Today is Formula 1’s 70th birthday.
Nino Farina led an Alfa Romeo 158 rout to win the first ever Formula 1 Grand Prix off pole position at Silverstone in 1950 from Luigi Fagioli and local hero Reg Parnell. While the British like to tell you it was the British Grand Prix, the race was officially known as Grand Prix d’Europe, while the new World Championship was virtually ignored by the media and considered a farce by ‘racing purists’…
13 May was also a busy day from there on this day in F1 – Stirling Moss won the 1956 Monaco GP driving a Maserati 250F from Juan Manuel Fangio, who took over teammate Peter Collins Ferrari and Jean Behra in another Maserati. 23 years later, Jody Scheckter’s Ferrari 312 T4 came from seventh on the grid to win the ‘79 Belgian Grand Prix from Jacques Laffite in a Ligier and Didier Pironi’s Tyrrell.
Riccardo Patrese took his first GP victory in seven years for Williams Renault from Gerhard Berger’s McLaren Honda and Alessandro Nannini’s Benetton Ford at San Marino ‘90, David Coulthard’s McLaren Mercedes beat Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello’s Ferraris to the 2001 Austrian Grand Prix win and Felipe Massa returned the favour for Ferrari when he beat McLaren-Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso in Spain ’07.
In one of modern F1’s biggest upsets, Venezuelan underdog Pastor Maldonado’s Williams-Renault inherited pole when Lewis Hamilton was penalised, and went on to win Williams’ most recent and also first GP win in 12 years from Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari and Kimi Räikkönen in a Lotus-Renault. Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas’ 2018 Spanish Mercedes 1-2 over Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari was a far more conventional result.
Looking back in history, Fritz Held’s Benz won the 1900 Mannheim road race and Eddie Rickenbacker the 1916 AAA Champ Car Metropolitan Trophy in a Maxwell. More recently, Chico Landi’s Ferrari 125C won the ’51 Saõ Paulo Grand Prix at Interlagos, Innes Ireland‘s Lotus 18 Coventry-Climax and Jack Brabham Brabham BT19 Repco the Silverstone International Trophy in 1960 and ’66 respectively.
Dave Charlton’s Lotus 72D Cosworth the 1972 South African championship Bulawayo 100 in Rhodesia, Michael Andretti the 2000 Indycar Japan 500, Sebastien Bourdais the 2006 Grand Prix of Houston, Will Power the ‘17 Grand Prix of Indianapolis and Sebastien Buemi the 2017 Formula E Monaco ePrix.
In sportscar racing, Herbert Muller and Gijs van Lennep’s Porsche 911 Carrera RSR won the 1973 Targa Florio, Jacky Ickx and Jochen Mass’ Porsche 956 the 83 Silverstone 6-hour, JJ Lehto and Jorg Muller’s BMW V12 LMR the 2000 Silverstone 500 USA Challenge and Jean-Marc Gounon and Marco Zadra’s Ferrari 333SP the 2001 Spa 1000km. Bernard Darniche meanwhile won the 1973 World Rally Morocco in an Alpine Renault A110.
In other news on the day that South African F1 racer Paddy Driver and sportscar driver Jean Rondeau were born, Mark Donohue cracked the first sub-50 second, or 180 mph lap in qualifying for the 1971 Indianapolis 500.
American driver Harry Schell (38) died in a practice accident for the 1960 Silverstone International Trophy, while 1953 Le Mans winner and a handy occasional F1 amateur, Duncan Hamilton passed aged 74 in 1994