The #F1 Bar Exam: 10 July 2014

Welcome to another week of TheJudge13 F1 Bar Exam.

Last week’s question(s): Can you name the driver, team and race where the photo was taken. Can you also name the car (type) and where the driver qualified and finished in the race?

The answer(s) I was looking for were: The driver in the photo is Peter Whitehead, a private entrant from Britain, taking part in the 1950 Italian Grand Prix held at Monza. Whitehead was the first person Enzo Ferrari ever sold an F1 car to, a Ferrari 125 1.5L supercharged V12.

He qualified a lowly 18th but managed to finish the race in 7th place (only 7 cars finished out of 26 that started) although 8 laps down on winner Nino Farina in an Alfa Romeo 158.

The Italian Grand Prix was the final race of the new Formula One European Championship of 1950. The “three F’s” of Fangio, Farina and Fagioli had dominated the season, winning every race in their Alfa Romeo 158, which amazingly were not only competitive but had decimated the opposition despite being first raced in 1938. Coming into the final race it was possible for any of the three now aging drivers to win the championship with Fangio leading on 26 points, Fagioli on 24 points and Farina trailing them both on 22 points. Nino Farina won for the third time for the season becoming the only driver to win the world championship by winning a race at his home track though Felipe Massa came excruciatingly close in Brazil in 2008.

By the Italian Grand Prix Ferrari were on their fourth generation of engine and finally had a car that was capable of matching the Alfa Romeo’s and Alberto Ascari came second in his Ferrari with its new 4.5 litre engine, though to do so he had to take over Dorino Serafini’s car after his own engine failed on lap 21. He had been second on the grid, led briefly prior to his engine failure, and managed to get his car back into second place after coming from behind after taking over Serafini’s car. Peter Whitehead finished 7th in his now obsolete Ferrari 125 with its supercharged 1.5 litre engine, the last classified finisher, eight laps down from the leaders.

Peter Whitehead had financed his racing from money made from the family business in the wool industry and in 1936 at the age of 21 had bought an ERA B. In 1939 took his ERA to Australia where he had gone to source wool for the families’ business. It was here that he had his first race win at the 1939 Australian Grand Prix at the inaugural race at the Mt Panorama circuit. The 6.12 km circuit had only recent been finished, built by labourers using only picks and shovels, and had not yet been sealed so the 244 km race was run on dirt. It was a handicap race and despite starting 15 minutes after the second place finisher Les Burrows, Whitehead quickly drove through the field for his first win, over a minute ahead of Burrows. He became famous for his post-race escapade which reportedly consisted of stripping naked and burning his clothes in the main street of Bathurst, most likely while under the effects of significant amounts of alcohol. This drunken tradition at Bathurst has been maintained to the modern day where alcohol is usually consumed in large quantities by the attendees with fights and mayhem common during and after the race.

Whitehead was a pilot during WW2 and after the war became the first privateer to persuade Enzo Ferrari to sell him a car. He bought a 125 V12 supercharged Ferrari and entered it in 12 formula 1 races over a period of four years with a best place finish of 3rd place at the French Grand Prix. He was the only Ferrari in this race as the works Ferrari’s had pulled out of the race when they realized their new V12 engine was not going to be able to compete with the Alfa Romeo’s. Whitehead eventually finished an amazing 3rd despite suffering a fractured head gasket in the last two laps.

Whitehead also had considerable success in Sports Car racing which included a win driving a Jaguar at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1951. He was killed in 1958 at the age of 43 while competing in the Tour de France Automobile when his step-brother Graham Whitehead crashed their Jaguar while going over a bridge at Lasalle, their car hurtling 30 feet into the ravine below. Peter was killed instantly but Graham amazingly survived the accident, albeit with significant injuries.

Well done to Bernard, Taflach, The13thDuke, Milestone11, Cassius42, Johnny and Ken!

This week’s question(s): Can you name the driver, team and race where the photo was taken. Can you also name the car (type) and where the driver qualified and finished in the race?

20140710_Bar_Exam

Please provide your answers in the field below:

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4 responses to “The #F1 Bar Exam: 10 July 2014

  1. “He became famous for his post-race escapade which reportedly consisted of stripping naked and burning his clothes in the main street of Bathurst, most likely while under the effects of significant amounts of alcohol. This drunken tradition at Bathurst has been maintained to the modern day where alcohol is usually consumed in large quantities by the attendees with fights and mayhem common during and after the race.”

    This is a magnificent cliché is not remotely true.

    It’s the other way around. Clearly, the tradition of alcohol and fighting at Australian motorsport actually led to this story of this English toff, who, unable to hold his liquor like the rest of the squatters, was adjudged to have lost his game of bar pool with nil pocketed, and was therefore required to honour his victor by sacrificing his clothes.

    In all seriousness, Bathurst, at least on the crowd side of the barriers, is a tame replica of the heady days of 70s/80s. It’s too expensive these days to bother getting thrown out, and nil chance of escaping the police road blocks after the race, so alcohol is much more moderated…

    Still the most magnificent race in the world.

    • I did wonder if anyone would argue with that story – it was almost too good to be true…but it fitted the tradition of the race so well…though what you said is almost as good! My memories of Bathurst is from the 1980’s and there was certainly a lot of police and fighting then! I still think it’s amazing that the first race was run on dirt…imagine F1 cars on dirt tracks today!

  2. Whitehead would have found though, what so many other buyers of Enzo’s racing machines found, that what you got was far removed from what you thought you were going to get. Racing? Not actually. Turn up and try to hold together for the prize money. Just like today really……..

    • You’re right in that his car was outdated even when he bought it though he did buy a another one the following year which still wasn’t close to the works Ferrari’s…

      Though in 1950 Ferrari even the works Ferrari’s were struggling to be competitive. Whitehead was the only Ferrari at the French GP that year because the works Ferrari’s pulled out because they were not even close to the Alfa Romeo’s. It wasn’t until the last race and their fourth engine for the year that Ascari managed to get second…

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