12th April 2020 saw the news that British Formula One driver, Sir Stirling Moss had passed away at 90 years old, following his decision to retire from public life in 2018 due to ongoing health problems.
Known as the greatest racer never to win the Formula One World Championship, Stirling Moss remains as one of the most famous names in the Formula One paddock. Moss started his career in his father’s BMW 328, showing himself to be more than competent behind the wheel, immediately winning at National and International level. This led to a move to Formula 3, talks with Enzo Ferrari for a Formula 2 seat, which never came to fruition, and a win in the 1954 12 Hours of Sebring.
Starting his Formula One career in a fast but unreliable Maserati, Moss turned heads, most notably in the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, passing both Juan Manuel Fangio and Alberto Ascari for the lead. While his engine didn’t last the full race distance, Moss had shown himself to be a future contender in the sport, being promptly signed by Mercedes for 1955. In Formula One, Moss achieved legendary status, finishing 2nd in the World Championship four times and 3rd the other three occasions between 1955 and 1961. Famously, in 1958, Moss lost the championship by one point after preventing the disqualification of his friend and fellow racer, Mike Hawthorn, who was accused of reversing on track during that season’s Portuguese Grand Prix.
Moss found success in many other forms of motorsport, which contributed to his reputation as a fantastic all round racer. 212 victories in all categories, a dominant win in the Mille Miglia, 3 consecutive wins in the 1000km Nurburging and various speed records were testament to his amazing ability.
Moss could have gone on to achieve even more, until a huge crash at Goodwood left him in a coma for a month and paralysed for a further 6 months. Moss did however continue some racing appearances in contemporary equipment, but most notably historic racing toward the end of his career. His formally announced his retirement in June 2011, aged 81.
Off track, Moss also became well known as a broadcaster for Formula One and NASCAR, with the American ABC company. It was during this time that Moss began to receive honours for his motorsport career, most notably his Knighthood in 2011.
Sir Stirling Moss may be known as the Greatest Racer to never win the world championship, however his accolades, talent and personality define should define him as someone far greater, someone which all of his rivals refer to when discussing the great Sir Stirling Moss.
“He walked like a racing driver should walk, he talked like a racing driver, he looked like a racing driver and he set a standard that I think has been unmatched since he retired.” Jackie Stewart on BBC Radio 5 Live
Feature Imagine Credit: Motorsport Images