Harry Schell (LAT archive photos)
Harry Schell (Maserati 250F) in the 1957 Italian Grand Prix at Monza.
Harry Schell, one of America's first racers in the modern era of Formula 1, died on this date in 1960 at the age of 38.
After serving in World War II as a commissioned officer in the tank corps Schell stayed on in Europe to race driving Coopers in Formula 3, Formula 2 and the Formula 1 World Drivers' Championship upon its inception in 1950. Although he never won a grand prix and and was best known for a free-spirited life as a playboy and womanizer, Schell had his share of glory.
He took second in the 1958 Dutch Grand Prix and won the non-championship Caen Grand Prix of 1956. Schell also co-drove with Stirling Moss to second place at the 1957 12 Hours of Sebring. His most notable years in F1 came with 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 lost his life in practice for the non-championship International Trophy event at Silverstone in 1960, when he crashed his Cooper at Abbey Curve and penetrated a safety barrier, causing a brick wall to collapse on him. 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 American racing. The following season it had become standard in F1 – a fitting legacy.