Von Trips was driving in practice for his first WDC event and was taking to his first Grand Prix car as if it were just another small sports car. While turning laps at just over 2 min. 51 sec. he suddenly spun off into the woods in the middle of the Curva Grande just after the start, while doing around 130 m.p.h. Fortunately he was thrown out and escaped with scratches and bruises, but the car was a complete wreck, both front wheels being torn off and the engine castings split open. He explained that the car seemed suddenly to dive to the right and he was sure he was not going too fast, but Ferraris smiled politely and put the written-off car into the garage and forgot the incident, counting it as part of the cost of training young and excitable drivers. Had they only known the real cause of the accident or taken the trouble to investigate there and then they could have saved themselves a lot of trouble which was to come during the race itself, for Fangio and Musso both suffered broken steering arms on the Sunday and were lucky to not be injured.
On the Tuesday after the race a visit to Ferrari showed the Collins/Fangio car still under the official seals, awaiting the A.C.I. engineers to measure it, but the wreck of Von Trips' car was in the workshops and it had been discovered that his crash was due to a broken steering arm, exactly as suffered by Fangio and Musso. Had the car been inspected immediately after the accident there would have been time to reinforce the arms on the team cars and thus avoided the loss of the race to Musso. No doubt. had the practice crash happened to Fangio the car would been inspected closely; being Von Trips in his first try-out as a Grand Prix driver it was assumed that he had just gone into the corner too fast. Of the mortality or the Englehert tyres, Ferrari merely hoped that next time they would prove better.
Italian Grand Prix
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