First, Last & Only: British Grand Prix

One of the most historic races on the Formula 1 calendar, the British Grand Prix at Silverstone has been host to plenty of landmark events. Here are seven milestone occasions which have taken place at the Silverstone circuit.

1981: First win for a carbonfibre monocoque

At the 1981 British Grand Prix, John Watson triumphed and took McLaren’s first victory since James Hunt won the 1977 Japanese Grand Prix. More notably, this was the first win in Formula 1 for a car with a carbonfibre monocoque. The McLaren MP4/1 was designed by John Barnard and would go on to win five more races until falling out of use in 1983. Watson’s victory in the 1981 British Grand Prix, where he beat Williams’ Carlos Reutemann to the line by over 40 seconds, was also McLaren’s first victory since Ron Dennis became Team Principal.

2006: First time a woman has been involved in a pit stop

ITV pit reporter Louise Goodman became the first woman to have taken part in an F1 pit stop at the 2006 British Grand Prix. She did so as part of a feature for ITV, the channel which then held broadcasting rights for Formula 1 in the UK, in which she became a member of the Midland team’s pit crew for a day.

1958: Last entry for Bernie Ecclestone

Bernie Ecclestone made his final entry into a Grand Prix at the 1958 British Grand Prix. It was his second entry into a race, having previously failed to qualify for the Monaco Grand Prix earlier in the year. Though he was on the entry list at Silverstone in 1958, Ecclestone didn’t actually participate. His Connaught car was instead raced by Jack Fairman

1977: Last race to be given the honorific designation of European Grand Prix

While the 2016 European Grand Prix at Baku City Circuit was the last to be given the European Grand Prix title, the 1977 British Grand Prix was the last time that a race was given the honorific designation of European Grand Prix. Since the 1920s, one race per racing season was titled the ‘European Grand Prix’. In 1977, the British Grand Prix was given the title in celebration of Queen Elizabeth II’s Silver Jubilee.

1954: Only time 1/7 of a point has been awarded

A bizarre situation occurred at the 1954 British Grand Prix. Between 1950 and 1959, like in the present day, a point was awarded to the driver who set the fastest lap. However, the regulations failed to state what would happen if multiple drivers set the fastest lap, which – given the timing system ran to only one decimal place – was a rather frequent occurrence. While the point for fastest lap had been shared between two drivers previously, at the 1954 British Grand Prix no less than seven drivers set identical lap times. They were all therefore awarded one seventh of a point. Onfore Marimon and Jean Behra scored the only fastest lap in their careers as a result.

1973: Only F1 race to feature four drivers from New Zealand

The 1973 British Grand Prix is the only Formula 1 race in history in which four drivers from New Zealand competed. Graham McRae, Chris Amon, Howden Ganley and Denny Hulme took part in the race, with only Ganley and Hulme finishing. 1967 World Champion Hulme was the only one to score points, finishing in third place with McLaren. Since Chris Amon retired in 1976, New Zealanders competing in F1 have been few. Mike Thackwell raced in two Grands Prix in 1980 and 1984, and Brendon Hartley raced in F1 from the end of 2017 to the end of 2018.

1998: Only race won in the pit lane

There was confusion at the end of the 1998 British Grand Prix as Michael Schumacher won the race in controversial circumstances. Schumacher has passed Alexander Wurz under Safety Car conditions earlier in the race, so was handed a stop/go penalty. With less than three laps remaining when the penalty was issued, Schumacher had to serve his penalty before the end of the race. On the penultimate lap, he failed to come into the pits. Then, on his final tour of the circuit, he pulled in. He crossed the finish line before reaching his pit box so served the penalty after he had won the race. After a long dispute, the penalty was changed to a ten second time penalty for the Ferrari driver, before being cancelled altogether. The three stewards involved in handing out the penalty were all fired. It was the first, and probably last, time that a driver has won a race by crossing the finish line in the pit-lane!

The 2022 British Grand Prix takes place at Silverstone on July 1-3.

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