Researching each post, for me, is an ever-changing practice. But, generally, it starts with some basic web searching and my trusty Moleskine notebook containing my “race notes.” Here’s an example of my notes from the 1955 Belgian GP:
And, without thinking about it, I made the requisite notation indicating that a Vanwall had won the British Grand Prix. And then it hit me, did a British Manufacturer finally just win their home grand prix? Clearly, the answer is yes. But, here’s the thing, nobody has been able to break the Italian’s stranglehold on Formula 1 racing since Mercedes-Benz brief return to the circuit. Alfa Romeo, Masterati, Scuderia Ferrari, these are the teams that have been dominating the 1950’s F1 Champioships.
My initial reaction was disbelief. Quickly, I set about to figure out who was behind the Vanwall car. And low and behold, it was Colin Chapman. And then, I pulled one of these:
Yeah, that was my reaction as well. I knew Colin Chapman was a heavy-hitter in terms of car development. But, I had no idea that he single-handedly ushered in a new era of F1. To take on the Italian teams was no small feat. Vanwall was not a manufacturer. It existed purely as a racing team that, itself, worked up through the smaller formulae. Anyway, I don’t need to go on endlessly, but suffice it to say this was a David-and-Goliath type of deal. Don’t think about it too much; the metaphor breaks down pretty easily.
Now, Fangio did suffer a mechanical failure at half-distance. But, Moss was tearing it up. He broke down and Vanwall quickly called Tony Brooks to the pits. Tony Brooks complied and handed over his car to Moss. And, the rest was history.
I sincerely believe that this is the first inkling that the shift toward British manufacturers, and the relative decline of the Italian manufacturers, is beginning.
There isn’t much footage of the race. All I was able to find was clip from the beginning of the race. But, in any event, here is a bit from the beginning of this symbolic win for Britain.