1954 British Grand Prix (partially found footage of Formula One World Championship race; 1954)

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José Froilán González leading at the start.

Status: Partially Found

The 1954 British Grand Prix was the fifth race of the 1954 Formula One Season. Occurring on 17th July at the Silverstone Circuit, the race would ultimately be won by José Froilán González in a Ferrari, after having led the entire event.

Background[edit | edit source]

The 1954 British Grand Prix was the fifth annual running of the event within Formula One and seventh annual within the Grand Prix circuit in general, with the race lasting 90 laps.[1][2] Since then, the British Grand Prix has been an annual race on the Formula One calendar, primarily taking place at Silverstone, although Aintree and Brands Hatch have also hosted the event.[1]

Heading into the race, Mercedes-Benz's Juan Manuel Fangio was controlling the Drivers' Championship, with the German company deemed the favourites to win the event.[3][4][5] Its appearance at that year's British Grand Prix would mark the first time it had entered England since Donnington in 1937.[4] Meanwhile, with Lancia still having yet to debut its D50, it agreed to let drivers Alberto Ascari and Luigi Villoresi compete for Maserati.[4] Ferrari were seeking to make a comeback in the Championship, but for qualifying, Fangio broke González's lap record in practice with a time of 1:45.[4][5][3][2] It was also the first lap to set an average speed of 100 mph.[5] González was second by posting a time of 1:46, with fellow Ferrari driver Mike Hawthorn lining up third out of 32 competitors.[2][4][5][3]

The Race[edit | edit source]

With the starting order decided, the 1954 British Grand Prix commenced on 17th July.[2] In a wet race, González shot into the lead on the first lap, and by five laps already led Fangio by five seconds.[4][3][5][2] Fangio nevertheless kept in touch, firstly by reducing the gap to three seconds after 10 laps, and then only to a second by 15.[4][3] Maserati's Stirling Moss meanwhile passed Hawthorn for third, but both would re-overtake each other a few times until Moss solidified his position.[4] González increased his lead from Fangio to two seconds, with both drivers setting times of 1:50.[4] However, Fangio began to fall behind as his Mercedes' aerodynamic body was unsuited for Silverstone.[4][3][5] The Argentine made mistakes when navigating the track, damaging the car's nose on both sides by clipping oil cans used to indicate the inside of the corners, while also experiencing gearbox and brake problems that forced him to keep it held in fourth gear.[4][3][5][3]

Thus, González increased his lead out front, while both Moss and Hawthorn passed the stricken Mercedes.[4][5][3] By lap 60, González led by 19 seconds ahead of Moss, and controlled the race despite the rain showers.[4] With ten laps remaining, Moss retired due to a back axle failing, promoting Hawthorn to second, while Marimón passed Fangio for third.[4][2] By the race's end, González led Hawthorn by 70 seconds, claiming victory and eight points in the Championship.[2][4][5][3] Hawthorn made it a 1-2, with Marimón third, Fangio fourth, and Ferrari's Maurice Trintignant claiming the final points position in fifth.[2][4][5] Seven drivers notably posted the same fastest lap of 1:50.[2][4] Because of this, they shared the point awarded for setting the fastest, thus being awarded 0.14 points each.[2][4] This also marked González's final Formula One World Championship victory.[3]

Availability[edit | edit source]

According to Issue 1,600 of Radio Times, both the start and finish of the race would be televised live by the BBC.[6][7][8] This include 30 minutes of start coverage, and 20 minutes to showcase the race's end.[6][7] The broadcast has yet to publicly resurface however, having originated from an era where telerecordings were rare until video tape was perfected in the late-1950s.[9] Nevertheless, British newsreels and documentaries have provided footage of the event, while photos can also be found online.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Videos[edit | edit source]

British Pathé newsreel of the race.
Reuters newsreel of the race.
Silent footage of the race.

Images[edit | edit source]

See Also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]