Maserati 250F

Greatest Formula one car

It is in so many ways the archetypal Grand Prix racer. From the drivers of yesteryear to the schoolboys of today, the Maserati 250F represents all that people have come to expect from an open -wheeled single-seater racing car. From its simple elegance to its brilliantly forgiving handling, the 250F rightly lays claim to the title of greatest Formula One car in history.

This Maserati was the penmanship of designer Valerio Colotti for the 1954 Grand Prix season -the beginning of the 2.5-litre unsupercharged racers. Colotti dragged the new car to the forefront of racing technology, casting out the solid rear axle of previous Maserati racers and introducing instead a tubular frame and de Dion rear axle.

The end product was a revelation.

The 250F won on its debut in the hands of Fangio. Nimble through the tight corners, the 250F was also quick and stable on the limit. A crimson, trident-fronted racer in a classic four wheel drift was to become one or the most memorable sights of the 1950s and none more so than in 1957, when Fangio fought back at that Grand Prix at the Nurburgring, the race so often regarded as the greatest of all.

Yet the 250F won just one world title and a mere eight Championship Grands Prix in five full seasons. It proves results alone do not make greatness.

.The Maserati is a great because the greatest thought it a joy to drive and they still do. It was a racing car which created legends every bit as much as it was a legend itself.

FACTS & FIGURES: 280bhp, 2.5-litre normally aspirated straight-six engine; winner on debut in Argentina in 1954 season with Juan-Manuel Fangio;helped the Argentinian to 1954 and ’57 Formula One World Championships.