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Fiat remained at the forefront of Grand Prix racing, with its new type 805 powered by a supercharged straight-eight engine. All three cars retired from the French GP when stones thrown up on the dusty Tours circuit damaged their superchargers. New units were fitted for the Italian GP at Monza and Carlo Salamano scored the first GP victory for a car powered by a forced injection engine.
The hero that day was Pietro Bordino who, injured two weeks previously in a testing crash that claimed the life of his riding mechanic Enrico Giaccone, led the race while virtually driving one-handed. He eventually was forced to retire through shear exhaustion.
Disappointed by its Ernest Henry-designed 1922 challenger, Sunbeam tempted Vincenzo Bertarione from Fiat who simply designed a copy of successful type 804. Dismissed before the event as a British Racing Green Fiat, the Sunbeams of Henry Segrave and Albert Divo benefited from the Italian team’s demise in France to finish first and second. It was the first Grand Prix victory for a British car or driver.
Divo completed Sunbeam’s most successful season by winning the Spanish GP on the new oval at Sitges. There had been a touring car GP in 1913 (won by a Rolls-Royce) but this was the first true Spanish GP.
Benz introduced the first mid-engine Grand Prix car with independent suspension to all four wheels. Despite being ahead of its time (it would be four decades before GP designers all placed the engine behind the driver), the car was ultimately not a success.
Ettore Bugatti would soon be known for the beauty of his cars but the 1923 T30 “Tank” was anything but. Ernest Friederich finished third in France nonetheless. Alfa Romeo hired Vittorio Jano from Fiat and his P1 was due to make its debut at Monza. However, the team withdrew following Ugo Sivocci’s fatal accident in practice.