Stirling Moss is often tagged as the best driver never to win a world championship.

His early years in Formula One were unsuccessful, largely because he was in British cars at a time the Italian marques were dominant, but in 1954 he switched to Mercedes, returning to the sport for the first time since the war. He was sent away with the suggestion he drive a competitive car to see what he was capable of, and with that in mind, Moss bought a Maserati.


Even though the season was a disappointment, his third place in his first outing – at Spa – persuaded Mercedes to offer him a drive in 1955 alongside Juan Manuel Fangio. The relationship blossomed from the off, the old master and the young pupil. Moss won the British Grand Prix at Aintree – debate continues to this day as to whether Fangio allowed him to do so – and Moss finished the season third as Fangio secured the third of his five titles. That year he also won the gruelling Mille Miglia.



However, Mercedes withdrew in the aftermath of the Le Mans disaster and Moss was forced to turn to Maserati in 1956, winning twice and finishing second to Fangio in the championship.

Sir Stirling Moss in a Maserati Maserati NA


A return to a British marque followed in 1957, but by this time they had become competitive. He won another three races for Vanwall but for the second time was beaten by Fangio in the championship.

Fangio’s retirement opened the door for him in 1958, but despite four wins he was beaten into second by one point by Mike Hawthorn, even though he had managed only the one victory. Again, Moss had to move teams as Vanwall folded in the wake of Stuart Lewis-Evans’ death in the season finale in Morocco.


In 1959 and 1960 Moss drove assorted cars, mainly Coopers, winning twice in 1959 and then at Monaco in 1960. He was sidelined for much of the season after a bad crash in practice at Spa on the same weekend two British drivers died in the race itself.

In 1961 Ferrari dominated under rule changes which caught British manufacturers cold, but Moss’ skill was underlined in Monaco where his underpowered Lotus held a trio of snapping Ferraris at bay lap after lap. On faster circuits even he was unable to compete, but a second win came at the Nurburgring. He finished the year third in the championship, completing a seven-year sequence of four seconds followed by four thirds.


For 1962 Enzo Ferrari was prepared to offer Moss anything to drive for him, but in a non-championship race at Goodwood in April Moss crashed heavily and was critically injured. He was in a coma for a month, and spent the rest of the year slowly recovering. Twelve months later he returned to Goodwood to drive for the first time, but almost immediately returned to the pits and announced his retirement. He explained what had come naturally now required conscious decisions, and that was not good enough. He was still only 32, the same age as Graham Hill who was to win the world title for a second time six years later.



Via Espn

One Response

  1. Ben Guynan

    Dear Sir

    I have noticed that your Stirling Moss article – ‘Why Stirling Moss will always be cooler than you’ has recently included an image from the LAT Archive. In particularly, I refer to the top colour image in this article, which is protected under the World Copyright terms for LAT Photographic.

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