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1951 F1 Articles

1951 Formula One Season   By Jeremy McMullen

Auto racing is a large, but still rather small and close, community. However, even amidst the smallest community there are those that come and go. Motor racing has continued to be one of those expressions of sport that draws people just for the sake of the competition—to say he or she had competed. For these people, it isn't about the fame or fortune, but, the pure love of the sport.

John James was one of those that never achieved fame or fortune in motor racing, but, he does have a little footnote in racing history marking his place. Of course the footnote is so incredibly small it is rather easy to miss it.

Born in Packwood, Warwickshire in 1914, this British privateer has one of the shortest grand prix careers in history. His motor racing career spans the whole of two grand prix races during the 1951 grand prix season.

As with any British racing fan, to be able to qualify to start a race at the famed Silverstone road course would be a real honor and exciting time. Sure enough, this is where James' story begins.

Having purchased a Maserati 4CLT/48 and entered under his own name, John James arrived at Silverstone on the 14th of July looking to take part in his first ever grand prix during Formula One's sophomore season.

Not too concerned with what Fangio, Ascari or Gonzalez were doing at the front of the grid, James concentrated on getting into the race. James managed to stay out of trouble during practice and actually was able to set a qualifying time faster than a couple of other, more seasoned racers. Out of twenty starters who qualified for the race, James would start 17th. He had managed to beat out a few of his fellow Brits, including Peter Walker, Joe Kelly and Reg Parnell in the troublesome BRM.

James had made it into the race. Now he needed to make it through the race. Unfortunately, this would not be an easy task for the man from Warwickshire.

Race day was mild and dry. The race got underway and Jose Froilan Gonzalez and Juan Manuel Fangio disappeared into the distance. Being that it was his first ever grand prix, and that it was on home soil, surely James took it rather easy, but was fighting the nerves at the same time. He needed to settle in to a pace as the race was not a short distance sprint. The British Grand Prix that year was 90 laps of the 2.88 mile facility making the total race distance over 250 miles.

To James' credit, despite the presence of faster cars all-around him, he kept his cool and never put a foot wrong. In the end, it was his car that let him down in his first-ever Formula One event. On lap 23, the radiator on his Maserati 4CLT began to overheat. He couldn't continue on with such troubles, and thus had to retire from the race. In his first grand prix, James had completed just 23 laps. He had scored no fastest laps, led not a single lap, nor won the race. But, he had the right to say he had competed in the British Grand Prix.

The only other grand prix event in which John James had ever competed came late in the season at Goodwood in West Sussex, England. The race was the 4th Goodwood Trophy race.

The 4th Goodwood Trophy race serves to create a number of questions concerning John James. Instead of the race being one in which James is simply recorded as having attended and either finishing in a retirement or a low-order finish, the race creates an enigma.

Some of the best drivers of the day were present for the short, 15 lap race, around Goodwood's 2.38 mile road course. Farina, Parnell and Moss were present, along with some more local British talent. Among those Brits in attendance was John James in his own Maserati 4CLT.

Seventeen drivers would start the event, but James wasn't to be found toward the back-end of the starting grid. James put in a solid performance that netted him a 9th place starting spot.

During the 15 lap race the attrition was incredibly high. Only nine of the seventeen starters would finish the race and James was among them that would finish. Farina and Parnell lapped the entire field at least once. A little over five seconds separated Farina and Parnell at the finish.

To James' credit, again, he never put a foot wrong the entire race and was only passed by one person that qualified worse than him. That one person was Stirling Moss. By the end of the race, James' steady drive earned him an 8th place finish.

Just like that John James was done in grand prix racing. Nothing is ever really heard from him in competition again. James had competed in only one Formula One event, but it was his nation's grand prix and a great honor for any British racing fan. James died in Malta just in 2002 at the age of 87.
United Kingdom Drivers  F1 Drivers From United Kingdom 
George Edgar Abecassis

Jack Aitken

Henry Clifford Allison

Robert 'Bob' Anderson

Peter Arundell

Peter Hawthorn Ashdown

Ian Hugh Gordon Ashley

Gerald Ashmore

William 'Bill' Aston

Richard James David 'Dickie' Attwood

Julian Bailey

John Barber

Donald Beauman

Derek Reginald Bell

Mike Beuttler

Mark Blundell

Eric Brandon

Thomas 'Tommy' Bridger

Thomas 'Tommy' Bridger

David Bridges

Anthony William Brise

Chris Bristow

Charles Anthony Standish 'Tony' Brooks

Alan Everest Brown

William Archibald Scott Brown

Martin John Brundle

Ivor Léon John Bueb

Ian Burgess

Jenson Alexander Lyons Button

Michael John Campbell-Jones

Anthony Colin Bruce Chapman

Max Chilton

James 'Jim' Clark, Jr.

Peter John Collins

David Marshall Coulthard

Piers Raymond Courage

Christopher Craft

Jim Crawford

John Colum 'Johnny Dumfries' Crichton-Stuart

Tony Crook

Geoffrey Crossley

Anthony Denis Davidson

Colin Charles Houghton Davis

Tony Dean

Paul di Resta

Hugh Peter Martin Donnelly

Kenneth Henry Downing

Bernard Charles 'Bernie' Ecclestone

Guy Richard Goronwy Edwards

Victor Henry 'Vic' Elford

Paul Emery

Robert 'Bob' Evans

Jack Fairman

Alfred Lazarus 'Les Leston' Fingleston

John Fisher

Ron Flockhart

Philip Fotheringham-Parker

Joe Fry

Divina Mary Galica

Frederick Roberts 'Bob' Gerard

Peter Kenneth Gethin

Richard Gibson

Horace Gould

Keith Greene

Brian Gubby

Stanley Michael Bailey Hailwood

Bruce Halford

Duncan Hamilton

Lewis Carl Davidson Hamilton

David Hampshire

Thomas Cuthbert 'Cuth' Harrison

Brian Hart

Mike Hawthorn

Brian Henton

John Paul 'Johnny' Herbert

Damon Graham Devereux Hill

Norman Graham Hill

David Wishart Hobbs

James Simon Wallis Hunt

Robert McGregor Innes Ireland

Edmund 'Eddie' Irvine, Jr.

Chris Irwin

John James

Leslie Johnson

Thomas Kenrick Kavanagh 'Ken' Kavanagh

Rupert Keegan

Christopher J. Lawrence

Geoffrey Lees

Jackie Lewis

Stuart Nigel Lewis-Evans

Michael George Hartwell MacDowel

Lance Noel Macklin

Damien Magee

Nigel Ernest James Mansell

Leslie Marr

Anthony Ernest 'Tony' Marsh

Steve Matchett

Raymond Mays

Kenneth McAlpine

Perry McCarthy

Allan McNish

John Miles

Robin 'Monty' Montgomerie-Charrington

Dave Morgan

Bill Moss

Sir Stirling Moss

David Murray

John Brian Naylor

Timothy 'Tiff' Needell

Lando Norris

Rodney Nuckey

Keith Jack Oliver

Arthur Owen

Dr. Jonathan Charles Palmer

Jolyon Palmer

Michael Johnson Parkes

Reginald 'Tim' Parnell

Reginald 'Tim' Parnell

Reginald Harold Haslam Parnell

David Piper

Roger Dennistoun 'Dennis' Poore

David Prophet

Thomas Maldwyn Pryce

David Charles Purley

Ian Raby

Brian Herman Thomas Redman

Alan Rees

Lance Reventlow

John Rhodes

William Kenneth 'Ken' Richardson

John Henry Augustin Riseley-Prichard

Richard Robarts

Alan Rollinson

Tony Rolt

George Russell

Roy Francesco Salvadori

Brian Shawe-Taylor

Stephen South

Michael 'Mike' Spence

Alan Stacey

William Stevens

Ian Macpherson M Stewart

James Robert 'Jimmy' Stewart

Sir John Young Stewart

John Surtees

Andy Sutcliffe

Dennis Taylor

Henry Taylor

John Taylor

Michael Taylor

Trevor Taylor

Eric Thompson

Leslie Thorne

Desmond Titterington

Tony Trimmer

Peter Walker

Derek Stanley Arthur Warwick

John Marshall 'Wattie' Watson

Peter Westbury

Kenneth Wharton

Edward N. 'Ted' Whiteaway

Graham Whitehead

Peter Whitehead

Bill Whitehouse

Robin Michael Widdows

Mike Wilds

Jonathan Williams

Roger Williamson

Justin Wilson

Vic Wilson

Formula One World Drivers' Champions
1950 G. Farina

1951 J. Fangio

1952 A. Ascari

1953 A. Ascari

1954 J. Fangio

1955 J. Fangio

1956 J. Fangio

1957 J. Fangio

1958 M. Hawthorn

1959 S. Brabham

1960 S. Brabham

1961 P. Hill, Jr

1962 N. Hill

1963 J. Clark, Jr.

1964 J. Surtees

1965 J. Clark, Jr.

1966 S. Brabham

1967 D. Hulme

1968 N. Hill

1969 S. Stewart

1970 K. Rindt

1971 S. Stewart

1972 E. Fittipaldi

1973 S. Stewart

1974 E. Fittipaldi

1975 A. Lauda

1976 J. Hunt

1977 A. Lauda

1978 M. Andretti

1979 J. Scheckter

1980 A. Jones

1981 N. Piquet

1982 K. Rosberg

1983 N. Piquet

1984 A. Lauda

1985 A. Prost

1986 A. Prost

1987 N. Piquet

1988 A. Senna

1989 A. Prost

1990 A. Senna

1991 A. Senna

1992 N. Mansell

1993 A. Prost

1994 M. Schumacher

1995 M. Schumacher

1996 D. Hill

1997 J. Villeneuve

1998 M. Hakkinen

1999 M. Hakkinen

2000 M. Schumacher

2001 M. Schumacher

2002 M. Schumacher

2003 M. Schumacher

2004 M. Schumacher

2005 F. Alonso

2006 F. Alonso

2007 K. Raikkonen

2008 L. Hamilton

2009 J. Button

2010 S. Vettel

2011 S. Vettel

2012 S. Vettel

2013 S. Vettel

2014 L. Hamilton

2015 L. Hamilton

2016 N. Rosberg

2017 L. Hamilton

2018 L. Hamilton

2019 L. Hamilton

2020 L. Hamilton


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