• Italian Grand Prix 1953

Fangio brings down curtain on Ascari era

Martin Williamson September 13, 1953
Juan Manuel Fangio's Maserati is sandwiched between the Ferraris of Giuseppe Farina and Alberto Ascari © Getty Images
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The curtain came down on the two-year dalliance with Formula Two at Monza with a symbolic passing over of the mantle from Alberto Ascari to Juan Manuel Fangio.

It would have been fitting if Alberto, who utterly dominated under the Formula Two regulations with 11 wins from 15 starts and a brace of world championships, had signed off with victory but it was not to be. Fangio, who had missed 1952 and then been snapping at Ascari's heels for much of 1953, won, a portent of his own four-year period of domination which was to follow.

The early stages were a four-way fight between Fangio and his protégé Ononfre Marimon in Maseratis and Ascari and Nino Farina in Ferraris. Marimon dropped out of the reckoning when he had to make a pit stop to repair a radiator leak and rejoined a few laps behind. But he was still to have an impact on the result.

At the start of the last lap Ascari seemed to have the race sewn up, but uncharacteristically he lost concentration and spun in the Parabolica only to be hit by Marimon. Farina had to veer onto the grass to avoid the accident and that allowed Fangio to nip through to take victory by 1.4 seconds. Over the next four years he would win 17 grands prix and every championship; the other three would never win another race.

Martin Williamson is managing editor of digital media ESPN EMEA

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Martin Williamson is managing editor of digital media ESPN EMEA Martin Williamson, who grew up in the era of James Hunt, Niki Lauda and sideburns, became managing editor of ESPN EMEA Digital Group in 2007 after spells with Sky Sports, Sportal and Cricinfo