1950 British Grand Prix

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1950 British Grand Prix
Race 1 of 6 in the 1950 Formula One season
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Silverstone Circuit in 1950–1951 configuration
Silverstone Circuit in 1950–1951 configuration
Race details
Date 13 May 1950
Official name The Royal Automobile Club Grand Prix d'Europe Incorporating The British Grand Prix
Location Silverstone Circuit
Silverstone, England
Course Permanent racing facility
Course length 4.649 km (2.889 mi)
Distance 70 laps, 325.430 km (202.213 mi)
Weather Sunny
Pole position
Driver Alfa Romeo
Time 1:56.2
Fastest lap
Driver Italy Giuseppe Farina Alfa Romeo
Time 1:53.4 on lap 67
Podium
First Alfa Romeo
Second
  • France Louis Rosier
Talbot-Lago
Third
  • Thailand Prince Bira
Maserati
Lap leaders

The 1950 British Grand Prix was the first round of the 1950 Formula One season. It was the fifth edition of the British Grand Prix and the third to be held at Silverstone after the war. After taking home pole position, Giuseppe Farina took out the race by forty seconds over second place driver Louis Rosier with Prince Bira rounding out the podium in third.

Background[edit | edit source]

RAF Silverstone airport in 1945

The formation of Formula One was created in 1946 with the first race under the Formula rules being the 1946 Turin Grand Prix which was won by Achille Varzi in the Alfa Romeo 158. But it wouldn't be until the 1949 when the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile announce a series that would take place the following year, one year after the formation of the Grand Prix motorcycle racing.

The 1950 edition of the British Grand Prix was the fifth edition of the Grand Prix with it also being the third time that Silverstone Circuit held since the first race being held in 1948. It was also the designated European Grand Prix for the year, which was the 11th time that title had been held since the first one back in 1923.

Entries[edit | edit source]

24 drivers was entered for the first race with them competing in 22 different cars. The number 7 and 13 were not assigned. The biggest absence was the Scuderia Ferrari who wouldn't compete in the opening race with Enzo Ferrari not sending any cars to Britain with the team debuting at the next round in Monaco. This meant that Alfa Romeo with four drivers for Farina, Fangio, Fagioli and British driver, Reg Parnell. Their main competition was the Maseratis, of Scuderia Ambrosiana and their drivers, David Hampshire and David Murray. Enrico Platé also entered two Maserati's with Prince Bira of Siam and Baron Toulo de Graffenried with the pair not being able to practice on Thursday. Felice Bonetto also entered in a Maserati but wouldn't arrive for the race.

Talbot-Lago sent over two factory cars in the traditional French pale blue colour to be driven by Yves Giraud-Cabantous and Eugène Martin. Other private Talbots were entered by Louis Rosier, Philippe Etancelin and Belgian Johnny Claes, in a yellow car. The rest of the field was made up of local machinery, which included four E.R.A.s and two Altas, in British racing green.

Qualifying[edit | edit source]

Qualifying took place on the Friday and saw 21 drivers compete in qualifying for a spot at pole position. In what was terrible conditions, the two senior Alfa Romeo's in Giuseppe Farina and Juan Manuel Fangio taking the top two spots. While Luigi Fagioli and Reg Parnell struggled in the changing weather conditions. Rounding the front row was Philippe Étancelin and Yves Giraud-Cabantous who would come in third and fourth respectively. The session though wasn't without trouble with a costly mistake from Reg Parnell cause them to finish 20th in qualifying.

Qualifying classification[edit | edit source]

Pos Driver Constructor Time Gap
1 Italy Giuseppe Farina Alfa Romeo 1:56.2
2 Argentina Juan Manuel Fangio Alfa Romeo 1:57.5 +1.3
3 France Philippe Étancelin Talbot-Lago-Talbot 1:58.4 +2.2
4 France Yves Giraud-Cabantous Talbot-Lago-Talbot 1:58.5 +2.3
5 France Louis Rosier Talbot-Lago-Talbot 1:58.6 +2.4
6 Switzerland Toulo de Graffenried Maserati 1:58.8 +2.6
7 Italy Luigi Fagioli Alfa Romeo 1:58.9 +2.7
8 United Kingdom David Hampshire Maserati 1:59.3 +3.1
9 United Kingdom David Murray Maserati 1:59.6 +3.4
10 United Kingdom Peter Walker ERA 1:59.7 +3.5
11 Thailand Prince Bira Maserati 1:59.7 +3.5
12 United Kingdom Leslie Johnson ERA 1:59.9 +3.7
13 Belgium Johnny Claes Talbot-Lago-Talbot 2:00.2 +4.0
14 Monaco Louis Chiron Maserati 2:00.5 +4.3
15 United Kingdom Joe Fry Maserati 2:00.7 +4.5
16 United Kingdom Bob Gerard ERA 2:00.8 +4.6
17 Republic of Ireland Joe Kelly Alta 2:00.9 +4.7
18 France Eugène Martin Talbot-Lago-Talbot 2:01.0 +4.8
19 United Kingdom Reg Parnell Alfa Romeo 2:02.7 +6.5
20 United Kingdom Cuth Harrison ERA 2:03.0 +6.8
21 United Kingdom Geoffrey Crossley Alta 2:04.3 +8.1

Race[edit | edit source]

The race began on the 13 May with the fans being over 100,000 people watching the race. With the race beginning, two didn't get off the blocks with the two Talbots of Eugène Martin and Yves Giraud-Cabantous not being able to get off the line. Once the race did get underway, Joe Kelly didn't last six corners before having to retire with a gearbox issue. Out front, Juan Manuel Fangio got off the line brilliantly as they passed Giuseppe Farina to take the early lead, while the Maserati car of Prince Bira struggled as they fell down to 13th being passed by Leslie Johnson and Louis Chiron. After Peter Walker got passed on that lap, he would have to retire with oil pressure ending his race.

For Johnny Claes they slipped down to 15th by the end of lap 5 with Johnny Claes passing Toulo de Graffenried who would eventually have issues with their gearbox as they went out of the race. Throughout the first section of the race, battles were for the lead (Farina and Fangio) and seventh (Murray and Johnson) were apparent. Not even a Luigi Fagioli error at Copse could stop the battle. But those battles would later be cut short with Leslie Johnson hydraulics failing on Lap 19 before an oil pipe on Lap 24 ended Fangio race as Farina took the lead of the race. It was also in this lap that David Hampshire made an error at Becketts and lost time as they had head into the pits to fix some issues after hitting a hare only two laps earlier.

With Farina taking control of the race and the two French drivers in Philippe Étancelin and Louis Rosier controlling the remaining spots on the podium, the main battle was for forth place as Chiron, Bira and Parnell battled with each other as they attempted to get the final points that was available. It wouldn't be until lap 31 where stuff would happen with Étancelin started to slow down before eventually stopping three laps on lap 34 with fuel problems. Eight laps later, Chiron went a bit wide as he lost time on the remaining two drivers that was in front. One lap later, Geoffrey Crossley retired with brake issues which had officially ended Alta day on the track.

The other Alfa Romeo in Reg Parnell struggled to get much speed and after going off the track on lap 56 had to pit to repair the slight bit of damage that occurred on the car. The following lap, David Hampshire engine failed which ended his day. Despite a switch for the final podium spot between Bira and Chiron, it was Farina that took the first Formula One race, finishing forty-six seconds ahead of Rosier with Bira rounding out the podium. Chiron finished in fourth place while Bob Gerard in his ERA finished in a respectable fifth place finish and the last points that was on offer.

Race classification[edit | edit source]

Pos Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 Italy Giuseppe Farina Alfa Romeo 70 2:11:43.5 1 9
2 France Louis Rosier Talbot-Lago-Talbot 70 +46.8 s 5 6
3 Thailand Prince Bira Maserati 70 +1:11.0 11 4
4 Monaco Louis Chiron Maserati 70 +1:14.6 14 3
5 United Kingdom Bob Gerard ERA 70 +1:34.5 16 2
6 United Kingdom Joe Fry Maserati 70 +1:40.7 15
7 United Kingdom Cuth Harrison ERA 70 +1:41.2 20
8 United Kingdom Reg Parnell Alfa Romeo 70 +1:42.1 19
Ret Belgium Johnny Claes Talbot-Lago-Talbot 67 Steering 13
Ret United Kingdom David Hampshire Maserati 57 Engine 8
Ret United Kingdom Geoffrey Crossley Alta 43 Brakes 21
Ret France Philippe Étancelin Talbot-Lago-Talbot 34 Out of Fuel 3
Ret United Kingdom David Murray Maserati 24 Fuel System 9
Ret Argentina Juan Manuel Fangio Alfa Romeo 24 Oil Pipe 2
Ret United Kingdom Leslie Johnson ERA 19 Hydraulics 12
Ret Italy Luigi Fagioli Alfa Romeo 11 Accident 7
Ret Switzerland Toulo de Graffenried Maserati 5 Gearbox 6
Ret United Kingdom Peter Walker ERA 2 Oil Pressure 15
Ret Republic of Ireland Joe Kelly Alta 1 Gearbox 17
DNS France Yves Giraud-Cabantous Talbot-Lago-Talbot 0 Gearbox 4
DNS France Eugène Martin Talbot-Lago-Talbot 0 Electrics 18

Championship standings after the race[edit | edit source]

Drivers' Championship standings
Pos Driver Points
1 Italy Giuseppe Farina 9
2 France Louis Rosier 6
3 Thailand Prince Bira 4
4 Monaco Louis Chiron 3
5 United Kingdom Bob Gerard 2
  • Note: Only the top five positions are listed. Only the best 4 results counted towards the Championship.

External Links[edit | edit source]

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