Peter Collins

2021-03-21 23:00

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Peter Collins

Born in Kidderminster on November 6, 1931, Peter Collins joined Ferrari for the 1956 season after having raced five more with HWM, Vanwall and Maserat


Born in Kidderminster on November 6, 1931, Peter Collins joined Ferrari for the 1956 season after having raced five more with HWM, Vanwall and Maserati. In the first year he finds himself having to share the box with a certain Juan Manuel Fangio, with already three world championships on his shoulders. He runs his first Grand Prix with Ferrari in Argentina, but his debut is one of the best, as he is forced to finish his race prematurely. In Monte Carlo things will not be much better. Fangio is a negative protagonist in the first part of the race due to a series of errors that forced him to retire.


Peter is called to the pits, with the order to sell the car to his teammate, with whom he will then climb up to second place. Following a bad start, he takes to the track for the Belgian Grand Prix and gets his first career victory, only to repeat himself in the next round in France. Then we go to race in England, where the race is won by Fangio right in front of Collins, who thus reached the podium in front of the home crowd. A podium that, however, will have some bitterness as the Englishman will win only three points due to the division of the car with the Marquis Alfonso De Portago. This fact, added to the retirement he is forced to make in the next round on the Nurburgring, lead him to Monza with a clear disadvantage towards his teammate. The last Grand Prix of the year will be very special.


Fangio is on foot due to a broken steering wheel, so the team asks Luigi Musso to return to the pits to give him the car. The Italian does not follow the directions because he is in second position, so Collins, third and with a good chance of becoming World Champion in his first year in red, at the stop decides to sell the car to the Argentine. Twenty years younger, he says he would have other chances to win a title in the future. Fangio thus wins the world championship. But 1957 is a bad year.


Fangio moves to Maserati and Collins fails to repeat the results obtained in the previous season. He gets a sixth place in Argentina, only to be forced to retire in Monte Carlo. He sees some glimmer of light in France, where he manages to reach the podium, only to repeat himself in Germany following a fourth place obtained in England. He ends the season by retiring during the Italian Grand Prix. The world championship will be won again by Fangio and Collins will only be ninth in the general classification.


The following season starts exactly as the previous one ended, ie with a retirement in the Argentine Grand Prix. In Monte Carlo he reaches the podium, but it is only a mirage, as in the Netherlands he is forced to retire again. The same fate will have it in Belgium, while in France he will be able to finish fifth. Then he runs to England, where the home crowd does well for Peter, who wins the Grand Prix in front of his fans. It is his last appearance on British soil.


Collins will be the victim of a bad accident during the race on the Nurburgring circuit, with his Ferrari 246 going off the track at the Pflanzgarten curve, ending up in the ditch and overturning repeatedly. The pilot crashes into a tree, fracturing his skull. Very serious injuries that, unfortunately, leave him no way out. Peter Collins dies on the way to the Bonn hospital. It is August 3, 1958 and he is a boy of only twenty-seven.


Alessandro Cappelli

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