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This Zürich restaurateur was a gentleman driver during the 1950s who enjoyed a short but successful racing career. Rudi Fischer established Ecurie Espadon to run Formula 2 Ferraris for himself and like-minded Swiss enthusiasts. He only raced in the world championship for a couple of seasons but did finish second in the 1952 Swiss Grand Prix – the best result for a fine amateur.
Team owner and amateur driver
Fischer was in his mid-thirties when he formed the team and took up racing in 1948. His international debut in the voiturette Prix de Genéve was with a two-year-old Simca-Gordini T11 and he then finished second in a minor race at Erlen. His GP debut in the 1949 Swiss GP ended with the old car in a distant 15th position.
Conscious that he had to replace the Simca-Gordini if he was going to be anything other than a backmarker, Fischer appeared at the start of the 1950 with the one-off SVA-Fiat. Unable to set a practice time at San Remo, Fischer started at the back but fractured an oil pipe on the opening lap of that obscure marque’s only Formula 1 appearance. Further races that year with private OSCA and works HWM were not successful so new equipment was required for 1951.
The acquisition of a Ferrari 212 immediately reaped its reward. Fischer finished third in non-championship F1 races at Syracuse and San Remo and was second at Bordeaux. He also made his world championship debut in the 1951 Swiss and German GPs and was sixth in the latter. Even more successful in F2, he won the Circuit du Lac at Aix-les-Bains and in the wet on Angoulême’s tight road course.
Second at Bremgarten
He upgraded to a new Ferrari 500 for 1952 – the same type of car that would dominate the next two world championship seasons in works hands. Fischer proved more-than competent with early season non-championship placings and by qualifying fifth for the Swiss GP. He suffered a poor start to that race but climbed through the field to finish second behind Piero Taruffi’s works car.
A week later Fischer beat Stirling Moss’s HWM in the Eifelrennen at the Nürburgring and he capped a most satisfying campaign by finishing third in the German GP and winning at Avus. He was fourth equal in the 1952 World Championship standings but he retired from international motor racing at the end of his most successful season.