In 1951 Froilan Gonzalez raced to victory at Silverstone to win the British Grand Prix. It was the first Grand Prix triumph for Scuderia Ferrari.
Sixty years on and the anniversary was marked at Silverstone during this year’s British Grand Prix. Fernando Alonso climbed aboard a Ferrari 375—owned by Bernie Ecclestone—to pay homage to Gonzalez and the Scuderia’s first victory.
Alonso was acquainted with the car for the for the first time the evening prior to the demonstration laps. The two-time World Champion completed a short run through the F1 Paddock after being given instructions on how to drive the car!
For the demonstration, just a couple of hours before the start of Silverstone’s big race, Alonso was waved off from the grid by his Ferrari teammate, Felipe Massa, team manager, Stefano Domenicalli, and Bernie Ecclestone. The Spaniard completed two laps, the second at a very respectable historic race pace, to rapturous applause and cheers from Silverstone’s packed grandstands.
Alonso said, “It was a great privilege to drive the 375 Ferrari. This type of car started Ferrari’s Grand Prix victories and is a very significant car in the marque’s history.”
He added, “I enjoyed every minute, and even managed a few slides!”
Later that afternoon Alonso calmly drove the 2011 Ferrari to victory in the British Grand Prix to claim the Scuderia’s first win of the 2011 F1 season, rounding out the 60th anniversary celebrations in fine style.
By James Beckett