- Team founded 1954
- Principal Tony Vandervell
- Technical Director Colin Chapman
- [team_achievements] Won inaugural constructors' championship in 1958
|1955||Vanwall||M Hawthorn, H Schell, K Wharton||4||6||0||0||1||9||0||0||0||7||0||0||-|
|1956||Vanwall||ACB Chapman, F González, M Hawthorn, H Schell, P Taruffi, M Trintignant||5||12||0||0||2||4||0||0||0||4||0||0||-|
|1957||Vanwall||A Brooks, S Lewis-Evans, SC Moss, R Salvadori||6||16||3||4||9||1||1||2||7||1||3||0||-|
|1958||Vanwall||A Brooks, S Lewis-Evans, SC Moss||9||26||6||9||11||1||0||5||15||1||3||57||1|
|First race||British Grand Prix||Silverstone||July 17, 1954||Race results|
|Last race||French Grand Prix||Reims||July 3, 1960||Race results|
Tony Vandervell bought a Ferrari 125 in 1949 with the intention of testing it and helping the BRM learning process. The car ran as a Thin Wall, a Vandervell trade name. After a couple of years of Formula Two rules, the World Championship conformed to a new 2.5-litre formula in 1954. Vandervell commissioned John Cooper to construct a new chassis for a 2-litre, four-cylinder engine built by Vandervell and based on four Norton motorcycle engines. This was developed into a full 2.5-litre unit by 1955.
The car became known as a Vanwall for the first time, a combination of Vandervell's name and his Thin Wall bearing business. However, racing then was dominated by the Mercedes-Benz team and the lone Vanwall was raced by Peter Collins. Harry Schell and Ken Wharton drove in 1955, but there was little to write home about.
In 1956, Vandervell commissioned a new chassis from Colin Chapman. The bodywork was styled by aero-dynamicist Frank Costin and the engine produced a respectable 285 brake horsepower. Vanwall ran the trio of Schell, Maurice Trintignant and Mike Hawthorn as the drivers, but before the World Championship season started, Stirling Moss gave the car a winning debut in the International Trophy race at Silverstone.
In the French Grand Prix at Reims, Chapman himself was entered by Vanwall, but his brakes locked up in practice and he rammed Hawthorn! The brakes could not be repaired and Chapman wasn't able to start the race.
Schell gave the Ferraris a shock in the race, passing Collins and Castellotti, and then getting up alongside race leader Fangio on two occasions.
The 1957 season saw Vanwall emerge as a force to be reckoned with. The team could boast Stirling Moss, along with Tony Brooks and newcomer Stuart Lewis-Evans. The British Grand Prix at Aintree brought the day Vandervell had been waiting for. Moss qualified on pole, with Jean Behra's Maserati between him and Brooks. Moss took the lead, but Behra hauled him in when the Vanwall started to misfire and Stirling had to pit for attention to an earth lead. The problem remained and so Brooks was called in to hand over his car to Moss, who resumed in ninth place. He was soon up to fourth, behind Lewis-Evans, Hawthorn and Behra, but the gods were looking after him. Behra's flywheel shattered and Hawthorn punctured a tyre on the debris, allowing Moss through to win. It was the first time that a British car had won a major grand prix since 1923 and the first victory by a British car and driver in the British Grand Prix.
The little mid-engined Coopers made a sensational start to the 1958 season, with Vanwall not ready for the hastily arranged Argentinian Grand Prix, but then Moss won in Holland and Brooks in Belgium. Brooks won again in Germany, a win spoiled by Peter Collins's death in a Ferrari. Moss won in Portugal before Brooks was successful again at Monza.
The World Championship went to the wire in Morocco and was a straight fight between Moss with three wins and Hawthorn's Ferrari with one victory, but five second places. Moss won superbly, but Hawthorn was second, enough to clinch the drivers' title. On the way, however, he had gone off, stalled and push-started his car against the flow of traffic.
He was disqualified but Moss said he had seen him pushing the car only on the pavement, which was permitted. Hawthorn was reinstated, costing Moss the title. Sportsmanship was different then, but at least Vanwall won the constructors' crown.
Team-mate Lewis-Evans died from burns he received in an accident. Vandervell was shaken by this and, in poor health, gave up his involvement with the team in 1959. With the rear-engined revolution on the way, a chapter of British racing history was over.
Reproduced from The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Formula One published by Carlton Books
Sep 7, 1958
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Aug 24, 1958
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Aug 3, 1958
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Jun 15, 1958
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