TeamsEquipe/A.E. Moss: 1954 Formula One Season By Jeremy McMullen
In an age where it was common to have a World Champion in his 40s, Stirling Moss would be one of a new breed of racing drivers that would help the first decade of the new Formula One World Championship to become truly iconic. And, in 1954, Moss would emerge as one of Formula One's brightest stars.
Stirling Moss would become a professional driver in 1948 at just the age of nineteen. Truly gifted, Moss would quickly become successful in Formula 3 and especially in sportscars. By the time he was twenty-two Moss would become a winner of the Tourist Trophy and the British Empire Trophy races. 1951 would see him take a slew of victories in sportscars. It would also be the year in which he would make his Formula One debut driving for HW Motors in the Swiss Grand Prix.
In that first grand prix driving an under-powered car, Moss would eventually finish the race in a strong 8th place. Unfortunately, the next couple of years, which would be ran according to Formula 2 regulations, would not be particularly strong years for Moss. He would have a number of strong performances but would often come up short when it came to reliability. His greatest result during this two year period would be just a 6th place he would earn at the German Grand Prix.
Still, Moss' success in sportscars would make it possible for him to drive the best equipment as part of the best teams. Unfortunately, the best equipment, in the early 1950s, wasn't to be found in England, at least not in Formula One. While he would continue to take international victories in Jaguar C-Types, the British-made Formula One cars struggled for horsepower and reliability. This meant the loyal Brit had a decision to make.
Mike Hawthorn would drive one year in a Cooper-Bristol and would then go on to drive for Ferrari. Moss, however, had something of a vendetta against Ferrari, and therefore, was slow to make the move to the more powerful Italian options offered.
Moss had been contracted to drive for Ferrari in 1951. This contract was drawn up rather easily as Moss realized, even then, the better cars were being produced in Italy. However, this rather easy relationship would suffer a terrible turn when Piero Taruffi would be given his car. Without being told until the last minute, Moss would feel deeply embarrassed and would determine to exact his revenge. But again, the options, at that time, were limited. Limited, that is, until Maserati came back in the picture.
Maserati had made a name for itself with its 4CL and the 4CLT of the later-part of the 1940s. However, with financial problems always being the company's Achilles heal, Maserati would disappear from the World Championship until 1952 when it introduced its A6GCM. Though a new car, Maserati would focus its efforts toward the return of Formula One. Therefore, such chassis as the A6SSG would just be ‘interim' chassis laying the groundwork for a much stronger Formula One car.
After battles like the 1953 French Grand Prix, Maserati knew it had a car capable of competing with the likes of Ferrari. And this would be something Moss, who still carried his personal vendetta toward Ferrari, would not miss.
Formula One was coming back to join with the World Championship. The governing-body had taken the time it sufficiently needed to reduce costs and increase competition and the result would be a formula not much different from the Formula 2 regulations the World Championship had been conducted under the previous couple of years, but there would still be one big change. The engine size would be increased. Instead of the 2.0-liter displacement of the Formula 2 cars, the new Formula One regulations would allow engine displacements of up to 2.5-liters. Knowing this, Maserati had been building its ‘interim' chassis and were fast at work producing 2.5-liter, 6 cylinder engines. Put together, the car would become known as the Maserati 250F. Stirling Moss would want one.
The only problem was that many others wanted the new 250F as well. Therefore, Moss would be awaiting delivery of his while the 1954 season would get underway with the Argentine Grand Prix. Still, Moss wouldn't be inactive. He would end up driving in the 12 Hours of Sebring in early March.
Driving an Osca MT4 for the B.S. Cunningham team, and co-driving with Bill Lloyd, Moss would go on to take the win in the S1.5 category, thereby only adding to his reputation as a supreme sportscar driver. As a little aside, Moss' victory in the race would go on to make him the first foreigner to win the race.
Alfred Moss, Stirling's father, had put in the purchase for the Maserati 250F for his son. By the time the car would be completed in early May of 1954, Moss would be one of the very few that would have a 250F inside and out. Many customers were left with a new 2.5-liter engine but were having to make do with an older ‘interim' chassis. Part of the reason the car would be a little longer in delivery would be the fact Moss would have the pedal arrangement changes before he would take delivery of the car. The 250F would come with a rather unusual pedal arrangement consisting of the clutch-throttle-brakes. Moss, however, would have this arrangement changed to clutch-brake-throttle. Finally, Stirling would take delivery of the car, and just in time to take part in the Bordeaux Grand Prix.
Outfitted with what he would consider to be his first proper Formula One car, Moss would travel across the English Channel and down the French countryside to the famous wine region of France. And yet, despite the miles upon miles of French countryside, the Bordeaux Grand Prix would be held right in the heart of the city. In fact, the 123 lap race would run along the Garonne River and around the splendid Esplanade des Quinconces. And although this race was a non-championship event, it would still draw the top teams and drivers of the day. This would give Moss his first opportunity to go up against Scuderia Ferrari with a car that could more than hold its own.
Taking place in the heart of the city, the temporary street circuit was just 1.53 miles in length and only really boasted of a couple of straights of any real length. The rest of the circuit, which wound around the esplanade was filled with some sharp turns and short blasts in between. Still, the atmosphere of being in the heart of the world's wine capital would make it a popular race, which meant it would be a competitive one as well.
Sure enough, practice would see lap times within tenths of each other. Maurice Trintignant had come to drive for Scuderia Ferrari after Mike Hawthorn suffered burns in the race at Syracuse. Enjoying his new ride, Trintignant would be fastest in practice and would take the pole with a time of 1:21.8. Jose Froilan Gonzalez, his Ferrari teammate, would be just three-tenths slower and would start 2nd. The final spot on the front row would go to Jean Behra driving for Equipe Gordini. He would be a half second slower than Gonzalez.
As for Moss, it would be a baptism of fire. He had only taken delivery of his car a couple of days earlier and would still be getting used to the feel of it when he headed out for practice. As a result, he would end up a little further down in the field than one would expect. Posting a time of 1:24.3, Moss would start the race from the middle of the third row in the 7th position.
Another challenge would present itself heading into the race. While Moss would be getting used to his new car, he would also have to get used to driving it in wet conditions as the rains would fall all over the Bordeaux circuit. But while this would be a challenge, it would also present an opportunity as it would surely cause a little havoc with the whole of the field.
And as the cars roared away at the start of the 123 lap race, it would be very clear Moss intended to take advantage of the situation. Being a Briton, Moss was used to wet conditions and it would show very early on as he would be challenging for the lead right along with Gonzalez, Behra and Elie Bayol. In fact, Moss would lead the race at one point, looking quite strong.
But though Moss would be fast, he would not be as consistently fast as Gonzalez in his Ferrari. Gonzalez would post the fastest lap of the race in the wet conditions and would apply the pressure to the rest of the field. It would have an effect as a couple of cars, one being Louis Rosier's Ferrari 500, would retire with failed engines. Harry Schell would drop out with clutch issues. Even Jean Behra, after posting such a strong start, would end up out of the race due to gearbox problems.
Moss would be fast early but would fade over time. Gonzalez's consistently fast pace would only stretch the lead out more and more until he would have a couple of laps in hand over Moss. Gonzalez would also have a comfortable lead over 2nd and 3rd place.
Averaging a little more than 60 mph, Gonzalez would complete the race distance in just under three hours and six minutes and would have a margin of forty-five seconds over the 2nd place finisher Robert Manzon driving for Ecurie Rosier. Maurice Trintignant, who had started on pole, would finish in 3rd place a little more than a minute behind Gonzalez.
It wouldn't be a great or a bad day for Moss. After starting out so strongly in a new car, he would eventually fade from the lead group. This meant that Moss would finish, but would be a couple of laps down. Nonetheless, Moss would still finish a strong 4th place, which would be quite an improvement considering he had driven Connaughts and Coopers the previous years.
The Bordeaux Grand Prix would be something of a tune-up for the race on the 15th of May, just six days later. After competing on the European mainland, Moss would travel back across the Channel and would then head north upon reaching England. Stirling's final destination would be Silverstone. He would be headed there to take part in the important and ever-popular BRDC International Trophy race.
It would be the 6th installment of the International Trophy race in 1954. The first would take place in 1949 and would make use of the all-too familiar Silverstone perimeter roads that were a part of the old Royal Air Force bomber training base. Measuring 2.88 miles in length, Silverstone was not like Bordeaux. The circuit was fast and featured no hairpin turns to slow the pace. Even in wet conditions the circuit remained fast.
And as the teams unloaded their cars, that is exactly what they would run into—rain. It would not be at all surprising to see rain falling on England in May. It was as much a part of the landscape as what a mountain would be or anything else. It was just something teams and drivers had to deal with. And some dealt with it better than others. This reality would be bore out as the day would go on.
Moss would be listed in the first heat right along with Jose Froilan Gonzalez, Jean Behra, Umberto Maglioli and others. Gonzalez would show the way in practice setting a best lap time of 1:48 around the old bomber base. Jean Behra would be 2nd posting a time of 1:51. Behra would edge out Moss by mere hundredths of a second and Alan Brown would complete the four-wide front row with a time of 1:53.
Like the Bordeaux Grand Prix, the rains would fall on the circuit during the first heat race. And as with Bordeaux, Gonzalez would prove his worth to Ferrari by taking the lead and being dominant throughout. Moss would look quite strong through the whole of the 15 lap heat, but would be unable to mount any challenge of Gonzalez. In fact, it would be Moss that would come under some heat from Prince Bira, who had started down in 8th place.
The wet conditions were certainly playing havoc with the field. Starting position mattered very little. Moss would do his best to hold steady throughout the heat, but that meant he also didn't move up either. This would allow Bira to challenge, and even take over 2nd place.
While some held on for dear life, or floundered, Gonzalez carried on as though it were perfectly dry. Still averaging nearly 83 mph, Gonzalez would cruise to victory beating Prince Bira by fourteen seconds. Moss would come home in 3rd place just two seconds behind Bira.
The second heat would see another Scuderia Ferrari car prepare to face off against a couple of other customer Ferraris. Maurice Trintignant prepared to start the second heat against the likes of former winner Reg Parnell and the Ecurie Rosier driver Robert Manzon. Roy Salvadori would also be amongst those that would line up for the second heat race.
In practice, Trintignant would show the way, thereby starting from pole with Parnell, Andre Simon and Bob Gerard starting beside him on the front row. And unlike the first heat, the conditions would be greatly improved. The rain would stop and the track would actually begin to dry as the race carried through its 15 laps.
This meant the pace of the second heat would be much faster than the first. Averaging over 87 mph, Trintignant would lead the way in the heat race as well and would be lapping the circuit much faster than his Ferrari teammates in the first heat. This would come to be very important later. Behind Trintignant, Parnell would hold position in 2nd place, but the driver found in 3rd place would be very interesting. After starting 8th on the grid, Robert Manzon would make his way up past Simon and would be in 3rd with Roy Salvadori seconds behind in 4th.
Trintignant would not be bothered by anything throughout the second heat really. He would cruise to victory some six seconds ahead of Parnell in 2nd place. Some forty-seven seconds behind Trintignant, Manzon would come through to finish in 3rd place.
Both heats now complete; it was time to set the stage for the 35 lap final. This is where the controversy would come into play. Apparently, immediately after his first heat victory, the engine would seize in Gonzalez Ferrari. This would be interesting given that finishing time determined the starting grid positions for the final. Trintignant's race was competed in dry conditions and he would end up being well more than a minute faster than Gonzalez. But instead of giving Gonzalez Maglioli's car, or, having him sit out the final altogether, Ferrari's team manager would decide to give Gonzalez, Trintignant's car instead. Trintignant would be forced to start the final from the 6th position then, instead of from the pole. Reg Parnell would start 2nd with Robert Manzon and Roy Salvadori completing the front row. Stirling Moss' effort in the first heat would end up nearly two minutes slower than Trintignant. As a result, Moss would start the final from the third row of the grid in the 8th position.
The 35 lap final would see the track continue to dry, and therefore, the average speeds would increase. This would play into the hands of the Formula One cars, like Moss' Maserati 250F. But after the benefit of being promoted to pole after his teammate posted the finishing time he did in the second heat race, it would be Gonzalez that would find things playing into his hands.
Gonzalez would take advantage of the pole position and would push out into the lead of the race right from the start. Gonzalez would be fast right out of the blocks and would apply heavy pressure to the rest of the field. In the case of Stirling Moss, and others, the heavy pressure would be too much to bear. Robert Manzon and Reg Parnell would be out of the running in just 5 laps. Prince Bira would last 12 laps before clutch failure brought his race to an end. Stirling Moss would carry on longer but would still fall out of the running after 24 laps due to suspension failure.
With a number of the strong competitors out of the race, Gonzalez would be free to run to the finish unhindered and unchallenged. Only Jean Behra would put together a vain attempt to stay with Gonzalez. Aided by a fastest lap of 1:50 and an average speed of nearly 96 mph over the course of that lap, Gonzalez would easily take the overall victory defeating Behra by thirty-six seconds. Andre Simon would finish in 3rd place but would be a full lap behind.
Once again, Moss would fade over the long haul of a race. Despite having his first proper Formula One car, he was still lacking reliability and consistency to make the most of the power the 250F offered. But at least the last couple of races had been non-championship affairs. He still had a little bit of time to work on the car and get it up to the level he would need.
In order to get his 250F up to the level he knew he would need it to be, Moss knew he needed to take part in a number of competitive races. And competition was something that was still rather lacking around England. Therefore, after the BRDC International Trophy race, he would pack up his car and equipment and would head back to the European mainland. Once back on the mainland he would carry on to Italy. Ultimately, he would end up in a region known as Castel Fusano, which was on the outskirts of Rome. He would be there to take part in the Gran Premio di Roma, held on the 6th of June.
After a couple of weeks, Moss would be in Castel Fusano preparing to take part in the 13th Gran Premio di Roma held on the 4.09 mile temporary road circuit located to the west of Rome right along the Mediterranean coast. Generally featureless and flat, the Castel Fusano circuit certainly lacked the pomp and circumstance of being a site to host the Rome Grand Prix. When thinking of a Roman grand prix certainly thoughts of tight city streets and historical landmarks as background would come to mind. Castel Fusano had none of that. It had none of the charm or appeal. And, in many ways, the circuit was really nothing more than a large rectangle with a few more sweeping esses thrown into the mix.
What was worse was the fact Scuderia Ferrari would not take part in the race. That meant just the Maserati factory team and Equipe Gordini remained as the two major factory efforts. Still, the competition would be strong, and therefore, would be a good opportunity for Moss to gain a good result and build up his confidence all the more.
Things would look good after practice. Onofre Marimon would be fastest and would take the pole. Robert Manzon would continue to be impressive for Ecurie Rosier as he would start 2nd. Stirling Moss would also look strong posting a best time just one-tenth slower than Manzon. Therefore, Moss would start from the front row in the 3rd position. Jean Behra would complete the front row in 4th place in his Gordini T16.
246 miles, or 60 laps, would be the race distance. A number of cars would find themselves out of the running within the first few laps of the race. This would be rather worrying for those, like Moss, who had been struggling to maintain any kind of pace over the course of a whole grand prix. Even more pressure would be applied when Behra, Luigi Musso and Robert Manzon fell out of the running.
It would also be a little demoralizing watching Marimon carry on as if his car was absolutely bullet-proof. And it certainly seemed to be the case as he would post the fastest lap and would continually average more than 106 mph around the 4.09 mile circuit. The heat and the race distance would cause great concern, which would allow Marimon to only extend his lead over the rest of the field.
Manzon and Behra were out of the race. It seemed that it was Moss' opportunity to take up the charge. However, he would have nothing for Marimon. Moss would continue to run but would slip further and further back and further down the running order. It would end up that Moss would still be circulating to get more experience and mileage in the car, but he would not be officially in the running.
Nobody would be in the running against Marimon this day. The Argentinean would look like his fellow countrymen Juan Manuel Fangio and Jose Froilan Gonzalez as he disappeared into the distance. The race would turn into a very boring affair as Marimon would be uncontested as he crossed the line to take the victory for Maserati. More than two laps clear of Harry Schell in 2nd place, Marimon would come through to take the victory. Sergio Mantovani would follow Schell home to finish 3rd, also two laps down. A distance of some 29 miles would be the gap from Marimon back to Moss. Following along some 7 laps down to Marimon, Moss would end up not classified in the results but would gain some valuable testing time.
Although Moss would gain some important track and testing time, he was still struggling to maintain a consistent pace over the course of a whole race distance. Therefore, these trips were becoming rather expensive and unfruitful, or at least it seemed unfruitful.
Moss would be inching closer and closer to understanding his new car and getting the absolute best out of it. This would be very important because a couple of weeks after the Grand Prix of Rome the third round of the Formula One World Championship was set to take place.
After a couple of weeks, Moss would be in the heart of the Ardennes preparing to take part in the Belgian Grand Prix held at the 8.77 mile temporary road course known as Spa-Francorchamps.
Coming from the circuit Castel Fusano, the Spa-Francorchamps circuit was anything but featureless. Boasting of great elevation changes, blind corners and blindingly fast straights and sweeping corners blasting through the Ardennes forest, the circuit was a true road course of the purest sense. Dangerous and enjoyable at the same time, Spa was both loved and hated, but it always offered some truly exciting racing.
The Belgian Grand Prix of 1954 would be the first round of the World Championship to take place on European soil, but it would be the third round of the championship that year after the Argentine Grand Prix and the Indianapolis 500. But since Moss' car wasn't ready in time to take part in the Argentine Grand Prix, the race would be the first round of the World Championship for Stirling in 1954. It would also be the first race of the season in which he would take on all of the very best the world had to offer all at once.
Armed with the same Maserati 250F in which Juan Manuel Fangio had taken victory in the Argentine Grand Prix with at the start of the year, Moss certainly had to have confidence coming into the race. But it was the Belgian Grand Prix held on the ultra-fast Spa circuit. The car would go through an absolute torture test. But if he could come out on the other end in good shape, then he was on his way to a good season overall.
Reality would set in during practice. Juan Manuel Fangio would be fastest in his 250F and would take pole by a second and a half over Jose Froilan Gonzalez. Giuseppe Farina would complete the front row taking 3rd and making it two Ferraris on the front row. However, compared to Fangio's pace, Moss would struggle. Moss' best effort would be eighteen seconds off of that posted by Fangio. Nonetheless, Moss wouldn't find himself in too bad a position on the grid. In fact, Moss would start the race from the fourth row in the 9th position.
Amazingly, the day of the race would break with sunny skies and warm temperatures. This would be an absolute surprise given that it was the middle of the Ardennes Forest, which was known for its unpredictable weather. Of course, what this meant was that the pace of the race would be fast and the cars would absolutely be stretched to their limits.
Fangio had tried a tactic the year before where he backed off and let Gonzalez set the pace. It would end up working until he ran into trouble and retired. But at the start of the Belgian Grand Prix in 1954, it seemed Fangio was going to try the tactic all over again to see if it would work. Gonzalez would streak into the lead, but would almost immediately lose it when his car broke. Roberto Mieres would attract a lot of attention when his car caught on fire on the grid. And so, the Belgian Grand Prix was already shaping-up to be a drama-filled race and the first lap hadn't even been completed yet.
After Gonzalez slowed to a halt it would be Farina that would take over the lead of the race. Fangio would hang out behind Farina while Marimon would have to pit because of some problems with his Maserati. His race would last a whole 3 of the scheduled 36 laps. Therefore, the action would be intense even before 5 laps would be completed. Four cars would be out and the pace would only be increasing.
Noticing the trouble striking at the field, Moss would be fast but would take care of his car throughout the early going of the race. Nonetheless, with the troubles others would face, he would still move up the running order. He would find himself in a terrific battle with Jose Froilan Gonzalez who would take over Mike Hawthorn's car after his own retired on the first lap.
Farina would lead just the first two laps of the race before Fangio would make his move to take over the lead of the race. Fangio would hold onto the lead of the race over the next 7 laps until problems with his helmet caused him to slow and hand the lead back to Farina. It would take a couple of laps for Fangio to get the problem with his helmet fully sorted. But when he did, he would be back on the hunt, gunning for Farina and the lead all over again.
There really was nothing Farina could do to battle with Fangio. The Maserati was just superior on this particular day and Fangio would be back in the lead of the race by the 14th lap of the race. From that moment on it would be Fangio that would destroy all comers. Aided by the fastest lap time, Fangio would not only retake the lead, but would open up enough of a gap over the rest of the field that it would dispirit any that thought about mounting a challenge.
Moss wouldn't necessarily be in a position to mount a challenge of Fangio, but he would still mount a challenge to climb up the leader board. After starting the race from 9th, and aided by attrition with other drivers, Moss would quickly find himself inside the top five and looking strong enough to fight for even more.
And fight is what Moss would do. Moss would still be careful though. He had been helped up inside the top five. Now he needed to convert it into a race finish in order to help his confidence. He would do just that.
Fangio would be formidable. Chased by Maurice Trintignant, Fangio was in control throughout and would power his way to his second World Championship victory of the season beating the Frenchman by a mere twenty-four seconds. Fangio's performance over the course of the 36 laps would be quite telling when one looked at the average speeds. Fangio would average nearly 115 mph over the course of the race en route to his victory. Stirling Moss would put together a tough and gritty performance to finish the race in 3rd place, one lap down. The fact Moss would end up a lap down would be due to the fact he would be a full 5 mph slower around the circuit, on average, each and every lap.
Still, it was a great race for Moss. After starting the race down in the field, he would climb his way up through the order to finish on the podium earning his first World Championship points in the process. It was clear he was beginning to get comfortable with the Maserati and that he had the confidence that it was, truly, a proper grand prix car. The car and the confidence were making all the difference, and it was allowing the talent this young driver had in spades to shine through.
Once Moss took delivery of his Maserati he would immediately go racing and wouldn't have too many weeks off in between. However, after the Belgian Grand Prix, he would have something of a forced break.
Moss would have an entry for the French Grand Prix held at Reims on the 5th of July. However, the entry would be withdrawn toward the last minute. But though the entry would be withdrawn, the car would not. The car would still take part in the race, but not with Moss at the wheel. Instead, it would be Luigi Villoresi that would use the car in the race. Villoresi would take the car and would go on to score a 5th place result scoring 2 championship points.
Although the car would be in France having been used by Villoresi to score a 5th place in the French Grand Prix, Moss would not enter the Grand Prix de Rouen-les-Essarts set to take place on the 11th of July, the week following the French Grand Prix. Instead, Moss and his Maserati would head back across the English Channel to prepare for the most important race of the season.
Though Moss would make the move to drive a Maserati, he was still fiercely patriotic and on the 17th of July Silverstone would play host to the 9th RAC British Grand Prix. And for once in his Formula One career, Moss had the car to make the most of the opportunity.
But taking the most of the opportunity would not be easy as there would be a very strong competitor now making its presence known. For the first time since before the outbreak of World War II, Mercedes-Benz would take part in grand prix racing. It would also be the first time in which Mercedes-Benz would take part in Formula One. The manufacturer's first race had been the previous round, the French Grand Prix. In that race, the Silver Arrows of Juan Manuel Fangio and Karl Kling would absolutely dominate the field coming home with a full lap advantage over the rest of the field. There presence, therefore, would make things rather difficult for even the other major manufacturers in the race, let alone the privateer entry of Moss.
But while Mercedes had their new W196 on their side, Moss had the fact Silverstone was home soil, and the many faithful British fans, on his side. Still, even the ardent British supporters were taken back and were excited about the prospect of the presence of the mighty Silver Arrows from Mercedes.
Fangio would certainly entertain the crowd. He would take the new streamlined W196 and would break the track record during practice covering the 2.88 miles in a lap of 1:45 and at an average speed greater than 100 mph. This too would be a record. And given the fact he would break the track record, it was obvious Fangio would end up on the pole for the 90 lap race. Still, Moss would do his best to challenge. While Fangio would break 100 mph average speed around the circuit, Moss would be just under 2 mph slower and would be right up there with his best lap times. Sure enough, as the lap times would be assembled to determine grid positions, Fangio would be on pole while Jose Froilan Gonzalez would line up in 2nd place. Third place on the grid would go to Mike Hawthorn in his Ferrari while Stirling Moss would end up garnering the final front row starting position for himself after being two seconds slower around the circuit. In all, twenty-nine cars would qualify for the start of the British Grand Prix.
As the start time approached, the setting seemed all too familiar to the International Trophy race back in May. Gonzalez would be on the front row with overcast skies, cold weather and the threat of rain. It seemed like the conditions were perfect for him to repeat his performance. To the thousands upon thousands of race fans assembled around the circuit, they would largely hope that the conditions would be right for the first British driver to score victory in the home grand prix. Hopes would run high with Hawthorn and Moss occupying the front row of the grid.
In a case of déjà vu, Gonzalez would rocket away from the grid at the start of the race and would immediately pull out a couple car length advantage over Stirling Moss, who would also make a fast getaway off the line. Moss would have Hawthorn behind him followed by a slow starting Fangio.
Despite the cloudy skies and the threat of rain, the race would get underway in dry conditions. This would cause all parties involved to push as hard as they could in order to gain the best possible track position before the rains came. And the pace would certainly pick up. Lap after lap the pace would increase until no fewer than seven drivers would share the fastest lap time. One of those seven would be Stirling Moss as he gave chase of Gonzalez and did his best to hold off Mike Hawthorn.
Gonzalez would gradually stretch out his advantage. He certainly enjoyed the Silverstone circuit; it was obvious. Moss would fight hard but could not hold back Hawthorn. Soon, Hawthorn would get by and would set off after Gonzalez. Well…at least he would try. Fangio would finally get his race sorted and would soon be all over the backside of Moss' Maserati. Moss would fight hard but could not handle the pace of Fangio in the W196. He would take over 3rd place from Moss and would quickly make inroads on Hawthorn in 2nd.
Gonzalez would continue to lap the circuit consistently fast and would continue to stretch his advantage. Even as the rains started to fall, the Argentinean seemed at home in the English climate and would remind everyone that it was he that took victory in the International Trophy race back in mid-May.
Moss continued to run in 4th place but would soon rejoin his fight with Hawthorn as Fangio would dispatch the Brit from his 2nd place position. The wet conditions, and the early pace, would take its toll on the field. While Moss continued and seemed strong to make yet another race finish, there would be many others, including Alberto Ascari, Luigi Villoresi, Jean Behra and others that would not be so fortunate.
Another that was not so fortunate, but that still was running well inside the top five would be Fangio. Despite breaking the track record, all was not well with Fangio and the W196. The tall sleek fenders were blocking his view of the corners and it was limiting his ability to be precise in corners. And it would show too as he would have both of the front corners of the car banged up badly from hitting oil drums placed to the inside of the corners. This, and a gearbox-related issue, would begin to slow his pace. He would hand 2nd back to Hawthorn and 3rd to Moss. It seemed Moss was on target for his second podium result in a row.
However, with just 10 laps remaining, a cruel blow would hit Moss. Axle failure would strike his Maserati and would force him off the podium, out of the points and out of the race altogether. This would promote Onofre Marimon, who had been battling with Fangio for the 3rd, one lap down.
The only battle Gonzalez would have throughout the whole of the 90 lap race would be to keep his concentration. He would do just that and would come streaking around Woodcote and across the line for the final time to take his second victory at Silverstone; his second also with Ferrari. A minute and ten seconds later, Mike Hawthorn would be enthusiastically welcomed home in a soundly beaten 2nd place. Marimon would manage to break away from Fangio and would have twenty-seven seconds in hand over his fellow countryman as he crossed the line a lap down in 3rd.
It was the best of times and the worst of times for Moss. He had a successful British Grand Prix within his grasp and it would end up slipping away almost at the very last second. This would be bitterly disappointing, especially given the fact he had been in the fight throughout the majority of the race.
No doubt frustrated by the trains of events at the British Grand Prix, Moss would pack up his equipment and would leave, but would quickly turn his focus toward his next race. His next race would be back across the Channel in France. The race was the non-championship 3rd Grand Prix de Caen, but it would be a great opportunity for him to get righted and continue building a strong season.
Located in the Basse-Normandie region of France, Moss could see the city of Caen as soon as he reached the English coast. Right across the channel, in the same area of the famous D-Day invasion, Caen was a key target for the Americans, British and Canadians as they landed on the continent. In fact, Caen has remained an important city throughout its history. Besides being the burial place for William the Conqueror and is the prefecture of the Calvados department. Unfortunately, because of its importance throughout history, the city has seen its share of destruction and war.
But on the 25th of July, in 1954, a much more peaceful kind of war would prepare to get underway. Composed of just nine starters, the Grand Prix de Caen promised to be a gauntlet in which it was likely only a few would survive.
Scuderia Ferrari would dispatch just one car to the race. It would be for its French driver Maurice Trintignant. Then there would be the French teams of Equipe Gordini and Ecurie Rosier. Harry Schell would be amongst the field. Though he was American, he owned and operated a bar in Paris, and therefore, was a Francophile at heart. Therefore, were it not for Prince Bira, Stirling Moss would have been the only real foreigner in the field.
It was clear it was going to be a battle. Trintignant would lead the way in practice with a lap of 1:26.0. Stirling Moss would be just four-tenths slower and would start on the front row alongside Trintignant. This would not make Jean Behra happy as he would miss out on the front row by mere hundredths of a second.
Realizing how close the top cars were in times, it was not unlikely there would be a crash rather early on in the 60 lap race as one of the drivers pushed a little too hard. The question, if it was to happen, would be, 'Which one would it be?' The answer to that question would come on the 4th lap of the race.
Trintignant would lead the way, very narrowly, over Stirling Moss and Jean Behra. Behra would push his Gordini T16 a little too hard and would make a mistake. This mistake would lead to a crash that would take Behra out of the race, or at least his car.
Jacques Pollet was in the field driving another of the Equipe Gordini cars and he would be ordered into the pits to hand his car over to Behra for the remainder of the race. Despite losing a lot of time to Trintignant and Moss, Behra would pull out of the pits and would return to the race desperately hoping those two would suffer some kind of problem themselves.
Harry Schell and Robert Manzon would all suffer and would retire from the race, but the pace of Trintignant and Moss would only increase as the race wore on. The increase in the pace would be due to the spirited battle the two would be having throughout the race. While Behra, Bira and others would be going laps down, never more than a couple of seconds would separate Moss and Trintignant throughout the race.
On the 2.19 mile circuit, the Ferrari 625 and the Maserati 250F were certainly evenly-matched. This would keep the action tight despite the fact the two men were averaging well more than 85 mph throughout the whole of the 131 mile race.
The battle would go right down to the very last lap of the race. Moss would battle, but it would be Trintignant that would maintain the advantage over Stirling. As they roared toward the line, it would be Trintignant that would take the victory by just three and a half seconds over Moss who was well clear of the 3rd place challenger. Jean Behra would take over Pollet's car and would put together an impressive performance in his own right as he would finish in 3rd place, two laps down.
All throughout the 60 lap race Moss was battling for the lead with Trintignant. This would be a good confidence-builder coming off of the disappointment at Silverstone. He would hope that it would all translate into another great finish in just one week's time.
In the heart of the Eifel Mountains of western Germany exists one of the most demanding and infamous circuits in all the world. Opened in 1927, the Nurburgring had been built in response to the growing danger of hosting motor races on the surrounding public roads. However, in an effort to maintain the pure nature of a road course, architect Gustav Eichler would go on to produce one of the most fearsome close circuits. Loved by very few and only tolerated by most, the 14 mile long Nordschleife would receive perhaps its most fitting compliment when Jackie Stewart would refer to the circuit simply as the 'Green Hell'.
On the 1st of August the 'Green Hell' would play host to the sixth round of the Formula One World Championship. It would be a grand homecoming for the Mercedes-Benz team as the spirits of the Germans would be enthralled by the presence of one of their own as one of the favorites in the World Championship that had featured really no prominent German team or driver since its inception. In the case of Stirling Moss, it would be an opportunity to get his World Championship season back on track after the disappointing last minute retirement in the British Grand Prix.
The 1954 edition of the German Grand Prix would not make it any easier on Moss to overcome the bitter disappointment suffered at Silverstone. With the switch back to Formula One regulations for the 1954 season the event's organizers would determine that it was fitting to increase the distance of the race. Therefore, instead of an 18 lap race like the year before, the '54 edition would be 22 laps for a total race distance of 310 miles.
No doubt cheered on by the local population, Juan Manuel Fangio would go on to set the fastest lap in practice. He would make his way around the 170 turn, 14 mile circuit in 9:50.1 and would beat Ferrari's Mike Hawthorn for pole by a margin of three seconds. Although reliability was proving to be something of a concern, outright speed was not as Stirling Moss would post a time a little more than ten seconds slower than Fangio around the circuit. Despite being a little more than ten seconds slower, Moss would make another front row start occupying the 3rd place starting spot. In all, twenty cars would take to the grid for the 22 lap race.
Unfortunately, a dark cloud would hang over the circuit. While Moss would be thinking about and preparing for the start of the race, his and the thoughts of many others around the circuit would be lost in the loss of Onofre Marimon. In the midst of practice, Marimon would be making the approach toward the Adenau Bridge when he would lose control around one of the fast right-handers. He would lost the car over the bank where it would overturn a number of times before coming to a rest. By the time the car was righted, Marimon was dead. The loss would be terrible, especially for the numerous Argentineans in the field. Still, all would be affected.
Though emotionally there would be a dark cloud hanging over the circuit as a result of Marimon's death, the actual circuit and the forecast would call for no rain. The circuit would be dry, and this was a blessing in and of itself given the dangerous nature of the circuit, as would be demonstrated the day before.
Despite the emotions, the circuit would be swarmed by an incredible crowd present to cheer on its Silver Arrows. But at the start, it would be Gonzalez that would get an incredible jump and would hold onto the lead before the field headed off into the forest. Stirling Moss would make a good start as well and would be following along behind Fangio in the 3rd place position before the 1st lap really got going. But the man who would make the greatest start would be Karl Kling. Kling would start the race from dead-last, but in no time would be up amongst the leaders.
Speaking of leaders, it would not be Gonzalez who would lead the way at the completion of the 1st lap despite making an incredible start from the second row of the grid. Fangio would lead the way at the end of the 1st lap, as well as, over the course of the next 13.
Moss' race would last the 1st lap, but not much further before bearing issues would cause him to retire early. Once again, Moss would face a truly frustrating result in a World Championship event. Only one week early he had been in a fight for a victory, but that was a non-championship race. The World Championship races were another thing all together.
Despite losing out on the lead, Gonzalez would do his best to keep the pressure on Fangio throughout, but Gonzalez was not well, and it was clear. One who was feeling more than fine would be Kling. He would come all the way from the back of the field and would soon be battling Gonzalez for his position. Kling was putting a tremendous amount of strain on his Mercedes, much to the team manager's disappointment and disapproval. But Kling would not pay attention.
Kling wanted the lead and would not be stopped until he got it. And on the 15th lap of the race, Kling would make it complete: he would manage to come from worst to first. But it would be short-lived as internal issues would arise that would cause him to have to stop for servicing. Gonzalez would also make a stop and would hand his car over to Hawthorn for the remainder of the event. Like Moss, Hawthorn's race would last but a couple of laps before coming to an end. This would actually be a blessing as Gonzalez would pull in and leave the car. The loss of Marimon was still too much for him to bear.
In the case of Kling, the damage had already been done. He would rejoin the race but would be well down in the order and would be unable to help Mercedes put two cars on the podium.
The lead back in his hands, Fangio would never relinquish it again. He would complete the final 7 laps really without any fight and would go on to take his fourth victory out of six races. Mike Hawthorn would drive splendidly for the hurting Gonzalez. He would hop into the car and would drive tough in order to come away with a 2nd place result around a minute and thirty seconds behind. Maurice Trintignant would have a silent afternoon as his Ferrari would end up a little more than five minutes behind in the 3rd position.
It had been one of the worst races of the season for Moss. Instead of getting stronger after the near victory in the race at Caen, it would seem Moss' World Championship hopes would have to wait another year before he would really manage to come of age.
While some teams and drivers face adversity by taking a little bit of time off to help recuperate and work on the car, Moss' approach would be rather different. Instead of taking time off, he would get right back into it and would be back in England just six days after his very early exit from the German Grand Prix. Moss would be back in England and would head northwest toward Cheshire. For near the small village of Little Budworth would be the Oulton Park Circuit and it would host the 1st International Gold Cup race on the 7th of August.
Once the estate of the Grey-Egerton family, Oulton Hall would become a staging area during the Second World War and would even be a place where the troops would be entertained. Even the great Joe Louis would give an exhibition boxing match on the grounds of the Oulton Estate. However, after the war the estate would lie empty until the Mid-Cheshire Car Club came along and had plans to build a 2.76 mile circuit on the site. Comprised of a number of different circuits that could be used for a multitude of different racing, the Oulton Park Circuit would open in the early 1950s and the International Gold Cup race would be one of the first races at the circuit.
The race would also be one of the most popular to be held at the circuit. As the cars were rolled out to their grid positions it would be estimated a crowd of more than 40,000 would assemble around the circuit to watch the action.
What the incredible throng of spectators would see would be a grid where Bob Gerard would surprise just about everyone and would sit on pole with his Formula 2 Cooper-Bristol T23. Gerard would beat out Jean Behra and his Gordini T16 by mere hundredths of a second but it would be good enough to give him the pole. Reg Parnell would be just two-tenths of a second slower and would start in the last position on the front row.
Stirling Moss would be late arriving at the circuit. And given the needed repairs after the wheel bearing issues at the Nurburgring, he would not set a time in practice. Therefore, Moss would start the race from dead-last on the grid, which was 21st.
Though he would start dead-last on the grid, Moss would not stay there very long once the race started. He would be flying up through the field and would soon find himself inside the top ten. Meanwhile, Gerard would be doing everything he could to stay near the front. Behra would be right there through the first lap as would Parnell. Roy Salvadori would start the race 6th but would make a good start and would be right up there challenging as well. Still, none were as fast as Moss.
Moss would find himself inside the top five and would be further aided in his ascent up te leader board when Behra retired after 2 laps due to magneto troubles. Then, 14 laps into the 36 lap race, Roy Salvadori would go off the circuit and would suffer a savage accident that would leave him injured and obviously out of the race. Anchored by a fastest lap time nearly three seconds faster than Gerard's pole effort, Moss would find his way into the lead of the race and would begin to pull away.
Moss would be untouchable this day. Gerard would do everything he could and would manage to keep himself within sight of Parnell in 2nd place. Despite the fact the majority of the cars in the field were Formula 2 machines Moss' performance would be no less amazing. Once in the lead of the race, Moss would disappear into the distance and this happened despite the fact Parnell was driving a Ferrari 625.
The only question would be whether the Maserati would make it all the way to the end or not. At just 99 miles, the race would not severely test the endurance of the Maserati and Moss would be confident of this fact and would keep his foot on it throughout. Averaging over 83 mph over the course of the race, Moss would streak to victory enjoying a margin of fifty seconds over Parnell at the line. Three and a half seconds would be the difference between Parnell in his Formula One Ferrari 625 and Gerard driving his Formula 2 Cooper-Bristol T23 in 3rd.
Moss attacked the Oulton Park Circuit and would demolish the field. It had been an incredible and demonstrative victory for the man from West Kensington. It certainly seemed as though Moss had full confidence in his car despite the let downs he had experienced throughout the season. But then again, that is the hallmark of a champion: the ability to forget and move on.
And moving on would be exactly what Moss had to do immediately after scoring his victory at Oulton Park. Just one week separated races for him; one week and hundreds of miles. After leaving Oulton Park, Moss would have to head back down to the coast and back over to the European mainland once again. However, once on the mainland he would not be stopping at the coast. He had to carry on all the way down into Italy and along the Adriatic coast for his next race, on the 15th of August, would be the 23rd Circuito di Pescara.
Situated right along the coast of the Adriatic, the area in and around Pescara is comprised of just about every possible type of terrain imaginable. From the flat coastal sections to the rolling countryside to the mountainous regions ringing the city in Pescara has a little bit of everything. And because of this, the Pescara circuit would be one of a dying breed. While the Mille Miglia and the Targa Florio are much more well known, they are sportscar races. The original grand prix that consisted of one lap of more than a couple hundred miles were all gone, at least for grand prix racing. However, Pescara would be as close a throwback as one would get. At just under 16 miles in length, the circuit would feature the flat low-lying coastal roads of downtown Pescara, but it would also offer the rolling countryside and the tight and twisty mountainous roads of grand prix circuits past. Each and every lap of the circuit had an old feel to it.
But at least the drivers of the 1950s would be using modern racing cars, which would knock the average lap times down to something much more manageable than those old circuits had been.
Once again, the entries for the race would be rather interesting. Despite taking place on Italian soil, the Scuderia Ferrari factory would send just one car for Umberto Maglioli. Luigi Musso would be about the only other driver for he Maserati factory although Moss would enter the race under the factory name of Officine Alfier Maserati. Amazingly, the majority of the field would be comprised of French teams like Equipe Gordini and Ecurie Rosier.
Coming off of his incredibly stunning performance at Oulton Park, Moss would keep the pace up in practice as he would complete the 15.96 mile circuit with a time of 10:23. This time would end up being no less than twenty-one seconds faster than Robert Manzon driving a Ferrari 625 for Ecurie Rosier. Clemar Bucci would occupy the remaining spot on the front row driving for Equipe Gordini. His best effort in practice would be less than two seconds slower than Manzon.
Despite being more than twenty seconds faster in practice, Moss would not be posted to a twenty second head start and he knew that. However, he would also realize that even at a much more comfortable pace he likely would have a number of seconds in hand over the pace of the rest of the field. And this would certainly factor into his thought process as he prepared for the start of the 255 mile contest.
Umberto Maglioli would not start the race due to an illness in the family. This meant Moss' competition was reducing and reducing in numbers, and therefore, potency. But as the race got underway, it seemed as though it really wouldn't matter. Moss was fast and looked like he could just repeat his performance from practice leaving the rest of the field behind. And when Robert Manzon retired after just one lap with a blown engine, it seemed Moss could just cruise to victory.
Just thirteen cars would start the race and that number would begin to dwindle quickly with each passing lap. At nearly 16 miles, each lap was like an eternity and equaled three to four laps of many other circuits. Therefore, just one lap put the strain of many laps at other circuits on the cars.
Unfortunately, that strain would also be felt by Moss' Maserati. After just 3 laps, the oil pipe on his car would burst leaving him stranded. He would be left with just his thoughts of 'What could have been'.
Luigi Musso would be fortunate enough to pick up Moss' mantle and would carry it forward over the course of the 13 laps. Though chased by Prince Bira, Musso's lead would be such that Bira would never come into Musso's rear view.
Averaging nearly 87 mph, Musso would be just one of six that would actually complete the race distance. Crossing the line in two hours, fifty-five minutes and fifty-four seconds, Musso would have nearly three minutes in hand over Prince Bira at the finish. Nearly seven minutes would be the gap back to Harry Schell finishing in 3rd place.
Moss and the 250F continued to be fast. Practice and starting grid positions demonstrated the fact Moss had the talent and the machine to run with the best. Everyone knew the young Brit was talented. He just couldn't get the car to remain underneath him over the course of a whole race.
The early retirements would take their toll on Moss as a privateer entry. He really needed a strong team supporting him in order to help him finish races. Therefore, as he packed and headed off to Switzerland to take part in the seventh round of the Formula One World Championship, he would do so driving under the factory banner. He would have the factory backing him and helping to prepare his car. In fact, Moss would be a factory entry at both the Swiss and Italian Grand Prix. And it would be his performance at the Italian Grand Prix that would set the stage for one of the best career moves he would ever make.
The Italian Grand Prix would have to be considered one of Stirling Moss' finest performances, and yet, his car would again let him down nearly within site of the finish, nearly in sight of his first Formula One victory. So incredible was the performance, and so big the letdown, that Juan Manuel Fangio would come over to Moss later and would tell him that he had actually been the moral victor that day. And while the words would be appreciated, they would not bring a whole lot of relief at that moment. However, his performance had not gone unnoticed, and actually, Fangio's words would be indirect hints as to what was coming around the corner in his driving career.
Maserati was busy preparing one of its chassis for an auto show that would be held in September. Maserati would take his car and would set about making repairs to ready the car for Moss' next race. However, while the car was in the factory, the factory would use the car for engine experiments in preparation for this auto show. This would delay the necessary repairs being made to his car. Moss' next race would be on the 19th of September. It was to be the 1st Grossier Preis von Berlin. However, the factory would not make the repairs in time and he would not be able to take part in the race that would eventually be dominated by the three Silver Arrows anyway.
However, the car would be ready in time for Moss' next race just six days later. On the 25th of September, Moss would be back in England preparing to take part in the 7th Goodwood Trophy race held at the Goodwood Circuit near Chichester.
As with the Easter Monday races in April, the Goodwood Trophy race would be just one of a many of races held over the course of a weekend in the fall at Goodwood. The multitude of races would act as something of an exhibition for all disciplines of motor racing and would allow general fans of motor racing to witness all these different kinds of races.
These kinds of races would become a mainstain at what had been a Royal Air Force auxiliary fighter landing field during World War II. Used during the Battle of Britain, RAF Westhampnett would become an important base early on in the war but would soon become neglected and decommissioned. That is when the Duke of Richmond, the title-holder to the grounds determined to transform the 2.39 mile perimeter road into a motor racing circuit. It would work, and soon, Goodwood would become a popular venue for the drivers and visitors.
Most of the exhibition races were 10 laps or less. However, the highlight event, the Goodwood Trophy race, would be a bit longer. Measuring 50 miles, or 21 laps, the Goodwood Trophy race would be short enough to encourage the drivers to push their cars as hard as possible, but also, long enough to provide the onlookers a great opportunity to see their favorite cars and drivers in action.
Armed with a repaired and rebuilt 250F, Moss would charge into practice and would go on to set the fastest lap time. He would, therefore, start on pole with Peter Collins starting alongside in 2nd place while Bob Gerard and Reg Parnell completed the front row.
The engine within the 250F of Moss' was a little bit bigger than that which rested within the bodywork of the Vanwall. However, Peter Collins would be at the wheel. Therefore, Moss had to be careful of him. However, Parnell was driving a Ferrari 625. Parnell was known as a hard charger and he certainly had the car and the engine to keep up. Therefore, Moss would have his work cut out for himself with Collins and Parnell right there.
Parnell wouldn't be there for too long. As Moss would head the field through the first couple of laps, Parnell's race would come to an end after the 3rd lap to due an engine failure. Collins would do everything he could to keep touch with Moss, but Moss would not give him the chance.
Moss knew he had an advantage with Parnell out of the running. Therefore, Moss would pick up his pace setting the fastest lap of the race with an average speed of nearly 93 mph. This, effectively, was a challenge to Collins and the others in the field to try and stay with him, or beat him. In fact, he was making it very clear that if they had delusions of grandeur they would have to push so hard their car would break doing it.
Despite the troubles with reliability he had been experiencing throughout the season, Moss would drive as if his car was bulletproof. It was now the end of the September and the number of races was rapidly diminishing. He was either going to win the race running away, or, he would experience yet another early retirement. It was obvious Moss had gotten to a point where he believed, but also, didn't care.
Flying at more than 91 mph around the 2.39 mile circuit, Moss would be indomitable. He would cross the line to take another victory and would do so with twenty seconds in hand over Collins in 2nd place. A minute and seventeen seconds would be the difference back to Roy Salvadori, who would finish in 3rd.
When the car worked with Moss, the combination were an incredible pair to witness. Their pace could be incredibly fast and they could put away even the most competitive opponent. It was just reliability that dogged the pair. Still, the result that would win Moss the Goodwood Trophy had been truly remarkable and seemed to set up perfectly the final non-championship race of the season set to take place one week later.
On the 2nd of October, nineteen cars would be busy preparing their cars for what would be the final non-championship grand prix of 1954, at least in all of Europe. The race would be the 1st Daily Telegraph Trophy race and it would be held on the 3.00 mile circuit put together in and around the Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool.
Already famous for being the host site for the famed 'Grand National', it seemed like a good idea to Earl Howe and Raymond Mays to also turn the site into a motor racing venue so that thoroughbreds of a slightly different nature could strut their stuff before packed grandstands. And because of the layout of the circuit and the Grand National racecourse, the grandstands would still be able to be used for the motor races as well. This meant saving costs when it came to building a circuit. Therefore, a 3.00 mile circuit would be designed and incorporated within the already famous Grand National course that boasted of such famous names as 'Becher's Brook', The Chair' and 'Canal Turn'.
Moss had run away with the Goodwood Trophy race and seemed destined to take the victory in Pescara before unfortunate unreliability ruined what was likely to have been another incredible performance. Nonetheless, it was clear, Moss was enjoying the Maserati and it was allowing him to shine. Riding this wave of confidence, Moss would be fast in practice. He would go on to post a best time of 2:03.6 around the circuit and it would end up being about a second and a half faster than Jean Behra's best effort. Therefore, Moss would again find himself on pole. Beside Behra in 3rd place would be Mike Hawthorn now driving a Vanwall. And in the 4th position would be Harry Schell in another Maserati 250F.
Right at the start of the race, a great duel would ensue between Moss and Hawthorn. The two would seem to be evenly matched over the course of the early part of the race. Both would set matching fastest lap times and would remain close. However, Moss had a power advantage with his 250F due to his slightly larger engine displacement. And given the cars weighed about the same, the power advantage would begin to reveal itself as the race wore on. Moss would begin to open up an advantage and would continually add to it with each passing lap.
Although the battle between Hawthorn and Moss would die down, Hawthorn would find himself well within the reach of Harry Schell and Sergio Mantovani. Only about two and a half seconds would be the difference between Schell and Mantovani and Schell would be following along behind Hawthorn by a mere second. The remainder of the field would lose touch and would fall even further back. In the case of the Formula 2 cars, they would be unable to keep touch and would fall at least a lap down behind Moss.
While the battle for 2nd place would remain tight throughout the whole of the 17 lap race, Moss would be well out front looking to be well on his way to yet another victory. Consistently averaging more than 85 mph over the course of the race, Moss would power his way to a clear victory. Finishing the race in thirty-five minutes and forty-nine seconds, Moss would be out front unchallenged for the victory. The real battle would be for 2nd place.
Mantovani and Schell would all be within touch of Hawthorn in 2nd place. However, Hawthorn would manage to keep himself in front and would go on to take 2nd place just ahead of Harry Schell by a mere second.
The later-half of the season certainly had been a much stronger affair for Moss. Moss would be incredibly strong powering his way around the Aintree circuit. He clearly was comfortable behind the wheel of the Maserati and was enjoying the abilities the car gave him. Not only was he able to compete, but he was also able to dominate when the car remained in one piece. His performance in the Daily Telegraph Trophy race would be testament to this fact.
The final race of the season for Moss would be the Spanish Grand Prix held at the Pedralbes street circuit in southwestern Barcelona. While Moss would take part in the race in his own Maserati, he would enter the race under the Maserati factory team. Unfortunately, the race would end the same way as the previous few rounds of the World Championship. His race would come to an end after just 20 laps after his oil scavenge pump failed on his 250F.
It had been an up and down season for Moss despite having a new Maserati 250F. The car clearly had the power and all of the necessary elements to be competitive against even the most potent challengers. However, reliability was still lacking, and this would be the great equalizer. Unfortunately, this meant Moss would lose out on a number of potential race victories and other top results as a result of the reliability issues.
One of those moments when unreliability would cost Moss a chance at his first World Championship victory would end up providing him one of the greatest opportunities of his career. Though he would sit dejectedly up against his Maserati after it failed just 9 laps from the finish of the Italian Grand Prix, he was about to be approached about driving for one of the strongest teams in Formula One at the time.
Fangio would come over to Moss and would say that he was actually the 'moral victor' of the Italian Grand Prix. While this would not be all that comforting at the time Fangio's words would serve as an allusion to what was about to happen. Moss' performances, even the failed ones, would not go unnoticed and Alfred Neubauer would approach Moss about driving for the Mercedes-Benz team in 1955. This would be a great opportunity for Moss that would eventually lead to him scoring his first of his 16 wins.
The 1954 season would be the last time in which Moss would enter the Formula One season as a privateer entry. After experiencing the unreliability issues he would throughout the season, Moss would come to realize his need for a strong team effort behind him to help give him the best opportunity for success. And when he departed for Mercedes, the benefits of a strong team would become more than obvious as he would manage many more race finishes compared to retirements, unlike 1954 and earlier.
Though he would move on to Mercedes at the end of the year, his year with the Maserati 250F would still be considered a special one for him. Admittedly, Moss would refer to the 250F as his first proper grand prix car and it would allow him to show his true form behind the wheel of a grand prix car. It was a time in which the young Brit really showed his talents. It would also really serve as the starting point of the legend that Moss would become in Formula One history.