Legendary 1950s F1 racer Tony Brooks passes away, aged 90
Tony Brooks, the last surviving Formula 1 race winner from the 1950s, has passed away at the age of 90.
Born Charles Anthony Standish Brooks on February 25 1932, Brooks was known as the ‘The Racing Dentist’, having famously dovetailed his studies in dentistry at the University of Manchester with the beginnings of his racing career – Brooks then qualifying as a dentist in 1956.
Soft spoken, mild mannered and lacking the obvious star quality of fellow British racers like Stirling Moss, Peter Collins and Mike Hawthorn, Brooks was nonetheless a searingly fast driver, winner of six Grands Prix (from just 38 starts), including his joint win at the 1957 British Grand Prix at Aintree – a victory he shared with Moss.
Brooks made his debut for BRM at the 1956 British Grand Prix, going on to drive for Vanwall in 1957 and 1958, before being picked by Enzo Ferrari to race for his famous team – with Brooks coming close to winning the world title in 1959.
He would race on until 1961, his last outing seeing him finish on the podium in that year’s United States Grand Prix at Watkins Glen for BRM, before he left the sport behind him to focus on business interests.
Highly rated by his peers, Moss would always say of Brooks that, if he were to create his own Formula 1 team and pick any two drivers to race for the squad, Brooks would have been one of them, with Jim Clark alongside.
Speaking of the news of Brooks’ passing, meanwhile, Formula 1 President and CEO Stefano Domenicali said: “I was saddened to hear the news that Tony Brooks has died. He was part of a special group of drivers who were pioneers and pushed the boundaries at a time of great risk. He will be missed and our thoughts are with his family at this time.”
Tony Brooks – 1932-2022