The day Ferrari became a legend
- Mattijs Diepraam
- 8W June 1998 issue, offers are kindly accepted to extend the length of this article!
- 1954 International Trophy - Ferrari's chassis doubts during the early 2.5-litre era, by Mattijs Diepraam
José Froilan Gonzalez
1951 British GP
After Alfa Romeo's stranglehold on the first F1 World Championship and Fangio and Farina in their supercharged Alfettas again sharing the honours at the first two GPs of 1951, this was a historic victory for Enzo's little team. Although at the hands of Villoresi it had won important non-championship races at Syracuse and Pau, Ferrari with their new 4,5-litre normally aspirated 375 - the first car to be specifically built to post-war F1 regulations - had still to win a World Championship Grand Prix. This was to be the first of what turned out to be dozens more for the once small Scuderia that took on the mighty manufacturers of the day and quickly transformed into a legend of its own.
The man that pulled off Ferrari's first win was Froilan Gonzalez, the fearsome looking Argentine who caught Ferrari's attention by outracing the Mercedes-Benz cars in the Libre races at Buenos Aires.
After getting close by finishing second at Reims while sharing a car with Ascari, he gained instant immortality by beating the all-conquering Alfettas from pole at Silverstone. His aggressive style is still revered by many older F1 fans. The imminent domination of the 375 and the fading power of Alfa's pre-war voiturettes prompted the FIA to run the 1952 and '53 championships to F2 regulations. It didn't hamper Ferrari one bit, Ascari gaining back-to-back championships for the Prancing Horse.