1956 Monaco Grand Prix (partially found footage of Formula One World Championship race; 1956)

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Moss leading the field at the start.

Status: Partially Found

The 1956 Monaco Grand Prix was the second race of the 1956 Formula One Season. Occurring on 13th May at the Circuit de Monaco, the race was ultimately won by Maserati's Stirling Moss, his first continental victory, after edging out a fast-closing Juan Manuel Fangio in a Lancia-Ferrari.

Background[edit | edit source]

The 1956 Monaco Grand Prix was the 3rd running of the event as part of Formula One following its debut on the calendar in 1950.[1] It was also the 14th in Grand Prix history.[2][1] Lasting 100 laps,[3] the Monaco Grand Prix remains an integral event of the Formula One calendar, including being prestigious enough to be classified as part of the Triple Crown of Motorsport, alongside the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Indianapolis 500.[1][4]

Heading into the race, some changes were made to the chicane near the harbour front, which slowed the cars down to avoid a repeat of Ascari's accident at the previous year's event.[5] Ferrari entered modified Lancia D50s for the race,[6] while Maserati competed with both a Weber-carburettor model, and a fuel-injection design.[5] Despite value being placed on the latter model, Stirling Moss set faster qualifying laps in the former.[5] Thus, Maserati lent the fuel-injection car to Monégasque driver Louis Chiron.[5] However, the Maserati engine blew after a few laps, preventing Chiron from competing.[5][3] In contrast, Fangio achieved pole position with a time of 1:44, with Moss directly behind him in second, and Ferrari's Eugenio Castellotti lining up third.[5][3][6]

With only 16 starting places available and with 18 cars entered, Ferrari's Giorgio Scarlatti joined Chiron on the sidelines after posting the slowest time.[5][3] Meanwhile, BRM drivers Mike Hawthorn and Tony Brooks successfully qualified in 10th and 13th respectively, but both suffered terminal engine issues that also forced them out of the race before it even began.[7][5][3] Thus, only 14 cars started the race.[5][7][3]

The Race[edit | edit source]

With the starting order decided, the 1956 Monaco Grand Prix commenced on 13th May.[3] Moss shot into the lead after beating the two Lancia-Ferraris to the hairpin.[5][6][7][3] Moss was already leading Fangio by five seconds following lap 1, and as the defending World Champion was trying to claw back into first, Fangio spun at Sainte Devote.[5][6][7] Not only did Fangio drop numerous places, he also inadvertently caused his teammate Luigi Musso and Vanwall's Harry Schell to crash out to avoid a head-on collision with the Argentine.[5][6][7] By lap 10, Moss was considerably ahead of Ferrari's Peter Collins, with Fangio down in fifth.[5] Fangio would quickly move back to third after passing Castellotti and Maserati's Jean Behra.[5][6] After nearly 30 laps, Fangio closed up to Collins, with the latter receiving team orders to let him through.[5] Collins complied, but although Fangio was setting faster times than Moss, he was also proving to be rather accident-prone.[5][6][7] Not only did he damage his car's nose, he later hit a wall that bent one of his rear wheels.[5][6][7]

The crashes allowed Collins to catch-up, but he respected team orders and remained behind.[6][5] On lap 40, Fangio pitted due to a slipping clutch.[5] A series of driver changes occurred among the Ferrari, as permitted by the rules back then.[5][3] Firstly, Fangio allowed Castellotti to take over his vehicle, after Castellotti was forced to retire earlier on lap 14 because of a broken clutch.[5][6][7][3] Then, after reducing a 32-second gap to Moss, Collins was ordered to give up his car to Fangio.[5][6][7][3] Fangio dropped behind Behra, but was quickly able to move back into second.[5] With a fresh Lancia-Ferrari, Fangio sought to close the 50-second gap to Moss, reducing it to 43 by lap 75.[5] On lap 87, Moss attempted to lap fellow Maserati driver Cesare Perdisa, but the latter braked too early into a corner, causing Moss to plough into him.[5][6][7] Moss continued, but now lost performance caused by a damaged nose and a partially lifting bonnet.[5][6][7]

Ultimately, despite closing in on the Brit by two seconds per lap, Fangio was unable to challenge for the lead.[6] Moss claimed victory by a 6-second margin, and eight points in the World Championship.[5][7][6][3] With a lap record of 1:44.1,[5] Fangio scored seven points; as it was a shared drive, Collins was awarded three points, while Fangio scored four for setting the fastest lap.[3] Behra took third, while Castellotti secured fourth.[5][3] For this shared drive, him and Fangio scored 1.5 points each.[3] Finally, Gordini's Hermano da Silva Ramos finished in the final points paying position of fifth.[3] Moss celebrated his first continental Grand Prix victory, as well as his first where he was deemed to have beaten Fangio on merit.[6][5][7] Fangio himself was praised for his comeback during the race.[5][6] Nevertheless, Collins received sympathy for him giving up his car mid-race, The Times stating "It was a cruel blow for a young man who was doing all that could be expected of him".[7][6]

Availability[edit | edit source]

The race was reportedly televised by TMC, although it is unknown whether it provided live coverage or race highlights.[8] The broadcast has yet to publicly resurface however, having originated from an era where telerecordings were rare until video tape was perfected in the late-1950s.[9] Nevertheless, some footage can be found in British newsreels and documentaries. Additionally, while this footage came much later after the race itself, a 1971 documentary features Fangio driving the D50 across Monaco. It not only provides a glimpse of 1950s Formula One racing, but also from an onboard perspective too.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Videos[edit | edit source]

British Pathé newsreel of the race.
Footage from a British documentary.
British Movietone News newsreel of the race.
1971 documentary showing what onboard footage from the D50 would have looked like.

Images[edit | edit source]

See Also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]