1959 Italian Grand Prix (partially found footage of Formula One World Championship race; 1959)

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1959italiangrandprix1.jpg

Stirling Moss during the race.

Status: Partially Found

The 1959 Italian Grand Prix was the eighth race of the 1959 Formula One Season. Occurring on 13th September at the Monza Circuit, the race would ultimately be won by Stirling Moss in a Cooper-Climax, primarily due to his superior tyre conservation compared to the Ferrari drivers. Cooper would also secure the Constructors' Championship at the event.

Background[edit | edit source]

The 1959 Italian Grand Prix was the ninth running of the event as part of the Formula One calendar, with the race lasting 72 laps.[1] The 29th edition in Grand Prix history,[2] the Italian Grand Prix has been held at Monza for all bar one instance in 1980 since Formula One's inception in 1950,[3] and has garnered a reputation for being the "home" Grand Prix of Ferrari.[4]

Heading into the race, Cooper-Climax's Jack Brabham was leading the Drivers' Championship on 27 points, four ahead of Ferrari's Tony Brooks, with Rob Walker Cooper driver Stirling Moss 9.5 points behind and seemingly out of title contention.[5][6] Cooper was also beating Ferrari in the Constructors' Championship with 34 points compared to 28.[5] In qualifying, after numerous drivers averaged around the 1:42-1:43 mark, Moss achieved the pole position by breaking Monza's lap record, with a time of 1:39.7.[7][8][6][1] Brooks lined up second, with Brabham lining up third out of 21 competitors.[7][6][8][1] While the Coopers were again proving competitive, there was concern over the extent of tyre wear the cars were producing during qualifying.[7] To counteract this, Moss' Walker-owned Cooper was equipped with splined hubs for the rear and knock-off wire wheels.[7][6]

The Race[edit | edit source]

With the starting order decided, the 1959 Italian Grand Prix commenced on 13th September.[1] Moss was in first from the opening lap, despite Brabham initially leading, while Brooks' campaign ended swiftly as his clutch and an engine piston immediately failed.[6][7][8][1] Hill made a strong start, climbing to second on lap 1, before overtaking Moss for the lead a lap later.[7][6][8][1] The battle for the lead became a four-horse race between Hill, Moss, Ferrari's Dan Gurney, and Brabham.[7][6][8][1] While Moss was focused on conversing his tyres early on, he still overtook Hill on lap 4, only to drop it back a lap later.[7][6][1] This process was also repeated between laps 15-16.[1] Brabham dropped back to maintain his tyres, and the race settled from laps 10-30 with Hill leading Moss and Gurney.[7][8][1] Ferrari were aiming to outpace Moss, but the Brit held strong.[7][6] Ferrari's gameplan backfired, with the team forced to call in Hill and Gurney on laps 33 and 34 respectively for tyre changes, as their cars were wearing out their tyres more so than the Cooper.[7][6][8] Moss pitted on lap 36, and was well-ahead of the Ferraris post-stop.[7][6][8][1]

According to Motor Sport, Moss was satisfied in letting Hill control the pace, so that he held the tyre advantage later in the event.[7] Ferrari was hoping Moss would pit again, but this was in vain, Moss had successfully looked after his tyres and was further boosted by the splined hubs equipped to his car's wheels.[7][6][8] As The Times noted "One by one the laps were reeled off and the Ferrari team looked desperately at the Walker and Cooper pits to see if any preparations were being made to call in their men to change wheels. Cooper obliged by putting out some wheels but Brabham carried on while the Walker team made no sign."[6] Brabham moved past Gurney for third, while Moss continually extended his gap to Hill, Ferrari ultimately ruing their decision not to leave a driver out with old tyres to pressurise the Cooper.[6][7][8][1]

Moss therefore claimed victory and eight points in the Drivers' Championship.[7][6][8][1] Hill was 46.7 seconds behind in second, but did gain another point for posting the fastest lap, with Brabham securing third.[7][6][8][1] In the Drivers' Championship, Brabham still led on 31 points, but Moss was now only 5.5 points behind with one race to go.[9][6] Thus, the title race was now a three-way duel, with Brooks still in contention despite his retirement.[6][9] Gurney and fellow Ferrari driver Cliff Allison claimed the final points positions of fourth and fifth respectively.[7][8][1] In the Constructors' Championship, Cooper now had 38 points compared to 32 points.[9] Considering that only the five best results counted towards either Championship, it meant Cooper had secured its first ever Constructors' title.[10]

Availability[edit | edit source]

The race reportedly received partial live coverage from several European television broadcasters, including Italy's RAI.[11] Additionally, Issue 1,870 of Radio Times notes that the BBC provided 35 minutes of highlights on 13th September 1959 via harnessing RAI's coverage, with Raymond Baxter being the commentator.[12][13][11] None of these television broadcasts have publicly resurfaced, though some colour footage of the race can be viewed from a British documentary.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Videos[edit | edit source]

Colour footage of the race from a British documentary.

Images[edit | edit source]

See Also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 Racing-Reference detailing the qualifying and race results of the event. Retrieved 12 Sep '22
  2. Ultimate Car Page listing all instances of the Italian Grand Prix. Retrieved 12 Sep '22
  3. F1 Experiences detailing facts regarding the Italian Grand Prix. Retrieved 12 Sep '22
  4. Scuderia Ferrari Club detailing how Monza is considered the home of Ferrari. Retrieved 12 Sep '22
  5. 5.0 5.1 Stats F1 detailing the Drivers' and Constructors' Championship standings heading into the race. Retrieved 12 Sep '22
  6. 6.00 6.01 6.02 6.03 6.04 6.05 6.06 6.07 6.08 6.09 6.10 6.11 6.12 6.13 6.14 6.15 6.16 6.17 ESPN summarising the race. Retrieved 12 Sep '22
  7. 7.00 7.01 7.02 7.03 7.04 7.05 7.06 7.07 7.08 7.09 7.10 7.11 7.12 7.13 7.14 7.15 7.16 7.17 Motor Sport providing a detailed race report. Retrieved 12 Sep '22
  8. 8.00 8.01 8.02 8.03 8.04 8.05 8.06 8.07 8.08 8.09 8.10 8.11 8.12 Grand Prix summarising the event. Retrieved 12 Sep '22
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Stats F1 detailing the Drivers' and Constructors' points standings following the race. Retrieved 12 Sep '22
  10. GP Racing Stats noting Cooper won the Constructors' Championship following the race's conclusion. Retrieved 12 Sep '22
  11. 11.0 11.1 List of Formula One television broadcasts noting the various partially live broadcasts and that the BBC televise highlights of the race. Retrieved 12 Sep '22
  12. BBC Genome archive of Radio Times issues detailing the BBC broadcast of the race. Retrieved 12 Sep '22
  13. Issue 1,870 of Radio Times listing the coverage provided by the BBC. Retrieved 12 Sep '22