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8- Ferrari's Formula 1 debut

8- Ferrari's Formula 1 debut

Three supercharged 125 F1 cars driven by Ascari, Villoresi and Sommer took to the track at the Monaco Grand Prix

It was 1950 and the world was in ferment. The post-war industrial rebirth had begun, and the automobile industry was showing significant signs of vitality with the presentation of new models and a growing numbers of cars on the roads. The racing world was the most fascinating aspect of this new desire for progress and drivers became the new heroes. The International Automobile Federation wanted to improve the regulation of racing and decided to create a new top category from 1950: the first Formula 1 World Championship was born.

Six European Grands Prix were selected, plus the Indianapolis 500, in the United States. The 1950 season began with the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, but Scuderia Ferrari didn’t take part because of a disagreement about the 'start money' paid to entrants, preferring an F2 race at Mons, Belgium, where the first three places went to Alberto Ascari, Luigi Villoresi and Franco Cortese with the 166 F2. Formula 1 cars used 1500cc engines with a volumetric compressor or 4,500cc aspirated engines.

Ferrari's Formula 1 debut at the Monaco Grand Prix in 1950
Ferrari's Formula 1 debut at the Monaco Grand Prix in 1950

For round two, the Monaco Grand Prix, Enzo Ferrari decided to present three supercharged 125 F1s, assigned to Alberto Ascari, Luigi Villoresi and the French driver Raymond Sommer. The Formula 1 debut of Scuderia Ferrari on 21 May 1950 was an historic date in the annals of motoring history. The 125 F1 cars were less powerful and heavier than their rivals. Ferrari knew this and was already planning a new single-seater. The result of the race was conditioned by an accident on the first lap. This was caused by a great wave, a small tsunami, which soaked the asphalt at the Tabaccaio bend, causing the Alfa Romeo of Giuseppe Farina, second behind his teammate Juan Manuel Fangio, to go into a spin. The Italian driver and nine other competitors were forced to retire.

Starting from pole, Fangio dominated the one hundred laps down to the finish and also set the fastest lap. Alberto Ascari came second and Sommer fourth. However, Villoresi was forced to retire due to a transmission problem. Enzo Ferrari was clearly not satisfied and decided to bring forward the production of the new car, with a more powerful engine. So, he put his technical staff under pressure and that season the single-seater with 275 hp 3300cc engine arrived, followed by the 340 hp 4100cc model and finally the 375 hp 4,500cc car with aspirated V12 engines. Three evolutions in the course of a few months, a huge task, showed the technical potential of the team from Maranello.

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