Noise and smoke: how Silverstone gave F1 blast-off 70 years ago | Giles Richards

In May 1950 British royalty were taken back when the circuit synonymous with the British Grand Prix staged F1’s first race

Opening with a roar that startled the Queen, Formula One’s inaugural race proved to be the beginning of a tale of sound and fury that has endured for 70 years. On 13 May 1950 the championship held its first race at Silverstone and the British Grand Prix has been on the Formula One calendar ever since, its longevity reflecting how the sport has moved royalty and commoner alike.

Not long put to new use from its original purpose as a second world war airfield, Silverstone and F1 were intent on making their mark. Run by the Royal Automobile Club the race was named the “Grand Prix d’Europe, incorporating the British Grand Prix”. With King George VI, Queen Elizabeth and Princess Margaret in attendance some dubbed it “Royal Silverstone” in the hope it would become part of the sporting season.

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