TeamsE.N. Whiteaway: 1955 Formula One Season By Jeremy McMullen
Edward Norton 'Ted' Whiteaway's journey would encompass thousands of miles of earth, and that would be even before he would be born. Therefore, this journeyman, of sorts, would become just one of those many names that would make a flash appearance on the scene of Formula One and would just as quickly fade from the scene. Full of passion and ambition, Ted Whiteaway would be just one of a very few that would manage to attempt to reach their dreams.
Edward Norton 'Ted' Whiteaway would be the result of Providence. It would not be that either his father or mother were some nobility or of some greater station in life than anybody else. However, the path that each parent had to take to come together would have to be divinely inspired.
Ted Whiteaway's journey actually would begin in the 'deep valleys' of Devon. There the Whiteaways lived and remain to this very day. However, Ted's more immediate history would be found halfway around the world in the city of Calcutta, India. It would be there, in 1876, that his father, Edward George Lang Whiteaway, would be born. The upheaval of the First World War would lead to Ted's father returning to England to serve as a Major in the Yorkshire Light Infantry. It would be after the conclusion of the war that Ted's own journey would begin.
Louisa Lawton Bean would begin her own journey in 1892 in none other than Kumara, New Zealand. However, providence would see to it that she would board a ship bound for the United States in September of 1927. Also on that ship was a then 50 year old gentleman by the name of Edward George Whiteaway. The two would meet on that ship and in such confines would quickly develop a relationship that would lead to the two being married that same month in London. This journey of two parts and of thousands of miles would give birth, in November of 1928, to Edward Norton 'Ted' Whiteaway..
At the conclusion of the Second World War, 'Ted' Whiteaway was just 16 years of age but full of hopes and dreams. By his 20th birthday, it was clear he had been bitten by the racing bug. Enraptured by the speed and the sound, Ted would make it his intention to become a full-time racing driver.
By the early 1950s, Whiteaway would be taking part in his first motor races. Most of the early events, understandably, would be lower formula races. Then, in 1954, Whiteaway would make his plans to step up into Formula 2 and would even enter a handful of non-championship Formula One races.
Driving a Formula 2 HWM-Alta, Whiteaway would make it all the way to the final of the BRDC International Trophy race held at Silverstone. However, he would not make it to the end of the race before a failure in the car's universal joint brought his race, his first Formula One race, to a premature end.
Throughout 1954, Whiteaway would earn some moderate success in those events he entered. Given the fact he would be behind the wheel of a Formula 2 HWM, Whiteaway would even demonstrate an ability to pull off the surprise. Such an example would be the 6th place result he would come away with in the 1st August Cup held at Crystal Palace park south of London on the 2nd of August. Unfortunately, repeated issues with car reliability would rob Whiteaway of more experience and more success. Still, he was doing that which many only ever dreamed about and that would be enough to see him return for the 1955 season.
Despite still owning a HWM-Alta 53, Whiteaway would not be at Goodwood on the 11th of April to take part in the Easter Monday races, particularly the Formula 2 Lavant Cup race. Instead, Ted would focus his intentions directly on taking part in his first-ever Formula One World Championship race.
Underpowered with its 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, the HWM-Alta was not exactly the best car for a Formula One race. Whiteaway would need to choose his event carefully to ensure that he would even be able to qualify for the race. That meant just one possible race on the 1955 calendar would do.
Ted needed to take part in a race that would test the car and himself, but that would also best suit his aged and underpowered HWM. The World Championship season was rapidly approaching. And then an opportunity presented itself. On the 8th of May, on the cliffs and outcroppings just to the northwest of Naples, Italy would be held the 8th Gran Premio di Napoli. This seemed the perfect setting for Whiteaway and his HWM.
Situated high atop the cliffs overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea, the Posillipo Circuit presented drivers with some incredible views and a challenging 2.55 mile circuit. Running along the top and the steep sides of the cliffs, the circuit was tight and relatively slow—perfect for Whiteaway's HWM.
Seeing that it was Naples, it was not at all surprising, however, that the field would also include a fleet of cars from Scuderia Ferrari and the factory Maserati team. However, the 1955 race would also present a special challenge as Scuderia Lancia would enter the race with a couple of its new D50 cars. The drivers would be none other than double World Champion Alberto Ascari and his mentor Luigi Villoresi. Whiteaway had certainly found his test.
Given the setting, the circuit and the competition, Whiteaway could not have chosen a better venue in which to test himself and the car, especially given his choice of event for his first-ever World Championship race later on in the month.
Looking down the field, Whiteaway would be the only non-Italian entry. What was worse was the fact his mount was the least powerful and capable. To say that he would have an uphill battle would be beyond and understatement.
In practice, Alberto Ascari would turn the fastest lap and would grab the pole. His best lap time of 2:08.1 would end up nearly a second and a half faster than Luigi Musso in a factory Maserati. Jean Behra would be a further second and a half slower than Musso but would capture the final front row starting spot.
Although outmatched, Whiteaway would turn in a time in practice that would keep him out of dead-last. Therefore, the man from Middlesex would end up on the fourth row of the grid in 9th place.
Ten cars would take to the grid for the start of the 60 lap race. The biggest challenge for Ted would be to keep his car all in one piece over the course of the 152 miles. Interestingly, given the teething problems of the D50, Ascari would have the same concern.
The flag would wave and the race would get underway. At Pau, Behra and Ascari would be locked in a battle for the lead and the victory for a majority of the race. As the cars roared away into the distance, it would become clear that it would be more of the same, just with Musso added into the mix.
Ascari would be pushing hard, but not as hard as Behra would be as he would go on to set what would be the fastest lap of the race with a time a second and a half faster than his own qualifying effort. Still, Ascari continued to look strong, as would Musso.
Ted would find himself just trying to hang on in the early going of the race. The pace was certainly going to be a problem for his Alta-powered machine, and therefore, needed to find a pace in which he was comfortable.
Still, Ted was a racer just like Ascari, Behra and all the others. He would do his best to drive a controlled and steady race. However, the pace would be such that even controlled and steady put a lot of strain on the HWM. Unfortunately, after 17 laps, his Alta engine would determine that it had had enough and would expire, leaving Whiteaway out of the race.
Behra would continue to push but would soon run into trouble himself and would be forced to back off the pace a little bit. Unable to mount any kind of charge himself, Musso would be relegated to watching Ascari disappear into the distance.
Musso would valiantly fight over the course of the race, but it would end up being just to remain on the lead lap with Ascari who would suffer no problems of any kind over the course of the race.
Ascari would come through and across the line in a little more than two hours and 13 minutes to take the victory. Averaging a little more than 69 mph throughout, he would finish with a minute and 17 second advantage over Musso. Ascari's friend, mentor and teammate would come through to finish in 3rd place but would be more than a lap behind in the end.
The race at Posillipo would provide Ted with some great experience, but it would end up leaving him with a problem. The expired engine was certainly not something he would have wanted as he prepared to take part in his first World Championship race. Therefore, he would set to work repairing and preparing in order to be ready for his next race.
Ted's next race would also be across the English Channel. In fact, it would right along the Mediterranean. On the 22nd of May, Monaco would make its return to the Formula One World Championship after having hosted a World Championship race in 1950, and, Whiteaway would determine to be there.
Back during the 15th century, the Grimaldis would purchase the area known as Monaco from the crown of Aragon. The House of Grimaldi would control the principality with the help of French protectorate. However, with the French Revolution in the late 18th century, the Grimaldis would actually come to lose control of their principality. But then, in 1814, the Grimaldis would return to the throne.
And, in 1955, the crown jewel of Formula One would make its return to its throne and it was promising to be one incredible battle with Mercedes, Lancia, Ferrari, Gordini and Maserati all fielding cars for the 100 lap race. This would be some incredible competition for Whiteaway, the young and inexperienced driver, to face. Still, he would arrive with his HWM-Alta hoping against all hope that he would be able to take part in his first Formula One World Championship race.
It was clear for all that the return of Monaco to the calendar was something special. Scuderia Ferrari would enter no less than five cars. Mercedes would have four right along with Equipe Gordini, Scuderia Lancia and Officine Alfieri Maserati. And since Lance Macklin entered the race under Stirling Moss' own team name, Whiteaway would be the only official privateer entry in the field.
Though Whiteaway had made it to Monaco, he quickly needed to turn his attentions to actually making it into the race. To do that he would have to lap the 1.95 mile circuit fast enough to make it to a spot on the grid. Though Monaco was a tight street circuit, this would not be an easy task when measuring up against a field of Formula One cars, especially given his inexperience.
Juan Manuel Fangio would have no problems being fast around the principality's tight streets. Fangio had been the winner of the one and only Formula One grand prix held in Monaco and he would show why that was as he lapped the circuit in 1:41.1 and would barely edge out Alberto Ascari for the pole. Stirling Moss would show that he wasn't about to be upstaged by his senior teammate. He would traverse the streets just one-tenth of a second slower. This made for one of the closest front rows in Formula One history and would get many excited about the race to come the following day.
Whiteaway would be hoping there was going to be a tomorrow. He would push the HWM as hard as he felt comfortable. His best lap would see Ted average nearly 60 mph. However, when Fangio's best lap came in just over 69 mph, it was clear Whiteaway was not anywhere near as fast as the front-runners. Still, he wasn't concerned about the front-runners. He certainly just wanted to make it into the race. However, his 16 second slower lap would put him outside of the running for the final starting spot on the grid. It was over. Whiteaway would give it a valiant effort, but he would come up close and personal with the glaring truth of Formula One. He needed to be one of the best, driving one of the best cars just to be able to make it into a race.
Instead of being able to take part in the very special race, Whiteaway would be just another spectator. And what he and others would witness that day would be both, not surprising and amazing.
Fangio and Moss would pull away in the lead with the Lancia and Maserati chassis giving chase. But then, right around the halfway point of the race, Fangio would be out of the race having lost drive in his Mercedes. This put Moss in the lead.
However, with less than 20 laps remaining in the race, it would all come undone for Moss as he would pull into the pits with smoke pouring out from under the cowling of the car. And while just about everyone's attention would be trained in the direction of Moss, Alberto Ascari would plow through the hay bales at the chicane and would dramatically plunge into the harbor. Ascari would emerge from under the water and would swim his way to the shore. Nobody would realize that this would be the last race he would ever participate in.
And with all of the developments over the course of the race it would be the seemingly outclassed Ferraris that would come away victorious with Maurice Trintignant earning one of the most remarkable and surprising victories in Formula One history.
Having taken his shot at a Formula One World Championship race, and coming up quite short, Whiteaway would attempt one more Formula One race with his HWM-Alta. On his way back from Monaco, Ted would head about six hours west over to Albi, France, for in that famed small city the 17th Grand Prix d'Albi would take place on the 29th of May.
Both before and after the Second World War, Albi had been a prominent player in motor racing history and its triangular-shaped, incredibly fast circuit would be used throughout that time as a major proving ground for new technology and high-horsepower machines. However, with the coming of the Formula One World Championship, Albi would rather quickly fade into the distant memory of many race fans.
Situated on the River Tarn, Albi certainly would be classified as one of the throwback settings of grand prix racing. Tightly packed apartments and buildings along lightning fast portions of track certainly seemed oxymoronic, and yet, the two seemed to go together perfectly at the same time.
However, in 1954, a much different circuit would emerge for use for the Grand Prix d'Albi. This new circuit would hardly be similar to its old self. Instead of the 5.5 mile blindingly-fast monster, a rather simple 1.85 mile circuit would be used. This new circuit was composed of portions of the old but was just about one-quarter of the whole.
This same circuit layout would again be used for the 1955 edition of the race. And while it would be a poor representation of the original, the new circuit would actually play into the hands of Whiteaway with his underpowered HWM-Alta. Being shorter than the original, it was likely the Formula One cars would not be able to stretch their legs fully and would enable Whiteaway to keep in touch a bit longer. Of course, while the Formula One cars might not have their legs fully stretched, the 2.0-liter four-cylinder Alta engine would be strained to its limits over the course of the 105 lap race.
Besides a couple of Ferraris in the field, the majority of the field would be comprised of Equipe Gordini T16s and Maserati 250Fs. In fact, the two chassis types would alternate grid positions at the conclusion of practice.
Andre Simon would be fastest driving a Maserati 250F for Ecurie Rosier. His time of 1:18.1 would be just a tenth of a second faster than Robert Manzon in a T16. Louis Rosier would put both of his cars on the front row when he took his Maserati 250F and set a time just two-tenths slower than Manzon.
Over the next four positions on the grid, Maserati and Gordini would alternate positions. This meant Whiteaway, who would be fast enough at the end of practice, would not start from either of the first three rows of the grid. Instead, Whiteaway would start from the fourth, and final, row of the grid in the 10th position overall.
Finally, Ted would have a race to participate in during the 1955 season. And the race would not be an easy affair. Covering a total of 195 miles, the Grand Prix d'Albi would be a severe test for the Formula 2 car.
Right from the very start of the race the Formula One cars would begin pulling away from Whiteaway. Having set a time nine seconds slower in practice, the front-runners would disappear into the distance within just the time it took to complete one lap. Still, Ted's race was actually not against the Formula One cars but against the 105 laps and 195 miles itself.
While Edward was in a fight just focusing on the distance, Simon and the other Formula One entrants would be in a fight to see which one could cover the distance the fastest. Simon would be fast at the start of the race and would only keep up the pace throughout the early part of the race. This would put great pressure on the unreliable Gordinis. It would also exert a great amount of pressure upon any one else in the field thinking about driving on the limit instead of being steady and consistent.
This pressure would end up catching Michael Young out who would crash out of the race at the wheel of his own Connaught A-Type chassis after just 12 laps. Thankfully, Young's crash meant Whiteaway would not finish the race dead-last. Unfortunately, nothing would prevent him from finishing second-to-last.
Sure enough, after having completed 17 laps, the Alta engine would let go on Whiteaway and his race would come to an end after just 33 of the 195 miles. Most unfortunate would be the fact that this retirement would end up bringing about the end of not merely a race for Whiteaway.
Simon seemed absolutely immune to any problems while at the head of the field. He would continue to lap at better than 81 mph average speed and would keep the pressure up on the rest of his competitors. His pace would be such that he would begin to pull away from everyone else in the field. It seemed most were willing to concede either Simon would win or would run afoul of attrition.
It would be Simon's competition that would run afoul of attrition. Lance Macklin's race would last 36 laps before a broken water hose brought it to an end. Then would come the unreliability of the Gordinis.
Robert Manzon had tired of the constant unreliability of the Gordini team cars during the 1952 season and would actually leave the team. He would return to the team in 1955 for the lack of a better ride. Unfortunately, unreliability would be sure to greet his return, and the Grand Prix d'Albi would be no different. Manzon would nearly make it to the halfway mark of the race before transmission failure would bring it all to naught.
Eighteen laps later, rear axle problems would take Elie Bayol out of the race. This left just one of the Gordini cars still in the race. Driven by Jacques Pollet, the sole remaining Gordini would not be in the running against Simon. Therefore, the first two positions in the running order would be occupied by Ecurie Rosier team cars.
Despite having a clear advantage over his teammate Rosier in 2nd place, Simon would not slow down. He would go on to set the fastest lap of the race with a time a full second faster than this own qualifying effort and would average better than 81 mph over the course of the whole 105 lap contest.
With such a pace, Simon would cruise to an easy victory. After two hours, twenty-three minutes and twenty-two seconds, Simon would cross the line more than a lap ahead of Louis Rosier in 2nd place and would have two laps in hand over Horace Gould finishing in 3rd place.
The blown engine would blow any chance Whiteaway would really think he had of taking part in any future single-seater grand prix. Realizing the true reality of the situation, Whiteaway would withdraw from racing after the failed attempt at the Grand Prix d'Albi. It would be all too clear he was lost in the sea of motor racing and there would be no chance at a rescue. Therefore, Albi would be the last time Whiteaway would be seen, professionally, behind the wheel at a Formula One race.
It would be a rather sad ending really. Whiteaway had made the trip all the way from England to Monaco in order to fulfill one of his fantasies. He would make a good go of it. But in the end, Edward 'Ted' Whiteaway would be one of the few that would come as close to Formula One as he did. And though he would not start the race, he would have the distinction of competing at a time when Juan Manuel Fangio was truly coming into his own, when Mercedes-Benz was just one of a number of marquee manufacturers in the field and when the engines were still positioned ahead of the driver.
Though his Formula One career would never have a chance to get going, he would continue to take part in some races sparingly over the rest of the decade. The greatest highlight of the remainder of his racing career would come in his very last major race.
At the 1959 24 Hours of Le Mans, Whiteaway and John Turner would come through the long and grueling event with a class victory and a 7th place overall finish. This would be the highlight upon which Whiteaway would depart.
Upon leaving motor racing, Whiteaway would choose perhaps the most opposite of all possible careers. The Whiteaway family legacy is deeply rooted in Devon and in farming. Ted would actually own two farms while he chased after his racing ambitions. He also had a wife. Unfortunately, Ted's racing career, and marriage, would come to an end. Looking for a new start, and a new adventure, he would go an visit a friend living in Australia at the time and would absolutely fall in love with it down under. Ending up in Perth, Australia, Ted would soon meet another lady by the name of Amy. Married, Ted would now set about on another part of his journey that would include traveling and writing a book.
It would be in Perth, Australia where Whiteaway would pass away in October of 1995 just a couple of weeks shy of his 67th birthday. The one other interesting and unknown aspect to Whiteaway's story is that his father passed away one year after his failed attempt to take part in a Formula One World Championship race. It is worth pondering whether or not his father would have seen Edward give the World Championship his best shot or not? One thing is for sure, given his situation, Whiteaway would have to be considered as one of those that did, in fact, achieve his dreams, no matter the outcome.