Vanwall was a motor racing team and racing car constructor that was active in Formula One during the 1950s. Founded by Tony Vandervell, the Vanwall name was derived by combining the name of the team owner with that of his Thinwall bearings produced at the Vandervell Products factory at Acton, London. Originally entering modified Ferraris in non-championship races, Vanwall constructed their first cars to race in the 1954 Formula One season. The team achieved their first race win in the 1957 British Grand Prix, with Stirling Moss and Tony Brooks sharing a VW 5, earning the team the distinction of constructing the first British-built car to win a World Championship race. Vanwall won the inaugural Constructors' Championship in Formula One in 1958, in the process allowing Moss and Brooks to finish second and third in the Drivers' Championship standings, winning three races each. Vandervell's failing health meant 1958 would be the last full season; the squad ran cars in a handful of races in the following years, but finished racing in 1961.

Vanwall logo
Full nameUnited Kingdom Vanwall
BaseActon, London, United Kingdom
Founder(s)Tony Vandervell
Noted staffColin Chapman
Frank Costin
Noted driversUnited Kingdom Stirling Moss
France Maurice Trintignant
United States Harry Schell
United Kingdom Stuart Lewis-Evans
United Kingdom Tony Brooks
Formula One World Championship career
First entry1954 British Grand Prix
Races entered29
1 (1958)
Race victories9
Pole positions7
Fastest laps6
Final entry1960 French Grand Prix
Thinwall special
The fourth, and last, Thinwall Special. Used between 1952 and 1954.
Vanwall VW5 Aintree 1957
The winning Vanwall VW5 before the 1957 British Grand Prix.


Tony Vandervell was one of the original backers of British Racing Motors. In the early 1950s he entered a series of modified Ferraris in Formula Libre races under the name "Thinwall Special".

The first actual Vanwalls were known as Vanwall Specials and were built for the new Formula 1 regulations in 1954 at Cox Green, Maidenhead. The chassis was designed by Owen Maddock and built by the Cooper Car Company. The 2.0 L engine was designed by Norton engineer Leo Kuzmicki, and was essentially four Manx[1] single-cylinder 498 cc (30.4 cu in) (86.1 mm × 85.6 mm (3.39 in × 3.37 in)) engines with a common waterjacket, cylinder head (a copy of the Norton's) and valvetrain,[1] with induction by four AMAL motorcycle carburetors.[1] This combination was fitted to a Rolls-Royce "B"-engine crankcase, copied in aluminium.[2] Designed for Formula Two, which was supplanted before it appeared,[2] the car debuted in a Grande Epreuve in the 1954 British Grand Prix. Against 2½ litre Formula One competition, it was at a decided disadvantage. The Goodyear disc brakes (built by Vanwall) proved successful,[2] but the front suspension and fuel and cooling systems were troublesome.[2] Development continued with a switch to Bosch fuel injection (thanks to Vandervell's "persuading" Daimler-Benz, a major Bosch customer, to allow it),[3] while retaining the AMAL throttle bodies; they were plagued with throttle linkage trouble, due to vibration from the big four-cylinder.[2] Vanwall also increased the capacity of the engines, first to 2,237 cc (137 cu in) (91.0 mm × 86.0 mm (3.58 in × 3.39 in)) for Peter Collins at Monaco 1955, and then a full 2,489 cc (151.9 cu in) (96.0 mm × 86.0 mm (3.78 in × 3.39 in)). Vanwalls then ran for a season in F1 without much in the way of success. At the end of the 1955 season, it was plain that the engine was sound, but that the Ferrari-derived[2] chassis needed improvement. It was suggested to Vandervell that he should hire the services of a young up-and-coming designer to improve their cars. The designer was Colin Chapman.

The new 1956[2] cars designed by Chapman (along with the aerodynamicist Frank Costin) were of space frame construction, the De Dion rear axle's unsprung weight reduced and front torsion bar added.[2] (None of these ideas were revolutionary, but Chapman was happy simply to be meticulous.)[4] Furthermore, a fifth gear and Porsche synchromesh were added to the transmission.[2] The driving seat was placed above this and could not be reduced below 13 in (330 mm) above the road, making the height very problematic (the top of the driver's helmet was fully 50 in (1,270 mm) from the road surface, while the vertically mounted engine made a reduction impractical in any case),[2] and the handling was suspect despite Chapman's best efforts.[2] The solution which today is obvious, mounting the engine behind the driver, would take two more years to be accepted. Costin made the most of it, and produced a car "much faster in a straight line than any of its rivals".[5]

The new car showed early promise in 1956 by winning the non-championship F1 race at Silverstone against strong opposition. It set the lap record at Syracuse[5] Stirling Moss drove the car to victory in what was his only drive for Vanwall that year, as he was still contracted to drive for Maserati in F1. Talented drivers Harry Schell and Maurice Trintignant were the full-timers for the season. However, neither of them had much success although the car showed obvious potential.

With the car developing and becoming ever more competitive, Moss eventually decided to drive for the team in 1957. He was joined by two Englishmen, Tony Brooks and Stuart Lewis-Evans. As the 1957 season unfolded, the cars became faster and more reliable. Moss and Brooks duly shared Vanwall's first Grand Prix victory in Britain at Aintree, and Moss went on to win both the Italian (where only being piloted by Fangio enabled the Maserati to run with the Vanwalls, for Moss finished with 41 seconds in hand even after a pit stop)[5] and Pescara Grands Prix.

At the end of 1957, alcohol fuels were banned and replaced by a compulsory 130-octane aviation gasoline. This caused problems for Vanwall and BRM with their large bore engines that required methanol for engine cooling. As a result, the Vanwall's power dropped from 290 bhp (220 kW) at 7,500 rpm[5] (308 bhp with nitromethane) to 278 bhp (207 kW) on the test bed. During the race, where revs were reduced, only 255–262 bhp at 7,200–7,400 rpm was available. This put them at a disadvantage to the new Dino Ferrari V6 cars with a claimed 290 PS (286 bhp) at 8,300 rpm. The Vanwall's superior road holding (thanks to suspension changes, new steel wheels, and new nylon-cord Dunlop R5 racing tyres),[5] streamlining, 5-speed gearbox, and disc brakes helped to offset this.

All three drivers stayed with the team in 1958, and Moss (wins in the Netherlands, Portugal and Morocco) and Brooks (wins in Belgium, Germany and Italy) each won three championship races that season. Vanwall became the first team to win the Constructors' Championship, held for the first time that season. However, Moss lost out to Mike Hawthorn in the Drivers' Championship by a single point to finish second, with Brooks ending the season in third. Their triumph at the end of the season was sadly marred when, during the final race of the year in Morocco, Lewis-Evans was fatally injured in an accident.

The 1958 season was the last one in which Vanwall entered every race. Vandervell's health was failing and he had been advised by his doctors to rest. The team continued half-heartedly. Brooks made one appearance in a lower and lighter Vanwall at 1959 British Grand Prix, proving less successful against the new mid-engined Coopers, and the team tried again with another car in the 1960 French Grand Prix. These efforts lacked the seriousness of the past however and they were unsuccessful.

The last racing Vanwall was an "unwieldy"[5] rear-engined machine produced for the 1961 3.0 litre Intercontinental Formula. Although showing promise when campaigned by John Surtees in two races, development was stopped short when the formula did not find success in Europe. The engine was enlarged to 2,605 cc (159 cu in) (96.0 mm × 90.0 mm (3.78 in × 3.54 in)), rated at 290 bhp (220 kW) on 100 octane petrol.

The Donington Collection has a complete example of each model, including the rear-engined car.

In 2003 Vanwall Cars was formed, producing the Vanwall GPR V12, a single-seater road-legal car bearing a strong resemblance to early Vanwall racing cars, and the Sports Racer, a two-seater of a similar style.[6] In 2013 the trademark was acquired from Mahle Engine Systems UK by Sanderson International Marketing Ltd.

Formula One World Championship results

(key) (results in bold indicate pole position; results in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Chassis Engine Tyres Driver 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Points WCC
1954 Vanwall Special Vanwall L4 P ARG 500 BEL FRA GBR GER SUI ITA ESP n/a n/a[a]
United Kingdom Peter Collins Ret 7 DNS
1955 Vanwall VW 55 Vanwall L4 P ARG MON 500 BEL NED GBR ITA n/a n/a[a]
United Kingdom Mike Hawthorn Ret Ret
United Kingdom Ken Wharton 9[b] Ret
United States Harry Schell 9[b] Ret
1956 Vanwall VW 2 Vanwall L4 P ARG MON 500 BEL FRA GBR GER ITA n/a n/a[a]
France Maurice Trintignant Ret Ret Ret Ret
United States Harry Schell Ret 4 10[b] Ret Ret
United Kingdom Mike Hawthorn 10[b]
United Kingdom Colin Chapman DNS
Argentina José Froilán González Ret
Italy Piero Taruffi Ret
1957 Vanwall VW 5 Vanwall L4 P ARG MON 500 FRA GBR GER PES ITA n/a n/a[a]
United Kingdom Stirling Moss Ret 1[b] 5 1 1
United Kingdom Tony Brooks 2 1[b] 9 Ret 7
United Kingdom Stuart Lewis-Evans Ret 7 Ret 5 Ret
United Kingdom Roy Salvadori Ret
1958 Vanwall VW 5 Vanwall L4 D ARG MON NED 500 BEL FRA GBR GER POR ITA MOR 48
United Kingdom Stirling Moss Ret 1 Ret 2 Ret Ret 1 Ret 1
United Kingdom Tony Brooks Ret Ret 1 Ret 7 1 Ret 1 Ret
United Kingdom Stuart Lewis-Evans Ret Ret 3 Ret 4 3 Ret Ret
1959 Vanwall VW 59 Vanwall L4 D MON 500 NED FRA GBR GER POR ITA USA 0 NC
United Kingdom Tony Brooks Ret
1960 Vanwall VW 11 Vanwall L4 D ARG MON 500 NED BEL FRA GBR POR ITA USA 0 NC
United Kingdom Tony Brooks Ret

[a] ^ The Constructors' Championship was not awarded until 1958.

[b] ^ Indicates a shared drive.

Non-championship Formula One results


Year Chassis Engine Driver 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25
Italy Alberto Ascari DNA
United Kingdom Alan Brown Ret
United Kingdom Peter Collins DNA 2
United Kingdom Mike Hawthorn 2
1955 Vanwall VW 1/
United Kingdom Mike Hawthorn DNA Ret
United Kingdom Ken Wharton Ret 2
United States Harry Schell 2 1 Ret 1
United Kingdom Desmond Titterington 3
1956 Vanwall VW 1/
United States Harry Schell DNA Ret
United Kingdom Stirling Moss DNA 1
1957 Vanwall VW 1/
United Kingdom Stirling Moss 3 Ret DNS
United Kingdom Tony Brooks Ret 6 DNA Ret
United Kingdom Stuart Lewis-Evans 3 2
United Kingdom Roy Salvadori 5
1960 Vanwall VW 5 Vanwall L4 GLV INT SIL LOM OUL
United Kingdom Tony Brooks 7 DNA
Lotus 18 DNS


  1. ^ a b c Setright, L. J. K. "Vanwall: The End of an Era", in Northey, Tom, ed. World of Automobiles (London: Orbis, 1974), Vol. 21, p.2461.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Setright, p.2462.
  3. ^ With a threat to withhold Thinwall bearings. Setright, p.2462.
  4. ^ Setright, L.J.K. "Lotus: The Golden Mean", in Northey, Volume 11, p.1230.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Setright, p.2463.
  6. ^ "Vanwall name lives again". Gigmag. Retrieved 14 October 2010.


External links

Sporting positions
Preceded by
None (inaugural champion)
Formula One Constructors' Champion
Succeeded by
1957 British Grand Prix

The 1957 British Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held on 20 July 1957 at the Aintree Circuit, near Liverpool. It was the tenth British Grand Prix and it was race 5 of 8 in the 1957 World Championship of Drivers. The race was won by Stirling Moss and Tony Brooks, who shared driving duties in a Vanwall. It was the third and final time that a Grand Prix had been won by two drivers in a shared car. This was the first occasion that a British-built car won a World Drivers' Championship race, a feat achieved with two British drivers at their home Grand Prix.

1957 Italian Grand Prix

The 1957 Italian Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held on 8 September 1957 at Monza. It was the eighth and final race in the 1957 World Championship of Drivers.

1958 Belgian Grand Prix

The 1958 Belgian Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held on 15 June 1958 at Spa-Francorchamps. It was race 5 of 11 in the 1958 World Championship of Drivers and race 4 of 10 in the 1958 International Cup for Formula One Manufacturers. The race was the 19th Belgian Grand Prix and it was held over 24 laps of the 14 kilometre circuit for a race distance of 339 kilometres.

The Belgian Grand Prix returned to the calendar after being off the calendar the year previous, and the 8.7 mile Spa circuit had been slightly modified. The pits had been rebuilt, the pit straight had been widened and straightened and the entire track had been resurfaced. The race distance had been shortened from 36 to 24 laps.

The race was won by British driver Tony Brooks in a Vanwall. It was Brooks first solo Grand Prix victory after his car won the 1957 British Grand Prix in a shared drive with Stirling Moss. Brooks finished 20 seconds ahead of fellow Briton Mike Hawthorn driving a Ferrari 246 F1. Brooks' Vanwall team mate Stuart Lewis-Evans finished third in a career-best finish, the first of just two podium finishes to his short Grand Prix career. The race also marked the first World Championship race start (and finish) by a woman, Maria Teresa de Filippis driving her privately entered Maserati 250F. She finished tenth, two laps behind Brooks' Vanwall.

On the last lap, Tony Brooks came out of La Source to end the race, and his gearbox seized as he crossed the line. When Mike Hawthorn was coming out of the same corner to end his race in second, his engine failed as he was coming to the finish line. Stuart Lewis-Evans's suspension collapsed on the way into La Source, and he crawled to the line in third.

Lap leaders: Tony Brooks 21 laps (1, 3, 6–24); Peter Collins 3 laps (2, 4–5).

1958 British Grand Prix

The 1958 British Grand Prix was a Formula One race held on 19 July 1958 at Silverstone. It was race 7 of 11 in the 1958 World Championship of Drivers and race 6 of 10 in the 1958 International Cup for Formula One Manufacturers.

1958 Dutch Grand Prix

The 1958 Dutch Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held on 26 May 1958 at Zandvoort. It was race 3 of 11 in the 1958 World Championship of Drivers and race 3 of 10 in the 1958 International Cup for Formula One Manufacturers.

1958 Formula One season

The 1958 Formula One season was the 12th season of FIA Formula One motor racing. It featured the 1958 World Championship of Drivers which commenced on 19 January 1958, and ended on 19 October after eleven races. This was the first Formula One season in which a Manufacturers title was awarded, the International Cup for F1 Manufacturers being contested concurrently with the World Championship of Drivers with the exception of the Indianapolis 500 which did not count towards the Cup. Englishman Mike Hawthorn won the Drivers' title after a close battle with compatriot Stirling Moss and Vanwall won the inaugural Manufacturers award from Ferrari. Hawthorn retired from racing at the end of the season, only to die three months later after a road car accident.

The season was one of the most important and tragic seasons in Formula One's history. Four drivers died in four different races during this season. Italian Luigi Musso in his works Ferrari during the French Grand Prix at Reims; Musso's teammate, Englishman Peter Collins during the German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring, Englishman Stuart Lewis-Evans in his Vanwall at the Moroccan Grand Prix in Casablanca, and in a non-Formula One regulated race, American Pat O'Connor at the Indianapolis 500. Hawthorn retired from motor racing after his success, but was killed in a road accident only a few months later. This season was also effectively the last ever year of Grand Prix racing where the field was dominated with front engined-cars; this had been the case since the early 1900s, when car racing was happening in informal events across Europe and the United States. 1959 and 1960 would be transitional years, where grids at Grand Prix events would feature more and more mid-engined cars and fewer front-engined cars. The mid-engined cars, with their better road holding, increased driving comfort, lighter weight and ease on tires and mechanical components (particularly brakes) were clearly the way to go. Even an old-fashioned traditionalist like Enzo Ferrari had to concede that mid-engined cars were what his team needed in order to be competitive- and Ferrari did not have a race-ready mid-engined car until 1961.

1958 Italian Grand Prix

The 1958 Italian Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held at Monza on 7 September 1958. It was race 10 of 11 in the 1958 World Championship of Drivers and race 9 of 10 in the 1958 International Cup for Formula One Manufacturers.

1958 Moroccan Grand Prix

The 1958 Moroccan Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held at Ain-Diab Circuit, Casablanca on 19 October 1958, after a six-week break following the Italian Grand Prix. It was race 11 of 11 in the 1958 World Championship of Drivers and race 10 of 10 in the 1958 International Cup for Formula One Manufacturers. It is the only time Morocco has hosted a World Championship Grand Prix.

Mike Hawthorn (Ferrari) started from pole position, but Stirling Moss won the race driving for Vanwall. Hawthorn finished second which secured him the World Drivers' Championship. Phil Hill was third, also for Ferrari.

Vanwall made sure of the World Constructors' Championship and both this and Hawthorn's drivers' title were firsts for British teams or drivers.

The race was notable for an accident involving Stuart Lewis-Evans, who died six days later from the burns he sustained.

1958 Portuguese Grand Prix

The 1958 Portuguese Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held at Circuito da Boavista, Oporto on 24 August 1958. It was race 9 of 11 in the 1958 World Championship of Drivers and race 8 of 10 in the 1958 International Cup for Formula One Manufacturers.

Mike Hawthorn was at first disqualified during this race, losing seven points. However, Championship rival Stirling Moss had seen the incident which caused the disqualification and went to the judges to revert the decision since he felt Hawthorn had done nothing wrong. Eventually, Hawthorn was classified and retained his seven points.

Colin Chapman

Anthony Colin Bruce Chapman, (19 May 1928 – 16 December 1982) was an influential English design engineer, inventor, and builder in the automotive industry, and founder of Lotus Cars.In 1952 he founded the sports car company Lotus Cars. Chapman initially ran Lotus in his spare time, assisted by a group of enthusiasts. His knowledge of the latest aeronautical engineering techniques would prove vital towards achieving the major automotive technical advances for which he is remembered. His design philosophy focused on cars with light weight and fine handling instead of bulking up on horsepower and spring rates, which he famously summarised as "Adding power makes you faster on the straights. Subtracting weight makes you faster everywhere."Under his direction, Team Lotus won seven Formula One Constructors' titles, six Drivers' Championships, and the Indianapolis 500 in the United States, between 1962 and 1978. The production side of Lotus Cars has built tens of thousands of relatively affordable, cutting edge sports cars. Lotus is one of but a handful of English performance car builders still in business after the industrial decline of the 1970s.

Chapman suffered a fatal heart attack in 1982, aged 54.

Harry Schell

Henry O'Reilly "Harry" Schell (June 29, 1921 – May 13, 1960) was an American Grand Prix motor racing driver. He was the first American driver to start a Formula One Grand Prix.

José Froilán González

José Froilán González (October 5, 1922 – June 15, 2013) was an Argentine racing driver, particularly notable for scoring Ferrari's first win in a Formula One World Championship race at the 1951 British Grand Prix. He made his Formula One debut for Scuderia Achille Varzi in the 1950 Monaco Grand Prix. His last Grand Prix was the 1960 Argentine Grand Prix.

González competed in 26 World Championship Formula One Grands Prix over nine seasons (1950–1957 and 1960) and numerous non-Championship events. In the 26 World Championship races, González scored two victories (the 1951 British Grand Prix and the 1954 British Grand Prix), seven second-place finishes, six third-place finishes, three pole positions, six fastest laps, and 72 ​1⁄7 points. He won the 1951 Coppa Acerbo, in 1954 the 24 Hours of Le Mans with Maurice Trintignant, and the Portuguese Grand Prix for Ferrari.

González's nicknames were The Pampas Bull (by his English fans) and El Cabezón (Fat Head, by his close colleagues).

List of Formula One World Constructors' Champions

The Formula One World Constructors' Championship (WCC) is awarded by the FIA to the most successful Formula One constructor over a season, as determined by a points system based on Grand Prix results. The Constructors' Championship was first awarded, as the International Cup for F1 Manufacturers, in 1958 to Vanwall.

Constructors' Championship points are calculated by adding points scored in each race by any driver for that constructor. Up until 1979, most seasons saw only the highest-scoring driver in each race for each constructor contributing points towards the Championship. On only ten occasions has the World Constructors' Champion team not contained the World Drivers' Champion for that season.

In the 61 seasons the Championship has been awarded, only 15 different constructors have won it, with Scuderia Ferrari the most successful, with 16 titles including 6 consecutive from 1999 to 2004. Only five countries have produced winning constructors: United Kingdom (33 championships with 10 different constructors), Italy (16 with Ferrari), Germany (5 with Mercedes), Austria (4 with Red Bull) and France (3 with two constructors). However, all German, Austrian and French titles have seen the winning cars designed and built (except Matra in 1969) and run by teams based in the United Kingdom. Among drivers that have contributed with at least a single point to the constructors' title, Michael Schumacher has the unofficial record, having been involved with seven such titles, six of those consecutively with Ferrari. Schumacher won the world drivers' title on six of those seven occasions.

Maurice Trintignant

Maurice Bienvenu Jean Paul Trintignant (30 October 1917, in Sainte-Cécile-les-Vignes, Vaucluse – 13 February 2005, in Nîmes) was a motor racing driver and vintner from France. He competed in the Formula One World Championship for fourteen years, between 1950 and 1964, one of the longest careers in the early years of Formula One. During this time he also competed in sports car racing, including winning the 1954 24 Hours of Le Mans race. Following his retirement from the track Trintignant concentrated on the wine trade.

Maurice Trintignant was the brother of Bugatti race car driver Louis Trintignant — who was killed in 1933, in practice, at Péronne, Picardy — and the uncle of renowned French film actor Jean-Louis Trintignant.

Mike Hawthorn

John Michael Hawthorn (10 April 1929 – 22 January 1959) was a British racing driver. He became the United Kingdom's first Formula One World Champion driver in 1958, whereupon he announced his retirement, having been profoundly affected by the death of his teammate and friend Peter Collins two months earlier in the 1958 German Grand Prix. Hawthorn also won the 1955 24 Hours of Le Mans, but was haunted by his involvement in the disastrous crash that marred the race. Hawthorn died in a road accident three months after retiring; he was allegedly suffering from a terminal illness at the time.

Peter Collins (racing driver)

Peter John Collins (6 November 1931 – 3 August 1958) was a British racing driver. He was killed in the 1958 German Grand Prix, just weeks after winning the RAC British Grand Prix. He started his career as a 17-year-old in 1949, impressing in Formula 3 races, finishing third in the 1951 Autosport National Formula 3 Championship.

Stirling Moss

Sir Stirling Craufurd Moss, (born 17 September 1929) is a British former Formula One racing driver. An inductee into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, he won 212 of the 529 races he entered across several categories of competition and has been described as "the greatest driver never to win the World Championship". In a seven-year span between 1955 and 1961 Moss finished as championship runner-up four times and third the other three.

Stuart Lewis-Evans

Stuart Nigel Lewis-Evans (20 April 1930 – 25 October 1958) was a British racing driver from England. He participated in 14 Formula One World Championship Grands Prix, debuting on 19 May 1957. He achieved two podiums, and scored a total of 16 championship points. He also achieved two pole positions.

Tony Brooks (racing driver)

Charles Anthony "Tony" Standish Brooks (born 25 February 1932 in Dukinfield, Cheshire) is a British former racing driver from England also known as the "racing dentist". He participated in 39 Formula One World Championship Grands Prix, debuting on 14 July 1956, achieving six wins, 10 podium finishes and 75 career points. He was third in the World Drivers' Championship in 1958 and second in 1959. He also scored the first win by a British driver in a British car in a Grand Prix since 1923, in 1955 driving a Connaught at Syracuse in a non-World Championship race.

2019 season


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