres being used by Alfa Romeo and Ferrari. Obviously it wasnt of as much interest sixty years ago as it is to us now. :cool: .

#23 Bauble

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 19:04

Since this thread began, I have checked out several contemporary race reports, and none of them mentions the makes of tyres being used by Alfa Romeo and Ferrari. Obviously it wasnt of as much interest sixty years ago as it is to us now. :cool: .


But you do see pictures of drivers wearing Pirelli rain vests occasionaly!

#24 D-Type

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 20:11

In the August 1951 Motor Sport British GP report, WB devotes a paragraph to tyres used. He has Villoresi on 6.00-19 & 7.50-17 Engleberts, Ascari and Gonzalez on 5.50-16 & 7.50-16 Pirellis, and Whitehead in the Thinwall changing from Dunlops to the same size Pirellis as the Works cars.

More grist to the mill.

Edited by D-Type, 29 January 2012 - 19:50.


#25 Roger Clark

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 23:53

In the August 1951 Motor Sport WB devotes a paragraph to tyres used. He has Villoresi on 6.00-19 & 7.50-17 Engleberts, Ascari and Gonzalez on 5.50-16 & 7.50-16 Pirallis, and Whitehead changing from Dunlops to the same size Pirellis as the Works cars.

More grist to the mill.

I don't know about sizes, but WB's list of tyre manufacturers for the works Ferraris seems to contradict photographic evidence.

#26 Eric Dunsdon

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 08:33

[quote name='Bauble' date='Jan 17 2012, 19:04' post='5483562']
But you do see pictures of drivers wearing Pirelli rain vests occasionaly!
[/quote
But I was referring only to race reports. Agreed there were numerous pictures of drivers (usually Alfa drivers) wearing waterproof Pirelli overall tops. Never saw anybody wearing a Pirelli vest though! :confused:

#27 Roger Clark

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 17:24

I've spent an enjoyable hour or so watching (several times) the MFQ film of the 1951 British Grand Prix. It seems that the works Ferraris were as I posted earlier: Villoresi's on Pirelli, Ascari and Gonzalez on Englebert. There is a practice shot of Villoresi's on Pirellis.

There is also a shot of Claes' Talbot on (I'm fairly sure) Engleberts. Another difference from the F1 Stats website. It would be a logical match.

#28 Roger Clark

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 22:25

Photographs in Francorchamps 1948-1960 and in 60 Ans de Competition en Belgique show that Ascari and Villoresi both used Engleberts in the 1951 Belgian Grand Prix.

A photograph in Grand Prix Suisse shows Villoresi's car on Pirellis in that year's Swiss Grand Prix.

#29 Roger Clark

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Posted 26 January 2012 - 19:12

It seems that Scuderia Ferrari used Pirellis during most of 1950. Photographs show cars (mainly Ascari) on Pirellis at Modena (7/5), Monza (28/5), Monaco (21/5), Berne (4/6). Geneva (30/7), Nurburgring (20/8), Monza (3/9) and Garda (15/10). I know that some of these were Formula 2 races but I think it's relevant.

The only definite exception was the Belgian Grand Prix (18/6) where Ascari's and Villoresi's cars are both picture on Engleberts. There are also pictures of Serafini at the German and Italian Grands Prix which could be Engleberts but I can't be sure.

The source of most of this is Karl Ludvigsen's Ferrari by Mailander and his Ascari biography, which also features many Mailander photographs. The Belgian Grand Prix photos are in Francochamps 1948-60 by Jean=Paul Delsaux. If anybody can point to other photographs which show the tyre maker's name or the tread pattern, I would be most grateful.

#30 D-Type

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Posted 28 January 2012 - 21:04

Can I go a tad OT? Does anyone know what tyres were used on the German BMW-powered cars that ran in the F2 1950 German GP and the 1952 and 1953 races?