Cars

FIA FORMULA 1

Five times world champion

SOUTH AMERICAN AND INTERNATIONAL

Maserati 250 V12

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Exemplary produced: 3 chassis / 1 engine
Cylinders: 12 in V to 60th
Displacement: 2489 cm3
Diameter x Stroke: 68.7 x 56 mm
Compression ratio: 12: 1
Power: 320 HP at 12,000 RPM
Dimensions: Length: 4.40 / Width: 0.90 / Height: 0.90 mts
Front track: 1310 mm
Rear track: 1250 mm
Distance between axes: 2300 mm
Weight: 650 Kg
Fuel capacity: 230 lts
Max speed: 315 km / h

With the victories in the first two Grands Prix of the 1954 season in the hands of Juan Manuel Fangio, the Maserati 250F had a great start. Unfortunately, the elegant Italian machine was forced to play a second role against the powerful Mercedes-Benz W196 and, later, with the Lancia Ferrari D50, both with Fangio at the wheel. These machines with eight-cylinder engine simply produced more power than six of the Maserati. The simple design of the 250F made it a popular choice among the pilots and while Fangio dominated Formula 1 on the W196 and D50, Maserati produced about two dozen thrusters in three years.

Maserati did not accept the defeats and gradually developed all aspects of the design of the 250F. Much of this work focused on the shape of the body, reflecting a growing emphasis on reducing resistance. During the 1954 season, a fully engined "streamliner" body was used on high-speed tracks and, by 1955, the car designer Medardo Fantuzzi introduced the definitive "long nose". Chief engineer Giulio Alfieri also invested a considerable amount of time in devising a fuel injection system for the double cylinder chamber.

Two other victories in 1956 showed that progress was indeed made, but with the return of Fangio to the ranks of Maserati in 1957, even more drastic improvements were needed. A new multitubular chassis was installed that followed the same lines, but was considerably lighter and stronger than the original.

The suspensions remained the same, the double front fork and the rear suspension with DeDion axle. Despite the arrival of the most efficient disc brakes, Alfieri continued with the same but with a new design with improved power and cooling characteristics.

With the new chassis came a new engine, already designed in 1956. It was a sophisticated engine of 12 cylinders in V, double overhead camshaft commanded by a series of gears in the front of the engine. The angle of the V of 60º plus the double cam left little space so the carburetors had to be installed between the trees of cam, next to the system of double spark for the ignition system, powered by two magnets in the front and 24 coils.

With the V12 still in development, the Maserati team started the 1957 season with the 250F with the inline six-cylinder engine. The unit proved to be powerful enough to fight against rivals that included the Ferrari team in crisis and the impressive British team Vanwall who was Maserati's biggest rival, even though he only uses a four-cylinder engine. However, Fangio proved that he was still the fastest man in Formula 1, even at 45 years of age. In the six-cylinder T2, 'the old master' won four of the first five races en route to his fifth driver's title. The fourth was the legendary victory at the Nürburgring when Fangio broke the lap record 10 times in just 22 laps.

Fangio's excellent results with the six-cylinder engine gave Maserati engineers additional time to thoroughly develop the V12. The first tests, in an older chassis, showed that the delivery of power was brutal. Fangio proves it in Monaco and in Morocco.

During the summer, three T2 chassis were built specifically for the V12 engine and one was ready in time for the final Grand Prix of the year; The important Grand Prix of Italy in Monza. Thanks to a redesigned gearbox, the V12 could be mounted offset in the T2 chassis. The new car could easily be recognized due to the two bumps in the very low bodywork that was needed to clean the carburetors. Behind the wheel of the V12 250F, the French Jean Behra impressed during the early stages of the race, but was forced to stop to replace the rear tires, which were not able to withstand the 320 bhp for too long.

There would be no second chance for the V12 with 250F engine as a Maserati with little money withdrew from international races at the end of the 1957 season. The 250 survivors were sold with the six-cylinder engine or without a full engine. It was not the end of the line for the V12 engine itself, since it would be used in several sports cars and finally in the back of a Cooper F1 car in the form of three liters. In this way, he would get two victories in the Grand Prix almost a decade after his introduction. If the 250F T2 V12 could have challenged the victories in 1958, we'll never know, but it's still the most powerful car built during the 2.5-liter era of F1.

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