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Sunday, 12 January 2014

Mike Hawthorn - Formula One Championship Winner 1958.


Stirling Moss with Mike Hawthorn

Mike Hawthorn was born in Yorkshire, the UK in 1929. His family moved to Sussex where he grew up and was schooled. He was a very distinguished-looking young man who only lived to be 29 years of age. He had platinum blond hair and always wore a bow tie beneath his motor racing boiler suit, often smoking a pipe. He was a bit like a Retro Brit schoolboy comic book hero of that time. Some that knew him well, said he was not such the modest young Englishman that he looked. He was often given to playing playful pranks, some of which, might not be acceptable in today's politically correct world. I think he was probably a product of his times, looking a little more like Campbell and son speed record breakers - the last of a stereotype Retro British bulldog breed. I think it is with this affection that Mike Hawthorn is remembered. He lived his short life to the full and in the fast lane.

He began his career in 1950 and raced for a few different teams. He won the Le Mans 1955 tournament under a cloud of resentment and disrespect for, during the race, there was a terrible crash and other competitors retired because over 80 spectators and a formula 1 driver were killed. Mike Hawthorn was a part involved though no harm came to him. It is often believed he may have inadvertently contributed to the crash while slowing for a pit stop. Another driver swerved to miss him and this driver caused the next car behind to somersault up to the vehicle's rear wheel arch and into the crowd of spectators. The death and carnage were awful, but Mike Hawthorn had already moved on and this happened behind him.

In 1958 he won the Formula 1 championship but decided to retire because of a death of his Ferrari team mate in the German Grand Prix. Mike Hawthorn and his team mate often shared their winnings and developed a great rivalry with another. Another teammate was an Italian driver called  Luigi Musso. For some reason, Hawthorn and Collins excluded Luigi from the winnings deal and it brought about a rivalry and resentment that caused all three to take greater risk competing with one another for the overall championship prize money. Luigi Musso took one risk too many at the French Grand Prix of 1958 and was killed in a terrible crash. He was rushed to the hospital where he died.



Luigi Musso
Luigi Musso's girlfriend (Faimma Breschi) at the time of his death, revealed the nature of Musso's rivalry with Hawthorn and Collins and she had great cause to dislike the two Englishmen. She claims that when she returned from hospital to the hotel after watching her lover Luigi Musso die; Nigel Hawthorn and fellow British team-mate, Peter Collins, were laughing and joking in the hotel grounds, playing football. There was also a discarded can of beer which she found very disrespectful.



Before the championship ended the other Ferrari team member Peter Collins was killed in a crash during the German Grand Prix at Nürburgring. This brought Mike Hawthorn to the decision of quitting F1 motor racing.



Peter Collins
Then within the year, Mike Hawthorn was killed on the A3 near Guilford when his jaguar crashed. He was not in a race but driving the roads as any everyday citizen would. It was a terrible irony for the man who had become a legend in his time.

Luigi Musso's girlfriend (Fiamma Breschi) said she did not shed a tear for either of the F1 racing drivers because she was embittered that Nigel Hawthorn and his teammate caused the extreme risk-taking that led to the death of Luigi Musso.









    

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