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Vanwall in 1958


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#1 HistoryFan

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Posted 15 September 2014 - 08:51

I was searching for F1 seasons in which drivers lost the title due to technical problems.

 

In 1958 Moss had many failures and so Hawthorn become champion.

Moss' Vanwall was really fast, but they had a lot of problems, especially with the engine.

 

Does anybody know details about the problems of Vanwall in the 1958 season?



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#2 Collombin

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Posted 15 September 2014 - 09:10

Weren't the engine issues partially due to the high levels of vibration (being only 4 cylinders)?

Having said that, I thought Moss was even more unlucky with mechanical issues in the following season, so if this is for one of your famous lists then don't overlook 1959.

#3 byrkus

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Posted 15 September 2014 - 09:51

He also lost the title because of a highly unfair points system. Best 6 scores from 11 races; Moss wins 4, Hawthorn wins 1, and becomes a champion. Not to take anything from Hawthorn away, but it's still ridiculous.



#4 scheivlak

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Posted 15 September 2014 - 10:01

He also lost the title because of a highly unfair points system. Best 6 scores from 11 races

It was Hawthorn who was handicapped by that aspect of the points systm.

 

If all races had counted the score between Hawthorn and Moss would have been 49-41 instead of 42-41 and Hawthorn would have been champion before the Moroccan GP.



#5 Tim Murray

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Posted 15 September 2014 - 10:16

One of the main causes of the unreliability of Vanwall engines in 1958 was the rule change requiring the use of aviation gasoline instead of alcohol-based fuel. Vanwall's engine with its four large cylinders used correspondingly large valves, and these were difficult to cool properly when running on gasoline as the cooling effect previously provided by the alcohol fuel was lost. The situation wasn't helped when, part way into the 1958 season, GAV had a major falling-out with the company supplying the valves and then had difficulty finding an alternative supplier.



#6 Allan Lupton

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Posted 15 September 2014 - 10:25

He also lost the title because of a highly unfair points system. Best 6 scores from 11 races; Moss wins 4, Hawthorn wins 1, and becomes a champion. Not to take anything from Hawthorn away, but it's still ridiculous.

I cannot see what was unfair about best six of eleven: as Mike had to drop three races (7 points) but all Stirling's points counted it did not affect on the outcome

Times were different and the need for "best n out of m" was because one of the races (Indianapolis) was not to the same rules as the rest; one was too far away for most to go there (Argentina) and not everyone's cars and drivers were fit for, or willing to participate in all races.



#7 HistoryFan

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Posted 15 September 2014 - 10:53

One of the main causes of the unreliability of Vanwall engines in 1958 was the rule change requiring the use of aviation gasoline instead of alcohol-based fuel. Vanwall's engine with its four large cylinders used correspondingly large valves, and these were difficult to cool properly when running on gasoline as the cooling effect previously provided by the alcohol fuel was lost. The situation wasn't helped when, part way into the 1958 season, GAV had a major falling-out with the company supplying the valves and then had difficulty finding an alternative supplier.

 

That is very interesting! Thank you!
 



#8 nicanary

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Posted 15 September 2014 - 10:56

I cannot see what was unfair about best six of eleven: as Mike had to drop three races (7 points) but all Stirling's points counted it did not affect on the outcome

Times were different and the need for "best n out of m" was because one of the races (Indianapolis) was not to the same rules as the rest; one was too far away for most to go there (Argentina) and not everyone's cars and drivers were fit for, or willing to participate in all races.

Spokesman for F1 Mr. Bernard Ecclestone said " We can't have teams deciding which races they'll attend, that's really not good enough. We MUST show an homogenous face to the international public. I'll be doing something about this.........."



#9 ensign14

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Posted 15 September 2014 - 11:27

Well, he had a point.  Not much fun for the paying spectators of a far-flung GP if most of the big boys don't show up with titles done and dusted.  It might be their only opportunity to see them, whereas west Europeans had a few dozen.



#10 Roger Clark

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Posted 15 September 2014 - 11:32

Moss retired five times in 1958: Monaco (valve), Belgium (engine, his fault following a missed gear), Silverstone, (engine, broken con rod), Nurburgring (screw fell out of magneto) and Monza (gearbox). In addition he had valve trouble in practice at Rheims and says, in My Cars, My Career, that the replacement was down on power. However, the Ferraris had the edge on Vanwall throughout the French meeting, and Moss did eventually finish second.

I think, therefore, that only one of Moss's retirements can be put down to valve problems, though it is undeniable that Vanwall did have a lot of problems in that area.

Mike Hawthorn finished second five times and on three of those he also set fastest lap which gave him seven points, only one less than the winner.

For me , the main mystery about 1958 is why Vanwall lost performance relative to the Ferraris at Rheims and Silverstone. They were clearly faster before and after those two races.

#11 D-Type

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Posted 15 September 2014 - 18:07

As I have said before, I consider that Moss lost the Championship when he over-revved at Spa.

 

The win by Vanwall in the constructors' championship suggests that overall Vanwall were more reliable than Ferrari but that Hawthorn had the best of the Ferrari reliability (plus significant team support).

 

I haven't really thought about the mid-season loss of form that Roger mentions.  Ed McDonough's Vanwall Green for Glory in the French GP report suggests the valve supply issue may have been a factor saying:

While the Ferraris were flying, the Vanwalls were overheating and could not match the speed of the red cars.  this may well have been related to Vandervell's war with his regular valve supplier whom he got into an argument with, then couldn't find anybody else to make the sodium-filled heads on the large valves that Vanwall required.  As a result, Vandervell products became valve manufacturers along with everything else.  This eventually worked well, but at the outset presented numerous problems.

 

Did Jenks say anything in his racing car review?



#12 Roger Clark

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Posted 15 September 2014 - 18:36

No Racing Car Reviews for 1958.  The quote from Ed McDonough seems similar to what Jenkinson and Posthumus wrote in their Vanwall history.



#13 Doug Nye

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Posted 15 September 2014 - 21:33

Indeed...    :stoned:

 

DCN


Edited by Doug Nye, 15 September 2014 - 21:34.


#14 uechtel

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Posted 16 September 2014 - 08:17



The win by Vanwall in the constructors' championship suggests that overall Vanwall were more reliable than Ferrari

I do not agree with this. Just a quick rough count delivered 21 finishes out of 34 starts for Ferrari and only 11 finishes out of 26 starts for Vanwall. That makes a 61% finishing quote for Ferrari and only 42% for Vanwall, and the numbers diverge even more if you leave out the retirements that were not because of mechanical failures (driver errors etc.) :  Ferrari 78% finishing record compared to 46% vor Vanwall. The reason why Vanwall won the constructor´s championship was rather because usually one of their cars did make it through to the end and then usually beat the Ferraris when only the first car of each make did count towards the championship.

 

On the other hand it becomes also clear to me that Hawthorn won the championship because he made a lot less "driver errors" than his team mates and thus could make real use of the good reliability of his car.


Edited by uechtel, 16 September 2014 - 08:22.


#15 Eric Dunsdon

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Posted 16 September 2014 - 16:25

For me , the main mystery about 1958 is why Vanwall lost performance relative to the Ferraris at Rheims and Silverstone. They were clearly faster before and after those two races.


I recall that the poor performance of the three Vanwalls at Silverstone was blamed on problems with the fuel supplied. Something to do with 'chicken muck I believe!. Many BRM supporters at that race rather enjoyed seeing the Acton cars having something of a debacle for a change. Sadly for us 'our' cars eventually outdid them!.

#16 wenoopy

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Posted 17 September 2014 - 11:24

 The reason why Vanwall won the constructor´s championship was rather because usually one of their cars did make it through to the end and then usually beat the Ferraris when only the first car of each make did count towards the championship.

 

On the other hand it becomes also clear to me that Hawthorn won the championship because he made a lot less "driver errors" than his team mates and thus could make real use of the good reliability of his car.

 

To me, the above is the essence of the 1958 Championship season. 

 

Hawthorn in some races was able to nurse his car to the finish with a slipping clutch(Italy), no brakes(Portugal), low oil pressure(Argentina & Britain), and at Spa his engine broke as he crossed the line for second place(behind Brooks, whose gearbox tightened up at the last corner, and ahead of Lewis-Evans whose right front suspension broke on the line).

 

Moss, however, had three engine failures which resulted from over-revving, according to 'Jenks' in a tribute to Vanwall in "Motor Sport" of December 1958 - also repeated in his book "A Story of Formula 1".

 

Monaco - valve cap jumped out due to over-revving

Spa - missed a gear-change - bent valves

Silverstone - wrecked engine - valves touched the pistons once too often!

 

If Moss had finished in the top 4 in any one of these races, his points score for 6 races would have topped Hawthorn's.

 

Jenks' comments on the Vanwalls at Reims was that the cylinder heads were warping because the engines were running at full throttle for longer than they ever had done before. Moss finished second, but Brooks broke his gearbox, and then took over Lewis-Evans' car only for it to suffer a broken valve. Vanwall entered only 2 drivers for the German GP because they didn't have an engine for Lewis-Evans after a run of test-bed engine disasters. 

 

A couple of other comments should be made - Moss won the Argentine GP in Rob Walker's 2-litre Cooper after Ferrari were expecting him to have to make a stop for tyres, and couldn't get Musso to speed up after they realised Moss wasn't stopping!

 

I recall from the time that there was some complaint from the British teams that they had insufficient notice of the confirmation of the 1958 Argentine GP date. Not surprisingly this seemed to vanish after Moss won the race. In fact, in the previous 5 Argentine GP's, the fields had included all the teams competing at the particular time, i.e Ferrari, Maserati, Gordini, Lancia, Mercedes and even Cooper with 3 Cooper-Bristols in 1953. But not Vanwall or BRM. So the GP went ahead with 3 Ferraris, 6 private-owner Maserati 250Fs and Walker's Cooper. Any other Argentine GPs since then have had a full field of runners, and I'm not sure any of the British teams(Cooper included)  were considering entries in 1958 anyway. 

 

Stu Buchanan     



#17 TIPO61

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Posted 17 September 2014 - 23:14

Just Flat Out the most beautiful F1 cars ever...for me.

 

Damn, even their unraced mid-engined car looked great.

 

Jus' sayin'.


Edited by TIPO61, 17 September 2014 - 23:14.


#18 RA Historian

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Posted 18 September 2014 - 14:26

The rear engine Vanwall did indeed race. John Surtees drove it at Silverstone in 1961.



#19 Roger Clark

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Posted 05 May 2022 - 12:04

This was prompted by the Tony Brooks thread but I don't want to take that off topic.

Two pictures posted by Doug Nye (post #5) seem to show an additional headrest on Tony Brooks' Vanwall at the 1958 Belgian Grand Prix. I don't think I've seen that anywhere else. Was there a reason for it?

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#20 Doug Nye

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Posted 05 May 2022 - 16:25

I think the headrest pad of sorbo rubber was added because Tony found the very high speeds at Spa and perhaps cornering loads pushing his helmeted head back.  He gained some neck relief and comfort from resting it against that extra pad.  Or, at least, that was the hope. Since they did not seem to bother at Reims or Monza, maybe it didn't work.

 

DCN


Edited by Doug Nye, 05 May 2022 - 17:44.


#21 mariner

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Posted 06 May 2022 - 08:30

i have no idea as to the factual answer to this point but if Brooks, renowned for his sensitivity , had less over revving failures   on his Vanwall than Moss then you could argue that Moss lost the Championship??



#22 D-Type

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Posted 06 May 2022 - 08:47

i have no idea as to the factual answer to this point but if Brooks, renowned for his sensitivity , had less over revving failures   on his Vanwall than Moss then you could argue that Moss lost the Championship??

You could certainly say that about Spa which was definitely Moss's error compounded by the Vanwall's tricky gear change.



#23 LittleChris

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Posted 06 May 2022 - 08:54

DCN's comment makes sense to me. At Spa there were three long high speed corners ( Burnenville, Stavelot & Blanchimont) involving a direction change of 90-180° however Reims ( Courbe du Calvaire ) & Monza ( Curva Grande ) only had one each of these per lap.

#24 Collombin

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Posted 06 May 2022 - 10:45

You could certainly say that about Spa which was definitely Moss's error compounded by the Vanwall's tricky gear change.


Of all the things that conspired for Moss to lose in 1958 I put slightly less emphasis on this one purely because it was only lap 1 - there was plenty of time for something else to go wrong instead, so it may have made no difference whatsoever!

#25 doc knutsen

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Posted 09 May 2022 - 18:57

You could certainly say that about Spa which was definitely Moss's error compounded by the Vanwall's tricky gear change.

Also compounded by the speed of his team-mate, one CAS Brooks.

 

Incidentally, it was a magneto failure at the Nurburgring iirc.


Edited by doc knutsen, 09 May 2022 - 18:58.