We are standing at Silverstone on the grid just before the start of the British Grand Prix on July 14, 1956. Staring with a challenging look at Alan Smith’s camera is Ferrari driver Eugenio Castellotti, sitting is his Ferrari-Lancia. His car was a development of the prior year’s Lancia D50, one of several Lancia Grand Prix cars together with spares and a substantial pot of money from Fiat which had been turned over to Ferrari a year earlier when Lancia collapsed.
Castellotti had had a good year so far with an overall win at Sebring, co-driving with Juan Fangio, a second place result at the Nürburgring 1000km. and an outstanding victory in a very wet Mille Miglia which made the famous Italian road race even more difficult and challenging than usual.
But the Italian was less comfortable at the Grand Prix level and qualified only eighth here at Silverstone, a full three seconds down on pole-sitter Stirling Moss who drove a Maserati 250F. Ferrari had moved the fuel tanks from the side panniers to the tale which led to considerable understeer on full tanks, although perhaps more predictable handling. In the race, to wide surprise the BRMs of Mike Hawthorn and Tony Brooks shot into the lead and created a five second gap over Fangioi’s Ferrari-Lancia who was leading the following pack. Both Fangio and Moss then got past Brooks, although Fangiio then lost places due to a spin, but Hawthorn continued to lead. Hawthorn the retired due to an oil leak and Brooks suffered a huge accident, his car going end for end due to a mechanical breakage and exploding but the driver, thrown out, escaping with minor facial injuries.
Switching around then came as Collins retired but then took over De Portago’s Ferrari-Lancia with which he would finish second behind team leader Fangio who had played a successful waiting game with an ill-handling car. Meanwhile, Castellotti who was not going well at all came in and gave his car to De Portago who ended up pushing it over the finish line to take 10th position.
Photo by Alan R. Smith ©The Klemantaski Collection – http://www.klemcoll.com
To see more of our photographs please go to: http://www.klemcoll.com/TheGallery.aspx