It was Mike Hawthorn’s bust-up with Tony Vandervell which opened up opportunities for Schell with the emerging Vanwall team; the two opinionated Brits, perhaps slightly the worse for drink, had argued noisily after the Belgian Grand Prix in June 1955 and had (temporarily) parted company, so by the time the British Grand Prix came round in July, Schell was in place. He was to drive for Vandervell for two relatively happy seasons, delivering the marque’s first F1 win, a fortnight after Aintree, in the BARC International trophy at Snetterton. He came first a further three times that season, but not once, unhappily, in a World Championship Grand Prix.
The Vanwall was to be torn down and redesigned that winter; Colin Chapman and Frank Costin gave of their best to produce the definitive Vanwall for the ’56 season, but Harry was to complete only one race in the new car, managing a decent fourth at the 1956 Belgian Grand Prix. Moss, however, in his first outing for the Acton firm, had delivered a victory.
Schell had nevertheless done more than many to both lead the team and maintain its morale; 1955 had been difficult for everyone in Formula One as the competition was reduced to the question of not so much who would win, but which would be first home behind the Mercedes. It was lowering for a team still finding its feet and Schell’s contribution was valuable, if only for its sheer enthusiasm and style.
Vandervell, despite the fact that he was extremely fond of Schell, (they were both players, after all), was very keen to hire Moss, but Stirling was somewhat unsure after his extraordinary Mercedes experience. Undecided, he sought the advice of assorted scribes before becoming a Maserati signing for 1956 and was therefore seldom available; as the season developed though, Moss started to take, from Harry’s point of view at least, an unhealthy interest in the goings-on at Acton.
Likewise, Tony Brooks, entirely fed up at BRM after a season characterised by life-threatening unreliability, found the Vandervell approach to building racing cars to be of an entirely different order to the methods used at BRM, which was, of course, one of the main reasons why Tony Vandervell had decided to start building cars in the first place. By the end of November, both the Britons had been hired.
Schell, understandably nervous of his place in the light of paddock gossip, (which was for once, accurate), enquired of Vandervell what the arrangements were to be for 1957. The recruitment of Brooks had not yet been made public, so it was a very disappointed Harry who was told that an all-British team was more or less a prerequisite for the 1957 season and that his services would no longer be required.