Auto racing legend Stirling Moss dies at 90

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Stirling Moss, a daring, speed-loving Englishman considered the greatest Formula 1 driver to ever win the world championship, has died. He was 90 years old.

Moss died peacefully at his London home after a long illness, his wife Susan said on Sunday.

“It was too much,” she said. “He just closed his eyes. “

A national treasure, affectionately nicknamed “Mr. Motor Racing ”, he was brave and fiercely competitive. Bald’s love of adventure led him to push cars to their limits.

“If you’re not trying to win at all costs,” he said, “what the hell are you doing there?” “

His often reckless attitude wreaked havoc on his light body. His career ended early, at 31, after a terrible accident which left him in a coma for a month in April 1962.

By that time, Moss had won 16 of the 66 F1 races he had competed in and had established himself as a technically excellent and versatile driver in many racing categories.

We can say that his greatest success was the victory in the Mille Miglia of 1955 – a road race of 1600 kilometers through Italy – of almost half an hour over Juan Manuel Fangio, the great Argentinian who was Moss’ idol, teammate and rival.

An F1 title didn’t follow, however – a travesty for many in motorsport. Moss has finished second in the drivers’ championship four times (1955-1958) and third three times.

In 1958 Moss lost a point over Ferrari’s Hawthorn Ferrari despite winning four races over that of his rival. In 1959, Moss’ car failed in the last race, in Florida, in the lead and again with a chance to win the title.

“I hope that I will continue to be described as the greatest driver who has ever won the world championship, but that doesn’t really matter,” said Moss. “The most important thing for me was to gain the respect of the other drivers and I think I did it. “

Sports world loses “gentleman”

When his drive to drive only for English teams declined, Moss raced for Maserati, Ferrari and Mercedes-Benz – in partnership with Fangio in a star team. In total, Moss has raced in 107 different car types and recorded a record 212 wins in the 375 competitive races he has completed.

“The sports world has lost not only a true icon and a legend, but a gentleman,” tweeted Mercedes on Sunday. “The Mercedes Motorsport team and family have lost a dear friend. Sir Stirling, we will miss you. “

Moss was born in 1929 into a racing family. Her father, Alfred, participated in the Indianapolis 500; his mother, Aileen, was English female champion in 1936. Young Moss learned his trade during a racing boom in England after the Second World War.

His knowledge of racing cars was unmatched and he took his profession to the extreme, experimenting and risking his own safety in the process.

He broke both legs and injured his spine in an accident in 1960. Worse still, the accident in Goodwood, England, two years later, when he launched into a bank of land at 100 mph (160 km / h) without a seat belt in the Glover Formula 1 Trophy.

To the extreme

It took 45 minutes to cut it from the wreckage. He suffered brain damage and the left side of his body was partially paralyzed for six months. With his sight and reflexes also permanently damaged, Moss stopped running.

“I knew that if I didn’t go out, I would kill myself and maybe someone else,” said Moss.

Moss then became a successful businessman, selling goods and designing gadgets from his state-of-the-art house in central London and working as a consultant for automakers. He received the title of knight in 1999.

In 2010, he broke both of his ankles and injured his back when he fell three stories into an elevator shaft at home.

Six years later, Moss fell ill with a chest infection while on a cruise to Singapore and was hospitalized for 134 days before he could return home. The family described it as a “slow and arduous recovery” that led Moss to retire from public life in 2018 at the age of 88.

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