Stirling Moss


Stirling Moss

Infobox F1 driver
Name = Stirling Moss


Caption = Moss in 2008
Nationality = flagicon|UK British
Years = 1951 - 1961
Team(s) = Mercedes-Benz, Maserati, Vanwall, Rob Walker Cooper & Lotus
Races = 67 (66 starts)
Championships = 0
Wins = 16
Podiums = 24
Points = 185.64 (186.64)Up until F1|1990, not all points scored by a driver contributed to their final World Championship tally (see list of pointscoring systems for more information). Numbers without parentheses are Championship points; numbers in parentheses are total points scored.]
Poles = 16
Fastest laps = 19
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 September 17, 1929 in London) is a retired racing driver from England. His success in a variety of categories placed him among the world's elite – he is often called "the greatest driver never to win the World Championship".cite news
url=http://www.grandprix.com/gpe/drv-mossir.html
title=Sir Stirling Moss
publisher=grandprix.com
accessdate=2006-10-21
] [cite news| title =English F1 Legend Moss Holds Unique Place In AARWBA Lore| publisher =indianapolismotorspeedway.com| url =http://www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com/news/3664/English_F1_Legend_Moss_Holds_Unique_Place_In_AARWBA_Lore| date =2004-10-14| accessdate =2008-08-29] [cite news| title =Hamilton still on track to greatness| publisher =independent.co.uk| url =http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/motor-racing/james-lawton-hamilton-still-on-track-to-greatness-397525.html| date =2007-10-22| accessdate =2008-08-29]

Moss, who raced from 1948 to 1962, won 194 of the 497 races he entered, including 16 Formula One Grands Prix. He once told an interviewer that he had participated in 525 races overall, as many as 62 in a single year, in 84 different cars. Like many drivers of the era, he competed in several formulae – sometimes on the same day.

Racing career

Moss is the son of Alfred E. Moss, who placed 14th at the 1924 Indianapolis 500 in a "Fronty" Ford. His younger sister, Pat Moss, also took part in rallying, and married rally driver Erik Carlsson. Moss was educated at Clewer Manor Junior School and later at Haileybury and Imperial Service College. He was one of the first customers of the Cooper Car Company when he persuaded his father, Alfred Moss, to get him one of the new Cooper 500 cars. He quickly demonstrated his ability with numerous wins, at national and international level, and continued to compete in Formula Three, both in Coopers and Kieft cars long after graduating to the senior categories.

Moss was a pioneer in the British Formula One racing scene and placed second in the Drivers' Championship four times in a row from 1955 to 1958.

Moss finished second in the 1952 Monte Carlo Rally driving a Sunbeam-Talbot 90 with co-driver John Cooper. Cooper ran Moss in Formula One later in his career. Having won the Monaco Grand Prix and finished second in the Monte Carlo Rally, Moss is the most successful driver to have competed in both events.

Moss's first Formula One win was in 1955 at his home race, the British Grand Prix at Aintree, driving the superb Mercedes-Benz W196 Monoposto for a convincing German 1-2-3-4 win, with Karl Kling and Piero Taruffi in the international driver line-up. It was the only race where he finished in front of Juan Manuel Fangio, his teammate, friend, mentor and arch rival at Mercedes. It is sometimes debated whether Fangio, one of the all-time great gentlemen of sport, yielded the lead at the last corner to let Moss win in front of his home crowd. Moss himself asked Fangio repeatedly, "Did you let me win?" and Fangio always replied, "No. You were just better than me that day".fact|date=September 2008

One of his most famous drives was in the 1955 Mille Miglia, the Italian 1597 km open-road endurance race, which he won in the record time of 10 hours, 7 minutes, and 48 seconds, finishing almost half an hour ahead of teammate Fangio in second place. His navigator in the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR #722 (indicating the time of the start) was journalist Denis Jenkinson. As navigator, he supported Moss with notes about details of the long road trip, then an innovative technique. This assistance helped Moss compete against drivers who had a lot of local knowledge of the route. Jenkinson later wrote extensively about the experience. Moss revealed in a 2006 interview that his performance in that race also benefited from the use of amphetamines, the use of which was legal then. [ [http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/sport.cfm?id=481452006 I was high on drugs when I won the Mille Miglia, says Stirling Moss] , "Scotsman.com", 28 March 2006. Retrieved 2006-11-27]

In 1957 Moss won on the longest circuit to ever hold a Grand Prix, the daunting 25 kilometre Pescara Circuit, again demonstrating his skills at high speed, long distance driving. He beat Fangio, who started on pole, by a little over 3 minutes over the course of a gruelling 3 hour race.

Moss believed the manner in which the battle was fought was as important as the outcome. This sporting attitude cost him the 1958 Formula 1 World Championship. When rival Mike Hawthorn was threatened with a penalty in the Boavista Urban Circuit in Porto, Portugal, Moss defended Hawthorn's actions. Hawthorn was accused of reversing in the track after spinning his car. Hawthorn went on to beat Moss by one point, even though he had only won one race that year to Moss's four, making Hawthorn Britain's first World Champion.

Moss was as gifted at the wheel of a sports car as he was in a Grand Prix car. For three consecutive years (1958–1960) he won the grueling 1000 km race at Germany's Nürburgring, the first two years in an Aston Martin (where he won almost single-handedly) and the third in the memorable "birdcage" Maserati.

For the 1961 F1 season, which was run under 1.5-litre rules, Enzo Ferrari rolled out his state-of-the-art Ferrari 156, also known as "Sharknose". Moss was stuck with an underpowered Coventry-Climax-powered Lotus, but managed to win the 1961 Monaco Grand Prix by 3.6 seconds, and later also the partially wet 1961 German Grand Prix.

In 1962, Moss was badly injured in a crash at Goodwood while driving a Lotus in the Glover Trophy. The accident put him in a coma and partially paralyzed the left side of his body. [cite web|url=http://www.motorsportshalloffame.com/halloffame/1990/Stirling_Moss_main.htm|title=International Motorsports Hall of Fame ] He recovered but decided to retire from racing after a private test session the next year. He made a brief comeback in the British Touring Car Championship in 1980 with Audi, and in recent years has continued to race in historic cars.

During his career, Moss drove a private Jaguar, and raced for Maserati, Vanwall, Cooper, and Lotus, as well as Mercedes-Benz. He preferred to race British cars stating "Better to lose honorably in a British car than win in a foreign one". [cite web|url=http://www.motorsportshalloffame.com/halloffame/1990/Stirling_Moss_main.htm|title=International Motorsports Hall of Fame ] The British cars were often uncompetitive and this was considered the reason he never won the drivers' championship. At Vanwall, he was instrumental in breaking the German/Italian stranglehold on F1 racing (as was Jack Brabham at Cooper). Moss remained the most successful English driver in terms of wins until 1991 when Nigel Mansell overtook him, after competing in many more races.

Complete Formula One World Championship results

() (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.

; Note
* 1955; Champion: Juan Manuel Fangio (40 points, G

* 1956; Champion: Juan Manuel Fangio (30 points, G

* 1957; Champion: Juan Manuel Fangio (40 points, G

* 1958; Champion: Mike Hawthorn (42 points, G

* 1959; Champion: Jack Brabham (31 points, G

* 1960; Champion: Jack Brabham (43 points, G

* 1961; Champion: Phil Hill (34 points, G

Legacy

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. People in Britain continue to use 'Stirling Moss' as a nickname for family and friends who are known to be faster than usual behind the wheel.fact|date=September 2008

In 1990, Moss was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame.

In June 2005, while appearing at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, Moss signed the bonnet of his 1955 Mille Miglia winning Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR which was to be its last year of public appearances it made over numerous years, before retiring to the newly built Mercedes-Benz museum in Stuttgart.

He received the 2005 Segrave Trophy.

In 2006, Moss was awarded the FIA gold medal in recognition of his outstanding contribution to motorsport. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/motorsport/6163791.stm Legend Moss receives FIA honour] ]

In recent years, Moss has been an outspoken critic of Michael Schumacher, but in October 2006 Moss ranked Schumacher co-fourth (with Tazio Nuvolari) in the pantheon of all-time great drivers, behind Juan Manuel Fangio, Ayrton Senna and Jim Clark. [ [http://www.stirlingmoss.com/news.htm The Stirling Moss Website - News ] ]

Biography

In 1963, noted motorsports author and commentator Ken Purdy published the biographical book entitled "All But My Life" about Stirling Moss (first published by William Kimber & Co., Ltd., London). Curiously, although written by Purdy from material gathered through interviews with Moss, the book's copyright was retained by Moss.

The book opens with Moss in the hospital after his 1960 crash during practice for the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa Francorchamps. In a scene typical of Moss, Purdy describes him in good spirits, even flirting with his nurses. While most of the book examines Moss's racing career, and obliquely, the other drivers of his era, there are some true gems in the text that give a snapshot of Moss's personality:

"Another amusement is the standard photograph of two drivers in earnest conversation before a race. The caption, nine times in ten, will have them discussing 'strategy', whatever that is. I showed Stirling such a picture one day, asked him what he and the other fellow were really talking about. "Crumpet, what else?" he said".
The book contains many photographs spanning the breadth of Moss's racing career, as well as a table at the end of the book with a complete listing of Moss's race results, including short comments by Moss explaining each result. These comments run the gamut from the hilarious (10 February 1953, Chiltern Night Reliability Trial, driving a Morris Minor: "Made a mess of map-reading") to the tragic (18 June 1960, Belgian Grand Prix, driving a Lotus-Climax: "Crashed whilst practising for Belgian G.P., breaking both legs, nose and crushing 9th vertebra when wheel came off...").

An enduring testament to one of racing's greatest drivers and most engaging personalities, autographed first edition copies of All But My Life sell for hundreds of dollars.

Moss in Popular Culture

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 delusions and amnesia Moss supposedly suffered from as a result of his crash injuries. 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.

Moss was one of the celebrities who made a cameo appearance in the 1967 version of the James Bond film "Casino Royale" as Evelyn Tremble's (Peter Sellers) chauffeur.

Moss is the narrator in the popular children's series "Roary the Racing Car" which stars Peter Kay.

See also

* Mille Miglia
* International Motorsports Hall of Fame
* Juan Manuel Fangio

References

External links

* [http://www.stirlingmoss.com Sir Stirling Moss - The Authorised Web Site]
* [http://www.ddavid.com/formula1/moss_bio.htm Grand Prix History - Hall of Fame] , Stirling Moss
* [http://www.brooklands.org.uk/news/Alfredmoss.HTM Alfred Moss - his father racing at Brooklands] , Sir Stirling Moss is now the president of the Brooklands Society.
* [http://www.500race.org/Men/men.htm 500cc Formula 3 Drivers]

Persondata
NAME= Moss, Stirling
ALTERNATIVE NAMES=
SHORT DESCRIPTION=Formula One racing driver
DATE OF BIRTH=1929-09-17
PLACE OF BIRTH=London, United Kingdom
DATE OF DEATH=
PLACE OF DEATH=


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