Page 1For Tony Vandervell and his team in 1958 it quite literally would be the best of times and the worst of times. But, there would be no denying that when it was all said and done, the team's Vanwall's presented England with great hope as a power in the preeminent motor racing series. Toward the latter-part of the 1957 season there was really no other team, or chassis, for that matter, that could really compete with Tony Vandervell's Vanwalls. Yes, there would be Fangio's monumental and memorable win at the Nurburgring, but that would be intermingled with Vanwall victories at Aintree, Pescara and Monza. Furthermore, Maserati, as a factory entity, would withdraw from Formula One at the end of the '57 season. Therefore, it seemed more than obvious the clear favorite heading into the new season would be Vandervell.And why wouldn't they be? Headlined with the ever-talented Moss and backed up by such talents as Tony Brooks and the young Stuart Lewis-Evans, Vandervell had every reason to be confident heading into the season with the Constructors' Championship being contested for the very first time. But not all was well with Vandervell's team. Sure, there was the new Constructors' Championship, but the officials would also impose some new regulations that would not ideally-suit the Vanwalls.There would be a movement to reduce the length of races to around two hour's length. The regulation prohibiting the swapping of drivers for a single car that would be imposed wouldn't be much of a concern. However, the banning of exotic alcohol-based fuels would be, especially for the Vanwalls. The Vanwall was streamlined and very good in fast events, despite the fact it was powered by a four-cylinder engine. The reason this four-cylinder was so good was partly due to the fact the fuel, the alcohol-based fuel, would help to cool the engine, making it much more reliable over great distances. The banning of this type of fuel meant there would be some loss of power, but also, the engine would run hotter than before. This caused concerns for Vandervell. As a result of this, and the simple fact of cost, the team would not be ready in time for the first race of the season in Argentina. In spite of the fact Vandervell would not take part in the Argentine Grand Prix in January, Stirling Moss could not have been more ready for the start of the season with the team. He would come back to his native shores having won the race with the privateer Rob Walker team in a mid-engined Cooper. Moss may have been ready, but there were still some very real concerns for Vandervell. First of all, the team was still trying to ensure the engines would handle the avgas without too much trouble. Furthermore, Ferrari was back. Its Dino 246 showed pace the previous year's cars lacked. This meant the Vanwalls would have their work cut out for them over the course of the season. The team would continue to take their time preparing the Vanwalls for the start of the season. There was a little bit of time after the Argentine Grand Prix. In 1958, there would be very few non-championship races. In addition, the second round of the World Championship would not come around until the middle of May. Nonetheless, that date would come rapidly, so the team needed to work hard. The team's first race of the 1958 season would be one of the most important races of the entire year. It also meant Vandervell had to build three, rather special cars, in order to compete. This first race for the team, or second for the Formula One World Championship, would come on the 18th of May.A jewel located in a confined space along the Mediterranean coast, Monaco would be the haunt of the rich and famous. It was also the jewel in Formula One's crown. To win here was truly something special. A race within a race, a victory at Monaco had the ability of off-setting a terrible rest of a season, such is the importance of the race. While the race's importance would never be disputed, its place in grand prix racing, even in 1958, certainly would be. Tight, twisty and too narrow for much passing, Monaco seemed belonging to an era long since passed. Furthermore, the nature of the circuit would be vastly different to most of the others on the calendar. Therefore, Vandervell would set about having three specially-made cars prepared for the race.The first turn on the 1.95 mile Monte Carlo circuit would be a slow, right-hand hairpin. Inevitably, the cars go into this tight first turn punting each other as the accordion becomes squeezed. This fact resulted in more than a few bent and twisted noses in the past. Therefore, the Vanwalls would be prepared with stubby noses to help aid the drivers from avoiding such shoving matches and destroying the cooling effects of the car. The entry field for the race would be large. Still, the 16-place grid would remain the same. Practice would get underway with Brooks setting some brilliant lap times. The Vanwall had not handled all that well throughout the 1957 season on the slower, twisty, circuits. However, the team would continue to upgrade the car, including the suspension, and this would be much better for 1958, as was obvious in practice. Unfortunately, late showers prevented Moss from ever getting out on track and setting a lap time. So while a couple of the team's cars were going well, its greatest hope was yet to set a time. Going up against British marks like the BRM and Cooper, Brooks would still prove fastest earning pole with a lap time of 1:39.8. Jean Behra and Jack Brabham would complete the front row, making it British cars all along the front row of the grid. Stuart Lewis-Evans would be found on the third row of the grid in the 7th position while Moss would finally get into the race, but with just the 8th-fastest lap time. In spite of the fact Moss was rather down on the grid, Vandervell's hopes heading into the race on the 18th had to be running high.It would be a beautiful day as the grid formed up for the start. When the flag dropped to start the race, it would be a mad free-for-all heading into Gazometre for the first time. Roy Salvadori would over-cook the first turn and would come out dead-last. Coming out of the corner, it would be Behra that would gain the upper-hand over Brooks. Moss would make a fantastic getaway and would be amongst the top-five while Lewis-Evans would also be making moves up the order. At the end of the first lap it would be Behra leading the way with Brooks in 2nd place. Moss would be in 4th place hounding Brabham for 3rd and Lewis-Evans would be around 6th place, but fighting hard to hold off the challenge from the Ferrari team.
Page 2Behra would continue to show the way through the first 20 laps of the 100 lap race. Brooks would follow along while Moss would become embroiled in a battle with Hawthorn for 3rd. It would be a sign of things to come throughout the whole of the season. Lewis-Evans would be in trouble right from the beginning of the race. Very quickly, his Vanwall would develop brake problems that would cause him to fall out of the race after just 12 laps. Unfortunately, Tony Brooks would follow his teammate out of the race about 10 laps later. His great hope would be lost to ignition troubles. So the team would be left with just Moss still in the race. Thankfully, he would still be in the hunt as well. Behra would retire from the race after nearly 30 laps at the head of the field. This opened the door for a tremendous battle for the lead between Hawthorn and Moss. Each would spend more than a few laps in the lead. However, approaching the 40th lap of the race, it would be Hawthorn all by himself. Engine troubles in Moss' Vanwall would force him to have to retire as well. All three of the Vanwalls would be out of the race before the halfway mark. The fears about the fuel certainly seemed well-justified. Hawthorn was in the lead and seemed on his way toward a surprising Monaco victory. However, his race wouldn't make it to half distance either as a fuel pump failure would now hand the lead over to the unsuspecting Maurice Trintignant. Back in 1955, the Frenchman had inherited the lead at Monaco, his first, and only Formula One victory. Now, three years later, providence would again smile upon him as he would take over the lead. A second Monaco victory beckoned. He just needed to hold on through the final 50 laps. It had seemed incredible, almost impossible, Rob Walker's privateer team had taken victory in the Argentine Grand Prix at the start of the year. But now, after two hours and 52 minutes, the team would do it again with Trintignant earning his second Formula One World Championship victory, both at Monaco. Though achieved by a privateer team, and therefore met with a certain bit of questioning, there was no questioning as to the revolution that was firmly at hand in Formula One. It was demonstrated with Trintignant's victory, but also by the fact Luigi Musso could do nothing to match the tiny Cooper over the course of the race. As it stood, Cooper bested two Ferraris piloted by Musso and Peter Collins. There had to be some concern within the team. Vandervell was determined to be the first manufacturer to win the championship for that category, but that assault was coming up naught at the moment. The team needed things to turn around. They needed to identify what else it could do to overcome its concerns about the fuel and reliability. Unfortunately, there would be very little time for that as the third round of the World Championship, the Dutch Grand Prix, would be held on the 26th of May, just a week after the failure in Monaco.Vandervell would have a little more time. The Dutch Grand Prix would be held on the 26th, which was on a Monday. It was a holiday for the Netherlands, and a god-send for the Vandervell team as it allowed them a little extra time to prepare its cars for the race. As usual, the 6th Grote Prijs van Nederland would take place at the 2.6 mile Zandvoort circuit situated right along the North Sea coast. Given its location within a short walk of the beach, the circuit would be nothing but sandy, grass-covered knolls and blustery winds. And, as the teams arrived to prepare for the weekend's events, the winds would certainly be kicking up and causing a stir. The extra day would pay dividends for the Vanwalls as they would come out of practice having thoroughly dominated the rest of the field. Stuart Lewis-Evans would be on pole with a lap time of 1:37.1. Stirling Moss would line up 2nd being nine-tenths slower and Tony Brooks would complete the sweep at just a tenth off of Moss' best. It would be a remarkable sight that hadn't been seen since Monza the year before. However, after Monaco, nobody within the team was getting ready to count the prize money, at least not just yet.The winds would be terrible by the start of the race. As a result, sand would be blowing all over the circuit, and this posed a serious challenge as the loose sand would undoubtedly make the circuit slippery in a number of areas. Moss would not be bothered by this at all as he would rush to the head of the field heading into the Tarzanbocht for the first time. He would be leading the Vanwall train that would include Harry Schell in a BRM.The completion of the first lap would see Moss leading the way with Lewis-Evans following along in 2nd place. Harry Schell was up to 3rd place as Brooks trailed along in 4th. Moss was controlling the pace, which was good for the team, but it would quickly prove to be too much for Brooks, who would be out of the race after just 12 laps with a failure in the rear axle. All of a sudden, memories of Monaco were flooding back to mind, especially when Schell managed to climb up to 2nd place and Lewis-Evans had his day come to an end after 45 laps due to more engine trouble. Moss was in the lead, but there certainly couldn't have been too many warm and fuzzy feelings throughout the Vandervell team. They were down to their final car and there were still 30 laps remaining in the 75 lap race. That meant plenty of time for something to go wrong in Moss' Vanwall. Being chased by the two BRMs of Schell and Behra, Moss would keep his head and would look after the car. Moss would somehow earn the reputation of being rough on his race cars. However, if ever there was a display to his gentleness, this would be it. Already aware of the troubles with the Vanwall's reliability, Moss would not only take care of the car. He would also maintain his gap over the BRMs while doing it. It would be an incredible demonstration by perhaps the best driver in the field. In spite of he reliability concerns and the blowing sand over the circuit, Moss would never put a wheel wrong, nor would he overstress his car at any point. Instead, he would go on to take a dominant victory, crossing the line nearly 48 seconds ahead of Schell in 2nd place and nearly another minute up on Behra finishing in 3rd. In spite of it all, Moss would come through to score 8 points toward the championship. He was enjoying a five-point margin over Luigi Musso at the time and seemed well on his way toward his first championship. Vandervell would finally be on the board. They too would have 8 points, but that would be 11 points behind Cooper. If Vandervell's desire to be the first constructors' champion was to come true, the Vanwalls certainly needed to find their stride, and fast. While Fangio would be off in the United States attempting to take part in the Indianapolis 500, Vandervell, and the rest of the Formula One teams, would be taking the opportunity to look forward to Belgium in June.The popular Belgian Grand Prix was back on the calendar after a year absence. The disagreements of a season ago had been resolved. Not only had the Dutch Grand Prix reappeared on the calendar, but, on the 15th of June, so too would the Belgian edition of the World Championship.
Page 3The Belgian Grand Prix would be held at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit located in the depths of the Ardennes forest. While Brussels would play host to the World's Fair in 1958, the 8.77 mile circuit would play the usual host to speed and the clash of nature and man-made marvels.One by one the teams would arrive and prepare for the start of practice. Drivers and team members would mingle as the small family of Formula One would gather again for what was to be the fourth round of the World Championship. And, as the cars set off around the circuit for practice, they would find some slight modifications made to the circuit. The first sign of improvements comes right away as Eau Rouge is not only resurfaced and widened, but the signature bumps that cause cars to become a little airborne on the climb up the hill had been smoothed over. The circuit is further widened all throughout the run to Malmedy. All told, all of the changes and modifications add up to make Spa the fastest circuit on the calendar. Pushing average speeds up over 130mph, the circuit favors horsepower over handling. Speed was something the Ferrari chassis had been lacking a year earlier. However, as practice came to a close, it would be Hawthorn in the new Dino 246 taking the pole with Luigi Musso lining up in 2nd. Stirling Moss would keep Vandervell's hopes alive as he would start in 3rd place having been just half a second slower than Hawthorn over the course of 8.77 miles. Tony Brooks would be found in the second row of the grid in 4th place while Stuart Lewis-Evans would struggle. He would end the practice sessions in 13th place, only good enough for the fifth row of the grid. Though known for its usually unpredictable weather, race day would break with brilliant sunshine and warm temperatures. A great deal of ceremony would lead up to the start of the race. But then, the main affair would be on course. The drivers would take their places; the engines start. Pushed into position, all of the cars would be ready. And, as the flag drops to start the race, it would be Moss leading the way through Eau Rouge for the first time. Brooks would also get a fantastic start as he would follow his teammate through Eau Rouge while Lewis-Evans climbed the hill in 8th place. Vanwalls continued to occupy the first two spots in the order as the field approached the halfway mark of the first lap. However, by the time the field appeared again heading into La Source, it would be Brooks leading the way with Collins in 2nd place. But where was Moss? Finally, the championship leader would appear around La Source, limping past the pits and ultimately turning hard right into the paddock before the steep climb at Eau Rouge. Though Moss was out of the race, Brooks seemed well ensconced at the head of the field as he continued to hold off Collins through the 2nd lap. He would give way to the Ferrari driver the next time around but would soon take the position back on the 4th lap of the race. At the halfway mark, it would be Brooks looking firmly in control in the lead with Hawthorn running in 2nd place. Lewis-Evans would be now up to 3rd place following Collins' retirement from overheating problems. It would be no small achievement for Brooks, and would be reminiscent of his first major win at Syracuse in 1955, as he would be chased, at one point, by no less than four Ferraris. Yet, he would hold them off. If Vandervell was going to get back into the Manufacturer's championship they would need more than one car to come away with top results. Heading into the final five laps of the 24 lap race, just such a result appeared in order as Brooks continued to lead the way by some 20 seconds over Hawthorn, which had come down a good deal from where it had been, but still appeared too much for Hawthorn to overcome, despite having set what would be the fastest lap of the race. Stuart Lewis-Evans was finally seeing the back-end of a grand prix as he sat in 3rd place more than three minutes behind. The first five laps of the race would see the majority of the attrition. Thankfully for Vandervell, the high speeds were showing little to no effects on the Vanwalls as they powered their way toward the checkered flag. Brooks would relish his opportunity while Lewis-Evans carried on quietly, determined to see the checkered flag for once.In the end, and as he had back in 1955, Brooks held off the favored Italian car to take what was his second Formula One World Championship victory. Crossing the line after averaging more than 129mph, Brooks would finish nearly 21 seconds up on Hawthorn while Lewis-Evans would come home quietly in 3rd. Though Moss was lost early, and his championship hopes seriously taking a hit, it would be a great day for Vandervell as he would have two of his cars end up on the podium. This meant Vanwall was right in the thick of the championship hunt, just four points behind Ferrari at this point. Moss still held onto the championship lead, but Hawthorn had gained a lot of ground. Brooks' victory now brought him amongst the top five while Lewis-Evans was among a gaggle fighting it out for 10th in the championship.Leaving the high-speed Spa circuit, the Formula One circuit would have a break, which would include time for Le Mans, before it headed to yet another high-speed venue. In 1957, the French Grand Prix would be held in Rouen. The following year, and following some resurfacing work, the French Grand Prix would be back at Reims. Back in 1956, the Vanwalls well and truly began to show their pace as Harry Schell proved to be about the only one in the field capable of battling with the Lancia-Ferraris. Granted, the battle would be short-lived, but it certainly signaled things to come from the British team. However, as the cars set off around the 5.15 mile triangular circuit, it would quickly become apparent the Vanwalls could not match the pace of the Ferraris. In fact, they would struggle to start within the first couple of rows of the grid. Consisting of two very long straights and some fast, sweeping esses in between, the Reims circuit paid a premium on out-right speed. Amazingly, the Vanwalls struggled. Mike Hawthorn would find himself on pole once again setting a lap time of 2:21.7. Luigi Musso would again line up 2nd as he would be seven-tenths slower. The final spot on the front row would be occupied, not by a Vanwall, but a BRM, driven by Harry Schell. Brooks continued to impress as he would end up being the fastest of the Vanwall drivers. His best effort would be less than two seconds slower than Hawthorn but would be only good enough for 5th place and a slot on the second row of the grid. Stirling Moss would be three-tenths down on his teammate and would start from the third row of the grid. Stuart Lewis-Evans had started from the front row in a non-championship race at Reims the year before. This time, however, he would be all the way down on the fourth row of the grid in 10th place.
Page 4It seemed abundantly clear before the race on that 6th of July that it was only Hawthorn's to lose. Musso presented a challenge, but it seemed Hawthorn held the advantage. Sure enough, as the field powered off into the distance at the start of the 50 lap race, it would be Hawthorn leading the way. Schell would start out well and held onto 2nd place while Musso was a little slower and sat in 3rd. Moss and Brooks would get away well and would be running close together throughout the course of the first lap of the race. Outside of the inner Formula One circuit, it was little known that this would be Fangio's final Formula One race, but as he struggled to fight for a spot in the top five it was abundantly clear to everyone there he wouldn't go on racing for much longer. Hawthorn held onto the lead. Schell would be caught by Musso and a group of others all slip-streaming together in an attempt to haul in Hawthorn. Mike seemed to be in a class unto himself, but it was widely rumored Musso needed the prize money. As a result, he would break away and would chase after his Ferrari teammate. Throughout the first ten laps of the race Musso would push harder and harder until, on the 10th lap, Luigi went through a fast corner too hot. He would lose control and would slide off the circuit and into a ditch, where, the car would end up somersaulting a number of times. Musso would be thrown clear but would be suffering from terrible injuries. Some time after the conclusion of the race he would die from the injuries suffered.Though fighting for his life at the time, the seriousness of Musso's injuries put a dark cloud on the rest of the day's events. Hawthorn held onto the lead while Moss struggled along. Caught in a slip-streaming battle with Jean Behra, Fangio, Brooks and Wolfgang von Trips, it would become quickly evident the best he could hope for would be 2nd place. And, as Behra fell out and Fangio dropped off the pace, that is exactly where he would find himself. Still this would be a better position than where Brooks and Lewis-Evans found themselves. Brooks' race would last all of 16 laps before gearbox failure brought about the end of his day. Lewis-Evans would last until lap 36 when he would retire with engine failure. This left just Moss running for the team. Though he had broken away from von Trips in the battle for 2nd place, there was really nothing he could do to challenge Hawthorn, who would go on to set fastest lap of the race as well. Back in 1953, Hawthorn would earn his first Formula One World Championship victory in an incredible battle with Fangio that would go right down to the wire as one of the most exciting Formula One races of all time. Now, some five years later, Hawthorn would be again crossing the line at Reims the champion of the French Grand Prix. It would prove to be his only win on the season and last of his career. Therefore, Reims would be the site of Hawthorn's first, and last, victory in Formula One. Moss wouldn't be able to challenge Hawthorn at any point during the race. However, his great skill would carry the day and he would come through in 2nd place, at a time when the rest of his teammates failed to finish. As a result, he would add some valuable championship points to his, and the team's tally. Wolfgang von Trips would complete the podium finishing in 3rd place nearly 40 seconds behind Moss. Leaving the Champagne-Ardenne region of France, the Vandervell team made its way to the English Channel coast, and then on to its English homeland. Back on home soil, the team would not stop for a breather but would continue up north past London and Milton Keynes. Ultimately, the team would make its way to what had been an old bomber training base during the Second World War. In July of 1958, this former bomber base would be better known as the home of British motor racing and Silverstone. It would be here, on the 2.92 mile perimeter road circuit around the airfield that the British Grand Prix would be held on the 19th of July. Back in 1948, the abandoned airfield that had formerly been known as RAF Silverstone would host the British Grand Prix for the very first time. In 1958, Silverstone would again play host to the British round of the World Championship and it really couldn't have been a more important race, at least as far as two manufacturers, two drivers and a nation of people were concerned. The fight for the championship was extremely tight coming into the race. Furthermore, it was a fight between two British drivers. Therefore, the British crowd was incredibly interested in the outcome of the race.For Vandervell's crew, Silverstone would be very important. After being thoroughly man-handled in Reims, the team desperately needed to claw its way back into the fight for both championships. This meant they really wanted desperately to come away with a victory over the Italian fleet from Ferrari. However, by the time practice came to an end, it seemed that just about any team could take the victory around the Silverstone circuit. Stirling Moss was on pole in the Vanwall, but he would be joined on the front row by a BRM, Cooper and a Ferrari driven by Schell, Roy Salvadori and Hawthorn respectively. Lewis-Evans seemed to turn things around as he lined up on the second row of the grid in the 8th position. And then, in 10th, and on the third row of the grid, would be Brooks. Amazingly, the weather surrounding the British Grand Prix at Silverstone would be splendid with sunshine beating down and rather warm temperatures getting all of the spectators up to a fever pitch. As the cars streamed away at the start, Collins, the rather forgotten about Brit in the race, would streak into the lead ahead of Moss, Hawthorn, Schell, Brooks, Salvadori and Lewis-Evans. Lapping the circuit at an average speed well above 100mph, the 75 lap race would quickly begin to whittle down. Collins would maintain control over the field while Moss sat in 2nd place, just ahead of Hawthorn and Brooks. The Vanwalls would look to be in a strong position early on as Brooks and Lewis-Evans remained right around the top five. Being an old airfield, there were all manner of wildlife in and about Silverstone in those days. Jean Behra would find that out when he punctured a tire as a result of running over a rabbit.Moss continued to run comfortably in 2nd place while Lewis-Evans moved up to 4th place. British drivers now occupied first through fifth in the running order. Brooks would be one Brit that would struggle. He would end up slipping all the way down to 9th place, but would still be inside the top ten anyway. Moss continued to split the Ferraris, and lead Hawthorn. However, after 25 laps, his effort would come to naught when engine troubles ruined his day. This handed his championship rival 2nd place. Lewis-Evans would be stuck in 4th place while Brooks would be trying desperately to recover from his early troubles. He would still be right around 9th place through the first-third of the race.
Page 5At the halfway mark, the order would be unchanged with the exception of Brooks, who would now be up to 8th place. Attrition would be making its presence felt as there would only be 10 cars remaining in the race when the event headed into the final 25 laps. This didn't necessarily bode well for the Vanwalls remaining in the race but Lewis-Evans continued to maintain his 4th place spot while Brooks sat in 8th.All seemed done with until Hawthorn came storming into the pits with his Ferrari. No sooner would he come to a halt that he would be yelling to his team for oil. Quickly, the team would set to work. They needed to get him back out on track before Salvadori came through to snatch away 2nd place and those very important championship points. Collins trundled on without any kind of a care for himself or his car. Everything was working beautifully. The work would be completed on Hawthorn's car and he would power off into the distance. He would still be in 2nd place and in the driver's seat in the championship if he could hold on to the end of the race. Collins would be unchallenged for most of the race. Hawthorn's late stop meant he thoroughly disappeared into the distance and enjoyed a rather enjoyable trip to the podium taking the victory by 24 seconds over Hawthorn. The final spot on the podium would be a great contest as Lewis-Evans would be all over Salvadori heading into Woodcote for the final time. Stuart had a chance. However, coming out of the corner, it would be Salvadori that would hold the advantage and would take the final spot on the podium by just two-tenths of a second over Stuart's Vanwall. Brooks would ride the high rate of attrition to come through a very quiet 7th in the other Vanwall.Unfortunately for Vandervell, only one of his cars ended up in the points. And, though the team would take over 2nd in the Constructors' standings, the gap to Ferrari widened considerably. In addition, Moss would now be trailing behind Hawthorn by some 7 points. The British Grand Prix would not offer the memorable moment for the team it had the season before. Still, both Moss and the team were in the fight. They just needed some stronger results. However, it seemed it would take something dramatic happening at Ferrari for them to close the gap. Leaving England, Ferrari seemed to be on the rise while the Vanwalls appeared to be a bit off the pace and struggling with reliability. What was worse for Vandervell's team was the fact the next race on the calendar would be the German Grand Prix. Held on the 3rd of August, the German round of the World Championship would be held at the daunting Nurburgring. One year earlier, the year of Fangio's famous charge back to the lead and the win, the Vanwalls struggled. They had the speed but not the handling. One year later, it appeared the Vanwalls had lost any speed advantage over the Ferraris. Therefore, the team would have to rely heavily upon the improvements made in the car's handling. Coming to the Nurburgring, confidence would be of utmost importance. Unfortunately for Moss and the Vandervell team, the season was proving to be less than expected. What made matters worse would be the fact the Ferrari team had actually gone really well at the circuit the year before when its cars lacked the speed and performance of the Vanwall. One year on, the Ferrari 246 certainly appeared to be the stronger package. It was going to take a very special drive, or some unforeseen event happening to the Ferrari team to give Vandervell a chance.Around the 14 mile long Nurburgring, there would be plenty of opportunities for things to go wrong, even if the car was running perfectly. Featuring more than a thousand feet of elevation change and more than 170 corners, the circuit presented plenty of opportunities for bad things to happen. Full of blind crests, blind apexes and some truly frightening combinations, not to mention changeable weather, there would be good reason as to why the circuit would later become known as the 'Green Hell'. The lap times tumbled the year before as a result of the circuit being resurfaced. A year later, the times continued to fall, though not at the same rate. Fangio would record the fastest lap around the circuit in 1957. His lap time would be 9:17.4. This would be 8 seconds faster than his own effort in practice. As the cars took to the circuit for practice for the '58 edition of the German Grand Prix, the leading contenders would be rather quickly up to the times posted by Fangio. Then the times really began to tumble. Both Moss and Brooks would be impressive. Brooks would turn in a remarkable lap time of 9:15.0. This time would end up being practically a full four seconds quicker than Moss in the other Vanwall. However, the time would still not be as good as that posted by Hawthorn. When it was all said and done, it would be Hawthorn on pole, yet again, having recorded an incredible lap of 9:14.0 around the 'Ring'. Brooks would line up 2nd while Moss would be 3rd. The final spot on the front row would go to the winner of the previous round, Peter Collins. His best would be nearer to 8 seconds slower than his friend and teammate. Stuart Lewis-Evans would not take part in the event, so the team would be left with just Moss and Brooks to fly the Vandervell flag. Situated in the Eifel Mountains, circumnavigating the Nurburg Castle, the Nurburgring was like Spa in that it was noted for its strange and unusual weather. Already demanding and dangerous, the Nurburgring practically turned deadly when the rain began to fall. Thankfully, as the teams prepared and the crowds arrived for the race on the 3rd the weather would be dry with the sun peering through somewhat overcast skies.The field would include Formula 2 cars as well, and therefore, would be one of the biggest of the season. Flanked by Ferraris on each end, the two Vanwalls needed to be at the head of the field right from the very beginning so that they could control the pace of the field and give themselves a good chance at success. Vandervell's cause would be help out at the start when Hawthorn would make a poor start. Brooks would appear shot from a canon as he would sprint into the lead with Moss right there to his left. Collins would uphold Ferrari's hopes being right up there with the Vanwalls. Vanwalls would lead the way, one-two, through the Sudkurve. But then, as the field headed out through the forest and around to the other side of the prominent point atop which sat the castle, it would be the Ferraris of Hawthorn and Collins moving up rapidly. At the completion of the first lap it would be Moss in the lead with Hawthorn crossing in 2nd place just ahead of Collins in 3rd. It appeared to be shades of '57, just with Moss at the head instead of Fangio. Brooks had been dropped to 4th place, but he looked comfortable following along behind the two Ferraris. Moss would hold off the challenge of Hawthorn and Collins through the first three laps of the race. Collins would seem resurgent after his win at Silverstone and would move his way up to 2nd place when Moss found himself making yet another early exit. Five cars were already out of the race. However, when Moss retired with magneto trouble, he would be just the second Formula One car to exit the race.
Page 6Collins would momentarily hand his position over to Hawthorn but would soon take over the lead on the 5th lap of the race. Brooks remained behind the two Ferraris in 3rd place. The Vanwall was doing well, but it certainly appeared as if Brooks was either concerned his car would not make the distance because of Moss' failure, or, was concerned about the car and was merely waiting until he could attack and ensure the car could make the remaining distance. Collins would remain in the lead of the race from the 5th lap right up through lap 10. At just 15 laps, the race was heading into its final third when Brooks finally turned up the heat. Brooks had been trailing behind the Ferraris in his Vanwall and appeared to have nothing for the two red cars. Then, suddenly, Brooks would put his foot in it and would quickly catch up to Hawthorn and Collins. Heading around at the start of the 11th lap, Brooks would sweep by both Hawthorn and Collins to take over the lead of the race. Coming through the Karussell, Brooks would pounce and would make his way by Collins for the lead. This would seemingly upset Collins, who obviously thought the race was his, because he would immediately pick up his own pace in an effort to get back what he had lost. This was dangerous on most circuits. On a circuit like the Nurburgring, such abandoned had the potential of being deadly, and that is exactly what would happen.Coming out of Eiskurve, Collins would attack in an effort to keep touch with Brooks. Pflanzgarten followed and tempted drivers. It seemed straight-forward, but there would be one very important twist to the seemingly simple equation. Throughout the course there are a number of points where a car can become very light, even airborne. Following Pflanzgarten was a sharp, fast right-hand bend. Just prior to the bend was a crest with a quick drop on the other side. Approaching the crest too quickly presented the very real potential of not being able to settle the car in time for the fast right-hander that followed. Chasing after another driver, this is a likely scenario, and it would play itself out on that 11th lap of the 1958 German Grand Prix.Collins would nearly save the car when his wheel would catch a ditch. The result would be that the car would be thrown violently into the air. Peter would be ejected from the Ferrari but would be thrown hard up against a nearby tree. Just as Collins' body would be ejected from the car, Hawthorn would be approaching the same area of the track. He would practically see the whole thing. That was his good friend being thrown against a tree. He would know what the result was without there being an official word.Brooks would complete the lap clearly in the lead. Hawthorn would come along some time later, and at a much slower pace. He would end up pulling into the pits. He knew his friend was dead. He was done. Though clutch failure would be the reason given, just about everyone knew why Hawthorn's race had come to a premature end. As a result of the tragedy, Brooks would be out front with nobody to challenge him. All he had to do was tip-toe around the circuit for the four remaining laps and he would earn his second win of the season and third of his career. Brooks would cruise to victory, but it would seem hollow as everywhere, everyone held out for good news that all knew would not come. Sure enough, Collins would pass away. Formula One would suffer its second fatality in three races. Amazingly, it wouldn't be the last on the year either. The last one, for Vandervell, would be much too personal. Brooks would win the race and a couple of Coopers, piloted by Roy Salvadori and Maurice Trintignant, would come along in 2nd and 3rd. This meant Vanwall was back in the fight for the Constructors' Championship and Moss remained within reach of Hawthorn in the Drivers' standings. The loss of Collins would deeply affect Hawthorn. Unfortunately for him, there were still three rounds of the World Championship left on the season. Hawthorn was losing his willingness to race. Moss had the willingness, but seemingly lacked the car that wanted to go with him. He just could not find any consistency with any of the Vanwall chassis. There was truly no ‘lucky' chassis. While it had been a difficult season for Vandervell's team performance-wise, it had been a truly tragic one for Enzo Ferrari. As a result of Musso, and then Collins', death, Ferrari would dispatch just two cars to the ninth round of the '58 Formula One World Championship. Only three weeks on from the German Grand Prix, the Portuguese Grand Prix held little escape for Hawthorn. In Moss' case, the new circuit offered a great opportunity.The Portuguese Grand Prix would be brand new to the World Championship. However, most all of the top-flite drivers were well aware of the Boavista circuit situated right along the Atlantic coast. The Portuguese city of Oporto is the second-largest city in all of Portugal and is a very important center for the country for exports, especially of the wine type bearing its name—port. Fittingly, the area would be a large producer of cork as well. But while the area may be known throughout the world for its export of wine, the Aldoar municipality would be of greatest importance over the weekend of August the 24th in 1958.The parish of Aldoar sits right along the Atlantic coast and is literally just to the west of the center of Oporto. It would be right in this area of Oporto, among the public roads and streets, the Boavista Circuit would be created. Measuring 4.6 miles to the lap, the Boavista circuit was both fast and tricky. It would start with a very short run down to a left-hander that turned parallel to the coast. This then led to the very long and fast Avenida da Boavista. Another decent-length straight followed before the circuit then plunged through residential streets winding back and forth. This was a very tricky section of the circuit as the curves were fast but followed, usually, by quick changes in direction. The circuit the potential of catching even the most veteran of drivers out. This was aided by the fact some of the circuit actually raced over cobblestone streets and tram lines. Vandervell's teams had had concerns about the Vanwalls. They were consistently running too high when it came to oil temperature. In an effort to maintain the streamlining of the car, the radiator in the nose had been used for both the cooling of the engine and the oil. It certainly appeared as if the oil was not getting enough air to help cool the oil. Therefore, in the three weeks between the German and Portuguese Grand Prix the team would set to work fashioning a new design. The changes would be apparent the moment the cars were unloaded in Oporto. The nose retained the streamlined design and the small radiator inlet. However, the top profile of the car's nose now included another scoop. This one directed air to the oil cooler sitting atop the radiator in the nose of the car. Taking to the circuit with the updated car, Moss appeared to have his hopes renewed as he would take pole for the 50 lap race. Hawthorn would try and turn his attentions to the championship and would end up just five-one-hundredths slower than Moss over the 4.6 miles. Stuart Lewis-Evans would be back with the team and he would end up 3rd, the final spot on the front row. Tony Brooks would be just slightly off the pace. A little more than a second and a half slower than Moss, Tony would start from the second row of the grid in 5th. Suddenly, all three of the Vanwalls were to be found within the first two rows of the grid. It seemed the team was surging. They just needed the good start to turn into a good result.
Page 7Heading into the race on the 24th, the weather add another dimension dropping some rain on the circuit prior to the start of the race. This meant the already tricky Boavista circuit would be even more slippery with wet cobblestones and tram lines. The circuit only started to dry as the cars took their places on the grid. Sure enough, the wet conditions were going to play a part in the race. The start would see Moss sprint into the lead. Hawthorn would be right there with him however. Lewis-Evans would lose out terribly at the start of the race and would actually cross the line at the end of the first lap all the way down in 5th place. Brooks fared even worse as he would complete the first lap in 8th. Moss would lose out the lead to Hawthorn. The Ferrari driver would hold onto the lead for a few laps before Moss would slip back by for the lead. The other Vanwall drivers, meanwhile, would be doing their best to recover from their poor starts. Though they struggled in the damp conditions, both would be making their way forward. At the halfway mark in the race it would be Moss still leading the way over Hawthorn. Lewis-Evans would make his way up to 4th place while Brooks would be around 7th at the time. With the revised cooling on the Vanwall, Moss was able to pull away from Hawthorn and the remainder of the field. In the drying conditions, the intricate circuit was still very demanding. And, after 36 laps, Brooks would find this out first hand as he would make an error and would end up crashing out of the race. It was a rare mistake for the solid driver and victor of the even more demanding Nurburgring. Moss continued to run trouble-free for once as it would be Hawthorn that would find himself struggling over the course of the race. Brake problems would cause him to come into the pits to have the car checked. This gave Jean Behra 2nd place for the moment and had huge implications toward the championship. But an even more important event would happen over the course of the race that would more deeply affect one of the championship fights. At the time Hawthorn discovered is brake problems he was heading toward Antunes Guimaraes to Lidador. He went to get on the brakes and found nothing there. This caused him to slide off the circuit and he stalled the car. Needing to push-start the car, Hawthorn had a problem as the circuit, in that part, trended uphill and made a push-start impossible. In order to get back into the race he would turn the car in the opposite direction, travel a short distance in the opposite direction of the track, off to the side, well off the racing line to get the engine re-fired. He would get back into the race, but this move could have had dire consequences. Moss would absolutely dominate the race. The improved Vanwall inspired great confidence in Stirling and it would use it to the uttermost as he would sweep across to an easy victory. Hawthorn would come along in 2nd place, more than 5 minutes behind, following Behra's late fade in performance. This enabled Lewis-Evans to recover and finish right where he started—3rd. As it turned out, the front row would finish as they had started the race, though not officially. The stewards of the course would move to disqualify Hawthorn for his move of driving against the track. He was about to leave Portugal with just a single point earned for setting the fastest lap of the race. But just then, Moss would step in.Having had such an advantage, Moss would actually see Hawthorn's maneuver and would argue that Mike had performed the move over on another bit of tarmac not used as part of the circuit. Coming to the Ferrari driver's aid was incredibly sporting of Moss, and it would prove the clincher as Hawthorn would be allowed to retain 2nd place and the 6 points that came along with it. With two rounds left in the championship, it is doubtable Moss believed this move of sportsmanship would cost him the championship. As it stood, Vandervell's team left Portugal in the lead in the Constructors' Championship by one point. Moss still trailed Hawthorn in the Drivers' standings, but by just 4 points. Tony Brooks, despite his early retirement, would be in 3rd.A couple weeks break would greet the teams following the race in Portugal. For both Vandervell and Ferrari this meant a time for regaining their breath before the final push. In Vanwall's case, they were finally back in the fight. For Ferrari, the sportsmanship of Moss meant Hawthorn and the team could wipe their brow and look forward to the next race, which certainly had to favored the Maranello outfit.The calendar turned to September and that meant a trip to the flat plains surrounding the cities of Milan and Monza. It was time for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, the home of the Tifosi. A year earlier, Ferrari had come to the Italian Grand Prix unable to match the performance of the Vanwall. One year later, both cars were on somewhat equal footing. This meant the championship would be truly joined. Unloading their cars for the race to be held on the 7th of September, the Vanwalls would come still sporting their bulbous air scoop on the nose. But, at the 3.91 mile Monza circuit, the team would need to make sure their cars were getting as much cooling air as possible as, once again, average speeds around the circuit would be expected to rise well above 120mph.It would be a scrap for positions on the front row. A rejuvenated Moss would set the pace in practice and would end up on the pole with a lap time of 1:40.5. Tony Brooks would give shades of '57 as he would take the 2nd spot on the grid. Stuart Lewis-Evans would do his best to give Vandervell a repeat performance of a sweep of the first three positions but would come up just short to Hawthorn in the 246. Not surprisingly, the crowd would be large and the weather beautiful as the start of the race approached. The race distance would be 70 laps, a supreme test of speed and endurance, something the Vanwalls had not been particularly great at over the course of the year.
Page 8At the start of the race, Moss would get the jump, but it would be Phil Hill that would make the biggest impression as he would be in 2nd place heading into the Curva Biassono for the first time. Being a track where slip-streaming would be vitally important, Hill would ride along behind Moss until an opportune time. He would then pounce, taking over the lead of the race. It was fairly evident Hill was going to push Moss until he either won or broke in order to help his Ferrari teammate's championship chances. Moss would follow Hill through at the completion of the first lap while Lewis-Evans ran in 3rd and Brooks in 5th.Moss needed to stay near the front, but he didn't necessarily need to lead every lap. He just needed to be there in the end. This would allow Hawthorn to come up and challenge Hill for the lead. Hill would fall well back with tire trouble while von Trips and Harry Schell would find themselves involved in a terrible tangle that would leave von Trips with a broken leg. Moss and Hawthorn would battle for the lead. Moss remained right there until the 18th lap of the race when the gearbox in his Vanwall gave up the fight, advantage Hawthorn. But there wouldn't be much of an advantage, not with Lewis-Evans right there fighting with Behra for 2nd place. Brooks had lost out early on and would end up all the way down to just inside the top ten at the end of the 15th lap.Hawthorn was in the driver's seat. However, Hawthorn's teammate, Hill, would be on a charge. Overcoming his tire troubles, the American would be flying and would end up taking over the lead of the race around the halfway mark. Hill continued to have tire troubles and he would be forced back into the pits. This would hand the lead back to Hawthorn. Brooks had had his own troubles early on. Concerns over the oil would be the reason why he would drop so far down in the order. However, at the halfway point, the man from Dukinfield would be in 4th place and still on the move.Lewis-Evans' assault on Hawthorn would come to an end after 30 laps. In spite of the team's work to addressing cooling issues, he would find himself out of the race as a result of overheating. If Hawthorn came through to take the win the championship would be over right then and there before the Italian faithful. Brooks had often played a supporting role to Moss. The year before, and as a result of injuries suffered at Le Mans, Brooks would hand his Vanwall to Moss at Aintree. The result would be the two men would come through to share a truly historic win in the British Grand Prix. Now, with the laps dwindling down, the team player had just one recourse available to him in order to help out his team and his teammate—win. If Brooks could get by Hawthorn for the win, the championship battle for the Drivers' title would go down to the final race. If he didn't, it was all over. Ever the sportsman himself, Brooks would put his head down and would determine to do all he could to help out his teammate.In one of the best drives of his life, Brooks would reel in Masten Gregory for 2nd place. Then, bit by bit, he would make up ground on Hawthorn. The effort came at a cost. Brooks knew that his only chance was not to pit for new tires. Therefore, he needed to walk that fine line between performance and endurance. Nine laps from the finish, Hawthorn would have Brooks all over his backside. In spite of the wearing tires, Brooks would prove more than enough for Hawthorn as he slip-streamed past his fellow Englishman for the lead. Just like that the pro-Ferrari crowd had the life expelled from its lungs. Brooks had done it to the Italians once again. Brooks would not merely get by Hawthorn for the lead. He would begin to pull away as Hawthorn started to come under fire from Phil Hill. Throughout the race, Hill would demonstrate his speed and ability. Now he had to be told to back off in order to help his teammate's championship hopes. Brooks would take one for the team by dishing one out for the team. Running in 9th place at one point, Tony would come all the way back to serve up one of the best possible presents to his teammate. Averaging a little more than 120mph over the course of the 70 laps, Brooks would take the win by a margin of 24 seconds over Hawthorn. Just four seconds behind Hawthorn would come Hill in another Ferrari. The Ferrari crowd would celebrate the two drivers on the podium, but they would realize just what Brooks had done for his teammate Moss. Taking the win, Brooks gave Moss a chance. The championship would go down to the final race of the season. Recognizing the achievement, Hawthorn would congratulate Brooks during the ceremony. He knew what a performance Tony managed to achieve. Though it had denied him the championship right then and there, there was really no way he couldn't appreciate just what Tony had done.The 1958 Formula One World Championship was turning into one memorable season. Leaving Monza, Vanwall had a margin in hand in the Constructors' battle. And, because of Brooks' heroics, Moss was just 8 points behind Hawthorn heading into the final race of the season. Moss' hopes were slim, but at least he still had hope. Leaving Monza, Vanwall would have plenty of time before the final race of the season. Therefore, the team would pack everything up and head home. They would head home to be able to thoroughly prepare their cars for the Moroccan Grand Prix to be held on the 19th of October. The Moroccan Grand Prix would be the 11th round of the World Championship for 1958. It had been, by far, the longest season in Formula One history, to that point. And, the longer season was certainly producing a memorable fight. In the early part of October, the teams would pack up their cars and their belongings and would head off to the final battlefield of the season.The final battlefield would be another brand new circuit, at least to the World Championship. But in spite of being a brand new venue for the World Championship, the circuit to be used would be an amalgamation of a couple of other circuits the drivers were accustomed.
Page 9The Moroccan Grand Prix in 1958 would be held at the Ain-Diab circuit located just to the west of Casablanca's city center. And, because it was located near Casablanca, Ain-Diab would be similar to Boavista in that it sat, quite literally, within feet of the Atlantic coast. Furthermore, because the region was coastal, and because the Sahara was not more than a hundred miles away, the ground was also quite sandy. And, when the breezes kicked up, the blowing sand would cause the circuit to have a character and feel similar to that of Zandvoort.Most all of the drivers were aware of the circuit's ‘sandy' nature. The first grand prix ever held in Morocco would be just outside Casablanca in 1925. By 1930, grand prix racing would be moved to a new circuit known as Anfa. It too was literally just outside Casablanca's city center and would actually form a part of the modern Ain-Diab circuit that would be devised in 1957. Measuring 4.7 miles in length, the Ain-Diab would be very similar to Boavista. Moss would hope he would have the same result in North Africa as that enjoyed in Portugal. Moss needed everything to go right. He was down 8 points. Therefore, for him to win the championship out-right he needed to take the win, and, get the extra point for setting the fastest lap. As far as Hawthorn was concerned, he just needed to finish 2nd or better. This was a tall order for Moss, but if there was anyone that could do it, it was the talented man in the white crash helmet. It was clear that it was going to be a fight to the bitter end when, during practice, lap times amongst the title contenders would be within tenths of a second of each other. When practice came to an end, it would be Hawthorn on pole having set a lap time just one-tenth of a second ahead of his championship rival Moss. The final spot on the front row would go to Lewis-Evans. This would be important to Moss as it would be very helpful to have a teammate up near the front that could possible hold up Hawthorn and ensure that Stirling left with the championship in his hands. Brooks would also have to figure into the equation to help but he would have some work to do starting from the third row of the grid in the 7th position. Leading up to the start of the final race, there would be a great deal of pageantry as the King Mohammed V would make his presence felt. Large, impressive parades and displays would mark the occasion leading up to the historic final race. It was clear that by the end of the day there would be a British World Champion. It was just a matter of which one. Furthermore, it was entirely likely Vanwall would come away as the first British Constructor World Champion. An impressive crowd would assemble around the circuit to watch the race. The flag would drop and Moss would immediately take to the lead. Things looked good initially as Lewis-Evans would break with Moss and would be side-by-side with his teammate heading into the first corner. Phil Hill, however, would make another blinding start and would manage to displace Lewis-Evans for 2nd place. Obviously Hill was going to push Moss in an effort to get the Vanwall to break and seal the championship for Hawthorn. Hill would end up pushing Moss a little too hard and would end up going off the circuit at one point handing 2nd place to Hawthorn. Lewis-Evans and Brooks would be running right around the top five, but they would be little to no help for Moss. He would have to face the Ferrari threat all by himself. Moss continued to lead and would push his Vanwall to within certain limits. The race distance would be 53 laps. He needed that fastest lap, but he needed to be careful not to push too early so as to limit the wear on the Vanwall. Hawthorn, on the other hand, merely needed to remain composed.Hill would charge hard and would end up taking 2nd place over from Hawthorn once again. Phil would push hard to keep the threat on Moss' mind. Unfortunately, this meant he was also pulling away from Hawthorn, who needed to finish in 2nd. What made matters worse for Hawthorn would be the fact Brooks was starting to find his legs and would be up to 4th and challenging Hawthorn for 3rd place. This was really no good for Mike's championship hopes but it certainly offered Stirling some. Approaching the last 20 laps of the race, Brooks would be doing the best he could for Moss. He would be caught up in a terrific battle with Hawthorn and would force the Italian driver to push his equipment a bit harder than what he may have wanted. Unfortunately, the Vanwall would be minus the air scoop for the final race. Sure enough, engine troubles would rear their ugly head and Brooks would be forced out of the race after 30 laps. Lewis-Evans was still in the race, but he was down in 5th place.Moss still had reason for hope. He had set what would be the fastest lap of the race about 10 laps earlier. Furthermore, Hill remained in 2nd place a good distance ahead of Hawthorn. However, there were more than a couple of moments where Moss would have to breathe a sigh of relief and pray for no further problems. One of those moments would come when he approached Seidel in a slower car. Stirling would misjudge what Seidel was going to do and would end up plowing right into the back of his car causing a good deal of damage to the nose of the Vanwall. Despite the wrangled mess out on the nose, Moss carried on and showed no signs of slowing down.Unfortunately, Lewis-Evans was stuck behind Jo Bonnier. The Vanwall driver had leapt up the running order but was still struggling to catch up to Hawthorn. However, when Brooks dropped out, Stuart would do his best to come to Moss' aid. Sadly, his demise would be right around the corner. Chasing Bonnier, the engine in the Vanwall would suddenly seize. Stuart's Vanwall would be vaulted up into the air and would come down with oil spraying everywhere. Lewis-Evans would extract himself from the car but would be alight from burning oil. Stuart would dash to the ground to put out the flames. The flames would be extinguished, but much of the damage would already be done. He would be immediately removed from the circuit and would be whisked away to the airport where Vandervell's chartered aircraft stood by. While the race carried on, Stuart would be on his way back to London in order to try and save his life from the terrible burns he had received. The shock of Stuart's injuries would already deeply impact Vandervell, and, with Moss all on his own out there on the circuit, it seemed all hope was fading. There were good reasons for these feelings. No longer under any pressure, Hawthorn settled in. His Ferrari team would signal Hill to slow down and let Hawthorn past, which the American would rightly do. Moss would end up doing everything he could, but it would prove to be too late. Moss would streak to victory a minute and 25 seconds up on Hawthorn, but it wouldn't matter. The championship was Hawthorn's, by just a single point. The near miss of the championship would only add to the concern over Lewis-Evans. The wind had truly gone out of Vandervell's sails, as a team and as a person. Though he would never speak against it, the move in Portugal would cost Moss him the championship. The eventual death of Lewis-Evans, about a week later, would cost Vandervell his passion for the sport. Even the fact Vandervell would be Formula One's first champion for constructors would do nothing to help Mr. Vandervell recover from his deep sense of grief and sense of responsibility for Stuart's death.
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