Why did the late Stirling Moss get the title “car racing master”?


Moss was known to be the driver who was able to fly the car beyond its extreme “natural” limits, but while maintaining its behavior and balance thanks to his diverse skills, he paid the price for such a pace in an era when it was not possible at all to hand over the mechanical reliability of cars.

But when he was able to maintain the car’s consistency, Moss’s efforts were crowned with many victories – 212 out of 529 – some of which were already legendary.

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His victory in the Milli Milli in 1955 was one of those victories, as Moss crossed the 992-mile endurance course – which runs on public roads around Italy – in just 10 hours, 7 minutes and 48 seconds, at an average speed of 98.53 seconds.

Moss was described at some point as a “young professor” who did not come out of the blue, as by the time he won the Milli Millia race, he had not yet achieved his first Formula One victory, but at the age of 25 he was the greatest sports car driver in the world, and he remained so Throughout his short career he included those competitions.

As a teenager, Stirling scored many wins in Formula 3 during the year 1948, but the launch of his career in the sports car world demonstrated the diversity of his skills and his speed of adaptation.

During his years in sports car racing, the team managers there knew that whether they participated in Jaguar cars, HWM, Fraser-Nash, Porsche, OSKA, Maserati, Cooper, Aston Martin, Leicester or Ferrari, what would ultimately determine the race in their favor is the presence Stirling is among them.

In light of this, a success in touring car racing was to be expected, as Moss was brilliantly able to tame the “Lombering Jaguar MK7” and adapt it to his style just as smoothly as he did this with the Ferrari 250 GTSWB, which His car became the favorite in the GT competitions.

More surprising, however, was his ability to succeed in the rally as well, in the Sanbim Talbot mini-car – he won three consecutive wins in the Alpine Rally, and the runner-up in the Monte Carlo Rally 1952 season.

Sterling Moss

Sterling Moss

Photography: XP Photo

On the Formula One level, at the beginning of his career, it was very clear that Moss was the fastest driver behind the wheel of an “HWM” or Connaught car, where he managed to achieve very strong results – not including titles – on these cars.

But when Stirling and his father Alfred bought the Maserati 250F for the 1954 season, that miraculous talent of the driver came to the fore, and the Maserati official team noticed that. With that powerful car, Moss ranked third in the Belgium Grand Prix, qualified fourth and scored the fastest lap in Silverstone, and finished third in Nurburgring.

Later that season, Moss received an offer to drive for the Maserati Manufacturing Team, where Alberto Ascari and Jose Freelan Gonzalez joined forces to pose the greatest threat front to Fangio and his Mercedes W196.

Moss qualified for third place in Primgarten and Monza, while he made his mark on out-of-championships races when he finished second in Caen and won the International Gold Cup at Olton Park, one of Britain’s greatest tracks.

Despite his successes with the Maserati manufacturing team, Moss continued the season with Mercedes-Benz, as Karl Kling and Hans Hermann were good drivers but they were not absolute bright stars next to Fangio in Season 54, as Alfred Nobauer wanted a promising young driver to match the Argentine legend, and Moss was suitable for that. Ideally.

The British followed in the lead of his teammate for most of the season, recording his first starting tournament in the championship, and the first win in the British Grand Prix – Stirling was quite confident that Fangio allowed his achievement of these results – and he scored enough points after that to complete Mercedes in the championship.

In the aftermath of the Le Mans disaster, Mercedes withdrew from the championship at the end of the season, leaving both drivers to search for a new role, and as Fangio moved to Ferrari, Maserati rushed again to kidnap Moss, who lost the title in the following season, just three points behind Fangio after winning in Monaco and Monza And had it not been for his car that surrendered the soul in the British Race – in which he drove first and exported more than half of it – Moss would be crowned a champion.

In the 1957 season, the title was again given to Fangio (who was leading at the time for Maserati), where he snatched the Argentine his fifth and third championships in a row, and Stirling was again his closest follower.

And in that season, Fangio scored his last and greatest victory in his career led by a genius around the Nürburgring circuit, two weeks before Moss also scored for one of his greatest victories in the Copa Aspiro race in Pescara – the longest track ever in the 16-mile Formula One World Championship that was the first time And the last in which you are in the Queen category calendar – where he crossed his “Vanole” car, and Luigi Muso, the Ferrari driver, was launched first in the opening roll, and in the next turn the British moved to the forefront and completed the race by a difference of three minutes from Vanjo.

Subsequently, Moss scored a third win in Monza in September to clinch the title for the third time in a row.

Sterling Moss, Mercedes-Benz W196

Sterling Moss, Mercedes-Benz W196

Photography: Motorsport Pictures

By that point in his career, it seemed that Stirling would not fail after that, and if his car held up, he always tended to win. As Fangio had retired completely from racing at the end of the 1957 season, there was no doubt that he was at that time the best driver in Formula One. Where he could achieve the impossible with any car he was driving, he was indeed the “racing master”.

In 1959, he scored two wins to finish third in the championship, in light of his many victories in events not related to the World Championship.

In 1960, Sternling suffered a violent accident when the left rear tire separated from his car at a speed of 140 miles per second during free experiments at Spa, which resulted in fractures to the ribs, vertebrae and legs – but he considered himself lucky though, since two separate incidents at the same bend Burnville claimed the lives of his fellow citizens Chris Prestow and Alan Stacey later.

This accident caused Moss to walk away from the races for several weeks, during which she missed three awards, and then returned with his same ingenuity and his usual genius, as he won several victories over the Lotus 19 sports cars, Ferrari 250 GTSWB, Porsche 718 and most important to Stirling, Lotus 18 Formula One, for which he won the only US award to be held in Riverside, California.

And with Formula One moving from 1.5-liter to 1.5-liter engines for the 1961 season, making the Lotus 18 and 21 hardly produce more than 150 horses, the skill of maintaining momentum and the art of maintaining speed became very important, and that was in favor of Moss by looking at his genius. When driving a 500 C Formula 3 car.

Although his car was about 35 – 40 horsepower from the dominant car of that season, the Ferrari 156 “Shark Nose (Shark Nose)”, the British legend managed to beat all the Italian fighters to win in Monaco and Nurburgring.

At the age of 32, Moss led all his competitors thanks to his talent and dedication in the early 1962 season, when Enzo Ferrari invited him to Maranello and agreed to build and equip a Ferrari factory car in Formula One to participate under the banner of the Walker team, which was not really an attractive offer, but that dream collapsed after that Just three weeks ago on April 23, when a terrible accident on a Lotus car in Goodwood put Moss in critical condition, he kept coming in and out of the coma for a month, and suffered a temporary paralysis on the left side of his body.

A year after that incident, Moss decided to assess his ability to race behind the steering wheel of the Lotus 19 on the Goodwood circuit, as it was fast, only a few tenths of a second behind his record there, but he felt his lack of focus, and that the times of his lap no longer came as Normal, so he decided to retire. He saw that if he was not at the same level as before, he would have no interest in continuing his career.

Moss would soon regret that decision and postpone another test for his return. After 18 months, the British realized that his mental focus had returned to him, but then, about two and a half years after his accident, Stirling opted to keep his decision.

What further proved that the competitive flame inside it was not extinguished, is the participation of Moss in a few races for tourist cars in the seventies.

It should be noted that the title of Nico Rosberg in 2016 ensured that Moss – who entered the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1990 and won a knighthood title in 2000 to become Sir Sterling Moss – is the most successful Formula One driver who did not win the World Championship.

Whereas, his 16 victories in the world of the Grand Prize contributed to his winning the Al Wasafa Center on four occasions, and he was three times in third place.

But most historians on these issues feel that describing Moss as “the greatest single Formula One driver who has not won a title” is greatly offended, and that he was better than most of the world champions, even those with several titles in their possession.

Enzo Ferrari – who died in 1988 – believed that the only one to match the talent and genius of Moss in the history of races was Tazio Nuvolari.

But it was the many different victories at elevated levels across a wide and varied range of competitions in a short period of time – and sometimes on sub-cars – that made Moss the world-famous driver and iconic in his homeland.


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