Sir Stirling Moss 1929–2020

Sir Stirling Moss, OBE, one of the greatest names in the history of motor sport, has died at the age of 90.

Widely regarded as the best Formula 1 driver never to win the world championship, Sir Stirling finished runner-up four times and third three times between 1955 and 1961.

The Guild named him Driver of the Year in 1954 and 1961, and in 2015 he was again honoured by the Guild, attending the annual dinner (above) alongside his wife Susie to receive an award for his book Stirling Moss: My Racing Life written with Simon Taylor.

Moss was born in London in 1929 and, like his younger sister Pat, had an early interest in horse riding. Winnings from equestrian events funded the purchase of a Cooper 500 in which he demonstrated his ability. His first major race victory came the day before his 21st birthday in the 1950 RAC Tourist Trophy at Dundrod, driving a Jaguar XK120 entered by former Guild chairman Tommy Wisdom. 

He also competed in rallies, winning three Alpine Rally Gold Cups and finishing second in the Monte Carlo Rally in 1952.

After demonstrating his talent at the highest level in a Maserati 250F in 1954, Moss joined the Mercedes-Benz team for 1955. He won the Mille Miglia for Mercedes with journalist Denis Jenkinson as co-driver, and at Aintree in July he became the first British driver to win the British Grand Prix.

He finished second to Juan Manuel Fangio in the F1 championship that year and again in 1956 and 1957. In 1958 he won four Grands Prix but lost the championship by a single point to Mike Hawthorn. Moss had sportingly stood up for Hawthorn to the stewards at the Portuguese Grand Prix after Hawthorn had been excluded following a spin, and the points gained from his second place finish in the race (behind Moss) gave him the championship.

Following Mercedes’ withdrawal from motor racing Moss mainly drove British cars, first the front-engined Vanwall and later the rear-engined Coopers and Lotuses. He won the Monaco Grand Prix in 1960 and famously in 1961, beating the new V6-engined Ferrari Dinos of Richie Ginther, Phil Hill and Wolfgang von Trips.

In 1962 Moss crashed heavily at Goodwood in a Lotus, and was left in a coma for a month. He retired from front-line racing but continued to make occasional appearances, including two seasons of saloon car racing in Audis in the 1980s and numerous historic events. He finally retired in 2011 at the age of 81.

Moss became a well known commentator on motoring and motor sport, engaged to give his views on everything from Aston Martin’s revival of the ‘DB’ brand to the introduction of the Sinclair C5.

Moss survived falling down the lift shaft at his London home in 2010, despite breaking both ankles. In 2016 he was admitted to hospital in Singapore with a chest infection.

He is survived by his third wife, Lady Susie, his daughter Allison Bradley and son Elliot Moss.