London – A crash on the mound, then a coma for weeks – the glamorous racing career of the Stirling Moss was over.
The British motorsport legend was considered one of the best Formula 1 drivers, but the deserved crowning achievement as world champion was denied to the PS knight. Four times World Cup second, three times third – the Briton was so close to fulfilling his life’s dream again and again that he had to give it up after the 1962 horror accident at Goodwood.
Sir Stirling Moss now died on Sunday at the age of 90. His wife Lady Moss said, according to the English Daily Mail: “He died the way he lived: wonderful looking.” Mercedes, for whom Moss had previously been active, wrote: “The sports world has not only lost a true icon and legend, but also a gentleman.” Formula 1 published an obituary on its homepage. The world-famous racing driver leaves behind his third wife Susie.
Later Sir Stirling was born in London on September 17, 1929. He fell for the frenzy of speed as a teenager. His father was a hobby racing driver, his mother made a name for himself as a rally driver. «It is difficult to negotiate a curve at full throttle. But taking the same curve at full throttle when there is a wall on one side and an abyss on the other is a real achievement, »Moss said later. At the age of 15, he was able to get a driver’s license thanks to a special permit, which he later had to hand in again several times due to his fast driving style.
His lead foot also made him famous on the racetrack. Tactical driving was not the thing of the Stirling Moss, instead of the impetuous dentist son always went to the limit with passion. Many wins in lower classes were followed by the Formula 1 debut in Switzerland in 1951. However, Moss initially had no chance in inferior British cars. It was only after he moved to Maserati that he scored his first points at a Grand Prix in 1954 before he celebrated his victory premiere in the 1955 Mercedes at the home race in Aintree.
After three runner-up world championships behind Juan Manuel Fangio in series, Moss went into the title race as the favorite after the Argentinian’s retirement in 1958. Until the penultimate Grand Prix of the season, he led the championship standings. At the final in Portugal, he gave stumbling rival Mike Hawthorn tips on how to get his racing car up and running again. Hawthorn was still in the points and in the end, became champion ahead of Moss by one point.
But the call of the “eternal second” was not correct. In 66 Grand Prix, Moss was the first to cross the finish line 16 times. He won 212 out of 529 races in all classes. But then the Fordwater curve in Goodwood and the fatal crash came into an earth wall. «I thought I could still race for 20 years. I was really at the height of my career, ”said Moss in memory of the accident.
An attempt to make a comeback a year later failed, so the gypsy plunged himself into Formula 1 life. He became a successful real estate agent «because you don’t have to be able to do anything». But Moss couldn’t do without motors and fast cars. In a James Bond film, he drove the villains’ getaway car. He lent his voice to “Roary, the racing car” for a cartoon series. In old-timer races, he was at the start until old age. “I come to rest on the move,” reveals Moss, who was knighted in March 2000.
Even at the motorsport festivals in Goodwood, the PS senior was a regular guest for a long time – and raced through the Fordwater curve without pain. “When I get there, I realize how much faster I drove when I was young,” said Moss.
At the beginning of 2018, he finally retired from public life after months of hospitalization and was cared for by nurses at home. His wife Susie attended without him at celebrations for his 90th birthday in September 2019.