June 16th 1951, Belgian Grand Prix qualifying
Between the outstanding Indianapolis 500 that saw the unexpected victory of 21-year-old Troy Ruttman and the 24 Hours of le Mans, held in less than a week, we have the Belgian Grand Prix. As usual, the race is already a success. The organizers received nearly 40 entries, but some were refused, including the entire Jaguar - Aston Martin Racing team, due to the entry cap regulations, leaving a field of 33 cars for this race.
2. Clemente Biondetti (Scuderia Maremmana)
4. Manfred von Brauchitsch (Scuderia Maremmana)
6. Aldo Gordini (Privateer)
8. Graham Whitehead (Privateer)
10. Alberto Ascari (Phoenix Racing Organisation)
12. José Froilan Gonzalez (Phoenix Racing Organisation)
14. David Hampshire (Hampshire Racing Alliance)
16. Hans von Stuck (Scuderia Platé-Varzi)
18. Georges Grignard (Ecurie Albertini)
20. Dorino Serafini (Scuderia Ferrari)
22. Toulo de Graffenried (Scuderia Ferrari)
24. Reg Parnell (Scuderia Ferrari)
26. Luigi Villoresi (Ferrari America)
28. Maurice Trintignant (Scuderia Belgio)
30. Charles Van Acker (Scuderia Belgio)
32. Jacques Swaters (Garage Francorchamps)
34. Tony Bettenhausen (Alexander Racing Team)
36. Robert Manzon (Alexander Racing Team)
38. Yves Giraud-Cabantous (Alexander Racing Team)
40. Consalvo Sanesi (Alexander Racing Team)
42. Piero Taruffi (Team Metcalf GP)
44. Johnny Claes (Claes Racing Developments)
46. André Simon (Claes Racing Developments)
48. Giuseppe Farina (Alfa Romeo SpA)
50. Juan Manuel Fangio (Alfa Romeo SpA)
52. Stirling Moss (Alfa Romeo SpA)
54. Franco Rol (Redman Racing Team)
56. Luigi Fagioli (Scuderia Platé-Varzi)
58. Chico Landi (Scuderia Commesso)
60. Paul Frère (Team Metcalf GP)
62. B. Bira (Motorsport Bleu)
64. Giovanni Bracco (Scuderia Ambrosiana)
66. André Pilette (Garage Francorchamps)
Due to the entry cap, Alfa Romeo and Ferrari have cut down on entries, entering three each. Alfa have taken a gamble, as since Rose returned to the USA and Trintignant was loaned to ENB, they lacked a third driver, and hired the unknown Englishman Stirling Moss, who performed surprisingly well in Monaco. It remains to be seen whether he can keep up his performance at this tough circuit.
The surprise of the season so far is Alexander Racing Team. Despite the entry cap, they have decided to field four cars for their four usual drivers. They will once again be looking to score big points to keep their lead in all championships.
Scuderia Maremmana didn't have the best Monaco GP, with von Brauchitsch failing to qualify, and Biondetti heartbreakinlgy retiring while in a good top-10 position. Indy didn't go much better, with Cross retiring before the halfway mark. However, they are still seen as a decent team, and if they finish, they're likely to get a decent top 10 result.
Phoenix are pretty much in the exact same boat. Should they finish the race, they'll be in the hunt for a possible points finish. Reliability issues plagued their Monaco weekend, with only Gonzalez making it to the race, retiring while in a good position. A first top 10 beckons.
Hampshire Racing Alliance are like the loveable backmarkers. Theoretically, they would have no chance at qualifying, with a general lack of experience. The large amount of cars starting the race means that HRA will start the race no matter what. This could be their chance at making a mark on the F1 scene. To finish would be a great achievement for them.
Scuderia Platé-Varzi, though embarrassingly outpaced by the customer Redman Racing Team at Monaco, is getting quicker and quicker, especially since acquiring de facto works team-status. Look for them hunting down a good top-10 finish, especially with experienced racer Luigi Fagioli joining the team for the rest of the season.
Ecurie Albertini surprised the paddock by shunning their home race to delay their début to Indianapolis. It turned out to be a good decision, as they would probably have failed to qualify at Monaco. The acquisition of a Kurtis Kraft for Indy, with a short entry list meant they finished tenth, and immediately climbed up the Entrant's Championship standings. With Talbot-Lago-Talbots, they'll be looking for a decent midfield result.
Ferrari America are now reduced to one car, for Luigi Villoresi, after the latter's Monaco qualifying blunder. The team have the pace to get a good result. Without the danger of a DNQ, the team will have to concentrate on finishing the race and getting out of that one-entry-per-race zone.
ENB will be carried by their wonderful result at Indy, entering four cars for their home race, therefore sacrificing future entries at the British Grand Prix. With the certainty of qualifying, they'll be looking to finish in a really good position to get more entries.
Metcalf are persisting with their home-made chassis and engine, but it now looks like the team are just there, like they aren't managed by anyone. Piero Taruffi must be wondering why he signed for them. His miraculous finish in Monaco means that the team is allowed a second entry and, sure enough, they hired local driver Paul Frère, who was to be loaned out by JAMR for this weekend. Another finish would be a good achievement.
Claes Racing Developments are still capable of scoring big points, case in point: their two podiums last year. They came close in Monaco, with Claes finishing just outside the points and Simon in the top 10 on début. For the team's home race, they'll be hoping for points, mainly Claes, as he needs to get this load off his chest.
Redman Racing Team are in a good position thanks to Franco Rol's fifth place in Monaco, and are now the leading Maserati team. More points are a possibility with some attrition.
Scuderia Commesso finally made the decision to drop their woefully uncompetitive chassis for a Maserati, leading to the awkward Maserati-Ferrari combination. With a hopefully competitive car, Landi is an unknown quantity, and the team is still inexperienced. A finish would be a good start.
On paper, Motorsport Bleu are still a competitive team. However, with Bira seemingly in a slump, the team have had to resort to a single car for Bira. The car is still reasonably competitive, and a climb in the entrant's championship is definitely possible.
Scuderia Ambrosiana have kept Giovanni Bracco for this race, hoping that the absence of DNQs will help them up the standings. Bracco's future in Formula 1 will be decided in this race.
Finally, two privateers have made their way to Spa for this race. With all local drivers already hired, foreign drivers decided to try their luck. While Geoff Richardson's entry was turned down, Aldo Gordini will once again try his luck in Formula 1, while Peter Whitehead's half-brother Graham will make his début in an ERA.
It's no surprise that due to the nature of the series, it's basically a one-lap shootout for qualifying, with one driver going after another. This time, I'll update the standings with every driver that I do. Since everyone's time depends on the polesitter's time, the laptimes themselves will only be revealed at the end of the qualifying session, but the order will be posted after every update. The qualifying order is the same as the entry list, but backwards (Pilette goes first, with Bracco second, etc.).
I am an F1 fan, snatched away by this forum. HELP ME TOM CRUISE! (until d'Ambrosio scores a point)
AussieGrit wrote:At a VIP dinner last night an American woman asked me"where are you from?" I said Australia, she said "wow your English is amazing"