“Remembering the Argentine Grand Prix disaster”

On a brief sombre note, today (January 18th) marks the 60th anniversary of the Argentine Grand Prix disaster.

For the opening race of the year, spectators were allowed into the old Buenos Aires circuit free of charge, ensuring the crowd swelled well beyond capacity.

At numerous spots around the circuit, pushes formed and pockets of spectators broke ranks, lining the side of the track as cars sped past.

Eventually some fans took to standing on the road itself, gesticulating and cheering drivers on as the flew close to the mixed rules machinery. Some even took to waving clothes at the passing racers in a vain similar to bullfighters.

The madness would not last and on lap 31, something finally gave way. After a number of tours dodging the daredevil fans, 3rd placed man Giuseppe Farina had to make an emergency change of direction to avoid some wandering fans.
Robbed of control, Farina sped down an embankment and into a pool of spectators. Seven were killed instantly with another six passing away in the following hours and days.

The race carried on, of course, with Alberto Ascari continuing his winning ways in his Ferrari 500.
After 97 laps, the famed Italian enjoyed a one lap advantage over Luigi Villoresi (2nd, Ferrari) and José Froilán González (3rd, Maserati).

How times have changed so, so utterly in those sixty years.

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