TeamsOwen Racing Organization: 1956 Formula One Season By Jeremy McMullen
Following those embarrassing first couple of years of the World Championship when Mays and Berthon thought they would take the grand prix world by storm with its problematic T15, British Racing Motors would come to be owned by the Owen Racing Organization and would pull out of the World Championship throughout the Formula 2 era. The return of Formula One regulations to the World Championship would also hail the return of BRM, but not with a car of its own design. All of that would change come the end of the 1955 season. But the question remained, 'Would BRM's fortunes change?'
Owen Racing Organization had come to own BRM but was without the use of a suitable chassis given new Formula One regulations. This was both good and bad. It was good in more than one way. For one thing, the new regulations prohibited the use of the expensive and troublesome Type 15. Secondly, the inability of the team to use the car meant the team could very much start from scratch. And therein was the problem: the team didn't have a car it could use to race.
Thankfully for BRM there was Maserati. Raymond Mays and Peter Berthon had convinced more than one about the notion of a national racing team concept. This gave birth to British Racing Motors. However, by 1954, a bit of irony would come to mark the once pride of British motor racing.
After a couple of years of Ferrari domination, Maserati would be Italian manufacturer in the better position with the return of Formula One regulations to the World Championship. The best part was that Maserati made its new chassis, the 250F, available to customers. And so, after having gotten its start as a team intent on building up England as the most prominent manufacturer and team in Formula One, BRM would turn to the Italian manufacturer Maserati for its means back into Formula One.
So, BRM would be in line for a new 250F and would take delivery of the chassis toward the later half of the 1954 season. However, the team's return to Formula One would be further delayed since it would have to send its new chassis to Prince Bira as payment for Ron Flockhart's mistake in the British Grand Prix. Ron Flockhart had been a driver for Owen Racing when he gained use of Bira's Maserati for use in the British Grand Prix. Therefore, BRM's chassis 2509 would become 2504 while 2504 would be repaired and take on the number 2509. Unfortunately, the need to have the chassis rebuilt meant Owen Racing would not take part in a race throughout the remainder of the 1954 season.
Having had the Maserati repaired by the start of the 1955 season Owen Racing Organization would become a major force in national non-championship Formula One races. Unfortunately, even with the use of a brand new Maserati the team would still struggle on the international scene. Still, the Maserati would only be a stop-gap measure as Owen and the rest of the team would be intent on reversing the team's fortunes when it came to building a powerful British racing team.
Even when Owen Racing had taken delivery of its Maserati from the factory the team's attentions were already focused on the future and its own new chassis design. Designated the Type 25, the car would be a little late in arriving but would finally make its debut at the Daily Telegraph Trophy race on the 3rd of September.
Eerily similar to the start BRM got back in 1950, the new BRM T25 would suffer a crash in practice for the non-championship event held at Aintree and would end up not being able to start the race. Hence, the actual debut of the T25 would be delayed until the International Gold Cup race held at Oulton Park on the 24th of September.
Despite having a great deal of excitement and confidence concerning the new T25, the reality would be that Peter Collins would struggle in the race starting well down and then falling out of the race altogether after just 9 laps with falling oil pressure. This would be a very difficult debut but certainly had to be expected given the new nature of the car.
Unfortunately, it didn't get much better after the debut. The car would be practiced at Castle Combe in the beginning of October in anticipation of the Avon Trophy race. However, it would only practice. The Maserati would be the car that would then be entered in the race itself.
Then it was the offseason. The break would certainly afford Owen Racing more time to prepare its T25 chassis, but, the little track experience certainly was not helping its development at all. Therefore, the team needed to continue working on the car and taking any and all opportunities to get it out on the track to thoroughly test it and rid it of its teething issues.
One option Owen Racing had before them had been to ship its car across the South Atlantic to Argentina for the first round of the 1956 Formula One World Championship. It would certainly provide the team with an opportunity to give the T25 more miles. But, such a proposal did come with its red flags.
The first round of the 1956 Formula One World Championship would come early. As with the previous few years, the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina was set to host the first round of the World Championship on the 22nd of January. For many teams this started the 1956 season out really early. For Owen Racing this was again good and bad. Seeing that the Argentine Grand Prix would take place so early in the year the team had the potential of using the opportunity to thoroughly test and prepare its new T25 chassis. However, shipping a team across the Atlantic was by no means an easy and cheap proposition. So, if the team was to make the trip they certainly wanted the best chance possible at coming away with a good result to help offset its costs. Therefore, a car still very much in development didn't seem like a good option to take if the team was for sure intent on making the trip.
As a result, it would not be all that surprising that when Owen Racing Organization did show up in Buenos Aires for the Argentine Grand Prix it did so with its tried and true Maserati 250F. The team would also arrive at the race with a tried and tested driver as well.
Mike Hawthorn had left Scuderia Ferrari to drive for one of Owen Racing's main British rivals, Vandervell Products Ltd. Vandervell was very much on the rise, but at the time Hawthorn joined the team their new car was still suffering and led to some very forgettable moments for Hawthorn, especially the Belgian Grand Prix.
The distaste in Hawthorn's mouth would lead him back to Ferrari for the remainder of the 1955 season. But, he would again move on from Ferrari at the end of the 1955 season and would be looking for a drive with a lot of potential.
Many would believe Mike stepped right back into the situation he had left with Vandervell, but nonetheless, he would decide to join Owen Racing for the 1956 season. This meant the team had a winning driver and a hopefully winning car at their disposal.
And so, Owen Racing would make its way across the Atlantic to Argentina for the first round of the 1956 Formula One World Championship. The grand prix would end up coming just months after the downfall of the Peron administration. This would prove to be a difficult time for Argentina and for many of the country's brightest sports stars, like Juan Manuel Fangio, whose careers had benefited greatly from investment by the Perons.
In spite of the political climate, the Argentine Grand Prix would go forward without too much distraction or delay. Despite having been greatly backed by the ousted leader, Juan Manuel Fangio would be present with Scuderia Ferrari. In total, Fangio would be just one of five official entries. Officine Alfieri Maserati, the factory Maserati team, would have the largest contingent by far having six cars on the entry list. Just one car would be entered for Owen Racing Organization and it would be their Maserati 250F entered for Mike Hawthorn.
Though no longer bearing its prior name, so given in remembrance for Peron's comeback, the same 2.42 mile circuit situated just to the southwest of the city's center would be used for the race.
Being on home soil, it seemed highly unlikely anyone would be able to outpace the three-time World Champion in practice. Sure enough, Fangio would turn the fastest lap in practice with a time of 1:42.5 at an average speed of 85 mph. Eugenio Castellotti would end up second-fastest but would still be more than two seconds slower than his teammate around the circuit. Luigi Musso would be mere hundredths of a second slower than Castellotti and would grab the 3rd place starting position along the front row. Jean Behra would lead the Maserati fleet and would end up grabbing the final spot on the front row after posting a time just under 3 seconds slower than Fangio.
Hawthorn would have his work cut out for him going up against sizable Ferrari and Maserati fleets. However, being behind the wheel of a Maserati himself Hawthorn would be within 5 seconds of Fangio's best and would end up on the third row of the grid in the 8th position.
Being that it was toward the end of the summer in the southern hemisphere the temperatures around the circuit would be warm but thankfully would be nowhere near the temperatures of a couple of years prior. In fact, the day of the race would see overcast skies dominate the area. But, despite the gray appearance, the circuit would be dry and ready for some truly fast times.
With the cars in place on the grid the stage was set for the first round of the 1956 Formula One World Championship. At the start of the race, Fangio would get a terrible start off the line and would be dropped outside the top five through the first lap of the race. Gonzalez, on the other hand, would overcome his second row starting position to push toward the lead right from the very beginning. Hawthorn would get away well but would be unable to leap up toward the front right at the very start.
At the end of the first lap, the order would be far from what most expected. The Argentineans would be thrilled, and yet surprised, when Gonzalez streaked through at the head of the field. Behind him would be Luigi Musso. Carlos Menditeguy would be absolutely stupendous through the first lap of the race and would be in 3rd place at the end of the first lap. This was impressive considering he had started the race from 6th place on the grid. Castellotti, Fangio and Behra, the other front row starters, would complete the first lap in 4th, 5th and 7th respectively. Mike Hawthorn would show a steady hand right at the beginning completing the first lap right where he started—8th.
Gonzalez's lead would be short-lived as Menditeguy continued to impress. By the 4th lap of the race Carlos would be in the lead with Gonzalez beginning to fade. Castellotti would be up to 3rd place after an interesting scrap with Musso for the position. Fangio would be holding steady in 6th place while Hawthorn and Collins would be involved in a spirited battle amongst Brits. Collins would gain the upper-hand on one occasion, but otherwise it would be Hawthorn holding off his fellow countryman.
By the quarter mark of the 3 hour race it would be Menditeguy still leading the way. However, Stirling Moss would be on the charge, despite an ailing foot, and would be in 2nd place ahead of Castellotti who would be involved in an intense battle with Gonzalez. Fangio's Ferrari was not well sounding at all and by the 12th lap would be in the pits out of the race.
Menditeguy and Moss would be up at the front of the field almost through half distance. Castellotti would manage to hold off Gonzalez, Musso and Behra for the 3rd position in the running order. But then Castellotti would have an old, new challenger for his position.
Fangio would end up taking over Musso's car for the remainder of the race. At the time of taking over the car Musso had been in 5th place. However, in just 15 laps, and with the help of the retirements of Menditeguy and Castellotti, Fangio would be up to 2nd place behind Moss.
The retirements and shake-up at the front of the field also went a long way to helping Hawthorn stuck in the middle of the pack. Having firmly taken control of the position ahead of Collins on the circuit, Hawthorn would hang right around the 6th position throughout much of the first half of the race. However, by the halfway point he would be up into 4th place and looking quite strong. A retirement from any other ahead of him and a podium position would be in the offering. This would be a possible wonderful return on Owen Racing's investment.
Just 30 laps from the end of the race the crowd would absolutely erupt with joy as Fangio would get around Moss for the lead of the race. It had only been a matter of time as Fangio had been turning fast lap after fast lap while Moss' engine began to experience trouble and was only running on five of its six cylinders. Hawthorn could sniff the podium and would fight hard to keep from making a mistake in his Maserati.
The 81st lap of the race would see Hawthorn's opportunity come to him as Moss would retire from the race with steadily worsening engine problems. And so, the order ran Fangio first, Behra second and Hawthorn 3rd. However, there were still nearly 20 laps left in the race; plenty of time for more drama to rear its ugly head.
Heading into the final couple of laps the only race to be found out on the circuit would be the race for the lead as Fangio and Behra remained the only two cars on the same lap, and the lead lap. Hawthorn was more than a single lap behind still in 3rd place, but he had no pressure from behind as there were more than a couple of laps separating him from his next-closest rival.
Approaching the third hour, and the final lap, of the race there would be very little in the way that Behra could do to challenge Fangio. Upon taking over Musso's Ferrari, Fangio had been the class of the field and with the whole of Argentina urging him onward there would be very little Behra could do. And so, sweeping around the fast left-hand bend for the final time, Fangio would come through to cross the line and take the victory in three hours and three seconds time at an average speed of 79 mph. About 25 seconds later, Jean Behra would come through to finish in 2nd place.
After starting the race rather far down in 8th place, Hawthorn would show the kind of determination that had earned him the victory in the French Grand Prix back in 1953. Aided by some misfortune with other drivers, Mike would be a little more than two laps down by the end of the race but would be crossing the line in a fine 5th.
The Maserati had done exactly what Owen Racing had purchased it to do. The car provided solid performance and results. But it also provided a little bit of a conundrum for the team. They had a car that performed well. Was it worth it to still focus on building their own chassis? Yes, it had the potential of providing the team an edge, but that is all the team had—potential, nothing certain.
After the difficulties with the new car it would be important for Owen Racing to have as much confidence and momentum as possible built up before heading back to Europe and putting its emphasis back on the new car. Therefore, the team would be very interested in building upon its podium result in the Argentine Grand Prix. And so, instead of heading back to Europe following the race the team would hang around Argentina and would wait until the 5th of February when it would take part in a non-championship event held in the city of Mendoza. The event was the Buenos Aires City Grand Prix.
It would be rather interesting the Buenos Aires City Grand Prix would take place in the city of Mendoza more than 700 miles away. And what a change in venue! Instead of a flat plain adjacent to the Rio de La Plata, the city of Mendoza is located at the base just east of the Andes Mountains. Nonetheless, it would be there on a 2.60 mile circuit based upon park roads within the General San Martin Park that the first non-championship grand prix of the season would be held.
The setting for the circuit would certainly be beautiful with the Andes towering high in the near background. However, the circuit itself would remain quite flat as it would be located in a flat plain just to the east of the mountains. This made for a relatively uninteresting circuit, but it was still an opportunity at some prize money and some important track time.
Many of the players that had been a part of the Argentine Grand Prix would also take part in this non-championship affair. This meant Hawthorn once again had a difficult task on his hands. Interestingly, it would start out nearly the same as well.
Fangio would take the pole with one of the Lancia-Ferrari D50s. Starting beside him would be Castellotti. Luigi Musso would be 3rd. Therefore, the only change in the front row would be the fact that just three cars would be lined up along it. And so, Ferrari would sweep the front row.
Mike Hawthorn would also find things looked rather similar when he checked the results after practice. His fastest lap time in practice would translate into another third row starting position. However, instead of starting 8th on the grid he would be up one in 7th. So while there was very little change this was not entirely a bad thing as it had translated into a 3rd place result in the Argentine Grand Prix. Hawthorn and Owen Racing would have welcomed the trend continuing.
The race distance would be much different. Instead of a timed, 3-hour race, the Buenos Aires City Grand Prix would take place over 60 laps and would cover a total of 156 miles. Therefore, the race would necessitate making moves quicker, earlier on than going by the notion of waiting things out as many had done in the race just a couple of weeks prior.
The pressure would be on right from the very start. Fangio would be fast and this placed a good deal of pressure on everyone else in the field, at least amongst those that were consumed with such thoughts.
It would seem Luigi Musso was as he would lose concentration for a moment on the 10th lap of the race and would end up crashing out of the event. Five laps later, Eugenio Castellotti would be out with oil cooler problems. It seemed as though Hawthorn would be able to benefit just as he had back in Buenos Aires.
On this occasion, however, it was not meant to be as Hawthorn just could not find the pace over the course of the race. Trailing by a number of laps, Hawthorn would be in a desperate fight to remain in the top ten throughout nearly the whole of the race.
Pace would be something Fangio would not struggle with. He would end up turning the fastest lap of the race with a time of 1:49.2 at an average speed of nearly 86 mph. This pace would end up spreading the gap between himself and his former Mercedes teammate Stirling Moss. Jean Behra would again be right there in a possible podium position but would be well back of the other two.
The similarities between the two races would seem to begin and end with who won them. As with the first round of the World Championship, Fangio would be on another level and would absolutely pull away from the rest of the field throughout the remainder of the race. After an hour and 52 minutes of hard racing, the Argentinean would come through to take yet another victory, much to the delight of the Argentinean faithful gathered all around the circuit. Stirling Moss would finally have a Maserati firing on all cylinders but it would not be enough as he would finish the race a familiar 2nd to Fangio. He would cross the line 38 seconds behind. Jean Behra would be more than enough for Hawthorn and would bring home the final spot on the podium.
Actually, Behra's pace would easily be more than enough for Hawthorn. Unable to find any kind of speed and flow, he would finish the race a distant 6 laps behind the leader. Unlike in Buenos Aires, Hawthorn's steady pace would not translate into a podium. In fact, he wouldn't even come near to repeating his performance. Instead, Mike would finish the race a rather lowly 9th.
The first two races of the 1956 season had been something of a mixed bag for Owen Racing Organization. They would go from the elation of finishing on the podium in the Argentine Grand Prix to finishing a truly distant 9th in a non-championship event. It was clear the team had reason to be confident. But it was also clear why the team had every reason not to be confident upon its return from across the Atlantic.
Returning to English shores following the two races in South America, Owen Racing would have a couple of months in which to work on its new car in order to be ready for the first Formula One race on English soil. The team would lose no time then in working on the T25 preparing a couple of cars for its next race. And, that next race would be just about 150 miles to the south of the team's base in Bourne.
The 2nd of April would be the Easter holiday weekend and that meant the Easter Monday races held at Goodwood. A collection of a number of different races and classes of races, the Easter Monday races would be a very popular event for teams and spectators as it would mark one of the first opportunities to see motor races in a new season. Being the first Formula One race in Europe, this would certainly be true of the Easter Monday races for 1956.
Ten years prior, RAF Westhampnett was facing decommission. A satellite fighter base attached to RAF Tangmere, RAF Westhampnett would serve the Royal Air Force from 1938 through 1946 and would be a base for Hurricane and Spitfire fighters. However, the base wouldn't just be used by the Royal Air Force. The Polish squadrons would be based at the airfield for a while. The United States Army Air Force would also use the field basing American Spitfire and P-39 Airacobras at the field.
Following decommission, the Duke of Richmond would be left with an airfield on the Goodwood Estate that was no longer being used for much more than a public airport. However, being a fan of motor racing, Frederick Gordon-Lennox, the landowner, would be persuaded to turn the 2.39 miles of perimeter road into a motor racing circuit and it would soon become a very popular venue, especially given its close proximity to the English coast.
The Easter Monday races boasted of a number of short races inclusive of a number of different classes and types of motor racing. Just one of the races that would be held on the day of racing would be the 4th Glover Trophy race. This event covered a total of 32 laps for a race distance measuring nearly 77 miles.
In the early years of the World Championship events like the Easter Monday races had the tendency of drawing more international entries. With the exception of Equipe Gordini and Ecurie Rosier, the field for the 1956 Glover Trophy race would be heavy in favor of the British. Still, with teams like Connaught and privateers like Stirling Moss in attendance international entries were not necessarily needed to provide the spectators with top-flight talent.
Stirling Moss would prove the point about talent when he ended up taking the pole for the race with a lap time of 1:32.0. Archie Scott-Brown would be just six-tenths of a second off in an impressive performance in the Connaught B-Type. Bob Gerard would have a one-off drive with Connaught Engineering and would take advantage of it by claiming the 4th, and final, starting spot on the grid.
The 3rd place starter on the front row would end up going to one of Owen Racing's drivers. Showing very good speed in the updated BRM T25, Hawthorn would be just 1.8 seconds slower than Moss and would end up in 3rd place. Owen Racing would end up entering two of its new BRMs in the race. One having been for Hawthorn, the other would be handed to the young and talented driver that stunned all when he handily won the Grand Prix of Syracuse just about six months earlier. Tony Brooks would struggle with the BRM 25 and would actually end up not posting a qualifying time in practice. As a result, the young dental student would be forced to start the race from 12th on the grid, all by himself in the 4th row.
As the race got underway Brooks at least would have the confidence he would not end up the race dead-last. That unfortunate honor would end up going to Ken Wharton driving an aged Ferrari 500. His car would make it through the first lap of the race but not much further.
Up front, Stirling Moss would be flying turning fast laps just about every trip around the circuit. However, Hawthorn would also be running quite well in the updated T25. The car showed some tremendous speed and fight. The question was whether or not the car had the stamina or legs to keep up with its pace.
Brooks would find out his BRM wouldn't as he would retire from the race on the 10th lap as a result of falling oil pressure. Archie Scott-Brown would find his engine turning sour as the race carried on and he would end up out of the running by the 18th lap. This left three of the front row starters in the race. Two of those were up front while Bob Gerard struggled to keep pace.
Moss was absolutely flying. Turning the fastest lap of the race with a lap time nearly a full two seconds faster than his own qualifying effort, Moss maintained a constant pressure on Hawthorn and the rest of the field.
Hawthorn was feeling the strain but not anywhere near as bad as what his BRM was. Then, with just 9 laps remaining in the race, the strain would become more than his BRM could bear. Coming through the fast Madgwick Corner just past the start/finish line, Hawthorn's BRM would suddenly lose a wheel through the right-hander. He would end up losing control and would fly through the infield of the circuit at a great rate of speed. Suddenly the car would catch and fly into the air going end over end throwing Mike right out of the cockpit. This would be truly providential as the car would finally land hard upside down. Had Hawthorn been in the car it was more than likely he would have been killed. Instead, Hawthorn was bruised and battered but by no means in threat of losing his life. The car, on the other hand, was another matter entirely.
The race, as always, would go on. Hawthorn's dramatic departure from the race pretty much left Moss to carry on and run out the rest of the race by himself. Completing the race at an average speed of a little more than 94 mph, Moss would take the win by a minute and three seconds over Roy Salvadori. Les Leston would complete the podium finishing the race in 3rd nearly a full lap down.
The first race on English soil for the Owen Racing team would not be a good experience, not by any stretch of the imagination. Not only would the team fail to have a car finish the race but the one driven by Hawthorn would be nearly destroyed by the gymnastic routine it displayed before coming to rest in the circuit's infield section. Just like Hawthorn's car, it seemed everything for Owen Racing was in shambles. It was clear the BRM had taken a huge leap forward, but having to totally rebuild a car from the chassis up would be more a step backward than anything else.
The good news for the Owen Racing camp following the disaster at Goodwood would be the simple fact the next race on the calendar would not be for nearly another three weeks. This would give the team the time it needed to fix, repair and rebuild. And, after some hard work by the team, two cars would be loaded and taken to the site of the British Grand Prix the previous year.
The 3.0 mile circuit at Aintree Racecourse had come into being during the 1954 season. The site, famous for the Grand National, would first host non-championship grand prix. But then, in 1955, Aintree would serve as host to the British Grand Prix and the venue would serve up a true masterpiece as Moss would hold off a very late charge made by Juan Manual Fangio to collect his first World Championship victory. And there would be no better place for Moss to do that than at his home grand prix.
In fact, Aintree had shown to serve up better racing drama than Raymond Mays' other nationally-focused project. But here it was, his former racing team, coming to the circuit he helped foster to take part in the 11th BARC Aintree 200 race on the 21st of April.
The team at Owen Racing would work very hard during the three week period following the Glover Trophy race at Goodwood. As a result, Owen Racing would arrive at Aintree with two cars entered once again for Mike Hawthorn and Tony Brooks.
In practice, the T25s would show evidence of any troubles whatsoever as both Hawthorn and Brooks would turn some quick laps. And amongst the two BRM drivers it would be Hawthorn showing no ill-effects of being thrown from his car at Goodwood as he would end up the fastest. When it was all said and done, less than a second would separate Hawthorn and Brooks in lap times. Unfortunately for them, there would be a number of others that would be within a second of Hawthorn as well.
The most unfortunate bit of news would come in the form of Archie Scott-Brown. At the wheel of a B-Type Connaught, Scott-Brown would be a class unto himself in practice turning a lap in 2:03.8. Scott-Brown would earn the pole by a margin of 2.2 seconds over Hawthorn. Only two-tenths would then separate Hawthorn from Desmond Titterington in another of the Connaughts. This meant the front row order would be Connaught-BRM-Connaught. Hawthorn always enjoyed challenges and he would have one for the 67 lap race with Connaughts starting to either side of him.
Tony Brooks would barely miss out on the second row as he would be one of three that would post a lap time of 2:06.6 around the 3.0 mile circuit. Unfortunately, Brooks would be mere hundredths of a second slower than Moss and Salvadori and would be forced to start from the third row in the 6th position.
But for all the promised showed following practice, the race would again prove to be the undoing of the BRM T25. Right from the start the two BRMs would be quick with Tony Brooks flying along right there with Hawthorn. However, that would all quickly change, at least for Hawthorn.
Hawthorn had been the fastest of the two BRM drivers. However, by the start of the 5th lap he would also be the first one out as brake issues would sideline him from taking the fight to Scott-Brown and the rest of the field.
Most unfortunate for Hawthorn would be the fact the face of the race would change a number of times throughout the whole of the 67 laps. And, had he remained in the running it was entirely possible he could have challenged for a podium or a victory. Instead, it would be Brooks that would be left challenging for the podium.
Other than Hawthorn's early exit, the first dramatic twist to the race would come on the 14th lap of the race when Scott-Brown had to retire with engine problems. He had been so much faster than anyone else in practice it seemed to be his race to lose, and that is exactly what happened. Then, just 14 laps from the finish, Desmond Titterington would lose his brakes and would be forced to retire. Intermix this with the retirements of Salvadori, Parnell and Gerard and the race became wide-open.
Brooks would do his absolute best to take advantage of the situation by turning in what would end up being the fastest lap of the race with a time just eight-tenths of a second slower than Scott-Brown's qualifying pace and exactly two seconds faster than his own best in practice. Unfortunately for Brooks he had a certain man ahead of him on the starting grid and then ahead of him on the racetrack. His name—Stirling Moss.
The last time Stirling Moss had been at Aintree it was for the Daily Telegraph Trophy race. In that race he had started from the pole but was unable to carry it on to victory. However, just a couple of months before that he had held off a charging Fangio for his first-ever World Championship victory. And, as the twists and turns of the BARC Aintree race unfolded there would be Moss, in position and ready to take advantage.
Brooks would try and do everything he could to take advantage of the ever-changing situation. However, there would be nothing he could do with Stirling Moss. After averaging a little more than 82 mph for nearly two and a half hours, Moss would come across the line to take yet another victory at Aintree. He had ended up an absolute runaway victory as Brooks would come across the line to complete the race in 2nd place, but a little more than a lap behind. Jack Brabham would complete the podium finishing the race more than three laps behind but in 3rd place.
Just like the first two races of the season, the BARC Aintree 200 event would be a mixture of emotions for the Owen Racing team. Brooks' great achievement would certainly be celebrated within the team but it would also certainly be muted a fair degree by Hawthorn's unfortunate early retirement as a result of brake failure. It was clear the T25 had promise but it still had enough teething issues that the growth had the potential of being stunted.
Unlike following the double disaster at Goodwood there would not be three weeks in between races for the team following the BARC Aintree 200. In fact, the next race would come up on the 5th of May, just two weeks later. It would be an important race for the team too as it could have bearing on an important race coming up later on in the year. The race was the 8th edition of the BRDC International Trophy and it would be held, as usual, at the Silverstone Circuit, the home of the 1956 British Grand Prix.
Silverstone was just another in a long line of former airbases-turned motor racing circuits. However, it was destined to become the home of British motor racing in the years following the end of the Second World War.
Other than being listed in the infamous Domesday Book, the tiny village of Silverstone would seem to be surrounded by ordinary and rather mundane countryside. However, that pastoral setting would be transformed when Germany launched its aerial attacks on English shores. A few years later, RAF Silverstone would be born and the area would be transformed forever as a result.
Seeing that the British Grand Prix would return to Silverstone in 1956, the International Trophy race would be an important race as it would serve as a warm-up to the World Championship round coming up in the middle of July. As a result, the entry list would include a couple of entries for Scuderia Ferrari and a whole number of British manufacturers.
Practice would see something of a surprise however as it wouldn't be the Ferraris of either Fangio or Peter Collins leading the way. Vandervell Products had been left by Mike Hawthorn following a terrible run the previous season. However, at the International Trophy race it would be two Vanwalls leading the way in practice. The fastest of the two Vanwall pilots would be Stirling Moss who had agreed to drive for the team for the race. Harry Schell, Moss' teammate, would post nearly the same time but would be just a mere hundredth of a second or so slower. And so, the first two positions on the grid would go to the Vandervell Products team. Third position on the front row would be taken by Fangio in one of the Lancia-Ferraris.
One position would be left on the front row. Overcoming his mechanical woes in Aintree, Hawthorn would powering his BRM T25 to within a second of Moss' best and would grab the final spot on the front row. So, once again, Hawthorn would start a grand prix in a position of strength. Now he just needed a car with the same kind of strength to take advantage of it.
The start of the race would see Moss make a terrible getaway from the line and would end up being forced down into 3rd position behind Hawthorn who had made a great start off the line. Fangio would get the better jump off the line and would lead the way into the first right-hander at Copse.
Although Moss would make a poor getaway it wouldn't take too long before he would recover and get back by Hawthorn for 2nd. Harry Schell would also follow suit and the two Vanwalls would be within a couple of seconds of the Lancia-Ferrari looking awfully strong.
Hawthorn's pace early on would be strong but that had not been the problem up to that point in the season. The BRM certainly had the speed. There was no doubt to that. The big question remained reliability. And unfortunately it would remain a big question.
Fangio had led the way through the first few laps of the race but Moss soon came to realize he had superior pace in the Vanwall. Hawthorn would turn the fastest lap of the race with a time of 1:43 around the 2.9 mile circuit, but Moss would end up matching it after a number of laps inside the 1:43 zone. Averaging more than 101 mph throughout the first 10 laps of the race Moss would realize he could pass Fangio just about whenever he wanted. This he would do after about 14 laps and would then begin to disappear into the distance from then on. Mike Hawthorn's tremendous pace would, again, not be matched by endurance as magneto problems would lead to his eventual demise after just 13 of the scheduled 60 laps. Harry Schell would retire 6 laps later with fuel issues. One lap after that Fangio would retire with clutch failure.
So Moss would be out front and all alone. But he too would have his issues. Oil smoke and fumes began to fill the cockpit. His race was being threatened. However, with his main challenges all out of the race he could afford to back off the pace slightly and still maintain a gradually increasing lead. The fumes and smoke would go away and he would continue on his way.
It would be a terrible day for more than just Owen Racing. Scuderia Ferrari would come to the race with two cars. Following Fangio's retirement with clutch problems Peter Collins would come into the pits to turn his car over to Fangio for the remainder of the race. This was incredible considering the Ferrari team manager was replacing a Brit with an Argentinean in a British non-championship race. It wouldn't really matter all that much though as the clutch in Collins' Ferrari would also give out a handful of laps later leaving both Ferraris out of the race.
What would be loss for Hawthorn and Scuderia Ferrari would be gain for Stirling Moss. Chased by Archie Scott-Brown and Desmond Titterington in two Connaught B-Types, Moss would be comfortably out front and would actually build upon his lead as the 175 mile race played out.
Moss would be untouchable when Hawthorn and Fangio departed the scene. As a result, Stirling would cruise to victory completing the race distance in just under one hour and 45 minutes. His average speed en route to the victory would be just over 100 mph and would be more than Scott-Brown could handle as the Connaught driver would end up coming across the finish line more than a lap behind. Three laps would end up being the gap from Moss back to the 3rd place finisher Desmond Titterington.
In the case of Mike Hawthorn and Owen Racing, the frustration certainly had to be setting in. The car was showing it was capable to run with the fastest cars on the circuit but its lack of reliability offered absolutely no confidence whatsoever. This had been a problem at Vandervell Products and it saw Hawthorn leave the team, eventually to come and drive for Owen Racing. Now his new team was facing the potential of Hawthorn pulling a repeat performance.
For better or worse, the World Championship was about to kick back up. And while this meant Hawthorn likely would stay with the team given the nearness of the next rounds of the championship it did mean the team would be facing some very important races with a wounded car and very little, to no, confidence. This was not a good scenario for the team. And it would only get worse.
Just one week after the International Trophy race at Silverstone the Owen Racing team would be to the south of France and in the tiny principality of Monaco for the 2nd round of the Formula One World Championship.
It would be there on the tight and twisty streets of Monaco that the Monaco Grand Prix would be held. This 1.95 mile circuit presented a huge challenge to even the most adept racing team, but to the Owen Racing team the circuit would present an even greater challenge.
One of the challenges of the Monaco street circuit would be its tight, twisty and slow nature. This placed a lot of emphasis on acceleration and braking, as well as handling. The acceleration and handling certainly had shown to be a problem with the BRM T25. However, the car had been exhibiting one very dangerous weakness over the last couple of races. And that weakness came in the form of failing brakes.
Failing brakes was the absolute last thing a driver wanted to have to think about throughout a lap of the Monaco circuit. The circuit itself demanded a high level of concentration as it was, to be thinking about brakes at each and every one of the many corners only added to the stress of the driver and seriously challenged the pilot's focus.
In practice other cars would find their Monaco Grand Prix come to an early end for a couple of different reasons. The institution that was Louis Chiron would end up unable to take part in yet another home race as a result of his engine blowing in practice. Giorgio Scarlatti would not make it into the race as a result of being too slow around the circuit.
Owen Racing certainly didn't have a problem with pace around the principality but, sure enough, brakes would again become an issue. Because of this issue both Hawthorn and Brooks would be slow around the circuit as they carefully tested their cars at each and every corner. Hawthorn's best in practice would be 1:49.3. Brooks' best was 1:50.4. Both of these times placed the BRMs at the back of the field. When combined with the issues with the brakes Owen Racing would have a rather difficult, and yet easy, decision to make. Due to the concerns with the brakes and the 100 laps ahead of both cars it would be decided to withdraw both cars from the race.
While certainly a difficult and costly decision to make by the team the potential for even greater costs and trouble as a result of a crash during the race overruled. So, the team would pack everything up and would head out of Monaco having spent a great deal of time and money just to get to the event. However, the team was leaving with its two cars pretty much intact. With some more work those cars could be ready for the next race and would likely be a position to challenge for a good result.
The team would head back to Bourne, England and would set to work rectifying its brake and other general reliability concerns. Time would be rather short since the 4th round of the World Championship was set to take place on the 3rd of June. And while the next round of the World Championship would not be a race in which the brakes would be constantly used over the course of a lap the high speeds would necessitate brakes working properly.
The next round of the World Championship would be the Belgian Grand Prix and it took place on the ultra-fast 8.77 mile Spa-Francorchamps circuit. The circuit was nearly flat out for more than 80 percent of a lap. However, at such corners as La Source, the Masta Kink and Stavelot good working brakes would be all the separated a driver from a fast lap and potentially his last.
The crew would work hard on the car to fix its brake issues and take care of the other reliability concerns the car had been exhibiting throughout the early part of the season. The crew worked hard but time was short. Unfortunately the time would prove to be too short.
Teams like Scuderia Ferrari and Officine Alfieri Maserati would begin to arrive in Spa and would carefully unload their challengers. One at a time the teams would begin to file into the tiny village for the Belgian Grand Prix. However, there would be one British manufacturer that would be absent from the field. Owen Racing would not get its three cars ready in time for the race. And despite the team's best efforts all three entries would be scratched.
This made it two rounds in a row in which Owen Racing would be absent. It was a difficult time for the team given the fact they knew they had a good car. Yet, it was abundantly clear the car wasn't ready to take on the best in the world. More time would be needed.
Unfortunately for the team, time was something they really didn't have. The team would do what they could in the time that they had. What they really needed was some practical racing experience to further help identify and fix the T25's terrible teething problems. Owen Racing would have their opportunity and it would come on the 24th of June and it would come at a circuit that had given the team its only race finish in a period of about two months. The event would be a non-championship race held at the 3.0 mile Aintree Circuit. The race would be the 1st Aintree 100.
Issues with the cars limited the number of cars available right from the very start. On top of that, the troubles the team had been facing lent to the desire to enter just a single car in the 34 lap race. Just a single car had the potential of providing some very valuable information without adding to the cost all that much. Besides, if that single car could come home on the podium it had the potential of covering the costs associated with making the trip in the first place.
Therefore, Owen Racing would enter just a single car for the 102 mile race. Tony Brooks would be called upon to do the driving duties as Hawthorn was not available. Being a dental student, Brooks was a good choice to have take part in the race. Not only had he earned a grand prix win in Syracuse but his approach and method would be important for gaining even more information about the T25.
Brooks would look strong in practice. He would not end up on the front row. In fact, it is something of a mystery just where he did line up on the grid. But, it is considered valid he likely started the race from the second row of the grid.
What is known about the grid is that Archie Scott-Brown started from pole while Roy Salvadori lined up 2nd in a Formula 2 Connaught A-Type chassis. Horace Gould and Bill Holt would complete the front row lineup taking 3rd and 4th places respectively.
Having completed practice, Brooks would be looking forward to the race. However, he could not be so far-reaching in his thinking, at least not at this point in the season with the T25. And, sure enough, such thoughts would prove premature as engine-related problems would emerge with the car following practice and would lead to Brooks eventually having to abandon his starting position on the grid.
It seemed like the T15 all over again. Nagging problems continued to set the team back. The team had gone from withdrawing from the Monaco and Belgian Grand Prix to not being able to start a non-championship event. It seemed the door was shut for the team. And yet, the struggling team would not give up. Owen would continue to push his team for better. In an effort to keep its confidence up and going sights within the team would quickly shift to the French Grand Prix, which came up on the 1st of July.
The team, in essence, had just one week to work on and truly prepare their cars, but again, nagging issues would slow the progress. The team could replace the engine in Brooks' car easy enough but the other issues would absolutely destroy the team's progress. Days would tick by and the team would still not have the T25 sufficiently ready. The French Grand Prix was fast approaching. The team again was running short on time and things they could do to get the T25 right.
Within a week or two of the fifth round of the World Championship it would become more than obvious the cars would not be ready for the race. Such a belief would only be confirmed following Brooks' engine problems at Aintree. As a result of the problems, Hawthorn had already negotiated his release to go and drive for the Vandervell Products team right alongside Colin Chapman and Harry Schell.
It would be interesting to see both Hawthorn and Chapman behind the wheels of Vanwalls. Of course, Hawthorn had left the team as a result of the trials and tribulations he suffered there as they developed their own car. But, the presence of Chapman would also be interesting in that he had actually done some consulting work with Owen Racing during the 1955 and 1956 offseason. He had helped to further develop the T25 and made it even more of an effective grand prix than what it had been. Following Owen Racing's absence from the French Grand Prix it seemed abundantly clear the team needed both men back to help rectify the situation presently at hand within the team with the troubled cars.
Dating back to the Monaco Grand Prix, the Owen Racing had suffered four withdrawals or failures to start in a row. The season was really growing short for the team. Patience also seemed to be waning with the new car as well. However, there was one very important race still on the calendar and everyone within the team would put forth everything they had to make that one race come off. But, as with just about every other race during the 1956 season the team would be left with a mixed-bag.
The decision to not arrive for the French Grand Prix would not be so dire for Owen Racing given the more important race for the team followed the French round of the World Championship by just a matter of a couple of weeks.
Being a British manufacturer the most important round of the 1956 World Championship would be held on the 14th of July at Silverstone. The race, of course, was the British Grand Prix and it presented the greatest and worse opportunity for the team.
It would be at the British Grand Prix that the embarrassment that was BRM would first take shape. Performing demo runs instead of actually taking part in the race, it would be just the beginning of BRM's bad reputation. Unfortunately, over the three months the team had done almost nothing but demo runs because of the troubles experienced with the new T25. The team needed things to turn around and everyone within the team certainly would be hoping the 11th RAC British Grand Prix would be the race to do just that.
Owen Racing would bring a total of three cars to Silverstone for the 101 lap British Grand Prix. Mike Hawthorn would be back with the team and would have Tony Brooks and Ron Flockhart as his teammates. Three T25s would be made ready. Whether or not they were truly ready was, as of yet, to be seen.
The cars would need to be ready as the entry list for the race would be the largest for any of the World Championship rounds. The sea of Maserati 250Fs would be incredible with a total of 12 on the entry list. Scuderia Ferrari would list five of their D50s on the entry form. And then there would be three Vanwalls, four Connaught B-Types and a host of other privateers and small teams.
The team needed everything to work properly and, in practice, it seemed as though all of the hard work was paying off. Hawthorn was fast around the 2.9 mile circuit and both Brooks and Flockhart weren't that far off the pace either.
In spite of the presence of the powerful D50s, no one would be faster than Stirling Moss in his factory Maserati. Though mere hundredths of a second faster than Fangio, Moss would end up grabbing the pole for his home grand prix. Peter Collins would further delight the British crowd by garnering the 4th, and final, spot on the front row. The 3rd spot on the front row would also be a delight, but for more than just the British faithful. Turning in a lap time just 2 seconds slower than Moss, Mike Hawthorn would capture the 3rd place starting position and would look strong heading into the race.
Tony Brooks would end up just 4 seconds off of Moss' pace by the end of practice. As a result, the young Brooks would start the race from the third row of the grid in the 9th place position. Ron Flockhart would be a further 4 seconds adrift of Brooks and would end up on the fifth row of the grid in the 17th starting position. A total of 28 cars would qualify for the race. And for the Owen Racing team, each one of its three cars would line up near the middle or toward the front of the grid. As it would turn out, the positions would end up being very providential.
Although the skies were overcast as the cars were rolled out to their grid positions, the skies would seem to be shining as far as Owen Racing was concerned. Still, 295 mile separated the start from the finish and it was that bit in the middle the T25 had been struggling with all season long.
But, as the flag dropped to start the race all would seem to be right within the world of the team. Stirling Moss would make a poor getaway from the line and Jose Froilan Gonzalez would end up breaking a half-shaft right at the start. And while these two events would seem entirely disconnected from each other, Tony Brooks would prove how they were not.
Moss' poor start would hold up Harry Schell, who was in the row right ahead of Brooks. Also in the second row with Schell would be Gonzalez. When his half-shaft broke he would cause other cars around him to have to move to avoid hitting him. This effectively slowed others in the field as they tried to get away from the line. Brooks, meanwhile, would get away fine from the line and would manage to sneak through between Moss and Gonzalez. This would translate into Brooks finding himself in 2nd position heading into the first right-hander at Copse. The man ahead of him on the road would be another that would benefit from providence. Hawthorn's front row starting position meant he had no one in front of him at the drop of the flag. Therefore, if he could make a great start he had the potential of being up near the lead right from the very beginning of the race. This would happen and it would be BRMs leading the way 1st and 2nd through the first turn. Further back, Flockhart would be trying hard to move forward, and yet, hold onto his position as he had Luigi Villoresi and Horace Gould all around him.
At the conclusion of the first lap it would still be Hawthorn out front with Brooks following along just a couple of car lengths behind. Between the two, the BRMs would have a lead of more than a couple of seconds over the rest of the field. Battling with Gould and Villoresi throughout the first lap, Ron Flockhart would come through the first lap in 16th position.
Hawthorn and Brooks continued to lead the way, although the later had lost ground to his teammate and was actually falling into the clutches of the three-time World Champion. Flockhart would already fall into the clutches of attrition as the BRM T25 would again struggle. Gonzalez had been the first one out of the race having broken right on the line at the start of the race. Flockhart's race would last just 2 laps before engine trouble would take him out of the running. He would be the second car out.
Flockhart's woes did not pose as good news for the two BRMs leading the way. Still, Hawthorn put his foot to the floor and powered his way around the circuit. Brooks continued to hold onto 2nd place only after Fangio made a rare mistake in pursuit of the young dental student. By the 3rd lap of the race Hawthorn had opened up nearly 5 seconds on Brooks and Fangio was all over Brooks' tail. Over the next few laps, Brooks would barely hang onto his position over Fangio. Then Fangio would make his move and would end up getting by Brooks to take over 2nd place. However, Brooks wouldn't let go of the position without a fight. After a couple of laps Tony would retake the lead. This would be an incredible duel between youthful talent and World Championship glory. Fangio would remain right there with Brooks intent on taking the position for good. He would look to make another move. However, in his haste to get by, Fangio would get a little loose and would actually spin his D50 around losing more than just 3rd place in the running order.
So Fangio would fall all the way down to 6th place in the order. But his move would end up costing more than just himself. Moss had been fighting his way back to the front ever since his poor start. Surprisingly, Roy Salvadori would be coming along with him. Fangio's move on Brooks would lead to him spinning around and losing valuable track position, it would also cause Brooks to lose control slightly. This unfortunate chain of events would lead to Moss and Salvadori taking over 2nd and 3rd while Brooks fell down to 4th.
Falling down to 4th place meant that Brooks would soon again come under fire from Fangio all over again. This time Fangio would have the upper hand and would end up getting by Brooks on the 15th lap of the race.
At the same time Brooks came under fire from Fangio, Hawthorn would be holding, precariously, onto the lead. Engine issues were slowing Hawthorn's pace in the BRM despite his early heroics. This allowed Moss to catch Hawthorn up and put a tremendous amount of pressure on the BRM driver.
Moss wouldn't need to apply all that much pressure as the BRM would begin to slow. Moss would take over the lead of the race with Salvadori holding onto a surprising 2nd. Hawthorn would continue on but would begin to really languish with his ailing car. Then, finally, it would all come to an end on the 25th lap when an oil leak spelled the final doom to Hawthorn's impressive run. This left Owen Racing with just a single car left in the race.
Although all alone, Brooks had become used to holding up British honor taking on the Maserati contingent in Syracuse and coming out on top. But now, with still three-quarters of a race to go, Brooks would have a very tall order before him indeed.
Moss would be in the lead of the race with Salvadori in 2nd place. For the next 30 laps or so this order would remain unchanged. But behind these two there would be still plenty of drama to come.
The next bit of drama, unfortunately, would include Brooks as he fought against Peter Collins for 4th place behind Fangio. The fight would be spirited and Brooks would look the stronger of the two for more than 9 laps. However, on the 35th lap Collins would gain the position and would maintain the upper hand through the next 5 laps. Still, Brooks would not give up and he would push the BRM very hard.
Pushing as hard as he was, Brooks would need to be perfect around the Silverstone circuit to ensure he stayed out of trouble. Even the slightest error had the potential for some terrible consequences. While most of the focus of the crowd was pointed at the head of the field watching Brit Stirling Moss circulate in the lead, a tremendous commotion would soon erupt and focus would then be turned toward smoke rising into the air.
The crowd would be caught up watching Moss continue on his dominant way when suddenly there would be smoke pouring up into the sky and people running toward the area of Abbey Curve. It would be hard to tell just exactly whose car it was as it would be engulfed in flames, but then there would be Tony Brooks nearby the car being tended to by stewards and others on the scene. His BRM had overturned a number of times and would end up upside-down fully engulfed in flames. Despite the savageness of the scene Brooks would escape with only minor injuries. And so, as the flames reached into the skies, the hopes of BRM had gone up in smoke.
The race would go on. Moss would continue in the lead with Salvadori still holding strong in 2nd place. However, with Fangio sitting in 3rd place it wouldn't be too long before Salvadori would come under pressure. However, as the race wore own toward the halfway mark it wouldn't be the pressure from Fangio that Salvadori would be most concerned with. Fangio would be within striking distance but it wouldn't be the Argentinean that would land the killer blow on Salvadori's chances at a podium. Instead, a broken tank strap would threaten Roy's ability to carry on and would force him to stop on the 52nd lap to have the issue dealt with. It would be a lengthy stop and would drop Salvadori down to 7th place before he ultimately retired with an engine-related issue.
The attrition over the course of the race would be great. Besides the three BRMs that would drop out of the race, there would be 11 cars out of the race before the halfway mark of the race. But in spite of the attrition, Stirling Moss would carry on in the lead of the race and would even build upon his already sizable margin. Turning what would be the fastest lap of the race with an average speed of nearly 102 mph, Moss would be out front all by himself and would look as though he would be one that would not succumb to attrition.
For more than 50 laps Moss would lead the way. However, as the race approached the last 30 laps there would be indications that not all was right with Moss' Maserati. His pace was slowing which meant Fangio was closing the gap. Over a period of 10 laps Fangio would put together a charge that would bring him right up behind Moss. Then, on the 69th lap of the race Fangio would make his move getting by Moss for the lead.
Fangio would not pass Moss out on the circuit, however. Moss would finally come into the pits to have his Maserati checked. By the time the team added fuel and oil to the car Fangio was in the lead and well out in front. Moss would set back off, still in 2nd place ahead of his Maserati teammate Jean Behra.
Ten laps from the end of the race, it would be Fangio still leading the way with Moss trailing a good distance back in 2nd place. Peter Collins would take over Alfonso de Portago's Ferrari and would move by Behra to take over 3rd place in the order.
It seemed the final order had been set, but the race wasn't over and Silverstone still had one more surprise to throw at the field. Moss had led a total of 53 laps before Fangio had come to take over on point. Showing no favoritism, Silverstone would hand out one last cruel blow to the Maserati driver. Though he led the majority of the laps, Moss would find his race come to an end just 7 laps from the finish. As a result, 2nd place would be lost to Peter Collins who would find himself the recipient of a huge second chance. Moss' retirement meant just 11 cars remained out of the 28 that started. It had been a long, cruel event.
Although never seeming to be in the picture for a victory until the final third of the race, Fangio would take control from Moss and would never look back. Averaging a little more than 98 mph en route, Fangio would cruise to victory having more than a minute in hand over Peter Collins in 2nd place. Jean Behra would again find himself in 3rd place by the end of the race. However, he would finish the race two laps down to Fangio by the end.
Many teams and drivers would find the 1956 British Grand Prix to be both sweet and very bitter. Many would find the early part of the race go favorably well only to have the later part go extremely bad. Judging who went through a worse scenario would be counter-productive as all involved would be left, at the end of the day, with a missed opportunity and absolutely nothing that could be done about it.
In the case of Owen Racing it would be a very dark time for the team. Hawthorn and Brooks had shown well. But once again, unreliability would strike out Hawthorn's effort. Flockhart never had a chance and Brooks was just pushed too hard having to make something happen for the team. The new T25 was in trouble just like the rest of the team. As a result, the remainder of the season would be nothing but a huge question mark.
The T25 certainly had to be frustrating to the team but they were left without any other option. They had sold their Maserati 250F to Jack Brabham. So it was the new car or nothing else. Still, the poor showing of the car presented a huge problem to the team for the remainder of the 1956 season.
It was more than obvious the car still was not ready to compete as its unreliability made it a terrible liability. The team had already poured a lot of time and resources into the car to make it more competitive, and yet, it still was not proving to be any better. So what was the team to do?
Following the British Grand Prix there were just two more rounds of the Formula One World Championship. Having missed out on the Monaco, Belgian and French Grand Prix it was more than clear neither Mike Hawthorn nor Tony Brooks were in the hunt for the championship. The 4 points Hawthorn had scored in Argentina put him up inside the top 15 in the points standings but with just two races left there was absolutely no chance for him to become World Champion.
The disastrous experience the team and drivers had at just about every other race only confirmed the reality that there was really no point. Therefore, there was very little reason to risk further capital and time to travel to the final two rounds of the World Championship when the unreliability of the T25 made the likelihood of a failure more than a given.
Additionally, there would be just a couple of non-championship events throughout the European mainland and in England. So, the same thoughts applied to the smaller events even though they could have afforded the team a boost in confidence and track time for the T25.
So while there were certainly reasons why the team could and should have taken part in one or more of the final races of the season, it would not be entirely without merit as to why the team would decide not to.
Taking everything into account, Owen Racing would make the decision to end their season following the British Grand Prix. Owen's ownership of BRM was not charting a new course, at least not as of yet. He needed the time to be able to redefine the team's goals and effort. What's more, the team needed time to figure out what to do with the T25. The team's fortunes were not changing and Owen was growing tired of spending a fortune trying to change its course.
Like the T15 before it, the T25 was showing flashes of brilliance, but they were coming with a lot of pain and heartache. But heartache and pain are what separates flashes of brilliance from lasting light. And perhaps the willingness, or unwillingness, to go through the heartache and pain is the greatest determiner.