Back in the Day: Shell Chronicles the 1955 Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix [Video]
It’s one thing to read about the formative days ofFormula 1, or to look at still photography. It’s a completely different thing to watch video footage of the World Championship’s early years. Only then does one start to get an appreciation for just how primitive (if not completely nonexistent) the safety measures incorporated into the circuits, the cars and the drivers’ attire were. It’s a wonder any drivers from that era have managed to die of old age.
Take, for instance, this video of the1955 Belgian Grand Prix, made in period byShell Oil’s promotions department. Sure, there are a couple of landmarks that are still recognizable on today’sSpa-Francorchamps circuit, including the old inn outside theLa Source Hairpinand the mightyEau Rougekink. But mostly, the trackside scenery was a gauntlet of trees, telephone poles and buildings just waiting to demolish a waywardMercedes-Benz,Lancia,FerrariorMaseratiFormula 1car…and its occupant.