The #F1 Bar Exam: 24 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 I was looking for was American Masten Gregory driving for Scuderia Centro Sud during the German Grand Prix of 1957 held at Nurbugring. He was driving a Maserati 250F-L6, qualified 10th and finished 8th, 1 lap down from the winner.

It was in 1957 that the American driver Masten Gregory first came to the notice of those teams still looking for new talent for the current Formula One season. Everyone who was anyone was in Argentina as the first GP of the season had been held on January 13 and the majority of the drivers had also entered the Buenos Aires 1000 km endurance race to be held the following weekend at the same track.

Temple Buell was a wealthy Colorado oilman who loved sports car racing and decided to form his own racing team 1956. He entered a 1956 Ferrari 290 MM to the 1957 Buenos Aries 1000 km and his drivers Masten Gregory, Eugenio Castellotti and Luigi Musso went on to win the event pitted against the works teams of Ferrari and Maserati.

After the race Enzo Ferrari proceeded to give Gregory an offer as the fourth driver for Ferrari. Gregory however was more interested in actually racing than having to hang around the track hoping that he might be able to race that weekend as one of multiple Ferrari drivers. Instead he decided to sign with the privateer team of Scuderia Centro Sud, the Minardi of the 1950’s, whose vain hope to pick up points was if there was enough attrition through crashing or mechanical failure of the cars in front of them.

The next Grand Prix was at Monaco in May and Gregory finished 3rd at his first F1 race driving a Maserati that was already redundant technology. This podium finish for his first race was aided by the carnage which followed race leader Moss’s crash coming out of the tunnel on lap 4. Collins crashed while trying to avoid the debris from Moss’s car and during his crash took out Hawthorne as well.

Fangio and Brooks managed to get through unscathed and remained in front to take out first and second place. On lap 96 Von Trips lost third place when his engine blew to pieces which then resulted him spinning into a wall due to the oil his own engine had deposited onto the track.

Brabham who then inherited third also lost out when his engine expired in Casino square. He managed to push his car over the line for sixth and last place as only six cars finished the race. This all goes to prove the old racing adage, to finish first you first must finish, which also works for the lower placings as well. Gregory’s 3rd place finish resulted in him being the first American to get a podium place at a F1 race. This was also the only podium finish for Scuderia Centro Sud in its nine years competing in Formula One.

Full Colour Footage of the Monaco 1957 Grand Prix

For the following race Gregory’s Maserati had been re-painted in the traditional US racing colours of Imperial blue stripes on a white background with which he raced for the rest of the year. Gregory unfortunately suffered from the Alesi syndrome where errors in judgement early in his career meant he never had the machinery under him to show what he was capable of.

If he had taken the understudy role at Ferrari in 1957 he may well have beaten Phil Hill to be the first American Formula One champion.

Jim Clark said of Gregory, “Suddenly there was an almighty howl of sound, a blast of wind, the whole car shook, and Masten went steaming past like a bat out of hell. He was well out in the lead with the Lister-Jaguar all sideways, his arms crossed up and fighting the steering. I remember having a sudden twinge of shock and thinking “To heck with this, if this is motor racing I’m going to give up now”. It really put me off. I didn’t think anyone could drive a car as quickly as that.

Clark also commentated that it was only after he had teamed up with Gregory for a sports car race at Goodwood in 1959 that he realised that he had some ability as a driver as he was able to match Gregory’s lap times in the same car.

Well done Ken, Cassius42, Taflach, Johnny and Milestone11!

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

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Please provide your answers in the field below:

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