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1939 Italian Grand Prix


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#1 Simon Davis

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Posted 29 October 2008 - 23:19

With regard to the cancelled 1939 Italian GP at Monza, I understand that the circuit was changed and the layout is depicted on the 'Golden Era of GP Racing' website. Could someone tell me the length of the new circuit configuration and how many laps were proposed for the 1939 race?

I have read that the Italians were going to run the Grand Prix as a Voiturette event (as per Tripoli). But I also understand that the race was due to be the fifth and final round of the 1939 European Championship. If the latter is correct then clearly it would have been run to the prevailing Grand Prix formula. Can anyone confirm which formula the race was going to conform to? Apart from reporting the cancellation of the race did the specialist press at the time refer to the formula?

I have looked at the 1939 European Championship TNF thread. Forgive me if I have missed another thread that answers the above questions.

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#2 fines

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Posted 30 October 2008 - 07:38

Originally posted by Simon Davis
If the latter is correct then clearly it would have been run to the prevailing Grand Prix formula.

Why? Think of 1952 and '53.;)

As for the question, I believe (without going to any sources) that it was going to be run to the Grand Prix formula with "persisting rumours" about a switch to the Fifteenhundreds. Not sure how serious it all was, no doubt Tripoli had been a reality check.

#3 Vitesse2

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Posted 30 October 2008 - 11:08

This is possibly a question to which no answer exists.

However, given that the Italians had announced in late 1938 that no Formula races would be held on Italian soil in 1939, the presumption must be that it would have been originally intended for voiturettes. Getting sight of original Italian sources is not easy, but in early July the Swiss journals - quoting Italian magazines - were reporting that the race had already been cancelled. This is of course at least two months before the September 10th date on the calendar, so - and I stress that this is a personal view - I would suspect that, at the very latest, the RACI probably took the decision to cancel the race in early June: that would have been round about the time that the regulations and entry forms would need to go out.

It's also worth mentioning that at the end of the season there would have been an unprecedented number of non-championship races, perhaps influenced/inspired by the Germans as they knew they wouldn't be going to Italy for their normal three races in August and September: in addition to the Donington GP, there were to be races in Belgrade, Vienna and Zurich. Belgrade was only a week before Monza and I think it's very unlikely that it featured in the programmes of the German teams at the beginning of the season.

Had the Italian GP gone ahead as a voiturette event, I wonder if it might have been removed from the European Championship, in view of the fact that Auto Union would have been unable to compete? If we ignore the events of early September, then perhaps one of the previously-arranged races might have been substituted - as there had already been races in Switzerland and Germany, might the AIACR have asked the RAC to take on the Donington race as an official British GP?

#4 Vitesse2

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Posted 30 October 2008 - 16:00

A further thought. Langlois' proposals for the reform of the championship stated:

ELIGIBLE EVENTS

The 1939 Championship is determined on the results of the five “Grandes Épreuves” on the International Sporting Calendar, open only to cars which are constructed to conform to the racing formula determined by the AIACR for the triennial period 1938-40. These events are:

Grand Prix of Belgium
Grand Prix of the ACF
Grand Prix of Germany
Grand Prix of Switzerland
Grand Prix of Italy

So, under those rules, the Italian GP would have had to be dropped from the championship if Formula cars were excluded ....

#5 Vitesse2

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Posted 30 October 2008 - 16:30

Originally posted by Simon Davis
With regard to the cancelled 1939 Italian GP at Monza, I understand that the circuit was changed and the layout is depicted on the 'Golden Era of GP Racing' website. Could someone tell me the length of the new circuit configuration and how many laps were proposed for the 1939 race?

I'm not sure whether to believe the rather odd map with a twisty infield section on Leif's site. According to Guido di Carli, the 1939 revision was the same as the 6.3 km post-War Vedano circuit used until 1954.

80 laps of that would give a fairly standard race distance for the period of 504km/313.2ml.

#6 Rob

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Posted 30 October 2008 - 16:45

Originally posted by Vitesse2
So, under those rules, the Italian GP would have had to be dropped from the championship if Formula cars were excluded ....


Was it ever discovered if there was a meeting of the AIACR to officially cancel the Grand Prix and confirm a champion?

#7 Vitesse2

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Posted 30 October 2008 - 21:52

Somebody ;) wrote this about it ....

As foreshadowed by Automobil-Revue the AIACR meeting scheduled for Paris in October was cancelled, so the expected decision never came. The championship remained in limbo.
.................
Nevertheless, there was another attempt to resolve the question in the spring of 1940. On May 12th, two days after the German invasion of the Low Countries and just as the Panzers were emerging from the forests of the Ardennes, the AIACR met in Geneva, Switzerland. One of the committees scheduled to assemble was the CSI, but the only member present was the Italian delegate, Ing. Furmanik: accordingly, the meeting was cancelled.

And that was it. The AIACR went into hibernation until 1946 and when they reassembled the matter seems to have been ignored. In the fog of war, the controversy had been forgotten and gradually it became the accepted wisdom that Lang was European Champion for 1939.
......
History continued to regard Lang as the champion, with some writers even assuming that he and his predecessors had been elected Champion of Europe each year by the members of the CSI. Occasionally points tables of varying accuracy appeared in books and magazines, usually accompanied by comments from authors that they were "obscure" or "uncertain".

http://www.forix.com/8w/ec1939.html

#8 RStock

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Posted 31 October 2008 - 03:32

Originally posted by Vitesse2

I'm not sure whether to believe the rather odd map with a twisty infield section on Leif's site. According to Guido di Carli, the 1939 revision was the same as the 6.3 km post-War Vedano circuit used until 1954.

80 laps of that would give a fairly standard race distance for the period of 504km/313.2ml.


This bit of info from the official Monza site might be of help in determining if said map is correct .

In 1938 an extensive programme of modifications to the racing facilities was put in effect including resurfacing of the road course, pulling down of the two banked curves on the speed track, construction of a new and more capacious central grandstand of reinforced concrete, new pits and service buildings, and renovation of the score board installations for the public. Work was begun after the Italian Grand Prix in mid-September and was completed the following year. On the road circuit the central straight was shifted westward and linked to the grandstand straight by two 90þ bends with 60-metre (646 ft) radii, which were called the 'porphyry bends" due to the stone paving applied.
The new track measured 6,300 metres and was used through 1954. The main changes made to the facilities just before World War II were: the new grandstand, with 2,000 seats; a restaurant on the ground floor and a turret for timers; 30 refuelling pits built of masonry; a monumental track entrance; a number of additional garages; various service buildings added or rebuilt.



http://www.monzanet....ia_1929_39.aspx

#9 taylov

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Posted 31 October 2008 - 17:46

Originally posted by Vitesse2

I'm not sure whether to believe the rather odd map with a twisty infield section on Leif's site. According to Guido di Carli, the 1939 revision was the same as the 6.3 km post-War Vedano circuit used until 1954.


I sent this map to Leif. It surfaced in the 1963 Monza "Annuario ufficialle", described as the Monza re-building that was planned for 1939/40.

Tony

#10 Rob

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Posted 31 October 2008 - 18:05

Originally posted by Vitesse2
Somebody ;) wrote this about it ....


Ah, for some reason I thought it was still a mystery :) Thanks.

A nice read. I just realised - it'll be the seventieth anniversary next year.