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1954 Formula 1

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United States Harry Schell

YearConstructorEngineChassisDrivers
1954Maserati Maserati A6 2.0 L6, Maserati 250F1 2.5 L6250F

Maserati A6GCM 
Formula 1 image Harry Schell 

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By Jeremy McMullen

Racing can be infectious. Harry Schell's mother was not immune to its effect. It helped that she descended from a wealthy family as racing is also an expensive infection. Harry and his mother moved from America to France. It was in France that Harry's mother met Laury Schell and soon the two of them became quite invested in auto racing, specifically rallying. Born in 1928, Harry grew up watching his parents race cars. The infection spread.

Shortly before World War II, Harry's parents were involved in an accident that killed Laury and severely injured his mother Lucy. As the 'Blitz' rolled through western Europe, and the Germans came to occupy France, Harry and his mother left France and returned to America. Harry had already served in the war with the Finnish Air Force in 1939. However, upon returning to America Harry was given a commission in the U.S. Tank Corp.

Upon cessation of hostilities Harry returned to Europe and to racing. Schell drove Coopers in Formula 3 and Formula 2. When the Formula One Championship began in 1950, Schell was there. Schell's first race came during the Championship's second round, the Monaco Grand Prix. Harry arrived with his little Cooper T12 (See Cooper T12 article).

Harry, under the team name Horschell Racing Corporation, qualified in the 20th spot for the Monaco Grand Prix; with no time. The race unfortunately did not go any better. Schell was unable to complete even one lap after being involved in a collision at the harbor chicane. Harry, along with the majority of the field, was knocked out of the race.

Schell skipped the next event, the Indianapolis 500, but showed up at the event after, the Swiss Grand Prix at Bremgarten. Harry arrived under another team name. Instead of Horschell Racing Corporation, Schell ran under his new team name Ecurie Bleue. Harry also arrived with a different car. Harry chose to drive a Talbot-Lago T26C for the Swiss Grand Prix.

Harry had a new team name and a new car, but despite this, qualifying didn't fare any better. He ended up qualifying 18th, dead last, some 29 seconds off the pace. The race, however, did bode better. Schell was able to come up through the field and ended up the race finishing in the 8th spot, beating out the likes of Louis Chiron, Johnny Claes and Toni Branca. Schell also beat out other top drivers, such as Juan Manuel Fangio and Alberto Ascari, who suffered mechanical failures.

Schell, like many other entrants, abandoned going to the Belgian Grand Prix held at Spa-Francorchamps. Besides the championship races there were many other non-championship races taking place almost every weekend and this pace led to many teams not making the trip to Belgium. Schell, however, would end up not only skipping out on the Belgian Grand Prix but also the remaining French Grand Prix and Italian Grand Prix.

Schell would compete in one other grand prix race in 1950 and it was the non-World Championship race at the Grand Prix of the Nations in Geneva. Schell started the race in the 12th spot after qualifying ten seconds slower than pole winner Villoresi. Schell's race ended after only 12 laps due to fuel tank problems. However, the race would have a much more tragic end as Villoresi spun and went flying into the crowd killing some spectators and severely injuring himself.

The few starts Schell made throughout 1950 do little to tell whether he drove in Formula One as the result of a passion for grand prix racing or out of habit, which was handed down to him through his parents. No matter what his motivation was Schell would end up being part of history and the revolutionizing of grand prix racing with his one start at the Monaco Grand Prix with the rear-engine Cooper T12. Entering only the couple of championship races, as well as his career results could easily overshadow reality. The reality was that Schell was regarded highly by his peers. Despite his playboy lifestyle and mindset, Schell was considered a gentleman behind the wheel with very capable ability, a consistent competitor.

Sources:

'Harry Schell.' Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 14 May 2009, 10:17 UTC. 19 May 2009 http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Harry_Schell&oldid=289851323.

'1950 Formula One season.' Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 14 May 2009, 15:35 UTC. 19 May 2009 http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=1950_Formula_One_season&oldid=289896911.


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