French GP 1956

French GP, 1956

As the teams gathered at Reims there was (as usual) no sign of the BRM team but Mike Hawthorn appeared on loan to Vanwall, replacing Maurice Trintignant who had joined the new Bugatti team. Vanwall had a third car on this occasion with Colin Chapman driving. The cars were quite competitive on this occasion but things were not helped in practice when Chapman locked a brake at the Thillois hairpin while following Hawthorn and the two cars collided - Chapman's ending up beyond repair.

Maserati was struggling and so the front row was all Lancia-Ferrari with Juan-Manuel Fangio ahead of Eugenio Castellotti and Peter Collins. Further back in the field Ferrari had another two cars for the Marquis de Portago and Olivier Gendebien. Stirling Moss and Jean Behra in the works Maseratis were on row three with Hawthorn while the new Bugatti was well off the pace in 18th place on the grid.

The race was a Lancia-Ferrari dominated affair with the opposition quickly fading away as first Schell and then Moss retired with mechanical trouble. Schell later took over from Hawthorn and Moss from Perdisa and Schell was able to catch and pass Collins and Castellotti. Ferrari seemed to be unaware that Schell was in Hawthorn's car but when they realized what was happening Fangio speeded up and both Castellotti and Collins were able to repass Schell, having previously thought he was a lap behind. Schell then slowed with fuel pump problems.

Not long afterwards Fangio had to pit with a leaking fuel line and this dropped him to fourth and he chased after third-placed Behra, narrowly failing to catch him. At the front the Ferrari team ordered Collins and Castellotti to hold station so the British driver crossed the line 0.3secs ahead of his Italian team mate.

14 Peter Collins Lancia Ferrari D50 61 2h34m23.400s  
12 Eugenio Castellotti Lancia Ferrari D50 61 2h34m23.700s  
Jean Behra Maserati 250F 61 2h35m53.300s  
10 Juan-Manuel Fangio Lancia Ferrari D50 61 2h35m58.500s  
5= Cesare Perdisa Maserati 250F   13 
5= Stirling Moss Maserati 250F 59   
36 Louis Rosier Maserati 250F 58  12 
40 Francisco Godia-Sales Maserati 250F 57  17 
32 Hernando da Silva Ramos Gordini T32 57  14 
30 Robert Manzon Gordini T32 56  15 
10= 24 Mike Hawthorn Vanwall VW (56)   
10= 24 Harry Schell Vanwall VW (56) 56   
11 34 Andre Pilette Gordini T16 55  19 
42 Andre Simon Maserati 250F 41 Engine 20 
Piero Taruffi Maserati 250F 40 Engine 16 
44 Olivier Gendebien Lancia Ferrari D50 38 Clutch 11 
38 Luigi Villoresi Maserati 250F 23 Brakes 10 
16 Alfonso de Portago Lancia Ferrari D50 20 Gearbox 
28 Maurice Trintignant Bugatti T251 18 Throttle 18 
Stirling Moss Maserati 250F 12 Gearbox 
22 Harry Schell Vanwall VW (56) Engine 
ns 26 Colin Chapman Vanwall VW (56)  Accident