TeamsBruce Halford: 1956 Formula One Season By Jeremy McMullen
The area of Devon consists of lofty cliffs and broad, hilly rural lands filled with fertile soil. This pastoral setting would certainly seem the perfect place to get away from the stresses of urban life. Therefore, this setting would seem the last place to find a motor racing driver. However, the tight country lanes traversing the undulating terrain would also serve as the perfect training ground for aspiring motor racing drivers. One of those Devonians to trade in the modest for clamorous would be Bruce Halford.
Bruce Halford would be born in Hampton-in Arden in 1931. Following his education at Blundell's School in Devon, Halford would remain along the Devon coast purchasing a trawler and opening his own café. However, this tranquil setting was not to be Halford's dream.
By this point in time the Second World War was long since over and the scene around England and mainland Europe was one of discovering life and adventure. Motor racing suited the attitude perfectly and the new Formula One World Championship would capture the attention and arrest the mind of many a dreamer.
Halford, however, was not a dreamer, but a doer. In 1954, at the age of just 23, Halford would purchase a Riley TT Sprite and would begin entering some regional sportscar races. At the National Davidstow, in June of 1954, Halford would come away with a 3rd place result in one of his earliest races. Another 3rd place was to follow later on in August. In a Formula Libre race held at Davidstow Halford would take his Sprite and would end up coming away with a 2nd place finish.
More top five results were to come in 1955. In addition to sportscar races, Halford would start taking part in Formula 2 races in his own Cooper-Bristol T23 entered under the Equipe Devone team name. Having gained some valuable experience in Formula 2, Halford, who at this time was just 24 years of age, would decide to make the leap up into Formula One. His opportunity would come and he would not miss out on it when it was presented to him.
In 1954, Prince Bira had purchased one of the brand new Maserati 250Fs. He would use the new car to earn a 2nd place in Rouen and a couple of other top five and top ten finishes. Then, at the 1954 British Grand Prix, Bira would lend his car to Ron Flockhart. Flockhart was then driving on and off for Owen Racing Organization and the opportunity to race Bira's 250F in the British Grand Prix was a great chance for him to demonstrate his talent. Unfortunately, Flockhart would leave the circuit during practice and would heavily damage Bira's Maserati.
Owen Racing had ordered their own Maserati and Ken Wharton would use it to finish 8th in the British Grand Prix. However, the team had an important decision to make following Flockhart's crack-up. The team would decide to take Bira's Maserati and renumber it 2509, while their unmolested 2509 chassis would be given back to Bira as payment for the misfortune.
Following the BRDC International Trophy race in 1955, in which Bira would come away with a fantastic 3rd place finish, he would promptly retire from motor racing. Following his retirement from racing, Bira would act as a team owner and would enter his Maserati in a couple of events for Horace Gould and Andre Simon.
Bira would then determine to sell his Maserati to Horace Gould, and, in June of 1955 the Maserati would be entered in races under the Gould's Garage team name. Gould use 2504 for a number of races and would earn a number of podium finishes with the car. However, by the start of the 1956 season Gould had an opportunity of his own presented to him.
Gould had determined to make his racing career a go and would go so far as to move to Modena, Italy so that he could be nearby the Maserati factory. This proximity to the factory enabled him to get spare parts, but also, to learn of the latest updates. Heading into the 1956 season Maserati was preparing its latest evolution of the 250F. Gould would want to have the latest, and therefore, would look to sell his 2504 chassis.
Though he lived in Italy at the time, Gould's garage was located in Bristol and wasn't all that far from Halford's home in Devon. Knowing the young man had a desire to get into Formula One, Gould would work out a deal to sell the Maserati to Halford. Bruce would jump at the opportunity. His Formula One career was about to take off.
The 1956 Formula One season would again start early with the first round of the World Championship taking place in South America. The trip to Argentina would be a costly one, and therefore, would be mostly populated by either factory teams or local talent. Therefore, Halford's first season in Formula One would be delayed until the European season kicked in gear in early spring.
The very first race of the season in England would come on the 2nd of April at Goodwood as part of the Easter Monday Races. Though rather short distance from his home, Halford would not make the trip to Goodwood to take part in the race. No, he would instead decide to wait a couple of weeks.
On year earlier, Aintree had been the site of the British Grand Prix. It's 3.0 mile circuit would serve up the first British driver to win the British Grand Prix as part of the World Championship. In 1956, the British Grand Prix would revert back to Silverstone. Aintree, however, would not lay dormant. And, on the 21st of April the circuit would prepare to host the 11th BARC Aintree 200.
Located on the site of the famed Grand National, the Aintree Motor Racing Circuit would be the idea of Earl Howe and Raymond Mays. Flat and generally featureless, the Aintree Circuit would nonetheless be a popular venue with the public and teams.
The BARC Aintree 200 would be 201 miles in length, and therefore, would consist of 67 laps of the 3.0 mile circuit. Seeing there was a good deal of time in between rounds of the World Championship it was not at all surprising that some of the top British drivers would attend the race with their own cars. Yes, Mike Hawthorn and Tony Brooks were team drivers for Owen Racing, but Stirling Moss would come to the event with his own personal Maserati. He had intended to drive for Vandervell Products but their car was not ready in time.
It would be quite an education for the young Halford. Though he had taken part in Formula One races before Halford had done so with Formula 2 cars and in events that didn't necessarily draw the best drivers and equipment. The inexperience would show itself quite quickly.
Fastest around the circuit in practice would be Archie Scott-Brown in a B-Type Connaught. His fastest lap would be a time of 2:03.8. Therefore, Scott-Brown would have the pole, and by a clear margin as Mike Hawthorn would prove to be second-fastest around the circuit but would still be about two seconds slower. The final starting position on the front row would end up going to Desmond Titterington in yet another B-Type.
The times amongst those at the front of the field would be tight as just six-tenths of a second would separate 2nd through 6th place on the grid. The gap between the front-runners and those at the tail-end of the field would not be that close, however. Halford, unfortunately, would be found at the tail-end of the field having posted a fastest lap time of just 2:27.2. This would put the Devonian 12th on grid in the 5th rank.
Starting at the tail-end of the field, Halford would have an advantage and a disadvantage. The disadvantage would be obvious having all of those cars ahead of him on the grid. However, the advantage would be that he could take his time and settle into a pace that helped him gain all-important track experience.
At the start of the race, Moss would make a great start and would be pushing the case right from the very start. Halford, meanwhile, would get away carefully from the grid and would be running well early on in the race.
Moss certainly seemed to be the elite of the field as he pressed the issue right from the very beginning. This would cause a number of his competitors into some very uncomfortable positions very early on in the race. One of those that would find that pace uncomfortable would be Mike Hawthorn.
Hawthorn would always be remembered for his fantastic duel with Juan Manuel Fangio in the 1953 French Grand Prix. However, on this day, the new BRM 25 would prove unequal to the task and the race would come to an end for Hawthorn after just 4 laps due to brake failure. One lap later, Roy Salvadori and Reg Parnell would join Hawthorn out of the race. Then, after 13 laps of running, Scott-Brown would be out of the running with an engine failure. This well and truly left Moss all alone at the front of the field.
At the back of the field, Halford continued to soldier on around the circuit gaining valuable experience with each lap, and some valuable track position as a result of the misfortune of others. Remaining steady, Halford continued to mature with every lap and remained on a good course when John Young and Bob Gerard also retired from the race.
Tony Brooks had proven himself in the Syracuse Grand Prix at the end of October in 1955. In this race, he would be fast early on. He would go on to set what would be the fastest lap of the race with a time no less than 2 seconds faster than his own qualifying effort. However, as the race wore on, Moss would wear him out and would only add to his already impressive lead.
Throughout the first half of the race Halford would look strong, but not all that fast. Still, his steady driving was helping him to move up the running order. However, being inexperienced meant the smallest mistake had the potential of snowballing into one big problem. This would be the case on the 40th lap of the race.
Halford had been running well throughout the first half of the race and was on course for a top five result. However, as he rounded Waterway on the start of his 40th lap he would end up losing control of his Maserati. The car would swap ends and he would end up backing it into the wall right at the outside edge of the circuit. The damage to the car would be too severe to allow Halford to re-enter the race, and therefore, would reduce the total number of cars still running in the race down to just six.
Really, there would be just one in the race. With all of the other cars still remaining in the race well spread out, eyes would become fixed upon Moss, whose performance on this day would be nothing short of spectacular.
Averaging a little more than 82 mph throughout the whole of the two hours and 23 minutes of racing, Moss would cruise to an easy victory having a lap in hand over every other car in the field, even Brooks finishing in 2nd in the BRM 25. Jack Brabham would complete the podium finishing the race in 3rd place, but some 3 laps behind.
While the race would end disappointedly, Halford could not deny he had gained some very valuable track experience. This was very important given Aintree was a rather technical circuit and the Maserati was not the easiest in which to feel comfortable. Nonetheless, a retire was still a retirement and it hurt Halford who was determined to make his living as one of those nomadic privateer entries.
Following the disappointing events at the BARC Aintree 200, Halford would have to learn to quickly shift his focus toward the next race in order to maximize his next opportunity. Thankfully for Halford, there would be two weeks in between races and would provide him the necessary time to get mentally focused. Then, in early May, Halford would load his Maserati in his modified royal blue coach and would head off toward Northamptonshire. His destination would be the former bomber training base known during World War II as RAF Silverstone. It would be there, on the 2.88 mile Silverstone Circuit, that on the 5th of May the 8th BRDC International Trophy race would be held.
Upon arriving at the circuit, Halford would open the specially-fitted doors and would unload his Maserati amidst a sea of top national and international teams. His single entry would have to battle against a field that included two Scuderia Ferrari D50s entered for Juan Manual Fangio and Peter Collins; the Equipe Gordini and Ecurie Rosier teams and a number of British factory teams.
If the competition wasn't enough, the circuit would make up the difference. Although Silverstone would be used as a bomber training base during the Second World War and would not be directly involved in the bombing effort, the circuit would certainly appear to be in fighting trim when its perimeter road came to be used as a motor racing circuit. Notoriously difficult on cars, the flat and fast Silverstone Circuit certainly knew how to decimate an advancing army of race cars, and therefore, presented a great challenge to even the best of teams.
Despite the presence of Scuderia Ferrari amongst the entries, the fastest in practice would actually be the Vandervell Products team with the pairing of Stirling Moss and Harry Schell. Moss would end up turning the fastest lap of practice, but just barely. His fastest lap time of 1:42 would be just hundredths of a second faster than Schell in the second Vanwall. Therefore, the front row would see the two Vanwalls occupying the first two positions. Third place on the front row would go to Moss' former teammate at Mercedes, Juan Manuel Fangio. His best effort in one of the Lancia-Ferraris would be around a second slower than Moss. The final position on the four-wide front row would end up going to another Brit. Mike Hawthorn would take the BRM 25 and would end up posting a fastest lap time mere hundredths of a second slower than Fangio.
Unfortunately for Halford, what went on with the front-runners would be of no concern to him as he again would not be on the pace. By the end of practice, he would find himself in 20th position overall and more than 20 seconds off the pace of those on the front row.
Halford needed to look seriously at the situation. The reality is that he had problems getting up to speed in the Maserati and this certainly would handicap him during the race itself. So while he could gain some very important experience, Halford would choose, perhaps wisely, not to take part in the race.
The decision would end up being a smart one anyway as it would be another absolute runaway for Stirling Moss. After starting the race poorly, Moss would recover and would go on to dominate the proceedings while others, like Fangio, Hawthorn and Schell all struggled.
In the end, Moss would power his way to an easy victory taking the win by more than a lap over Archie Scott-Brown and Desmond Titterington in two Connaughts. In all, just 9 cars would end up making it to the finish.
The decision not to start the International Trophy race was likely the right one for Halford and his Maserati. Still, the grand prix season was really just beginning to kick into gear. He really needed to become comfortable in the car and find some speed. Otherwise, the season would be both short and long: short on opportunities and long in disappointment.
Living like a nomad, Halford would determine to make his racing career a go, just like Horace Gould. However, instead of heading off for Italy, Halford would remain in England and would live like a gypsy that were once so prevalent in the area around Crystal Palace in the south of England a couple of centuries ago.
Living and breathing motor racing was certainly one thing. Being talented enough to really make it go would be another thing entirely. One of the things Halford desperately needed in his quest to become a successful racing driver was confidence. Yes, he needed experience, but confidence was what would make all the difference.
One of the easiest ways in which to gain confidence in motor racing was to return to a circuit in which there had been success in the past. In Formula One races the only place Halford had had any kind of success had been at Aintree. He had been running well before he made a mistake and dropped out of the BARC Aintree 200. Therefore, it made sense that if there was an opportunity to return to the circuit Halford would have been wise to take it. Well, on the 24th of June just such an opportunity presented itself.
While Halford would forego the opportunities to take part in the Monaco and Belgian Grand Prix, he would not remove himself entirely from Formula One for the remainder of the season. Instead, he would look forward to the 24th of June when Aintree once again hosted a non-championship event. And, on that day Aintree would host the 1st Aintree 100.
The 1st Aintree 100 race would just be a rerun of the BARC Aintree 200, just to a shorter distance. Covering 102 miles and just 34 laps, the 1st Aintree 100 would draw a field even smaller than had been had back in April. Of course, being sandwiched in between rounds of the Formula One World Championship would certainly come to bear on the size of the starting grid.
But while such a fact might seem disappointing, it was welcome news to someone like Halford. Not only did he have another opportunity to take part in a race on a circuit he had become familiar, but the smaller size of the field meant he had the chance of coming away with a top result, which would have really boosted his confidence.
Archie Scott-Brown would be the lone Connaught Engineering entry in the field and he would set the pace in practice turning in a lap of 2:05.8 and taking the pole. Roy Salvadori would be present driving for Gilby Engineering but would be handicapped by the fact he was driving a Formula 2 A-Type Connaught. Though his best would be more than four seconds slower than Scott-Brown it would still be fast enough to provide him with the 2nd starting position. The 3rd and 4th positions on the first row were to be occupied by Horace Gould and Bill Holt respectively.
While he may not have been expected to garner a front row starting position, Halford still could have expected a good starting position given it was his second time around on the circuit and the size of the field was rather small at just 9 cars. While it is not known for certain due to flawed records, it is believed Halford's experience at Aintree did pay off enough to provide him with a second row starting position.
The 34 lap race presented an interesting hidden drama in that it would be the first time Halford and Gould would be on the track together in a Formula One event. While Gould would certainly be concerned with his own effort it is entirely likely he would also be interested in how Halford got on in his old car.
As the race would get underway, Gould's attention would quickly get lost in the race at hand and thoughts of Halford would be a far distant back seat. Scott-Brown would be quick early on but would soon find his race come to an end after just 8 laps due to mechanical problems. Salvadori's handicap of driving a Formula 2 car meant Gould had his opportunity and would certainly take advantage of it as he would quickly increase his pace. Soon, Halford would end up enjoying his place at the front and would end up turning the fastest lap of the race with a time of 2:06.0, more than a few seconds faster than his own qualifying effort.
But while Gould was enjoying his place up front and was certainly taking control, only about a minute behind him would come another relishing in his opportunity. Bruce Halford would make his way through the first part of the race without incident and would be running strongly heading into the final moments of the race. The power of the Maserati would end up helping out his natural talent as he would make his way past Bill Holt and Roy Salvadori to take over a position inside the top three.
Over the course of the final couple of laps, Halford's main focus would turn toward not putting a wheel wrong throughout every tenth. This focus would enable him to hold onto his 3rd place and maintain a strong pace until the very end.
Gould would take advantage of his opportunity and would not let it go no matter what. Averaging a little more than 83 mph over the course of the 34 lap race, Gould would be in absolute control coming through and across the line to take the victory by more than 35 seconds over Bob Gerard in his Cooper-Bristol. While Gould would offer up a grand surprise taking the victory, the presence of Bruce Halford in 3rd place would only add to the amazement. Halford would use his previous experience around Aintree to propel himself up the running order and would end up benefiting with a strong 3rd place finish just 25 seconds behind Gerard.
The advantages offered up by returning to Aintree would end up coming true for Halford. The 3rd place result offered provided some very important confidence and momentum to a man that was still obviously struggling to come to grips with his car. The solid performance showed his comfort behind the wheel was growing and he certainly appeared more capable than he had before.
The timing of the good result at Aintree could not have been more appropriate given the time of year and what loomed on the horizon. At the time of the 1st Aintree 100 it was the end of June. The World Championship had fully kicked into gear, and, following the non-championship event at Aintree, there was just one week before the French Grand Prix at Reims. Given his finances and state at the time, a trip across the Channel would not prove to be viable. However, there was to be just a couple more weeks following the French Grand Prix before the next round of the World Championship, and this would be one in Halford would want to be ready to partake.
Upon the turn of the calendar to July the month would be occupied with a couple of important World Championship races. And, for the privateer Brits, the second would be perhaps of even greater importance.
Back in early May, Halford had made his way to Silverstone and attempted to take part in the BRDC International Trophy race. However, after taking part in practice he would determine not to start the race, and it was entirely understandable as he was still a ways off the pace. However, just two weeks after the French Grand Prix, on the 14th of July, the Formula One World Championship would head to Silverstone for the British Grand Prix. This presented a grand opportunity for Halford to take part in his first World Championship event without having to leave English shores. However, he would need his pace to increase if he was to even have a chance of taking part.
The entry list for the sixth round of the World Championship would be full of top tier fighters. Scuderia Ferrari would have no less than five entries for the race. The factory Maserati team would have four. Then came the British teams. Connaught would be the largest domestic representative having four entries. Both Vandervell and Owen Racing would have three. This presented the single privateer entries, like Halford, with an incredible challenge. Nonetheless, Halford would arrive with his old coach and would unload his Maserati to begin preparations for the race to come.
Although Halford did not come to the race as part of some factory team he did have a talented individual helping to prepare his car for him. Stirling Moss' old mechanic, Tony Robinson, would be employed by Halford to help him prepare the Maserati for his races. This would certainly be helpful. The fact Halford was behind the wheel of a Maserati 250F would also be a positive. Though he would be just one of eleven Maseratis in the field, Halford could have confidence in the fact that he was competing with a very capable car.
Halford could also draw confidence from the fact that he was a very different driver compared to the last time he had been to the circuit. And, this would show up clearly in practice as he was not to be found in the tail-end of the field.
Being back at Silverstone meant the average speeds for the British Grand Prix would be much higher than what they had been at Aintree the season before. In fact, as the cars took off for practice it would become abundantly clear that the seemingly impossible pace of Fangio in the Mercedes back in 1954 was certain to be a distant memory.
The quickest in practice would be the defending champion of the British Grand Prix, Stirling Moss. He would take the factory Maserati and would turn in a lap of 1:41.0 and an average speed of just over 104 mph. This time would give him the pole by mere hundredths of a second over his former teammate Juan Manuel Fangio in the Lancia-Ferrari. Mike Hawthorn would find himself in 3rd place in the BRM after having posted a time two seconds slower than Moss. The final starter on the front row would go to another Ferrari driver and Brit, Peter Collins. Collins' presence on the front row would really give the British fans something to cheer about since there would be three Brits arranged along the front row. Unfortunately, there would also be one damned good Argentinean in between.
Back in the early part of May, Halford had found himself more than 20 seconds off the pace in practice. Having gained some important confidence at Aintree, Halford would be much quicker around the Silverstone circuit. In the end, he would turn in a fastest lap time of 1:51.0 and would be just 10 seconds off the pace. Therefore, Halford was not to start the race from the tail-end of the field but would be firmly in 20th place on the sixth row of the grid. This meant he was faster than eight other drivers, including Bob Gerard, Umberto Maglioli, Louis Rosier and Jack Brabham.
The day of the race would break with the skies the usual overcast but without a real threat of rain. Throngs upon throngs of spectators would arrive at the circuit in preparation for the start of the 101 lap, 295 mile, race.
The cars were rolled out to their grid positions in a long processional parade of car and driver. Halford and the other drivers would hop in behind the wheels of their cars and bring the engines to life. Roaring and straining to get going, the field of 28 cars would peel away from the line at the drop of the flag.
Though he started on pole, Moss would again suffer a terrible start and would lose a number of positions before the first corner at Copse. Amazingly, it would be the two BRMs of Hawthorn and Brooks that would get the best starts of all and would lead the way through Copse. Being in the middle of the sixth row, Halford would have to use some evasive maneuvers just to make it to Copse as Gonzalez's car would break not long after the drop of the flag. This would cause Halford to have to do some head's up driving.
At the end of the first lap it would be the BRMs of Hawthorn and Brooks leading the way by a few seconds over Fangio and Harry Schell. Stirling Moss would be all the way down in 8th place but would be getting himself righted rather quickly. Halford would make it through the first corner and would end up coming through the first lap right where he started in 20th place.
After a brief slip backwards, Halford would sit tight in 20th place but would soon begin to come up the running order thanks to attrition hitting its stride as well. Of course, Gonzalez would be the first out having barely coasted more than a hundred feet. However, both Ron Flockhart and Jack Brabham would fail to make it 4 laps into the race before they would be forced to retire. By the 17th lap of the race Paul Emery and Archie Scott-Brown would be out of the running, the later having had his wheel fall off during the course of a lap.
At the same time Scott-Brown would be losing his wheel and exiting the race, Hawthorn would begin clipping down the running order with engine related problems. By this point in time, Moss had fully recovered from his poor start and would actually be in the lead of the race while Roy Salvadori would surprisingly come forward to take 2nd place from Fangio and Brooks.
All of the misfortune, and the increase of Halford's confidence, was helping the Devonian to move forward. By the 23rd lap of the race he would be in 16th position and looking quite strong. Unfortunately, that would be as good as it got for Halford as the following lap would see his 6-cylinder engine develop a problem that would force him out of the race altogether. It wasn't even quarter distance and his race was over.
From the time he took the lead on the 16th lap, Moss' performance in the British Grand Prix could only be described as utter domination. Over the course of the next 53 laps he would have the race in hand and would look absolutely unbeatable. Behind him, however, plenty of changes would happen. Roy Salvadori would complete about 30 laps in 2nd place before a loose tank strap would force him into the pits and eventually retire. Tony Brooks would have something suddenly go wrong with his BRM that would cause the car to crash wildly. The car would end up ejecting Brooks, which would be a good thing as his car then burst into flames.
The running order by the 60th lap of the race would be Moss in the lead with three Lancia-Ferraris following along behind. Fangio would be in 2nd followed by Peter Collins and Alfonso de Portago. But within just a few short laps things would change dramatically, and the British faithful would not like the outcome.
Moss had been untouchable in the lead of the race, but as he neared the final quarter of the race not all would be well with his car. Ignition and gearbox problems would cost his car some performance and would allow Fangio to close the distance rather steadily until his lead would be threatened and finally taken away from him on the 69th lap of the race. Despite the issues, Moss' pace had been such that he would manage to hold onto 2nd place ahead of Jean Behra and Peter Collins rather easily.
The majority of the race had seemed to go rather easily for Moss while the same stretch would be rather nip and tuck for Fangio. However, once Fangio took over the lead it would seem the roles would reverse. Fangio would be just cruising around the circuit in his Lancia-Ferrari without so much as a hint of any kind of problem while Moss would find his struggles just beginning. Though Moss had built up a comfortable margin he would find his race rapidly unraveling. And, just 7 laps away from the finish, it would all come undone when the gearbox on the Maserati broke leaving him without any kind of drive. He would be out after looking the shoe-in for the victory for much of the race.
Moss' departure meant Fangio could really relax on his way to the checkered flag. After averaging a little more than 98 mph over the course of the nearly three hours it took him to complete the event, Fangio would come through to take a much needed victory. He would end up taking the victory by more than a full lap over Peter Collins who had switched and was driving de Portago's Lancia-Ferrari. Third place would end up going to Jean Behra but he would be a distant two laps behind by the finish.
Halford's departure before the first quarter mark of the race would seem like such the distant memory by the time the race was over. Indeed, he certainly would have had time to pack up his broken car and his things and even could have headed out from Silverstone before the race was over just to beat the traffic. There certainly would have been reasons why the race did not go well for Halford. However, there were also some positives he could take away from the event as well. Certainly, the fact his pace had increased would be one of the positives. Another positive that would be easy to overlook would be the fact his race had come to an end as a result of mechanical trouble not of driver error. And, this would be important as he proved faster, but also, still in control.
Immediately following the British Grand Prix Halford would find himself in a difficult situation. Just a week following the sixth round of the Formula One World Championship was the 1st Vanwall Trophy race held at Snetterton Motor Racing Circuit. Given that Halford left his Maserati to Robinson for tuning and preparation he had a problem.
The engine failure during the British Grand Prix posed a serious challenge to Halford. Not only did he not too much time before the race at Snetterton, but he also needed to have the finances to make the necessary repairs. And, while the finances would prove not to be so much of a problem the time factor would be. Therefore, Halford would not make the trip to Snetterton to take part in the event, but would look toward his next opportunity.
Halford's next opportunity to take part in a grand prix would come just another couple of weeks after the failed arrival at the Vanwall Trophy race. On the 5th of August, the tiny German village of Nurburg would be set to host the seventh round of the World Championship, the German Grand Prix.
Though Nurburg is a tiny village barely able to be found on a map, it is a place with a fearsome reputation made so by the presence of an infamous circuit known by the name of the Nordschleife. Purposely-built as a safer alternative, the 14 mile circuit would soon come to be considered anything but safe. Rising and falling continuously and boasting of more than 170 corners, just a single lap tests the endurance and abilities of both driver and car. Filled with numerous places a car can catch air and overflowing with blind corners, the circuit was certainly a true road course and was either loved or hated by drivers.
The German Grand Prix in 1956 would be the first time Halford had ever been to the Nurburgring to take part in a major motor race and this meant he would be certain to get a crash course experience. However, he could have the confidence that if he performed well there he could do well anywhere.
Once again, Bruce would find the task before him to be difficult, not just because of the nature of the circuit and the distance of the race, but also because of the competition he would face.
Scuderia Ferrari would have no less than five entries for the race while Officine Alfieri Maserati would have four. Once again, Halford's Maserati would be just one of a fleet of 250Fs in the field. In fact, there would be a total of 15 Maseratis entered in the race. One of those entered with a Maserati would be Horace Gould, the man from whom Halford purchased his Maserati. While seemingly unimportant heading into the race, this fact would become quite helpful to Halford during the race.
As the cars unloaded and began to take part in practice, the entire area would be covered in a pouring rain that would make the already dangerous circuit absolutely frightening. Nevertheless, practice would go on. Fangio was one of those that absolutely loved the circuit. Therefore, it was not all that surprising when he ended up turning the fastest lap in practice taking the pole with a time of 9:51.2. Fangio's best would be just three-tenths of a second faster than his Ferrari teammate Peter Collins. Eugenio Castellotti would make it three Ferraris on the front row when he took the 3rd position. Stirling Moss would prevent a clean sweep of the front row by grabbing the final spot on the front row with a time of 10:03.4.
Bruce Halford would not be on the pace of the front-runners. However, in the conditions he would prove quite adept around the infamous and would post a time just a little more than minute slower than Moss. As a result, the young and inexperienced Halford would find his way onto the third row of the grid in 11th place overall. As a result of his performance in the rain and on the difficult circuit, Halford would out-qualify such drivers as Harry Schell, Robert Manzon, Luigi Villoresi and others. He seemed to be in a very strong position, his best yet in the World Championship.
Three days of heavy rain would give way to bright sunny skies and comfortable temperatures the day of the race. As usual, an incredible crowd would flock to the circuit in preparation of watching the world's best. The cars would be rolled out to their grid positions and the crowd would rise in anticipation of the start.
Powering away from the line, Collins would be in front of the field with Fangio and Moss right there in his wheel tracks. Halford would get a great start and would be in 9th place heading through the South Curve. Soon after, the field would be streaming through the hills and dales of the tree-lined circuit. Flying over crests, Halford would be in a fight for position and would look right at home.
At the end of the first lap it would be Fangio leading the way after he made his way by Collins during the first epic lap. Collins would be in 2nd place with Moss following along in 3rd. Halford's battle for a top ten position would continue all throughout the first lap of the race. However, at the end of the first lap Halford would lose a position but would still come across the line in 10th place, one spot better than where he started.
Once in the lead, Fangio began to pull away from the field, building up a comfortable margin over Collins, Moss and everyone else. While everyone else headed off on another lap, the pits would become busy with those suffering the infamous 'Green Hell'. One of the first to hit problems was Villoresi. He would come into the pits to have his plugs changed. At the same time, Robert Manzon and Giorgio Scarlatti would be retiring from the race with mechanical problems.
The troubles kept coming with each and every lap. Roy Salvadori would fall out of the race after 2 laps. Horace Gould would last just three. Meanwhile, Fangio would continue on his way with Collins and Moss holding onto 2nd and 3rd respectively. Jean Behra would be steadily running in 4th place while Halford would continue to move up the order. By the end of the 8th lap, Bruce would be in the 7th position and looking strong for a possible points-scoring result.
Halford, like many others, had problems, however. Harry Schell had run into overheating problems and the pitstop would take longer than he had hoped. This handed Halford 7th place. However, one lapse of focus and judgment had the ability to do a good deal of damage. Sure enough, a spin by Halford would cause his exhaust to break and fall off the car. Rolling into the pits, Halford would motion excitedly for the situation to be rectified. Who should step in to give him a hand but the man who formerly owned the Maserati—Horace Gould.
Gould had already retired from the race with oil pressure problems. However, his exhaust was working just fine. Therefore, he would make the decision to give Halford his exhaust to use for the remainder of the race. Gould wasn't ready and would tell Halford to head off for another lap while he went and got the necessary parts. After another stop and a few moments in the pits, Halford would rejoin the race fully expecting to carry on to the finish and earning a great result.
More action off the circuit would distract from the parade going on around the track. Three of the Ferraris would retire in succession. Castellotti would be the first out after just 5 laps. Then would come Peter Collins in his Lancia-Ferrari. He would retire his car after 8 laps due to inhaling dangerous fumes from a split fuel tank. Just three laps later, Castellotti would suffer an accident having taken over the wheel of Luigi Musso's Ferrari. The attrition would continue when Villoresi retired after 13 laps and Schell would finally succumb to his overheating issues at the same time. Around the same time Villoresi and Schell retired from the race Collins would rejoin having taken over de Portago's Ferrari. However, the second opportunity would be short-lived as Collins would promptly lose control and suffer an accident that made it impossible for him to continue.
Meanwhile, Fangio carried on, on his merry way. Stirling Moss would show consistency and speed to remain in 2nd place while Jean Behra would be struggling to overcome some difficulties, but was still in 3rd. Another also able to carry on would be Bruce Halford.
Having had his exhaust fixed, Halford would be right back on the gas and would be looking quite strong heading into the final stages of the race. Although he was well behind Fangio because of his pace and the difficulties with his exhaust, he would still be running strong and would be, unofficially, in 4th place with 7 laps remaining.
Fangio would be leading comfortably as he headed into the final laps of the race. It seemed Halford was also en route to a very successful result when, all of a sudden, the black flag would be shown to him. After fighting so hard and looking so strong throughout despite his age and inexperience, he would still be disqualified for having received illegal, outside assistance when he spun and broke his exhaust. This would come just two laps from the end of the race. This loss for Halford would be Chico Godia's gain as he would move into 4th place.
Anchored by a new lap record with a lap time of 9:41.6, Fangio would cruise to victory taking the win by 46 seconds over Stirling Moss. Jean Behra would complete the podium finishing in 3rd place, but the wait of more than 7 minutes and 38 seconds for him to cross the line would more than tell the story of the day.
Halford's disqualification meant the loss of 4th place and 3 World Championship points. The loss would be absolutely devastating for the young man after fighting so hard throughout the day. He had forged his way forward from 11th place on the grid to be within striking distance of World Championship points. They were served up on a platter and he could almost taste them. Then, at the last minute, they would be snatched away like being the focus of cruel joke.
Still, in just his second World Championship race, Bruce Halford had certainly proven himself capable. He had gone up against the best in the world on the toughest of circuits and was on the verge on coming out, really, on top. Though bitterly disappointing, Halford had every reason to be pleased with his performance and could look confidently toward the future. However, he just could not leave Nurburg without giving Gould back his exhaust pipes.
The near miss at the Nurburgring certainly had to bolster Halford's confidence moving forward. Following the near miss in the German Grand Prix, Halford would have just one non-championship event to look forward to throughout the remainder of August. Nonetheless, it would be important for Bruce to build upon the momentum he had built up in the German Grand Prix. Therefore, it would not be at all surprising the nomad would make his way back across the English Channel toward the end of August in order to take part in the 4th Grand Prix de Caen.
Situated within sight of English shores, Caen had been a major strategic objective when the Normandy Invasion happened in the late-spring of 1944. Boasting of a number of buildings dating back to the reign of William the Conqueror, Caen has always been a major strategic site given its location in the Normandy region and is the largest city within the lower part of the region.
The Caen circuit itself would change over time. However, by the 1950s the circuit would move to a park known as La Prairie and would consist of 2.2 miles of perimeter streets and roads navigating around the park and its hippodrome. Flat and rather wide open, average speeds around the circuit touched just about 80 mph by the mid-1950s.
The Grand Prix de Caen would be cancelled in 1955 as a result of the Le Mans tragedy. When it appeared on the calendar for the 1956 season it would be just one of a couple of non-championship events held on the European mainland. Because of this reality, the field for the 1956 Grand Prix de Caen would be mostly filled with French drivers. However, there would be a few foreigners in the field.
Harry Schell would gain permission to enter a Maserati under the factory Maserati team name. Horace Gould would also enter the race with his Maserati. He and Halford would seem to be perfect for each other as the one could lend the other parts during a race if the one retired early.
Another of the foreign entries in the field would be Roy Salvadori in the Gilby Engineering Maserati. And, in practice, it would be Salvadori setting the pace and taking the pole. Louis Rosier would show some signs of his old self by taking the 2nd place position on the grid. Had the front row been three-wide, Halford would have earned his first front row starting spot in a Formula One race. Instead, he would have to make do with 3rd place and starting from the second row of the grid.
The race distance would be 70 laps, or, 153 miles. At the start of the race it would be Salvadori looking strong in the Maserati. He would be turning fast lap after fast lap. However, he would have Rosier, Halford and Schell all over him.
While Salvadori and the other front-runners looked strong early on in the race, there would be more than one competitor that would look terribly weak in the early stages. Hermanos da Silva Ramos would retire from the race after just a lap due to a failed clutch. Paul Emery would reduce the foreign contingent when he retired after 6 laps due to a failing engine.
Salvadori, on the other hand, would seem to be just getting started as he would turn the fastest lap of the race with a time of 1:26.2. This time was achieved with an average speed of just more than 91 mph. But then the conditions would change and the race would take a dramatic twist.
Horace Gould would be the first to pull up lame when he crashed after just 11 laps. This event would be just the beginning of a series of crashes. Unfortunately, just 10 laps later, Halford would follow suit crashing out of the race. Another 10 laps, another crash. This time it would be Robert Manzon that would fall prey to a misstep. Louis Rosier would complete the cycle crashing out of the race after 35 laps.
All of a sudden, many of the favorites, including three of the top four on the grid, would be out of the race. This seemed to favor Salvadori in the Gilby Maserati. However, one could not overlook Harry Schell in his Maserati.
Salvadori would falter as the race went on. Meanwhile, Schell would only get stronger. Chased by Andre Simon, Schell would take over the lead of the race and would not look back once the position was his.
After one hour and 54 minutes, Schell would come through to take the victory ahead of Simon in a Gordini. The margin of victory would be a very comfortable 70 seconds. Salvadori would end up falting. Though he would hang on to finish the race in 3rd place, he would do so more than a lap behind Schell.
Halford's great opportunity would be left in pieces right alongside his broken Maserati. If the disqualification in the German Grand Prix was a bitter disappointment, then the crash in the Grand Prix de Caen would be like an assailant twisting the knife to cut and do even more damage. This would not be the way in which he would want to prepare for the final World Championship round of the season.
The crash in Caen would be disappointing for more than one reason. Not only had Halford lost out on a golden opportunity but the Italian Grand Prix was just a week away. This put a great amount of strain upon his finances and, in general, his state of mind. Nevertheless, Halford would set to work making his way to Monza while also having his car repaired.
Despite the ill-turn that caused him to crash out of the race, Caen had proven to hold some bit of good news. Yes, he failed to finish the race. However, his pace around the circuit was promising enough to get him within sight of the front row. This would be important heading to the ultra-fast Monza circuit. Having his Maserati mended, Halford would gradually make his way to Italy and on to Monza.
The final round of the 1956 Formula One World Championship would be a familiar site. In fact, the Italian Grand Prix, held at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, would be the only unchanged venue to have been a part of the World Championship since its inaugural season in 1950. And, on the 2nd of September, the Monza circuit would again be ready to play host to the Italian Grand Prix.
Flat and fast, the Monza circuit was one of the fastest circuits in the world right from its very beginnings during the 1920s. No matter whether it was the longer 6.2 mile circuit that incorporated the road course and the loop track, or, just the 3.91 mile road course, Monza has always been about one thing—speed.
Originally completed in the 1920s in the picturesque Royal Villa of Monza park, the first iteration of the Monza circuit would boast of a road circuit and a loop section of track that passed by the pits and start/finish line twice over the course of a single lap. Measuring 6.2 miles in length, this circuit would be used up until the 1930s when a number of deaths would cause the loop section to be abandoned in favor of just the road course. The road course would remain in use following the end of the Second World War and through the first half of the 1950s. Then, prior to the 1955 edition of the race the circuit would be changed. For the first time since the 1930s the loop section of track would be back, although it would be altered from its original state. In an effort to make the loop track safer, and yet, still fast, a steeply-banked oval would be created. The average speeds would certainly remain high over the course of the 6.2 mile circuit. However, the track would be anything but comfortable for the drivers and the cars as the concrete would be very bumpy and the steep banking would cause the suspension travel on the cars to be reduced to almost nothing because of being pressed into the turn. Therefore, cars and drivers bounced along the banked turns having every little shockwave pass through them.
In spite of the dangers and the uncomfortable driving conditions, the Italian Grand Prix was certainly not a race to be missed by any factory team, nor by any privateer that could afford to make the journey. The spectators, the avid Tifosi, were also not going to miss out on an opportunity to cheer on a sea of red machines.
And oh would there be a sea of Italian machinery entered in the race. A total of 13 Maserati 250Fs would be entered. Scuderia Ferrari would enter six of their Lancia-Ferrari D50s. And so, out of the 29 total entries for the race, 19, or what would amount to 65 percent of the planned entries, would be utilizing Italian-built cars. One of those entries with Italian machinery would be the privateer entry for Bruce Halford.
The high speeds and the question marks surrounding the steep banking would come into play during practice. However, Juan Manuel Fangio would go on to set the fastest lap in practice using the power from the D50 to record a lap of 2:42.6 and an average speed of 137 mph. Setting the second-fastest time around the circuit would be Eugenio Castellotti in another Ferrari. His best lap would be just eight-tenths of a second slower around the 6.2 miles. The final spot on the front row would go to yet another Ferrari, this one belonging to Luigi Musso.
Getting used to the sheer speeds around the Monza circuit would not be an easy task for even the most experienced driver. In Halford's case, the learning curve would be even steeper and it would show in practice as his best lap times would be a fair bit off the pace. His best lap of 3:05.0 would be just over 22 seconds slower than Fangio. Still, he would not be the slowest in the field and would actually start the race from 21st position, or, the seventh row of the grid.
As the cars were rolled out to their starting positions the weather around the circuit would be comfortable and a bit sunny. However, there was the threat of rain in the air and this meant the early pace of the race was likely to be quite fast as each driver would be fighting for the best position possible ahead of the rains. Some 50 laps awaited as the engines came to life and waited to roar into the distance.
At the drop of the flag it would be the Ferraris of Castellotti and Musso that would get the best start of those on the front row. Fangio would slot in behind his Ferrari teammates taking a bit more of a conservative approach early on. Halford's start to the race would be greatly conservative as he would have a hard time actually getting going. With the help of a push start his Maserati would finally fire and he would be on his way, but well back of the rest of the field. Needing to make up for lost time, Halford would throw caution to the wind and would be pushing incredibly hard over the course of the first lap. Over the bumpy banking this could not have been the most comfortable, but he had ground to make up.
Completing the first lap of the race, Castellotti and Musso would be already running a torrid pace and would have a gap of a second or more over Fangio in 3rd place. Running right behind Fangio would be Harry Schell in one of the Vanwalls while Halford would be absolutely spectacular over the course of the first lap and would end up only losing one place as he crossed the line in the 22nd position.
Castellotti and Musso would be absolutely flying through the first 4 laps of the race. Unfortunately, the two drivers would have trouble with their landing gear and would be forced to make an unscheduled stop in order to have their cars fitted with new tires. One man that was suffering no such ill-fortune would be Stirling Moss. At the same time Castellotti and Musso were forced into the pits for new tires, Moss would leap all the way from just outside the top five to the lead of the race. Harry Schell would occupy 2nd while Fangio cautiously held onto 3rd. Halford's charge back up to the field would stall out just ahead of Gerino Gerini and behind Andre Simon, but, at least he was still in the race.
That is more than could be said for a number of cars. A total of six cars would be out of the race prior to the event even reaching 10 laps. One of those that would be out of the running would be Castellotti. After leading the first few laps of the race, a tire puncture would end up causing a good deal of damage to his car and would force his car out of the race. Then the two Vanwalls of Maurice Trintignant and Piero Taruffi would end up dropping out after 12 and 13 laps because of suspension failure. The bumpy banking certainly taking its toll.
Meanwhile, the other Vanwall, driven by Harry Schell, would be skimming over the top of the bumps and would be giving Moss absolute fits. Schell would briefly take the lead on the 11th lap but would surrender the position back to the Brit one lap later. Still, Moss could not shake Schell and it would make for some very interesting racing.
But there would be more than enough drama, especially for the Italian Ferrari fans. Ferraris were running into trouble left and right. Not long after Castellotti's and Musso's tire problems, Fangio and Collins would suffer tire issues and would be forced to change tires. Fangio's problems would be greater as the steering on his car would be bent forcing him to come into the pits and wait for the needed repairs to be made. Meanwhile, as Moss circulated in the lead of the race, Fangio could see his title hopes slipping away.
Slipping away is exactly what Halford would experience when Fangio ran into his steering arm troubles. After languishing at the back of the field for more than 15 laps, it was becoming more and more apparent his engine wasn't producing the kind of power it should and it was quite running right. Then, on the 17th lap of the race, the engine would give up completely leaving Halford out of the running. Unfortunately, there was to be no Cinderella race this time.
Moss continued to hold onto the lead. Schell would begin to fade until his race came to an end with transmission failure. It had been an impressive, but nonetheless disappointing, 32 laps. Fangio's car was back in the race, but without Fangio. It would be Castellotti that would take over Fangio's car. This was not a surprising move considering the car could not help Fangio retain his title, not at that point in the race. However, Peter Collins' grand gesture certainly would.
Peter Collins was still very much in the fight for the World Championship when he came into the pits with just 15 laps remaining in the race. No other driver had offered Fangio their car for the remainder of the race. To Collins, this wouldn't do. A mechanical problem should not decide the World Championship. And so, the Brit would come into the pits and would hand his car over to Fangio. Fangio would hop into the car and would set off after the leader, his main threat to the title.
On the fast circuits all year long, the Lancia-Ferraris had shown to have an advantage in power and speed. Being an ultra-fast circuit, Moss could expect trouble from the Ferraris. However, the tire issues were hindering the performance of the team. Still, with just 20 laps remaining in the race, Moss had Musso in 2nd place and gaining ground quickly. Moss had been in dominant form once again. As with the British Grand Prix, Moss had led by far the most laps of the race. However, with just 5 laps remaining in the race, Musso would get by Moss to take over the lead. Fangio, who was in Collins' car, was also getting along quite well and was still on the lead lap with Musso and Moss.
It seemed that victory had been taken away from Moss after more than a couple hours of complete dominance. His World Championship hopes were passing away. They were certainly all the more slim with Fangio back in the race anyway.
But this would be a day that would belong to Maserati and Moss. Just three laps from the checkered flag, Musso's car would have tire troubles once again. Musso would come into the pits and would promptly retire from the race having no hope to gain the ground he had lost.
Moss would be back in the lead of the race, and with just 3 laps remaining. The retirement of Musso, however, would also promote Fangio up to 2nd place in the running order. As it stood at that moment, Fangio would come away with his third-straight World Championship title.
Moss and Fangio had run away from the rest of the field. Although he would end up losing the championship fight, Moss would cruise home to a well deserved victory. A little more than 5 seconds later, Fangio would come through to take 2nd place and the championship, Collins' gesture making all the difference. The 3rd place finisher would be something of a surprise. Despite a field comprised of 65 percent Italian machinery it would be Ron Flockhart coming through to finish in 3rd place one lap behind Moss and Fangio.
Unfortunately, no such surprise would be in the offing for Halford. The engine failure had brought an end to his championship endeavors for 1956 and would leave him without any points in hand. Still, his performance in the German Grand Prix and at other moments would show he was gaining confidence and speed. He just needed the finances to help him continue to improve.
One of the best ways in Halford could improve would be to take part in non-championship events. Though becoming fewer and fewer in number, each one Bruce could take part in would enable him to gain experience so he would be more adept to challenge in the World Championship events.
As far as 1956 was concerned, the World Championship had come to an end. There were no more opportunities for Halford to test himself against the best in races that counted toward the championship. However, there would be one more Formula One race left on the calendar. The event obviously would be a non-championship, and thankfully, for the nomadic Halford, it would be back on English soil.
Following the failed engine in the Italian Grand Prix, Halford would pack up everything and would begin the journey back to English shores. The rest of the month would be rather quiet for Halford when it came to using his Maserati. However, on the 14th of October there was one last Formula One race on the calendar. The event was the 1st BRSCC Formula One race and it would be held at the Brands Hatch circuit near Swanley in Kent.
Later considered 'the best circuit in the world', Brands Hatch would be a smaller version of what it would become when it hosted the BRSCC Formula One race in 1956. Racing around the 'wooded slope' had been going on since the 1920s. Initially, there would be a dirt circuit used for motorcycle races and cycling. However, following the end of World War II, cinders would be laid down and the Brands Hatch Stadium would grow in popularity.
Though the circuit was gaining in popularity it was very much a regional circuit in its early stages. In order to survive and grow further it was realized a tarmac track needed to be created in order to host many more classes of racing. Then, in 1953 and 1954 the circuit would be extended to cover a total of 1.24 miles. This opened the door to Formula Libre races, as well as, Formula One.
Initially, the BRSCC Formula One race was to be a long distance affair. This would have provided Halford with even more track experience. However, the organizers would decide to make the race markedly shorter. Instead, a race of just 15 laps would be decided upon. Measuring just over a mile in length, the race distance would be just 18 miles and would take only about 15 minutes to complete.
Going by lap times in practice, it was going to take less than 15 minutes to complete the 15 lap race. Connaught Engineering would come to the race as the sole factory team. Their three drivers would end up setting the pace in practice with Stuart Lewis-Evans, a former record holder at the circuit, turning in the fastest lap time at just 58.8 seconds. Two-tenths of a second would be the difference between Lewis-Evans and his teammate Archie Scott-Brown. Les Leston would put a third Connaught on the front row when his best effort ended up just four-tenths slower than Scott-Brown. Roy Salvadori would make sure Connaught didn't earn a clean sweep of the front row. He would snatch 4th place away from Jack Fairman.
The circuit was short and fast. Therefore, even the smallest mistake meant big trouble with lap times. This fact would make Brands Hatch very difficult and technical. Unfortunately, it would prove to be a little too technical and tricky for Halford. Though he would only be seconds off the pace, at a circuit like this, it was like an eternity. Halford's fastest lap in practice would end up being1:04.4. Being more than 4 seconds off the pace meant Bruce would start the race down in 9th place on the grid, which meant he started the race from the third row of the grid.
Halford could not afford to have difficulties at the start like he did in Monza. Otherwise, his race would be over even before it began. The reason for this was simple: the short nature of the race exaggerated any mistake. Recuperating would be difficult and nearly impossible. Thankfully for Halford, he would make a strong getaway and would be amongst the top five right from the very beginning.
Archie Scott-Brown would get the best start of all and would end up taking over the lead of the race from Lewis-Evans. Salvadori would also make a good start and would manage to get ahead of Leston for 3rd place in the running order.
At just about 15 minutes in duration, once a driver had position, it would be difficult for another to get by. Scott-Brown would take advantage of the clear road ahead of him and would make it all the more difficult for his teammate to get by turning in the fastest lap of the race with a lap time of 59.0. Halford would gain positions from a great start and the unfortunate retirement of Paul Emery. Despite being chased by Bob Gerard, Bruce had the power advantage and could manage to frustrate Gerard with every passing lap.
In just a little more than 15 minutes the race would be heading toward its conclusion. Climbing the hill and flashing around the fast right-hand final bend, it would be Scott-Brown taking the victory with an average speed of nearly 74 mph. Stuart Lewis-Evans would come to rue his start as he would cross the line a little more than 3 seconds behind in 2nd place. The 3rd place position in the order would end up going to Roy Salvadori who would finish just about two and a half seconds behind Lewis-Evans.
Halford would gain some confidence. In other races throughout the 1956 season he had come close only to end up disqualified or out because of some kind of mechanical problem. That wouldn't happen this day. After making a good start, Bruce would manage to hold onto his position, and even improve, as the race wore on. By the end, Halford would come through to finish a strong 6th place. And though Scott-Brown was climbing the hill toward the finish line about the same time as Halford was disappearing down the hill at turn one, the 6th place result would still be a good result and would help Halford head into the offseason on a positive note.
Halford's near miss in the German Grand Prix would certainly be a bitterly disappointing moment for the inexperienced Halford desperately looking for any bit of confidence. Though he had shown to be off the pace in races, he also showed his improvement over the course of the season. Therefore, Bruce would have had reason to be excited and confident heading into the offseason. The only real concern he would have would be the finances required to keep improving. However, his willingness to live like a nomadic wanderer and his strong negotiating skills would see him enjoy a career that would outlast many other privateers.