|This article needs additional citations for verification. (July 2013)|
Moss in 2011
17 September 1929 |
West Kensington, London, UK
|Formula One World Championship career|
|Teams||Mercedes-Benz, Maserati, Vanwall, Rob Walker Cooper, Lotus & HWM|
|Races||67 (66 starts)|
|Career points||185 9⁄14 (186 9⁄14)|
|First race||1951 Swiss Grand Prix|
|First win||1955 British Grand Prix|
|Last win||1961 German Grand Prix|
|Last race||1961 United States Grand Prix|
Sir Stirling Craufurd Moss, OBE (born 17 September 1929) is a former Formula One racing driver from England. An inductee into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, he achieved success in several categories of competition and has been described as "the greatest driver never to win the World Championship".
- 1 Early life
- 2 Racing career
- 3 Broadcasting career
- 4 Return to racing
- 5 After his racing career
- 6 Quotes
- 7 Driving ban
- 8 Controversy
- 9 Racing record
- 10 References
- 11 External links
Moss was born in London, the son of Aileen (née Craufurd) and Alfred Moss, a dentist of Bray, Berkshire, where Stirling was raised at Long White Cloud house on the right bank of the River Thames. Alfred was an amateur racing driver who had placed 16th at the 1924 Indianapolis 500. Stirling was a gifted horse rider as was his younger sister, Pat Moss, who became a successful rally driver and married Erik Carlsson.
Moss was educated at independent schools; Shrewsbury House School (Surbiton) Clewer Manor Junior School and the linked senior school Haileybury and Imperial Service College. All were for boys (but the latter are now co-educational except for Shrewsbury) and located at Hertford Heath, near Hertford.
Moss, who raced from 1948 to 1962, won 212 of the 529 races he entered, including 16 Formula One Grands Prix. He would compete in as many as 62 races in a single year and drove 84 different makes of car over the course of his racing career, including Cooper 500, ERA, Lotus, Maserati, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Vanwall single-seaters, Aston Martin, Ferrari, Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz sports cars, and Jaguar saloons. Like many drivers of the era, he competed in several formulae, often on the same day.
He preferred to race British cars, stating, "Better to lose honourably in a British car than win in a foreign one". At Vanwall, he was instrumental in breaking the German/Italian stranglehold on F1 racing (as was Jack Brabham at Cooper). He remained the English driver with the most Formula One victories until 1991 when Nigel Mansell overtook him after competing in more races.
One of the Cooper Car Company's first customers, Moss used winnings from horse-riding events to put a deposit on a Cooper 500 racing car in 1948, then persuaded his father, who opposed him racing and wanted him to become a dentist, to let him buy it. He soon demonstrated his ability with numerous wins at national and international levels, and continued to compete in Formula Three, with Coopers and Kiefts, after graduating to more senior categories.
His first major international race victory came with a borrowed Jaguar XK120 in the 1950 RAC Tourist Trophy on the Dundrod circuit in Northern Ireland. He went on to win the race six more times, in 1951 (Jaguar C-Type), 1955 (Mercedes-Benz 300SLR), 1958 and 1959 (Aston Martin DBR1), and 1960 and 1961 (Ferrari 250 GT).
Also a competent rally driver, he is one of three people to have won a Coupe d'Or (Gold Cup) for three consecutive penalty-free runs on the Alpine Rally (Coupe des Alpes), and finished second in the 1952 Monte Carlo Rally driving a Sunbeam-Talbot 90 with Desmond Scannell and "Autocar" magazine editor John Cooper as co-drivers.
In 1953 Mercedes-Benz racing boss Alfred Neubauer had spoken to Moss's manager Ken Gregory about the possibility of Moss joining the Mercedes Grand Prix team. Having seen Moss do well in a relatively uncompetitive car, and wanting to see how he would perform in a better one, Neubauer suggested Moss buy a Maserati for the 1954 season. He bought a Maserati 250F, and although the car's unreliability prevented Moss from achieving high points in the championship he qualified alongside the Mercedes frontrunners on several occasions and performed well in the races.
In the Italian Grand Prix at Monza he passed both the drivers who were considered the best in Formula One at the time—Juan Manuel Fangio in a Mercedes and Alberto Ascari in a Ferrari—and took the lead. Ascari retired with engine problems, and Moss led until lap 68 when his engine also failed. Fangio took the victory, and Moss pushed his Maserati to the finish. Neubauer, already impressed when Moss had tested a Mercedes-Benz W196 at Hockenheim, promptly signed him for 1955.
Moss's first Formula One victory was in the 1955 British Grand Prix at Aintree, a race he was also the first British driver to win. Leading a 1–2–3–4 finish for Mercedes, it was the first time he beat Fangio, his teammate and arch rival, who was also his friend and mentor. It has been suggested that Fangio sportingly allowed Moss to win in front of his home crowd. Moss himself asked Fangio repeatedly, and Fangio always replied: "No. You were just better than me that day."
In 1955 Moss won the Mille Miglia in a record-breaking 10 hours 7 minutes 48 seconds, which brought him to the finish almost half an hour ahead of teammate Fangio in second place. Journalist Denis Jenkinson, Moss' navigator in the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR #722 (the number indicated the time the car left the start), had come up with the idea of pace notes in the form of a roller map annotated with details of the road ahead---an innovation that helped Moss compete against drivers with more local knowledge. Jenkinson later wrote extensively about the experience.
Moss won the Nassau Cup at the 1956 and 1957 Bahamas Speed Week. Also in 1957 he won on the longest circuit ever to hold a World Championship Grand Prix, the 25 km (16 mi) Pescara Circuit, where he again demonstrated his mastery of long-distance racing. The event lasted three hours and Moss beat Fangio, who started from pole position, by a little over 3 minutes.
Moss's sporting attitude cost him the 1958 Formula 1 World Championship. When rival Mike Hawthorn was threatened with a penalty after the Portuguese Grand Prix, Moss defended him. Hawthorn was accused of reversing on the track after spinning and stalling his car on an uphill section. Moss had shouted advice to Hawthorn to steer downhill, against traffic, to bump-start the car, which Hawthorn did. Moss's quick thinking, and his defence of Hawthorn before the stewards, preserved Hawthorn's 6 points for his second-place finish behind Moss. Hawthorn went on to beat Moss for the championship title by one point, even though he had won only one race that year to Moss's four.
Moss was as gifted in sports cars as in a Grand Prix cars. To his victories in the Tourist Trophy, the Sebring 12 Hours and the Mille Miglia he added three consecutive wins (1958–1960) in the gruelling 1,000 km (620 mi) race at Germany's Nürburgring, the first two in an Aston Martin (in which he did most of the driving) and the third in a Tipo 61 "birdcage" Maserati, co-driving with the American Dan Gurney. The pair lost nearly six minutes when an oil hose blew off, but despite miserable conditions they made up the time and took 1st place.
In the 1960 Formula One season, Moss won the Monaco in Rob Walker's Coventry-Climax-powered Lotus 18. Seriously injured in an accident at the Burnenville curve during practice for the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps, he missed the next three races but recovered sufficiently to win the final one of the season, the United States Grand Prix at Riverside, California.
For the 1961 Formula One season, run under new 1.5-litre rules, Enzo Ferrari fielded the "sharknose" Ferrari 156 with an all-new V6 engine. Moss's Climax-engined Lotus was comparatively underpowered, but he won the 1961 Monaco Grand Prix by 3.6 seconds, beating the Ferraris of Richie Ginther, Wolfgang von Trips, and Phil Hill, and went on to win the partially wet 1961 German Grand Prix. In addition to his skill, two other factors helped compensate for the Lotus's power deficit in these races. First, the tight circuit at Monaco favored the nimble Lotus, reducing the horsepower advantage of the heavier, ill-handling Ferraris; and second, at the Nürburgring Moss and manager Ken Gregory took the risky decision to fit rain tyres after a pre-race shower soaked the track. Had the skies cleared and the track dried, the decision would have had adverse consequences for Moss. In the event, the rain returned and although Moss's tyres rapidly deteriorated he was able to drive away from Hill and Trips to take the win.
In 1962, he crashed his Lotus heavily during the Glover Trophy at Goodwood. The accident put him in a coma for a month, and for six months the left side of his body was partially paralysed. He recovered, but retired from professional racing after a private test session in a Lotus 19 the following year, when he lapped a few tenths of a second slower than before. He felt he had not regained his previously instinctive command of the car. He had been runner-up in the Drivers' Championship four years in succession, from 1955 to 1958, and third in each of the next three years.
Return to racing
In 1980 he made a brief comeback in the British Touring Car Championship with Audi, alongside Martin Brundle. Previously he also competed in the 1974 World Cup Rally in a Mercedes-Benz but retired from the event in the Algerian Sahara. The Holden Torana he shared with Jack Brabham in the 1976 Bathurst 1000 was hit from behind on the grid and eventually retired with engine failure, and he also shared a Volkswagen Golf GTI with Denny Hulme in the 1979 Benson & Hedges 500 at Pukekohe Park Raceway in New Zealand.
More recently he raced in events for historic cars, and campaigned his own OSCA FS 372 during the 2009 season.
On 9 June 2011 during qualifying for the Le Mans Legends race, Moss announced on Radio Le Mans that he had finally retired from racing, saying that he had scared himself that afternoon. He was 81.
After his racing career
In June 2005 at the Goodwood Festival of Speed Moss signed the bonnet of his 1955 Mille Miglia-winning Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR. It was the car's final public appearance before retiring to the newly-built Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart.
Although occasionally an outspoken critic of Michael Schumacher, in October 2006 Moss ranked him joint fourth with Tazio Nuvolari in the pantheon of all-time greats, behind Juan Manuel Fangio, Ayrton Senna, and Jim Clark. His 80th birthday, on 17 September 2009, fell on the eve of the Goodwood Revival. Lord March celebrated with an 80-car parade on each of the three days of the Revival. Moss drove different cars each day: a Mercedes W196 Monoposto, the Lotus 18 with which he had won the 1961 Monaco GP, and an Aston Martin DBR3.
On 7 March 2010 Moss broke both ankles and four bones in a foot, and also chipped four vertebrae and suffered skin lesions, when he fell down a lift shaft at his home. Recovered from his injuries, he appeared in a pre-race BBC interview at the 2010 British Grand Prix meeting at Silverstone and presented Lewis Hamilton with his second-place trophy on the podium.
In 1990, Moss was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame.
In the New Year Honours 2000 List, Moss was made a Knight Bachelor for services to Motor Racing. On 21 March 2000, he was knighted by Prince Charles, standing in for the Queen who was on an official visit to Australia. As Moss drove his Mercedes away from Buckingham Palace after the ceremony, he was stopped by a palace guard who joked: "Who do you think you are? Stirling Moss?" Moss smiled and replied "Sir Stirling Moss, actually."
He received the 2005 Segrave Trophy.
In 2006, Moss was awarded the FIA gold medal in recognition of his outstanding contribution to motorsport.
In December 2008, McLaren-Mercedes unveiled their final model of the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren. The model was named in honour of Stirling Moss, hence, Mercedes McLaren SLR Stirling Moss, which has a top speed of 217 mph (349 km/h) with wind deflectors instead of a windscreen.
In 1963, noted motorsports author and commentator Ken Purdy published a biographical book entitled All But My Life about Stirling Moss (first published by William Kimber & Co., Ltd., London), based on material gathered through interviews with Moss.
For many years during and after his career, the rhetorical phrase "Who do you think you are, Stirling Moss?" was supposedly the standard question all British policemen asked speeding motorists. Moss relates he himself was once stopped for speeding and asked just that; he reports the traffic officer had some difficulty believing him. As related in the book The Life and Times of Private Eye, Moss was the subject of a less than respectful cartoon biography in the magazine Private Eye. The cartoon, drawn by Willie Rushton, showed him continually crashing, having his driving licence revoked and finally "hosting television programmes on subjects he knows nothing about". It also made reference to the amnesia Moss suffered from as a result of head injuries sustained in the crash at Goodwood in 1962. According to the book, Moss responded by offering to buy the original of the cartoon, an outcome the book describes as "depressingly common" for its satirical cartoons about famous people.
In March 1958, Moss was a guest challenger on the TV panel show "What's My Line?" (episode with Anita Ekberg).
He is one of the few drivers of his era to create a brand from his name for licensing purposes, which was launched when his website was revamped in 2009 with improved content.
"I certainly had an appreciation of the danger which to me was part of the pleasure of racing. To me now racing is – the dangers are taken away: if it's difficult, they put in a chicane. So really now the danger is minimal – which is good, because people aren't hurt. But for me the fact that I had danger on my shoulder made it much more exciting. It's rather like if you flirt with a girl, it's more exciting than paying for a prostitute, because while you know you're gonna get it, the other one you don't. And I think with driving a motor car, the danger is a very necessary ingredient. Like if you're cooking, you need salt. You can cook without salt, but it doesn't have the flavour. It's the same with motor racing without danger. For me."
On older drivers: "You don't know how many years they've driven causing accidents! I'm not quite as urgent as I was... I know that my knowledge of road signs, there's some that I might not know which I should know... The other thing I find as I get older I'm less inclined to check the oil and check the tyres and so on, which is very important."
Gay rights campaigners criticized remarks Moss made in a 2013 interview at the Motor Racing Hall of Fame, saying they were "offensive" and "homophobic". Moss had said he would not want a "poofter or anything like that" to play him on screen, and added that he thought "it would be difficult for someone of the other persuasion, who is homosexual, to take on the part, as I have spent my life driving cars and chasing girls." Responding to the criticism, he said: "I’m sorry I’ve caused offence, but I’m disappointed anyone could be so narrow-minded as to take offence. It was not meant to cause any.”
Later the same year Moss again caused controversy by saying that women "lacked the mental aptitude" to compete in Formula 1.
Complete Formula One World Championship results
(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicate fastest lap)
- † Indicates shared drive with Hans Herrmann and Karl Kling.
- * Indicates shared drive with Cesare Perdisa.
- ‡ Indicates shared drive with Tony Brooks.
- џ Indicates shared drive with Maurice Trintignant, no points scored.
- 1955; Champion: Juan Manuel Fangio (40 points, Gap: 17 points)
- 1956; Champion: Juan Manuel Fangio (30 points, Gap: 3 points)
- 1957; Champion: Juan Manuel Fangio (40 points, Gap: 15 points)
- 1958; Champion: Mike Hawthorn (42 points, Gap: 1 point)
- 1959; Champion: Jack Brabham (31 points, Gap: 5 1⁄2 points)
- 1960; Champion: Jack Brabham (43 points, Gap: 24 points)
- 1961; Champion: Phil Hill (34 points, Gap: 13 points)
(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)
- Up until 1990, not all points scored by a driver contributed to their final World Championship tally (see list of points scoring systems for more information). Numbers without parentheses are Championship points; numbers in parentheses are total points scored.
- "Sir Stirling Moss". grandprix.com. Retrieved 21 October 2006.
- "English F1 Legend Moss Holds Unique Place in AARWBA Lore". indianapolismotorspeedway.com. 14 October 2004. Retrieved 29 August 2008.
- "Hamilton still on track to greatness". London: independent.co.uk. 22 October 2007. Retrieved 29 August 2008.
- "International Motorsports Hall of Fame".
- Tremayne, David and Mark Hughes. The Concise Encyclopedia of Formula One. London: Dempsey Parr, 1998, p.169. ISBN 1-84084-037-4.
- Wright, Alfred (12 December 1960). "A Long, Loud Huzzah For Nassau". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 3 January 2013.
- Kettlewell, Mike. "Monaco: Road Racing on the Riviera", in Northey, Tom, editor. World of Automobiles (London: Orbis, 1974), Volume 12, p.1384.
- Kettlewell, p.1384.
- Green, Evan. A Boot Full of Right Arms, Cassell Australia, 1975.
- "Stirling Moss announces retirement at age of 81". Reuters. 9 June 2011.
- The Stirling Moss Website – News
- "Stirling Moss falls down lift shaft". Eurosport (TF1 Group; Thomson Reuters). 8 March 2010. Retrieved 8 March 2010.
- Noble, Jonathan (8 March 2010). "Moss injured in lift accident". autosport.com (Haymarket Publications). Retrieved 8 March 2010.
- AP (21 March 2000). "Stirling Moss receives knighthood". London: The Independent. Retrieved 9 March 2010.
- Legend Moss receives FIA honour
- English, Andrew (8 May 2012). "Sir Stirling Moss interview". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2 July 2012.
- UKIP sprouts as celebrities make a stand on Brussels
- Monaco – Race of Kings, (IMC Vision, 2008)
- BBC – Stirling Moss on elderly drivers
- "Twelve months' ban and £50 fine on Stirling Moss". The Times (London). 14 April 1960. p. 6.
- Bowie-Sell, Daisy (14 March 2013). "Stirling Moss doesn't want a 'poofter' to play him on film". The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group Limited. Retrieved 16 April 2013.
- "Sir Stirling Moss draws criticism for homophobic comment". Yahoo! Sport Uk & Ireland. 15 March 2013. Retrieved 16 April 2013.
- Barretto, Lawrence (15 April 2013). "Sir Stirling Moss says women lack mental aptitude for Formula 1". BBC Sport. Retrieved 16 April 2013.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Stirling Moss.|
- Sir Stirling Moss – Official Web Site
- Grand Prix History – Hall of Fame, Stirling Moss
- Stirling Moss profile at The 500 Owners Association