Exclusive: "I don't think there will ever be anyone like him again"
"I don't think there will ever be anyone like him again." The words of Sir Jackie Stewart encapsulate the legend that was Sir Stirling Moss.
Speaking exclusively to GPFans from his home in Switzerland, Stewart's comments - which are left here to stand alone as a tribute - speak volumes of one of the all-time greats of motor racing, who sadly passed away on April 12, at the age of 90.
"He was a real hero as far as I was concerned.
"When I was a very young lad my brother Jimmy drove for Ecurie Ecosse, and he used to take me to places like Goodwood, Silverstone and Thruxton, and of course, I saw a lot of Stirling. I remember getting his autograph, and to me he was king of the castle.
"He was such a dynamic character, by far the most colourful grand prix driver there has ever been, with the manner in which he carried himself.
"He looked like the best grand prix driver in the world, he walked like the best driver in the world, and he talked like the best driver in the world, and it wasn't artificial at all. It was completely natural.
"He was also fit, in good physical condition, which in those days might not have been par for the course, and he drove every kind of car that was on the market, so to speak.
"Bear in mind today's grand prix drivers only do 21 races a year. Stirling probably did 60 to 70, and all the way through his time in Formula 1, and travelling all over the world when travel was not as easy as it is today.
"He carried the sport in a magnificently good manner. He was a great ambassador for the sport and for Great Britain because he was very British.
"He never did win the world championship, which I always thought was a shame. He should have been a multiple world champion, but he just wanted to drive British cars, and more than anything for British entrants, like Rob Walker, people he wanted to be comfortable with.
"He was such a clean driver, a neat driver, and in those days the cars were very fragile, and the racetracks on which he drove, not long after the end of World War II, were either disused airfields or road circuits. They were running through villages, with stone walls as barriers, so it was a different world altogether.
"Overall, he was colourful and dynamic, but also a professional. He developed commercial relationships, and he was probably the first to do that. He also had an agent. He was just that bit above everybody else."
Moss will long be remembered as arguably the greatest driver never to win a Formula 1 world title, finishing runner-up on four consecutive occasions from 1955-58, and third three times from 1959-61.
"I think he would like to have done it, naturally, but at the time he wasn't driving competitive cars in comparison to other people," recalled Stewart.
"Maserati and Ferrari were teams he could have driven a works car, but he didn't want to do that. He wanted to drive for Rob Walker, of that kind. He was just very British and wanted to drive for British teams and British people. He sacrificed himself.
"In that respect, he was way out on his own. There was nobody at that time who was close to him as a charismatic character."
As for Stewart's abiding memory of Moss, he concluded: "My memory is this sight of him, at the end of a grand prix, wearing an open-faced helmet, goggles down, and his face completely wiped out with oil and dirt, and everything else that was thrown at him.
"That image, for me, spoke of someone very special. He was just totally dynamic and professional, the first professional driver in my eyes. He was a great Brit, a model racing driver. I don't think there will ever be anyone like him again."
Before you go..
I got to meet Sterling several times. Great guy, great driver. Sir Jackie Stewart, that was a wonderful tribute to a great guy who lived a long and wonderful life. He will never be forgotten!
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