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Henry O'Reilly "Harry" Schell (June 29, 1921 – May 13, 1960) was an American Grand Prix motor racing driver. He was the first American driver to start a Formula One Grand Prix.

Harry Schell
Born(1921-06-29)June 29, 1921
Paris, France
DiedMay 13, 1960(1960-05-13) (aged 38)
Silverstone, England, UK
Formula One World Championship career
NationalityUnited States American
Active years19501960
TeamsCooper, Talbot-Lago, Maserati, Gordini, Ferrari, Vanwall, BRM
Entries57 (56 starts)
Championships0
Wins0
Podiums2
Career points32
Pole positions0
Fastest laps0
First entry1950 Monaco Grand Prix
Last entry1960 Argentine Grand Prix

Contents

Early lifeEdit

Schell was born in Paris, France, the son of expatriate American and sometime auto racer Laury Schell; his mother was the wealthy American heiress Lucy O'Reilly. O'Reilly was an auto racing enthusiast who had met Laury while visiting France; they soon became familiar names on the rallying scene together. She became heavily invested in the Delahaye concern, first campaigning sports cars for them and then championing the development of a Delahaye Grand Prix car, which she ran under the Ecurie Bleue banner. Frenchman René Dreyfus won the 1938 Pau Grand Prix for the team in a shock upset over Mercedes, but the Delahaye project failed to raise the necessary backing and was never developed to its full extent.

Shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War, Schell's parents were involved in a road accident in which Laury was killed and O'Reilly severely injured. When France was occupied by Germany, Schell and his mother returned to America, where Schell took on the running of two Maseratis at the 1940 Indianapolis 500. Having already volunteered in the Finnish Air Force during their Winter War with Russia in 1939, Harry then earned a commission in the United States Tank Corps when America entered the Second World War.[1]

Racing careerEdit

Schell went on to race in Europe, driving Coopers in Formula 3, Formula 2 and even the Formula One World Drivers' Championship upon its inception in 1950. His first appearance was in a Cooper powered by a J.A.P. V-twin engine at Monte Carlo; it ended in an accident at the harbor chicane that involved the majority of the field.

Though Schell never won a championship Grand Prix and enjoyed life as a playboy and womanizer, he was highly respected in period;[citation needed] he twice stood on the podium with a best place of second in the 1958 Dutch Grand Prix, won the Caen Grand Prix of 1956, and balanced those with periodic sports car outings. He partnered with Stirling Moss in securing a second place at the 1957 12 Hours of Sebring, and took third place at the same event in 1959.[2] His most notable spells in Formula One came for BRM, Vanwall, and the Maserati factory effort as a subordinate to the five-time champion Juan Manuel Fangio. He also drove for Scuderia Ferrari for a single run at the 1955 Monaco Grand Prix.

Schell carved out a reputation as a safe and prudent competitor and could be counted on as a consistent points scorer, but he also proved his class when the opportunity presented itself.[citation needed] In the 1954 Spanish Grand Prix, he took the lead from the start in his private Maserati and drove off into the distance before spinning out of first place and then retiring with a transmission failure. At the 1956 French Grand Prix, he relieved an ill Mike Hawthorn after his own Vanwall had gone out with an early engine failure and drove back into second position. The Ferrari team, operating under the assumption that Schell was a lap adrift, had been caught out, and a dramatic fight for the lead ensued, but Schell's effort went for nought as he was forced to make a lengthy pit stop soon after. He had succeeded, however, in displaying the full potential of the Vanwall on the world stage for the first time.[citation needed] Driving a Ferrari 375 Indy for Luigi Chinetti's North American Racing Team at the 1958 Race of Two Worlds, Schell joined Phil Hill (Scuderia Ferrari 296 Dino) and Masten Gregory (Ecurie Ecosse Jaguar D-Type) on the Monza high banking as the only American drivers not entered in an American Championship Car.

By the start of 1960, and nearing 40, Schell's prospects appeared dim, and he campaigned a private Cooper run under his family's Ecurie Bleue banner. That changed, however, when he was contracted by the British Racing Partnership team before the start of the European Grand Prix season for a full program of events, to be teamed with Tony Brooks and the up-and-coming Chris Bristow in year-old Coopers. Schell died in practice for the non-championship International Trophy event at Silverstone in 1960, when he crashed his Cooper at Abbey Curve. Schell was driving at approximately 100 mph when his car slid into the mud on the side of the track and lost a wheel. The Cooper somersaulted and penetrated a safety barrier, causing a brick wall to collapse.[2]

Prior to his death, Schell had been extremely vocal in the promotion of the roll-bar on European racing cars, a safety feature required in America.[citation needed] By the 1500cc formula of 1961, it had become standard in Formula One.

Racing recordEdit

Post WWII Grandes Épreuves resultsEdit

(key)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5
1947 Ecurie Laury Schell Cisitalia D46 Fiat 1.1 L4 SUI
DNQ
BEL ITA FRA
1949 Horschell Racing Corporation Talbot-Lago T26C Talbot 23CV 4.5 L6 GBR BEL SUI
16
FRA ITA
Source:[3]

Complete Formula One World Championship resultsEdit

(key)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 WDC Pts
1950 Horschell Racing Corporation Cooper T12 JAP 1.1 V2 GBR MON
Ret
500 NC 0
Ecurie Bleue Talbot-Lago T26C Talbot 23CV 4.5 L6 SUI
8
BEL FRA ITA
1951 Enrico Platé Maserati 4CLT/48 Maserati 4CLT 1.5 L4s SUI
12
500 BEL FRA
Ret
GBR GER ITA ESP NC 0
1952 Enrico Platé Maserati 4CLT/48 Platé 2.0 L4 SUI
Ret
500 BEL FRA
Ret*
GBR
17
GER NED ITA NC 0
1953 Equipe Gordini Gordini T16 Gordini 20 2.0 L6 ARG
7*
500 NED
Ret
BEL
7
FRA
Ret
GBR
Ret
GER
Ret
SUI ITA
9
NC 0
1954 Harry Schell Maserati A6GCM Maserati A6 2.0 L6 ARG
6
500 BEL FRA
Ret
GBR
12
GER
7
NC 0
Officine Alfieri Maserati Maserati 250F Maserati 250F1 2.5 L6 SUI
Ret
ITA
Harry Schell Maserati 250F Maserati 250F1 2.5 L6 ESP
Ret
1955 Officine Alfieri Maserati Maserati 250F Maserati 250F1 2.5 L6 ARG
6+7*
NC 0
Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 555 Ferrari 555 2.5 L4 MON
Ret
500 BEL
DNS
NED
Vandervell Products Vanwall VW 55 Vanwall 254 2.5 L4 GBR
9*
ITA
Ret
1956 Vandervell Products Vanwall VW 2 Vanwall 254 2.5 L4 ARG MON
Ret
500 BEL
4
FRA
10*
GBR
Ret
ITA
Ret
17th 3
Scuderia Centro Sud Maserati 250F Maserati 250F1 2.5 L6 GER
Ret
1957 Scuderia Centro Sud Maserati 250F Maserati 250F1 2.5 L6 ARG
4
7th 10
Officine Alfieri Maserati Maserati 250F Maserati 250F1 2.5 L6 MON
Ret*
500 FRA
5
GBR
Ret
GER
7
PES
3
ITA
5*
1958 Jo Bonnier Maserati 250F Maserati 250F1 2.5 L6 ARG
6
6th 14
Owen Racing Organisation BRM P25 BRM P25 2.5 L4 MON
5
NED
2
500 BEL
5
FRA
Ret
GBR
5
GER
Ret
POR
6
ITA
Ret
MOR
5
1959 Owen Racing Organisation BRM P25 BRM P25 2.5 L4 MON
Ret
500 NED
Ret
FRA
7
GBR
4
GER
7
POR
5
ITA
7
13th 5
Ecurie Bleue Cooper T51 Climax FPF 2.5 L4 USA
Ret
1960 Ecurie Bleue Cooper T51 Climax FPF 2.2 L4 ARG
Ret
MON 500 NED BEL FRA GBR POR ITA USA NC 0
Source:[3][4]

* Shared drive/s.

Formula One Non-Championship resultsEdit

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37
1950 Enrico Platé Maserati 4CLT/48 Maserati 4CLT 1.5 L4s PAU RIC SRM PAR EMP BAR JER ALB NED NAT
Ret
NOT ULS PES STT INT GOO PEN
1951 Enrico Platé Maserati 4CLT/48 Maserati 4CLT 1.5 L4s SYR
Ret
PAU
Ret
RIC SRM
4
BOR
Ret
INT
19
PAR
7
ULS SCO NED ALB PES
7
BAR
Ret
GOO
1952 Enrico Platé Maserati 4CLT/48 Maserati 4CLT 1.5 L4s SYR VAL RIC LAV PAU IBS MAR AST INT
Ret
ELA NAP EIF PAR
Ret
LAC
4
ESS MAR
Ret
SAB
Ret
DMT
Ret
Equipe Gordini Gordini T16 Gordini 20 2.0 L6 ALB
Ret
FRO ULS MNZ CAD
2
SKA MAD AVU FRY NEW
Gordini T15 Gordini 1500 1.5 L4 CAE
Ret
COM
Ret
SCO BAU
Ret
MOD
1953 Equipe Gordini Gordini T16 Gordini 20 2.0 L6 SYR PAU
3
LAV AST KMS BOR
4
INT
DNS
ELA NGP ULS WIN COR FRO SNE EIF ALB
DNQ
PRN ESS MID ROU
4
CLP AVU UST LAC
Ret
BRI CHE SAB
Ret
NEW CAD
2
RED SKA LON MOD
6
MAD BER FRY CUR
1954 Officine Alfieri Maserati Maserati A6GCM Maserati A6 2.0 L6 SYR PAU
Ret
LAV
Harry Schell Maserati A6GCM Maserati A6 2.0 L6 BOR
Ret
INT BAR
5
CUR ROM
2
FRO BRC COR CLP ROU
Ret
CAE
Ret
AUG COR OUL RED PES
3
FRY CAD
Ret
BER
8
GOO
Maserati 250F Maserati 250F1 2.5 L6 DTT
3
1955 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 625 Ferrari 555 2.5 L4 VAL
5
PAU GLV BOR INT NAP ALB CUR COR
Vandervell Products Vanwall VW 2 Vanwall 254 2.5 L4 LON
2
DRT RED
1
DTT OUL
Ret
AVO
1
Officine Alfieri Maserati Maserati 250F Maserati 250F1 2.5 L6 SYR
5
1956 Vandervell Products Vanwall VW 55 Vanwall 254 2.5 L4 GLV SYR AIN INT
Ret
NAP AIN VAN
Officine Alfieri Maserati Maserati 250F Maserati 250F1 2.5 L6 CAE
1
BRS
1957 Officine Alfieri Maserati Maserati 250F Maserati 250F1 2.5 L6 SYR
Ret
RMS
4
MOD
3
MOR
5
Scuderia Centro Sud Maserati 250F Maserati 250F1 2.5 L6 PAU
2
GLV NAP
Owen Racing Organisation BRM P25 BRM P25 2.5 L4 CAE
Ret
INT
2
1958 Owen Racing Organisation BRM P25 BRM P25 2.5 L4 GLV
Ret
SYR CAE
Ret
Cooper T43 Climax FPF 1.5 L4 AIN
6
INT
1959 Owen Racing Organisation BRM P25 BRM P25 2.5 L4 GLV
3
AIN
Ret
INT OUL SIL
1960 Yeoman Credit Racing Team Cooper T51 Climax FPF 2.5 L4 GLV
Ret
INT
DNS
SIL LOM OUL
Source:[3][5]

Complete 24 Hours of Le Mans resultsEdit

Year Team Co-Drivers Car Class Laps Pos. Class
Pos.
1953   Automobiles Gordini   Maurice Trintignant Gordini T26S S
3.0
293 6th 1st
1955   Scuderia Ferrari   Maurice Trintignant Ferrari 121LM S
5.0
107 DNF DNF
1957   Officine Alfieri Maserati   Stirling Moss Maserati 450S Zagato Coupé S
5.0
32 DNF DNF
Source:[6]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ A Prudent Driver, New York Times, 14 May 1960, Page 21.
  2. ^ a b Schell is Killed as Auto Skids In Drill on Eve of British Race, New York Times, 14 May 1960, Page 21.
  3. ^ a b c "Harry Schell – Biography". MotorSportMagazine. Retrieved January 16, 2019.
  4. ^ "Harry Schell – Grand Prix started". statsf1.com. Retrieved January 16, 2019.
  5. ^ "Harry Schell - Involvement Non World Championship". StatsF1. Retrieved January 16, 2019.
  6. ^ "All Results of Harry Schell". RacingSportCars. Retrieved January 16, 2019.

External linksEdit

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Bob Cortner
Formula One fatal accidents
May 13, 1960
Succeeded by
Chris Bristow
Records
Preceded by
Jean Behra
53 entries, 52 starts
(19501959)
Most Grand Prix entries
56 entries, 56 starts
(19501960),
54th at the 1959 Italian GP
Succeeded by
Stirling Moss
67 entries (66 starts),
57th at the 1960 Portuguese GP