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29 de dezembro de 2015

1957: Maserati 250F


Antonio Eiras

The 250F was, probably, the most emblematic of all Formula 1 front engine cars. Designed by Gioachino Colombo, it was introduced in 1954 and later developed by Giulio Alfieri, remained challenging during four seasons, having been inscribed in the World Championship of Formula 1 until 1960!


I had a lightweight multitubular chassis, apparently not very effective in the original model, revised subsequently, for 1957, in a lighter and stronger version. The front suspensions were wishbones that activated coil springs, while in the rear, Colombo resorted to a De Dion with a transverse leaf-spring. The original engine was a block of inline 6-cylinder, of 2.5 liter capacity, with two valves per cylinder and twin overhead camshafts, and with three twin-choke Weber carburetors. The initial power of 240 hp at 7,200 rpm, was transmitted to the four-speed gearbox, placed on the rear axle.


During the four years in which it was developed and entered by the factory, the Maserati 250F had almost had as many versions as the about 34 models built. Thus, during its evolution a 5-speed gearbox was adopted, and the original 6 cylinder engine reached the power of 270 hp at 8,000 rpm, before being replaced, in 1957, by a 600 V12 engine that delivered about 320 hp at 9,500 rpm.


Considered very easy to drive, due to the excellent design of suspensions, with excellent power and braking, the 250F also benefited from the support of Pirelli in providing the most appropriate tires.


The premiere took place in the Argentina GP, in 1954, the first race with the new technical regulation limiting to 2.5 liters the engine capacity, with a victory at the hands of Juan Manuel Fangio. This triumph repeated five months later, at the third race of the Championship, on the Belgium circuit of Spa-Francorchamps. After this second victory, the Argentine champion left Maserati for Mercedes and the Italian team had to wait for 1956 and for the young but already experienced British driver Stirling Moss, to attend new 250F victories at the Monaco and Italy GP.


The following year Maserati hired again, the champion Fangio, who, in his final season in Formula One, conquered, at the wheel of the 250F his fifth world title, winning the GP of Argentina, Monaco, France and Germany.


The effort of the Italian car manufacturer in the conquest of his only Formula One world title, together with troubles in commercial transactions for Latin America, dictated the financial failure of Maserati, who had to be intervened by the Italian state and had to end his participation in the World Championship of Formula One.

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