We are now in the paddock at Silverstone on July 18, 1953 before the running of the British Grand Prix. The cars look smallish because they are: for in 1952 and 1953 the World Championship was for Formula 2 cars with an engine displacement limit of two liters. Most of the competition for the Championship was between Ferrari and Maserati with secondary appearances by HWM, Connaught, Gordini and Cooper. These cars are with the Maserati team which is running their A6GCM which used an in-line six cylinder motor (as compared to Ferrari’s in-line four) which was the immediate fore-runner to Maserati’s very successful 250F which came on the scene in 1954.
The car in front of the lineup is to be driven by Froilán González and the number 26 behind it is painted in the blue and yellow Argentinean Club colors for Juan Manuel Fangio’s protégé Onofre Marimon whose season in Europe is being supported by his Club. Fangio will drive one of the cars in the rear as will Italian driver Felice Bonetto. The gentleman having a close look at the internals of the González car appears as if he might be the famous ERA patron Raymond Mays.
The front row of the 4-3-4 grid was shared by two Ferraris and two Maseratis with Alberto Ascari on pole with his Ferrari 500F2. To get some idea of the strength of Ferrari and Maserati, the fastest British car was Tony Rolt’s Connaught, some six seconds slower than Ascari. The race settled quickly into the expected order which at the finish went to Ascari with Fangio second but a full minute back. The third place car, Nino Farina’s Ferrari, was two laps down, as was González behind him. Marimon and Bonetto retired.
The most exciting point came early on when Mike Hawthorn went onto the grass at the exit from the over 100 mph Woodcote Corner, spun without hitting the grandstand situated right there then dropping down a gear and continuing without having even stopped.
Photos by Alan R. Smith and Tom March ©The Klemantaski Collection – http://www.klemcoll.com
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