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The 1933 Grand Prix season was one of controversy, a great race and tragedy. The first major event of the season was held on the streets of Monte Carlo once more and it proved to be a classic duel between Achille Varzi’s Bugatti T51 and Tazio Nuvolari in a Scuderia Ferrari Alfa Romeo 8C “Monza”. Varzi withstood pressure from his rival until Nuvolari’s engine expired with a lap to go.
They were to the fore a month later at Tripoli with Varzi beating Nuvolari by 0.2 seconds although this was a controversial affair. It was alleged that the leading drivers had colluded to fix the result and take a share of the substantial lottery prize that was decided by the outcome of the race.
Nuvolari had grown disenchanted with the Enzo Ferrari-run Alfa Romeo team, especially as the factory refused to release the state-of-the-art Tipo-B “P3” chassis. When Giuseppe Campari’s Maserati won the French GP at Montlhéry, Nuvolari defected to the Bologna-based concern. He came from the back of the grid at Spa-Francorchamps to dominate the Belgian GP and scored further victories at Montenero and Nice with a Maserati 8CM.
That was enough for Alfa Romeo to allow Ferrari to race the Tipo-B once more and Luigi Fagioli and Louis Chiron dominated thereafter. Fagioli won the Italian GP – his third win in four races – but it was among the saddest days in motor racing history. Giuseppe Campari, Baconin Borzacchini and Stanislav Czaikowski were all killed in separate accidents during the subsequent Monza GP.
Chiron began the year by forming Scuderia CC with Rudolf Caracciola but the team was disbanded when Caracciola was seriously injured during practice at Monaco. By now entered by Ferrari, Chiron completed the campaign by winning the Masaryk and Spanish GPs. Fagioli was second on both occasions to emphasise the Tipo-B’s superiority.
That year’s race at Monaco was the first Grand Prix when practice times were used to decide grid positions.