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1950 GP de l'ACF starting grid


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#1 GIGLEUX

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Posted 30 May 2003 - 17:32

There is something wrong in nearly all the starting grids published about the 1950 ACF GP. It is boring as this race is a very important one as being a WC event.
The matter is about the positions of Sommer and Rosier on the grid, and other little facts like practise times.
In fact everything began with what David Hodges published in his book, The French GP.
The grid was in 3-2-3 which is correct with the following positions:
Row 1 Fangio 2.30.6 Farina 2.32.5 Fagioli 2.34.7
Row 2 Etancelin 3.39.0 (in fact 2.39.0) Giraud-Cabantous 2.42.7
Row 3 Sommer 2.46.0 Rol 2.46.7 Gonzales 2.48.0
Row 4 "Levegh" 2.49.0 a blank for a non-starter
Row 5 Parnell NT Hampshire NT Manzon NT
Row 6 Chiron NT Pozzi NT
Row 7 Rosier NT Claes NT Bonetto NT
Row 8 Whitehead NT

It appears that Hodges could not find the practise times of quite a lot of people!
As every body has a tendency to refer, not to say copy, to what was published before, it continued:
-Mike Lang Grand Prix vol.1 idem Hodges
-Casucci-Tommasi 25 anni di Formula 1 idem
-Autoprint in their special publication in the eighties about the F1 WC idem.
-F1-legend (on the web) idem, with practice times even for Whitehead who did'nt practice at all!!
Errare humanum est sed perseverare diabolicum! In fact if something is wrong the more it is copied the more truly it becomes and at the end it is THE truth no to say the BIBLE!

If we refer to the official entry list we have:
-12 Sommer Talbot
-16 Etancelin
-18 G.Cabantous Talbot
-20 Rosier Talbot
-24 Chaboud Talbot
Here are the entries for the works team.
Sommer is not in the chronology because at first he was entered by the Scuderia Ferrari with Villoresi and Ascari having Ns 8 and 10 respectively.
The "Auto-Journal" announced the two Italians with the 125-1500cc and Sommer with a 3300cc.
In fact it did'nt happen as written. Sommer at the time was not t all satisfied with Ferrari, judging that Ascari and Villoresi where favoured:
-at Monaco he had a single stage supercharged car.
-at Berne a F2 car.
So in Belgium he prefered to start with his own Talbot and for the ACF GP he negociated a car with Anthony Lago.
The second point is that from the Belgian GP, the Scuderia was in complete reorganization with its cars.So Sommer drove for Talbot.

Three photos of the starting grid were published:
-David Hodges in French GP
-Mike Lang in Grand Prix
-Cyril Posthumus in Cars Profile N.2 about Lago-Talbots

The best is in Cars Profile.
On this photo we can see car N.20 in third row.N.20 following the entry list is Rosier; at the end of the grid is an offset car and with a good lens we see it has N.12 painted. So why to put Sommer with N.20 and de facto Rosier with N.12? We can imagine they changed cars but...there are always many "but" in such stories!

Have a look in what was written at the time:
-in "L'Equipe" 01/07/50: Giraud-Cabantous mainly practiced slowly at the wheel of Sommer brand new car to check everything and have the egine tried. So Sommer car was a new one. It is interesting as the Talbot'drivers in WC events had always the same cars:
110051 for Rosier
110052 for Giraud-Cabantous
110053 for Martin and after his accident, Chaboud
110054 for Etancelin
Sommer's car was new and so was not one of the usual four T26C-DA, in fact a fifth car.
-in "The Motor" race report of July 5, 1950 page 677: "then Sommer, on an entire new Talbot with a lighter chassis and no offset transmission". It is also witten that Whitehead arrived too late on Saturday to practice (so no time).
-in one of the first number of Autosport G.Crombac (who was their Continental correspondant) wrote about the car of Sommer: a special one with in line transmission and offset position of the cockpit, the prototype of the works cars for 1951.
But what is a Talbot with in line transmission? simply a T26GS, the kind of car who won at Le Mans in 1950!!
At the time I received a phone call from Pierre Abeillon saying: "I have identified Sommer's car at Reims, it is 110058"
So Rosier was in the third row of the grid and Sommer at the back.

After that I had to find the missing practice times an for so to research in newspapers. Not always easy in France as one of each newspapers have to be sent at the district archives where the diary is sell, but it seems that the rule is not applied for the special numbers of the Sunday; of course the ones where practice times for the saturday are published! and L'Equipe was not printed on Sundays.
I had the times of the Friday session from L'Equipe and Le Dauphiné Libéré, and they were the same!
Practise session 30/06
Fangio 2.30.6 186,629 km/h
Farina 2.34.7
Fagioli 2.41.3
Villoresi 2.42.4
Gonzales 2.49.3
Etancelin 2.50.2
Rol 2.50.4
"Levegh" 2.50.6
Chiron 2.55.6
Rosier 3.01.5
Hampshire 3.13.9
Parnell 3.15.3
G.Cabantous 3.17.2 (certainly with N.12 car)
But no Sunday Dauphiné Libéré at the archives so I went at the office of the newspaper and found them!
Practise session 01/07
Farina 2.33.8 182,942 km/h
Fagioli 2.36.4
Etancelin 2.39.7
G.Cabantous 2.42.0
Rosier 2.42.9
Rol 2.46.7
Gonzales 2.48.5
"Levegh" 2.49.1
Chaboud 2.52.0
Bonetto 2.53.9
Parnell 2.55.1
Manzon 2.55.1
Claes 2.55.9
Pozzi 3.00.4
Sommer 3.03.4
Chiron 3.39.5
With all of that easy to have he right starting grid with all the practice times:
Row 1 Fangio 2.30.6 Farina 2.32.5 Fagioli 2.34.7
Row 2 Etancelin 2.39.0 G.cabantous 2.42.7
Row 3 Rosier 2.42.9 Rol 2.46.7 Gonzales 2.48.0
Row 4 "Levegh" 2.49.0 Chaboud 2.52.0 did not start
Row 5 Bonetto 2.53.9 Parnell 2.55.1 Manzon 2.55.1
Row 6 Chiron 2.55.6 Claes 2.55.9
Row 7 Pozzi 3.00.4 Sommer 3.03.4 Hampshire 3.13.9
Row 8 Whitehead no time

Sheldon published a right grid (I think you guess why!) and Ménard in his Great Encyclopedia, I presume in found it in Sheldon's.

I would like to know what my mates of TNF think of that.

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#2 marat

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Posted 31 May 2003 - 06:12

I don't remember why but I believed the 1950 ACF GP problem concerning the Sommer car solved.
Probably with the photo of Rosier's car (n°20) at the pits with overheating and Sommer's
car just behind with the driver standing on it's side, published in "Automobile Historique" n°10.

#3 Roger Clark

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Posted 31 May 2003 - 20:19

Another book which has sommer on the third row is "Reims, Vitesse, Champagne et Passion". I can easily believe that Lang got his information from Hodges, but it's interesting when two authors from different countries have the same information.

How confident is Pierre Abeillon that Sommer drove 110058? The car pictured at the back of the grid in the Posthumus profile article is clearly on offset seater, but Abeillon's Talbot book says that 11058 didn't race again until Le Mans 1951, almost a year later. Is there any possibility that the Reims car was 1100055, the 1950 Le Mans winner?

I would like to see the picture marat refers to but I am (temporarily I hope) with that copy of AH at the moment.

#4 GIGLEUX

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Posted 31 May 2003 - 23:01

In his monumental book about the racing Lago-Talbots, Pierre Abeillon in vol.1, the cars and races
season by season, give 110058 as Sommer's car at the ACF GP in 1950; in vol.2 with the analysis of each car he also write that 110058 first apparition was at Reims in 1950, the second one was at Le Mans 24 hours race in 1951.
110058 was fitted at Reims with the new Talbot engine (twin sparking plugs per cylinder also named DA for "double allumage") which 110055 had not. Other differences: at Reims the Sommer's car had no holes in he coachwork for the fitting of the wings, no commodo for actionning the lights and no doors. Pierre is sure it was 110058 as this one car has a typical dashboard, completely different as compared with others T26GS.
About the book "Reims,vitesse,champagne et passion" the authors don't give a bibliography, only a list of "thanks to", so I don't know their sources; can we presume they take the grid from Hodges or Lang, these two books being well known in France.
About the photo Marat indicate in L'Automobile historique it simply shows Talbot N.20 in the pits, pouring vapor like a steamer, and Sommer standing in the background with his car behind N.20 but completely hiden by the steam. Two Talbots in the pits for the same reason, overheating!

#5 Roger Clark

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Posted 01 June 2003 - 06:22

Originally posted by GIGLEUX
Pierre is sure it was 110058


That's good enough for me; it just seemed strange that they didn't race the car again for almost 12 months.


I thought that the authors of "Reims,vitesse,champagne et passion" may have used a different (French) source as it has information which is not in the British books.

#6 marat

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Posted 01 June 2003 - 08:49

In compairing photos, the carburettor air intake (the bazooka) of 110058 is on the side, on
110055, it was on the top at Le Mans and remained so when converted in FI car and raced
in the Italian GP (Louveau driving).

#7 Oleksij Hrushko

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Posted 16 June 2003 - 13:46

GIGLEUX, great work :clap:
But on link http://www.jmfangio....5006francia.htm (info taken from book?) I found that Whitehead showed time 3'01.0 and another qual-times of drivers...

And what about Villoresi and Ascari. All sources say that Ferrari's practiced, but no time. Without time-keeping?

#8 GIGLEUX

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Posted 16 June 2003 - 21:17

Thanks Oleksij.
To answer your questions:
-the Scuderia Ferrari was present at Reims 1950 ACF GP.With the 275 3.3 litre F1 Villoresi realised 2.42.4 during the 30/06 practise session,which was the fourth time but 11.8 sec behind Fangio. Hodges in his book wrote that Ascari also drove he car and also turned in 2.42.4 but I can't find something about that during my researches. Nevertheless the car was withdrawn after the first day of practice which for me explains why there was no place for it on the grid.(the other possibility is that there were two drivers for only one car and the organizers didn't accept that; we had the same case with Farina and Fagioli who practised with the same Alfetta during the 30/06 session so that their respective times of 2.34.7 and 2.41.3 were not taken in consideration for the qualification and grid constitution).
-About Whitehead I found no time but red he arrived straight from Modena on saturday evening so that he did'nt practice at all.
-The times I found are at the 1/10 in concordence with those published by The Motor in their annual except for Rosier and G.Cabantous. Note that David Murray was alternative driver on the Hampshire's Maserati and practised in 3.15.3. He did'nt drive during the race as Hampshire retired after six laps with no oil pressure.
-I don't know from where are coming the times in Fangio' official site, I suspect GP Legeng or GP History but they are rather fanciful and don't allowed to construct the grid we can see on photos.
If you want more information, don't hesitate to ask.

#9 fines

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Posted 18 June 2003 - 09:21

Originally posted by GIGLEUX
Thanks Oleksij.
To answer your questions:
-the Scuderia Ferrari was present at Reims 1950 ACF GP.With the 275 3.3 litre F1 Villoresi realised 2.42.4 during the 30/06 practise session,which was the fourth time but 11.8 sec behind Fangio. Hodges in his book wrote that Ascari also drove he car and also turned in 2.42.4 but I can't find something about that during my researches. Nevertheless the car was withdrawn after the first day of practice which for me explains why there was no place for it on the grid.(the other possibility is that there were two drivers for only one car and the organizers didn't accept that; we had the same case with Farina and Fagioli who practised with the same Alfetta during the 30/06 session so that their respective times of 2.34.7 and 2.41.3 were not taken in consideration for the qualification and grid constitution).

The last sentence doesn't really make sense, and checking back I've found a few discrepancies in your first post. I'll have another look when I have a bit more time...

Other than that, superb job, Jean-Maurice! :up: :up:

#10 marat

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Posted 18 June 2003 - 17:46

I read that the car (to be driven by Villoresi) was withdrawn because too slow and even slower
than one of the Talbot.

#11 GIGLEUX

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Posted 18 June 2003 - 22:23

In the first practice session the Ferrari was the best car...after the Alfa-Romeos! The first Talbot, driven by Etancelin was 7.8 sec slower than the Ferrari. The following day Etancelin ran in 2.39.7 but we can presume that Villoresi would have bettered his own time but the Ferrari was not running, so it's only a supposition...Nevertheless with Ferrari versus Talbot the writing was on the wall: modern racing engine v. stock issued one, more power, less weight...1951 was to show the way.

#12 Oleksij Hrushko

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Posted 19 June 2003 - 13:36

Thanks for clearing.
But I have one more question. On Fangio's site is information, that in entry list were Mieres, Comotti, Bira and de Graffenried. Why did they not participate?

#13 GIGLEUX

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Posted 19 June 2003 - 21:49

Oleksij,
On the first entry list N.38 was allocated to R.Mieres with a Maserati 4 CLT/48 of the Scuderia Argentina or Equipo Argentino A.Varzi. It seems that the car was not ready, so the entry was not confirmed and N.38 was then attributed to Franco Comotti with a Scuderia Milan Maserati. Maybe 38 that year was a damned number: Comotti did'nt arrive.
At the time WC races had not the prestige they have now and Formula one was not the pre-eminent formula. In such conditions teams or drivers had a larger choice of races and minor events could also have attractive starting money: de Graffenried and "Bira" were announced for the ACF GP but didn't arrive. If I remember well, have a look on hillclimb at the same date in Switzerland, maybe Ollon-Villars and you'll find them!

#14 Vitesse2

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Posted 19 June 2003 - 22:38

As Jean-Maurice says, in 1950 the WDC and F1 were not yet the big draw, or necessarily the big money. Ferrari declined the chance to race in the British GP (where they probably felt they had no chance anyway) and ran no fewer than four cars in the F2 GP de Mons the following day, winning both heats and coming 1-2-3 in the final. The previous weekend they had split their resources three ways, running two cars each at Erlen, Modena and Roubaix and winning all three races!

#15 GIGLEUX

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Posted 27 September 2003 - 17:41

Results of the swiss hillclimb Le Sierre-Montana/Crans run on the 2nd of July 1950 (the same day as the ACF GP):

1. H. Stuck AFM 2000 u/s 9.35.6 91,625 km/h
2. G.Bracco Ferrari 1500 sc 9.39.6
3. A.Branca Gordini 1490 u/s 9.49.2
4. "B.Bira" Maserati 1500 sc 9.49.8
5. de Graffenried Maserati 1500 sc 9.50.6
6. W.P.Daetwyler Alfa-Roméo 4500 sc 9.59.0

So now you know where Bira and de Graffenried were!!

#16 dretceterini

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Posted 27 September 2003 - 18:45

Anyone know if the 4.5 liter Alfa Daetwyler car was a 12c37 GP car, or was it the 412 sports?

#17 GIGLEUX

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Posted 27 September 2003 - 18:55

Daetwyler was classified 1 st in the sports cars category so...

#18 Reinhard Windeler

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Posted 27 September 2003 - 20:25

Jean-Maurice - I hope I do not unnecessarily add to the confusion but I am thoroughly confused by your lap times!

Alfa Romeo:
Fangio 2.30,6 on Friday, no time on Saturday?
Farina 2.34,7 on Friday, 2.33,8 on Saturday, but 2.32,5 on the grid?
Fagioli 2.41,3 on Friday, 2.36,4 on Saturday, but 2.34,7 on the grid?
Talbot:
Étancelin 2.50,2 on Friday, 2.39,7 on Saturday, but 2.39,0 on the grid?
Giraud-Cabantous 3.17,2 on Friday, 2.42,0 on Saturday, but 2.42,7 on the grid?
"Levegh" 2.50,6 on Friday, 2.49,1 on Saturday, but 2.49,0 on the grid?
Sommer no time on Friday? 3.03,4 on Saturday
Maserati:
Gonzalez 2.49,3 on Friday, 2.48,5 on Saturday, but 2.48,0 on the grid?

Obviously there are times on the grid that don't appear in the practice sessions.

I think the clue could be that in those days lap times belonged to the car not the driver.

So probably the Alfa Romeo which was raced by Fagioli (grid time 2.34,7) was practised by Farina (practice time 2.34,7). Since Farina himself never drove a time of 2.32,5 I suppose this time was achieved by Fangio on Saturday in the car which was raced by Farina.

The different grid times of Étancelin, Giraud-Cabantous, "Levegh" and Gonzalez could be misprints - at least they are in the same full second - or times achieved by other drivers who did not race the respective cars.

One question would still be unanswered: Where did the 2.46,0-time Sommer is credited with by Hodges et al, come from? What about the following scenario: On Friday he did a 2.46,0 in a car that he did not race, so the time did not count for him. On Saturday he practised another car - the brand new one -, achieved only a time of 3.03,4 (compared to the 3.17,2 by Giraud-Cabantous the day before) and therefore had to start from way back. I think Sommer, being a world class driver, should easily have been able to do at least a 2.46,0 on Friday when his team mates were much faster than that on Saturday.

#19 klemcoll

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 17:08

Does anyone know the first name of one of Amédée Gordini's mechanics in races after WWII, last name Libère?

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#20 Roger Clark

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 18:02

Originally posted by klemcoll
Does anyone know the first name of one of Amédée Gordini's mechanics in races after WWII, last name Libère?

His name was Libère Teso. An Italian, he joined Gordini on 12 November 1934.