There has always been a sense of occasion about the British Grand Prix – and a wonderful 60-year-old photo by Bernard Cahier illustrates the point. In 1961, long before the days of mass media saturation in sport, the Frenchman stood to the side of the track at Aintree and captured the scale of the crowd, the packed 30-car grid and an unmistakable whiff of anticipation.
The Lancashire weather was fairly miserable, but it’s an engaging moment, frozen forever in just a fragment of a second.
There is no debris fencing, nothing separates the cars on track from a naked pitlane, run-off areas were a distant figment of someone’s imagination and a halo was something you were most likely to see on a Christmas card. The structure and texture of grand prix racing might have changed beyond measure over the intervening years, but there are a few notable constants – not least the fact that the British Grand Prix remains an event, every bit as much a part of the domestic sporting tapestry as the Grand National, Wimbledon, the FA Cup Final or a Lord’s Test.