world Championship 1951

In 1951 Juan Manuel Fangio wins his first World Title with Alfa Romeo, after a fierce duel with the Ferrari team, which manages to beat the Alfetta in Silverstone, Monza, and Nürburgring.

If the races corresponding to the world tournament are included, Fangio disputes 14 competitions. At the beginning of the season, he runs for the Mercedes Benz team in Argentina, with the pre-war W163 model. Participates in two European events at the invitation of Ferrari in Monza and Gordini in Paris and in the 24 hours of Le Mans with Talbot. His great rivals of that season are José Froilán González and Alberto Ascari. The retirement of Alfa Romeo at the end of the F1 season leaves Fangio free to race with BRM, Maserati and Alfa Romeo in 1952.

Formula 1
world championAlfetta 159alfa romeo

world Championship 1951

1951 Championship

  • 1Juan Manuel Fangio31
  • 2Alberto Ascari25
  • 3Jose Froilan Gonzalez24
  • 4 Nino Farina19
  • 5Luigi Villoresi15
  • 6Piero Taruffi10
  • 7Lee Wallard 9
  • 8Felice Bonetto7
  • 9Mike Nazaruk6
  • 10Reg Parnell5
  • 11Luigi Fagioli4
  • 12Consalvo Sanesi3
  • 13Andy Linden3
  • 14Louis Rosier3
  • 15Toulo de Graffenried2
  • 16Manny Ayulo2
  • 17Bobby Ball2
  • 18Jack McGrath2
  • 19Yves Giraud Cabantous2

1951 Races

  • 1

    Switzerland VIDEO

    27 May 1951
    Juan Manuel Fangio
    Alfa Romeo
    42 Laps

  • 2

    Indianapolis 500 VIDEO

    30 May 1951
    Lee Wallard
    Kurtis Kraft Offenhauser
    200 Laps

  • 3

    Belgium VIDEO

    17 Jun 1951
    Nino Farina
    Alfa Romeo
    36 Laps

  • 3

    France VIDEO

    01 Jul 1951
    Juan Manuel Fangio
    Alfa Romeo
    77 Laps

  • 4

    Great Britain

    14 Jul 1951
    José Froilán González
    90 Laps

  • 5

    Germany VIDEO

    29 Jul 1951
    Alberto Ascari
    20 Laps

  • 6

    Italy VIDEO

    16 Sep 1951
    Alberto Ascari
    80 Laps

  • 7

    Spain VIDEO

    28 Oct 1951
    Juan Manuel Fangio
    Alfa Romeo
    70 Laps

History of the Alfetta

Argentine fans never saw the Alfetta race in our country that made possible Juan Manuel Fangio, conquer the 1951 World Title and the Sub-championship a year before. Perhaps for this reason, among others, his name always enclosed something magical for all of us. The history of the Alfetta covers a period of 13 years from 1939 to 1951 when they decided to retire after suffering only three defeats that year, the first after the War, one by José F. González and the other two by Alberto Ascari.

The engine of the Alfetta was originally conceived as 16 cylinders in V and 2958 cc of displacement, with 58 mm of diameter by 70 mm of career, it dispensed a power of about 350 HP. This model called 316 was created in 1937 to replace the Alfa 8 and 12 cylinders, which had been largely surpassed by the Germans of Auto Union and Mercedes Benz.

In those years (1938 and 1939), the category that later would be the Formula 1, admitted engines of up to 3 liters of displacement with a compressor or 4500 cc without compressor. It was so the triumphant debut of the Alfetta with two cars entrusted to Emilio Villoresi, brother of Luigi and Clemente Biondetti, was produced in Livorno in 1938. Villoresi won and his partner was located behind, leaving the feeling that the Alfetta would be an unbeatable car.

The first and only defeat before the Second World War occurred in the Tripoli GP reserved for 1500 cc cars Hermann Lang and Rudolf Caracciola, the command of the Mercedes Benz W165 achieved the first two places, with Alfetta by Emilio Villoresi third seven minutes apart. There was a lot of discomfort among the Alfa Romeo technicians, who continued to carry out tests. In one of them, in the Monza Autodrome and on the straight, Emilio Villoresi left the circuit, losing his life instantly.

Guiseppe Farina, after the tragedy, replaced Emilio Villoresi and joined, in addition, Count Trossi in the team with Clemente Biondetti. The rematch did not wait: the Alfetta win in the Tripoli GP of 1940 occupying the first three places with Farina, Biondetti, and Trossi in front of Luigi Villoresi to the command of a Maserati.

Then came the War and the motoring activity was paralyzed for several years.

Later Alfa technicians modified the car adapting a double compressor to the engine. In order to experience it, they entrusted the Alfetta to Jean Pierre Wimille, in two minor races that were awarded, Dijon and Boulogne. It was the year 1946 and that same season already presents the whole team.

Aquiles Varzi, joined the team won in Turin, Count Trossi won in the GP of Milan and the GP of Nations in Geneva, it is Farina who triumphs. The only rivals of that season were the Maserati 4 CLT, which in some cases came to disturb the Alfetta.

In 1947 Alfa Romeo replaced Farina by Consalvo Sanessi and also incorporated Gaboardi and Balestrero. For the French GP of 1948, he called a young pupil of Villoresi, the young Alberto Ascari, who ran that single competition, in Reims. That year the Alfa Romeo team closed its campaign in Monza where Wimille won, followed by three other Alfetta, those of Trossi, Sanessi, and Taruffi.

Aquiles Varzi was killed in Bern during a training session in the rain. Maybe blinded by the water raised by another competitor, when he reached one of the corners his machine skidded and at a low speed he touched a cord and unexpectedly gave a single turn. Varzi was killed instantly by a skull fracture.

Taruffi would be summoned later to replace the unfortunate Varzi. A few months later and at the Palermo circuit he lost his life rehearsing a Simca Gordini, Jean Pierre Wimille. An incurable disease ends with the life of Count Felice Trossi. In this way, in a very short time, all the members of the Italian team disappeared. This misfortune led to the withdrawal of the competitions at the end of l948.

It was then that the engineer Giachino Colombo, Alfa Romeo constructor had the idea of dividing in two one of those engines converting it into an eight-cylinder in line, with the same measures of stroke and diameter of the cylinders. With its 1479 cc and a regime of 7200 RPM achieved a performance of 195 HP. It was called Alfetta 158 for the 1500cc and 8 cylinders.

The idea was to use this model in the preliminary tests of the Grand Prix. At the same time, they would serve as a test bed for the future Formula 1 that would take effect in 1950.

Engineer Colombo, took advantage of this period to introduce some modifications to the Alfetta taking the power to about 340 HP.

The engine, as said, was 8 cylinders in line with a displacement of 1479cc. The valves were commanded by two camshafts located in the cylinder head and the intake was in charge of a carburetor that fed a double-cycle Roots compressor. The speed regime was raised to 8200 RPM. The maximum speed was 310/320 Km / h.

A well-conceived chassis, with 2.50 meters between axles and a uniform 1.25-meter gauge, made the Alfetta a real mechanical gem through its history.

In 1950 Alfa Romeo decided to return, before the announcement that this season would play the first World Championship. They decided to do it in San Remo, in a previous test without scoring, for which they had appointed pilots to Farina and Fangio. Farina suffers an accident in a previous race, so they decided to register a single unit to be driven by Fangio a stranger who won that race.

The three "F" will be the chosen pilots. Fangio, Farina, and Fagioli make up the official team of the Alfetta, joining for some drivers such as Taruffi, Parnell, and Sanessi.

In Silverstone, the first of the World Championship, Farina won the victory, while Fangio wins in Monte Carlo, Belgium, and France, reaching the decisive instance in Monza where Farina wins and is the Champion.

The 1951 season leaves the first defeat for the Alfetta after the War, when in Silverstone Froilán González took the Ferrari 4500 to victory. Ascari would also win with the Ferrari in Germany and in Monza, reaching the last date in Barcelona with three aspirings to the title: Fangio, Ascari, and González. Fangio won and with this victory the first of his world titles.

It was a difficult year for Alfa Romeo in 1951, during the year, several modifications were made to the Alfetta, which was renamed 159 and with a power of 400 HP. For Barcelona, Alfa Romeo made a practically new car, called 160, for Fangio to defend his chances of being a champion before the overwhelming advance of Ferrari.

These cars consumed one liter of alcoholic mixture per kilometer, with 98% being methanol to cool the combustion chambers. This circumstance required successive refueling in the race.

The engineer Colombo, was the author of important modifications of the Alfetta, which since 1938 had won all its presentations, 27 in total. He left the team after the death of Varzi in Bern.


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