• Belgian Grand Prix

Wheel jam costs Fangio as Farina romps home

ESPNF1 Staff
June 17, 1951

With the Monaco Grand Prix not run in either 1951 or 1952, the European championship season resumed at Spa for the 314-mile Belgian Grand Prix, a race always likely to test the thirsty Alfa Romeos. It was also a small field, with only 13 cars entered and just three makes as the private Maseratis did not attend. This did not blunt the enthusiasm of the local fans who turned up in record numbers.

Fangio had a new de Dion rear suspension plus special concave wheels to allow for revised brake drums - they proved to be a disaster and cost him the chance of winning the race for a second year. At the first pit stop Fangio's wheel jammed on the drum and it took the mechanics almost quarter of an hour to sort it out.

This left Farina in the other normally-wheeled Alfa and Ascari in the Ferrari at the front and Farina's quick 39 sec pit stop - for a wheel change and fuel - put him in an unassailable lead.

He came home the winner by almost a lap from Ascari and Luigi Villoresi in his Ferrari. The French Talbots of Rosier, Giraud-Carbantous and the Belgian Pilette filled the next three places. An angry Fangio came home ninth. Pilette drove for the Ecurie Belgique team - with four drivers for one seat, the team resolved to pull names out of a hat and for their first public debut in this race Pilette was chosen.

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