On May 13th, 1950, Britain’s Silverstone circuit hosted a race which would go down in history – the very first Grand Prix of the modern Formula One era. The glamorous and exciting F1 of today traces its roots back to the 1950 British Grand Prix – this was the Birth of Formula One.
Bookcases are heaving with dusty volumes recalling the advent of modern F1 and numerous dry documentaries featuring the opinions of ‘experts’ have been filmed, but this DVD is no history lecture – it is full-throttle, action-packed look at the races, the cars and the stars which brought us the multi-billion dollar F1 of the 21st century.
Utilising rarely-seen black and white footage from the archive of BP, we are treated to the glorious sights and sounds of the first modern Formula One race, the 1950 British GP, also known as the Grand Prix d’Europe. We see the Alfa Romeo 158s of Guiseppe Farina, Juan Manuel Fangio, Luigi Fagioli and Reg Parnell do battle on the converted airfield racetrack.
Then we witness, in colour, three amazing GPs from 1951, when the supercharged Alfa 159Bs went head-to-head with the 4.5 litre Ferraris at Reims, Silverstone and the Nurburgring. Farina, Fangio and Parnell are joined by Jose Froilan Gonzales and Aberto Ascari as the peaceful summer days are shattered by the thundering engines, squealing tyres and cheers from packed grandstands.
Our journey through the formative years of modern Formula One concludes with a return to the legendary ‘Ring for the German Grands Prix of 1953 and 1954. British stars including Stirling Moss and Mike Hawthorn joined the ranks of the F1 legends, as Maserati, Mercedes and Cooper started to challenge the established order. Extraordinary black and white footage records two now legendary races around the daunting Nurburgring.
These were the races which paved the way for the Grand Prix racing of today – this is The Birth of Formula One.
"A grass paddock for Grand Prix cars and a race start delayed by over 40 minutes - this certainly ins't anything that Bernie Ecclestone presides over. Though 1950s racing footage is often grainy, this DVD offers viewers a chance to see it in sharp black and white, and even colour. The 11th Grand Prix d'Europe in 1950, European motor racing in 1951, the Nurburgring in 1953 and 25 years of motor racing at the 'Ring all get their own short films, and some races are meshed together with clips from practice as well. The finished product is wonderful. The Tagline 'the races which paved the way for the Grand Prix racing of today' is certainly true. However, you'll struggle to find many similarities, and that's what makes these films so good. An Alfetta at speedon the Nordschleife, Dick Seaman winning the German Grand Prix in 1938, Auto Unions...just right to keep you going until Bahrain" Motorsport
"This is worth the asking price just for the BP 'short' celebrating 25 years of the Nurburgring. The footage of the Silver Arrows - some of it from grands prix, some of it staged - is utterly glorious. Equally great is the Castrol film of the 11th Grand Prix d'Europe at Silverstone, with the 'revolutionary' BRM V16 making its public debut for a demo" Octane
"Using evocative footage from the BP video library, this film charts the early years of F1, now in its 60th season. Marvel at action from the inaugural race - at Silverstone in 1950 - and selected races from '51, '53 and '54. The '51 GPs, at Reims, Silverstone and the 'ring, are the best, thanks to use of full-colour" Autosport
"Formula One celebrates its 60th anniversary this year and this DVD is the latest in a succession of books and DVDs marking the occasion. The Birth of Formula One includes rare footage from the British GP in 1950, the very first F1 championship event. This DVD is one for enthusiasts with a detailed interest; they'll particularly enjoy the colour footage from the 1951 season, plus detailed accounts from two of the first F1 races at the original Nurburgring" Autocar