The 2010 Silverstone Classic will celebrate 60 years of the Formula 1 ‘World Championship’ at the home of British Grand Prix with a selection of three high quality grids racing on the historic GP circuit, and displays and features celebrating the entire 60 years.
Invited grids will showcase the development of the sport with an HGPCA pre-61 Front Engine GP race with early ERA, Alfa Romeo and the Maserati 250F, an HGPCA pre-66 rear engine GP race with Cooper, Lotus and BRM and a later ‘3.0 litre formula’ Grand Prix race with Lotus, Brabham, Tyrrell, March, Hesketh, Ferrari, BRM, Surtees and McLaren. Special displays and parades will showcase even later cars including Senna’s first F1 car the turbo Toleman Hart, Schumacher’s 1992 Benetton and the Damon Hill 1996 World Championship-winning Williams Renault.
The first World Championship in motor racing was inaugurated in 1950, the first round of which was at Silverstone on May 13th, 1950. The sports governing body, the FIA, had decided to link six Grands Prix together into one competition, with points being awarded at each of these, and with the highest points scorer becoming ‘World Champion.’
The title ‘Grand Prix d’Europe’ was conferred on this inaugural race at Silverstone, something of an honour and gave a splendid ring to the whole affair, and which grew even grander with the announcement that King George V1 and Queen Elizabeth would attend. The event soon became known as ‘Royal Silverstone’ and elevated Grand Prix racing into the socially acceptable sport events alongside Ascot and Wimbledon.
This new competition tempted Alfa Romeo to return to the sport, and the year was dominated by three star Alfa Drivers: Luigi Fagioli, Guiseppe ‘Nino’ Farina and Juan Manuel Fangio. Alfa brought along four 158’s, three for their star drivers, and a fourth to be driven by Reg Parnell. All four ended up on the front row of the grid for the race. Farina led from the start, with the Alfa Romeos running like clockwork throughout, and despite Fangio suffering engine failure after hitting a straw bale, it was Alfa Romeo in first (Farina), second (Fagioli) and third place (Parnell) at the checkered flag.
Other races in that 1950 season included the Monaco GP, the Swiss GP at Bremgarten, the Belgian GP at Spa-Francorchamps, the French GP at Reims-Gueux, and Italian GP at Monza. The Indianapolis 500 was included as a seventh race but none of the leading drivers competed there. Nino Farina became the first ‘World Champion’, scoring a total of 30 points, Fangio was second with 27, and Fagioli third with 24.