Vanwall were a Formula One constructor which achieved moderate success in the mid-to-late 1950's, winning nine races and the inaugural World Constructors' Championship in 1958. While no Drivers' Championship was ever won in a Vanwall car, the team managed a 2-3 finish in the 1958 Drivers' standings with Stirling Moss and Tony Brooks.
Vanwall were founded by Tony Vandervell in Acton, West London in the early 1950s. The team name was a portmanteau of the founder's surname, Vandervell and the Thinwall bearings which were produced by Vandervell's company in Acton. The team began by entering non-championship races from 1951 in modified Ferraris, before building a car of their own ahead of the 1954 Formula One Season. The team competed in seven successive seasons before withdrawing from F1 after the 1960 season.
Prior to Vanwall
Vandervell's first venture into Formula One came at the non-championship ACF Grand Prix in 1951 in which Reg Parnell drove a Vandervell-modified Ferrari 375 named the Thinwall Special. After qualifying the car in 9th, Parnell drove the car to an impressive 4th in the race. Two weeks on, the same car was entered into the British Grand Prix where Peter Whitehead was able to steer the car to a 9th place finish.
Vanwall, and entry to the Formula One World Championship
For the 1954 season, Vandervell acquired the help of designer Owen Maddock of Cooper Cars and engineer Leo Kuzmicki of Norton motorcycles to build a car capable of competing in the Formula One World Championship. The result was the Vanwall Special, a Cooper-built Vanwall car which debuted at the 1954 BRDC International Trophy, and entered for the British Grand Prix later that year. The team had intended to race at the French Grand Prix but were unable to finish the car in time to race.
In the early seasons, Vanwall found very little success in F1, only scoring their first points at the 1956 Belgian Grand Prix, two years after their first race. The team did, however, succeed somewhat outside of the World Championship, scoring two non-championship second places in 1954 and winning two non-championship races in 1955.
1957 was a much better season for Vanwall - the VW5 showed a marked improvement on the previous model, and the team acquired the talents of Stirling Moss, who had been runner-up in the Drivers' Championships in the two previous years, and upcoming talent, Tony Brooks. Both drivers raced well with Brooks bringing the team their first podium in Monaco and both drivers sharing Vanwall's first win three races later at Aintree. Two more wins were to follow in Italy, first at Pescara and then Monza.
The team's fortunes continued into 1958 as the Moss and Brooks claimed six wins between them, allowing Vanwall to claim the first International Cup for Manufacturers with maximum points. This achievement, however, was overshadowed by the death of Vanwall driver Stuart Lewis-Evans due to burns sustained at the last race of the season. The loss affected the morale of team boss, Vandervell, who decided to leave the team at the end of the 1958 season, citing ill health.
Without Vandervell's funding and drive, the Vanwall team which entered the 1959 season was merely a shadow of its former self. Unable to fashion a new car for the new season, Vanwall were reduced to entering only the British Grand Prix in which only Brooks drove for the team, retiring after 13 laps.
|Year||Entrant||Car||Engine||Tyre||Drivers||Rounds||WCC Pts||WCC Pos|
|Special||Vanwall 254 2.5 L4||Peter Collins||5, 8-9||N/A||N/A|
|VW55||Vanwall 254 2.5 L4||Mike Hawthorn||2, 4||N/A||N/A|
|VW2||Vanwall 254 2.5 L4||Maurice Trintignant||2, 4, 6, 8||N/A||N/A|
|Harry Schell||2, 4-6, 8|
|José Froilán González||6|
|VW5||Vanwall 254 2.5 L4||Stirling Moss||2, 5-8||N/A||N/A|
|Tony Brooks||2, 5-8|
|VW5||Vanwall 254 2.5 L4||Stirling Moss||2-3, 5-11||48 (57)||1st|
|Tony Brooks||2-3, 5-11|
|Stuart Lewis-Evans||2-3, 5-7, 9-11|
|VW59||Vanwall 254 2.5 L4||Tony Brooks||5||0||NC|
|VW11||Vanwall 254 2.5 L4||Tony Brooks||6||0||NC|
List of race wins
|Front Row Starts||22|
|Distance Raced||15168.563 km (9425 mi)|
|Distance Led||2784.214 km (1730 mi)|
Complete Formula One Results
|José Froilán González||Ret|
|3rd||DNQ||Did not qualify|
|5th||Points finish||DNPQ||Did not pre-qualify|
|14th||Non-points finish||TD||Test driver|
|NC||Non-classified finish (<90% race distance)||DNS||Did not start|
|Italics||Scored point(s) for Fastest Lap||[+] More Symbols|
*The Constructors Championship did not start until 1958.
‡1958-1960: Only the best six results (bordered entries in table) counted towards the Constructors' Championship
The 1955 French, German, Swiss and Spanish Grands Prix were cancelled in the wake of the 1955 Le Mans Disaster.