Harry Schell

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Harry Schell
Born (1921-06-29)June 29, 1921
Died May 13, 1960(1960-05-13) (aged 38)
Formula One World Championship career
Nationality United States American
Active years 19501960
Teams Cooper, Talbot-Lago, Maserati, Gordini, Ferrari, Vanwall, BRM
Races 57 (56 starts)
Championships 0
Wins 0
Podiums 2
Career points 32
Pole positions 0
Fastest laps 0
First race 1950 Monaco Grand Prix
Last race 1960 Argentine Grand Prix

Harry O'Reilly Schell (June 29, 1921, Paris, France – May 13, 1960, Silverstone Circuit, England) was an American Grand Prix motor racing driver.

Early life[edit]

Schell was 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 Delahayes 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 career[edit]

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 high 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 B.R.M., 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.

Complete Formula One World Championship results[edit]

(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 V-twin GBR MON
Ret
500 NC 0
Ecurie Bleue Talbot-Lago T26C Talbot L6 SUI
8
BEL FRA ITA
1951 Enrico Platé Maserati 4CLT/48 Maserati L4C SUI
12
500 BEL FRA
Ret
GBR GER ITA ESP NC 0
1952 Enrico Platé Maserati 4CLT/50 Platé L4 SUI
Ret
500 BEL FRA
Ret*
GBR
17
GER NED ITA NC 0
1953 Equipe Gordini Gordini T16 Gordini 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 L6 ARG
6
500 BEL FRA
Ret
GBR
12
GER
7
NC 0
Maserati 250F Maserati L6 ESP
Ret
Officine Alfieri Maserati Maserati 250F Maserati L6 SUI
Ret
ITA
1955 Officine Alfieri Maserati Maserati 250F Maserati L6 ARG
6+7*
NC 0
Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 555 Ferrari L4 MON
Ret
500 BEL
DNS
NED
Vandervell Products Ltd. Vanwall Vanwall L4 GBR
9*
ITA
Ret
1956 Vandervell Products Ltd. Vanwall Vanwall L4 ARG MON
Ret
500 BEL
4
FRA
10*
GBR
Ret
ITA
Ret
17th 3
Scuderia Centro Sud Maserati 250F Maserati L6 GER
Ret
1957 Scuderia Centro Sud Maserati 250F Maserati L6 ARG
4
7th 10
Officine Alfieri Maserati Maserati 250F Maserati L6 MON
Ret*
500 FRA
5
GBR
Ret
GER
7
PES
3
ITA
5*
1958 Joakim Bonnier Racing Team Maserati 250F Maserati L6 ARG
6
6th 14
Owen Racing Organisation BRM P25 BRM 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 L4 MON
Ret
500 NED
Ret
FRA
7
GBR
4
GER
7
POR
5
ITA
7
13th 5
Ecurie Bleue Cooper T51 Climax L4 USA
Ret
1960 Ecurie Bleue Cooper T51 Climax L4 ARG
Ret
MON 500 NED BEL FRA GBR POR ITA USA NC 0

* Shared drive/s.

Non-Championship Formula One results[edit]

(key)

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 Ecurie Bleue Talbot-Lago T26C Talbot L6 PAU RIC SRM
Ret
PAR EMP BAR JER ALB NED NOT ULS PES STT INT GOO PEN
Maserati 4CLT/48 Maserati L4C NAT
Ret
1951 Enrico Platé Maserati 4CLT/48 Maserati L4C SYR
Ret
PAU
Ret
RIC SRM
4
BOR
Ret
INT
NC
PAR
DNS
ULS
WD
SCO NED ALB PES
7
BAR
Ret
GOO
1952 Enrico Platé Maserati 4CLT/50 Platé L4 SYR VAL RIC LAV PAU IBS MAR
WD
AST INT
Ret
ELA NAP EIF PAR
Ret
ALB
Ret
FRO ULS
Ret
MZA LAC
4
ESS MAR
Ret
SAB
Ret
CAE DMT COM
Ret
SCO BAU
Ret
MOD CAD
2
SKA MAD AVU FRY NEW
1953 Equipe Gordini Gordini T16 Gordini L6 SYR PAU
3
LAV AST KMS BOR
4
INT
Ret
ELA NGP ULS WIN COR FRO SNE EIF ALB PRN ESS MID ROU
4
CLP AVU UST LAC
Ret
BRI CHE SAB
Ret
NEW CAD
2
RED SKA LON MOD
NC
MAD BER FRY CUR
1954 Harry Schell Maserati A6GCM Maserati L6 SYR
DNS
PAU
Ret
LAV BOR
Ret
INT BAR
6
CUR ROM
2
FRO BRC COR CLP ROU
Ret
CAE
Ret
AUG COR OUL
DNA
RED PES FRY CAD BER GOO DTT
1955 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 555 Ferrari L4 VAL
5
PAU GLV BOR INT NAP ALB CUR COR
Vandervell Products Ltd. Vanwall Vanwall L4 LON
2
DRT RED
1
DTT OUL
Ret
AVO
1
SYR
5
1956 Vandervell Products Ltd. Vanwall Vanwall L4 GLV SYR AIN
DNA
INT
Ret
NAP AIN VAN CAE
1
BRS
1957 Officine Alfieri Maserati Maserati 250F Maserati L6 SYR PAU
2
GLV NAP RMS
4
CAE INT
2
MOD
3
MOR
5
1958 Owen Racing Organisation BRM P25 BRM L4 GLV
Ret
SYR AIN
6
INT CAE
Ret
1959 Owen Racing Organisation BRM P25 BRM L4 GLV
3
AIN
Ret
INT OUL SIL
1960 Ecurie Bleue Cooper T51 Climax L4 GLV
Ret
INT
DNS
SIL LOM OUL

References[edit]

  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.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Bob Cortner
Formula One fatal accidents
13 May 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