90 years ago, this November, the Bureau International Des Expositions was created by the signing of the convention relating to international exhibitions. Like most organisations, the BIE's home was Paris, France. The role of this organisation was to oversee the calendar, bidding process, selection and organisation of World Exhibitions and ensure that all countries worked together in the best conditions. The first World Fair was held in Paris in 1844 and one of the best known of these early efforts became known as the Great Exhibition held in London in 1851 and featured the gigantic crystal palace. All these early world fairs featured technological developments and saw many technical wonders shown to the public for the first time. As the years progressed, and with the formation of the BIE, the purpose of these fairs gradually moved away from technological developments and towards overall cultural themes. Ironically, the first of these was held in New York in 1939 and was titled "Building the world of tomorrow". Of course, over the next 6 years, nations did their very best to demolish the world of tomorrow. Following the second world war, nation states were too busy rebuilding their shattered infrastructure and attempting to re-establish their economies to worry about holding cultural affairs. That was until Belgium was selected to host their 11th world’s fair. Expo 58. The theme would be "A World View - A New Humanism" and was set to run from July to September 1958. The most well-known legacy of this event is the Atomium. The giant sculpture displays 9 Iron atoms formed into a cube representing the shape of an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times. The sculpture remains in Heysel Park on the outskirts of Brussels and is still open to the public today. It represented mankind’s faith and hope in scientific development and the nuclear age. In 1958, Formula One chose its own way of honouring technical development as for the first time a trophy was awarded not just to the world champion driver but the International Cup for F1 Manufacturers was awarded to the most successful manufacturer. Initially, and until the late 70's, only one car, the best finishing, scored points towards the title. Vanwall became the first team to lift the new cup but Mike Hawthorn lifted the drivers title in his works Ferrari. Both cups were heading to Britain for the first time. Vanwall won 6 of the 9 races it entered that season with Moss and Brooks taking 3 wins each but unreliability cost both drivers the title. The Vanwall quite literally either won or broke down. Perhaps it was the involvement of an extremely gifted engineer, brought in to revise the car in 1957 after Vanwall's initial efforts in F1 were dismal failures. The name of that engineer? Colin Chapman. At the 1958 Belgian GP, Tony Brooks finished first while Hawthorn finished second for Ferrari and Stuart Lewis-Evans brought a third Vanwall home in third place. Moss suffered an engine failure on the first lap. Further down the field, in the second Ferrari, a Belgian called Olivier Gendebien finished 6th in his first ever Belgian GP. Gendebien had come to the attention of no less than Enzo Ferrari himself through his performance in sports car racing. Ferrari signed him to his team to drive in these events but also allowed him to make the occasional appearance in an F1 car. His best year however, was in 1960 where he took 2 podiums behind the wheel of a Cooper for the privateer Yoeman Credit racing team. Enzo Ferrari summed Gendebien up as "a gentleman who never forgets that nobless oblidge and, when he is at the wheel, he translates this code of behaviour into an elegant and discerning forcefulness." Such was this elegant and discerning forcefulness that, while very few would have ever heard of him in F1, his sports car record reads like this, 4 wins in the 24 hours of Le Mans, 3 wins in the 12 hours of Sebring, 2 wins at the 12 hours of Reims, 3 wins in the Targa Florio and 1 at the 1000km Nurbugring. A truly remarkable sports car record that few drivers even today, can match. So, if anyone asks you in the future to name some famous Belgian racing drivers, among the likes of Gachot and Boutsen, don't forget to tell them about Olivier Gendebien. Gentleman, outstanding driver and Belgian. Enjoy the race.