1956 British Grand Prix (partially found footage of Formula One World Championship race; 1956)

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Juan Manuel Fangio takes his first victory in the 1956 Formula One Season.

Status: Partially Found

The 1956 British Grand Prix was the sixth race of the 1956 Formula One Season. Occurring on 14th July at the Silverstone Circuit, the race would ultimately be won by Juan Manuel Fangio in a Lancia-Ferrari, who was victorious despite battling ill health throughout the event.

Background[edit | edit source]

The 1956 British Grand Prix was the seventh running of the event within Formula One, with the race lasting 101 laps.[1][2][3] The ninth British Grand Prix overall, the event has remained 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, qualifying saw three Brits among the top four fastest.[4][3] Moss achieved pole position with a time of 1:41, with Argentine Fangio 0.3 seconds behind in second.[5][3][4] BRM's Mike Hawthorn lined up third, while Collins would start fourth.[3][4] It led to speculation that British drivers and potentially British cars could soon dominate Formula One, with some supporters noting that Moss won the International Trophy at Silverstone in May 1956, while driving for Vanwall.[4] Of the 28 starters, seven drivers and six cars were British, leading Motor Sport to speculate that a British car becoming victorious was "not unreasonable".[4][3] Further down the grid, future three-time champion Jack Brabham made his second Formula One start, after debuting at Silverstone the previous year.[6][5][4] The Aussie qualified last in a Maserati, having purchased it from selling the Cooper T40 he drove the previous year.[5][4][3]

The Race[edit | edit source]

With the starting order decided, the 1956 British Grand Prix commenced on 14th July.[3] Moss had a disastrous start, with him being passed by nearly half the field.[5] By contrast, BRM's Hawthorn and Tony Brooks managed to move into first and second respectively, with Fangio dropping to third.[5][4] Fangio soon spun at Becketts, resulting in the top five consisting solely of British drivers.[4] Brabham also started strongly, moving to 21st on the opening lap, and had made more positions by the time he retired on lap 4 following an engine failure.[5][4] Meanwhile, Moss began to re-climb the order.[5] He eventually overtook Hawthorn on lap 16, with the latter retiring eight laps later following a transmission fault that triggered an oil leak.[7][5][4][3]

On lap 39, Brooks, who had been overtaken by Maserati's Roy Salvadori and Fangio, suffered a broken throttle.[4][5] He experienced a heavy crash that saw his BRM roll over and cause him to be thrown free of the vehicle.[4][5][3] This proved to be a blessing in disguise, as the overturned BRM then caught fire.[4][5] Brooks survived the crash, albeit having suffered a broken jaw and minor damage to an ankle.[4][5]

Fangio soon passed Salvadori, and began to close-in on Moss.[5] Despite Moss' best efforts, Fangio closed the gap and overtook the Brit on lap 69 after Moss experienced a misfire.[5][4][3] This proved to be the race's final lead change, with Fangio comfortably leading the remaining 33 laps despite disliking his D50.[4][7][3] With seven laps remaining, Moss retired because of a gearbox failure, Collins replacing him in second despite suffering oil pressure issues since lap 64 that forced him to take over teammate Alfonso de Portago's car.[5][7][4][3] Fangio therefore claimed his first victory in 1956 and eight points in the Drivers' Championship; Collins finished a lap down in second to share three points each with Portago, while Maserati's Jean Behra was two laps down in third.[5][4][3][7] Connaught-Alta's Jack Fairman and Maserati's Horace Gould claimed the final points positions in fourth and fifth respectively, while Moss earned a point for posting the fastest lap.[3][5]

Post-race, Fangio revealed he was suffering from a "reactive neurosis" ten days prior to the race, leaving him with a high temperature.[7] He was reluctant to take part, as were his doctors. However, the organisers prescribed him painkillers that made him just about well enough to compete.[7] He stated "The doctors did not want me to race, but the organizers insisted so they gave me pills to dull the pain and take the fever down. I raced and was lucky to win but after that I felt dead."[7] Meanwhile, the race was deemed a disappointment for British fans considering the hype surrounding the drivers and cars, with the Vanwalls and BRMs suffering mechanical failures.[7][4][3] Vanwall even withdrew from later races to improve fuel tank and pipe reliability.[7] In the Drivers' Championship, Collins led by one point ahead of Fangio following the race's conclusion.[8][4]

Availability[edit | edit source]

According to Issue 1,704 of Radio Times, the race received live coverage from the BBC.[9][10][11] This included 45 minutes dedicated to the race start, another 25 minutes mid-way, and 40 minutes for the race's final stages, contributing towards nearly two hours of coverage.[9][10] However, the broadcast has yet to publicly resurface, having originated from an era where telerecordings were rare until videotape was perfected in the late-1950s.[12] Nevertheless, some footage can be found in some newsreels and documentaries.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Videos[edit | edit source]

Footage of the race.
British Pathé newsreel of the race.
Colour footage from a British documentary.

Images[edit | edit source]

See Also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 The History Press detailing the history of the British Grand Prix. Retrieved 14th Aug '22
  2. Ultimate Car Page listing all instances of the British Grand Prix. Retrieved 14th Aug '22
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 Racing-Reference detailing the qualifying and race results of the event. Retrieved 14th Aug '22
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 4.14 4.15 4.16 4.17 4.18 4.19 4.20 Motor Sport providing a detailed race report. Retrieved 14th Aug '22
  5. 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 5.11 5.12 5.13 5.14 5.15 5.16 Concept Carz detailing the race, including Jack Brabham's unsuccessful venture at the event. Retrieved 14th Aug '22
  6. 8W noting the 1955 British Grand Prix was Jack Brabham's first Formula One start Retrieved 14th Aug '22
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 7.7 7.8 ESPN summarising the race, including noting Fangio's ill health heading into the event. Retrieved 14th Aug '22
  8. Stats F1 detailing the Drivers' Championship following the race. Retrieved 14th Aug '22
  9. 9.0 9.1 BBC Genome archive of Radio Times issues detailing the BBC coverage of the race. Retrieved 14th Aug '22
  10. 10.0 10.1 Issue 1,704 of Radio Times listing the BBC coverage. Retrieved 14th Aug '22
  11. List of Formula One television broadcasts noting BBC provided partial live race coverage. Retrieved 14th Aug '22
  12. Web Archive article discussing how most early television is missing due to a lack of directly recording television. Retrieved 14th Aug '22