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Exposition Ferrari in Monaco


Prince Albert II of Monaco

Prince Albert II of Monaco

 

Monaco, 3rd of December, 2018

Ferrari and Formula 1, few terms are linked more than the famous Scuderia and the top category of open wheel racing. Although now waiting for more than a decade to bring back a title to Maranello the Scuderia Ferrari is still the most successful team in the History of F1 and Ferrari is the only team to run every season since the series was introduced in 1950. Being the team principle of the Scuderia Ferrari that ran the works entries for Alfa Romeo in the 1930s Enzo Ferrari early on saw the importance of the GP series aside the sports car world championship to position his marque as the leading sport car manufacturer that it should become over the next decades. Although the classic car market is dominated by the sports racers and very exclusive street cars of the 1950s and 1960s certainly the open wheeled cars based the myth of the prancing horse and still attracts millions of fans all over the world. And just as Ferrari has a long history in F1 the Monaco GP might have even more as the street circuit in the Principality looks back at almost 90 years of GP racing, long before the WDC was introduced.

Adding the fact that the new hope for a title is represented by an upcoming 21 year old Monégasque it seems natural to have an exhibition of the history both on track and the road at the Principality, more precisely in the museum of the private collection of Prince Albert II of Monaco who opened the superb exhibition on Monday evening. He was joined both by the already mentioned Charles Leclerc and the former French Ferrari F1 driver Jean Alesi as well as the president of Ferrari, Agnelli grandson John Elkaan. No less than 45 street cars, sports racers and F1 cars are lined up and although only 9 of them are single seaters they are certainly the heart of the exhibition as rarely that many of them could be seen on one place spanning 3 decades of racing. 

Ferrari certainly is known for their 12-cylinder engines and the first GP cars were fitted with them, both as supercharged 1.5 litre versions and the larger 4.5 litre natural aspired according to the regulations but the Alfa Romeo Alfetta was unbeatable in the first seasons of the new championship. After Alfa Romeo leaving F1 the shortage of entrants led to the introduction of the F2 championship where Ferrari ran with four cylinder engines just as their opponents, 1952 was also the first year for Ferrari wearing the crown with Ascari winning the title. After the dominating years of the Mercedes Silver Arrows and the short intermezzo of Ferrari taking over the Lancia D50 the name Dino was introduced with the new V6 to remember Enzo’s son Alfredo “Dino” Ferrari who died in June 1956. Both in small F2 configuration as well as the 246 F1 were raced and the 1958 season saw Mike Hawthorne taking the title when Ferrari was in his prime both on the sports car racing as well as in F1 as documented in the superb movie “Race to Immortality” about the years of Hawthorne, Collins, Musso. De Portago and Castellotti. The car on show was used extensively throughout the 1958-1960 seasons by Gurney, von Trips and Gendebien until it finalized its career as works racer winning the GP of Monza in the hands of Phil Hill that should remain the last victory of a front engined GP car.

After reintroducing the F2 and years of the 1.5 litre formula the V12 finally was back in the late 1960s. For the years to come the 3-litre V12 of Ferrari was a common sight in the F1 circuit and not few consider the 1968 version with the spaghetti exhaust as one of the best looking F1 Ferrari ever although it was not really successful against the Cosworth engined British racers.

In 1970 finally the 312B was introduced, with the new funds by the sale of Ferrari to Fiat Enzo Ferrari entrusted Mauro Forghieri with the construction of an all new flat-12 DOHC. The very compact engine was considered the strongest in the field and after sorting the first problems at the beginning of the season the new star driver of the Scuderia, Jacky Ickx scored the first victories in the second half of the seasons. The car on display is a 312 B2, the first evolution of the flat-12 into the 1971 season. It was raced by Andretti and Regazzoni but unfortunately Ferrari could not live up to the expectations of the promising results of the late last season. Just like the Dino engine making its way from the F1 to the sports cars as seen by the Dino 246 SP on show the new engine was also used in detuned form in the 312 PB sports car prototypes. After the regulation reducing the displacement from 5 to 3 litre the former Porsche 917K and Ferrari 512S (a long tail version of the Scuderia Filipinetti was on show as well) became obsolete and the 312 PB became the dominating car of the 1972 season.

After the disappointment of the former seasons Mauro Forghieri was promoted into the development department and his latest prototype, the B3 “Spazzaneve” never made it to the track, only parts of it were taken over by Sandro Colombo into the B3 of the 1973 season. The success returned with the appearance of Luca di Montezemolo as racing director of the Scuderia. He brought back Forghieri to revise the B3 and Nikki Lauda joined the team. Together with Clay Regazzoni he brought Ferrari the second place in the constructor championship as well as the Swiss driver came second in the drivers championship with just one point off. The high-airbox car on display was the Regazzoni car of the 1974 season.

For 1975 a new car was designed with the 312 T (transversale for the transverse gearbox) that gave the Scuderia the long awaited championship with Niki Lauda. 1976 also looked promising with the 312 T2 on display when the near-fatal accident of Lauda at the Nuerburgring turned the season to Hunt in the McLaren as famously told in the movie “Rush” about the Lauda-Hunt rivalry.

From this point the display jumps to a decade later when F1 was run by the 1.5 litre turbo engines, the year the McLaren TAG-Porsche gave Alain Prost his second WDC. Ferrari was in the middle of the “hard times” that should result in no less than 21 years without title for the Scuderia. The F1/86 driven by Alboreto and Johansson was only sporadic on the podium.

For 1989 the natural aspired engines with 3.5 litre displacement were back and the Ferrari V12 competed with the Honda V10, the John Barnard designed car was competitive out of the box with Nigel Mansell winning the first race. The car had a lot of pace but unfortunately Mansell finished just 6 out of 16 races (although all of them on the podium) and came fourth in the championship. His team mate Gerhard Berger even only finished three races winning one of them. The year later Ferrari had one of its last shots on the title when Prost joined the Scuderia until Schumacher finally brought the title in 2000. 

Aside from the Formula car as mentioned there were also the sports racers and the street cars on display. Although the 250 GT Series 1, the car displayed at the Frankfurt IAA and later owned by the Munich society lady Angela Münemann and close friend to works driver Wolfgang Graf Berghe von Trips certainly stands out together with a LWB California Spyder, the famous 250 GTO and one of just two road going 250 LM Stradale the exhibition is certainly mainly about the F1 history of Ferrari. But in the early years the V12 and 4-cylinder derivates of the road racers as represented by the 225 S, 500 Mondial both as Scaglietti Spyder and Pininfarina Spyder and 857S certainly added to the glorious history of the marque. Add the GT history with the 250 TDF and 250 GT SWB and the selection of cars is almost complete. 

For all those visiting the Cote d´Azure in the next months the exhibition certainly is worth a visit, it is opened daily until the 15th of March.

For more information please visit www.mtcc.mc

 

Report & Images ... Peter Singhof

www.ClassicCarPhotography.de