1959: JACK BRABHAM

Model produced by: Vitesse (Quartzo)

Year: 1959
Driver: Jack Brabham (Australia)
Team: Cooper Climax
Car: Cooper T51
Results: 2 wins, 5 podiums, 1 pole, 1 fastest lap

With Vanwall leaving the sport Ferrari was the only race-winning team in the championship. However, Cooper’s revolutionary rear-engined cars dominated the championship. Tony Brooks in a Ferrari took the fight with Coopers to the final race, where he, Stirling Moss and Jack Brabham could take the title. Moss retired and Brabham ran out of fuel on the last lap, but he pushed the car across the finish line and finished 4th which was enough to take both titles, driver’s and constructors for Cooper.

See a clip about Sir Jack Brabham

1958: MIKE HAWTHORN

Model produced by: Mattel (Hot Wheels Elite)

Year: 1958
Driver: Mike Hawthorn (Great Britain)
Team: Scuderia Ferrari
Car: Ferrari Dino 246
Results: 1 win, 7 podiums, 4 poles, 5 fastest laps

Minimum race lenghts were reduced to 3oo km or 2 hours and use of commercial fuel became compulsory. Cooper-Climaxes shocked the scene, winning two early season races with a rear-engined cars. Despite Stirling Moss winning 4 races in Vanwall, Mike Hawthorn (Ferrari) won the driver’s title with only one win, but with more consistancy, reliability and points for fastest laps. Vanwall won the constructors championship, which was awarded for the very first time. Hawthorn retired after the season, but died a couple of months later in a road accident. The 1958 season also saw the first woman to drive a F1 event – it was Maria Teresa de Filippis.

See the season review (Audio in Russian, unfortunately …)

Or see a short clip from Silverstone 1958


1957: JUAN MANUEL FANGIO

Model produced by: N/A

Year: 1957
Driver: Juan Manuel Fangio (Argentina)
Team: Maserati
Car: Maserati 250F
Results: 4 wins, 6 podiums, 4 poles, 2 fastest laps

Juan Manuel Fangio went from Ferrari to Maserati, and Stirling Moss moved from Maserati to Vanwall. They won all European races bewtween them, with Fangio taking 4 and Moss 3. Fangio showed all his talent in a classic race at Nurburgring, where a pit stop put him nearly a minute behind, but he managed to catch Collins and  Hawthorn, overtaking both on the penultimate lap of the race. The great Fangio retired at the end of the season, taking his 5th title, a record which stayed unbeaten for nearly 50  years.

See the review of the Nuerburgring 1957

Or see the portrait of the great Juan Manuel Fangio by Murray Walker

1956: JUAN MANUEL FANGIO

Models produced by: Mattel (Hot Wheels Elite)

Year: 1956
Driver: Juan Manuel Fangio (Argentina)
Team: Scuderia Ferrari
Car: Lancia Ferrari D50
Results: 3 wins, 5 podiums, 6 poles, 4 fastest laps

Mercedes completely withdrew from motor sport racing after their car killed 80 spectators at 1955 Le Mans race. Fangio joined Ferrari, who aquired D50 cars from Lancia team, who also withdrew from sport. Fangio won 3 races, but faced quite a challenge from Stirling Moss (now Maserati) and Peter Collins (Ferrari), who won 2 races each. After Fangio retired at the final race of the championship, Collins had a great chance of winning his first title himself. But Collins chose  to hand his car over to Fangio instead, which allowed Fangio to won his 4th title. This gesture still remains one of best acts of sportmanship in F1 history.

See Fangio’s win at Nuerburgring

1955: JUAN MANUEL FANGIO

Model produced by: Spark

Year: 1955
Driver: Juan Manuel Fangio (Argentina)
Team: Mercedes-Benz
Car: Mercedes W196
Results: 4 wins, 5 podiums, 3 poles, 3 fastest laps

Mercedes dominated the championship again with Fangio winninig 4 races and his team mate Stirling Moss winning 1. Ferrari won at Monaco after Mercedes failed to finish the race and Alberto Ascari crashed at the harbour chicane and ended up in the water. He died four days later, testing Ferrari cars in Monza. The 1955 season also saw the cancellation of four Grand Prix’s after a disaster at the 24 Hours of Le Mans which killed one driver and 80 spectators.

See the 1955 Zandvoort race review.


1954: JUAN MANUEL FANGIO

Model produced by: Spark

Year: 1954
Driver: Juan Manuel Fangio (Argentina)
Team: Mercedes-Benz
Car: Mercedes W196
Results: 6 wins, 7 podiums, 5 poles, 3 fastest laps

Formula changed to 2.5 litre unsupercharged engines. Alberto Ascari left Ferrari for newly formed Lancia team, but their D50 car was not ready until the final race, so he was unable to defend the title. Championship was dominated by Juan Manuel Fangio who drove, and won races, for both Maserati and Mercedes over the course of the season. After winning 2 races with Maserati, Fangio joined Mercedes, who re-entered racing for the first time after the World War II in a dominating  style with a W196 “streamliner”. Streamline body turned up to be unsuitable for some tracks, so Mercedes also produced more conventional body (see year 1955 in my collection). Fangio won 6 out of 9 races that year, 2 with Maserati and 4 with Mercedes.

See the season review


1953: ALBERTO ASCARI

Model produced by: Hot Wheels Elite

Year: 1953
Driver: Alberto Ascari (Italy)
Team: Scuderia Ferrari
Car: Ferrari 500
Results: 5 wins, 5 podiums, 6 poles, 4 fastest laps

Ferrari again dominated the championship, taking seven of the eight grands prix, although Juan Manuel Fangio’s challenge in his Maserati took him to second place in the championship and a win at Monza. Ascari stretched his unbeaten run to nine grand prix before his team-mate Mike Hawthorn broke the sequence in becoming the first ever British winner in the French Grand Prix at Reims after a thrilling battle with Fangio.

Points were given to top 5 finishers (8, 6, 4, 3, 2). 1 point was given for fastest lap. Only the best four of nine scores counted towards the world championship. Points for shared drives were divided equally between the drivers, regardless of who had driven more laps. In 1953, all World Championship events (except the Indianapolis 500) were run under Formula 2 regulations. The 1953 season was all the first truly global World Championship, with an event in Argentina. The race was marred by an accident involving Ferrari’s Giuseppe Farina, who crashed into an unprotected crowd, killing nine spectators – the first deaths in Formula One.

(Source: Wikipedia)

See a clip from the Swiss Grand Prix, where Alberto Ascari clinched his 2nd World Championship