Hawthorn signs-on with Vandervell
Last month we were able to announce that Moss had signed a contract with the Mercedes-Benz G.P. and sports-car teams for 1955 and to wish him every success at the wheel of the German cars.
Now comes the news that Hawthorn has signed with millionaire industrialist G. A. Vandervell to drive a Vanwall in this season’s Grands Prix. Ferrari’s loss is Britain’s gain and we congratulate Hawthorn on his decision and Mr. Tony Vandervell on his determination to equip his Vanwall Specials in the best possible manner for the 1955 grandes epreuves.
The Vandervell stable has never sought publicity and has shown good common sense in the conduct of its racing affairs. The Thinwall Special Ferrari was developed into probably the most potent formule libre racing car in this country and frequently proved able to run rings round the. rival B.R.M.s. Yet, when Mr. Vandervell’s FI Vanwall was due to be raced, he sensibly laid aside the bigger car in order that his mechanics might concentrate 100 per cent. on the smaller but more important vehicle. The Vandervell racing organisation displayed further good sense in not wasting time in developing an unorthodox chassis for the Vanwall, for this is one of the most difficult aspects of the modern G.P. car to plan correctly first-go. By combining Cooper and Ferrari layouts time was gained which could be devoted to designing an entirely new engine and one expects that the cornering instability which troubled the drivers last year will not prove impossible to eliminate.
To H.W.M. goes undiminished credit for first “wearing the green” in Continental post-war races, and Connaught earn warm praise for having a genuine Fl car on the stocks, but Tony Vanderveil has stolen a march on the latter by already having had his Vanwall Special in several important races. Providing he appoints an experienced team manager and procures sufficient skilled mechanics to look after the two or possibly three Vanwalls he intends to field, ” the green ” should be borne without shame in the forthcoming Grand Prix races.
Mr. Vandervell knows exactly what he intends to do, from long experience, confirmation of this, if any is required, can be obtained by reading the appropriate chapter in the 1955 edition of ” Motor Sport Racing Car Review.”
In his choice of drivers Mr. Vandervell has been very sage indeed .(incidentally, he himself used to race at Brooklands in Talbot and ‘Wolseley cars), for Hawthorn will drive with Peter Collins. Last year was not a happy one for Hawthorn, from several points of view, yet he still drove brilliantly for Ferrari. Let us wish him even greater opportunity this year for displaying his virtuosity and hope that, at the wheel of a British car, besides having our good wishes behind him, “Mike the Farnham-flyer,” as the general sporting public knows him, will also have behind him the rest of the International G.P. field. Hawthorn has also signed-on to drive for Jaguars in this season’s sports-car races.
The general Assembly of the Federation Internationale de I’ Automobile has referred back to the Commission Sportive Internationale certain proposals for the reformation of the International Sporting Calendar. It was these proposals which originated with the R.A.C., and led to the R.A.C. accepting a limitation of the number of International dates allocated to Great Britain in 1955. As further consideration of the scheme by the C.S.I. will inevitably delay its introduction for at least 12 months, the R.A.C. pressed for the removal of any limitation on dates granted to this country, and at the meeting of the C.S.I. in Monte Carlo on January 25th submitted applications for whatever dates were requested by organising clubs. These changes will delay the publication of the R.A.C. Fixture List, probably until mid-February,
A good start
Mercedes-Benz have got off to a good start of the 1955 Grand Prix Season, with victory in the Argentine. Fangio, by being the only driver, besides Mieres, to go through this warm race without relief. has again served the German team well, adding hot-weather stamina to skill and intelligence. That the result was a Mercedes-Benz sandwich, with two Ferraris forming the ” meat,” indicates that we can look forward to a stern struggle for supremacy between Germany and Italy, unmarred by the domination of racing by any one marque, when the season opens in Europe at Syracuse on March 20th.
Owing to production difficulties the usual Pictorial centre-spread, the next article in the series “The Racing Mechanics ” and Readers’ Letters have had to be omitted. These features will appear again regularly from next month’s issue.