In the Fahrerlager at the German Grand Prix, 1956
This is the old paddock at the Nürburgring at the time of the German Grand prix of August 5, 1956. This paddock was situated outside of the track and had a tunnel which went under the start/finish area and then giving access to the racing circuit.
The natty gentleman standing in the middle of the photograph is Vittorio Bellantani, who at this time was working as an engine designer at Ferrari. Bellantani had started his career working for Ferrari's machine tool company during the war years, and had a design role on the AAC 815 which was used in the truncated 1940 version of the Mille Miglia. Bellantani then went to Maserati starting in about 1950 and had a key role in developing that company's early sports-racing cars. He then came back to Ferrari after its acquisition of the Lancia D50 Grand Prix cars in mid-1955 and worked on developing Ferrari's modifications of the D50 for 1956 and 1957. He also had a major role in the creation of the four-camshaft motor for the 290/315/335 Sport racers which used the same Jano-designed valve system as in the D50 motor and which were known internally as the "Bellentani motors."
Behind Bellantani are two Ferrari-Lancias with the rear of a third partially visible to the right. Number 3 will be driven by Eugenio Castellotti and number 5 was assigned to Alfonso de Portago who is standing beside his car with his white helmet resting on the leather-covered box then used by drivers to carry their headgear. The man partially visible behind Portago and wearing a flat hat looks like Girolamo "Mino" Amorotti who acted as an informal team manager for the Scuderia Ferrari until the arrival of Carlo Chiti in 1959. Amoratti, who was unpaid and was a close friend of Enzo Ferrari, could sometimes be heard saying to his boss, "You do not pay me so you cannot fire me!"
Ferrari had brought a total of five cars for Juan Manuel Fangio, Castellotti, Peter Collins, de Portago and Luigi Musso. There were three works Maseratis and several private 250Fs, but Vanwall and B.R.M. did not send entries. In the race de Portago, now in only his third grand prix appearance, and after qualifying some 45 seconds behind Fangio in the tricky damp conditions, would turn his car over to Peter Collins after the one started by Collins had retired with a fuel leak which had nearly asphyxiated him. Castellotti spun off twice and the second time retired. Collins who had recovered enough to take over Portago's car then did likewise by spinning off among some trees but without injury. Fangio led as he pleased once Collins had retired with Moss in the works Maserati a slow second with late race transmission bothers and they finished that way.
Photo by Louis Klemantaski ©The Klemantaski Collection – http://www.klemcoll.com
To see more of our photographs please go to: http://www.klemcoll.com/TheGallery.aspx