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Alfa Romeo decided not to compete in Formula 1 in 1949 and Grand Prix racing also lost its leading driver before the start of the European season. Jean-Pierre Wimille was killed when his Simca-Gordini crashed during practice in Buenos Aires’ Palermo Park during the Argentinian Temporada.
Alberto Ascari moved to Ferrari and won the Swiss and Italian GPs with team-mate Luigi Villoresi second at Bremgarten. English privateer Peter Whitehead bought a Ferrari 125 and won the Czech GP at Brno in the British Racing Green machine.
Juan Manuel Fangio returned to Europe to race an Automóvil Club Argentino Maserati 4CT/48 and immediately won at San Remo, Pau, Perpignan, Marseille and Albi. Although out of luck in the major GPs, his was a name that could not be ignored. The British GP was run at Silverstone with Baron Toulo de Graffenried victorious in another privately entered 4CLT/48.
Lago-Talbot won a couple of GPs during 1949 – Louis Rosier using its fuel efficient normally aspirated engine to beat the works Ferraris at Spa-Francorchamps and Louis Chiron winning the GP de France at Reims. The traditional Grand Prix de l’Automobile Club de France was a sports car race in 1949, which was won by the Delahaye of future Ferrari importer Charles Pozzi.