10001

Stirling Moss

Full name
Sir Stirling Crauford Moss, OBE
Born
17th September 1929 (Died age 90) - Kensington, London
Nationality
British
British
Years Raced
12
Recent Race
Starts
125 (3)
Wins
56
Poles
50
Podiums
79

“Mr Motor Racing” – a legend and the best Grand Prix driver never to win the world championship. There are many more ways to describe one of the most famous drivers in the history of the sport. Stirling Moss finished as Formula 1’s runner-up for four years in a row as he had the misfortune (or privilege) to race at the same time as Juan Manuel Fangio.

His career also spanned generations – Moss racing against Rudolf Caracciola in the 1952 Mille Miglia and was Martin Brundle’s team-mate in an ill-fated return in the British Touring Car Championship in 1979. He continued to race into his eighties in historic events and is perhaps the most famous motor racing name in his home country.

Upbringing and early career

His father Alfred Moss finished 16th in 1924 Indianapolis 500 while in America studying to become a dentist. Born in West London five years later, Stirling Moss lived in the city throughout his life despite tax advantages elsewhere.

He first competed with a BMW 328 in trials and rallies during 1947 and it was the following year and with a 500cc Formula 3 Cooper MkII-JAP that he began winning races. He turned professional in 1950 with HWM but broke his knee at Naples. Back racing just two weeks later, he gained national fame by winning that year’s Tourist Trophy at Dundrod with Tommy Wisdom’s Jaguar XK120.

Grand Prix debut for HWM

Moss drove anything from single-seaters to rallies and proved remarkably adaptable to all sorts of machinery. Success continued with his 500cc Cooper MkV-Norton in 1951 and Moss finished eighth on his world championship debut in that year’s Swiss GP after his HWM-Alta ran out of fuel on the line. He was third in the non-championship Dutch GP and returned to Dundrod to win the TT again, now driving a works Jaguar C-type.

He tested the overly complicated BRM during the winter but it was not ready to race. Organisers hastily switched the 1952 World Championship to Formula 2 rules and Moss made five frustrating GP starts for HWM, ERA and Connaught – retiring on each occasion. Sixth for Cooper in the 1953 German GP, Moss finished second in that year’s Le Mans 24 Hours with a works Jaguar C-type and Peter Walker. A generally disappointing year in single-seaters was ended by a broken shoulder after a crash during a Formule Libre race at Castle Combe.

Formula 1 breakthrough with Maserati and Mercedes-Benz

The 1954 season proved to be his breakthrough one for Moss. He won the Sebring 12 Hours in Briggs Cunningham’s OSCA MT4 and, disappointed not to be included in the new Mercedes-Benz team, bought a Maserati 250F for the world championship’s return to F1 rules. He immediately finished third in the Belgian GP to score his first championship points. A works driver for the Italians by the end of the campaign, he did not finish another race. However, he impressed during qualifying and led the Italian GP until he retired within sight of victory.

Alfred Neubauer was impressed and Moss joined Mercedes-Benz for 1955 as Juan Manuel Fangio’s team-mate in both F1 and sports cars. They became known as “The Train” as they ran nose-to-tail in successive GPs with the Argentinian inches ahead and world champion once more. The exception was the British GP at Aintree when Moss scored his first GP victory. They finished in line astern as Mercedes swept the top four positions but Moss remains unsure as to whether Fangio had let him win his home race on purpose.

As well as F1, Moss enjoyed a successful sports car season in 1955 that included his greatest victory – winning the Mille Miglia in a Mercedes-Benz 300SLR when navigated by Motor Sport’s Denis Jenkinson. He also won the Tourist Trophy and Targa Florio but Mercedes withdrew from the sport at the end of the year in the wake of the “Le Mans disaster”.

Perennial championship runner-up

Runner-up behind Fangio in the 1955 F1 World Championship, he repeated that result for the next two years when racing as Maserati’s team leader. He also finished second at Le Mans again in 1956 in the works Aston Martin DB3S he shared with Peter Collins.

Moss had always wanted to race for a competitive British F1 team and he joined Vanwall in 1957. He won the British GP after taking over from the ill Tony Brooks and added two further victories to finish second in the World Championship once more. Fangio, his hero and nemesis, entered semi-retirement at the end of the year and it was Moss that would surely benefit with a long overdue and deserved world title.

Contracted to Vanwall once more in 1958, he won the opening GP in Argentina with Rob Walker’s Cooper T43-Climax in the team’s absence. He won another three rounds for Vanwall but that was not enough. Reliability hindered Moss’ cause and Ferrari’s Mike Hawthorn snatched the crown at the Moroccan finale by a single point despite only winning once. That was as close as Moss came to winning the title but Vanwall were crowned inaugural constructors’ champions that year.

Upsetting the odds with Rob Walker

Vanwall withdrew from racing before the new season and Moss rebuffed advances from Ferrari (not for the first time) to race for Rob Walker’s private team from 1959. Gearbox reliability thwarted his championship hopes that year although he was part of a three-way title decider in the United States GP. His Cooper T51-Climax failed once more and Moss was third in the final standings.

Walker bought a Lotus 18-Climax for the 1960 Monaco GP and Moss scored that marque’s first GP victory. But he was seriously injured when his left rear wheel fell off at approximately 140mph while practising for the Belgian GP. With fractures to legs and back, Moss returned before the end of the year and won the United States GP – his second race back. Despite being absent from three races (and part of the British boycott of that year’s Italian GP), Moss was third in the world championship once more.

New rules were introduced for 1961 and Ferrari was expected to dominate. That year’s Monaco GP was perhaps Moss’s finest victory as his old Lotus held off the faster Ferraris lap-after-lap. He scored his 16th and final F1 championship victory in the German GP after his car had been updated with Lotus 21 bodywork.

For the third year in a row, Moss was third in the championship having finished top-three for seven years in a row despite injury and often not having the fastest or most reliable car. No one has done more in a GP car without winning the title.

The Goodwood accident and subsequent life

He continued with his varied racing programme at the start of 1962 but crashed a British Racing Partnership Lotus 18-Climax at Goodwood’s St Mary’s corner during the Glover Trophy. Britain’s most famous driver was severely injured although the cause was never fully explained. It was a year before he was fully recovered from the head injuries he had sustained and he decided to retire.

Moss is one of the anomalies that prove that championship titles sometimes do not matter. Always the consummate professional, he was awarded the British Racing Drivers’ Club Gold Star on a record 10 occasions and is as much a legend today as he was at the height of his racing career.

Knighted in 2000, Sir Stirling Moss remains world champion in all but name.

Championship Seasons

Season Name Starts Poles Podiums Wins Position Points Results

1961

World Sportscar Championship

North American Racing Team

0

0

0

0

U

0

1961

South African Drivers Championship

Rob Walker Racing

0

1

2

2

U

0

1961

F1 World Championship

Rob Walker Racing

8

1

2

2 - 25% win rate

3

21

1960

World Sportscar Championship

Lucky Casner

1

0

1

1 - 100% win rate

U

0

1960

International F2 Championship

Rob Walker Racing

1

2

2

1 - 100% win rate

3

14

1960

F1 World Championship

Rob Walker Racing

5 (1)

4

3

2 - 40% win rate

3

19

1959

World Sportscar Championship

Aston Martin Cars

David Brown Racing

2

0

2

2 - 100% win rate

U

0

1959

F1 World Championship

British Racing Partnership

Rob Walker Racing

8

4

3

2 - 25% win rate

3

25

1958

World Sportscar Championship

Aston Martin Cars

David Brown Racing

4

2

3

2 - 50% win rate

U

0

1958

F1 World Championship

Rob Walker Racing

Vandervell Products

10

3

5

4 - 40% win rate

2

41

1957

World Sportscar Championship

Francesco Godia-Sales

Officine Alfieri Maserati

5

1

4

1 - 20% win rate

U

0

1957

F1 World Championship

Officine Alfieri Maserati

Vandervell Products

6

2

3

3 - 50% win rate

2

25

1956

World Sportscar Championship

Officine Alfieri Maserati

2

0

2

2 - 100% win rate

U

0

1956

F1 World Championship

Officine Alfieri Maserati

7

1

4

2 - 29% win rate

2

27

1955

World Sportscar Championship

Healey Motors

Daimler-Benz

4

1

3

3 - 75% win rate

U

0

1955

F1 World Championship

Daimler-Benz

6

1

3

1 - 17% win rate

2

23

1954

World Sportscar Championship

Briggs Cunningham

Jaguar Cars

1

0

1

1 - 100% win rate

U

0

1954

F1 World Championship

Equipe Moss

Officine Alfieri Maserati

6

0

1

0

13

4

1953

World Sportscar Championship

Jaguar Cars

2

1

2

0

U

0

1953

F1 World Championship

Connaught Engineering

Cooper Car Co

4

0

0

0

U

0

1952

F1 World Championship

Connaught Engineering

English Racing Automobiles

5

0

0

0

U

0

1951

F1 World Championship

Hersham & Walton Motors

1

0

0

0

U

0

Non Championship Races

Title Date Circuit Laps Position

1962 Snetterton F1

14/04/1962

Snetterton

50

7

1962 New Zealand Grand Prix

06/01/1962

Ardmore

50

1

1962 Goodwood F1

23/04/1962

Goodwood

42

R

1962 Brussels Grand Prix

01/04/1962

Heysel

66

R

1961 Vienna Grand Prix

16/04/1961

Aspern

55

1

1961 Syracuse Grand Prix

25/04/1961

Syracuse, Sicily

56

8

1961 Solitude Grand Prix

23/07/1961

Solitude

25

R

1961 Oulton Park Gold Cup

23/09/1961

Oulton Park

60

1

1961 Modena Grand Prix

03/09/1961

Modena Aerautodromo

100

1

1961 Kanonloppet

20/08/1961

Karlskoga

30

1

1961 Goodwood F1

03/04/1961

Goodwood

42

4

1961 Danish Grand Prix

26/08/1961

Roskildering

80

1

1961 Brussels Grand Prix

09/04/1961

Heysel

66

7

1961 Brands Hatch F1

03/06/1961

Brands Hatch

76

1

1961 BARC 200

22/04/1961

Aintree

50

R

1960 Oulton Park Gold Cup

24/09/1960

Oulton Park

60

1

1960 International Trophy

14/05/1960

Silverstone

50

R

1960 Goodwood F1

18/04/1960

Goodwood

42

2

1959 Oulton Park Gold Cup

26/09/1959

Oulton Park

55

1

1959 New Zealand Grand Prix

10/01/1959

Ardmore

75

1

1959 International Trophy

02/05/1959

Silverstone

50

R

1959 Goodwood F1

30/03/1959

Goodwood

42

1

1959 BARC 200

18/04/1959

Aintree

67

R

1958 Race of Two Worlds

29/06/1958

Monza

189

7

1958 International Trophy

03/05/1958

Silverstone

50

R

1958 Goodwood F1

07/04/1958

Goodwood

42

R

1958 Caen Grand Prix

20/07/1958

Caen

86

1

1958 BARC 200

19/04/1958

Aintree

67

1

1957 Syracuse Grand Prix

07/04/1957

Syracuse, Sicily

80

3

1957 Moroccan Grand Prix

27/10/1957

Ain Diab

55

DNS

1957 Goodwood F1

22/04/1957

Goodwood

32

R

1957 Buenos Aires Grand Prix

27/01/1957

Buenos Aires

60

R

1957 Buenos Aires Grand Prix

27/01/1957

Buenos Aires

60

6

1956 Venezuelan Grand Prix

06/11/1956

Caracas

85

1

1956 New Zealand Grand Prix

07/01/1956

Ardmore

100

1

1956 London Trophy

21/05/1956

Crystal Palace

20

1

1956 Le Mans 24 Hours

28/07/1956

Le Mans

300

2

1956 International Trophy

05/05/1956

Silverstone

60

1

1956 Goodwood F1

02/04/1956

Goodwood

32

1

1956 Buenos Aires Grand Prix

05/02/1956

Mendoza

60

2

1956 BARC 200

21/04/1956

Aintree

67

1

1956 Australian Grand Prix

02/12/1956

Albert Park

80

1

1955 Snetterton F1

13/08/1955

Snetterton

25

3

1955 Oulton Park Gold Cup

24/09/1955

Oulton Park

54

1

1955 International Trophy

07/05/1955

Silverstone

60

R

1955 Goodwood F1

11/04/1955

Goodwood

21

R

1955 Bordeaux Grand Prix

24/04/1955

Bordeaux

123

4

1955 Aintree F1

03/09/1955

Aintree

17

R

1954 Rome Grand Prix

06/06/1954

Castel Fusano

60

NC

1954 Pescara Grand Prix

15/08/1954

Pescara

16

R

1954 Oulton Park Gold Cup

07/08/1954

Oulton Park

36

1

1954 International Trophy

15/05/1954

Silverstone

35

R

1954 Goodwood F1

25/09/1954

Goodwood

21

1

1954 Caen Grand Prix

25/07/1954

Caen

60

2

1954 Bordeaux Grand Prix

09/05/1954

Bordeaux

123

4

1954 BARC 200

29/05/1954

Aintree

34

1

1954 Aintree F1

02/10/1954

Aintree

17

1

1953 Rouen Grand Prix

28/06/1953

Rouen-les-Essarts

60

10

1952 Ulster Trophy

07/06/1952

Dundrod

34

R

1952 Le Mans 24 Hours

14/06/1952

Le Mans

277

R

1952 Boreham F1

02/08/1952

Boreham

67

7

1951 San Remo Grand Prix

22/04/1951

San Remo

90

5

1951 Le Mans 24 Hours

23/06/1951

Le Mans

267

R

1951 International Trophy

05/05/1951

Silverstone

6

14

1951 Goodwood F1

26/03/1951

Goodwood

12

5

1951 Goodwood F1

29/09/1951

Goodwood

15

5

1951 Dutch Grand Prix

22/07/1951

Zandvoort

90

3

1951 Bari Grand Prix

02/09/1951

Bari

65

DNS

1950 Paris Grand Prix

30/04/1950

Montlhery

50

R

1950 International Trophy

26/08/1950

Silverstone

35

6

1950 Goodwood F1

30/09/1950

Goodwood

12

7

1950 Bari Grand Prix

09/07/1950

Bari

60

3

1949 Goodwood F1

17/09/1949

Goodwood

10

R

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