We recently revisited 1951 for Ferrari’s first Formula 1 win… or was it? Although the F1 World Championship began in 1950, the formula was set in 1946, so was the 1948 Circuito del Garda actually Ferrari’s first win?
Well, either way, Ferrari had won an F1 race at Silverstone already: the 1949 BRDC International Trophy.
The enormous crowd who turned out under a blazing sun were initially treated to a lively 500cc single-seater race, during which Eric Brandon somehow held off a young Stirling Moss and ‘Curly’ Dryden; and then a production car race from which Jaguar emerged with boasting rights over Frazer Nash and Healey.
In heat one of the main event, Alberto Ascari led away in the “blunt and ugly” Ferrari 125, losing it to fans’ favourite Prince Bira in his blue-and-yellow Maserati but regaining it after only two laps.
In heat two, it was the other Ferrari of Luigi Villoresi who initially led, but he failed to regain it after being passed on lap five by Maserati’s Giuseppe Farina. Meanwhile, veteran Peter Walker delighted us as he joined the dogfight among the European aces in his plucky little ERA.
In the final, contested by the fastest 26 of the 35, Farina took 19 laps to get on Ascari’s tail, only to slide off badly. Admirably, his response was to drive yet harder, but it wasn’t quite enough, as the Ferrari triumphed by 1.8sec.
Sadly, we later learned another old boy, ‘Jock’ Horsfall, had been killed locking up over an oil slick at Stowe.