Tuesday, May 24

F1’s Last 1950s Race Winner Tony Brooks Dies at Age 90

A photo of Tony Brooks in his vintage F1 race car.

Racing driver Tony Brooks has died at the age of 90.
Photo: Keystone (Getty Images)

Over the years, Tony Brooks drove for some of the most famous marques in motorsport. He had stints with Aston Martin, Ferrari and historic Formula 1 team Vanwall. He racked up six wins in F1 during the treacherous 1950s and narrowly missed out on the world title in 1959. Brooks died yesterday at the age of 90.

Brooks entered his first F1 race in 1956 at the Monaco Grand Prix, but failed to start the event. He would finally begin a race at the British Grand Prix later that year, where he was also let down by his BRM car and forced to retire.

For the 1957 season, Brooks joined the Vanwall team and his fortunes began to improve. He scored his first podium in Monaco, finishing second, and won the British Grand Prix later that year. By the end of the season, he was fifth in the championship behind icons such as Juan Manuel Fangio and Stirling Moss.

A photo of Tony Brooks racing his Ferrari F1 car.

Brooks raced for Ferrari in Formula 1
Photo: Keystone (Getty Images)

Nicknamed ‘The Racing Dentist’ after previously studying dentistry at the University of Manchester, Brooks scored a further three wins in 1958 and placed third in the World Drivers Championship.

But it was the 1959 season that proved his most competitive.

The British racing driver signed for Ferrari in 1959 and scored two wins and two podiums, a second- and third-place finish. He rounded out the year with 27 points, just four behind championship victor Jack Brabham in the Cooper Climax car.

Brooks raced again in the ‘60 and ‘61 seasons, but retired at the end of the year at just 29.

A photo of Ton y Brooks and Stirling Moss after winning the British Grand Prix.

Tony Brooks (L) and Stirling Moss (R) at the British Grand Prix.
Photo: Keystone (Getty Images)

Following the news of Brooks’ death, F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali said in a statement:

“I was saddened to hear the news that Tony Brooks has died. He was part of a special group of drivers who were pioneers and pushed the boundaries at a time of great risk. He will be missed and our thoughts are with his family at this time.”

As well as winning races in Formula 1, Brooks also took the win in the RAC Tourist Trophy for Aston Martin in 1958 alongside Stirling Moss.


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