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Peter Collins

Collins.jpg
Peter Collins
Nationality 22px-Flag of the United Kingdom.png English
Years 1952 - 1958
Team(s) HWM, Vanwall, Maserati, Ferrari|Ferrari
Races 35
Championships 0
Wins 3
Podiums 8
Poles 0
Fastest laps 0
First race 1952 Swiss Grand Prix
First win 1956 Belgian Grand Prix
Last win 1958 British Grand Prix
Last race 1958 German Grand Prix


Peter Collins (born in Kidderminster, Worcester, November 6, 1931 - died in Bonn, August 3, 1958) was a Formula One driver from England. He participated in 33 grands prix, debuting on May 18, 1952. He won 3 races, achieved 8 podiums, and scored a total of 47 championship points.

In common with many British drivers of the immediate postwar period, Collins cut his racing teeth in the frenetic 500cc F3 category of the time. 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 HWM 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 BRM 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-Ferrari D50 over to team leader Juan Manuel Fangio after the latter suffered a steering-arm failure toward the end of the 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 Nurburgring, Ferrari were distinctly under-par for much of the season as the 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 British Grand Prix, as well as taking a third place at Monaco. Hawthorn also won in Belgium, 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, but sustained critical injuries to his head. Despite being airlifted to hospital, Collins died later that afternoon.

Complete Formula One results

(Note: grands prix in bold denote race victories.)

Yr Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Team
1952 HWM SWI IND BEL FRA GBR DEU DUT ITA       HWM
1953 HWM ARG IND DUT BEL FRA GBR DEU SWI ITA     HWM
1954 Vanw ARG IND BEL FRA GBR DEU SWI ITA SPA     Vanw
1955 Mase ARG MON IND BEL DUT GBR ITA         Mase
1956 Ferr ARG MON IND BEL FRA GBR DEU ITA       Ferr
1957 Ferr ARG MON IND FRA GBR DEU PES ITA       Ferr
1958 Ferr ARG MON DUT IND BEL FRA GBR DEU POR ITA MOR Ferr