All race car drivers understand that no matter how much talent they show behind the wheel, or how competitive their cars are, sometimes it’s Lady Luck who determines the final outcome. Throughout the history of Formula 1, there have been numerous drivers who have the shown enough skill to win the big ones, but it simply never happened. From the book Speed Read F1: The Technology, Rules, History and Concepts Key to the Sport is a look at the stories behind of few of those F1 pilots who just missed the checkers or a championship.
WINNERS WHO NEVER WON
Some believe that Stirling Moss would have been a more deserving winner of the 1958 World Championship than Mike Hawthorn. Indeed, he probably should have won it—Hawthorn had briefly driven the wrong way up the track to rejoin after spinning off at the Portuguese Grand Prix, and Moss would have been well within his rights to protest the result and have Hawthorn disqualified.
Being a gentleman, Moss did no such thing. Although he won the last round of the season and netted an extra point by setting fastest lap, he missed the title by one point. Circumstances meant he never got that close again, although he finished third in 1959, 1960, and 1961.
In all, Moss scored sixteen victories in the sixty-six world championship races he started before an injury brought his racing career to a premature halt in 1962. Beyond F1, he won the Mille Miglia road race, many non-championship F1 events, and in sports cars won the Le Mans 24 Hours once and the Sebring 12 Hours twice. Not for nothing is he regarded as the greatest driver never to win the F1 world championship.
Moss is at the head of a decidedly small category. A separate but related one is perhaps sadder still: great drivers who never even managed to win a Grand Prix. On pole position here is New Zealander Chris Amon, of whom Mario Andretti once remarked, “If he became an undertaker, people would give up dying.”
Amon won major sports car events, but luck was never on his side in F1. In 1971, he was leading the Italian Grand Prix in a Matra when his visor parted company with his crash helmet; and, in 1972, he was well in front of the field in the French Grand Prix when he picked up a puncture. Amon, though, disputed the “unlucky” tag, pointing out that he had lived in an era when many of his friends had died in accidents.
Prepare to enter a world of speed with Speed Read: F1. This arm of racing can be intimidating to get into, but this intro guide is loaded with all the information you’ll need to get into Formula 1.
You’ll get the history of the sport, biographies of major drivers and figures who have dominated the sport in its long and storied history, and a rundown of the incredible technology that makes these cars so fast that they stay glued to the road.
You may not guess it, but the world’s premiere automobile racing series takes the Formula One name from the set of rules governing the class. Plans for a Formula One drivers’ championship were floated in the late 1930s, but shelved until after World War Two. In 1946 the first F1 races were held, but it wasn’t until 1950 that the details for a true world-championship series were hammered out.
It was a long road from the 1930s to now for this great sport; one marked by glory, championships, iteration, technology, and speed. Don’t be intimidated by this incredible culture, dive into F1 Racing today!