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1958 German Grand Prix

Grosser Preis von Deutschland

Sunday, August 3, 1958
Warm, dry and overcast
Fastest Lap:
Moss, 9m09.2
1958 season:

From the Motor Sport Archive

Vanwalls strike back

Adenau, August 3rd.

In common with other organisers, the Automobile Club von Deutschland decided to reduce the German Grand Prix from its former powerful position down to a "milk-and-water" type of event by reducing the distance from 22 laps of the Nürburgring to 15 laps, a mere 342 kilometres, and as last year they ran a Formula II event in with the Grand Prix. To make the programme a "bumper one" they laid on a short sports-car and Gran Turismo car race in the morning before the main event.

The Scuderia Ferrari arrived midday on Thursday with three V6 Dino 246 Grand Prix cars, an experimental model and a Formula II car and, being early, they put in some unofficial practice that afternoon, this being the first time the Dino models had been to the Nürburgring. Hawthorn, von Trips and Phil Hill were there as drivers, the fourth member of the team, Collins, being due to arrive the next morning. The B.R.M. team, the Vanwall team, Coopers, Lotus and Porsche all began arriving, so that when practice started on Friday afternoon there was plenty of activity. The B.R.M. team were making their first appearance at the formidable Eifel circuit and would have liked to have made some unofficial practice earlier but their drivers were not available, so they had to "find out," just as Vanwalls had last year, though both Behra and Schell knew the circuit well, which helped a great deal. The Formula I Ferraris were driven by Hawthorn, Collins and von Trips, and the experimental car was tried by them as well, Hawthorn in particular being quite enthusiastic about its handling characteristics. The American driver Phil Hill was having his first single-seater Grand Prix drive with the Ferrari team, having been waiting a long time for it, and was given the Formula II car, an exact replica of the Formula I car apart from engine capacity and tyre sizes, though it had a lighter chassis frame with all the main longerons of the same diameter. It must not be overlooked, of course, that the present Formula I Ferraris were developed from the prototype Formula II car of last year. The Vanwall team were much happier than last year, for they now knew more about the requirements regarding springs, shock-absorbers, anti-roll bars, steering geometry and so forth, since their debacle last year, but were in a sad state over engines, having destroyed one at Silverstone recently, and some more on the test-beds in preparation for this race, so that they could only bring three cars instead of their usual four, it not being possible to make new engines in a few days. As a result they entered only Moss and Brooks, with the third car as a spare, and Lewis-Evans did not have a drive. Coopers entered Salvadori in their 2.2-litre car, and Trintignant was driving Rob Walker's similar car, while Allison was in the 1958 Formula I Lotus, the horizontal engine position now being entirely abandoned. There was a lone Maserati out on this first afternoon, it being Bonnier's 1957 lightweight car he got from Scarlatti. Two other Maseratis were entered, these being the Centro-Sud cars, one for Troy Ruttman and the other for Hans Herrmann, but neither were ready for the first practice period. Of the 1958 ultra-lightweight works Maserati there was no sign, nor was there any sign of Fangio, he seemingly having retired from European racing, though at the time of the race he was still in Italy.