Page 1Colin Chapman would come to be the benchmark of Formula One that would last for more than two decades. Borrowing liberally from aviation influences, Chapman would seemingly instigate revolution after revolution. However, in 1958, Team Lotus would be just a small privateer effort intending to make its name amongst the like of Scuderia Ferrari, Vanwall and Cooper.Chapman would attend the University College London studying structural engineering. He was absolutely fascinated by all things engineering and this would lead him to join the University of London Air Squadron so that he could learn to fly. It was 1948 and Chapman had his eyes set years ahead. While attending university the man from Richmond, Surrey would build his first 'Lotus'. Called the Mk1, the first Lotus would actually be nothing more than a modified Austin 7. However, he would quickly go on to make the Mk2, the first true Lotus. By 1952, Chapman would found Lotus Cars. Using some of the latest techniques employed by aeronautical engineering, he would design and build some small, lightweight sportscars. Believing hardily that lightening a car it could go faster everywhere, Chapman's very compact sportscars would be quite popular and would often fight with cars having much more horsepower. This success in sportscars would lead to the man designing and building small single-seaters. Soon, his cars would be popular choices for Formula 2 and would lead to a number of Formula One teams calling upon Chapman to help them tweak their cars. Vandervell and Owen Racing would all call upon Colin to look over their designs. In addition to his work building his own cars and serving as a consultant, Chapman also had inclinations of being a driver as well. Earning a drive in a Vanwall at Reims in 1956, Colin's racing career would come to a very quick end when he collided with his Mike Hawthorn during practice. He would walk away from a career as a racing driver and would focus on building cars for Formula One. Chapman would do just that. He would focus his attentions of designing and building sportscars still but would also invest heavily in further Formula 2 designs. His success in Formula 2 would continue and this would lead to 1958.Chapman's Lotus Cars would follow along a similar track to Cooper and, in 1957, the small rear-engined car would be quite impressive, especially in some Formula One events. This would motivate Colin to build a Lotus for Formula One. One important motivation for this move toward Formula One would com e from Coventry, one of the popular engine manufacturers. The company had made steady progress with its engine and offered a 2.0-liter version of its engine. Though not the maximum size allowed by the regulations, Chapman could work with the smaller engine as it fit within his creed of lightweight being faster everywhere. Though Cooper was making great progress with its rear-engined cars, Chapman would stay with convention designing and building a front-engined car. But though the car, which would become the Lotus 12, would have its engine at the front, it was by no means conventional. The smaller Coventry engine ideally-suited Chapman. This meant he could build a very small and compact car. Not allowing for anything unnecessary, Chapman's Lotus 12 would be barely big enough for the driver, but it would be this neat and tidy car that would enable Team Lotus to make its first appearance in a Formula One race. Chapman and his team had designed the Lotus 12 to be capable of carrying a Coventry engine that made it comply with either Formula One or Formula 2 regulations. This enabled the team to have continuity over either series and made it much easier for the team to compete in either formula. Lotus would hire a couple of drivers. Cliff Allison and Graham Hill would serve as the team's two drivers. Graham Hill had started his racing career rather late but had shown quite well as he came up through the ranks. Allison had started racing in Formula Three during the early 1950s. He had come up through the ranks as well and was quite well known within sportscar circles. Both Hill and Allison raced Lotus sportscars extensively and served as the ideal candidates to take Lotus into Formula One.In 1958, the season would start early for some. The first round of the World Championship would take place in Argentina in mid-January. However, most of the smaller teams, Team Lotus included, would forego the events in South America and would wait until the European season kicked-up in early spring. Team Lotus' season would have its start in April. It would be the 7th of April, a Monday, and that meant Easter Monday Races at Goodwood. The Easter Monday event was a popular sign of spring and summer being on its way. It was also very popular as it offered the British public its first opportunity to see its favorite drivers behind the latest racing cars. The day would be filled with a number of different races featuring a number of different formulas. There would be the 9th Lavant Cup for Formula 2 and then the 6th Glover Trophy race for Formula One cars. Team Lotus would be involved in both. In the Lavant Cup race, both Team Lotus cars would be impressive. Though Roy Salvadori started the 15 lap race from the pole, it would be Graham Hill that would be quickest around the 2.39 mile Goodwood circuit. Allison would trail along behind his teammate by about 20 seconds by the end of the race but both would be in a strong position. Hill would be quite impressive. His fastest lap time heaped terrible pressure upon Jack Brabham in the factory Cooper. Heading into the final lap of the race Brabham would barely hold onto the lead of the race. Unfortunately for Hill and Lotus, the Australian would be able to overcome the pressure and would take the win by just four-tenths of a second over Hill. However, as Allison crossed the finish line in 3rd place it would become abundantly clear Lotus had earned a fantastic result. The team would only hope the same result could be come by when it took part in the Glover Trophy race. A victory in the Glover Trophy race was going to be, by no means, an easy, or likely, event. Mike Hawthorn would be present with one of the new Ferrari Dino 246s. Then there would be the BRMs from Owen Racing and the whole fleet of Coopers.
Page 2In practice, it would be Stirling Moss that would show the way in the Rob Walker Cooper. He would be on pole while Jean Behra would line up 2nd in one of the BRMs. The remainder of the front row included Hawthorn lining up 3rd and Roy Salvadori completing the front row 4th. Though the Lotus lacked the outright pace of some of the others, Cliff Allison would be impressive practice. He would end up on the second row of the grid in the 7th position overall. Hill, on the other hand, would be a bit off the pace ending up on the fourth row of the grid in the 13th position overall. Overcast conditions would dominate as the cars lined up on the grid for the start of the 42 lap race. Moss would stall at the start of the race and the field would be gone before the car would actually get underway. In contrast, Behra would make a fantastic getaway to lead the first lap of the race. Trouble would visit the field early. Harry Schell would be in the pits after the first lap with brake trouble. As soon as he reappeared on track Graham Hill would come into the pits. His race in the Lotus 12 would be over. Allison would still be in the running but Behra, the race's early leader would not. While in the lead, the Frenchman would make a mistake coming through the chicane and would end up smashing hard into a barrier virtually destroying the BRM. He would escape without any serious injury but he would be one of five that would retire within the first 10 laps of the race.Behra out of the way, Hawthorn would take over the lead and would look to be in a very strong position despite having Moss quickly coming up through the field. The expected battle would end up a dud as Moss would end up retiring from the race as a result of mechanical trouble.While Hawthorn led the way easily, Allison would find himself battling for a spot on the podium. Though able to pull away from the two B-Type Connaughts, Allison would be unable to keep pace with Salvadori in the factory Cooper.Hawthorn would take his Ferrari across the line to the victory. Nearly 40 seconds later, Brabham would come through to finish in 2nd place in one of the factory Coopers. The second factory Cooper would come along a lap down in 3rd place driven by Salvadori. Though outpaced by Salvadori as the race wore on, Cliff would still perform well in the Lotus. Bringing the car across the line in 4th place, Lotus would have a nice bit of comforting news after Hill's very early departure. The early spring months would be quite busy for motor racing. It would be a busy time as there would be no rounds of the World Championship until the middle of May. Therefore, the races would come right on top of each other in April. Less than a week after the races at Goodwood there would be a non-championship event in Syracuse, Sicily. Then, a week after that, there would be another non-championship event on English soil. The race would be the 13th BARC ‘200' and it would take place at Aintree on the 19th of April. Aintree, the same site as the famed Grand National, served as a great opportunity for Team Lotus. Measuring 3.0 miles in length, the Aintree circuit was much more of a technical circuit than that of Goodwood. Having a slower average speed than the Goodwood circuit, Aintree played to the strengths of Chapman's philosophy of lighter being better all the way around. The BARC 200 event would feature a Formula One and Formula 2 race running concurrently. Team Lotus would bring its Lotus 12 to the event but would enter both within the Formula 2 field. This certainly appeared to be unnecessary as both would be quite quick in practice for the 67 lap race. Jean Behra would set the mark in the BRM 25. His lap time of 1:59.8 would be the only time posted under the two minute mark and would give the Frenchman the pole. Roy Salvadori would continue to impress by earning 2nd on the front row. Stirling Moss would line up 3rd having been just eight-tenths slower than Behra. Hill would be the fastest of the Lotus cars. His best effort would be just a little more than six seconds slower than Behra and would earn him the first position on the third row. Starting right beside Hill in 7th place would be Cliff Allison in the other Lotus. His best effort would be just two-tenths of a second slower than his teammate. It would be very cold as the cars and drivers took their places on the grid. The winds off the Irish Sea and the River Mersey would be kicking up to make conditions anywhere, besides right behind a high performance engine, very cold. Unlike at Goodwood, Moss would get away from the grid in fine fashion to lead the way ahead of Behra and Salvadori. Moss would begin to stretch an advantage while Brabham came up and took over 3rd from Salvadori. The lead would only grow all the more as Brabham pulled close to Behra and engaged him in a fight for the 2nd place position.A little further back, Hill would make an impressive start and would be following along behind Tony Brooks right around the top five. Allison would be a ways back but would appear to be taking his time allowing the race to come to him. Systematically, the race would begin coming to Allison. While Moss carried on the lead over Brabham, Behra would retire with brake problems and no less than ten cars would be out of the picture before the race reached the halfway point in the race. Neither Hill nor Allison would be able to maintain a fast enough pace to challenge the best of the Formula 2 runners, but both would be in the running and in a strong position.
Page 3Hill and Allison settled in and were running well inside the top ten overall. They would manage to pull away from those chasing from behind. Hill would be chasing after Harry Schell and would be within a couple of seconds heading into the final couple of laps. This would be Lotus' best chance for a podium finish within the Formula 2 category. The most exciting battle would be found at the front of the field. Moss had been leading the way from the very beginning. However, obvious clutch problems made it unclear whether or not Moss would even make it to the finish. On the very last lap, Brabham would be all over Moss' Cooper and would be about to take the lead coming out of the final corner. However, throwing caution to the wind, Moss would stand on it coming out of the corner. Unsure whether the clutch would explode right then and there, Moss would need the extra oomph to give him the edge in the race toward the line. The move would work and Moss would take the victory by just two-tenths of a second over Brabham. A little more than a minute later, Tony Brooks would cross the line as the 3rd place finisher and first among the Formula 2 runners. Though unable to challenge for a spot on the Formula 2 podium, Hill would be impressive in his Lotus. Losing out to Schell by less than three seconds, Hill would end up crossing the line a little more than a lap behind in 7th place overall and 4th amongst the Formula 2 entries. Cliff Allison would also have an impressive run. Coming along a little more than thirty seconds behind his teammate, Cliff would still finish the day in 8th place overall and well ahead of 9th place finisher Archie Scott-Brown. Two top ten finishes by Formula 2 Lotus cars in a race that featured both Formula 2 and Formula One entrants would be a great result for the team. Chapman's single-seater effort was certainly going well. The next race on the team's calendar would be a very important test however. The next race on Lotus' calendar would come in early May. A tradition in May was the BRDC International Trophy race held at Silverstone. With the exception of a couple of years prior when Britain was reeling from the Suez Crisis, the non-championship event had been a mainstay in May and offered spectators an even greater view of upcoming events. The event would be held on the 3rd of May in 1958 and would be quite important to a good number of teams since Silverstone was to be the sight for the British round of the World Championship that year.The International Trophy race in 1958 would be the 10th edition of the race; the 10th time in which the now familiar 2.92 mile circuit around the old bomber training base had served as host for the event. Nearly from the moment it was decommissioned from service in the Royal Air Force, RAF Silverstone would be selected as the home for British motor racing following the end of the Second World War. The circuit using just the taxiways was fast, but also a bit technical, requiring a driver to get a number of corners just right to have a truly quick lap. This meant the Lotus could be competitive, but it required no loss of momentum, or else, any advantage would be lost very quickly. As usual, the team would enter two cars in the race that would feature and Formula One and Formula 2 race. But even though both cars would be entered in the race, they would be split between the two categories. Cliff Allison would take part in the Formula 2 category while Hill would line up as part of the Formula One field. The lap times around the circuit in practice would be phenomenal. Roy Salvadori would stun some by taking the pole in a Cooper. His lap time of 1:40.8 would be exactly a second faster than Peter Collins' effort in the Ferrari Dino 246. However, just two seconds would separate the whole of the first two rows. Beside Salvadori on the front row would be Jack Brabham, Stirling Moss and Peter Collins respectively. The second row of the grid would include Jean Behra in 5th place, Ron Flockhart in 6th and Graham Hill in 7th. This was a great starting spot for the Lotus team and would only be out-done by his teammate Allison. Though at the wheel of a slower Formula 2 Lotus, Cliff would find the Silverstone circuit absolutely to his liking. Touring the circuit in 1:44.0, he would be just a little more than a second slower than Hill and would line up on the row behind the other Lotus—8th overall. Delightful weather greeted everyone as the start of the race neared. Ahead of the cars and drivers were 50 strenuous laps of a circuit known for its attrition. The sustained high average speeds and technical corners meant each and every car would be greatly tested. But this was ideal training ground for Chapman's squad with the World Championship about to resume.Once again, Moss would stall at the start of the race. This allowed Peter Collins and Jean Behra to leap to the fore and battle it out for the lead. But these two wouldn't be the only ones to get away from the grid in top order. Graham Hill would enjoy a fast start as well and would actually be right around his 7th place grid slot despite being in a car with a smaller engine. Allison, in contrast, would lose out over the course of the first lap. Realizing he needed to take care, Cliff would be a bit slower in the early going, but it was just the start of the race.Throughout the early going of the race Hill would remain right around 7th place while Allison began to pick up the pace and would soon be just a handful of places behind his teammate. At the head of the field, Behra would manage to get around Collins for the lead and would actually be pulling away slightly. For once the BRM looked unbeatable. However, it would be short-lived as a rock would get kicked up into Behra's face causing him to have to pit and handing the lead right back to Collins. The loss of Behra from the front of the field promoted Hill and Allison. Both Lotus drivers would continue to march up the order as the race wore on, their Lotus 12s performing brilliantly really. One-by-one, competitors began to run afoul of the usual Silverstone wear and tear. However, both Lotuses just kept humming along and Hill would find himself embroiled in a battle for 4th place overall. It was turning out to be an impressive drive. However, Allison wasn't to be outdone. Despite being behind the wheel of a Formula 2 Lotus he would be just a couple of places behind his teammate and running very strongly. Cliff was in 2nd place and not very far behind the leader in the category, Stuart Lewis-Evans.
Page 4Behra would recover to challenge Hill for position. The constant pressure from the BRM led Hill into a fuel starvation problem that dropped him down in the order, eventually even behind Allison. It would be a shame as he had been running beautifully. Allison, on the other hand, was able to get the better of Lewis-Evans and would move into the lead in Formula 2 and was running an incredible 6th place overall!Collins inherited the lead from Behra's misfortune and never looked back. Crossing the line to take the victory, Peter's winning margin over 2nd place Salvadori would be nearer 24 seconds. Masten Gregory would drive a quiet, but impressive, race to finish in 3rd. Perhaps the biggest story of the day would have to be Allison. Despite falling back at the start of the race, the Lotus driver would come storming back to finish 6th place overall and 1st in Formula 2! He may had ended the day a lap down, but he had pushed every step of the way and had come through brilliantly. Graham Hill would be reduced to finishing the race in the 8th position overall. Also a lap down, the fuel starvation problems would severely hurt what had otherwise been a fantastic day for himself and the team. Still, Team Lotus had come to the challenging Silverstone circuit and had proven itself capable of going tow-to-toe with their competitors over a very difficult circuit and came out very well in the end. The team would need to be as reliable and competitive at the team's next race. In 1958, there would be just two circuits that helped to undermine the performance differences between the larger 2.5-liter engines and the smaller Coventry engines that powered cars like Lotus' 12. Unfortunately for Team Lotus, one of those two circuits would already be over and done with. However, the site of the 2nd round of the Formula One World Championship was an even better opportunity.The 1958 Formula One World Championship would resume with the second round, which would be the Monaco Grand Prix. Contained within an area just two square kilometers in size, Monaco would have little but its streets to offer for grand prix racing, but even by the 1930s, it was the race everyone wanted to win.Exclusive in its location along the Mediterranean amidst the French Riviera and exclusive in its affluence, it would only be fitting the Monaco Grand Prix would be the most exclusive race on the grand prix calendar. But it wasn't just its significance that made it exclusive. Allowing just 16 cars on the grid, just making it into the race was an achievement in its own right. And this would certainly be true in 1958 with Scuderia Ferrari, factory Coopers, BRMs and the Vanwalls all present and accounted for. In spite of the tremendous pressure from all of the factory efforts, Team Lotus would be solid in practice. While Tony Brooks would end up on the pole with a lap time of 1:39.8, Cliff Allison would be the fastest of Lotus' drivers lapping the 1.95 mile circuit in 1:44.6. The slowest man on the grid would be Jo Bonnier at 1:45.0. This meant Allison's best was just four-tenths of a second quicker than Bonnier, but it would still end up being good enough for a fifth row starting spot.While Allison would be starting the 100 lap race 13th overall, Graham Hill's situation would be much more tenuous. After taking part in all the practice sessions, the best Hill would manage to put together would be a lap of 1:45.0. This would be exactly the same as Bonnier's time. However, because Graham had set the time before Bonnier, Hill would line up 15th on the grid. It would now take two drivers to go faster for Graham to be knocked out of the picture. As it would turn out, even Bonnier would be safe. Therefore, both of the Lotus cars would make it into their very first Formula One World Championship race. Race distances had been shortened for the 1958 season. However, this did not automatically suggest the Lotus cars would make it to the end of the race. It would still be a grueling event where the engine, brakes and gearbox would go through an absolute pounding. Nonetheless, both cars would take their places on the grid and two drivers would look forward to the opportunity before them both.With an incredible crowd looking on, the flag would be dropped and the race underway. The mad dash into the Gasworks Hairpin would see Salvadori go in first and come out last as a result of braking too late. Behra would take over the lead with Brooks and Moss following along behind. As a result of Salvadori's ill-advised move, neither Allison nor Hill would be last, but they wouldn't be much better. Scarlatti would struggle during the early part of the race and this would allow Allison to take advantage and gain a position. Hill remained at the back with just Salvadori trailing. Not surprisingly, attrition would come to play a role in the race. Two of the Vanwalls would be out of the running before the race had even reached a quarter distance. Then Behra would depart with failing brakes handing the battle for the lead over to Hawthorn and Moss. These two would put on a good show, but it too would be a short one as Moss would retire with engine trouble. All three Vanwalls were out of the race. Colins' cars, on the other hand, were still in the hunt and moving up. The forward progress would only continue when Hawthorn's Ferrari had a fuel pump failure. Six of sixteen cars would be out of the race by the halfway point and Chapman's cars were now running well inside the top ten.The car at the head of the field was from the same vein as the Lotus. Small, light and nimble, the Cooper was again leading a grand prix and could more than hold its own against Luigi Musso in a more powerful Ferrari. Troubles for Allison would drop him from a possible points-paying position to dead-last. His position would be handed over to Graham Hill who continued to trundle on his way. Allison would get back into the race, but would be well back. Just 30 laps remaining in the race, Hill would find his Lotus, which was barely bigger than he, without power. A broken half-shaft would ruin the day for one-half of the Lotus effort. Allison would be left doing everything he could just to ensure his car would see the checkered flag. Maurice Trintignant would be in control of the race from the moment it was gifted to him. For the second race in a row, a Rob Walker Cooper would come through to victory. Luigi Musso would be absolutely neutralized by the better-handling Cooper. He would trail to the line by more than 20 seconds. Peter Collins would end up 3rd, but he would be nearly 40 seconds behind the winner. Allison's troubles severely hindered his race. It was already going to be tough for the small team to even stay on the same lap as the leaders. However, his problems about two-thirds of the way into the race would really hurt. Allison would manage to keep it together and would finish the race. However, being more than 13 laps behind, or some 25 miles, Cliff would end up not classified in the results though he technically finished 7th overall.
Page 5Team Lotus would come away from the Monaco Grand Prix with rather mixed results. Hill's retirement would be unwelcome and Allison's non-classification would do little to encourage the team. But at least the team had one of its cars finish the race. If the team could get the same kind of performance and reliability it had when it participated in the International Trophy race, then things had the chance of being much different. The team would leave Monaco and would head north toward the coast of the North Sea. There was just such an opportunity before them. On the 26th of May, the Zandvoort circuit would play host to the Dutch Grand Prix. Similar to Silverstone in speed and technical characteristics, the team would be praying the race offered similar results as well. The Zandvoort circuit is located, literally, within just a short walk of the North Sea coast. The circuit is fast. It has a technical introduction to a lap but then becomes all about speed throughout the last half. However, its location in relation to the coast would add a completely different dimension. While similar to Silverstone in its character and speed, Silverstone would be located in the middle of English countryside. Zandvoort's relation to the coast meant blustery winds and sand often blowing over the surface of the track making it very slippery and treacherous. The Dutch Grand Prix would be back on the grand prix calendar after having been left off the previous year due to disputes. It would be a holiday on that Monday, the 26th of May, and so organizers planned the race for that day expecting a large crowd to attend the race. However, the organizers should have sought more entrants. Though the grid would be open to more than the 16 allowed in the Monaco Grand Prix, the field that would show up for the 75 lap race would be relatively small. Team Lotus, however, would be there with their two cars and would be looking for a much stronger performance.In spite of the concerns over the regulations forcing the abandonment of alcohol-based fuel, the Vanwalls would be the class of the field in practice. The entire front row would be swept by Vandervell's cars. Stuart Lewis-Evans would be on pole while Moss and Brooks would complete the front rank. Allison and Hill would be in commendable performances in practice. When it was all said and done, both drivers would be within three seconds of Lewis-Evans. Allison would be the quicker of the two posting a lap time of 1:39.4, just a little more than two seconds slower than Stuart. Allison would end up on the fifth rank of the grid in the 11th position overall. Hill would be four-tenths of a second slower than Allison. He too would end up on the fifth row. However, he would be in 13th. It would be quite a sight though as the two Lotuses boxed-in the Ferrari of Luigi Musso!Winds would be whipping the flags as the drivers assembled on the grid for the start of the race. When the flag dropped, it would be Moss that would get the best launch off the grid. He would be at the head of the field by the time they reached the first turn. Harry Schell would be impressive at the start leaping all the way up from his third row starting position to occupy the 3rd spot in the running order. Looking further back, both of the Lotus drivers would steady through the first lap of the race. But neither would stay there for very long.Moss would lead the way at the conclusion of the first lap. Lewis-Evans ran 2nd and Schell 3rd. Allison was just outside the top ten while Hill ran right around where he started the race. Early troubles for Brooks would enable both Lotuses to move up. Allison would be on the hunt and his prey would be Jack Brabham. Around 10 laps into the race Cliff would gain the position and would continue to look forward. Hill's forward progress would be slower, but steady, also helped along by attrition. A third of the way into the race, Moss would still be leading the way. The Vanwall would be performing well and drawing away from everyone else. Schell would supplant Lewis-Evans for 2nd place and Behra would be gradually making ground to try the same maneuver as his BRM teammate. Graham Hill's race had been running steadily enough. However, all was not well with his Climax engine. After 22 laps, it would all come to an end. Once again, Lotus would be left with Allison to carry the team's hopes. And carry them he would. Moss would be unbeatable. Averaging nearly 94mph, the Vanwall driver would cruise to victory enjoying more than 45 seconds margin over Schell finishing in 2nd place. Jean Behra would complete the top three finishing the race nearer two minutes adrift. Allison would be impressive in the Lotus. Proving Zandvoort was a rather good fit for the Lotus 12, Allison would finish the race a couple of laps behind, but would come through to finish in 6th place a little ways behind non other than Mike Hawthorn. It had been a difficult day for Hill. His early retirement would be frustrating. But, Allison's performance would certainly suggest good things were entirely possible if the team could get both cars to finish. Following the Dutch Grand Prix, Team Lotus would have a little break before the next round of the World Championship. However, June was right around the corner. And, that meant the fastest circuit on the grand prix calendar loomed large on the horizon. It was the Belgian Grand Prix. Held on the 15th of June, the race would take place on what was to be the fastest circuit on the calendar that year. The Lotuses would be pushed to, and likely a little beyond, their absolute limits. The Spa circuit would be the fastest circuit on the calendar as a result of some changes made to the circuit beforehand. The first thing that stood out to everyone upon arrival would be the fact the whole of the 8.77 miles would be resurfaced. The resurfacing meant the bumps toward the top of Eau Rouge would be gone. In addition to some other changes, the circuit would be blindingly-fast. Squeezing into their Lotuses, Allison and Hill would take to the circuit for practice. On such a circuit, it would not be all that surprising the Vanwalls and the Ferraris lead the way in lap times. Two Ferraris would be up at the top of the timesheets. Of the two, Hawthorn would be fastest and on pole. Luigi Musso would be 2nd. The final spot on the front row would go to Moss in the Vanwall. The second half of the grid would be where the Lotuses would be found. Allison would be brimming with confidence and would be quickest, posting a time about 10 seconds slower than Moss. This put Cliff in the center of the fifth row while Hill would end up 14th overall and in the pole-position on the sixth row.Though nestled in the unpredictable Ardennes, the weather the day of the race would be absolutely beautiful. A large crowd would come from all around to watch the 24 lap race. A great deal of pomp and ceremony would lead up to the start. The cars and drivers would take their places and the crowd would come to its feet to see who would lead up the hill for the first time.
Page 6As he had at Zandvoort, Moss would get the jump on the rest of the field to lead going up the hill. Behind him would be Moss' teammate Brooks. Allison would get a strong start while Hill would be settling in for what he hoped would be a long day of racing. Moss' day would be short. Despite leading the way through Stavelot, he would not be leading as the field came back around at the end of the first lap. Brooks would have the position but would be in danger of losing the lead to Collins as the two charged up the hill for the second time. Allison would be running just inside the top ten while Hill would be hanging right around 15th place. Moss was out of the race. Collins would lead for a lap and nearly two before he made a mistake coming out of La Source that would allow Brooks back into the lead. Once in the lead, Tony would begin to draw away. Overheating would end up becoming a cause for concern for the Ferraris as they gave chase. A number of other competitors would find their races compromised as well and this would allow Allison to climb up into the points with 15 laps still to go. Hill would also be making his way up the running order. He would be inside the top ten after just six laps and was appearing to be merely biding his time.Brooks continued to pull away at the head of the field. His consistently-fast pace put a lot of pressure on Hawthorn in 2nd place. Allison would continue to push himself in the Lotus and would end up coming under attack from Roy Salvadori in one of the factory Coopers. Salvadori would take the position away from Allison, but Lotus would find it had lost more than just a position.Hill's woes would continue. Engine trouble would develop after 12 laps and would leave him out of the picture once again. It was proving a difficult time for one of the Lotus drivers. For the other, however, it was time to see just what car and driver could really do. Ten laps still to go, Allison would be all over Salvadori's Cooper and would end up making his way by for 4th place in the order. It was a remarkable performance for the little car on the high-speed circuit. Salvadori was fading. Allison needed to take care to make it the final 10 laps. It would be the best of times and worst of times for Lotus. Allison would be impressive throughout the arduous 24 lap race. Using every foot of the 8.77 mile circuit, Allison would manage to stay on the lead lap as he charged home to a 4th place finish behind Tony Brooks, Mike Hawthon and Stuart Lewis-Evans. At the fastest, and perhaps most difficult, circuit for the Lotus, the team would come away with its first championship points, and it nearly ended with a podium! In spite of Hill's troubles, the team was performing at, or above, expectations.The races really started to come fast and furious. Le Mans would follow closely after the Belgian Grand Prix. Then, after that, many of the top drivers would join their grand prix teams in the northeastern part of France for the French Grand Prix held on the 6th of July.Grand prix racing would be birthed in France around the turn of the 20th century. Though the first grand prix would take place out of the small French city Pau, to the south of the country, Reims would soon become an important center for motor racing. Utilizing public roads just to the west of the nationally-important city, the Reims circuit would become the usual site for the French Grand Prix and was back after Rouen hosted the French round the year before. Reims was another circuit out of the same vein as Spa. However, with just a couple of esses and a couple of tight hairpins, the Reims circuit was much less technically demanding and more about sheer horsepower; something Lotus lacked. Not surprisingly, the two Lotuses would be found at the back of the grid at the conclusion of practice. On pole would be Mike Hawthorn with a lap time of 2:21.7. Luigi Musso and Harry Schell would occupy the front row with Hawthorn. Meanwhile, the fastest of the Lotus drivers around the 5.15 mile circuit would be Hill. His best would be nearly 20 seconds slower. As a result, he would start the race from the eighth row of the grid in the 19th position overall. Right beside him on the eighth row would be Allison. However, his best would be nearly a further nine seconds slower than Hill. It was clear the battle that lay ahead of the two men, but it would matter little to the events that would transpire.Another beautiful greeted the start of a grand prix. The sun shone down and the temperatures would be quite warm. This did not play into the hands of Lotus either as the warmer temperatures meant both drivers really needed to take care of their engines. At the start, Schell would actually get the jump but he would be quickly swallowed up in the slip-stream by Hawthorn. The Ferrari would then begin to pull out an advantage even before the completion of the first lap. This put Schell in a pack with Musso, Collins, Brooks, Behra, Fangio and Moss. Further back, Allison would be in trouble right from the start and would end up in last place at the completion of the first lap. It was clear he did not have a healthy engine. Hill would have a decent start but it could not be expected of him to charge his way to the front, or else, he too would be struggling.Sadly, Musso would try a little too hard to catch Hawthorn. Heading toward the Muizon hairpin the Italian would make a mistake and would end up flipping his car over suffering terribly. He would be airlifted from the circuit and would later die from his injuries. This would cast a dark shadow over what would end up being a rather solemn race anyway.In the case of Lotus, Allison's race would come to an end after just 6 laps. It was his turn to suffer from engine troubles. Unfortunately, Hill would not be free from his own demons. His race would last 33 laps before more engine troubles ruined the day for him. Not even the great Fangio could provide a lift. He would reach as high as 2nd place but would end up fading with an aged Maserati.Hawthorn would cruise to an easy and subdued victory crossing the line more than 20 seconds ahead of Stirling Moss in his Vanwall. The championship tightened, but this would do little to brighten the mood around the paddock and the circuit itself. It had started out as a bright and beautiful day, but it would end with one driver dead and a great World Champion just slipping away into retirement.
Page 7Looking to put the French Grand Prix behind them, Team Lotus would literally put its collective back to Reims and France and would head back across the Channel to native soil. There were just a couple of weeks before the British Grand Prix on the 19th of July. The double-failure in Reims spurred the Lotus team to quickly head back to its base in Hornsey. The team not only had to prepare its cars for the upcoming British round of the World Championship, work was continuing on the follow-up to the Lotus 12. Chapman was hard at work developing the Lotus 16 chassis and would even have Frank Costin come on board to design a body that would encase all of Chapman's ideas. Costin had worked with Chapman before and had even been the one to design the body for the Vanwall. It would be of little surprise then what form the 16 would be taking as it was getting closer and closer to making its first appearance. Team Lotus would arrive at Silverstone with their new Lotus 16 chassis. Complete with disc brakes, double wishbone suspension and Chapman rear strut design, the new car would be a significant upgrade from the 12 and the held out hope that it would make a huge difference over the course of the remaining schedule. The team would actually arrive in the Northamptonshire with three cars. Two of the new 16s would be driven by Graham Hill and new drive Alan Stacey. Cliff Allison had been performing well with the 12, and so, he would be given the task of driving an example in the home grand prix.Allison would more than hang on in the old 12. He would actually be faster than the new car throughout practice and would end up with a lap time of 1:40.4. Amazingly, this gave Allison the fifth-fastest lap time in practice and would lead him to starting the race from the second rank. Graham Hill, in contrast, would be the fastest of the 16 pilots. His best would be nearly three seconds slower than Allison's best and this would lead to him starting from the 14th position on the fourth row of the grid. Stacey would struggle comparatively. While Hill's times around be right around the '43 mark, Alan's best would be 1:58.8. Not surprisingly, this would put the third Lotus 20th, and last, on the grid. On pole for the race would be Stirling Moss. Harry Schell, Roy Salvadori and Mike Hawthorn would head up the field for the 75 lap British Grand Prix. Amazingly, beautiful conditions overwhelmed the Silverstone circuit, and, as the spectators looked on, they were likely taken back by Allison's presence on the second row. However, as the flag dropped to start the race, the crowd would not be surprised to see Moss taking to the lead heading into the first turn. Collins would make a terrific start from the second row of the grid and he would actually move by Moss before the completion of the first lap. Driving a Ferrari, it was clear Peter's intentions. He was to push Moss hard in hopes the Vanwall would break. Moss would follow and the tactic would end up working perfectly. Allison's great starting position would be for naught when he made a very poor start and ended the first lap well outside the top ten. In fact, Hill switched places with his teammate as he was running inside the top ten by the completion of the first lap. Even Stacey was fairing better than would have been suggested by his spot on the grid. He would be up around 15th and looking a whole lot more comfortable. Before Moss' chase of Collins would come to an end, Hill's fast start would hit a wall. Nearing a points-paying position early in the going, Graham looked in fantastic form. However, the warmer temperature combined with Hill's pace to overheat the engine leaving Lotus down one car. Just two laps later, Stacey would be out of the running as well. Both of the new 16s would suffer from overheating problems. Lotus would be left with Stacey in the 12. That hope would pass away another couple of laps after Stacey's retirement. Engine bearing problems would ruin the remainder of the Lotus fleet and all the hope and promise would be gone.Attrition would be truly coming to the fore. Even before the halfway mark there would be seven retirees, none bigger than Moss on the 26th lap due to engine troubles. Lotus no longer had a vested interest in the race but Hawthorn, who took over 2nd place from Moss, would. If he could get by Collins for the lead, his advantage in the championship over Moss would be even greater. Collins had gone out as the rabbit to help his friends cause. Hawthorn would pick up the pace in an effort to help himself and to draw closer to the lead.Just when Hawthorn was coming within contact of Collins, his Ferrari would be showing signs of trouble and Mike would peel into the pits shouting frantically for more engine oil. The chance for the victory would be gone but the crew would be quickly at work to keep his possible 2nd place firmly intact. Oil would be added and the British Ferrari driver would head back out on track with too few laps remaining and 2nd sown up.Collins, who never really concerned himself with thoughts of victory, would streak to the victory crossing the line 24 seconds of his friend and teammate. The only battle remaining on the circuit would be for third. It would be an epic battle in which Salvadori would hold over Lewis-Evans by a mere two-tenths of a second for 3rd. Lotus had come to Silverstone fully understanding there likely would be teething problems with the new car. However, Silverstone's reputation for being hard on cars would be proven as it would lay waste to Team Lotus. Work was needing to be done and the team wasn't about to leave home shores again until it was confident the issues had been resolved. Team Lotus would forget about the German Grand Prix. Instead, the team would set its sights on a new addition to the World Championship. On the 24th of August the Portuguese city of Oporto would play host to the Portuguese Grand Prix. This would be the inaugural running of the event as part of the World Championship and would take part around a 4.59 Boavista circuit that offered speed, technical challenges and even other special considerations like tram lines. Team Lotus would bring two of their new Lotus 16s to the race. The struggling Hill would be at the wheel of one of them. The other, not surprisingly, was set aside for Cliff Allison. However, Allison would decide to drive a Maserati 250F for Scuderia Centro Sud.Being down to just one car for what was likely going to be an arduous 50 lap Portuguese Grand Prix did not bode well for the team, but there was very little they could do after having made the journey. Fittingly, Hill and Allison would find themselves on the same row of the grid. While Stirling Moss would take the pole with an updated Vanwall, Hill would be about 12 seconds adrift and would end up on the fifth row of the grid in the 12th position. Allison would end up being five-hundredths slower than Hill and would have to settle for starting 13th.
Page 8Rain fell during the morning leading up to the start of the race and the circuit was still quite wet as the drivers took their places. Moss would get away well and would be in the lead. Hawthorn would be right there though and would actually challenge for the lead within the first ten laps of the race. Hawthorn would take the lead, but it would be just briefly as Moss was determined to win the day. Hill would not shock or surprise anybody at the start of the race and would actually hold station throughout the first 20 laps of the race. Thanks to attrition, he was moving forward but it was very limited. It was clear the Lotus 16 still had its issues and the Boavista certainly didn't play to the car's strengths. But Hill wouldn't be alone in his troubles. Hawthorn would have to stop in the pits in order that his brakes could receive some attention. This dropped him down in the order. Moss, meanwhile, was pulling away at the front of the field. While Moss carried on without a care in the world, Hill's terrible burden would continue. In the damp/dry conditions Graham would lose control of his car and would end up crashing out of the race right at the halfway mark. He had been making very little progress up to that point, but another retirement was the last thing he needed. Controversy would be the last thing the World Championship needed after the deaths of Musso at Reims and Collins at the Nurburgring. However, in the closing stages there would be exactly that when Hawthorn lost control of his Ferrari and stalled. He would use a bit of road off the edge of the course to help himself get going again. The problem was that to get going downhill, Mike had to go against the flow of the other cars. Mike would get the engine to re-fire and would be on his way, but controversy was waiting him when he crossed the line at the finish.Moss cruised to an easy victory defeating Hawthorn by a lap. In fact, Moss had pretty much lapped the field when he crossed the line to take the victory. Stuart Lewis-Evans had finished in 3rd place and was being touted as the man to actually finish 2nd as a result of the pending disqualification for Hawthorn driving against the flow of traffic. However, Moss would step in declaring he had seen what happened and made it abundantly clear Hawthorn had not used the circuit to perform the maneuver. Mike's result would be upheld and the result would end up having huge consequences on the championship. Hill's season had been a terrible one, one that he likely wanted to throw away. Sadly he had thrown away his race in Portugal. He, and the team, needed to rebound.The season was winding down. However, there were still a couple of very important rounds of the World Championship on the horizon. The first of those remaining would come on the 7th of September, two weeks after the failed race in Oporto. It was the Italian Grand Prix at Monza. It was another high-speed circuit. But if Lotus could do well there, then they would salvage their season in many respects. They could have confidence they were heading in the right direction.Team Lotus would dispatch two of its cars to the north of Italy, where the Italian Alps give way to the high plains of Lombardy. It would be here, amidst the Bronze Age ruins and the Parco di Monza that Lotus would arrive and set about preparing one of its Lotus 16s and a Lotus 12 for its drivers. After a rather unsuccessful race with Scuderia Centro Sud, Allison would be back with Lotus right alongside Graham Hill. Hill would take to the circuit in the newer 16 while Allison would pilot a Lotus 12. The short-comings of both cars were obvious around the 3.56 mile circuit. The most obvious short-coming was sheer speed. While Stirling Moss would take the pole with a lap time of 1:40.5 in the Vanwall, Hill would end up being the fastest of the Lotus pairing, and still, his best would be five and a half seconds slower. Not surprisingly, while Brooks, Hawthorn and Lewis-Evans would all join Moss on the front row of the grid, Hill would end up on the fourth row in the 12th position overall. Cliff would struggle even more. His best would be nearly two seconds slower than Hill. This would result in the Lotus 12 being positioned on the fifth row of the grid in the 16th position, almost directly behind his teammate. Beautiful conditions would serve as the backdrop as the cars roared away at the start of the 70 lap Italian Grand Prix. Moss would be away well but it would be Phil Hill in the Ferrari that would make the best start of all. He would be 2nd behind Moss and would end up in the lead before the completion of the first lap. Moss and Lewis-Evans followed along closely behind the newly-promoted Ferrari pilot. Hill would also make a great start to the race. By the completion of the first lap he would be well inside the top ten while Allison would also make improvements to complete the first lap inside the top fifteen. Phil would lead the race until he ran into tire problems. This should have handed the lead back to Moss but Hawthorn would come up to challenge and take the lead. Moss and Hawthorn would battle back and forth for a number of laps while Graham found his pace just a tad slower than some of the other cars. He would slip back just a couple of places while Allison remained solidly in the top fifteen. Tire problems, engine ailments…all sorts of issues would come into play throughout the early part of the race. What was clear, however, is that Moss would be out of the race as a result of gearbox failure and Hawthorn would be clearly in the lead and with the championship nearly within his grasp. The Lotus driven by Hill would also continue to struggle and he would end up slipping further down the running order until even Allison was ahead of him. Besides a brief interlude where Phil Hill retook the lead, Hawthorn would be in a commanding position and seemingly unable to be prevented from winning the championship. However, Tony Brooks would take his role as teammate within Vandervell's team seriously and would come back after slipping well down in the order. Thirty laps from the end of the race, Brooks would be stalking Hawthorn, gradually making up ground here and there. Ten laps remaining in the race, at the same point Graham Hill had finally righted his ship and resumed a position ahead of Allison, Brooks would make a move on Hawthorn's Ferrari to take over the lead of the race. The attrition had been terrible. Just seven or eight cars remained in the running as the race headed into the final couple of laps. While Brooks had put everything on the line to keep his teammate's championship hopes alive, Team Lotus would find both of their cars alive and doing rather well. They were laps behind and out of the points, but the performance was still something positive. Brooks would cruise to victory beating Hawthorn by 24 seconds. Hawthorn wasn't too concerned as he would have to do very little in the last race of the season to make sure the championship didn't slip through his fingers. All of the pressure would be on Moss.
Page 9Hill and Allison would manage to make it to the finish as well. Both cars had suffered from some trouble along the way, but they would still manage to make it. Though more than eight laps down, Hill would cross the line in 6th place, one ahead of Allison who would finish some nine laps behind the leader. Team Lotus hadn't blown away its competition. If anything, it was the other way around. However, to have both cars finish the race was an important achievement for the team that had struggled to achieve such a feat. Now if they could do it just one more time. There was just one more round of the Formula One World Championship remaining for 1958 and it too would be a brand new entry. At the end of the '57 season, many of the top teams and drivers would make a trip across the Mediterranean to the North African nation of Morocco. They would hold a non-championship grand prix just outside of Casablanca. This would serve as a prelude to '58 when the Moroccan Grand Prix would officially become a part of the World Championship. And, as the calendar turned to October, its time had come. The Moroccan Grand Prix would take place on the 19th of October and would find itself as the deciding race in what had been an exciting, but tragic, season. It had been a season of old and new. Fangio was retired, but teams, like Lotus, would help to fill the void. Now, just one race remained to decide, perhaps, the most exciting championship since the inaugural season of Formula One. The final race of the season would be contested around the 4.72 mile Ain-Diab circuit located just to the west of Casablanca's city center. Having a portion of its circuit within easy walking distance of the Atlantic coast, the circuit would have a feel similar to that of Zandvoort in that it constantly twists back and forth and suffers from the added occurrence of blowing sand that makes the surface of the road circuit very slick. Encouraged by the team's strong performance in Italy, Team Lotus would arrive with the same Lotus 16 and Lotus 12 and, of course, the same drivers of Hill and Allison. These men would take to the circuit and would find things a bit more to their liking. Unfortunately, it wouldn't be good enough to end up on the front row of the grid, or anything like that, but at least their times were closer to the competition. Mike Hawthorn would end up on the pole. His best effort would come through at 2:23.1. This time would beat out his championship rival by just a tenth. Stuart Lewis-Evans posed a problem for Hawthorn when he managed to grab the final spot on the front row. Graham Hill would find himself literally in the middle of the pack. Out of ten rows of cars, Hill would end up on the fifth row and in the 12th position out of 25 starters. Cliff Allison would end up two rows further back and his best effort in the Lotus 12 would end up more than six seconds slower than his teammate. This meant Allison started 16th. Leading up to the start of the race on the 19th, it had already been a year full of tragedy for sport. There had been the plane crash that took the lives of seven members of the Manchester United football team. Then, in motor racing there would be Archie Scott-Brown, Pat O'Conner, Luigi Musso and Peter Collins. Everyone hoped the season could end without there being the loss of another. Sadly, it was not to be. Amid another day of brilliant sunshine, another dark cloud would hover around Formula One. It would all start innocently enough. After great pomp, the flag would drop and Moss would streak into the lead, just as he had to. Phil Hill would make another great start to press Moss from 2nd place. Graham Hill would make a steady start to the race and would be right around his place on the grid at the completion of the first lap. Allison would slip-up off the line and would lose a couple of places at the start. However, against the other Formula 2 cars in the field he would quickly recover. Phil Hill would press Moss a little too hard and would end up going off allowing Moss to escape into the distance while Hawthorn took over 2nd place. Graham would hover right around the top 10 throughout the first ten laps of the race. Unfortunately, Graham's race would come under duress very early and he would be running last by the completion of the first-third of the race. Allison, on the other hand, would be on the way up. By the 20th lap he would be just outside the top ten and looking really strong. He would become stagnant in his forward progress but just needed to wait for attrition to come to his aid. Hawthorn would slip down the order and would fall behind Brooks for a few laps. This put his championship in trouble as he needed to be right around 2nd place by the end of the race. Attrition was beginning to take its toll. There would be three cars that would exit the race around the 30th lap. This would have little effect on the leaders, with the exception of Brooks' retirement, but it would certainly help the two Lotuses. Allison would be inside the top ten as a result and Hill would be making steady progress despite having troubles earlier on in the race. Left without Brooks to aid, Moss would have very little going his way to help him win the championship. Lewis-Evans would determine to do his best to offer what assistance he could. He would pick up his pace and would be on his way toward the front when his car would run into trouble and would go spinning off the circuit. The car would catch on fire with Lewis-Evans caught in the flames. The burns would be terrible. Though no one really knew it at the time, Stuart would lose his life as a result of the severe burns. He would be yet another fatality for the '58 season and would darken the remainder of the race and Formula One for some. Ignorant of what would happen days later, the race would go on. Moss would continue to charge at the front of the field. But, without anyone really to impose him, Hawthorn would be sitting in the strongest position. Moments earlier he had taken over 2nd place from his teammate as a result of team orders and was well within reach of the World Championship, the first Brit to achieve that award. Meanwhile, the British Lotus team would have both of their cars still running and performing rather well. Allison would be fighting hard to get into the top ten while Hill would be fighting hard to ensure his car made it to the end of the race. Moss had done everything necessary. He would lead every single lap of the race and would set the fastest lap of the race. However, Hawthorn could cruise. Heading into the last couple of laps of the race, the Ferrari driver just needed to make sure his car made it to the line and the championship would be his. With his Ferrari teammate running block behind him, Hawthorn had little reason to look behind. The World Championship was in one of his hands already. Tenth place had been within Allison's reach until Hans Herrmann took the position away. However, late attrition would also bring that back within his reach. Graham was within reach of finishing just one of a couple of races. For him, nothing was in his hand until it was all over.
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