Schenken drives legendary F1 car around Albert Park

Tim Schenken on a Maserati 250F like that driven to victory by Stirling Moss in Albert Park in 1956

Former Formula 1 driver Tim Schenken yesterday headed a field of karters around the Albert Park Grand Prix circuit while driving a Maserati 250F.

Schenken raced in F1 for the likes of Brabham, Frank Williams Racing Cars, and Surtees between 1970 and 1974.

However, the car he took to Melbourne’s Formula 1 circuit with on Wednesday has pedigree stretching to the 1950s, with Sir Stirling Moss piloting a ‘Mazza’ to victory in the 1956 Australian GP.

That event was held around an Albert Park circuit that shares much in common with the modern version, though notable for now running in the opposite direction.

“This was special for me,” Schenken told Speedcafe.com.

“I first met motor racing, and first discovered motor racing when I was very young, and I watched the 1956 Olympic Grand Prix from the golf links, with the cars going the other way.

“I’ve never driven one of those cars, I’ve always wanted to drive one.”

The Maserati 250F is one of the most iconic Formula 1 cars ever built, with the example driven by Schenken owned by Nigel Hunt.

His grandfather, Reg, piloted a Maserati 250F to fifth place in that 1956 event.

Campaigned by the likes of Moss and Juan Manuel Fangio during the mid-1950s, the latter drove the design during his championship-winning campaigns in 1954 and 1957.

Aside from Moss’ win in ’56, Stan Jones, father of 1980 world champion Alan, raced a 250F to victory in the 1959 Australian Grand Prix at Longford.

For Schenken, driving the car was a case of bringing his motorsport experience full circle as he was followed on track by a number of go karters.

“So young, they were,” he noted.

“Eight or 10 years old, unbelievable.”

Schenken’s own foray into motorsport began after he built a home-made go-kart from an old bed frame with a two-stroke engine bolted on.

His career flourished, taking him to Europe where he competed in Formula 1 as well as racing for Porsche and Ferrari in the European GT Championship and Le Mans.

Formula 1 returns to Melbourne for the first time in two years this weekend, and has not been on track since March 2019 after the 2020 event was called off prior to cars venturing out.

Track action began today with support categories heading out, before the opening F1 practice session starts at 13:00 AEST tomorrow.

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