Peter Collins (racing driver)

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Peter Collins
FIA Super Licence Flag of the United Kingdom United Kingdom
Formula One World Championship career
Active years1952 Formula One season1958 Formula One season
TeamsHersham and Walton Motors,
Vanwall,
Maserati,
Ferrari
Races35 (32 starts)
List of Formula One World Drivers' Champions0
Wins3
Podiums9
Career points47
Pole position0
Fastest lap0
First race1952 Swiss Grand Prix
First win1956 Belgian Grand Prix
Last win1958 British Grand Prix
Last race1958 German Grand Prix

Peter John Collins (6 November 1931 – 3 August 1958) was a Formula One driver from England. He participated in 35 World Championship Grands Prix, debuting on 18 May 1952. He won 3 races, achieved 9 podiums, and scored a total of 47 championship points.

In common with many British drivers of the immediate post-war period, Collins cut his racing teeth in the frenetic 500cc category (adopted as Formula 3 at the end of 1950), when his parents bought him a Cooper 500 from the fledgling Cooper Car Company. These small machines, powered by motorcycle engines, were also the proving ground of many of Collins' F1 contemporaries, notably including Stirling Moss.

He got his F1 break in 1952, picking up a drive for the lowly Hersham and Walton Motors team, replacing Moss. Results did not come the team's way, and Collins left after the 1953 season. Following spells driving for Vanwall and Maserati, and one brief outing in a British Racing Motors which ended with a crash in qualifying, Collins was signed to the Ferrari team for the 1956 F1 season.

Finally things looked to be going Collins' way. The 1956 season proved to be a turning point, with a second place - behind Moss - at Monaco, and wins at the Belgian and French Grands Prix. Indeed, Collins was on the verge of becoming Britain's first F1 World Champion when he handed his Lancia in Formula One-Ferrari D50 over to team leader Juan Manuel Fangio after the latter suffered a steering-arm failure toward the end of the 1956 Italian Grand Prix at Monza. Collins eventually finished second, but the advantage handed to Moss, and the extra points gained by Fangio's finish, demoted Collins to third in the championship. This selfless, team-orientated action gained Collins immense respect among the Italian racing tifosi, and the gratitude and admiration of Enzo Ferrari himself, a man notoriously hard to please. In his double-biography of Collins and Mike Hawthorn, "Mon Ami Mate", Chris Nixon describes the ensuing relationship between the English driver and his Italian boss as being almost like father and son from this point on.

In 1957, Collins was joined at Ferrari by Mike Hawthorn. The two became very close friends, often getting into much off-track trouble together, and took to calling each other "mon ami mate" after a newspaper cartoon strip. 1957 also saw Collins marry American Louise King. However, despite a third-placed finish at the 1957 German Grand Prix, Ferrari were distinctly under-par for much of the season as the Ferrari 801 model (an evolution of the 1954 Lancia D50) was by then becoming obsolete. 1958 saw the introduction of the new Ferrari Dino 246, a far improved car, and once again results began to go the way of Scuderia Ferrari. Collins scored his third and final career victory at the 1958 British Grand Prix, as well as taking a third place at 1958 Monaco Grand Prix. Hawthorn also won in 1958 French Grand Prix, but the two were chasing Tony Brooks' Vanwall at the German Grand Prix when disaster struck. Pushing hard to keep pace, Collins lost control of his car and, in Hawthorn's direct sight, spun off the track, disappearing over a bank. During the ensuing accident Collins was thrown clear of the Ferrari, hit a tree and sustained critical injuries to his head. Despite being airlifted to hospital, Collins died later that afternoon.

Complete World Championship Formula One results


(F1 driver results legend 2; * shared drive)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 WDC Points
1952 Formula One season Hersham and Walton Motors Hersham and Walton Motors HWM 52 Alta (automobile) 1952 Swiss Grand Prix
Ret
1952 Indianapolis 500 1952 Belgian Grand Prix
Ret
1952 French Grand Prix
6
1952 British Grand Prix
Ret
1952 German Grand Prix
DNS
1952 Dutch Grand Prix
DNQ
1952 Italian Grand Prix NC 0
1953 Formula One season Hersham and Walton Motors Hersham and Walton Motors HWM 53 Alta (automobile) 1953 Argentine Grand Prix 1953 Indianapolis 500 1953 Dutch Grand Prix
8
1953 Belgian Grand Prix
Ret
1953 French Grand Prix
13
1953 British Grand Prix
Ret
1953 German Grand Prix 1953 Swiss Grand Prix 1953 Italian Grand Prix NC 0
1954 Formula One season Tony Vandervell Vanwall Vanwall 1954 Argentine Grand Prix 1954 Indianapolis 500 1954 Belgian Grand Prix 1954 French Grand Prix 1954 British Grand Prix
Ret
1954 German Grand Prix 1954 Swiss Grand Prix 1954 Italian Grand Prix
7
1954 Spanish Grand Prix
DNS
NC 0
1955 Formula One season Owen Racing Organisation Maserati Maserati 250F Maserati 1955 Argentine Grand Prix 1955 Monaco Grand Prix 1955 Indianapolis 500 1955 Belgian Grand Prix 1955 Dutch Grand Prix 1955 British Grand Prix
Ret
NC 0
Maserati Maserati Maserati 250F Maserati 1955 Italian Grand Prix
Ret
1956 Formula One season Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari Ferrari 555 Ferrari 1956 Argentine Grand Prix
Ret
3rd 25
Lancia in Formula One-Ferrari Lancia-Ferrari D50 Ferrari 1956 Monaco Grand Prix
2*
1956 Indianapolis 500 1956 Belgian Grand Prix
1
1956 French Grand Prix
1
1956 British Grand Prix
2 *
1956 German Grand Prix
Ret *
1956 Italian Grand Prix
2 *
1957 Formula One season Scuderia Ferrari Lancia in Formula One-Ferrari Lancia-Ferrari D50 Ferrari 1957 Argentine Grand Prix
6 *
9th 8
Ferrari Ferrari 801 Ferrari 1957 Monaco Grand Prix
Ret
1957 Indianapolis 500 1957 French Grand Prix
3
1957 British Grand Prix
4 *
1957 German Grand Prix
3
1957 Pescara Grand Prix 1957 Italian Grand Prix
Ret
1958 Formula One season Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari Ferrari Dino 246 Ferrari 1958 Argentine Grand Prix
Ret
1958 Monaco Grand Prix
3
1958 Dutch Grand Prix
Ret
1958 Indianapolis 500 1958 Belgian Grand Prix
Ret
1958 French Grand Prix
5
1958 British Grand Prix
1
1958 German Grand Prix
Ret
1958 Portuguese Grand Prix 1958 Italian Grand Prix 1958 Moroccan Grand Prix 5th 14


Preceded by
Luigi Musso
List of Formula One fatal accidents
August 3, 1958
Succeeded by
Stuart Lewis-Evans
Sporting positions
Preceded by
José Froilán González
BRDC International Trophy
1955
Succeeded by
Stirling Moss
Preceded by
Jean Behra
BRDC International Trophy
1958
Succeeded by
Jack Brabham

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